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How do daylight and night vision rifle scopes work?

If you are an experienced hunter, you already know that going afield without your rifle scope isn’t very smart. And if you’re not exactly into big game hunting, then you probably own an expensive scope too!

To some of our novice hunters this won’t make much sense, so here’s what we’re talking about: a rifle scope is very useful to any type of hunt. The difference is that, when you’re hunting big game, such as whitetail or wild hog, you can use an ordinary rifle scope, since your target isn’t neither that small, nor afar. However, when hunting rabbits, wild turkeys or any other type of small hunts, you’re going to need a more proficient rifle scope. But what about night vision rifle scopes? Why would you need one and how does it work? If we caught your interest so far, then don’t stop reading!

First of all, it’s important to know how a rifle scope works in order to figure out which type suits your needs best. Just like telescopes, rifle scopes have an objective lens through which light passes and focuses on a point inside the scope. When looking through a rifle scope, the image we see is actually the amount of light allowed to cross through the objective lens. Inside the scope you have certain markers, which point out exactly where to shoot, or at least where the shot goes once you’ve pulled the trigger. Smart and simple, right?

In one of our former articles, we wrote about night vision and how it works. Basically, night vision rifle scopes use the Starlight night vision technology, with variations of generations. Generation 4 scopes can be used by anybody, but they are generally for military use, while for hunting and amateur use there’s a wide range of night vision rifle scopes from other generations. Make no mistake, there are Generation 4 rifle scopes for commercial use too, such as the ATN – Mars 4x Night Vision Rifle Scope, but just like any other Gen 4 night vision device, they’re  more complex than anything else out there.

Why choose a night vision rifle scope? Mainly because hunting at night or in dark and dense forests won’t be that easy with a mere flashlight.

 All night vision rifle scopes need some light to amplify. If your field of game are dense forests, or if you happen to go out hunting on a dark, moonless night, you won’t have any ambient light to help. Night vision product manufacturers are already aware of that, so you’ll find that almost all night vision rifle scopes have an infrared illuminator (IRI) built on. All Starlight night vision scopes have it, and this particular illuminator is what gets you “out of the dark”. Basically, an IRI sets out a beam of infrared light, invisible to the naked eye, which is “seen” by the night vision scope.This allows you to use your scope even if you’re in total darkness. The illuminator works like a flashlight, providing you limited light access (most commonly 100 yards).

Of course, this has nothing to do with the visibility range given by your scope. If you are used to shooting at great distance, you’ll be interested in a scope with a larger magnification range. Our strong advice is to get the rifle scope you need because you cannot alter the original magnification settings.

Here’s another trick! If you’re out night hunting and there’s too much ambient light, try using a scope with special coated lenses, like Night Optics USA’s D-750. If you haven’t heard of them before, here’s how they work. These lenses are covered in one or more extremely thin layers of special synthetic material that reduces glare. Consequently, the lens reflects less and allows more light to reach your sight, conveying a crisp, well-balanced image.

This is one type of rifle scope, but there are many many more! The market is quite large with plenty to choose from. We also recommend red dot sight rifle scopes, like the  D-740  from Night Optics USA. What they do is project a red dot (obviously!) or other illuminated targeting symbols on top of the image of the target. Not only is it very helpful, especially in large distance shots, they also make you feel like a real life sniper!

If you want the “real deal” type of night vision device, try out an ATN white phosphor technology night vision scope, which is particularly awesome for its clean and clear, black-and-white image, instead of the classical green one. Once you’ve tried that, you’ll probably stick to it, because this is supreme technology we’re talking about!

For many experienced hunters a rifle scope is a funky piece of accessory, but they’ll usually put more faith in their own, trusty eyesight. Some say you’re not a real hunter if you can’t shoot right using eye precision only. We say that nothing pays off better than setting your target and shooting with the confidence that your shot will 100% hit the spot!

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