Best Night Vision Goggles for Hunters and Outdoor Enthusiasts
The United States military as well as more localized law enforcement agencies have used night vision goggles for years as a crucial piece of equipment in helping to keep the country safe. As humans were created to be awake during the day and asleep at night, our eyes were not designed to see in the dark. Animals, on the other hand, are often better equipped with eyes that can see exceptionally well in the dark. Creatures that live and roam during night-time hours have much larger pupils which allows more light in. Cats, for example, spend much of their nighttime hours on the hunt, and their eyes are designed with a mechanism called a tapetum, which is quite simply a natural mirror that reflects light back out of the eye.
The conundrum for hunters who want to catch their prey is real. Many animals are built to roam at night, and thus we need the proper equipment to help our eyes see better both to keep us safe and to catch wild game. And the best night vision goggles can you help you see up to 200 yards away, even on a gloomy and overcast night.
So, how do night vision goggles work?
Night vision goggles use a technology referred to as thermal imaging. Hot objects, including animals, emit heat in the form of infrared light. The goggles then capture the infrared light, which gives the viewer an idea of what is happening in the dark in front of him, or her. And if you have ever seen an image using night vision, you have surely noticed the green glow. This glow happens when the available light is captured and amplified, and then turned into electronic information that is transmitted to the eyes through the goggles.
What are the best night vision goggles for hunters?
If you’re thinking about investing in a pair of night vision goggles, be prepared; they don’t come cheaply. And as with any form of technology, you get what you paid for. However, this list is provided to offer suggestions on some of the best technology available for those needing better vision for night-time hunting.
- Sightmark Ghost Hunter 1×24 Night Vision Binocular Goggle – These goggles are field tested and approved by the North American Hunting Club, the Sightmark Ghost Hunter 1 x 24 mm. This dual goggle-binocular kit has a dual-tube system that offers comfortable viewing, is easier on the eyes and provides more detail than a single-tube system. Equipped with a head mount, the device can be mounted for comfortable, long-lasting, hands-free operation, or hand-held when searching for prey. These goggles feature a high-power IR illuminator and a 1x magnification, which provides a bright, clear image for short-range targets in low-ambient light conditions or total darkness. You will get a high-quality image and resolution head mount for hands-free observation.
- Pulsar Edge GS Super 1+ 1×20 Night Vision Goggles – PL75095 – While these goggles don’t yet have reviews on Amazon, some sites rate them as the best night vision goggles of 2019. The Pulsar GS Super 1+ is a generation 1 device that focuses on image clarity. The Edge Super 1+ has an integrated Illuminator that has an adjustable brightness setting. It has great battery life and only requires 2 x AAA batteries. You can expect 50 hours of viewing when you are not using the IR. The Edge GS Super 1+ is sold with an ergonomic headpiece which allows hunters to use the goggles hands free. Having night vision goggles that are strapped to your head and offer magnification isn’t ideal (though again, this is personal preference). You may think something is close due to the magnification factor, and you can get confused. Therefore, the Edge GS has a 1x magnification that lets you accurately determine the distance between you and your hunt.
- Ocean-City Tracker Night Vision Goggle Binoculars Water-Resistant Optics Near-infrared Illuminator for Wildlife Viewing, Hunting, Surveillance – These more economically priced goggles let you see up to 80m in the dark. With multi-coated glass objectives, high sensitivity sensor, integrated LCD-Screen, and IR LED illuminator, you can view in the dark up to 80m (view up to 300m with infrared flashlight (not included), to get the brightness you want.
- ATN PVS7-2 Night Vision Goggle – These goggles provide a robust, dependable, high-performance night vision system. The ATN PVS7-2 Night Vision Device is identical to the AN/PVS-7 model and is adopted as a standard issue to U.S. Army ground troops, designed to assist viewing and provide reliable service in the most unfavorable conditions.
- ATN PS15-WPT 2nd Generation Night Vision Goggle System – These goggles are lightweight and one of the most versatile night vision goggles on the market. The ATN PS15-WPT is suitable for professional, law enforcement, and even casual use. The goggles function as either handheld or head-mounted, and are made using white phosphor technology, which better detects the shades of intensity between white and black, resulting in improved contrast and depth perception. A built-in IR lets the user easily read a map and function in a total darkness environment. As a result, users will be able to read maps or operate in confined zero-light areas without a flashlight. Packaged with comfortable flip-up head gear, a soft carrying case, a lens tissue, lens caps, and a single lithium battery, the PS15-WPT carries a two-year warranty.
Before purchasing any night vision goggles, be sure to consider these things:
- What environment will you be hunting in? You need to understand the distance that you will need to view, and goggles perform differently based on viewing distance. And the lenses are a key component that makes up the price of the goggles. So, if you are in need of seeing further distances, prepare to invest more money into getting the right goggles.
- Do you prefer binoculars or monoculars? The difference between monocular vision and binocular vision is the location of the eyes. With monocular vision, the eyes are located on the side of the head, and only one eye can take in the visual field, but binoculars overlap, using both eyes. Many hunters prefer binoculars for their ease of use and improved depth perception. However, monoculars, are usually smaller, lighter in weight, and less expensive.
- How important to you is image quality? As with the lens, the better the image quality, the higher price the goggles will be. Consider the differences as well between generation 1 and 2-night vision gear which impacts system light gain, system resolution, and photosensitivity. System resolution controls how clear and sharp the image is. Generation 1 has system light amplification of less than a thousand. In comparison, generation 2 has a light amplification of less than 6000.
- Do you want headgear or a manual hold – Most hunters prefer a head-mounted option as they usually do not have their hands free when scoping out their target. But, this is about personal preference and some hunters don’t like the feel of the extra weight from the mechanism on their head.
Whatever goggles you select, make sure you do your homework first. Night vision goggles are an investment, and as mentioned earlier, you get what you pay for.