What Are The Best Night Vision Scopes for AR-15 Rifles?

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When you’re surviving out in the wilderness, darkness is your enemy. You can’t work, you can’t travel, and you can’t see what might be out there watching you. Hopefully you’ve built a sufficient shelter, but that might not be enough to protect you at night.

That’s why you need night vision. Independent night vision goggles are great, but they’re cumbersome. So why not just put it on your gun? Your rifle becomes a fearsome night weapon when you throw a night vision scope for an AR-15.

Don’t leave it to chance. Know what’s out there, and how to stop it. We’ve put together a list of our favourite night vision scopes so you can find the best one for your survival scenario.

The latest trend in riflescopes is the smart scope. This scope from ATN is the first smart scope on our list.

While it technically offers thermal or the traditional night vision, this is still essentially a night vision scope for your AR-15.

It has a 1.25 – 5x magnification, and can actually record video. To an on board micro SD card. While that doesn’t offer any practical application for a survivor, it’s a neat, high tech feature for a hunter.

Understand that this is a battery powered scope, so long term use is out of the question. If you are homesteading, with a renewable source of electricity, however, it is rechargeable.

This next model goes back to basics. This is as traditional as night vision scopes for rifles gets.

No fancy features, no battery draining smart capabilities. Just you, your prey, and the night. Most survivalists don’t need anything close to what smart and digital scopes offer.

It offers standard night vision capabilities, and a 5x magnification. The unit itself is shock protected and water resistant. Note, that does not mean waterproof. The electronics of this scope might fail in heavy rains.

It has a 40 hour battery life. When compared to the 6 hours of the ATN, that is a great leap. It might still fail on a long term scenario, but unlike a smart scope, it is functional without power. It also has a long range infrared illuminator to make sure you stay accurate no matter what the light level.

Next we have another model from ATN. Unlike the Thor, the X-sight has traditional night vision technology.  It also offers the video recording tech, capturing at 1080p, full HD. It’s actually triggered by recoil, so as soon as you take the shot, this unit starts recording.

It has a built in range finder, so no more separate optics. It has a 5 to 20x magnification, so this is a serious upgrade from the Thor. You can even operate it from your smart phone. Again, that’s not practical in a life or death situation, but tech is dominating the rifle world.  

This model from Firefield only offers 3x magnification.

That’s not a high power, but since this is a night vision scope for an AR-15, distance isn’t the biggest concern.

It has a built in infrared illuminator, which more than makes up for the distance. No amount of magnification is useable if you can’t see the target. It has built in lens covers to protect the optics. While it is not weather proof, this will go a long way for durability. A broken scope is just dead weight.

Here we have the top night scope for rifles. This scope from Sightmark is sure to meet and exceed every need.

Plus, they’ve upgraded a ton since the previous model. It offers 33% more battery life than it’s competitors, plus it’s completely weather proof.

When the storms came in, you can stay hunkered down with no problems.

It has a 4.6x magnification, giving you pretty significant coverage. At 120 yards, you’ll get a crisp, digital image. You won’t miss a single detail.

A digital windage and elevation adjustment system ensures accuracy regardless of conditions. The built in infrared illuminator means that accuracy carries over into the night.


When it comes to modern night vision scopes, you have a lot of options. As you can see, they ranges from smart, digital to analog.  While we have done all the work necessary for you. We still want to stress and can't stress enough. However fanciful these night scopes can be, do consider what your actual needs are when purchasing.

About the author


Colin is a freelance writer and editor. A fan of The Walking Dead. It led him to think what if SHTF and what does it takes to survive. Colin hobbies includes gears, tech gadgets and rehearsing different "End Of The World" situations in his head.

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