With such outstanding performance, it’s easy to see why the NightShot is one of the top competing night vision scopes in its price range. You’ll be seeing clear on even the darkest of nights.
These days, it’s pretty hard to find a good night vision scope without draining your bank account. It’s as if manufacturers have forgotten that there’s a market for people wanting to night hunt on a budget. Fortunately, Night Owl Optics has made it clear that you don’t have to spend an arm or a leg for a quality scope. Their NightShot digital night vision rifle scope offers all the same abilities of a more expensive option but at the price of a regular daytime optic.
Whether you are a coyote hunter, a pig hunter, or you just want the option of shooting at night, the NightShot has you covered no matter what you need. In this article, we will go through some of the things that make the NightShot so great, look at some of its drawbacks, hear what the critics say, and dive into some of the finer details of its specs.
Who Are Night Owl Optics?
Night Owl Optics is an American company based out of Texas. They have been making night vision optics for a few decades now, and in that time, they've really dedicated themselves to investing in research and development. Thanks to their dedication, Night Owl Optics has been able to make quality products while still passing savings onto the buyer.
The first thing that buyers will probably notice about the Night Owl Optics NightShot is its price point. Anyone looking for a night vision scope has likely run into a whole host of scopes costing a couple thousand dollars or more. However, we know that the average hunter is more likely to look for a high-quality piece of equipment without the premium price tag. With the NightShot, that’s what you get. It does its job without all the extra bells and whistles.
The NightShot truly is a versatile scope. Even if you’re not a hunter and you are just looking to try out a night vision scope, this is an excellent choice. You can take this scope out paintballing with your friends, have nighttime airsoft battles, or even mount it on a crossbow for some in-the-dark archery.
It can range anywhere from 100 to 200yds on a typical night and is durable enough that you don’t have to worry about breaking it. It’s not got as much glitz to it as some other scopes that can record your shots but, what it does do, the NightShot does well.
Let’s take a look at what we’ve got.
Magnification and Aiming
|NightShot Lens Specs|
|640×480 high-res display|
|5.6-degree field of view|
|2.7in eye relief|
|1/4” windage/elevation adjustments|
|Focusing from 10yds to infinity|
The NightShot is a fixed magnification scope meaning that you can’t change the power of the magnification. This might not sound like such a great thing, but really, you’re getting a more reliable product with a brighter and clearer image. That being said, it will zoom in to three times normal vision. It’s not a considerable amount of magnification, but it’s enough to sight 300 yards easily. You honestly will not even need that much.
The diameter of the lens objective is 40mm and, when you look through the scope, you’ll see your targets on a high-resolution 640×480 digital display. Considering the size of this display, it’s quite good, especially when you take into account that a lot of scopes costing four times more have roughly the same resolution.
You likely won’t be taking shots past about 200 yards with this scope. Also, with a field of view of only 5.6 degrees, this is pretty much guaranteed to be a close-range scope. Anything beyond that range, and you’ll be pretty hard-pressed to get a clean shot. That being said, though, the NightShot comes with a nice rubber eyeshade that you can lean into to get right up on the 2.7 inches of eye relief.
The NightShot is also easily adjusted using three knobs—one for windage, one for elevation, and one for focusing the lens from 10 yards to infinity. Each click changes the windage and elevation by 1/4″.
The only downside to the aiming of this scope is that it’s not rated for rounds larger than .30 caliber. If you’re shooting a .308, this scope is knocked out as a possibility.
Infrared Illuminator and Reticle
The NightShot comes with a built-in 850nm infrared illuminator that sits at the front of the sight. The infrared beam fires above the lens and lights up the image in front of you, up to 100 yards away on the darkest nights. If you’re out on a night with more light, you can expect to get a clear image out to 150y yards.
|NightShot IR and Reticle Specs|
|Built-in IR 850nm illuminator|
|Housing for additional illuminator|
|3 styles of reticle|
|2 choices of reticle color|
It is also possible to attach a higher-powered IR illuminator on the side of the built-in option. Night Owl Optics sells a higher-powered option, but you will have to buy it separately.
The infrared illuminator can be easily turned off and on by pressing one of three buttons in front of the eyepiece. The other two buttons control the display; one turns it off and on, and the other controls the brightness.
The reticle of the display is a nice little addition to the NightShot. With a lot of scopes in this price range, you do not have the option of customizing your reticle, but, with this scope, you have the choice of 3 different styles. You can also choose whether you want the reticle in black or white. Ultimately, with six different options, you can pick whichever best suits your environment.
Durability and Build
Nowadays, most scopes are made of forged aluminum. Some companies have even gone as far as to boast about their quality, stating that it’s aircraft grade. Unfortunately, with night vision scopes, aluminum can often add a lot of extra weight to your gun. Night Owl Optics worked around this problem by building the NightShot out of an engineered thermoplastic.
Thermoplastic might not be as tough as aluminum, but don’t think that this is a flimsy build. At only 1.3lbs, the thermoplastic body makes the NightShot a much lighter option than the average night vision scope and can still take the abuse of repeated .223 Rem/5.56 NATO rounds.
The NightShot is also O-ring sealed and purged with dry nitrogen to make it waterproof, dustproof, and fog proof. This is pretty standard for all quality scopes these days.
Also, the infrared illuminator on this thing is pretty tough. You can use it in the day without worrying about it frying out, making this a daytime friendly scope.
The NightShot is pretty standard when it comes to mounting. It fits a Picatinny or Weaver rail but, fair warning, it works best with rifles that have 2-2.5in of space between the centerline of the barrel and the scope. You can get a Picatinny riser if the rail on your gun is higher than that. If you’re using a Dovetail rail, Night Owl Optics can also sell you an adapter to help get you set up.
|NightShot Mounting Options|
|Dovetail||Adapter available for purchase|
Keep in mind that this scope isn’t rated to rounds higher than .30 caliber, though. So, don’t bother going through all the trouble of mounting one if you’re shooting more than that.
Maybe the best part about this scope’s mounting process is that, if you’re having a hard time and just can’t get it to work, you can contact the company for help and assistance at +1(800) 444-5994. They’ll walk you through the process and get you set up in no time. That way, you can get out to the range and sight your new scope.
Unlike other scopes that use harder- to-find batteries, the Night Owl Optics NightShot takes 4 AA or lithium batteries. If you’re using the highest infrared illumination setting, you can expect to get about 2 hours of use out the scope. At the lowest setting, you’ll get closer to 5 hours. If you’re using quality alkaline batteries, you can extend the scope’s life to about 12 hours by turning off the infrared illuminator or as high as 17 hours with quality lithium ones.
If buying packs of batteries every time you go hunting doesn’t sound up your alley, you can also use rechargeable batteries with this scope. The batteries go into a compartment on the side of the scope, but as easy as changing them is, you may have to remove the scope to get the batteries replaced.
Perks, Bells, and Whistles
Compared to higher-priced options, the Night Owl Optics NightShot doesn’t fair as well when it comes to add-ons. Just lately, an added camera for filming all of the action has become a popular option among some hunters. Unfortunately, with the NightShot, you don’t get this perk. The benefit of the NightShot is really its quality optics at an unbeatable price. Night Owl Optics is able to achieve this by cutting back on any unnecessary frills.
You do, however, get a microfiber lens cleaning cloth, a user’s guide, and built-in lens caps with your purchase. So we’ve walked you through all of the details and built up to the magic moment. How much does this scope actually cost? You might be surprised to find out that, even with all of its positive attributes, the NightShot comes in at only $363.30. That’s substantially less than other products promising roughly the same thing.
But what do people who have actually bought it have to say? Let’s look at some of the reviews.
The Night Owl Optics NightShot performs pretty well with buyers. It holds a 4/5 rating with more than half of all buyers rating it 5-stars. It also ranks number 15 among all hunting night vision products.
Most buyers agreed that this scope was a fantastic purchase for a fantastic price. Buyers widely agree that the brightness and image quality are well above what they expected, especially at this price. Some users reported being able to land shots well past 100 yards even on nights when the moon was hardly visible. That’s pretty impressive, considering that the moon is the only real source of light at night.
Another aspect that buyers commented on was how easily the NightShot mounted to their Weaver and Picatinny rails. In fact, the mounting alone has been rated 4-stars among all buyers.
Of course, they did clue-in to a few drawbacks. Number one is that you have to remove the scope to change out the batteries. This is a nuisance when you’re out in the field, and your scope dies after only a couple of hours. But besides that, the only other consistent complaint was that some parts of the scope seemed wobbly. Otherwise, all-in-all, the buyers agreed that this scope is a fantastic piece of equipment and highly recommend it.
So there you have it! Before we close this out, let’s take one last look at the pros and cons.
- Undeniable price
- Clear, bright image up to 200yds
- Lightweight thermoplastic body
- Six custom reticle choices
- Can hold an added IR illuminator
- Comfortable eyeshade
- Not rated for rounds above .30 caliber
- Must remove scope to change batteries
- Lacks flashy accessories
Night Owl Optics has proven that you don’t have to bankrupt yourself just to get quality night vision optics. If you’re looking to go coyote or pig hunting and you need a new night vision scope, you will be hard-pressed to find a better option that the NightShot. Thanks to years of research and development, Night Owl Optics has made a scope that does its job and does it well. By cutting back on all the unnecessary extras, they’ve passed on savings to you.
Remember to give the user’s manual a good read before you go out into the woods at night with your scope. You’ll only get the best out of your equipment when you know how to use it. Hopefully, you’ve learned a bit about this awesome optic, and we hope you enjoy purchasing and using it!