Scopes

Night Vision Scope For AR15 – Buyers Guide & FAQs

An AR 15 has long been the caliber of choice for varminting as it provides a low recoil, highly accurate, and cheap ammo platform. As varminting is done predominantly at night, you need to be stealthy, which means you require either a night vision scope or a thermal scope. However, finding the right scope to complement your AR 15’s shooting performance can be daunting. Luckily, after practically testing several scopes, I compiled a list of the top 5 night vision scopes for an AR 15.

 


Best Night Vision Scope for AR15

HuntersHalt: #1 Pick
 
 
5.0
4.5
4.0
  • Recoil-Activated Video Recording
  • One shot Zero
  • Recoil Resistant
  • Provides Thermal Imaging
  • Ballistics Calculator
  • Contains Smart Range Finder
  • One Shot Zero
  • Easy To Update Software
  • Wireless Remote Controlled - Detailed Scope Adjustments
  • Extremely Rugged & Durable
  • Small & Compact design
HuntersHalt: #1 Pick
5.0
  • Recoil-Activated Video Recording
  • One shot Zero
  • Recoil Resistant
  • Provides Thermal Imaging
4.5
  • Ballistics Calculator
  • Contains Smart Range Finder
  • One Shot Zero
  • Easy To Update Software
4.0
  • Wireless Remote Controlled - Detailed Scope Adjustments
  • Extremely Rugged & Durable
  • Small & Compact design
Lasso Brag

Below is our list of the Best AR-15 night vision scopes.

  1. ATN ThOR 4 1.25-5x
  2. ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Edition Day/Night Rifle Scope
  3. Armasight Vulcan Bravo Gen 3 IIT Night Vision Rifle Scope
  4. SightMark Wraith HD 2-16x28mm Digital Night Vision Rifle Scope
  5. AGM Global Vision Wolverine Night Vision Rifle Scope

1) ATN ThOR 4 1.25-5x

HuntersHalt: #1 Pick
ATN ThOR 4 1.25-5x19mm Thermal Smart HD Rifle Scope
5.0
Pros:
  • Recoil-Activated Video Recording
  • One shot Zero
  • Recoil Resistant
  • Provides Thermal Imaging
Cons:
  • Other scope option are cheaper
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The ATN ThOr is not a night vision scope, it is a thermal imaging scope. It can operate in complete darkness instead of a night vision scope that needs some form of ambient light. With all its features and competitive pricing, the ATN ThOr is our #1 pick for an AR15.

Thermal Vision: The ThOr features the latest in night hunting technology with its Gen 4 60 Hz sensor, able to produce a crisp picture in three different color modes:

  • Black Hot
  • Color Mode
  • White Hot

The scope has an ATN Obsidian IV Dual Core T to power its incredible display (1280 x 720 HD). This model’s magnification is 1.25-5x with a field of view of 16×12.5 degrees. There are models available with a larger magnification, but it is at the expense of the field of view. It personally has become my favorite night vision hog hunting scope that I’ve ever used.

image of AR-15 night vision optic

The ThOr has a human detection range of 820 yards and a human recognition range of 366 yards, which is more than enough for night hunting hogs or any other varmint.

Battery life: ATN has enhanced its battery life with the ThOr, using rechargeable Lithium batteries, this scope will last you 18+ hours under optimal conditions.

Video Recording: Unlike traditional AR15 scopes, this has video recording capabilities. Activated by the recoil of the AR15the scope will record video directly to the SD card. To top that, it can stream the video feed using WIFI or Bluetooth in 720p.

One shot Zero:  The one-shot zero feature saves you time and ammo. All you need to do is take a shot at 100 yards, then adjust the zeroing crosshairs over the point of impact while holding the primary crosshairs over the target. The ThOr will automatically adjust your next shot to the zeroed target.

Additional Features: A ballistic calculator is featured on the ThOr. A ballistic calculator allows you to load in the ballistic data of your AR15. The scope will recommend a better point of aim based on range, wind, angle to target, temperature, and humidity.

Pros and Cons

PROS
  • Recoil-Activated Video Recording capabilities at 60 FPS also allow Wi-Fi Dual-Streaming.
  • Ballistics Calculator and smart range finder
  • One shot Zero
  • Recoil resistant
  • Thermal Imaging
Cons
  • Expensive

My Experience With ATN ThOR 4 384

After mounting this scope on my AR15, I immediately went to a friend to test it with hunting hogs. I can honestly say this scope is one of the best scopes I have ever used to hunt at night. The enhanced aluminum alloy body can withstand the recoil of even higher calibers than an AR15.

All the embedded digital features made my life much easier as they minimized my movement and increased my accuracy exponentially. This is an easy #1 for the best scope for AR 15. 

 


2) ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Edition Day/Night Rifle Scope

TN X-Sight 4K Pro Edition 5-20x70mm Day/Night Rifle Scope
4.5
Pros:
  • Ballistics Calculator
  • Contains Smart Range Finder
  • One Shot Zero
  • Easy To Update Software
Cons:
  • Requires a mini-SD card
  • Software Can Have Occasional Issues
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At #2, we also have an ATN sight, however the X-Sight 4K is a night vision scope and not a thermal imaging scope. Nonetheless, this scope makes the night light up with its extraordinary night vision capabilities.

Night Vision: The built-in infrared illuminator creates a high image quality. This digital night vision riflescope has a zoom between 3-9x magnification. I found the eye relief also very good, considering I wear glasses.

image of ATN AR-15 night vision scope mounted on rifle

Battery life: The battery life of the X-Sight 4K is very similar to that of the ThOr, rated to last up to 18 hours in optimal weather conditions.

Video Recording: The video recording capabilities of the 4K is also very similar to the ThOr. Using recoil-activated technology, the footage is saved to an SD card or streamed using WIFI or Bluetooth.

Additional Features: The 4K also has a built-in ballistic calculator, a smart range finder, and the one-shot zero to make this the best traditional night vision scope for your AR15.

Pros and Cons

PROS
  • Recoil-Activated Video Recording capabilities at 30,60 and 120 FPS also allow Wi-Fi Dual-Streaming.
  • Ballistics Calculator
  • Smart range finder
  • One shot Zero
  • Update your scope from the comfort of your phone to stay up-to-date with the latest firmware and software.
Cons
  • Requires a mini-SD card to update the scope; some SD cards are not recognized.
  • Sometimes experiences software glitches.

My experience with ATN X Sight 4k

The X-Sight 4K is featured in almost all of our night vision articles and is our top pick for a night vision scope for hunting coyotes. If you are on a budget and cannot afford a thermal scope then this is the perfect night vision scope for you. It is tough, very user-friendly and highly accurate, all attributes you want in a scope for your AR 15.

 


3) Armasight Vulcan Bravo Gen 3 IIT Night Vision Rifle Scope

Armasight Vulcan Bravo Gen 3 IIT Night Vision Rifle Scope
4.0
Pros:
  • Wireless Remote Controlled - Detailed Scope Adjustments
  • Extremely Rugged & Durable
  • Small & Compact design
Cons:
  • Premium Pricing
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The Armasight is a compact night vision scope ideal for those who want to put additional attachments on their scope without compromising its performance.

Night Vision: Fitted with an array of IIT configurations and a state-of-the-art IR illuminator, the night vision capabilities of the Armasight are superb. The scope features an illuminated reticle and brightness adjustments to ensure the best picture in low-light conditions.

The Bravo also has a long-range IR850-XLR detachable infrared illuminator to boost your detection range beyond 300 yards. Which is a bit overkill if you’re only looking for a night vision crossbow scope. The scope is also designed to cut bright light off, ensuring that a spotlight or headlights do not compromise your sight on target.

Battery life: The Bravo’s battery life is definitely the best on this list, you can decide whether you want to use CR123A or AA Alkaline batteries. However, the 123A batteries will provide you with the best performance, 50 hours of battery life to be exact.

Durability: This scope’s durability is so impressive that it deserves to be mentioned in a separate paragraph. Armasight went all out to ensure that their Bravo night vision scope has best-in-class durability standards. With its waterproof design, it is rated with an IP67 water resistance level and is also shock-protected thanks to its multi-coated optics and innovative recoil design.

Pros and Cons

PROS
  • Wireless remote controlled – Minimizing movement as you can adjust the scope from the remote.
  • Extremely durable
  • Low battery indicator
  • Compact design – allows for additional attachments, such as a laser range finder or flashlight.
Cons
  • Expensive

My Experience With Armasight

I tested the Bravo a while back, and at first, I was set back by its hefty price tag. However, after just a couple of minutes of testing the scope on my AR 15, I could understand in a sense why it is priced as it is.

The ghost white phosphor picture allows for easy target recognition and does not compromise the rifle’s performance, thanks to its compact and lighter scope. What stands out in this scope is its durability, definitely the best on this list.

However, considering the price tag, I would go for a thermal scope instead, which only struggles in harsh weather conditions. Thermal scopes have a better target recognition range and are easier to shoot at night.

 


4) SightMark Wraith HD 2-16x28mm Digital Night Vision Rifle Scope

SightMark Wraith HD 2-16x28mm Digital Night Vision Rifle Scope
4.0
Pros:
  • Most Budget Friendly Options
  • Easy To Zero - 5 Zero Settings
  • Video Recording Capabilities
Cons:
  • Other Scopes Have Better Battery Life
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The Wraith HD is our budget-friendly option for this list, it has tons of great features at a reasonable price. If this is your first time buying a night vision scope, then the SightMark is a great sight to start with on your night hunting experience.

Night Vision: SightMark combined the technology of its Ultra HD sensor and the quality IR illuminator to produce visuals that were second to none at its initial release.

There are three image options to choose from:

  • Black and White
  • Crisp
  • a classic Green-scale

This digital scope has a 2-16x magnification, with an 8x digital zoom to allow for long-range shots. The Wraith also has 10 reticles to choose from, with 9 different color options. This makes it one of my favorite budget friendly night vision optics that I’ve tested.

Battery life: Honestly, I was quite disappointed with its battery life. Lasting only 2 hours, it is supposed to compete with other night vision scopes to have a battery life of at least 8 hours. Nonetheless, it uses 2 x CR123A, which is rechargeable.

Video Recording Capabilities: Recording is done in 1080p image quality with a 50 Hz refresh rate.

Additional Features: The scope uses smart memory to store up to five different zeros. Allowing you to save different loads for your AR 15, depending on where and what you are hunting.

Pros and Cons

PROS
  • Budget Friendly
  • Up to five zero settings for different rifles
  • Ten reticle options, available in nine different colors
  • Video recording
Cons
  • Poor battery life

Our experience with Sightmark wraith HD

I initially used the Sightmark on my AR 15, but the poor battery life was just too big of an issue to let go. However, in the short time I used it, the Wraith HD provided me with an excellent sight picture and great accuracy, especially at long ranges, thanks to its 8x digital zoom.

 


5) AGM Global Vision Wolverine Night Vision Rifle Scope

AGM Global Vision Wolverine Night Vision Rifle Scope
3.5
Pros:
  • Highly Durable In ALL Conditions
  • Easy To Mount
  • Superior Battery Life
Cons:
  • There More Budget Friendly Options
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The AGM Global Vision is another highly durable scope for ar 15, although it does not have a lot of features, it is sure not to let you down when you need it the most.

Night Vision: The Wolverine has quite an impressive objective lens diameter, spanning 108mm it allows for maximum light through the scope during nighttime hunting. Thermal & night vision scopes are a game changer for hunting season!

The night vision technology is a bit outdated, still using a Gen 2 image intensifier tube. Nonetheless, the green phosphor visual image the scope produces is high quality. The scope has a magnification of 4x to allow for accurate medium-range shooting. It also comes with a Sioux850 Long Range IR Illuminator to boost your range with night vision mode.

Battery Life: This night vision scope is rated to last for up to 50 hours at 20°C, although my battery dies at 35 hours. The Wolverine uses one rechargeable CR123A lithium battery.

Additional Features: The Wolverine has one of the best mountings I have seen for a night vision scope. Its double-lever quick-release Weaver mount allows you to accurately position your scope on the rail to ensure maximum user comfort. I also found that they make great crossbow scopes as well for hunting.

Pros and Cons

PROS
  • Highly durable – constructed from aircraft aluminum alloy, it is highly water and fog-resistant.
  • User-friendly mounting
  • Long lasting battery life
Cons
  • Expensive considering its lack of features

My Experience With AGM Global Vision

I used the Wolverine on a couple of coyote hunting expeditions. It also proved to be great for nighttime deer hunting as well! It performed exceptionally well on medium-range targets, that green phosphor intensifier really makes a target light up.

The scope’s durability was another great plus point, it made me comfortable to experiment a bit with higher loads and take the scope on hunting adventures that predominantly revolved around hiking through the mountains.

 


Buying Guide

Who Can Use A Night Vision Scope

A night vision scope can be used by anyone, although people with glasses might struggle initially, speaking from experience. Once you are through the learning curve, a night vision scope will ensure a successful nighttime hunt, given that there is enough ambient light. Just make sure you know how to clean rifle scope lens to keep your scope in good working order.


Benefits Of A Night Vision Rifle Scope

  • Price – A night vision scope usually costs less than a thermal scope, thus allowing you to hunt at night without paying the price of a thermal. Most night vision scopes are also compatible with daytime use.
  • Beginner Friendly – Night vision scopes do not require a lot of training. Features like the wi-fi streaming help someone experienced to guide you on how to use the sight correctly by watching you use the night vision scope.
  • Performance in Poor Weather Conditions – A night vision scope is better than thermal imaging technology in poor weather conditions, for example, when it rains. It relies predominantly on ambient light to function and is not affected by factors that might impact the heat signature of the animal, as is the case with a thermal scope.

How We Rate These Scopes

Value

We evaluate how well-designed and built the scope is:

  • What material is it made from – 7050 aircraft-grade aluminum is recommended as it is lightweight yet highly durable.
  • Included features – do the features justify the price of the scope, and are these features useful to the user.
  • Market competitiveness – the scope should be priced relative to its competition.

Features

Features I look for when rating night vision optics are:

  • IR Illuminator 
  • Recoil activated video
  • Bright light cut-off
  • Manual gain
  • Easy zeroing capabilities
  • Streaming
  • Ease of mounting

The resolution is also important for me, after all, the better the resolution, the easier it is for you to spot an animal.

In the end, all the features of the scope should help increase your shooting performance.

Battery Life

The battery life reveals a lot about the scope’s quality and reliability. A scope is not practical if you need to replace the battery after every hour of use. A good battery life is 5+ hours, preferably above 8 hours or for the duration of the night.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a good night vision scope for an AR 15?

Any of these scopes featured on this list are excellent choices for your AR 15. The ATN scopes (ThOr and X-sight 4K) are the best AR 15 scopes for nighttime use currently on the market.

Which is better night vision or thermal scope?

A thermal scope will almost always be better than a night vision scope in complete darkness. However, a night vision scope will outperform a thermal scope in rainy conditions. For long hunts, the best scope is the thermal imaging scope.

Can you turn a regular scope into night vision?

Yes, you can, however you will require an attachment night vision scope. Optics such as the Armasight CO-Mini Bravo is a detachable night vision scope for your regular scope, allowing you to use it at night.

How far can you shoot with night vision?

That depends on many things, from the magnification and digital zoom of the scope to the led IR illuminator. A reasonable shooting distance is between 100-300 yards, however some sights can go up to 500-800 yards.

Can you see through a night vision scope during the day?

Yes, you can, although it is not advised. The performance is very lacking and you can even damage your scope's internal image intensifier tubes (IITs). However, some scopes are specifically designed to be used at day and night.

Do snipers use night vision?

Snipers use night vision scopes in combination with other night vision devices for seeing at night. However, they are not limited to using night vision devices and might prefer thermal scopes above night vision, depending on the sniper.

The Bottom Line

If you are looking for a quality night vision scope suited for your AR 15 then you will find one in this article. My number one choice is the ThOr, although it is not a night vision scope but a thermal scope. If you are looking specifically for a night vision scope, then opt for the X-Sight 4K.

HuntersHalt: #1 Pick
ATN ThOR 4 1.25-5x19mm Thermal Smart HD Rifle Scope
5.0
Pros:
  • Recoil-Activated Video Recording
  • One shot Zero
  • Recoil Resistant
  • Provides Thermal Imaging
Cons:
  • Other scope option are cheaper
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting us - we really appreciate it!

About the author

Patrick Howard

I have been working as a gunsmith for 20 years. Rain, fog, moisture, high temperature, or even snow are all the things a product must withstand in order to be recommended by me.

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