When shopping for night vision you have to shop smart. Consider purchasing a night vision scope as an investment and not simply a purchase. These devices are not cheap and are designed to serve for years. The best night vision scope is the one that works best for you. Finding the best means shopping smart. Simply Googling night vision scope for sale is not going to give you the exact night vision scope you need.

I don’t know the needs you have for a night vision scope. I’m not sure what you’re shooting, where you’re shooting, or what range you’re at. I can’t simply suggest the best optic ever. However, I can show you how to avoid making mistakes when buying a night vision scope.

Know your generations

This is the biggest mistake people make when shopping for night vision devices of any and all kinds. The generations of night vision devices most commonly run from generation 1 to 3, with the occasional 4th generation popping up. The generational changes are what often makes the price vary between night vision devices. You can simply say, I want the best! Give me a generation 3 night vision scope or nothing.

Well, great, does your budget match the cost of generation 3 night vision devices? If it doesn’t, do you need to adjust your budget or reexamine what you need? Are you just wanting to shoot targets at night, at relatively close range? Then you probably don’t need a 3rd generation scope. Something in generation 2 or even 1 is probably more suited for you.


Settling can be quite hazardous as well. Purchasing something with the sole goal of saving money may not be the best course of action. Are you involved in tactical operations that could involve shooting at night over relatively long distances? Then the cheaper generation 1, with zero zoom, probably isn’t going to work well for you. Even if you are hunting you need something that will feed you a good enough picture to know for sure what you are shooting. Mistaking a hog for the family dog can be quite tragic. So hunting will most likely require a nice Gen 1+ or Gen 2 night vision device.

Generation is important, but it is not the most important feature. Even though it’s a night vision scope you still have to think it’s a scope. Is it waterproof? Shockproof? Does it have windage and elevation holdovers on the reticle? Can it mount and work with your rifle? These features will all make a scope cost just a bit more, but can also better suit your needs. Buy once, cry once.

What’s the point?

What the point of buying a night vision device? Are you looking to go walking with it strapped to your head and clear rooms? Do you want to observe nature? Are you looking to do shooting at any extended ranges? The first situation needs a monocular small enough to be worn on a helmet. The second would probably be best suited with a nice set of night vision binoculars. The third goal is going to be best suited with a purpose built night vision scope, designed for shooting. If your goal is hunting or target shooting, a night vision scope is going to be much better suited than any other option. If you have a specific goal in mind, you need a specific night vision device. Anything else will leave you disappointed


When you are looking at night vision scopes for sale it’s a good idea to understand what accessories they can accept. If you didn’t know, night vision scopes can often use different accessories to expand their capability. If you are interested in accessorizing, make sure you know what your system is compatible with.

Are they compatible with an IR illuminator? Is their mount compatible with the mounting system on your firearm? Did you know some can connect to a camera and take photos and videos in night vision? Is that handy for you? It adds to the cost of night vision, so if you don’t need it, don’t opt for it.

Can you legally use it?

California has some crazy laws, one of them restricts the use of night vision scope mounted on a weapon. You can mount a device to a rifle but it cannot have an active illuminating device attached to it. That’s just one example.

If your night vision scope is for hunting it would be good to know if you can legally hunt with it. Many states restrict night hunting or the use of night vision in any way. Some states restrict the animals you can hunt at night. This is all important to know before you invest a good chunk of change in a night vision scope. Learn your laws folks.

Shop Smart

As you can see, there is a lot to shopping for a night vision scope. When you are shopping make sure you use a reputable retailer. Hopefully, this same retailer has an easy to navigate website that is filled to the brim with information. This will help narrow your options, and provide you the most information available.

Author: Thomas Tate

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