Hunting at nighttime will be exciting, fun, and challenging. This is because many animals are active at night and come out to find their prey.
As humans, we can’t see clearly at night since we have poor night vision ability. That is why we need an aid- Night vision scopes, and they play a major role in night vision.
These night vision scopes are also called starlight scopes, and they are designed to intensify human sight under low-light conditions. These night vision scopes are originated for tactical military operations during the 1930s.
But nowadays, advanced technological developments make the scopes available for civilian use in shooting and hunting games. Also, these scopes are a popular choice for recreational and tactical shooters.
Top 3 Recommendations
Here we have our top picks of night vision scopes under $500 to provide you the things that you are looking for. These night vision scopes are designed to provide you with a technological advantage for precise target acquisition in dim lighting conditions.
Most of the scopes come with an IR illuminator that allows you to hunt in complete darkness. Moreover, these scopes can greatly improve your hunting skills and help you to hunt in any environment and climate.
We have reviewed our top picks of night vision scopes under $500 for hunting, target shooting, and even security and tactical work.
However, you have a tight budget or don’t want to spend more money on it. Well, this article includes top-rated night vision scopes under $500, and this will help you find the right one that fits your budget.
Continue reading this article to find the best one, and how to choose the right one for you, our buying guide is given below. Hopefully, this buyer’s guide will assist you with an insight into the best night vision scopes under $500 and the features to consider while buying a scope.
Our Top Picks for Best Night Vision Scopes under $500
5 Best Night Vision Scope Under $500 – Reviewed
1. Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision Riflescope
The Night Owl night shot is the ideal night vision scope for hunting during nighttime.
It’s a great optics that is priced well below $500, and it’s packed with many valuable features that help to improve your shooting skills and knowledge.
As it’s a GEN 1 scope, it comes with a built-in Picatinny mount, and it can be easily mounted on either Picatinny rails or Weaver mounts, a valuable feature that adds flexibility to the scope.
This scope has a 3x magnification range and a 5.6-degree Field of view.
Night Owl Optics
Nightshot Digital Night Vision Rilescope
It can display the images at a high resolution of 640×480 to deliver crystal clear images, and it can focus at a range of 100-200 yards.
The night owl optics is the mount-compatible gun scope, and it has windage and elevation adjustments that are easy and accessible.
The unique feature of this scope is the reticle that offers you a varying reticle section. You can choose from three reticle types; each can be viewed in color or black and white. These three reticles work to provide clear and bright images.
The body of the scope is black and looks very classy, and it is made from heavy-duty engineered thermoplastic that is lightweight and durable.
Thus the scope is easy to carry around even after attaching to the rifle; the weight of this scope is still negligible. The scope is designed with weatherproof construction so that it keeps working in any harsh weather conditions.
This scope runs on lithium batteries or 4AA for the extra power, and it keeps working for 2 hours with IR on low and 5 hours with IR on high.
Read Complete Review: Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision Riflescope
2. Firefield FF16001 NVRS 3x 42mm Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope
This Firefield night vision riflescope is one of the great options for budget-conscious shooters who are looking for under $500.
This scope uses GEN 1 night vision technology, and it has a built-in powerful integrated IR illuminator.
The IR illuminator in the scope enhances images to make them as clear as possible when shooting at nighttime.
The red duplex reticle is illuminated and has various brightness adjustments.
It has Picatinny mount and weaver rails, and it is designed for bolt-action rifles.
Firefield FF16001 NVRS
3x 42mm Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope
This scope has a 3x magnification range, and it’s great for zooming in 100 yards during low-light conditions. Also, it has an objective lens of 42mm and a field of view of 14 degrees.
Thus it provides a high-quality image, and the revolutionist’s optics are multi-coated and are protected by flip-up covers that protect the optics for all-weather and shooting conditions.
The body of the scope is built with a lightweight titanium alloy, and it weighs just under 2 pounds. Hence the scope is comfortable and easy to carry around; they stand still with rugged usage and also are quite durable.
The battery life of this scope is admirable as it runs for 20 hours with an IR illuminator and runs for 50 hours without an IR illuminator.
Read Complete Review: Firefield FF16001 NVRS 3x 42mm Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope
3. Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32x50 Digital Riflescope
The Sightmark Wraith HD digital Riflescope has unique features, and it’s the best night vision scope under $500.
It has a magnification range of 4-32x, though the user can be able to adjust to the visual point that they view best.
This scope is one of the top choices among hunters and shooting professionals. The scope has been designed with many amazing features.
This scope allows you to hit your target accurately from far distances, even in dim lighting conditions.
It has a fixed Picatinny mount for easy attachment to your rifle.
HD 4-32x50 Digital Riflescope
The scope is a GEN 1, active night vision scope with a removable 850nm IR illuminator to provide you enhanced image quality and precise target acquisition up to 200 yards at nighttime.
The scope has a built-in camera that allows the hunters to record videos for up to 7 hours with a 64 GB memory card.
The High definition sensor in the scope makes the images and videos clearer in HD quality. Another unique feature of this scope is that it can be used both day and nighttime. It provides full-color clarity in the daytime and black and white or green, viewing for traditional night vision mode.
This scope runs with 4 common AA batteries, and you can expect up to 4.5 hours of battery life. It has an external Micro USB port that allows photos/video export and an additional power supply.
This scope offers 10 reticle options along with 9 colors for enhancing accuracy, easier aiming, and the overall experience. Also, you can create 5 different weapon profiles to save zero for different calibers and rifles.
The scope has been designed with Aircraft-grade aluminum that provides rugged durability in any weather conditions. For further protection, the optics have a multi-coated lens that reduces glare and reflections.
Read Complete Review: Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32×50 Digital Riflescope
4. ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope
ATN brand is the most famous and renowned brand for night vision scopes. This scope will serve you well, no matter how much experience you have in hunting or shooting.
The ATN X-sight II Smart HD 5-20X day/night vision riflescope is the best in the game. This model comes with HD resolution that gives you crystal clear vision whenever required, and it can be used both day and night.
The X-Sight II scope is powered by an Obsidian II core that helps to run huge files in a blink of an eye.
The ATN X-sight II has a smart rangefinder and a ballistic calculator that accurately calculates the distance between you and your prey.
ATN X-Sight II
HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope
Also, this ATN has a laser Ballistics smart rangefinder 1500, and it’s responsible for finding the distance between the prey and predator. Knowing the distance between you and your prey allows you to hit the target perfectly.
The device has a built-in micro HD display. The scope has an 850 pro IR illuminator that helps the user to easily set the target even at nighttime.
Buttons are provided to adjust the position of the reticle. Moreover, the ATN X-sight scope has 9 reticle options based on the brightness of the environment, and the user can select the reticle.
The scope has a magnification range of 5-20x, and the 85mm objective lens also has both digital and manual zooming. This allows the user to get a clear view even at longer distances. Also, the scope has a 65mm eye-relief range that will secure your eyes from injuries.
The scope features a (RAV)recoil activated video that allows you to record high-quality images and videos in 1080p HD form.
Bluetooth and WiFi connections are available with this scope so that you can share the recorded videos and pictures. Finally, the scope comes with 4AA batteries, and it can run up to 8-12 hours.
5. Bushnell Night Vision Equinox Z2 Monocular
Bushnell has introduced a new generation Z2 line Monocular within the Equinox series.
This digital night vision Monocular has become the user’s favorite due to its high quality and affordable price.
Bushnell scope is another portable device, and it can be able to see up to 750 yards both during day and night.
This scope has an integrated IR illuminator, which helps to view at long ranges.
Instead of a conventional image intensifier tube, Bushnell uses a Micro LCD sensor and an IR sensitive CMOS sensor.
Bushnell Night Vision
Equinox Z2 Monocular
The screen displays color images during the daytime and black and white images during nighttime. This scope features image capture, video recording, and a tripod mounting capability, thus making it a good choice for adventures and hunters.
The scope has a magnification range of 4.5x with an objective lens of 40mm, and it allows to capture of high-quality images and videos, thanks to the impressive 640×480 resolution.
The recorded footage can be stored on the 32-GB micro SD card. A switch at the bottom of the monocular lets you quickly switch from videos to still images.
The mounts are made of lightweight and durable aluminum that provides a rock-solid attachment to the monocular. Also, it has a multi-coated lens and a weather resistance rating of IPX4, making it ideal to use in wet conditions.
The Night Vision Equinox Z2 Monocular is rubberized to protect it from accidental drops. This scope runs with 4AA batteries, and it’s light, weighs only about 1.4lbs; therefore, it’s easy to carry around.
Read Complete Review: Bushnell Night Vision Equinox Z2 Monocular
Buying Considerations: Best Night Vision Scopes under $500
You have to consider several factors for purchasing a good night vision scope. In this, we will explain the important aspects and the things you should know before buying a night vision scope.
It’s one of the main things you have to look at before purchasing a night vision device. Generally, night vision scopes can offer up to a magnification range of 10x.
However, a greater magnification scope can also be heavy and expensive. The scope with the magnification levels of 3x-5x is sufficient for the average shooter, and it reduces the weight significantly.
Contrastingly, some scopes don’t have magnification, and they are cost-effective. Where these scopes are designed for traditional hunting or shooting, and they are not designed for short-range and long-range distances.
2. Field of view
It refers to the Wideness of the field, otherwise how broad you can see using the scope at a specific distance.
The field of view of the scope is determined by its optical design. It provides an enhanced image and target acquisition up to 200 yards.
This means if you increase the magnification of the scope, your field of view will be reduced. It’s the main factor to consider for all tactical shooters and hunters to identify the targets. The better you can view it, the better you can observe the surroundings.
Stability and Ruggedness are the other important factors to consider. If the scope is not durable and tough, then it won’t serve you for a long time.
Check if the scope is designed with weather-resistant construction. Because this feature will allow your scope to work in any harsh weather conditions.
Although fog-proof guarantees the lenses of the scope, and waterproofing protects your scope from submerging into water, and moisture. Thus it ensures durability and reliability.
The very first thing you need to look at the scope is its clarity. As we all know that we can’t be able to see well at night so that we use night vision scopes to see better at nighttime.
That is why the clarity of the scope is important; it helps you to view the images clearly and to get a precise shot. When it comes to focusing, the illuminations are also important.
5. Size and Weight
No one wants to carry a heavy scope during a hunting game. So it’s needed to ensure that the scope they are picking is lightweight even after fixing it to the rifle, but the weight of the scope must be negligible.
Battery life is another factor to consider when purchasing a scope. No one wants to go with an additional battery during a hunting game.
So that one should be very selective while choosing a night vision scope. Make sure that the scope has longer battery life.
This may also save your money that is used to buying batteries from time to time. Our top pick night vision scopes, which are mentioned above, will help to choose the scope under $500.
The following factors should be considered when Making the Purchase of the Best Night Vision Scope Under $500.
It’s another factor that should be considered while hunting or performing any other outdoor activities. If the scope can withstand extreme weather conditions, you are prone to use the scope no matter how the weather condition could be. It also includes heat, cold, and impact from rifle recoil. Thus you can enjoy your nighttime hunting when it is raining or foggy without worrying about the damaging of the scope.
Ease of use
Selecting a scope should not be difficult to use. Nobody loves to spend more time adjusting the elevation or windage of the scope. A good night vision scope automatically runs in its way without checking the scope. When choosing a night vision scope, ensure that you can adjust with ease.
An IR illuminator is an infrared spectrum that emits light in the infrared field. It allows you to see completely or nearly pitch-black nights. You will only be able to see in the night through the night vision scope if it has an infrared illuminator.
Most of the night vision scope comes with a built-in IR illuminator or detachable IR illuminator. While purchasing a night vision scope, make sure the device has been built with an IR illuminator.
Ability To Mount
It’s also another factor to look at. Don’t choose the scope which is difficult to mount your scope onto the rifle. Always select the night vision scope which is easy for the mounting process.
A good night vision scope is used for various applications, and it can be used for hunting, camping at night, and target shooting. In many instances, a good night vision scope can work great for target shooting but not all the scopes work well for target shooting and can work for hunting.
It’s the distance between the scope lens or binocular lens, and the shooter’s eye within which the user can be able to see a full field of view. While you are ready to buy a scope, select the scope with a longer eye-relief, that is useful for high recoil weapons.
Usually, the standard rifle scope comes with the largest eye relief of about 4 inches. That is great enough for the gun to recoil, so the user will not be hit by the scope.
Taking Care of Night Vision Scopes and hunting with Night vision
- Never place your night vision scopes directly to the exposure of bright lights. It may degrade the performance of your scope, though the devices feature light-sensing mechanisms and an auto gating system.
- Remove the batteries after each use, and keep them in a cool and dry place for future use.
- Beware of abrasive outdoor elements.
- Often take breaks to avoid strain on your eyes.
- Use infrared light to enhance the scope capabilities when there is no ambient light for the scope
- Always carry spare batteries along with you.
- Clean the objective lens with a lens cleaning cloth provided by the manufacturer and follow the instructions to avoid the sort of damages.
- Keep your devices in a carrying case to protect the scope from rain and water even though the devices are water-resistant.
Here’s the product table for Best Night Vision Scopes under $500 and important features.
|Features||Night Owl Optics||Firefield FF16001 NVRS 3x 42mm||Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32x50||ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20||Bushnell Night Vision Equinox Z2 Monocular|
|Battery Type/Life||4 AA Batteries (2-hours IR ON, 5-hours IR OFF)||2AA Batteries (20-hours IR on, 50 Hours IR off)||4AA Batteries (4-5 hours)||4AA Batteries (8-12 hours)||4AA Batteries|
|Primary Material||Thermoplastic||Titanium Alloy||Aircraft Grade aluminum||-||Titanium Alloy|
|Resolution||640X480||30 LP/mm||1080p HD||160 lp/mm||640x480|
|Generation||Gen 1||Gen 1||Digital||Digital/CORE||Gen 2|
|Range||100-200 yards||75-100 yards||200 yards||1000+ yards||750 yards|
FAQs About Night Vision Rifle Scopes
1. How far the scope can see?
It depends on the surrounding environment and the quality of the scope. Generally, the GEN 1 night vision scopes use ambient light and passive infrared light to provide a sight picture.
They can usually see as far as 75-100 yards, and they can’t be able to see as far as GEN 2 or GEN 3.
2. How does night vision work?
Night vision devices gather the ambient sources of lights, such as moonlight and starlight, through the objective lens at the front of the device.
Then the photons enter into the photocathode tube, which converts them into electrons. The amplified electrons are converted back into the light that the users can see through the scope.
3. What is an Infrared Illuminator?
Night vision devices cannot work in complete darkness as they work by enhancing and amplifying a tiny amount of light.
IR light or illuminator is a tool that emits light in the IR spectrum, which is not visible to the human eyes, but we can detect it as heat can be seen by special sensors.
Some animals and other night vision goggle users may be able to detect the use of infrared light, so you have to be wary while using them.
4. What are the Different Night Vision Generations?
Night vision devices can be either GEN I, II, III, and IV units. Each generation of devices has unique features that make them good and more preferred than any other one.
They have brought new technological advancements in performance, clarity, and light amplification. The very first night vision was developed for military and tactical purposes, and it came into existence after the Vietnam war.
GEN 1- They are the first scopes to use passive infrared. The light amplification is about 1000x but functions best only under the moonlight.
These GEN 1 scopes are affordable but heavier and bulkier than the GEN2 and GEN3 scopes. These GEN 1 scopes can last up to 1500 hours when in use.
GEN 2- GEN 2 scopes produce brighter images than the GEN 1 scopes as it uses more light. 2nd generation scopes are compact, more portable, and lightweight with an increase in performance and clarity. It can see best up to 200 yards and it may last up to 4500 hours when in use.
GEN 3- GEN 3 scopes are legal to own and use within the US. This uses MCP and adds a photocathode. They can see best up to 300 yards and can last up to 10000 hours. Moreover, these GEN 3 scopes work well in low-light conditions.
GEN 4- These scopes work extremely in low-level lights and they are more efficient. But these devices are hard to find in civilian use.
Finding the right night vision scope is not a daunting task. Isolate your budget and your needs, and then consider the choices that fulfill these roles. Moreover, a good night vision scope for your needs should feature a clear image, high resolution, optical performance, and work well within the range you need. Getting illuminated and a lightweight scope is an added advantage. While you are looking for a night vision scope also, consider a generation to which they belong to. Thus these will make sure to get a good night vision scope.