9 Best Night Vision Scopes of 2023 [Digital, Gen 2+ & 3]

Last Updated on March 20, 2023

Night vision scope attached to a rifle and lying on a surface at dark

Our Top Night Vision Scopes of 2023 from AGM, SightMark, Pulsar & More


The best night vision rifle scopes for 2023 guarantee you’ll see coyotes, hogs, raccoons, and varmints well before they damage your property.

These critters think they own the night, but with a trusty digital or traditional night vision scope on your AR-15 or .308, you can turn the tables and show ’em who’s boss.

Read on and we’ll review CMOS-based digital scopes and Gen 2+ and 3 traditional night vision units that will fit your needs and budget. We’re here to help you make the most informed buying decision possible.

Some of these scopes work as standalone options, while others clip on your existing daytime scope to reach out into the gloom.

We’ll focus solely on devices that use ambient light and have kept thermal imagers off this list. But be sure to check out our Night Vision History, Comparisons, and Technical Terms sections at the end to see how all these devices work, including thermal devices.

Let’s cut to the chase and explore the best night vision scopes from brands like Pulsar, ATN, Armasight, AGM, and SightMark.

Table of Contents: Best Night Vision Rifle Scopes [Show/Hide]

Digital Scopes That Illuminate the Night

Before we get into the traditional ghostly green displays of night vision scopes (the ones you’ll see in spy movies), let’s check out their digital counterparts because those offer a lot of cool technology at lower prices than their green alternatives.

Unlike traditional night vision devices (NVDs), digital scopes use CMOS sensors, like those in digital cameras, to capture light and make dark scenes brighter. Plus, they have exciting features that analog night vision devices lack, such as recording video or syncing to mobile phones.

While these features don’t make them better than Gen 2+ or 3 for seeing at night, they represent tech-packed options that can benefit hunters day or night.

Give Me All the Digital Bells & Whistles
Pulsar Digex C50

Pulsar Digex C50 digital nv rifle sight

Sensor Resolution: 1928×1088
Lens Diameter: 50mm
Magnification: 3x up to 14x magnification
Battery Type: Lithium-ion
Waterproof: Yes, submersible to a meter for up to 30 minutes

In terms of the best digital night vision scope for the money, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more compelling option than Pulsar’s Digex C50.

When used at night with the included IR illuminator, Pulsar’s C50 produces excellent nighttime visuals that make spotting coyotes a breeze. And unlike traditional analog night vision, the C50 comes with the following:

  • A full-color screen for daytime usage
  • Wi-fi integration with Android and iOS devices
  • Picture-in-Picture capabilities
  • Photo and video recording
  • Ten reticle choices

I’m not saying digital scopes provide better images in very dark situations than traditional night vision — that’s simply not true.

Compared to a scope like the Armasight Vulcan 4.5x, the C50 by itself doesn’t produce super-crisp images under starlight or moonlight — you’ll need to use the included IR illuminator. So, if stealth is an essential facet of your night vision research, a pure NV scope is the way to go.

That’s because IR light is visible to others with night vision. But, if that isn’t a concern, you can’t go wrong with Pulsar’s C50 digital scope. It offers a lot of bang for not many bucks.

On the other hand, if you desire the old-school green display, depth, and resolution of traditional night vision, check out our Gen 2+ and 3 sections.


The Dare-We-Say “Cheap” Choice?
SightMark Wraith HD 4-32×50

SightMark Wraith HD 4-32x50

Sensor Resolution: 1920×1080 with 4K options
Lens Diameter: 50mm
Magnification: 4x up to 32x magnification
Battery Type: CR123A
Waterproof: No, water resistant

Hunters can scoop up the SightMark Wraith for even fewer greenbacks than the Pulsar C50, proving that quality digital optics are available at less-than-bank-busting prices.

With an HD sensor resolution of 1920×1080 pixels, the Wraith HD produces decent low-light images when used with an IR illuminator. Its performance is typical for this price point, but the SightMark scope also lets you:

  • Record video
  • View full-color images in daytime
  • Choose from 10 different reticles
  • Magnify visuals up to 32x
  • Display nine other color choices

While this scope includes a bunch of features at a “cheap” price, coyote and hog hunters complain about a few of the Wraith’s shortcomings. For one, it’s heavy. At over 3 pounds, your once lightweight AR-15 could have some maneuverability concerns.

Second, it burns through batteries quickly. With only 4-5 hours of runtime from 4 AA batteries, you’ll want to invest in some rechargeable options.

Finally, it does display somewhat scrambled imagery on-screen during recoil. However, if you want to get started in the world of night vision, SightMark’s Wraight HD scope is an excellent place to start.


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Gen 2+ Night Vision Rifle Scopes

Now that we’ve looked at what the digital world offers, let’s examine the realm of traditional NVDs, starting with Gen 2+ scopes. These scopes are designed to do only one thing — see in the dark — and they do it without any digital processing.

While that may sound like a disadvantage, hunters may view it as a positive. That’s because looking through a traditional night vision scope is more comparable to looking at the world via your own eyes.

In short, night vision offers better resolution and depth perception than you’ll find on either digital or thermal scopes. You get higher resolutions because the device isn’t limited to the number of pixels used in the display. And because NVDs amplify ambient light reflected off surfaces in the environment, you’ll experience more depth.

Let’s take a look.

Best Bang for the Buck
AGM Global Vision Wolverine-4 4×108

AGM Global Vision Wolverine-4 4x108

Lp/mm: 45-57
Lens Diameter: 108mm
Magnification: 4x
Screen Color: Green
Battery Type: CR123A
Waterproof: No; water-resistant

AGM’s Wolverine-4 is one of the best entry-level, close-to-mid-range night vision scopes you can attach to your rifle, AR-15 or otherwise.

Constructed with a Gen 2+ tube, this lightweight water- and fog-resistant scope will help you mow down just about any varmint that dares wander where they don’t belong. And with an included AGM Sioux long-range infrared illuminator, darkness no longer hides the hog.

But that’s not all. Additional features include:

  • A rechargeable battery and charger
  • Adjustable illuminated reticle
  • Internal windage and elevation adjustments
  • Quick-release mounting system
  • Manual top-wheel focus

As for downsides, you’ll want to pair it with a dedicated rifle, like all other standalone scopes. That, or you’ll have to remove it every time you switch to a daytime scope.

True, it doesn’t have such fancy Gen 3-like features as auto-gating, but that also means you won’t have to pay higher Gen 3 prices.

Ultimately, this rifle scope scores serious points for those who want basic night vision at a bargain price.

Clip-On Solution for Versatility
AGM Global Vision Comanche-22

AGM Global Vision Comanche-22 night vision rifle scope

Lp/mm: 45-57
Lens Diameter: 108mm
Magnification: 1x but works with up to 8x day scopes
Screen Color: Green or White
Battery Type: CR123A or AA
Waterproof: Yes

Hunters who want to avoid swapping out their scopes every day and night love clip-ons. Lucky for them, AGM makes an affordable night vision attachment that conveniently clips on the front of their day scope to make for an effective day/night system. It’s called the Comanche-22.

Because it’s a clip-on, hunters won’t have to worry about re-zeroing their AR-15s. But one of the best features of this particular Gen 2+ rifle scope is its manual gain function. This enables hunters to manually adjust their scope’s brightness, a feature typically found only on scopes costing much more.

That’s not the only significant feature, though. You’ll also get the following:

  • A wireless remote control
  • A bright-light shutoff system
  • A quick-release system
  • The Sioux850 long-range illuminator
  • A choice of green or white phosphor screens

We can’t find much to criticize in this unit, save for its low recoil tolerance. But, with a bright-light shutoff and the ability to work with scopes up to 7x magnification, you get great features at an affordable price.

For mid-to-long-range shooting with calibers less powerful than a .308 Winchester, the Comanche-22 is a tempting option.

Upgraded Durability & Glimpse Ahead
AGM Global Vision Wolverine Pro-4

AGM Global Vision Wolverine Pro-4

Lp/mm: Up to 64 – 72
Lens Diameter: 70mm
Magnification: 4x
Screen Color: Green or White
Battery Type: AA
Waterproof: Yes

If you’ve found yourself eyeing the Wolverine-4 night vision scope mentioned above but have reservations about its resolution or lack of waterproofing, then look at the Wolverine Pro-4.

With its higher resolution, waterproofing, and the ability to upgrade to a Gen 3 tube, the Wolverine Pro-4 proves you can have it all.

In addition to the upgrades listed above, you’ll also get:

  • A Sioux 850 long-range illuminator
  • A long 40-hour runtime
  • Standard white-phosphor screens across Gens
  • A limited three-year warranty
  • An adjustable projected reticle

Note: you won’t get the quick-swap capabilities of the Comanche-22 — this isn’t night vision that attaches to an existing scope to make a day/night system.

That said, it’s an excellent option if you’ve got an AR-15 or other rifle that you’d like the Wolverine Pro-4 to live on.

And if you’re looking for an NV scope with a bit more magnification, check out the Wolverine Pro-6, which has all these goodies, plus twice the magnification. Just be aware that the Pro-6 weighs over 3 pounds, making it one of the bulkiest NV scopes on this list.


Scopes Built with Gen 3 Tech

Unlike the scopes above, every product in this section comes with a Gen 3 tube. That means better image quality, high-end features like auto-gating, and thin- to non-filmed multi-channel plates (MCPs).

While you’ll spend more coin on a Gen 3 tube, these scopes provide the best optics you can find in the traditional night vision world. So, if you’ve been battling coyotes and raccoons, but they’ve got the nighttime edge, turn the tables on them with a Gen 3 device.

High-Quality Dedicated Gen 3 Choice
Armasight Vulcan 4.5x

Armasight Vulcan 4.5x nv scope

Lp/mm: 64-72
Lens Diameter: 108mm
Magnification: 4.5x
Screen Color: White
Battery Type: CR123A or AA
Waterproof: Yes

Armasight’s Vulcan 4.5x might be my favorite dedicated night vision rifle scope; for me, the Armasight marries class-leading features with a compact and lightweight design.

Tipping the scales at a scant 2.4 pounds, the Vulcan 4.5x won’t weigh you down like some day/night scope combinations. However, for hunters on the go who want to eliminate the strain of undue pounds, a dedicated scope like the Vulcan makes a lot of sense.

Plus, the Vulcan also comes with:

  • High FOM (Field of Merit) tube options
  • A wireless remote control
  • Manual gain adjustments
  • Auto-gating and bright-light shutoff
  • Shockproof components

Armasight only offers Vulcan devices with white phosphor screens. These high-end features don’t come cheap, which leads me to the Vulcan’s biggest drawback: price. This scope will set you back a pretty penny, but for some, the cost is worth it when considering property threats.

You should definitely consider the Vulcan if you’ve got the dough to spend and want one of the best mid-distance night vision scopes available. It’s a great addition to your arsenal and will help protect your property from coyotes, hogs, and other varmints.

On the other hand, check out the Wolverine-4 non-Pro scope reviewed in the Gen 2 section if you want to save money.


Day/Night System for Mid-to-Long-Range Shooting


Lp/mm: 64-72
Lens Diameter: 68mm
Magnification: 1x, but able to work with up to 7x magnification
Screen Color: White
Battery Type: CR123A
Waterproof: No; water resistant

ATN has a long history of success with their PS28 series of rifle scopes, and their third iteration with a white phosphor tube (WPT) delivers the goods in both ease of use and technical features.

With ATN’s quick-release system, hunters can activate night vision on their existing scope in less than 30 seconds — without breaking out a single tool. So, hunters can go from night blind to seeing varmints in record time.

Plus, like other attachment devices, the PS28-3 WPT delivers versatility. For example, hunters can use this device as a handheld to scan the area around their homes for security purposes or quietly look for coyotes without cradling their rifles to look through the scope.

Along with its versatility, also consider the following features of the ATN’s PS28-3 WPT:

  • A white phosphor screen is standard (hence WPT in the product name)
  • Multi-coated, all-glass optics
  • A quick-release mount
  • Auto-gated and thin-filmed components
  • A long 50-hour runtime

While all these features scream high-end, it isn’t all gravy with the PS28-3 WPT. One nit we must pick is that at 1.85 pounds, it runs a bit heavy for a clip-on. So, pairing it with another heavy scope is not the best plan.

If you’re looking to shoot while prone or from a shooting stick, or your existing day scope doesn’t give you any weight concerns, we think you’ll love this ATN night vision scope — not that any hogs or coyotes would agree, of course.

Lightweight & Compact Long-Range Clip-On
Armasight CO-LR MINI

Armasight CO-LR MINI

Lp/mm: 64-72
Lens Diameter: 38mm
Magnification: 1x, for use with day scopes up to 10x
Screen Color: Green or White
Battery Type: CR123A or AA
Waterproof: Yes

The CO-Mini from Armasight might be perfect if you want an NV scope that’s lighter weight than the ATN PS28-3 WPT and works better as a handheld scanner.

At just 1.06 pounds, the Armasight CO-LR Mini is the lightest option on our list. Plus, with a wider field of view (20 degrees) than any other scope listed here, it’s the most functional night vision scope we could find that isn’t a monocle in the PVS-14 mold.

But for this kind of cash, you’ll want all the popular Gen 3 features and then some. Thankfully, the CO-LR Mini also offers:

  • The option of a very high FOM tube
  • A choice of green or white screens
  • Quick-release system functionality
  • A bright light cut-off system
  • Military-standard compliance

The CO-MINI is an excellent choice if you’re after the smallest and lightest scope. But, it isn’t perfect — images can be grainy if used with magnifications above 4x, so if you need a longer-range option, Armasight has you covered with their excellent CO-LR.


Top-of-the-Line Long-Range Option
Knight’s Armament AN/PVS-30

Knight’s Armament AN/PVS-30 high-end low-light rifle mounted glass

Lp/mm: Not listed
Lens Diameter: 120mm
Magnification: 1x, made to work with 12x to 15x day scopes
Screen Color: White
Battery Type: DL123 or AA
Waterproof: Submersible in 3 feet for 4 hours

What’s the price of peace of mind? If you ask Knight’s Armament, you’ll get a price tag that might make you lose sleep. But, if you’ve got the wallet and the need, using the same scope to track intruders and pick off hogs could prove invaluable.

As the longest-range NVD on this list, you’ll be able to see larger targets up to 1000 yards away with starlight alone — no IR illuminator required. So if stealth is your main objective, we think Knight’s Armament AN/PVS-30 delivers the goods and then some.

Other goodies include:

  • Recoil-proof components
  • Military-spec components
  • Auto-gating
  • A white phosphor screen
  • A large refractive objective lens

Add up all these things and you’ve got the most complete night vision scope on the market. But it’s heavy, so you’re best off using it from a prone position or with a shooting stick.

In short, this is the best night vision scope money can buy — if you’ve got the money.


The History of Night Vision Devices

Monocular and a couple of rifle optics lying across camo fabric

Night vision technology has come a long way over the years


We’ll cover the nerdy stuff in the next three sections. First, a brief history lesson followed by an explanation of how different night vision devices work. Then we’ll demystify the technical jargon.

Gen 0

First used by the Germans on their WWII tanks, these early night vision devices used a critical piece of technology known as a photocathode.

The photocathode is the building block of night vision image intensifier tubes (IITs). It enables NV scopes to turn photons into electrons, the key step in making the technology work.

Gen 1

Used by Americans in the Vietnam War, these bulky units improved photocathode technology by boosting the photons-to-electrons process.

More electrons mean more visible light on the phosphor screen, thus making dark nighttime scenes easier to decipher; check out the next section titled “How Does Night Vision Work?”

Gen 2

In the late 1970s, microchannel plate (MCP) technology took NV to the next level by acting as a breeding ground for electrons.

When electrons are forced into the MCP’s millions of microscopic channels, they smash into the walls and atoms inside the plate, creating even more electrons in what’s called a secondary emission. And more electrons mean much better image quality.

Gen 2+

Gen 2+ builds on Gen 2 by using better tubes, higher resolutions, and improved optics. It isn’t a formally recognized standard — it’s primarily a way for companies to differentiate their products — but it is a significant advance over early Gen 2 scopes.

Gen 3

In Gen 3, Gen 2 photocathodes are replaced by gallium arsenide sensors that capture many more photons than previously possible.

Plus, MCPs were coated with an ionized film that prolongs the life of the device by blocking free ions from entering the tube.

But early iterations of the film reduced the inherent gains of gallium arsenide MCPs, so later Gen 3 tubes compensated by switching to filmless or thin-film designs.

Auto-gating was a major Gen 3 breakthrough because it enabled the photocathode to turn on and off rapidly, to prolong the lifespan of a device. Previously, too much light from, say, a muzzle blast could burn out the image intensifier tube.

Plus, auto-gating helped keep the image evenly lit, no matter how drastic the changes in light levels. Auto-gating quickly became a must-have feature for surveillance because light levels in urban environments are rarely static.

Gen 4

All NV companies would have you believe they’ve got Gen 4 devices — but the US Army wouldn’t classify them as such. Products marketed as Gen 4 are typically a Gen 3 tube with auto-gating and a filmless MCP that transfers more electrons.

Whew. That’s a lot of change over the decades. Which leads us to ask an all-important question:

How Does Night Vision Work?

Rifle, sights, and other accessories on top of a wooden crate

Time to learn the science behind the tech


The Basics

Night vision scopes intensify low ambient light and near-field infrared energy (from IR illuminators, for example) to illuminate coyotes, hogs, or other varmints causing trouble at night. But how?

First, the objective lens at the front of the scope captures light (photons) which then pass to an image intensifier tube. Batteries (often AAs) power the first part of the tube, the photocathode. All this activity takes place in a vacuum.

The powered photocathode triggers a photoelectric process that actively converts photons into electrons, which are then passed to the next part of the tube known as the microchannel plate.

The MCP — Where Electrons Multiply 

The microchannel plate (MCP) consists of millions of microscopic channels where electrons multiply. Electrons are forced into the MCP and collide with the atoms inside the walls and channels, thus generating additional electrons.

Where once you only had a few electrons, you suddenly have hundreds of thousands more. When these electrons exit the MCP, they hit the phosphor screen in the same patterns as when they first entered as protons — thus creating a perfect replica image.

Why are NV Images Green (or White)?

NV images will look green or white, depending on the phosphor screen color used.

That green color is generally what you imagine when you think of night vision, but manufacturers now offer white phosphor, which many hunters prefer because it provides greater contrast and depth.

Ultimately, NV scopes must have light to work, no matter how dim. That’s why hunters need moonlight, starlight, or an IR illuminator in the pitch black for their night vision scope to spot varmints.

This reliance on light makes night vision technology fundamentally different from thermal devices.

Night Vision vs. Thermal Technology

Thermal devices don’t need light to produce an image. Instead, thermal scopes and monoculars capture infrared heat through an objective lens made of germanium.

Companies use germanium because, unlike glass, it allows infrared heat to pass through the lens — which is critical if you plan to use an NVD to look through a car or kitchen window.

So, if you plan on scouting from your truck, be sure to roll the window down. But, let’s get back to how these things work.

When the infrared heat enters a microbolometer, it’s translated into heat information on a thermogram. That thermogram converts the info into electrical impulses that are then processed and sent to an AMOLED or LCD for viewing.

Depending on the number of pixels in the microbolometer and the display screen’s resolution, the image might appear either sharp and detailed, or like an orange blob.

That leads us to the basic Pros and Cons, the issues that should guide your purchase decision:

Benefits & Drawbacks of Thermal Imagers

A benefit of thermal devices is that they work in fog, haze, smoke, and blackout situations — because they don’t rely on ambient light. So, when conditions get tough you can rely on a thermal more than a NVD.

On the other hand, hunters complain that thermal scopes don’t provide the visual depth that traditional NVD scopes do.

Bottom line: While thermal devices deliver excellent animal detection, night vision provides more detail to better identify animals and get a feel for the depth of a scene.

Now, let’s consider how each system works.

How Hunters “See” with Traditional Night Vision

Crucially, images seen through NV tubes are not filtered through electronic components and sent to a two-dimensional screen for viewing.

There are no screen refresh rates or signals to decode and make visible. Instead, NV scopes amplify the scene and show it to you as it is, with no digital processing required.

For hunters who must have the best tools available to identify animals before shooting, I think many would tell you night vision is the way to go. But it’s limited because hunters can damage the image intensifier tube by using it in situations where lights could flash brightly — assuming the device doesn’t have auto-gating.

I’d recommend grabbing a thermal monocular for detecting animals and a NV scope for identification and shooting purposes — that way, you get the best of both worlds.

And for roughly the price of one high-end unit — thermal or night vision — you can get both device types, each of somewhat lower quality. When it comes to night vision, two kinds of eyes are always better than one.

Night Vision vs. Digital

Digital night vision devices are the new kids on the block. Like traditional NV devices, they rely on light to produce images. Think of digital night scopes as digital cameras that have been tuned to work in the dark.

Indeed, they use the same technology as digital cameras. It goes like this: Light enters the objective lens and hits a complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) sensor.

The CMOS sensor turns the light into a digital signal. Once digitized, the signal gets sent to a screen where the hunter can see it. Like digital cameras, the bigger the CMOS sensor, the clearer the images.

By using a CMOS sensor coupled with wi-fi and multi-core CPUs, digital night vision scopes come with bells and whistles that are impossible with analog NV scopes.

These digital devices can record video, integrate with your mobile phone, and provide higher magnifications than most traditional night vision rifle scopes. Just know this: You’ll burn through batteries quickly with all this tech. So if you go the digital route, bring extra batteries.

If you want to pair your rifle with one of the coolest, most intelligent scopes on the market, Pulsar has just the ticket — the Digex 50.

Now, let’s consider the technical terms you’ll encounter when researching night vision scopes.

Making Sense of Technical Terms

NV digital glass atop a rifle mount

These are complicated little gadgets; let’s dive into the technical jargon


When you start your research, you’ll run into technical terms for the quality of one device over another. That’s essential information for decision-making, so let’s be sure we understand the implications.

Grading Intensifier Tube Grades

Different companies categorize tubes in different ways because there is no industry standard to guide them.

It may seem easy to make a buying decision based on the device’s generation, but there’s much more to it. When choosing a night vision scope, be sure to look at FOM values, lp/mm, and the other technical factors we discuss below.

Green Phosphor vs. White Phosphor

Green phosphor screens come to mind when most people think of night vision — and there’s a reason those screens are green. It’s because humans see shades of green better than any other color.

However, many hunters, shooters, and law enforcement personnel prefer white phosphor screens because they produce less eye strain while delivering more contrast.

So, if you want the latest and greatest, white phosphor screens are all the rage in the night vision community.


Short for line pairs per millimeter, a measurement of image resolution.

The higher the number, the better the image quality. For example, Gen 2+ scopes feature around 45 – 51 lp/mmm, which means a hunter will see up to 102 lines per millimeter.

Gen 3 devices, on the other hand, might feature an lp/mm measurement of 64 – 72, which comes out to a max of 144 lines per millimeter. With more lines, hunters can see greater detail, which, in turn, leads to fewer varmints.

Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR)

Breaking down the individual terms is the best way to grasp the signal-to-noise ratio for NVDs.

‘Signal’ represents the light you can see, while ‘noise’ is the distracting stuff — undesirable flashes or sparkling randomly generated by the microchannel plate. A higher SNR ratio means you’re getting more visible light than light flashes, which equates to better low-light performance and image quality.


FOM (Figure of Merit) is one of the most useful ways to gauge the quality of an image intensifier tube. FOM is the US government’s rating when determining whether a product can be exported.

You can calculate FOM by multiplying a device’s lp/mm by its SNR. The higher the number, the higher quality the tube. For example, the Armasight Vulcan 4.5x with Pinnacle tube offers a high 2000 FOM rating.


Too much light can damage an NVD, so researchers and developers had to devise a way to limit the amount of light reaching the photocathode. The result: An ON/OFF switch at the photocathode level that limits the amount of light that can enter a device.

The key benefits of auto-gating are that it 1) extends the device’s lifespan, and 2) it delivers a cleaner image, even if light levels change abruptly. This is crucial to consistent image quality in varied-light environments.

For a product with excellent auto-gating, look at the ATN PS28-3WHPT.

Auto Gain & Manual Gain

Auto gain is the ability of a tube to dim itself in high-light situations, say under a full moon.

Manual gain allows hunters to manually change the brightness of a tube to compensate for low-light or high-light scenarios. The Armasight CO-LR is an example of manual gain.

Night Vision Zones

Diagram showing the three NV zones and intensifier tube

Diagram of NV zones

The image above shows the different zones within an image intensifier tube.

Tubes vary in quality, with defects manifesting as visible spots or flashes in the display.

Depending on the specification — commercial, military, or aviation — there are different tolerances for the number and location of spots. For example, commercial spec products will have more spots than those rated as military spec.

Naturally, you’ll pay more for fewer spots. That’s just the way of the road.

Objective Lens

The first thing I notice on a rifle scope is the front glass. That’s the objective lens. The larger the lens, the more light it can gather.


Magnification is the primary indicator of how far away you’ll be able to shoot. This applies to all scopes, standalone, clip-on, or digital.

Standalone scopes like AGM’s Wolverine Pro-4 or Wolverine Pro-6 offer fixed magnifications. The higher the magnification, the farther you’ll see. Just know that those higher magnifications result in heavier scopes, making your AR-15 or .308 harder to tote.

Clip-on scopes like the AGM Comanche-22 generally come in 1x magnification models because they work in tandem with day scopes using 1x – 7x magnifications.

Field of View (FOV)

Think of FOV in terms of the horizontal area you can see. Typically measured in degrees, this number gives you an idea of how wide a scene you can see through a scope.

Generally, more magnification means less FOV.

Focus Range

The most critical number to look at here is the first one, as most non-digital scopes claim to focus out to infinity.

If you plan to shoot varmints at relatively close ranges, you’ll want a scope that can focus up close.

Eye Relief

Have you ever been smacked your head into the scope? If so, you know how important eye relief can be. With high-caliber rifles, you’ll want longer eye relief values to protect your noggin from the effects of hard recoil.

Consider eye relief when mounting your NV scope to a high-caliber rifle. You may want to add a clip-on to the front of your scope to protect yourself from the dreaded scope eye.

Exit Pupil

If you’ve ever shined a light through the objective lens of a scope or a pair of binoculars and seen its light coming out the other side, that’s the exit pupil. This number is the width of that light beam, and it’s calculated by dividing the size of the objective lens by the magnification power.

Wrapping Up 2023’s Best Night Vision Scopes

Low-light optics mounted on an assault rifle

Arm yourself with one of 2023’s best night vision scopes


Thanks for stopping by our list of the 9 Best Night Vision Rifle Scopes of 2023, where we shared our favorite NV rifle scopes for AR-15s, long-range rifles, and more.

We covered standalone night vision scopes and day/night system attachments, to prepare you for squashing any coyote, hog, raccoon, or varmint insurrection on your property.

And through our analysis of digital to Gen 2+ and Gen 3 scopes, we hope you’ve now spotted the best night vision device for your needs and budget. There weren’t any thermal recommendations here, but we explained how that technology works, in case there’s a thermal in your future.

Now you can stop looking at reviews and grab the best Pulsar, ATN, AGM, Armasight, or SightMark options out there and get busy protecting your homefront. Varmints, your time has come!

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