Does Night Vision Work and How?

The answer is Yes and No, some of the cheaper night vision devices including night vision monoculars and binoculars can be pretty poor and are not much more than novelty items. However, the military has used “real” night-vision for years and this technology has given the U.S. military an edge during the last three wars it has fought.

Over time this technology has been incorporated into consumer optics, but even though over time it has got cheaper, quality night vision devices can still be very expensive. As for how well you night vision binoculars, monoculars or other device works, will depend on it’s “Generation”. As the technology of night vision equipment evolved, with the performance generally increasing it has lead to several “generations” of night vision equipment. Most commercially available nightvision equipment is rated according to it’s ‘Generation’. The Generation (Gen) is extremely important to take note of when comparing devices as they indicate the level of technology used in the unit.

For more information on the Generations of night vision as well as how each of them works, take a look at my in-depth guide to Night Vision Binoculars, Monoculars, Goggles & Scopes

Who Makes the Night Vision Equipment?
Take a look at ATN Night Vision Devices, who make the biggest line of night vision equipment in the world. Their range includes optics in the fields of Binoculars, Daytime Scopes, Night Vision, Thermal Imaging, Laser Rangefinders and Laser Sights. Bushnell Optics also make some decent cheaper night vision goggles and monoculars.

Does ruby coating night vision work?
Mostly No. All the ruby coatings do is filter out a spectrum of light and by doing this, it gives the image a slight greenish color. Since many true night-vision optics have a greenish glow, some manufacturers try to make this claim. Mostly, the ruby coatings are used to mask the use of inferior optics. To slightly improve low-light viewing without buying expensive night-vision optics, use larger front objectives since they have a greater light-gathering ability.

If ruby coatings don’t work, are all other coatings a scam?
No. Lens Coatings are very useful and help improve contrast and clarity.


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