Go Green – Shooting with Night Vision
While night vision equipment isn’t truly a necessity for the majority of civilian shooters, having your own set of NODs is a huge force multiplier when needed and, let’s face it – it’s just damn fun to go green. With many big shooting schools now offering NOD curriculum and night vision-focused shops popping up everywhere, the shooting world seems to have embraced the green screen.
Plunging into a green-eye setup, even purchasing most equipment secondhand, is quite an investment. While there are many peripheral items that enhance the experience of shooting under night vision, there are three primary components needed:
2.) Multi-Function Aiming Laser (MFAL)
3.) Headgear / Mounting System (shroud, mount, helmet/cap)
These items are the bare minimum for being able to accurately engage targets while using night vision.
Unless you have about $45k of disposable income lying around to throw at a set of GPNVGs, the current issued goggles for units like DEVGRU and LAPD Metro SWAT, the options for the majority of civilian users fall into two categories – single tube (PVS-7, PVS-14) and dual tube (bridged PVS-14, DTNVGs, ANVIS, BNVDs, PVS-15, PVS-31, etc.).
Single tube monoculars like the PVS-14 are the most common as they strike a balance between effectiveness and price – they are the most widely issued night vision units in the US military, and are still fielded even up to the SOF level. They also grant the user the ability to manage different lighting conditions on the fly, without having to remove or stow them, as the one eye that is not under night vision is able to maintain darkness adaptation or shoot under white light if needed. This, however is a double edged sword – having each of your eyes see two different things (one the night vision screen, the other complete darkness) is a major blow against your depth perception and usually makes quick movement difficult. While the PVS-7 is technically a goggle, as both eyes are under night vision, it still uses a single intensifier tube which means that both eyes see the same image.
On the other hand, running dual tube night vision goggles alleviates the depth perception issues that are experienced when using a single tube device – it is far easier to move quickly, and situational awareness increases dramatically. When paired with taller-mounted optics on your rifle, it is even possible to shoot as you normally would in the daytime when using a goggle setup. These advantages come at a cost – in addition to being double the price or more of a single PVS-14 ($7 to $20k), dual tubes suffer from a lower battery life than monoculars, losing anywhere from 20 to 40 hours of runtime. Most affordable binoculars also require the user to utilize either CR123 batteries or external battery packs, both of which are more expensive and less easily-sourced than the AA’s that power PVS-14s. The more expensive devices – like the PVS-15/18/31 – allow the user to utilize AA’s.
Multi-Function Aiming Laser