Letter Re: Advice on AN/PVS-14 Gen 3 Night Vision Monoculars

Hello Mr. Rawles,
Could you post some qualities to look for in an AN/PVS-14 Generation 3 night vision monocular/weapon sight? I would like to support one of your advertisers, but the different quality levels (apparently due to the sensor quality) is different even within the same make/model across different US manufacturers, but at very different prices.  Have you any thoughts? Best Regards, – Tom

JWR Replies: If you want to buy the best, then you need to get a military specification Gen 3+ AN/PVS-14 monocular that comes with a Litton factory data sheet.  Have one hand-picked for the maximum number of line pairs and minimal scintillation. (Scintillation is an image degradation commonly called “the sparklies”.) If possible, make arrangements visit the seller’s store on an evening, and do side-by-side tests with multiple scopes. (Or offer to pay the vendor to do so, if you can’t travel there.) Even with data sheets, the image quality differs a bit. This is because even though night vision equipment is mass produced, their michochannel plates are hand-assembled into image tubes in a clean room. This is very delicate and precise work. It is as much an art as it is a science. Some of ITT’s assemblers have been doing these tasks for 20+ years.

You can order a mil-spec night vision monocular with confidence from any of SurvivalBlog’s advertisers. But beware of those fly-by-night sellers who’s idea of “re-mamufacturing” is rebuilding surplus scopes on their kitchen table. There are also a few vendors that are selling scopes with forged data sheets. Again, buy only from reputable dealers.