All experienced hunters know what type of rifle AR-15 is. It's lightweight and deadly at mid-range, but it's also very effective at longer ranges.
There was a time when the distribution of this gun was banned, but that time has passed, and now it's one of the most popular guns among hunters in the US.
However, it doesn't matter what type of gun you're using during nighttime; even if you're a professional hunter - you still need help.
This is why optical industries have developed state-of-the-art night vision scopes that give you maximum visibility during the darkest of nights.
This article will deal with scopes that are specifically compatible with AR-15 rifles, and we'll try to offer you some insight into their features and the way they function.
Stay tuned, and we'll do our best to help you learn a lot.
Table of Contents
- Best Night Vision Scopes for Ar-15 - Top 7 Reviews
- #1. ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Edition - The Best Overall
- #2. SightMark Wraith Digital Night Vision Riflescope - The Best Magnifying Scope
- #3. TRYBE Optics GEN 3 Night Vision Scope - The Best Premium Scope
- #4. Night Owl Optics NightShot Riflescope - The Best Budget Pick
- #5. ATN X-Sight LTV Riflescope - Excellent Battery Life
- #6. Pulsar Digex N455 Night Vision Riflescope - Easy to Use
- #7. Pulsar Digisight Ultra LRF N450 Riflescope - High Sensitivity
- What Are Night Vision Scopes and How to Find the Best One? Buyer's Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts - Summary
Best Night Vision Scopes for Ar-15 - Top 7 Reviews
The Best Overall
The Best Magnifying Scope
The Best Premium Scope
The Best Budget Pick
Excellent Battery Life
Easy to Use
All products on this list are some of the best scopes with night vision technology that the optics market has to offer. However, we'll open it up with the very best we can find, the ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Edition.
First of all, this is a powerful scope that can be used with a variety of guns, including the AR-15.
Thanks to its classic design with standardized equipment, this ATN's product is compatible with riflescopes that have 30 mm rings, which is the most popular ring size.
The AR-15 is a lightweight and steady gun that is often used on the go, which is why a steady and professional optical device is necessary for maximum performance. Well, the X-Sight 4K Pro is special in many ways that will make your hunt extra easy.
Firstly, the optical HD sensor has a 600 lp/mm resolution that is capable of streaming and recording videos on the go with the help of its dual processor.
The overall image resolution is 3864 x 2218 pixels, while the display resolution rests at 1280 x 720 pixels.
The resulting video is clear and crisp since the recording resolution is full HD. Also, the grasp of this scope is quite extensive since the mighty ATN sensor allows for a wide field of view of 240 feet at 1000 yards.
Moreover, ATN is the biggest manufacturer and distributor of military optics, so you'll never have to worry about the longevity of their scopes.
In this instance, the X-Sight 4K Pro is made from premium materials, and it can remain fully operational in a wide temperature range of -40 to +55 degrees Celsius.
It's packed with many accessories, including a memory card and a ballistic calculator. We can keep on listing the pros of this night vision riflescope, but you get the idea. It has no flaws, and it's built for the best hunters.
Even though AR-15 is often used in mid-range combat and shooting, it's still highly effective at long ranges, especially if you're hunting prey. Therefore, a good magnifying scope will undoubtedly come in handy, such as the SightMark Wraith Digital Night Vision Riflescope.
Even though 850 nm is the standard wavelength when it comes to most optical devices, the quality of SightMark's sensor is unmatched by most of the riflescopes on the market.
It can give you clear images of night creatures and objects as far as 200 yards at pitch dark, and you can also choose whether you want to use the standard green contrast or the black and white. Either way, the image is extremely clear and contains no shadows that could potentially disrupt your aim.
The resolution is also something that you should consider before purchasing a riflescope, but that shouldn't bother you with this item. It has an HD 1280 x 720 pixel resolution with a solid video recording resolution of 1080 x 720 pixels.
It has a solid linear field of view that rests at 21 feet at 100 yards or 210 feet at 1000 - slightly less than with the ATN product, which is to be expected since it has higher magnifying properties.
Once you focus on your prey, you can magnify the image up to 32 times, and the resolution will still be clear enough for a critical hit.
The only flaw is that the scope works with four AA batteries that will give you around 5 hours of battery life. It's not much, but it's sufficient for a standard hunting session.
Aside from this, the specifications of this night vision scope speak for themselves.
Night vision scopes are high-tech devices that aren't generally cheap, especially if they come from a verified manufacturer.
Even though you'll have to set aside a good amount of money, it'll pay off in the long run due to the extreme longevity and durability of these devices. Such is the TRYBE Optics GEN 3 Night Vision Scope.
There are multiple reasons you might like this night vision scope from the previous ones, such as the fact that this is a GEN 3 night vision device.
This means that the display resolution is higher than average and that the resulting image during nighttime is generally considered clearer and crispier than you'd expect from a GEN 2 device.
Furthermore, this unit allows you to set the brightness of the imaging tube by increasing and decreasing the contrast, depending on your environment and natural elements, such as moonlight and obstacles. This way, you can customize your equipment and become the deadliest hunter on the field.
The field of view is also terrific, considering this is a night vision scope.
The angular FoV is 40 degrees, and the linear is 210 feet at 1000 yards, meaning you'll have enough range to detect prey around you, and you'll do so with a crisp image on your scope.
As far as the flaws go, there are two things we don't like.
First, the magnification properties are fixed, so you won't be able to zoom in on your prey. Also, the eye relief is only 25 mm, so you might experience some issues if you're wearing glasses.
Other than these two hiccups, it's an incredible device that should undoubtedly be in your hunter's gear.
The previous product was the most expensive one on our list, so it makes sense that we move on with the most affordable night vision scope out there, meaning the best for the money. Here's the Night Owl Optics NightShot Riflescope.
Even though this is the cheapest scope on this list, it's still a high-functioning unit that is capable of providing clear images thanks to its digital night vision technology developed by Night Owl Optics. They manufacture quality products that are often used by the military, this one included.
It's a 3x magnification scope that can shed light up to 100 yards at pitch dark, revealing everything in front of you at a modest 480 - 640 pixels. The illumination type is LED, and it has a 30 Hz refresh rate.
Admittedly, it's not the best, but it'll do the job for this price range at an efficient level.
Moreover, it remains stationary and blurry-free during the recoil of high-power weapons, including the AR-15. Suffice to say, you can use it on multiple guns due to its versatility and easy-to-handle design.
Overall, it doesn't have great specifications in comparison with the previous night vision riflescopes, but this is intended to be a budget pick if your current scope is broken or if you simply don't have the money at the time to buy a new one.
It'll do the job, especially if you pair it up with the AR-15 in close-range combat.
Riflescopes are not known for their battery life, especially if the scope in question is demanding.
At best, you'll get around 5 to 10 hours of continuous use, so it's our pleasure to showcase the incredible ATN X-Sight LTV Riflescope with a fantastic lifespan.
Firstly, we want to dedicate a couple of lines to ATN.
It's a long-standing US company founded in 1995 that has become a pillar of reliability when it comes to NV and thermal imaging products. Their scopes are often used by the military, and their quality is unmatched by any manufacturer on the market currently.
As we said, the most prominent feature of this riflescope is its battery life.
It runs on three packs of standard lithium-ion batteries that give you more than 10 hours of continuous use. If you toggle it on and off to preserve power, you're looking at a 20-hour lifespan on average.
When it comes to specifications, it doesn't fall short of everything that ATN advertises. The system resolution is at a crisp 160 lp/mm, while the display resolution is 1280x720 pixels.
There are two reasons why this is excellent.
Firstly, the resolution is HD, meaning that your images will be clear even at 9x magnification, and secondly, this is a day/night scope, so it'll come in handy having high-resolution imagery during the entire day.
This model also features quick-mounting hardware with zero retention, so you'll be able to move it and adjust it without losing your focus.
By the way, the recording resolution is 1920 x 1080 pixels, which will undoubtedly come in handy. So, what's the catch?
Well, the only flaw we could find while testing it was the focus mode that had to be manually adjusted by turning the scope, which does waste time in the middle of the hunt.
Even though night vision scopes are not that hard to master, it's still nice to see that there are some products that require little to no pre-hand experience. Such is the Pulsar Digex N455 Night Vision Riflescope.
The special thing about this scope is its design.
It's one of the rare models that has the shape of a day scope with the features of a night vision device. Thanks to its build, you can set it up with most guns used for hunting, including the AR-15.
If you feel like your previous scope wasn't that effective during the nighttime, this scope's IR illuminator will astound you.
It's capable of shedding light during the blackest nights thanks to its powerful sensor and digital night vision technology.
It does lack a bit in the overall lens and display resolution, but its target use was intended for mid-range shots, so you'll never need a higher resolution specter.
Furthermore, the magnification properties go up to 16x, which is fantastic considering the resolution of this device.
The narrow field of view is perfect for targeting your prey from mid-range and shooting it with absolute accuracy. When you factor in that the range of detection is 1970 yards, you'll be even more thrilled about purchasing this night vision scope.
Also, the illumination color is not limited to green or white and black - you can choose among four different colors, including the authentic amber color.
The only thing we don't like is the price since there are night vision scopes that cost way less and have similar features.
On the other hand, the quality of this scope is undoubtedly worth it.
Finally, the last night vision riflescope we have to present also comes from the Pulsar facilities, and it's a product that's definitely worth your attention. Without further ado, here's the Pulsar Digisight Ultra LRF N450 Riflescope.
The first thing that sets aside this riflescope from the rest is the integrated rangefinder that's capable of locating objects with a +/- 1 m precision.
Also, you can do this in scanning mode and in the single measuring mode, so there's no need to switch between the two.
The lens and tube diameter are quite wide, measuring 40 and 50 mm, respectively, so you can count on quality images and a steady experience.
Truth be told, the resolution is not the best, but the accuracy will not fail you, so there isn't any need to invest in a high-resolution night vision scope when you'll get perfect shooting with this one.
It also features THD (True Horizontal Mode) that you can use on the changeable landscape to get the right ballistics by accounting for the shooter's angle.
The 18x magnification properties will undoubtedly come in handy when doing the true measurement.
It's a great night vision scope for those that enjoy slow hunts without forcing it, especially since the battery life is great and you can take your time.
Again, Pulsar is a bit pricey, so that's the biggest complaint on our side. Still, it's a great purchase that you should consider.
What Are Night Vision Scopes and How to Find the Best One? Buyer's Guide
If you're a new hunter, you probably didn't have much experience hunting during the night.
Some experienced hunters can work their way around and shoot without night vision scopes thanks to great intuition and years of knowledge, but that'll come with time for you as well.
For now, the best companion you can get is a night vision scope, especially if your weapon of choice is the AR-15 since it works with most scopes on the market.
However, there lies the conundrum. If there are so many scopes, how to recognize the best one?
We'll try to give you some insight into these devices in the following lines and what makes the best night vision scope for the AR-15.
1. Night Vision Generation
This is something that goes for all scopes, not just the ones that fit the AR-15.
Generally, the rule is - the higher the generation, the better, but that's not always the case since it comes to some other features as well.
In essence, there are three types of NV generations - 1, 2, and 3 - and digital night vision.
The basic concept behind it is that the IIT's inside the scopes (Intensifier Tubes) accelerate the electrons of the light and give you images by using contrasting light, generally green ones.
The first generation night vision devices are the oldest, and you should generally avoid them since the overall quality is inferior in comparison with the newer generations.
Gen 2 and 3 are widely sold today due to the excellent sharpness and fantastic resolution of the lenses that give you maximum transparency at night.
Also, there's digital night vision that has the benefit of being used at all times, not just during the night. And, digital night vision has a larger lifespan, so our advice is to either find a GEN 3 device or a digital one.
Accuracy is a term that's quite vague when it comes to night vision scopes since it depends on multiple factors. For example, the quality of the sensor, the capabilities of the IR illuminator, ballistic detection range, and so on.
These things shouldn't bother you so much as should the average distance that your scope can offer.
In general, the best accuracy for night vision scopes lies somewhere between 150 and 250 yards, while premium scopes can give you a 99% accuracy score at 500 yards.
Since you'll be purchasing this scope for the AR-15, there's no need to go heavy and purchase an extremely expensive one since 250 yards should be more than enough for an average hunting session.
When we say design, we generally refer to the bulkiness and the weight of the scope since night vision devices are larger than daytime scopes.
This might seem irrelevant, but adding a single pound to your standard weight can mess up your aim if you're used to shooting with 50 lbs, for example.
Therefore, before you buy a night vision scope, always consider the weight and try to limit yourself to ones that don't extend the weight you're used to by 10 lbs.
The Best Overall
ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Edition
The Best Magnifying Scope
SightMark Wraith Digital Night Vision Riflescope
The Best Premium Scope
TRYBE Optics GEN 3 Night Vision Scope
The Best Budget Pick
Night Owl Optics NightShot Riflescope
Excellent Battery Life
ATN X-Sight LTV Riflescope
Easy to Use
Pulsar Digex N455 Night Vision Riflescope
Pulsar Digisight Ultra LRF N450 Riflescope
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best night vision scope for an AR-15?
Since AR-15 can work with tons of scopes, it's hard to pick a single product that's the best.
Our favorite that seemed to have no flaws was undoubtedly the ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Edition.
If we put aside the prowess of ATN as an optics and night vision manufacturer, it's still undeniable that this unit has everything that a hunter might ask for.
How much is a night vision scope for an AR-15?
As always, you have budget and premium picks.
The price varies from $400 to $2000 based on the quality and the brand, but our advice is to purchase a scope that's somewhere between $1000 and $1300.
Such products are often sold by manufacturers such as Pulsar, ATN, and Sightmark.
How to use a night vision scope on the AR-15?
Setting up the scope is a standard process that doesn't differ that much from mounting a day scope.
You'll need mounting hardware and a wrench to tighten the screws (don't use electric drills to avoid damaging the scope).
Make sure not to over tighten them, and you can proceed to toggle the scope on.
What are the best thermal scope brands for AR-15?
Thermal scopes utilize different technology for detecting objects, but the manufacturers don't differ on this market.
ATN is still the leading company for thermal scopes, but you can find excellent products from Trijicon and FLIR as well.
Can I use a night vision scope during the day?
It depends on the scope you own or want to purchase.
There are models whose tubes are made for day and night usage, but if the scope is made specifically for nighttime, the daylight can damage sectors of the tube and leave you with a faulty device.
Final Thoughts - Summary
Night vision scopes are terrific tools for both amateurs and veteran hunters. They can make hunting way easier than what our fathers were used to, and the efficiency rate skyrocketed with the invention of night vision.
But, as always, there are good and bad products and the trick of knowing how to find the best one is by following some of the things that we mentioned previously.
If you're still having doubts, it's safe to go for the ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Edition - there's no way it'll disappoint you, and its performance speaks for itself.
If you're a fan of magnifying scope, then our recommendation is undoubtedly the SightMark Wraith Digital Night Vision Riflescope.
In essence, you can put your trust in these products since they'll shed some light on the hunts to come.