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How to Get Into Night Vision

How to Get Into Night Vision

Night vision is an incredibly awesome tool that is becoming increasingly popular in the shooting, hunting, and law enforcement communities.  Although night vision is incredibly fun and useful, it can be intimidating to get into.  There are tons of options, terms, and misinformation that makes it difficult for the consumer, whether a professional end user or a enthusiast, to decide what they need and how much it should cost.

Night vision gives users the ability to see in the dark. This is accomplished with image intensifier tubes.  These tubes are manufactured in two general categories of finished goods, clip-on night vision and helmet mounted night vision.  Under these two broad categories there are tons of options with vast ranges in price.  However, these two broad categories have two basic subcategories, the housing and tube or tubes.  Essentially the housing is what you see on the outside.  The housing is the “model” of your night vision.  Then your tube or tubes are installed into the housing to give your unit life.  We will break it down in a few categories that buyers should keep in mind when deciding what night vision.

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Recoil damaged Night Vision

Unfortunately as our night vision devices have become more and more effective, they have also become more fragile to damage from recoil. The black spots in the image above are permanent damage that occurred during the firing of 5 shots of M855.

With out going into too much detail, as night vision devices been improved, the distances between some of the critical parts have gotten closer and closer. Reducing this distances has made these parts more susceptible to failure from firearm recoil. In the past it was not uncommon to see people mount night vision devices like the AN/PVS-14 on AR15s and even some 308 rifles. But now people tend to recommend against that.

Sometime I’d like to talk about selecting and using night vision, but I felt like sharing this picture now.

AN/PAS-6 Infrared Viewing Device

The AN/PAS-6 Infrared Viewing Device or Metascope was handheld infrared viewer which was used as an aid in the detection of enemy infra red sources or as a general purpose viewer.

In the 1930s, scientists developed electronic devices to detect invisible infrared light and convert it into a visible image. They also developed a special filter that could be placed over a standard light source (such as a spotlight) so that only the invisible infrared light would come through the filter to light up a target. If you had an infrared telescope, you could see objects illuminated by the infrared light source. Of course, if the enemy had an infrared scope, they could see your light source, without giving away their own position. The U.S. Army’s first successful units, like the one shown here were used in Okinawa in April, 1945. Later types used in Korea, and into the mid-1960s include the Metascope. Typical range of an infrared light source for a rifle is only 100-150 yards. The scope will show a dimly visible image like a small black and green TV image. – modernforces.com

The viewer above was used in the Vietnam war by some SOG personnel at fixed locations. Reportedly one location was Leghorn, a very high peak in Laos that SOG set up a permanent radio relay and observation site. The viewer would be able to detect communist troops at night or other sources of infrared.