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Military Surplus Night Vision Goggles

How Does The Objective Lens Diameter Affect The Image

The Army’s NEW Night Vision Goggles

The diameter of an objective lens impacts the amount of light thats allowed in and transmitted to your eye. While theres a tendency to think bigger is always better, the other design elements of a specific pair of night vision goggles also play a role in image quality. When it comes to choosing night vision goggles, its important to know that a larger lens diameter means more opportunity for your goggles to capture ambient light. But factors such as glass quality, magnification, and IR illumination will also dictate image quality.

What Are Night Vision Goggles

Technically, any NV optic that can be mounted to head and helmet gear can constitute as a night vision goggle device.

In our lineup, this includes the best:

Often, the included head mount assembly is called a goggle kit, and when a monocular, for example, is mounted to provide hands-free operation, it’s now a complete goggle assembly.

So, what features should you look for in the various types of goggles to determine if it is a goggle or just another night vision binocular or monocular?

  • 1x magnification

. . . And the list goes on. With so many uses for NVGs, we took the initiative to provide you with the goggles that are ranked and rated to be the best in the commercial market. From under 100 bucks to lip-biting, high-end prices, we have the top-ranking cream of the crop goggles right here.

Sionyx Aurora Best Under $1000

Overall, Gen 1 night vision is becoming difficult to acquire as it seems to be phasing out of the market. In its place, digital night vision has become the sought-after alternative for function and value. Case in point, the SiOnyx Aurora digital monocular that extends its usefulness to goggle use.



Being digital, the Aurora requires a lot of electronic power for operation from its special camera-type battery. It runs continuously for two hours which is limited and short, however, you can use a USB battery pack to extend battery life.

As a digital CMOS sensor monocular, it has a lot of the techie perks that many like to experiment with such as use in daylight conditions, still image and video recording saved to a micro-SD card, and other electronic setting features such as digital zoom, exposure, focusing, etc.

Though the digital features are great, its foundational specs are what lends to its primary performance for use as NV goggles. It has 1x zoom, diopter adjustment, manual and electronic focusing, and the versatile ¼-20 tripod threading for mounting.

You can weapon mount it though eye relief is snug, so its rated for .223 Rem calibers for optimal and safe use. Its also compatible for connecting to J-arms to mount to head and helmet gear. Many have done it, and many enjoy the benefits of having hands-free operation from an affordable NVD.

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Types Of Night Vision Goggles

There are two different types of night vision goggles available on the market today. They are IR night vision goggles and Thermal night vision goggles.

Infrared Night Vision Goggles

Modern night vision goggles use IR illumination. They dont depend on the ambient light present to create an image. Instead, they use IR rays to provide you with the target images. These IR waves come from anything that emits heat.

IR night vision goggles come in handy when you are viewing targets in total darkness. Youll have a clear view of different targets at any range while you remain hidden.

Thermal Night Vision Goggles

Thermal night vision goggles work the same way as IR night vision goggles. However, they detect the actual heat that an object releases. These goggles provide clear target views at any time of the day. Since they depend on heat signatures to create an image, you can use them at night and in broad daylight as well.

Night Vision Goggles Vs Night Vision Binoculars

Army Surplus Night Vision Goggles

The term “goggles” in night-vision, is somewhat of a catch-all term that includes bioculars, binoculars, and monoculars. When mounted to head or helmet gear for hands-free use, it’s now used as goggles. This is why you’ll see binoculars and goggles used interchangeably in the industry. However, bioculars have a single tube design easily distinguished from binoculars with their two eyepieces and single objective lens body.

The AN/PVS-7 is a night vision biocular, and all PVS-7 models from various manufacturers design their NV goggles after this military issued night vision single tube device. It is by far the most popular NV type of goggles available, and consequently, it’s one of the cheaper models.

As you know, binoculars, with night-vision or without, often come with much higher magnification. For hands-free operation and moving in the dark, you need 1x power for the utmost stealth and natural vision.

As mentioned earlier, 1x power, smaller apertures, and included head gear are the iconic features of what separates goggles from ordinary monoculars and binoculars.

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How Does Night Vision Work

To put it as simply as possible, night vision goggles gather what little light is available into the objective lens. This light enters a photocathode tube thats filled with gallium arsenide. Inside the tube, the light energy is converted into electrical energy . These electrons then pass through a microchannel detection plate that essentially amplifies that electrical energy. This increased energy then passes through a phosphor screen that converts the electrons back into photons, or visible light. This visible light is what you see when you look through the eyepiece and the amplification typically produces a bright greenish hue that we usually associate with night vision.

The Top Considerations When Buying Night Vision Goggles

It should be as simple as finding some that are of quality, have a look thats appealing to your personal aesthetic, and fit within your budget. These may be important considerations, but they are far from the only ones youll need to ponder before purchasing military night vision goggles. Take a closer look at some of the things you dont want to overlook before you buy:

The right thermal night vision goggle will get you the results you desire, but the wrong choice is simply a waste of effort and money. But now that you know what to consider, get to know how night vision goggles work and the best options available on the market.

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Please Choose Your Desired Item From The Drop Down To View Pictures Of The Unit And Pricing All Preowned And Demo Night Vision Comes With A 1

This non-variable gain PVS-14 uses an ANVIS tube put in a PVS-14 housing. The image is nice and clear, and will come with a PVS-14 kit: green carry case, skull crusher, demist shield, objective lens cover, and eye cup. Please note: The gain knob will not increase or decrease the gain due to the type of tube this is.

Please also check out our other offerings for NEW devices:

How To Choose The Best Military Night Vision Goggles

New enhanced night vision goggles give soldiers advantage


Resolution refers to the ability of the night vision optic to produce clear display and distortion-free images. Gen 4 and Gen 3 night vision goggles have a higher resolution which makes them provide clear images. For regular military applications, get a device that has a resolution that falls between 40 to 54ip/mm.

Maximum Range

This is the maximum distance that the night vision google can cover and give you a clear view of the objects in front of you. Generation 1 devices have the smallest range of about 100 yards. For military applications, look for a device that has a visual range of up to 300 yards or more.


The weatherproof feature is very important in night vision goggles for military use. These devices dont come cheap so its important that they stay protected from weather damage. Make sure that you go for a unit thats fully waterproof and fog proof, so you can use it in any weather condition.

Integral Illuminator

An integral illuminator will help shed more light, especially in total darkness. An illuminator eliminates light that can be seen by humans or animals. It comes in handy when soldiers are reading the navigation maps. Its also an important addition to your stealth mode.



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Armasight Bnvd Most Advanced Night Vision Goggles

With Armasights return and separation from FLIR, their product listings are slim, but they have substance. Armasight now only offers high-quality Gen 3 IIT night vision devices. The BNVD are binoculars that are ideally suited to goggle use, but a legitimate drawback is maximal cost.



The BNVD is a logical option for those who want the most advanced night vision goggles on their helmet. It provides all the benefits of night vision with binocular vision for both eyes. Incredibly convenient is that you can flip one barrel up for unassisted vision in one eye when needed.

As a binocular, its surprisingly lightweight at 1.4 lbs and compact at 5.4 x 2.8 x 4.6 in size. To be of further assistance in surveillance, law enforcement operations, and for predator hunting, its both water and fog-resistant this inspires confidence in build integrity and continued performance in less-than-ideal weather.

The Armasight BNVD has an exorbitant price tag for a Gen 3 tube with 64-72 lp/mm resolution, automatic and manual gain, a built-in IR illuminator, 1x magnification, and Bright-Light Cut-Off. There are a few other special features about it that may justify its cost. It can be powered with either an AA or CR123 battery, and you also have a binocular vision with adjustable diopters.

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Great Night Vision Goggle Options

The best night vision goggles may be subjective, but weve found a couple options we believe will get the job done effectively. Without further ado, here are our five favorite ones available on the market:

1. PVS-14 Monocular

You can use the PVS-14 Monocular both as night vision goggles and as a scope for your weapon. Its a versatile, durable option that has been used by actual military personnel for many years. Expect to pay at least $2,500, with some prices approaching $5,000, but the results are undeniable.

2. Superior Tactical PVS-7

The Superior Tactical PVS-7 is light, waterproof, and capable of military-grade night vision. Your battery life isnt great, but this is a comparatively affordable option at around $2,900 that has been used by the military to deliver on missions.

3. Nightfox Corsac

The Nightfox Corsac is a great option that delivers results without costing too much. There is an HD camera, but it doesnt work quite as well as higher-priced options however, when you consider you can find these goggles for under $200, it is a great steal for the performance they do provide.

4. ATN PS31-3W

For the darkest environments, the ATN PS31-3W comes through. You receive a greater field of vision, and it comes with an easily adjustable strap to help provide the best comfort as well as the ability to adjust on the fly. You can expect to spend well over $7,500 on these depending on where you shop, so be sure that your usage will match the price tag involved.

Best Military Night Vision Goggles

Gen 2 Military Surplus Night Vision Goggles

Military Night Vision Goggles give the military an added advantage in night/dark tactical operations.

Today, the advanced night vision goggles are reserved for the military. They come with Gen 2, Gen 3, or 4-night vision to provide high-quality images and great depth perception.

In this post, we are going to enlighten you in search of the best military night vision goggles available on the market today.

Without wasting any more time, time lets get started.

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Bushnell Equinox Z Night Vision Monocular

For those that prefer a monocular, Bushnells Equinox Z offers 6x magnification and 50-millimeter objective lens diameter. Its an incredible night vision tool for those in need of long-range image capability in low ambient light conditions. This monocular also features an adjustable infrared brightness for use in total darkness.

This night vision monocular is also one of the few night vision systems that offer daytime color, which makes image clarity appear as if youre operating in full daylight. This system offers a built-in illuminator that helps it achieve viewing distances up to 1000 feet . Its also capable of capturing images and video for post-tactical viewing.

How Night Vision Improves The Ability To Communicate

Night vision allows users to see what is around them at all times. This increased awareness of surroundings is paramount to clear critical communications. Night vision is a tool that enhances communication because it gives users the ability to inform their team of their surroundings.

Overall, night vision leads to better communication which in turn leads to safer missions and accomplishing more tasks.

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Night Owl Optics Nobg1

The NOBG1 tactical goggles from Night Owl Optics are a military-style system best used for hands-free operation with a head-mask or helmet. It has a hinged quick-release mount that gives you the ease and convenience of flipping the goggle up out of your field of view or detaching to use as a hand-held binocular when needed.

These tactical night vision goggles provide a non-magnified, 1-to-1 image with a wide field of view. This makes them a great selection for walking or operating a vehicle. They also come with F1.4 lenses that improve depth perception and a light sensor that automatically cuts power to prevent burn out of the intensifier tubes when the goggles are exposed to a potentially damaging light source.

Types Of Night Vision Devices

Military Grade Night Vision for Civilians
Takes some getting used to by looking out of one eye. Heavier and cant be mounted on a helmet. Heavy so it can weigh the helmet down a bit. Cant use a night vision scope during the day.

Night vision devices are available in goggles, binoculars, monoculars, and scopes. Each device is used differently and can change how you use night vision.

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Types Of Night Vision Generations Explained

Night Vision Generations dictate price, clarity, brightness, and longevity. You will typically see them labeled as GEN 1-4. The US military after analyzing GEN 4 technology decided that it was still just slightly improved GEN 3. Therefore you will still see some companies marketing GEN 4, or 3+, but for simplicity, we will stick with the US military and use 1-3.

Generation 1 night vision has been around since the 1960s and used in the Vietnam war. At the time it was certainly better than nothing, but as you can see from the photo above, as the generations progressed, so did the clarity, and price as well. Another thing worth nothing is there are different degrees of quality for each generation. The US military gets first picks on the best tubes coming off the production line. This is why you will sometimes see quality differences between two of the exact same generation tubes, and even models.

Best Night Vision Goggles 202: All Budgets & Night

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If you want to own the night, there is one thing we can all agree on, you will need a great pair of night vision goggles.

Overall, the best night vision goggles are the Armasight BNVD. The BNVD has a Gen 3 tube, automatic and manual gain, 1X magnification and a built-in IR illuminator. This advanced binocular offers the very best of night vision for armed professionals, hunters and civilians.

I understand that not everyone has $7000 or more to spend on night vision goggles though, and you may prefer a different technology.

For this reason, I have also reviewed some other great goggles in cheaper price ranges using Gen 1, Gen 2 and digital technology I have even included something for the kids!


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Nightfox Swift Best Under $200

In general, night vision goggles under $100 and $200 will be very similar. With digital technology and limited range, the distinctive differences between the two price lines will be its helmet-mounting compatibility. The NightFox Swift includes a head mount and 1x magnification suited to goggle use.



The NightFox Swift is a 1x zoom digital goggle set. Its designed with a single display and an eyecup that surrounds both eyes. Included with the Swift model is a simple head mounting strap that allows for hands-free use. For complete hands-free operation for mobility, a more secure and quality head or helmet mounting system would be required.

As an NVD, it can be used safely in color mode during the day and then it switches to black/white mode for night vision. It is a small display with low resolution, but it suffices for recreational CQB use and varmint hunting.

Its detection range is between 10-70 yards. Though the NightFox Swift has adjustable IR illuminator settings, the emitter lights glow red compromising detection and your position. Both the manufacturer and buyers report the best options for improving stealth and increasing range to 100 yards is to turn off the IR illuminators on the Swift and use an external IR flashlight. That will be a separate purchase but perhaps fitting for nerf, airsoft, or hunting applications.

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