The jungle is as glorious in the night as it is during the day. Hunting after dusk will introduce you to some magnificent nocturnal creatures. However, no matter how many carrots we eat, our eyes are simply not equipped to provide exceptional vision in the dark. Thanks to the introduction of night vision scopes, they don’t need to be.
The number of options on the market right now will strain your eyes in another way, especially if you’re on a budget. There’s a lot of features to look out for, and it can get confusing. Well, we’re here to help. Keep reading to find the best night vision scope for you.
Top 5 Best night vision scopes under $500
|SightMark Wraith HD||4-32x50||Most versatile scope||Click Here|
|Firefield Gen 1||3x42||Best battery life||Click Here|
|SightMark Photon RT||4.5-9x42s||Most user friendly||Click Here|
|Night Owl Optics NightShot||3x40||Value for money||Click Here|
|ATN X-Sight II||3-14x50||Best overall||Click Here|
1) SightMark Wraith HD 4-32×50 Digital Riflescope
Sightmark is a trustworthy brand dedicated to providing military-inspired devices.
The Wraith offers a night mode with green or black & white viewing options as well as complete clarity during the day. Its function is not limited only to the night, so you get more for your buck. The infrared illuminator can provide a night time range of up to 200 yards. The 4-32x magnification range on this rifle scope is quite impressive.
The night vision device comes with ten preloaded reticles. It has nine color illumination choices, including red, white, yellow, gold, green, and orange, to make sure you remain undefeated on any landscape. The battery life stands at 4. 5 hours, and the scope is powered by AA batteries, which are cheap and convenient to find.
The sensor captures high quality (1080) photos and videos. Since the scope is not WiFi or Bluetooth enabled, it comes with a micro USB port to help you transfer your winning moments onto your phone or laptop.
The aluminum scope body is weather and water-resistant. I find that it is pretty easy to zero. It’s quite heavy-duty and can take a good amount of shock from recoil. A three-year warranty covers the scope, making it a strong contender and one of the best night vision scopes under $500.
However, it can get quite heavy at almost 34 oz. I also wish the video recording came with sound.
2. Firefield 3×42 Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope
Firefield might be a comparatively new brand, but it’s only a matter of time before it makes it to the top with its quality optics.
The Firefield Gen 1 scope comes with an illuminated LED reticle. It is a duplex reticle design, so the crosshairs are larger near the corners and thin out in the middle to facilitate focus and precision. The IR illuminator provides crystal clear night vision.
The battery life is unbelievable at 20 hours. The brightness is adjustable. It doesn’t come with any fancy color illumination options, just a good old and simple red illumination. This is an SFP scope whose reticle works best when your scope magnification is fixed, like on this one.
The scope is relatively light, which is a big plus. The titanium body is undeniably durable. It’s also waterproof and weatherproof, making it reliable and one of the best night vision scopes under $500. The matte black finish helps you stay concealed. The installation process is quick and easy with the weaver mount system.
However, the night vision scope is quite large. The illumination might prove to be inadequate beyond a certain distance.
3. SightMark Photon RT 4.5-9x42S Digital Night Vision Riflescope
Our third contender also comes from Sightmark.
The CMOS sensor can successfully detect prey up to a distance of 200 yards. The Photon RT scope has a built-in ‘invisible’ IR illuminator to enhance night vision. It comes with six reticle options and four illumination color choices. In my opinion, the 4.5- 9x digital zoom is pretty user friendly.
The scope features a one-shot zero that makes your job quicker and easier. Your high-resolution pictures and videos can be viewed remotely via WiFi using their Pulsar Stream app. Unlike the other Sightmark scope, this one has audio recording. Again, it conveniently uses AA batteries.
Notably, the white-out after recoil on the scope is minimal. It is overall easy to use and adjust. I think it looks pretty sleek. Rest assured that it is weatherproof and waterproof.
The Photon RT comes with a good amount of accessories at this price, which makes it appealing and one of the best night vision scopes under $500.
The battery life gives you 3 hours at most with continuous use. It’s not great in the daytime – only starts working in low light.
4. Night Owl Optics NightShot 3x NV Riflescope
Like the name suggests, Night Owl is a reputed night vision optics brand. It one of the most experienced players in the optics game and has spent multiple years perfecting this niche.
The Night Owl Nightshot comes equipped with a high-resolution digital night vision display to ensure continuous sight of those nocturnal beasts. It comes with six reticle choices. Three of them are white, and three are black. They’re quite easy to see over a number of backgrounds. The infrared illuminator is built-in.
What I really loved is that the riflescope is constructed in such a way that it can be used with both the Picatinny and Weaver mounting systems. This adds to its versatility. Another versatile feature is that the night vision scope works just as well in the daylight. Even though the magnification is fixed at 3x, the scope offers a range of at least 100 yards.
Now you might notice that this scope is slightly lengthier than other night vision scopes. This is not a con because it actually owes this to a rubber eyepiece, which provides good eye relief while blocking out any disturbing stray light. One thing to remember is that the position of the elevation and windage turrets is switched on this scope.
It’s light for a night vision scope. I’m not sure how recoil resistant it is for extremely powerful cartridges, but you can definitely pair it with anything under .30 caliber. The scope is weatherproof and can survive an array of weather conditions.
The one con here would be the fact that the battery lasts for 3 hours, but I guess you get what you pay for.
5. ATN X-Sight II Day/Night Vision Smart HD Technology Rifle Scope
ATN is a popular supplier of high-performance scopes like ATN Thor 4, ATN X Sight II, etc. that don’t empty your wallet.
The ATN X-Sight II has a digital night vision and multiple reticle options. The 50mm objective lens guarantees maximum clarity and brightness. A standard IR illuminator is included.
The night vision scope comes with a Ballistic calculator to let you make the perfect shot without second-guessing yourself. One more unique feature here is the smart range finder that ranges your target with a simple process and automatically adjusts your reticle’s point of impact. The great part about these ATN scopes is the recoil-activated video recording to capture every critical moment and WiFi + Bluetooth screening that lets you track your target from anywhere via live streaming.
Other unique features on this scope are the E-barometer and compass. I like how the profile manager stores all the zero-in data – it’s a real-time and patience saver. The night vision scope has a 100 yards zero range. The battery can last you a decent 6 hours. The aluminum body feels sturdy.
The scope can get heavy and confusing if you’re not well-versed with technology.
Things to look for when you’re purchasing the best scopes with night vision
500 is a decent budget and should be able to fetch you a quality night vision scope. Look out for these factors to make sure you get your money’s worth.
Night vision scopes that have a variable magnification will be significantly more expensive than those with a fixed magnification. If you’re on a budget and you find a rifle scope with a fixed magnification that works for your needs, definitely go for that one since it might have better features in other areas. However, if you like to take longer shots, I would highly recommend a variable magnification since it’s far more convenient.
Size and weight
Due to all their additional features, night vision scopes tend to be much larger and heavier than average scopes. Since movement is more limited in the night time, I wouldn’t worry about this too much. If you’re planning to hunt for long and get tired quickly, look out for the weight of your rifle scope. Some of them can weigh as much as 3 pounds.
This is probably one of the most essential parts of a night vision scope. If your battery dies, your vision dies. Compare the battery life to your hunting regime. You might want to carry a case of extra batteries. Also, check the type of battery. Batteries like the AA are cheaper and easier to find.
Clarity becomes all the more important in the night when your rifle scope is your only source of visual information. The best night vision scopes will have high-resolution displays and good IR illuminators. It’s a reasonable ask at a 500$ budget, so don’t compromise. If your scope can provide clear pictures in the day as well, it’s always a bonus.
A good night vision scope can do wonders in enhancing your performance and capturing those nocturnal beasts. The advent of technology has made night hunting more convenient and possible than ever. We’ve taken 5 of the most advanced yet affordable scopes we could find and laid them out in front of you. It’s your turn to make a choice.
$500 can fetch a good bang, and we hope we’ve led you to an excellent purchase today. Happy hunting!