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 Choosing a Night Vision Rifle Scope 
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Post Choosing a Night Vision Rifle Scope
Choosing a Night Vision Rifle Scope
by: Austin Cushing


Hunters, wildlife management officers, and game control agencies often use night vision rifle scopes and other night vision equipment to assist in deer hunting, varmint control, and other activities that are easier at night. The right night vision scope can make the difference between a perfect shot and the buck that got away.

Night vision systems are rated in terms of Generation, or Gen for short. There are three broad Generation levels, each signifying a significant leap in technological development over the previous generation of night vision equipment.

Generation 1

Generation 1 night vision equipment is designed to function under standard ambient light conditions (moonlight or starlight) or with sufficient IR illumination. It typically makes use of an S-20 photocathode with average photosensitivity of 180-200 µA/lm coupled with electron acceleration to achieve gain. Generation 1 devices are known to suffer from geometric distortion (the fish-eye effect). Gen 1 image intensifiers have a duty cycle of approximately 1,500 hours of continuous operation.

Generations 2, 2+ and Super Gen

Generation 2 devices are prone to significantly less distortion than Gen 1 devices, and provide better-than-satisfactory performance under standard low-light levels. They usually rely on an extended-red S-25 photocathode (with minimum photosensitivity of 240 µA/lm), plus a microchannel plate to achieve gain. European 'Super Gen' tubes represent the high end of Generation 2 night vision, achieving performance levels similar to early Gen 3 intensifier equipment. Gen 2 image intensifiers have a duty cycle of approximately 2,500 to 3,000 hours of continuous operation.

Generation 3

The most advanced level of night vision technology currently available, Gen 3 uses gallium-arsenide photocathodes with photosensitivity of more than 800 µA/lm in the 450 to 950 nanometer (near infrared) region of the spectrum, with a microchannel plate for gain. An ion barrier film coats the microchannel plate, extending the life of the end product. Gen 3 night vision provides excellent performance even under extreme low light levels. Mil-spec versions of Generation 3 night vision equipment have practically no perceptible distortion, while even civilian equipment provides substantial advantages in clarity over its predecessors. A typical Generation 3 image intensifier has a duty cycle of approximately 10,000 hours of continuous operation.

Each generation of night vision equipment offers a significant improvement in functional range, expected lifespan, and image resolution over its predecessor. A top-of-the-line commercial Generation 3 rifle scope such as the Night Optics D-760-3A ( can withstand the recoil of heavy-caliber weapons while providing target recognition out to a quarter of a mile away, ensuring that even at night, you'll be aiming at the right target.

With hunting season approaching, now is an excellent time to invest in a new night vision scope, high-visibility outdoor wear, hiking boots, and other survival and outdoor gear. If this article has inspired you, we encourage you to visit our website at for these and other tools. In addition to our listed brands, we have products from over 120 manufacturers to suit your needs on your next hunting trip - just call for quotes.

About The Author
Austin Cushing is the webmaster at - a division of Anchortex Corporation. Receive $10 off of any purchase over $100 by entering code ASP10 at our shopping cart (offer valid indefinitely but subject to change). To track all articles written by Austin Cushing, check out the Anchortex Blog at .
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Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:55 am
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