Night-Vision Optics: Beyond Military Applications

Night-vision optics are useful for hunting and other applications far beyond law enforcement and military use.

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Night-Vision Optics: Beyond Military Applications

When it comes to night-vision optics, if your only source of information is what you’ve seen in movies, you’re missing out. Today’s quality night-vision optics offer considerably better quality than the grainy, glowing images you might have seen in old war movies — and they’re not just for the military anymore, either.

ATN, a top manufacturer of night-vision optics, is leading the way. Though ATN night-vision products are not just for military use (more on that in a minute), they do show up on the battlefield and in special operations applications frequently. In fact, the popular and versatile ATN PVS- 14 monocular is the standard-issue U.S. military night-vision optic, and it’s used by special ops throughout the world. As a premier choice for military and law enforcement alike, the PVS-14 doesn’t skimp on quality, design or function. It is helmet-mountable for hands-free operation, and it can also be mounted behind weapon optics. And, of course, it can be simply and efficiently used as a handheld device, providing night-vision aid to one eye while the other eye retains its natural night vision — a vital component when the user is operating under changing light conditions.

High-performance image intensifier tubes from the leading manufacturers on the market are an important element to the PVS-14, and it can be assembled with various levels of image intensifier tubes. It’s all mil-spec, of course, with a host of features that includes IR-on and low-battery indicators, manual brightness control, an auto shut-off function that shuts the device down in seconds when accidentally exposed to bright light, and an integrated IR illuminator for use in extreme low light conditions. Five models are available starting at $3,895 MSRP.

When it comes to night-vision goggles, ATN’s PS-31 models were designed with input from U.S. operators, created to increase system resolution, significantly reduce head-borne weight, improve the center of gravity, offer additional utility, and improve operator situational awareness, with a 50-degree field of view for maximum visibility in the field. As dual-tube night-vision goggles go, the PS-31 is one of the smallest and lightest units on the market, and it can be outfitted with various levels of high-performance U.S.-made Gen 3 image intensifier tubes. The system adjusts the brightness of the image based on the situation, and the tube housing pivot independently, so you can run the PS-31 as a binocular or a monocular. The pivoting tube housings also allow you to “flatten” the goggles against the front helmet surface when not in use, creating a lower profile. Four models are available starting at $7,695 MSRP.

If you don’t need the bino/mono flexibility, the military-grade PVS7 might be just the ticket. It can be outfitted with high-performance Gen 2 and U.S.-made Gen 3 image intensifier tubes. They’re rugged, waterproof and reliable, made from top-of-the-line materials. In fact, they made a name for themselves as standard-issue U.S. Army goggles. Pitch black, wet, dry — no matter the conditions, the PVS7 goggles will provide a quality image, thanks to a built-in infrared illuminator that lets the goggles see in completely lightless situations.

Features of the PVS7 include automatic brightness control, bright light cut-off to protect the tube, and a flip-up shut-off feature that can be used with the (optional) helmet mount system. Use them hands-free or as a handheld device, or with an optional long-range mil-spec afocal lens or compatible objective lenses that allow converting the PVS7 goggles into a night-vision viewer with 3.0X or 5.0X magnification. Five models are available starting at $2,895.

If you’re thinking this doesn’t apply to you because you’re not military or law-enforcement, you’re mistaken. Night vision has exploded in popularity in the past several years, and today the technology is used for detection, search and rescue, surveillance, and more. Hunters in particular have embraced night-vision imagery to assist with night hunting (where legal), and ATN’s night-vision products are particularly useful for anyone attempting to control skyrocketing wild hog and coyote populations.

It's true that night-vision imaging isn’t what it used to be — in a good way. ATN is bringing night-vision to the general public for uses far beyond military and government agencies and making it mainstream among hunters and outdoorsmen and women.


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