Letter Re: Night Vision Gear for a Long Term Collapse

I’d appreciate your advice. I am in the process of getting my family dialed-in for a long term collapse. (My main concern is a post-Peak Oil economic collapse.) Since I expect “the problem” to last at least 5 or 10 years before the economy gets reorganized (at a much lower level, and prolly much more dispersed and localized), I have worries that if I get a Starlight scope or goggles that they will be inop[erative] within three or four years, given constant use. From all that I’ve read, even the best [light amplification] tubes eventually burn out. I’m also worried that it would take 40 or 50 rechargeable batteries–even those gee whiz nickel hydride “no memory” batteries to last me [through the scenario]. What is the best alternative for someone looking at a 10+ year problem, yet still wanting the advantages of Starlight-type technology? And is there anything else that is low tech (other than friggin’ bells on strings) that I can use for night time defense of a retreat out in the wilds? Thank You Sir, – Allen D.

JWR Replies: There are a couple of alternatives that I can suggest. First, is buying a brand new “low hours” Gen 2 or Gen 3 night vision scope that uses standard type AA batteries plus a spare intensifier tube, and of course plenty of spare batteries. My recommended suppliers for Starlight weapon sights and goggles are JRH Enterprises and Ready Made Resources. For full mil-spec units as well as spare intensifier tubes, talk to STANO Components. For additional rechargeable batteries at a discount price, contact All-Battery.com. As previously mentioned in SurvivalBlog, every well-prepared family should also have a small PV panel for battery charging.

One lower technology alternative to Starlight technology, as described in my novel “Patriots”, is tritium-lit scopes, such as those made by Trijicon. I am often quoted as saying that I consider them “the next best thing to a starlight scope.” I still do. We have six of these scopes on our rifles here at the Rawles Ranch, including three ACOGs. The half-life of tritium (a gaseous isotope of hydrogen) is 11.2 years, meaning that through radioactive decay they have one-half of their original brightness after 11.2 years. So the practical effective life of a tritium scope is 22 years, and the practical effective life of tritium iron sights is 33+ years. (The latter are much too bright for my liking when new from the factory. We have three Colt M1911 series .45 ACP handguns that were retrofitted with factory-fresh Trijicon iron sights in 1994. Now, some 13 years later, in my opinion they have only just now “mellowed” (by radioactive decay) to the point that I consider them practical for tactical night shooting. I probably won’t have them replaced until around 2024. Trijicon scopes and iron sights are available at quite competitive prices from CGW. (One of our advertisers.) Tell them that Jim Rawles sent you.