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Night Vision Scope: ATN’s essentials when choosing your rifle scope

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02 The Generations of Night Vision 2

Check this guide to know how to choose the best night vision scope for all purposes and look at some of the best night vision devices.

Whether you’re an adventurer, hunter, bird watcher, or someone who enjoys being outside when it’s dark, we suggest that you get your hands on a night vision device. Having one will allow you to save time, perform your tasks easily at night, and ensure safety. But, how do you pick the right one? Let’s find out:

What Is A Night Vision Scope?

A night vision scope is a scope that is made to work in the dark. These devices look like traditional scopes but come with additional functionalities such as the ability to identify objects at night using different techniques.

Night vision devices use different technologies to improve vision at night. They can be used to identify and see a variety of objects, including animals and people with different devices covering different lengths; some going up to 1,000 yards. The latest machines are able to take photographs and record videos for sharing purposes.

Traditional devices use optoelectronic image enhancement, which senses and amplifies infrared light reflected off objects resulting in a glowing green image. Similarly, newer models use digital image enhancement to capture available light on a digital sensor that displays the image in full color.

The Generations of Night Vision

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Night vision scopes have evolved over the years and can be divided into five generations: Gen 0, Gen 1, Gen 2, Gen 3, and Gen 4. Since technology is constantly evolving, we can expect new generations to get introduced in the future. For now, let’s know more about existing options:

Gen 0

Introduced in the 1950s, before World War II, this generation of night vision devices focused on image conversion rather than intensification. These devices are not in use anymore and can be hard to find on the market. You will usually only find them in museums today as they are considered dated. These devices mainly used anode, S-1 photocathode, and IR illuminators. These devices required a source of IR light mounted near or top of the device to illuminate the area surrounding the target.

Gen 1

Also known as ‘starlight’ scopes, the devices in this generation took a step ahead and introduced passive IR light. Designed for soldiers and introduced during the Vietnam War, these devices were very bulky but with improved features. They used three image intensifier tubes and were capable of covering a distance of up to 75 yards; however, the image was distorted, especially around the edges.

Gen 2

Introduced in the ‘70s, Gen 2 scopes introduced us to the devices that are still in use. These new products saw great improvements thanks to the introduction of the micro-channel-plate with the help of S-25 photocathodes. This removed the need for back-to-back tubes, making these devices lighter and easier to carry. This is why Gen 2 scopes could be mounted easily and used for hunting and shooting. Moreover, they offered better image quality and had more impressive batteries.

Gen 3

Gen 3 products came with further advancements and improvements due to the introduction of new elements in the MCP, including an iron barrier and a gallium arsenide photocathode. This made the device more powerful and allowed it to detect objects at greater distances. This generation entered the market in the late ‘70s and ruled the industry for a few years as they could perform well in much darker conditions. Plus, they were more durable – going from 2,000 hours to 10,000 hours and were said to be suitable for tactical applications. Products from this generation are very popular and readily available.


Gen 4

The current generation, Gen 4, is what you’ll see on the market today. It uses the latest technology and is defined by the elimination of automatic adjustment and ion-barrier to the ambient light. Though the latest to the market, this generation is yet to receive the US army’s approval.

Future of Night Vision

The night vision devices market stood at USD 6.74 billion in 2020 making it one of the largest markets out there. It is expected to hit the USD 12.40 billion mark by 2027 growing at a CAGR of 9.10 percent over the years.

We can expect Gen 4 devices to be more affordable and popular in the market with Gen 3 devices continuing to sell well. Moreover, we can expect these machines to get even lighter so that they are easier to mount and carry. Also, they’ll get more versatile.

Night vision devices are already suitable for hunting, bird watching, etc., but they will soon be able to assist in other situations as well. Today’s devices already use Bluetooth and we can expect them to have additional features such as GPS data and improved reach.

What to Look For When Choosing A Night Vision Riflescope

03 Top 3 Best ATN Night Vision Rifle Scope

Now that you know all about night vision, let’s have a look at what to consider when choosing a night vision riflescope:

– General Optic Specs

If you compare different night vision riflescopes, you will notice that they differ in terms of specs such as resolution, display size, eye relief, field of view, and sensor. All these factors are of importance and we suggest you spend a good amount of time understanding each. For example, field of view refers to the space the device can display simultaneously. You should ideally look for a device with a large field of view as it will make it easier to observe objects.

Similarly, eye relief helps ensure you have no trouble viewing even with the glasses on as it refers to the distance between your eyes and the lens of your scope.

– Ease of Use

Ease of use refers to everything from operation to handling. First thing first, the device needs to be lightweight so that it is easy to carry. Heavy devices can strain your hand and result in pain. Also, they can be a little difficult to mount, thus a little hard to use.

Next, the system shouldn’t be too complicated and a first-time user should have no difficulty setting up the device and performing the desired action. Ideally, look for a product that comes with a manual or how-to videos so that you have no trouble using the device. Also, ensure the device is water resistant so you can use it easily even when it pours. Another important factor is the battery as devices that die quickly can disrupt your task.

– Magnification

This feature works like zoom and helps see you clearly. If you search the market, you will see that magnification starts as low as 2x and goes as high as 20x with some even offering more. However, when it comes to magnification, more is not always better as the image usually starts to get hazy after a point. This is why it is more important to know of quality than the maximum magnification a product offers.

In tactical situations, magnification should be 1; however, when hunting or bird watching, you can choose a higher option.

– Lens

At the end of the day, a scope is only as good as the lens it comes with. This is why we suggest that you pay special attention to the lens. Factors such as magnification and field of view depend on the lens. The more powerful a lens, the more money you will have to spend.

On the plus side, you might be able to replace the lens in the future if you don’t like the one that your rifle comes with. However, it will add to the cost as lenses usually start at about $300 and can go over $1,000.

– Durability

Durability defines how reliable and long lasting a product is. Gone are the days of fragile products as the devices today are highly durable and made to last for years. Longevity depends on factors such as build quality and materials used.

The best way to be sure of durability is to look at the warranty and read what others have to say about a product. A company that has faith in its products will give you a decent warranty. ATN, for example, offers a 2-year warranty on most products. We use the latest technology and top quality products to ensure you can count on our night vision devices for years to come.

– Range

One of the most important factors is range as it explains the area a product can cover. It is usually measured in yards with some rifles going up to 1,000 yards; however, most only cover an area of 500 yards. The main purpose of the range is to help you detect your target, be it an animal or an object.

Technically speaking, when it comes to range, more is always better. However, products that offer more range will typically cost more. Also, the right range largely depends on how you intend to use the device. For example, if you are hunting then you will typically need a range of 1,000 yards but if you are a soldier on the battlefield then you will typically require more range.

– Price

If you search the market, you will find a variety of night vision devices starting as low as $600 and going as high as $6,000. You may even find some cheaper models on the market but they are usually not very powerful and offer limited features.

It is important that you decide the amount of money you wish to spend on a night vision rifle and then search the market for a suitable option. This will help you save time as you’ll then come across products that you can afford and not waste time going through products that are out of your budget.

– Technology

As mentioned earlier, night vision devices today are smarter than ever. They allow users to record videos, take high quality photos, and use Bluetooth to connect to nearby devices. Moreover, some even have the option to upload images directly to your social media so that you can keep your loved ones or followers aware of what you are up to.

Also, you should pay attention to the technology the device uses to present the image. For example, thermal devices are more reliable as they perform very well in the dark and can be a great pick for hunters. Similarly, the latest devices, such as from ATN, even offer smart mil dot reticle technology that increases the chances of hitting the bull’s eye.

Keep these points in mind so you can pick the best night vision scope.

Top 3 Best ATN Night Vision Rifle Scope:

Now that you know all about selecting the best night vision scope, let’s have a look at these ATN day night scope reviews so you can compare the top options and pick the most suitable night vision scope.


Magnification: 3-14x

Field of View: 460 ft (9°)

Dimensions: 13.8″x3″x3″/ 350x76x76 mm

Weight: 2.1 lb / 0.94 kg

One of our favorites is the ATN X-SIGHT 4K PRO 3-14X with 18+ hours of battery life, Bluetooth, Wifi, and night vision mode. The device offers ultra HR optics and works like a charm in the dark.


The rifle comes with the ability to record full HD videos and take high quality photos that can be shared on social media. The device features comfortable eye relief of 90mm and easy controls that make it a piece of cake to use and mount the device.


One of the highlights of the device is the One Shot Zero feature that automatically adjusts your reticle thus saving you time and effort. The machine even features the option to tag partners or targets so you can ‘hunt’ with friends and make your adventures more fun.



  • The Ballistic calculator is highly reliable
  • Can stream and record at the same time
  • Has a microphone



  • Water resistant but not waterproof


The ATN X-SIGHT 4K PRO 3-14X  is one of the best night vision scopes for hunting. It comes with a 2 year warranty, works well in rain, and is highly reliable. Get your hands on this one if you are serious about hunting.

02 The Generations of Night Vision 2


Magnification: 5-20x

Field of View: 240 ft (8°)

Dimensions: 14.9″x3″x3″/ 379x76x76 mm

Weight: 2.2 lb / 1.01 kg


Marketed as one of the best night vision scopes for hunting, the ATN X-SIGHT 4K PRO 5-20X is pretty similar to our first pick but with some brilliant additions such as improved magnification and field of view. Slightly heavier, it is still easy to mount and use.


Suitable for hunters, bird watchers, and new users, this device is easy to use and is highly durable. Plus, it has Bluetooth and social media functionality with the ability to record photos and videos.



  • Is known to perform well in all weather conditions
  • Excellent magnification



  • Water resistant but not waterproof


The ATN X-SIGHT 4K PRO 5-20X offers a hand free operation and is perfect for all kinds of users.


Magnification: 5-15x

Field of View: 240 ft (5°)

Dimensions: 13″x2.2″x2.2″ / 330x55x55 mm

Weight: 1.7 lb / 780 g


The ATN X-SIGHT LTV 5-15X is another powerful option that takes magnification as high as 15x and works like a charm. It has almost all the functionalities that the above two products have, including water resistance, One Shot Zero, and video recording. However, the battery isn’t that impressive as it only offers up to 10 hours on a single charge.



  • Has Bluetooth and WiFi
  • One of the lightest options on the market



  • Does not offer low magnification


The ATN X-SIGHT LTV 5-15X can be a good option for people looking for a cheap night vision scope. Though not as powerful as other options out there, it’s easy to carry and comes with some good features for the price.


Kossi Adzo is the editor and author of He is software engineer. Innovation, Businesses and companies are his passion. He filled several patents in IT & Communication technologies. He manages the technical operations at

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