Best Night Vision Scopes for the AR-15 Rifle – [2020 Guide]

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Night vision devices have made shooting a 24-hour activity. Night vision devices are generally used among civilians for hunting. Military operations, of course, have other uses.

Finding a good night vision scope with optimum capabilities is a daunting task sometimes.

To help you with this, we have come up with a list of some of the best night vision scopes for your AR-15 rifle.

Comparison of the Best AR-15 Night Vision Scopes

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Eye relief measured at 2.5 inches.
  • Magnification level of up to 3 times.
  • Made from high-quality anodized aluminum.
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  • Thermal vision included.
  • Made from high-quality materials.
  • Magnification settings up to 5 times.
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  • Magnification of up to 4.5x.
  • Made from shock-resistant materials.
  • Illuminated reticle with various brightness adjustments.
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Why Would I Want a Night Vision Scope?

Honestly, there are quite a few reasons you might want to acquire a night vision device. Of course, it lets you see things in the dark. It’s not exactly like in broad daylight. Instead, you usually have a somewhat greenish tinge - very close to what you see in movies.

Their use is strictly regulated by law in different states. So be sure to check what rules apply. For example, using illuminated night vision devices for hunting is prohibited in California.

Mounting a night vision device on your AR can be helpful for home defense. In such situations, you’ll have an advantage over the invaders.

Night vision riflescopes are extremely helpful in eliminating pesky animals and varmints. Critters such as raccoons and skunks prefer not to come out in the open during daylight hours. These and other nocturnal varmints which pose a problem for crops and grain dumps on a ranch can also be eliminated with ease. Even if you don’t have a farm, they might be a nuisance around the house in general, especially getting into garbage cans.

night vision scene

Another more prominent use of night vision rifle scopes is hog hunting. With the increase in the population of wild hogs across parts of the country, hog hunting has become as much a safety measure as a leisure activity. The population of wild hogs has surpassed 2.6 million in Texas alone.

Hog hunting season is open almost for the entire year in many states. The wild hog is a nocturnal mammal and is quite aggressive at times. You don’t want to face a screaming hog coming towards you at 30 miles per hour. Wild hogs are diurnal during winter, fall, and spring and become nocturnal during summer because they lack sweat glands. They also make this adaptation to protect themselves from predators. However, since they have become pests in some areas, we also have to make our own adaptations.

Apart from these shooting purposes, night vision scopes can also be used for wildlife observation, camping, night fishing, boating, night hiking, and other activities.

How to Choose a Night Vision Scope

A night vision scope is similar to an optical rifle scope with a few differences. Let’s take a look at some of them in detail. We’ve also tossed in a review of one thermal imaging scope. Thermal imaging scopes call for similar features but use a different way of identifying targets.

Easy to Mount

Night vision scopes generally use a Picatinny rail to mount to an AR-15. A good night vision scope should be easy to mount over your rifle. After all, you’re probably going to want to use your gun during the day, too.

Optical Power

Optical power is the ability of your scope to zoom in the target image. Generally, a night vision scope under 10x power will let you acquire or change targets easily. Anything greater than 16x will be more expensive, delicate, bulky, and probably of little use for you unless you’re dealing with pretty distant targets.

Weight and Eye Relief

A good night vision scope must be lightweight and easy to carry. Carrying a heavy load while hunting may be problematic. Also, you won’t want your bulky night vision scope to add more weight while trying to aim.

Apart from that, long eye relief is essential while you use the scope. It protects you from recoil, but also gives you some peripheral vision in case something unexpected is nearby.

Range

With a good night vision scope, you should be able to see well enough to hit your mark at 150 - 200 yards. However, there will be a minor difference between target detection and target recognition.

Scopes with ranges of more than 300 yards are quite heavy and expensive, plus they require special attention to protect from any damage. It really depends on what your purpose is, but we assume in most case you’ll be in the shorter ranges.

Sturdy

This category of scope tends to be more fragile than other scopes. You have to take special care to avoid jarring it unnecessarily. However, it’s still important to look at the sturdiness of your prospective purchase and try to get one that is at least a bit forgiving.

Illumination

Since night vision scopes are required to shoot at night, properly-illuminated reticles are an important feature to look for. They can also feature IR (infrared) light illumination, which is helpful in spotting targets at long ranges.

Price

Last but not least, you will not want your night vision scope to cost you a fortune. There are numerous night vision scopes for your AR-15 which meet optimum standards and are inexpensive. To aid you in your decision, we have outlined some of them below.

Quick Take - The Best AR-15 Night Vision Scopes

These are our recommendations for the best night vision scopes for the AR-15:

  1. Burris AR-332
  2. ATN THOR HD 384 1.25 - 5x Thermal Rifle Scope
  3. Armasight Vulcan 4.5X 3P MG

Review of the Best AR-15 Night Vision Scopes

Now that we know a bit about what you should be on the lookout for in a night vision scope, let’s get into some specific models.

Best Overall:
Burris AR-332

Pros

  • Works well in CQB applications
  • Power selector is easy and gives you lots of options
  • Compatible with both 5.56 and 7.62 caliber ammo rifles
  • Super durable construction and no issues losing your zero settings
  • Can be effectively accurate against targets situated up to 600 yards away

Cons

  • It doesn’t have a quick-release feature
  • May not co-witness with iron sights
  • Eye relief might be a little too narrow for some users

What Recent Buyers Report

This scope was a hit with new buyers. They were able to see through it at normal settings with the image quality being quite clear. They were also happy with the red and green illumination and were able to easily cycle through and set their illumination settings to their preferred level. This scope was a perfect fit for those who were doing low-light or even nighttime hunting.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This rifle scope is built like a tank and does a great job of holding its own, especially when dealing with multiple amounts of shock coming from recoil. The scope is also used not just in nighttime settings, but it does a good job giving you accurate and precise shooting in the daytime. Simply put, it’s a multi-purpose scope with the ability to work around the clock in any given situation.

Manufactured from industrial-grade aluminum and with all components cased inside a hard-coat anodized coating, the Burris AR-332 is an amazing night vision scope for your AR-15. This is a prismatic scope with a 3x fixed optical power to let you focus on your targets precisely.

Suitable turret adjustments let you adjust windage and elevation with a ¼-inch MOA. The scope features a fixed focal plane for quick and easy target acquisition. The large objective lens size of 32 mm gives you a wider sight picture.

The scope features an illuminated ballistic reticle which makes it easier for you to spot the target. A long eye relief of 2.5” offers you the liberty to get a better perspective view of your surroundings.

The scope measures 5.3” in length and weighs only 14.20 oz. It is powered by a CR-2032 battery which has a life of 500 hours on low and 200 hours on bright illumination settings. The scope is priced decently and is good for hunting and home defense.

Who Will Use This Most

This scope will likely be used in a nighttime hunting setting, especially if you’re using something to ward off any varmints or predators that might terrorize your property, livestock, and whatever else. In the daytime, it’s a great scope to have if you want to shoot at your favorite hunting targets or paper targets at the range. Either way, it will have its uses no matter what time of day it is.

Bottom Line

The Burris AR-332 3x Prism Sight is the kind of scope you’ll want on your AR-15 rifle if you’re looking for something versatile, easy to install, and which provides you with a great deal of illumination power. This scope proves itself to be one of the best, even if you need a night vision scope. 

Pros

  • Easy to install, takes a few minutes.
  • Excellent for nighttime hunting applications
  • Can detect targets from as far as 625 yards out
  • Can make instantaneous and on the fly adjustments if and when needed
  • e-Compass built in to help you stay in the right direction while roaming the woods

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

As expected, a lot of new users were quite impressed with the scope itself. They were able to get accurate and precise shots in both day and nighttime settings. Even better, they were stoked when they found out they were able to record their proudest hunting moments using the built-in video system. One user said he recorded his latest hunt where he bagged a couple of hogs. He said watching it over and over again didn’t bore him at all.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is more than just a scope equipped with thermal imaging. It’s the kind of scope that comes with features like an e-Compass, geolocation, and a built-in video feature. This is great to use, especially when you’re deep in the woods and want something that will pick up targets from some pretty impressive distances. You’ll know exactly when you encountered the target and where.

This amazing thermal-imaging scope from ATN is a powerhouse of features in itself. The night vision uses surrounding lights to illuminate the image, whereas thermal images pick up heat signatures from objects and beings.

This scope is almost automatic in operation. Featuring a variable optical power of 1.25 - 5x, it has a built-in rangefinder with ballistic calculator which lets you make changes to your point of impact without target turrets.

You can record photos and videos of your shots with the built-in camera using a micro-SD card. The patented Recoil-Activated-Video feature eliminates the need to turn the video on and off every time you shoot.

Apart from all this, the ATN scope has a 348x288 thermal resolution with a full-HD display, WiFi, Bluetooth, e-Compass, 3D gyroscope, and geotagging features. The scope is firmware-upgradeable, letting you match your optic functionalities with the latest technologies and trends.

The scope can be mounted on the Picatinny rail of your AR-15. The fully-automatic functionality of this thermal scope makes using it almost effortless and 100% precise. With all these features in a small compact body, the ATN Thor HD Thermal Riflescope has been priced aptly.

Who Will Use This Most

This would stand out as the ultimate hunting scope for AR-15 users, especially those who can’t get enough of hunting hogs, varmints, predators, or anything else that is considered legal to hunt during the night. Not to be outdone, it’s a scope that can be used around the clock. So if you’re a hunter in need of a scope that will give you an unfair advantage over your targets, this is it.

Bottom Line

The ATN Thor HD is probably the most high-tech scope on the market for an AR-15. But it’s got some of the coolest features, which make this one of the best scopes to use at any given time of day.

Best for the Money:
 Armasight Vulcan 4.5x 3P MG

Pros

  • The wireless remote control is easy to use
  • Easy to install, will take no later than five minutes
  • Super durable and also impervious to shock
  • Features a quick-release mount for quick detachment
  • Plenty of illuminated settings for your reticle, very effective at night

Cons

  • Adjustments for windage and elevation might be a little stiff at times
  • Some illumination settings may be a little too dim for nighttime settings

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of users were happy with this scope for a few good reasons. First and foremost, they were satisfied with the wide range of illumination settings that come in handy in either low-light or nighttime situations. One user said he couldn’t decide between a couple of settings since they gave him the best image quality at night when he went out hunting. Ultimately, he settled on one after knocking down a couple of hogs.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This scope is probably one of the most shockproof scopes on the market. That’s because its made from high-quality materials that make it resistant to all kinds of recoil shock. That’s good news for those who have long suffered from the issue of trying to re-zero their scopes and keep the settings in place. Not to be outdone, it is also waterproof and weatherproof. So if you’re out in the field caught in some nasty weather, this scope will take on the elements that most other riflescopes won’t stand a chance with.

The Armasight Vulcan features a fixed 4.5x magnification with a detachable long-range infrared illuminator. With a mil-dot reticle and red/green illuminated (adjustable brightness) reticles, it is easy for you to spot and shoot your target precisely.

It features a ½ MOA adjustment with target turret knobs. The scope has a quick-release mount for easy attachment and detachment to your AR-15 rifle. The scope is powered by CR123 or AA batteries with a battery life of up to 60 hours. You will get a low-battery warning when the battery is about to run dry. The auto-shutdown feature lets you save battery power if you forget to turn the scope off.

The long eye relief is helpful in spotting your target while maintaining different positions. The scope is waterproof and weighs only 0.97 kilograms, making it easy to carry while hunting. All components are sealed in a high-grade anodized aluminum shockproof case. The manufacturer offers a 2-year warranty on the device protecting you from malfunctions for a good amount of time.

Who Will Use This Most

Of course, you’ll have a lot of hunters who rely on this scope, especially if they hold quality to a high standard. On top of that, it’s a scope hunters will love if they’re hunting either during day or nighttime hours. At night, they’ll have all kinds of illumination settings at their disposal. It will mostly benefit night hunters more than daytime hunters.

Bottom Line

The Armasight Vulcan is built like a tank and is accurate and effective against all targets situated from some impressive distances. If you want to turn your AR-15 rifle into a force to be reckoned with, this is the kind of night vision scope you’ll want. 

Pulsar Digisight N750 Digital Night Vision Riflescope

Pros

  • The image quality is crystal clear
  • Super solid unit is very durable and shockproof
  • Easy to zero-in, especially during the daytime hours
  • Night vision illumination makes target recognition a lot easier
  • Excellent for hunting and target shooting applications (depending on the day)

Cons

  • Battery life might be a little shorter than expected
  • Some daylight illumination settings may not be so clear
  • Some illumination settings may be hard to turn on after some short-term use

What Recent Buyers Report

New users who bought this scope got their money’s worth. Most users said the scope was durable and stood out as a product that can withstand a great deal of shock and recoil. One user said he was also able to sight-in the scope within a few minutes before using it for a hog hunt. The image quality was clear in both day and nighttime settings.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This scope has one feature that stood out to us the most. It was the long eye relief feature. This makes it not just a great scope for AR-15 rifles, but also for rifles that tend to have a lot of recoil. Of course, we cannot forget some of the high-tech features that come along with this like the picture-in-picture. It gives you an even closer look at your target while you have your crosshairs drawn on it. This makes your chance of hitting it exactly where you want even better.

The Pulsar N750 Digisight is probably the best night vision scope for the money on our list. It features 9310-style rails on the base and sides in case you need to attach a flashlight. The scope is similar to a Gen 3 night vision scope, with the major difference being its digital operation and grayscale images. The N750 has an amazing range of more than 800 yards. A good shooter can hit a 10” target, round after round, at 800 yards.

The scope can be used in broad daylight due to its bright-light resistance. It features a wireless remote control and intuitive easy-to-use interface. The built-in flip caps protect the lens from any damage while the scope is not in use. The scope is somewhat bulky, but with its jam-packed set of features it offers a good deal for your rifle.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be an excellent scope that will fit most hunting applications both during the day and night. However, this stood out as a really good daytime scope for target shooting at the range. If you do either or both, you’re probably going to be one of the many that will use this scope often.
Bottom Line

The Pulsar Digisight Digital Night Vision Scope is the kind of scope you’ll want to use some if you want the best cutting-edge technology for your scope. Whether it’s day or night, this scope will prove itself useful in almost any application. It’s the kind of scope that will excel in any hunting situation regardless of what time it is. 

Armasight Drone Pro 10X Digital Night Vision Rifle Scope Resolution 752x582

Pros

  • Works great even during the day
  • It can detect targets from really impressive distances
  • Easy to sight-in, won’t take any more than ten minutes
  • Easy to install, takes a few minutes and the right kind of tools
  • It allows you to hit targets with effective accuracy from about 500 yards out

Cons

  • Battery life might be a little suspect
  • Eye relief might be a little shallower than expected
  • Windage and elevation adjustments might be a little stiff at first

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers were quite excited to use this scope. After quickly installing it on their AR-15 rifles, they were able to sight it in rather fast. One user said he was able to use it both in the daytime and nighttime without any issues. He also added that he was able to hit his targets effectively from some pretty impressive distances in either setting (300 yards, to be more specific).

Why it Stands Out to Us

This scope is a rugged piece of equipment that stands out as a great scope for use around the clock. What’s even better is that it is also jam-packed with some high-tech features like video recording in high resolutions. So if you’re looking to capture the moment that you’ve nailed your biggest hunting target yet, you can look back and take pride in what you have accomplished. This is no ordinary scope you can attach to an AR-15. This is something that will witness the moment of any great hunting situation.

The Armasight Drone Pro Night Vision Scope is equipped with a wireless remote control and video recording functionalities to get the most out of your hunting trips. The scope has a magnification of 10x with a long eye relief of 4.5 cm.

It is fully waterproof and can operate in temperatures ranging from -40 to +50 degrees Celsius. It has a high-end 752 x 582 OLED display to give you a clear and bright picture of your target. The high-performance CCD camera lets you record videos. The detachable long-range IR illuminator allows you to comply with state laws under different shooting conditions.

The scope is filled with dry nitrogen to prevent any fogging over the lens. Also, it makes the setup more compact and sturdy for rugged usage. The scope weighs only 1.02 kilograms and is easy to carry. Powered by two lithium-ion batteries, this unit can run up to two hours in fully-operational mode.

Who Will Use This Most

As expected, this can be used to hunt any kind of game throughout all hours of the day and night. However, you should keep in mind what is legal to hunt at night (depending on your jurisdiction). This scope will be used most by hunters that not only want to land the perfect kill shot at any given time but want nothing more than to capture the moment as it happens.

Bottom Line

The Armasight Drone Pro 10x Digital Night Vision Rifle Scope will probably be your best possible option for a rifle scope if you want something that will allow you high-quality images in both daytime and nighttime settings. Never head to your favorite hunting spot without having this puppy attached to your AR-15.

Conclusion

A night vision scope has a multitude of uses, even though you’ll probably be using it for hunting. Like a normal rifle scope, a night vision scope relies on several basic features like resolution, magnification, and reticles.

Choosing a good scope depends totally on your needs and intended use. With a lot of amazing and technologically-advanced options available, night vision scopes can make hunting a 24/7 activity.

About Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis the managing editor at Gun Mann and when he isn't writing about guns he is more than likely tinkering with them. He also enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time outdoors. As a lifelong gun owner he knows his stuff!

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