The 5 Best Night Vision Scopes for the Money – Rifle Optics 2023

best night vision scope for the money

Photo by Hoschi E. / CC BY

A decade ago the only people using night vision were police, military, and those with a lot of money. Since the war on terror has spurred an enormous amount of interest in military night vision we have seen units shrink in both size and price. These days, just about anyone can afford a night vision optic. A good optic should provide a clear and focused picture, as well as a usable reticle. And for a reticle to work with night vision, it needs to be illuminated or it’s too difficult to see.

A night vision optic should be capable of mounting to standard rails and providing the same level of precision a traditional day scope can provide. A good optic can also see clearly between 150 to 200 yards. Inside that range, you should be able to tell what’s an acceptable animal to hunt and what’s not (if it’s walking on two legs, it’s not). Night vision is the future, and early adopters have found a lot of success with the current night vision rifle market.

Here are our recommendations for the 5 best night vision scopes for the money.

Armasight Gen 4 Orion

The Armasight Gen 1+ Orion is one of the more compact, but powerful and clear options available. It’s also surprisingly affordable when you compare it to other similar optics. This is a Gen 1+ device that gives you a night picture at most close to moderate ranges. You won’t be able to see miles and miles, but for most shooting purposes it will be perfect. The Gen 1+ nature gives it about 30 to 40 lp/mm.

The Orion has a fixed 5 power magnification range. The 5-power range makes this a solid contender for modern sporting rifles like the AR-15 series of rifles. It’s the perfect companion for a night time pest or hog hunt. The fixed power nature also makes this scope a bit more affordable and a lot smaller than variable optics.

The Armasight Gen 1+ Orion comes with a detachable infrared illuminator that allows you to light up the world around you, even when there is no moonlight to use. The Orion has a 40-hour battery life and runs off a simple and common CR 123A battery. The Orion 5 is one of the best night vision scopes for the money.

ATN Night Arrow

The ATN Night Arrow is a state of the art Gen 2 night vision rifle scope. Featuring fixed four power magnification, rugged construction, red on green illuminated reticle, water and fog resistant construction, a two year warranty, you’ll enjoy this fantastic scope on your next hunting trip. Designed to run off a single AAA battery, the Night Arrow is a bit pricey but is a feature-rich night vision scope that is based off proven technology. The automatic brightness control protects the sensitive night vision tube from being damaged by sudden bright lights, ensuring reliable and trouble free operation. If you need a good night vision scope for your next hunt, you’ve found it.

Sightmark Photon XT

Sightmark, a company made popular by their red dot optics has dived headfirst into the night vision market. Their Photon uses a space age name to designate a space age design. The Photon is very unique in appearance, and trims most of the bulk associated with night vision optics has been trimmed away. You get a long thin tube, attached to a compact night vision optic. The design is intentional to combine a rifle scope with a night vision monocular. This design allows the optic to be 30% lighter weight than the competition, while providing a higher magnification.

The Photon XT provides a 4.6 power optic, which is much higher than normal, especially when you consider the weight savings. The 42 mm objective lens does provide a nice wide and consistently clear field of view. Users have a total of six different rifle reticles available to them, and allows a wide variety of uses. The reticles are available in red, green, and white. The scope has two crossbow reticles designed for a variety of different feet per second ratings. Two duplex reticles for close range applications and two mil dot reticles for longer range shooting.

The device utilizes a digital elevation and windage adjustment tool for making simple and precise adjustments. There is a video output device to record your hunts as well. The Photon is a battery sipper and lasts longer than the competition. The Photon is an excellent optic and one of the best night vision scopes for hunting period.

ATN X-Sight 5-20X

The ATN X-Sight 2 is one of the more powerful night vision scopes out there, especially when you consider the reasonable price tag. Night vision is expensive, so it’s great to see an affordable option in the high-powered night vision realm. This optic is also dual use and can be used in the daytime without risk to the shooter or the optic. This is a digital night vision scope, which is a bit different than your traditional night vision optic. One of the biggest appeals mean a higher effective magnification and lower cost.

The X Sight’s 5 to 20 power magnification range is high for night vision devices and allows you as a shooter to really dial in and hit your target when necessary. The magnification is digital so the zoom in effect is smooth and doesn’t disorientate the user. It’s also easy to fine tune and adjust as you go. The HD technology gives you excellent feedback with minimal picture distortion and excellent recognition range.

The ATN X-Sight also allows you to record in 1080p video and of course take a few photos. The video itself can start recording via a recoil activated video switch. This means you can record every shot with ease, and stream the shots via WIFI. This is one of the best night vision scopes for hunting period.

FireField NVRS

The Firefield is a lightweight, sleek optic designed for titanium. The Firefield is a perfect field use optic. It’s simply made to stand up to all the abuse you throw at it. The Firefield is a riflescope and does feature a 3 power magnification, and is built on a 42mm lens. The Firefield is designed to be used in harsh weather conditions and is well protected with it’s flip up lens covers and titanium body.

The Firefield uses a quick detach mount to mount to any standard Picatinny rail. This allows the user to quickly and easily transition from nighttime optic to daytime iron sights. The lens are multi coated for superior optical clarity and do present a focused, and concise image. The Firefield is capable of engaging easily up to 200 hundred meters, and can go beyond if the shooter has the right skills.

The crosshair reticle is red, and has an adjustable brightness level, allowing the user to tailor the reticle to their use. The optic is equipped with an easy to access and powerful IR illuminator on the right side. Although some left handers may find it difficult when using a modern sporting rifle like the AR or AK series. However, on a bolt gun the illuminator is easy to access with either hand. The Firefield is probably the best Gen 1 optic out there and one of the best night vision scopes for the money.

Own the Night

Night vision has opened a whole new world for hunters. Gone are the days of basic night monoculars costing thousands of dollars, and weighing as much as a brick. Modern night vision optics has opened more opportunities than any other accessory in the last fifty years, maybe even the last one hundred. A good night vision optic allows a shooter to own the night, and to conquer what goes bump in the dark, and we hope with these choices, you’ve found the best night vision scope for your needs.

  • Owner of, Boyd Smith is a major handgun enthusiast, and although he owns Glocks, he prefers the revolving wheel type. His go-to guns are a Smith & Wesson 642 Performance Center for carry and a Ruger GP100 in the nightstand biometric safe (he has kids). He loads both revolvers with old-school 148-grain Federal Gold Medal .38 wadcutters. It’s OK if you think he’s a wimp. Email him.

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