15 Fighters: Night Vision Gear

Recommendations with links based on experience (preferably) before NODs become unobtainium.

Include headgear and other necessaries to run these tools effectively.


24 responses to “15 Fighters: Night Vision Gear

  1. Pre NODS? No comprendo?


  2. Test OK!
    Was hoping for some great recommendations. I’ve been seeing a lot of ads from optics planet lately… I’d really like thermal, but don’t know much about it.

  3. Alfred Barnes

    Would love to have north of $3k to get one, thermal is $10k. It’s an expensive piece of gear. Maybe look into flash grenades for disabling attackers.

    Running an IR illuminator in a hot zone would be like the third man lighting a cigarette with the same match in WW2, doa.

    I wouldn’t get less than 3rd generation for practical use, and not as a weapons sight necessarily, but for monitoring the movement.

  4. Having worked with 5’s, 7’s and 14’s, and without money to spend on the fun stuff that has come out since, I purchased 5’s with 3rd gen tubes.
    1. Lower priced than the others.
    2. Binocular vs monocular, better depth perception
    3. 14’s left with me with a burnt out eye after driving around all night, and I got tired of keep one eye closed all the time.
    4. the big solid box with its large rubber strap kept the things where I wanted them on my head, as opposed to the constant sliding down your face that you got with the 7’s and 14’s.
    Just my 2 cents worth. Bear in mind that the M60 and PRC77 were still a thing when I started.
    I did use the Simrad KN 200 (and later the 250) on an m24 but I didn’t think it was that great and the PVS 4 on a m249 always just whited out after the first shot. I wouldn’t spend the money on them now or use them if I had them.

  5. Something I would recommend for cheap and reliable would be the Sightmark Ghost hunter. This is considered Gen1 tech but having used NODS for the better part of 20 years, and owning this model, it definitely encroaches into Gen 2 territory. Sure it ain’t the best $4 Grand piece on the market but for around $250 it does the job. I would also recommend an IR laser for you MBR.

  6. A) Any of these:

    Around $2-3K for any of them.

    And FWIW, write this on your hand with a Sharpie:
    Anything less than at least Gen II, or retailing for under $1K, is a total piece of shit, functionally.
    This is a law, like gravity, the speed of light, or the freezing point of water.
    You will not “work around” it.

    Gen I, e.g., requires an active IR illumination source to be even half-assed functional.
    You might as well just stand up with a hand-held spotlight turned on and waggle a cowbell, at that point.

    PVS-14s are nice too, but only as head-mounted monoculars.
    But if they’re weapon-mounted, you’re muzzling anything you look at, including friendlies. Over time, that works out poorly. For friendlies.

    Any NOD needs to be attached to your eyes, not your weaponry.
    (Unless you’ve got $6-8K, minimum, to spend on a belt and suspenders; if so, knock yourself out.)

    B) For your weaponry, you want this kind of gear:

    And/or the equivalent for a pistol.

    Now, after dark, you’re clubbing baby harp seals in any gunfight.
    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    And you use (A) to make sure OPFOR isn’t using (B) too.

    But WaaaaaH! It’s so EXPENSIVE!
    Tough shit. How expensive is you taking a permanent dirt nap?
    Buy once, cry once applies in a terminal way here.
    And cheap is cheap in every way imaginable. And will fail when you least can afford it to do so. If it ever works to begin with.

    Thermal is pretty bitchin’ too, but with an even higher price point, in most cases.

    The Leupold thermal handhelds


    look promising, but I haven’t played with any of them yet.
    The thermals I’ve used started at a price point of $10K.
    But we could and did see (and film) bobcats padding along with a tasty rabbit in their mouths half to three quarters of a mile away.

    Remember two other things:
    IR can be fooled by good daylight camouflage discipline.
    Because vision is vision.

    We looked at parked military NG vehicles with standard .mil woodland camo.
    They were damned near invisible until you were within a hundred yards or so, unless you got a flash off a glass windshield.
    Civilian high-shine paint jobs, even in dark non-descript colors, stood out like a clown in a rainbow wig waving lit torches half a mile away under ambient starlight with no moon.
    And under Gen II+ or better IR, and thermal vision, aircraft showing no running lights were visible from miles away from the heat and/or static electricity glow of moving surfaces like rotors and propellers.

    Thermal can be blocked by anything, including a pane of glass or space blanket material.
    (You will also find out that things like trees and rocks are warm too, in cold weather and hot. So generally you pick out heat signatures by their movement, not their temperature alone. Tree trunks and rocks don’t move much. We could spot groups of people moving 1-2 miles away, only by doing digital video capture, and noting the line of tiny specks on the distant horizon of thermal imagery moving, and the bobbing specks that were heads at that range stood out glaringly. You can’t rewind and fast-forward naked eyeball imagery; you need video capture tied in to do that.)

    It’s very hard to fool both IR and thermal at the same time.
    (It can still be done, but it’s exponentially harder to do so. For you, and for OPFOR.)
    If, e.g., you have 2 people, equipping with 1 of each type is a good way to go.

    Yet another reason not to be the Lone Ranger in anything spicy.

  7. If you look online at sites like Ebay, you can often find used thermal imagers used by structural fire departments. We call them “Ticks” or TIC. They can be had for anywhere from 500 to 2000 dollars. Not as nifty as a FLIR scout, but they do work.

    MSA Makes a good one, sold under the “evolution” name.
    FLIR makes them to, such as the K2 or the E40

  8. Watch hog hunts with ‘Texas JAGD’ on youtube. He hunts with ATN Thor thermal imaging and IR. Do not go below the Thor HD 640 model in resolution. New models have good battery life and external options. You can use these scopes in the day and night unlike IR. We could see hogs in the day under heavy brush which we could not see with naked eye.

    Couple this with an AR + 300 BLK upper + suppressor + Hornady 190 sub-x and you now can hunt pretty much anything from 50 to 100 and a bit beyond at night with very little sound. You should practice yote and hog hunting at night as it is the most fun you are likely to have with your clothes on. Or swap the upper with 458 socom to knock down small buildings and 200+ lbs hogs. Again check the channel.

    For noise reduction consider SilencerCo’s Hybrid 46 which is gtg from 338 LM down to .22. One can.

    Related: Once in a lifetime deals at Europtics on Vortex and Nikon closeouts. You are never again going to find a reliable FFP, illuminated reticle for under 500 bucks https://www.eurooptic.com/vortex-viper-pst-6-24×50-ffp-riflescope-with-ebr-2c-reticle-moa-pst-43127-new.aspx from here if you need mrad https://www.eurooptic.com/Vortex-Viper-PST-Closeouts.aspx

    Nikon is getting out of the scope game and they also are blowing out quality glass at an even better price than the Vortex. Scroll down to the Black FX1000 line which is again FFP. The MOA glass is gone in higher than 4×16 but the MRADs are there. https://www.eurooptic.com/Nikon-Riflescope-Closeouts.aspx If all you need is 4×16 the FX1000 from Nikon is really nice. In 4×16 the Nikon glass is impossible to beat at that price. Again FFP and illuminated with great clarity and good eye relief.

    Either of the higher magnification scopes dialed to around 18x will get you to over 1,000 yards if your cartridge is capable. There are guys on the youtubezzz doing mile shots with the same magnification.

    That’s it. Coyotes and hogs now have absolutely no chance against you. Now go forth and keep the economy going.

  9. Minimum gear IMHO:
    -PVS-14 from a quality source (Gen 3/3+)
    -A helmet (bump or ballistic as you have $$$)
    -Wilcox mount of appropriate flavor for above two items.

    Later add:
    -IR aiming laser for rifle (OTAL at minimum)
    -IR Illuminator (flashlights with white+IR are versatile)
    -Crye Nightcap as a portable/minimalist alternative to the helmet mount

    TRAIN WITH THEM. Using NV is weird at first and takes getting used to. It’s not plug and play from a usage standpoint.

    Throw away the cheap plastic skill crusher mounts. They really really really limit you.
    Never mount it to your rifle. Too many negatives.

    Keep your powder dry (and in the dark),
    Atlas Shrug

  10. Wayne Ogilvy

    jrhenterprises.com Has equipment and information on how & what to use for different applications.

  11. For my money, it’s the PVS-14, Gen 3, white phosphor, right around $3k from OpticsPlanet.com.

  12. This is the best explanation and real world review I’ve found.

    Plenty of other very important reviews on his channel too.

  13. Anybody who doesn’t understand why this matters is on limited time when shit goes sideways. If both sides have nods, it’s gonna be brutal, even with cans. If one side has nods and cans and the iq of a squirrel, and the other side doesn’t, they will win. It helps that much. IFF is a thing, challenge password, secondary points, egress, etc.really matter at night, nods included. Bottom line, but the best shit possible, head mount and clip on, practice like it matters because it does. Use it, learn it, understand it’s limitations and capabilities, then master them. Thermal is great for detection. Pretty much it. Eats batteries, can’t drive with it, but detection is great, especially on untrained pogs. Nods do everything well except detection on immobile things. But there are ways to deal with it. Buy cans, they matter too. Dual tube nods are the best we can do. I roam with delta tube 7s’. Also 14s’. Both work well, dual tube is easier to run with. Every single time. Wp is less straining on the eye(s) than GP. Either is better than nothing.

  14. Alfred E. Neuman

    Reblogged this on FOR GOD AND COUNTRY.