The AN/PVS-15 is a mil-spec dual-tube night-vision device built with commercial-grade image intensifiers. Dual-tube goggles allow greater depth perception that can be critical for surveillance and recon missions. The Gen 3 AN/PVS-15 operates on a single AA battery, can be handheld or helmet-mounted, and is waterproof to 20 meters. The AN/PVS-15 also has an IR illuminator and a low-battery indicator. The device has a built-in automatic brightness control and weighs 24.3 ounces. These goggles offer no magnification and a 40-degree field of view.
Bering Optics Urban Patrol: The Urban Patrol is a lightweight and inexpensive digital night-vision camera built with a specially developed IR sensitive CMOS chip, making it suitable for use in urban environments. The device is tolerant of bright lights that will inevitably be found in urban areas and has built-in video recording capabilities. This device is appropriate for 24-hour video surveillance and offers full color recording. The device runs off of four AA batteries and has a 2X digital zoom as well as a built-in IR illuminator. The device has a built-in micro SD slot and a micro USB port.
The AN/PVS-14 is in common use by U.S. military personnel today. This monocular device can be helmet mounted for ground-based night observation tasks or fitted directly behind a collimated sight. When helmet mounted, the AN/PVS-14 serves as an image intensifier to identify close- and long-range threats. The AN/PVS-14 offers a 40-degree field of view as well as a clear central aiming point when used in conjuction with weapon sights. Night Vision Depot offers this versatile monocular system with a variety of intensifier tubes that balance performance and price.
HARRIS AN/PSQ-20A SENVG: The Spiral Enhanced Night-Vision Goggle (SENVG) is a refined version of the AN/PSQ-20 ENVG. The SENVG is an optically fused monocular that combines both an image intensified tube with an IR microbolometer into a single compact unit. The SENVG weighs 21 ounces and operates on three AA batteries. The field of view is 40 degrees for the image intensifier and 30 degrees for the IR sensor. The SENVG can detect a man-sized target out to 328 meters. The SENVG’s non-exit-pupil-forming eyepiece allows an operator to maintain a full field of view despite inevitable helmet shifting during tactical operations.
HARRIS F4949: The F4949 series is the standard night flying system for the aircrews of the U.S. Air Force and Navy. These state-of-the-art dual-tube image intensifiers are optimized to maximize depth perception and clarity for tasks like blacked-out driving and night flying. The F4949 fits a variety of head mounts and can be used with an optional clip-on battery pack. The external power pack contains two pairs of AA batteries so a battery failure will not compromise flight safety. The F4949 weighs a mere 19.4 ounces and allows a properly trained aviator to perform any mission in darkness.
The FLIR MilSight T90 TaNS (Tactical Night Sight) mounts ahead of your day optic and provides truly long-range engagement capabilities. Using the finest-quality mil-spec Gen 3 image intensifier tubes, the TaNS does not require boresighting and is optimized for 2X to 8X day scopes. The TaNS includes FLIR’s Shock Mitigation System (SMS) that allows this rugged optic to be used on .50-caliber weapons. The TaNS runs on two AA batteries and weighs 24 ounces. Its focus range is 3 meters to infinity, and it has no intrinsic magnification.
Unlike image intensifiers, thermal systems detect temperature gradients and display them as an image on a screen. In so doing, they make it all but impossible to hide against a relatively cool background. The FLIR Scout II is compact enough to fit easily in the palm of your hand. The Scout II has an internal lithium-ion rechargeable battery and a detection range out to 500 yards. This unit weighs 12 ounces and allows tracking, surveillance and rescue capabilities that were previously unimagined. The Scout II also finds leaky/drafty areas around household insulation, and the Pro version allows both still and video image capture capabilities.
The FLIR ThermoSight T50 is a clip-on external thermal imager that mounts directly to a weapon and allows thermal detection capability despite dust, fog, smoke or total darkness. The T50 is designed to operate in conjunction with sights like the Trijicon ACOG. Government users can procure the T50 with a built-in IR targeting laser. The T50 operates for nine hours on three CR123 batteries and weighs 23 ounces. This state-of-the-art device sports 2X and 4X digital zoom capabilities and proprietary STACE digital image enhancement.
Knight Vision AN/PVS-22: The mil-spec AN/PVS-22 is a clip-on Gen 3 image intensifier than mounts ahead of a weapon’s day optics to provide enhanced night target identification and engagement capabilities. The catadiopteric lens of the AN/PVS-22 provides high performance light collection in a lightweight optic. The AN/PVS-22 is effective on M4, M249, M14 and other common military weapon systems. The AN/PVS-22 weighs 1.75 pounds and operates to 48 hours on one AA or one CR123 battery. The unit is waterproof for four hours at 3 feet and sports a 13-degree field of view.
NVD BMNVD: One of the newest night-vision goggle designs is the Binocular/Monocular Night-Vision Device (BMNVD). The BMNVD uses modular intensifier tubes that can be configured either together or alone using a common mounting solution that is compatible with standard AN/PVS-14 accessories. Both tubes of the BMNVD draw power from a common bridge to minimize the hardware footprint. The BMNVD uses standard CR123 batteries for roughly 40 hours of continuous use. The BMNVD is fully collimated, nitrogen- purged and lightweight.
NVD PVS-7: The AN/PVS-7D is the workhorse night-vision system for the U.S. military and has been produced by the tens of thousands. This versatile single-tube goggle is also widely used by foreign NATO forces. The AN/PVS-7D uses a single Gen 3 image intensifier tube for maximum performance with minimum weight and bulk, and Night Vision Depot offers a version as part of its PVS-7 Night Vision Goggles Special Forces Kit. The PVS-7 is built to withstand water immersion and runs for 40 hours on two AA batteries. It weighs 24 ounces without batteries and comes with a full 10-year warranty.
NVD Stryker: The Stryker is built around a high-performance Gen 2 image intensifier tube to offer professional-grade performance for the individual operator or law enforcement entity on a budget. The Stryker has a built-in IR illuminator and can be used in conjunction with optional 3X, 4X, 6X and 8X magnifiers. The Stryker runs for 40 hours on a single CR123 battery, but it can be ordered with a 12-volt jack to allow the unit to operate on vehicle power for stakeout and surveillance operations. The Stryker has a 220-yard detection range.
NVD MICRO: The Night Vision Depot (NVD) MICRO is an ultra-small monocular image-intensified night-vision device. The MICRO can be head or helmet-mounted, handheld or affixed to a camera. The MICRO is available with commercial or mil-spec Gen 3 Pinnacle Auto Gated image intensifier tubes. Adaptors allow the MICRO to be used along with standard PVS-7 and PVS-14 mounts. The MICRO is a versatile and concealable surveillance tool. It sports a 40-degree field of view, uses a single CR123 battery and weighs a mere 11 ounces.
The Polaris Night Vision Monocular is a basic Gen 1 device for those on a budget. First-generation systems require an IR light source to be effective but can be remarkably inexpensive. The Polaris has a wide field of view, a 60-hour run time on a single CR123 battery, an automatic cutoff in the face of bright lights and a built-in IR illuminator. The Polaris can operate as a handheld device or as a head-mounted monocular. The Polaris will only set you back a couple hundred bucks.
In ages past, darkness meant fear. Good people banded together for protection after the dark, for predators hunt in the night.
- RELATED STORY: Zeroing In: 14 Next-Gen Sights and Optics
Cutting-edge night-vision technology now offers the means to dispel the darkness. Mastery of the night is the greatest single tactical advantage U.S. forces have over their adversaries. Nowadays, this same game-changing capability is available to law enforcement agencies and civilians. What follows is a typical cross-section of the tactical tools that will let you own the night.
- RELATED STORY: 6 Next-Gen Reflex and Red-Dot Sights
Scroll the gallery of night-vision gear above.
For more on the night-vision gear seen in the gallery, please visit the following websites.
- AN/PVS-15: eotechinc.com; 888-368-4656
- Bering Optics Urban Patrol: beringoptics.com; 817-453-9966
- AN/PVS-14: eotechinc.com; 888-368-4656
- HARRIS AN/PSQ-20A SENVG: harris.com
- HARRIS F4949: harris.com
- FLIR MilSight T90 TaNS: flir.com; 800-868-0639
- FLIR Scout II: flir.com; 800-868-0639
- FLIR ThermoSight T50: flir.com; 800-868-0639
- Knight Vision AN/PVS-22: knightarmco.com; 321-607-9900
- NVD BMNVD: nvdepot.com; 610-395-9743
- NVD PVS-7: nvdepot.com; 610-395-9743
- NVD Stryker: nvdepot.com; 610-395-9743
- NVD MICRO: nvdepot.com; 610-395-9743
- Polaris Night Vision Monocular: nvdepot.com; 610-395-9743
The future of high-precision bolt-action firepower has arrived.
by Dr. Martin D. Topper / Feb 1, 2016