Night Vision/Thermal set up

I could use some help in gear choices.

I am wanting to get a thermal monocular that I can attach to a helm (need helm advice as well) and a night vision scope for one of my AR set ups. I used those back in the day, but the day was long ago and what I knew/know is obsolete. So, I am hoping that some of the more technically proficient could help an old man out.

I am familiar with the prohibitions surrounding this topic as covered by ITAR. This would be for my own use in a legal civilian application.


In another group I had the same question and I asked the pig hunters in the group, they unanimously said stay away from ATN and recommended Pulsar.


I’m interested in hearing updated info on this topic as well. Especially interested in if there are any cheaper options that are at all useful?

We tried some highly rated but cheaper options 15 or so years ago for a wildlife research project. Not sure what the people giving the ratings were thinking because the units were total junk. Maybe they worked ok in a small room but I could hear animals munching on grass in front of me but couldn’t see them through the night vision units. If there was a quarter or more of moon in the sky a good set of standard binoculars worked noticeably better.

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What I was talking about was thermal, ATN is ok for nv but expect to pay several thousand dollars for something that works, thermal or nv. My wife bought me some nv for my birthday and I know she didn’t pay more than 300 dollars and i can’t see stars with it.


That sounds like my experience with the decade plus old tech though I think we spent $600 or so on our units. I would have thought technology would have improved over the past 15 years for the cheap stuff. My budget is very limited right now but I’d pull together $500 or so for a so so night vision or thermal unit that would let me at least tell a person from a tree or a deer within 75 yards though would prefer out to at least 100.


If you want quality night vision to use with a rifle expect to be in for $4-$7k total to get going (PVS14 monocular, mounting solution, helmet, illuminator/IR laser for rifle…probably $6k or more to do it reasonably “right”.

I don’t think people really do a “night vision scope”, they get a monocular to mount to a helmet (team wendy bump is a good starting point) and then use a passive aiming compatible optic (like an eotech) and something like a dbal d2 or a MAWL for IR illumination/laser on the rifle(s)

Are you up for that kind of expense?


International Tracking in Arms Regulation (ITAR) probably has a chilling effect on the optics companies. ITAR has teeth, and serious restrictions.


Really all depends on your budget. AGM makes good thermals as does IRay. Thermal clipons that can be both helmet mounted and then clipped onto a day optic style scope are very expensive.
384uM units are pretty much the standard, 640um units will be the clearest and cleanist picture youll get out of a civilian unit, but 640 units are typically almost double in price.

Im curently looking at an AGM Rattler TS35-384 unit myself.

AGM TS35-384 Rattler 384x288 50Hz 35mm Thermal Riflescope 3092455005TH31 For Sale | SHIPS FREE -

Iray’s thermal clip on that is both helmet and weapon mountable. I’ve been planning to purchase one of their cheaper MH25 units to just run alongside my PVS14 on a nightfighters panobridge on the helmet.

InfiRay Outdoor RH25 RICO Micro 1x25mm 640x480 Thermal Weapon Sight IRAY-RH25 For Sale | SHIPS FREE -

As others have stated, stay far far away from ATN. Pulsar has gotten a lot better but they used to have their own issues as well.

Generally speaking I would avoid putting a PVS14 onto a rifle mount, as they generally do not survive under prolonged recoil for any serious length of time.

cheap civilian NV went digital because gen 3 tubes are still a very guarded secret. If you not as worried about ruggedness you can look into the Sionix Digitial camera NVG setups, but be aware, because they are digital they have processing lag, which you will notice on a helmet mount.

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