The AR-15 remains one of the most versatile rifles for long-range and mid-range shooting. It is a favorite for hunters who are presented with varying scenarios. While the AR-15 is pretty reliable, you need the best optics to have a precise shot. It even gets worse when hunting at night. There is no denying night time is the best time to hunt.
When the sun goes down, you have the perfect opportunity for predators and feral hog control. While there are higher chances of finding the game at night, you have minimal chances of spotting it. This is why we need night vision scopes for AR-15 hunting. Your versatile AR-15 alone is not enough without the right night vision scopes.
Detecting game at night
Scope choice is a hot topic especially when it comes to hunting in the dark. There is minimal light for normal day scopes to work. This requires choosing the best night vision scope. There are a lot of factors to consider before you can decide on the ideal night vision scope.
You need to take into consideration the hunting distance, conditions, and available light. Once you understand the hunting conditions, there are two-night optics for you to consider. These are the night vision scope and the thermal scope. Both optics help hunters in detecting, recognizing, and targeting the game. So, the big question is which is the most suitable between a night vision scope and a thermal scope.
Let’s have a look at the two categories of night optics to mount on your AR-15 rifle.
Night vision scopes
Night vision scopes are the most common and one you’ve probably seen on TV. Military movies on the TV show the scope with a green-hued screen. Night vision scopes work by collecting and intensifying any ambient light available. These can be starlight, moonlight, and any light on the sky at night. These scopes are usually paired with infrared light that illuminates a target or field.
The infrared light is usually invisible to the eye but looks like a spotlight through a night-vision scope. In simple terms, night vision scopes work just like the human eye. They are able to see light bouncing off objects and targets and creating an image of the said target.
Types of night vision scopes
Night vision scopes have evolved through the years with new generations coming into the market. When choosing a night vision scope, you will see terms as Gen 1, Gen 2, and Gen 3 night vision scopes. These terms go to show the generations through which night visions copes have evolved. Gen 1 night vision scopes are the most basic and usually budget-friendly. Each generation after one will cost you more to generation 3.
If you’re looking for further detection with minimal ambient lights, then consider the high-end Gen 3 night vision scopes. Nowadays, we have a new classification called the Digital Night Vision which uses an intensifier tube. It is a versatile scope that can also be used during the daytime.
There is a big difference between night vision scopes and thermal optics. Thermal optics read heat by detecting temperature changes. The thermal optics feature high-tech processors in the thermal optic. The high-tech processors are able to detect any large difference in temperatures and create a digital image of the heat map.
You can clearly see digital pictures of objects and landscapes in the optic. Different thermal scopes feature different color pallets. You can switch color pallets to your specifications. In simple terms, thermal scopes are heat sensors. Thermal scopes can see minute differences in the heat with higher precision.
When hunting, the game just like humans generates heat making their surroundings warmer. Cold blooded animals like snakes will be hard to see since their body heat matches the surroundings. Because thermal scopes detect heat radiations, they don’t require any light to produce an image.
Thermal scopes are suitable for hog and deer hunting at night. You need to consider a thermal image scope that will perfectly mount on your AR-15. You can also consider a thermal imaging monocular which is lightweight and extremely durable. Such thermal scopes allow hunters to quickly spot hogs and deer at night increasing their chances of a successful kill.
Deciding between a night vision scope and a thermal scope
The two optics come with their pros and cons. Night vision scopes are suitable for hunting in clear fields without bushes and tall grasses. They produce a clear image of the target without shining visible light in the game. However, night vision will not see through fog, tall grass, and foliage.
Thermal scopes, on the other hand, can see through smoke, fog, grass, and foliage. It clearly reads heat making it a suitable choice in fog conditions. However, most thermal optics cost thousands of dollars.