Shopping for the best night vision scope? Well, look no further! We understand that you might need a night scope for your air rifle to shoot rodents that are destructive to the property as well as vegetation or simply for self-defense.
Reduced visibility at night-time makes it difficult to spot pesky rodents and intruders. Recreational hunting also becomes quite difficult at night.
Therefore, a good night vision scope becomes absolutely crucial if you want to use your air rifle after dark.
In this article, we will not only talk about all that you need to know before buying a night vision scope for your air rifle, but it will also introduce you to some of the best options for the products available in the market.
What's in This Buying Guide
This buying guide is a quick overview regarding the important things you need to know about night vision scopes.
We start by looking at which night vision scope works the best with air rifles. After that, we look at the different options for night vision scopes available on the market.
After a glance at some of the best available options, we will take a look at the factors that you need to consider before buying a night vision scope.
Afterward, we explain the types of night scope visions. Lastly, we address some of the most asked questions about night vision scopes for air rifles.
What Type of Night Vision Scope Works Best with Air Rifles?
For air rifles, light-absorbing scopes work great. Such scopes gather the available ambient light through the lens and use it to develop the image in the field of view.
At night, there is little available light, especially when you are away from the city. Light-absorbing scopes are designed to work with very little light available. Therefore, they work best under all conditions.
Moreover, nocturnal animals are capable of detecting light that might be emitted from other types of scopes to illuminate the area. If the animals detect the light, they run away and disappear in no time.
Best Night Vision Scopes for Air Rifles
- 1Best for medium-range shooting: ATN X-Sight LTV
- 2Best for rifles of up to 30 caliber: Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision Riflescope
- 3Best for high resolution: ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Smart
- 4Best for smooth digital magnification: Sightmark Wraith HD Digital Riflescope
ATN X-Sight LTV
Best for medium g range shooting
11.5 x 2.2 x 2.2 inches
Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision Riflescope
Best for rifles of up to 30 caliber
14.75 x 5.25 x 3 inches
ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Smart
Best for high resolution
14.9 x 3 x 3 inches
Sightmark Wraith HD Digital Riflescope
Best for smooth digital magnification
17 x 3 x 2.5 inches
1. Best for Medium-Range Shooting: ATN X-Sight LTV
Our first pick is by ATN Corp, who are known for their weaponry optics. The ATN X-Sight LTV is lightweight and has an excellent battery time.
ATN is a known brand when it comes to rifle optics. They have several series of scopes available. The ATN X-Sight LTV is loaded with features that facilitate shooters to achieve great accuracy in their shots.
With 500 yards of a field view, the scope is capable of providing the view of distant objects and animals. The long-range view is very helpful, especially at night when detecting far-situated animals is difficult.
Even with such a vast field of view, the image quality maintains its HD 1280x720 resolution. Under low-light conditions, the HD view helps develop a crisp image for enhanced visibility. If you want to take a closer look at the object, you can use the magnification of the scope. The 5-15x magnification can enlarge the image from where the hunter is sitting.
Moreover, the scope features multiple reticle designs that users can choose from based on the requirement. Aluminum construction ensures that the scope can withstand operational beatings.
The One Shot Zero offered by ATN in its scopes allows users to get on targets fast and aim fast as well.
When it comes to battery life, this scope is made on a low-consumption design. As a result, it uses little battery, and one charge lasts up to 10+ hours a day.
The scope is small and lightweight, which makes it easy to carry and handle during use.
An ATN Obsidian LT Core and ATN QHD+ M584 Sensor work in unison to bring out an unmatchable experience for users. Overall, the scope is well-performing and easy to handle.
Issues and Limitations:
One of the greatest limiting factors with this ATN night vision scope is that it is quite expensive, which makes it affordable for only a fraction of hunters or shooters.
With so many features, the price of this scope becomes higher than other options. However, the amazing features are worth the price.
Seasoned and professional hunters who want to upgrade their gear and move to scopes with robust technology and connectivity features will find this scope to be very useful.
It provides sharp and crisp images and has a built-in gyroscope and a smooth 5-15x magnification. All these features will surely be appreciated by anyone who uses them.
2. Best for Rifles of up to 30 Caliber: Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision Riflescope
We believe in the quality of performance and ease of use when it comes to night vision scopes. The Night Owl NightShot Digital Riflescope is a perfect blend of both.
It comes with amazing features like weatherproofing and built-in illuminators that earn it its popularity.
This lightweight night vision scope by Night Owl Optics is made of plastic. The plastic construction makes it easy to carry without compromising its strength and integrity.
You can use the 1.4-pound scope on a variety of different weapons of up to 30 calibers. Users can pair it with handguns, air rifles, crossbows, and shotguns, etc.
The scope is equally useful for varmint and rodent hunting as well as recreational and hog hunting. In short, you can use it for hunting small or large animals.
Mounting the scope before use is a hassle-free process. This scope features a weaver mount and is easy to install on the weapon.
However, in case the users find it hard to mount the scope, they can contact the company’s customer services for guidance.
When it comes to the resolution of the display, the NightShot night vision rifle scope does not disappoint. It features a sharp resolution of 640x480 that gives a clear view through the viewfinder.
The quality of the display is sharp enough to detect small animals as well. A built-in Infrared illuminator further facilitates the viewing of the hunting grounds.
The scope has a 40mm aperture and a focusing distance from 3 meters to infinity.
One of the most useful characteristics of this rifle is its weatherproof build. Often, hunting trips halt on encountering rainy or snowy weather.
Usually, the main restriction in continuing hunting trips under these conditions is the use of digital optics that might not function in such weather. However, this scope is weatherproof, which means you can use it in rain and snow alike.
There are three reticle options available to choose from in the scope. You can configure all these three types in black or white light. Depending upon the requirements, the user can adjust the type and color of the reticle to best suit the need.
Based on the availability of ambient light, the detectable range of this scope varies. The scope can see up to 75 yards in low light or twilight conditions, but on a night with a full moon, the range can increase up to 200 yards.
The scope requires 4 AA or Lithium-ion batteries to operate. The run time of these batteries goes up to 7 hours on low IR settings and 4 hours on high IR settings.
Issues and Limitations:
With only up to 3x magnification, you can zoom in on objects at a larger distance. Moreover, the range of the scope is limited to 200 yards, which is not suitable enough for long-range shooting.
A good and lightweight option in night vision scopes, the NightShot digital night vision scope is very convenient to use.
From easy mounting to using the IR illuminator, many features make using this scope very easy. A high-quality resolution of 640x480 and the weatherproof design ensures unhindered performance.
3. Best High Resolution: ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Smart
Yet another option by ATN, the X-Sight 4K Pro is one of the high-end scopes released by the company.
It has a crisp and clear display with a very long-lasting battery and built-in features that maximize shot accuracy.
Being a known name in the field, it’s no surprise that we had to include multiple products by ATN. The X-Sight 4K Pro has one of the best images qualities that you will see in any scope.
Be it daytime use or nighttime, this scope can provide clear and crisp images at all times. All thanks to its ultra HD 4K sensor that features four dual-core processors, image processing is much faster, and the resolution is much higher.
There is no compromise on the image quality, even when it is magnified. The scope features a magnification range of 5-20x.
Such a wide range allows zooming in on objects and animals situated at a far distance as well. Not only that, but there is also no pixilation when the image is zoomed, so the view remains clear and easily discernible.
The reticle in the scope can be illuminated as green or red reticles to enhance their utility as required by the circumstances. A well-performing CR123A battery that comes with the scope powers all these features.
The low-profile working of the scope does not consume much battery. As a result, a single charge can run up to 18+ hours continuously.
All users of riflescopes know what a difference a good eye relief can make. When you are out in the field all day long, you need a scope that is comfortable to use. The ATN X-Sight 4K Pro has a long eye relief that enhances the comfort of use.
Like most other ATN scopes, this one, too, features video recording and, particularly, recoil-activated video recording.
However, this model is amongst the few that also allows dual streaming. This means that while the scope records the video of your adventure that you can view on your smart devices, it also saves it in the microSD card.
Lastly, the ballistics calculator and weatherproofing qualities of the scope further enhance its usability.
Issues and Limitations:
Even though this scope's range is up to a thousand yards, users will need to use an illuminator at night to visualize objects at a longer distance.
Also, because this is a product by ATN and has many features that hunters and shooters will not find in other scopes, this model's price is higher than other options by different brands.
A great option for both daytime and night vision, this scope is widely used by shooters and hunters.
Its ultra-high resolution is one of its most celebrated features that, along with superb battery performance, make it impossible to ignore the scope.
4. Best for Smooth Digital Magnification: Sightmark Wraith HD Digital Riflescope
Another fine option with great performance and structural integrity is the Sightmark Wraith HD Digital Riflescope.It is made with aluminum and has a smooth magnification that can go up op 16x.
The last pick we have for you is the Sightmark Wraith HD riflescope. This riflescope is made with aluminum and is more resistant to operational abuse or harsh handling than plastic.
Usable under both day and night conditions, the scope offers two color modes that you can use in night vision.
The standard black and white mode views the field in black and white, where the lighter areas appear as a highlighted white while the shadows appear black.
The other color mode is classic green, where the whole field is viewed in varying shades of green, and light-colored objects are highlighted.
The resolution of this scope is also quite clear. Along with a high-definition sensor for clear images through the viewfinder, the scope also allows HD quality video recording in 1080p.
You need to buy a microSD card separately for the scope in order to save the recorded videos. Ten different reticle options are available for users to choose from according to the situation and ease of use.
Plus, there are five different weapon profiles available for users to save zeroes from different firearms. This allows them to use the same scope on multiple weapons.
An IR flashlight is included in the design of the scope. You can use this 850nm flashlight for better illumination at night.
Issues and Limitations:
The Sightmark Wraith HD Digital Riflescope has a range of 200 yards. While this range is enough for short to some medium-range shooting purposes, it is not useful for long-distance shooting. Moreover, the layout of the scope is large, which might be difficult to handle for amateurs.
Our final pick for the day is the Sightmark Wraith HD Digital Riflescope which is packed with features that make it convenient to use.
A good resolution, multiple reticle options, black and white as well as green night vision, and the option to save zeros for different types of firearms, what more could we want?
Buying Guide: Selecting the Best Air Rifle Night Vision Scope
We realize that the process of selecting the best night vision device could be daunting, especially when doing so for the first time. Night vision air rifle scopes are no exception.
You need to consider a few things to make sure that your purchase matches your needs. However, often, some of the factors that appear trivial are the ones that affect performance a lot.
This section will look at some of the factors that ensure that you select the best air rifle night vision scope for yourself.
Size and weight:
Usually, night vision scopes are heavier than the ones used, particularly for day time vision. However, nowadays, you can use most scopes during the day or at night.
The optics' weight can be a problem if it’s too heavy and the user has to move around holding it. Under such circumstances, hand fatigue could undermine performance.
If the user sits in an isolated environment, for example, during hunting or has a stand that holds the rifle, then the scope's weight would not be much of a problem.
As far as size is concerned, you must make sure that your rifle's optics rail is long enough to accommodate the scope. Shorter rails give a poor fit or no fit at all, compromising the stability of the arrangement.
Field of view:
At night it is harder to detect movement because of limited light. Therefore, hunters especially need a wide field of view to look through.
Narrow fields of view do not allow the users to observe larger portions of the area and detect any movement, while wider fields present a much more open view.
In the open and wide views, it is more likely to catch a movement. Hence, the field of view is an important tactical consideration, especially for night-time use.
The magnification power of a scope determines to what extent you would be able to zoom into the field of view. The larger the magnification, the more the ability to zoom.
Usually, for night vision scopes, a magnification of 3x to 5x suffices, but a magnification of up to 10x is needed for long-distance shooting.
You should also keep in mind that with greater magnification power, weight is added to the scope. Therefore, the higher the magnification, the heavier the scope.
Features to Consider in Scopes for Air Rifles
Now that we have seen the factors that ensure user compatibility and comfortable use with a night vision rifle scope, let’s look into the main features that buyers should consider before buying the scope.
These features are directly related to the performance, functioning, and capability of the scope.
For a clear and crisp image, the resolution of the scope needs to be high. Clarity is measured in LP/MM or lines per millimeter.
The higher the value for LPMM, the clearer the images. High-end night scopes have a reading between 60 and 70 LPMM.
Another factor that affects the clarity of the image is the distortion level. The material used for the construction of the scope’s lens determines the level of distortion.
High-end and good-quality glass has the least level of distortion and imparts the most clarity to the scope.
Recognition and Detection Range:
When looking through a night vision scope, you might be able to detect a movement but not tell what the movement is.
The detection range is the ability of the scope to detect and sense movements, while the recognition range is the ability to tell the cause of the movement.
For example, a hunter might see something moving due to the detection range but recognizing the movement as an animal is the ability of the recognition range.
These ranges depend upon the optics generation, object’s size, and scope’s magnification. However, the recognition range changes with the availability of ambient light.
If more light is present, the user is able to easily recognize the movement through the use of a scope.
The Infrared Illuminator:
Infrared illuminators are used when there is no light present. Some rifle scopes have built-in illuminators that emit IR rays.
IR radiations are invisible to human and animal eyes, but a rifle scope can detect them and use them as a source of ambient light. The reflected IR radiations from the surroundings produce a visible image on the scope's field of view.
If the riflescope has a built-in illuminator, it saves the user the trouble of buying a separate illuminator.
We know by now that a night vision scope is built on a much more complex machinery pattern than other scopes. Several small lenses, electric tubes, and other parts work together to produce a visible image.
This also makes night vision scopes more susceptible to damage. Therefore, this type of scope must be made of strong and sturdy material.
Aluminum and strong plastic are popular choices. It is even better if the scope is weatherproof and capable of enduring harsh recoils. Users need to clean and maintain the equipment for the best performance as well.
Types of Scopes for Air Rifles:
Depending upon how they perceive light or prey, there are different types of night vision scopes for air rifles. By principle, night vision scopes rely entirely on ambient light.
Some use light emission, while others work on the phenomena of absorbing light. Thermal night vision scopes detect heat signatures to locate prey and are different from night vision scopes.
The type of air rifle scopes that absorb light use a special type of coating and are built for large light intake. The scope captures as much light as possible from the surroundings for the hunter to see the field.
Such night vision scopes work best if there is a source of light such as a street lamp nearby or when the moon is full. However, this also puts the hunter or the shooter in the sight of the animals, and they run-off.
Light-emitting scopes, on the other hand, let out the light from the body of the scope. There are different colors of light emitted to illuminate and visualize the surroundings. Red light is most popularly used because it does not scare off the prey and also gives good illumination.
Green light is another choice, but animals easily detect it. Meanwhile, white light is most illuminating as well as most easily detected by prey.
Another important thing to notice is that a scope with night vision is different from thermal scopes. Thermal scopes use heat signatures from the surroundings to present an image of the field. Heat signatures from animals are higher and are depicted as such on the viewfinder.
Night vision scopes only work with light and not with heat signatures. Thermal scopes are more expensive because of their high sensitivity. But if you want to try thermal scopes, you can find options like Armasight predator: An affordable thermal alternative to night vision scope.
Limitations of Air Rifle Scope in Night Hunting
The major limitation of air rifle scopes in night hunting is reduced visibility. Even with the best scope, the results are not extremely clear.
There is a certain level of distortion that makes it difficult to view the field through the scope. Moreover, in night hunting, the image produced is black and white or green.
There are no other discernible colors, which makes locating the prey a little bit challenging.
Is it possible to hunt rats with an air rifle and a night vision scope?
Yes, it is quite possible to hunt rats with an air rifle and night vision scope. An air rifle is widely used for hunting large game as well as rodents.
When a hunter pairs an air gun with a good night vision scope, it becomes exceedingly easier to shoot nocturnal pests like rats.
Is it worth the effort and the money to buy a night vision riflescope?
If you are involved in night-time hunting or shooting practices, then a good night vision riflescope is a must-have. These scopes are built to use very little light and present the view of the surroundings.
The high-resolution sensors make it possible to do so. Furthermore, they have reticles that make it easier to take aim and increase accuracy as well.
Therefore, for regular night-time hunters or shooters, it is worth the effort and money to invest in a good night vision riflescope.
We believe that the ATN X-Sight 4K Pro is the best night vision riflescope among the discussed options. It takes into account the user’s comfort and provides good eye relief as well as a ballistics calculator.
Moreover, it has an Ultra HD resolution and a long battery life of 18+ hours, making it a great purchase.