Ruling the night with night vision

He who can fight in the dark will rule the night!  I have been looking at night vision for a while and the only thing that has really held me back has been the cost.  In today’s post, we are going to look at several types of night vision and whether or not they are worth the cost, they are selling for.  Let’s get started, so just sit back, grab a cup of coffee and let’s talk about it.

What exactly is night vision?  Well, the type of night vision that I am talking about are the electronic devices that use ambient light and magnify it to allow one to see in the dark, when they otherwise would not be able to.  I think most of us can see the value in having such a device, but are they truly worth what they are asking for?  I think that in order to answer that question, we need to consider the different types and generations of night vision that are on the market today.

There are 3 basic types that I am aware of and they are Image Intensification, Active Illumination, and Thermal vision.  Most of the night vision devices on the market today will fall in one of these three categories.  Image intensification magnifies the amount of received photons from various available natural light sources, such as starlight or moonlight and uses it to allow you to see things in the dark that you otherwise would not have been able to.  Active illumination couples imaging intensification technology with an active source of illumination in the near infrared light spectrum.  It is basically combining image intensification with an infrared light source to allow you to see well even when there are no other sources of light available.  The last one is Thermal vision which the background and the foreground difference to create an image based on their radiated heat.  You have probably seen these used on different TV shows and usually show brightly colored patterns against a black background.  The advantage of these is that you can spot an object based on its heat signature even if you can’t see the actual object.  The downside of this type is that they often lack the details that you may need to distinguish friend from foe in the darkness. I know that it’s a small detail, but one that I personally think is very important.

So what is all of this Generation 1, 2, 3, and 4 that I keep hearing about?  As the development of night vision progressed, each subsequent generation has gotten better. This means that when you are buying night vision devices, the higher the generation, the better they work.  This is where you need to decide just how much you are willing to spend.

Generation 1 night vision is the most affordable and gives you very little in the way of seeing in the dark.  Just remember that any night vision is way better than no night vision at all and can make the difference if you are attacked or are forced to travel in the dark.

Generation 2 is a large step forward over generation 1 optics.   They have longer battery life, a longer field of vision (up to 200 yards) and a higher resolution than a generation one optic device. While being more expensive, they are well worth the money they cost.

Generation 3 is the gold standard for night vision optic devices.  They are what the federal governments are currently using and what you ideally want to go for.

Then there is generation 4…  These are not really a Gen 4, as they did not meet the Army’s strict specifications to be a Gen-4.  While they may be a little better in some ways, they are not worth the difference in price and you would probably be better off going with a Gen.3 Optic device.  By their very design, they are more prone to failure than Generation 3 night vision.

In summary, any night vision is better than no night vision and the generation and type you decide to go with should be based on your budget and preferences.   If you can’t get a Gen 3 night vision optic, then go for Gen 2 and if nothing else get Gen 1.  The point here is to be able to see in the dark to better protect yourself and see where you are going.  As for the initial question of are they worth the cost?  In my opinion, yes they are!  Just shop smartly and look for reputable brands when you do.  I guess that is it for today and thanks for dropping by!  Until next time, just remember that prepping is a direction of travel and not a destination!

-The Sargent-

The Sgt.

Prepper, Patriot, and Proud U.S. ARMY Veteran.

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3 Responses

  1. Thor says:

    Yes, night vision gives a big edge at night. Its amazing how someone looks holding a cigarette at night,it looks like a flare. Haha could be his last cigarette or a bad way to quit!!!

  2. sd1273marty says:

    Yes the 3 generations are like night and day LOL in both operation and money. I figured I needed something now, rather then saving up. I opted for an Armasight Vampire with 3X and a high resolution Core Intensifier Tube. Didn’t know what that was, but it sounded good. This is made as a rifle scope with QD mounts. Most importantly, I could afford it at just under 800.00. My only experience with night vision scopes was 40 years ago and a Javalin mounted on an AR while in SWAT. This, while not the quality of a Gen 2, will do the trick until I can save up the bucks for my next purchase. What I’d really like are the NV goggles used by the military today, but those are really big bucks!