Stalking the Night- Part 2, by Mark B.

Yesterday, I wrote about my experience where I needed night vision while being stalked on the mountain “alone”. I also wrote about the various generation technology advancements of night vision. Let’s proceed to outline the details of night vision technology and what it means.

Understanding Resolution and Signal-to-Noise Specifications

The two most important specifications for any night vision device are resolution and signal-to-noise ratio. In fact one of the main parameters for determining whether a night vision device can be exported is the multiple of these two specifications, also known as “Figure Of Merit”. If the NVD you are considering buying is subject to ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations), it is a pretty good bet that you are looking at a high quality NVD. Conversely, if there is no restriction attached to the unit you are considering, it is probably a POS.


Much like a television or computer … Continue reading

Stalking the Night- Part 1, by Mark B.

I remember as a young man I spent a considerable amount of time hiking, backpacking, and camping in the mountains, usually by myself. Getting away from it all and honing my skills of self-reliance at the same time has always appealed to me. Maybe it is something, on a primal level, relating back to my cave man ancestry.

Senses Go Into Overdrive

It has been my experience that anytime you are completely alone that your awareness and senses go into overdrive, bombarding you with all sorts of new stimuli. At times, this can become overwhelming, and I would be lying if I stated that I have never had the hair on the back of my neck stand up when I was deep in the woods all by myself.

Thermal Headset for Under $250, by Ricky B.

Flir image

I’ll bet my step-mama’s grave that anyone visiting SurvivalBlog either has a thermal headset or night vision device or would really like to have one. I was never able to emerge from the latter category until this year. I simply couldn’t afford to plunk down a thousand bucks or more on a limited family budget. That was the case, until now.

Smartphone-Mounted Thermal Camera

I recently discovered that a small, smartphone-mounted thermal camera can be had for about $200. Flir1 and Seek are the two competitors in this arena. Their cameras come in versions for both android and iOS devices. The only difference is the connector that plugs into the camera. Initially, I wasn’t too excited about relying on a thermal camera that had to be attached to my smartphone. Aside from being a novel toy, I figured the backlight from the … Continue reading

JWR’s Recommendations of the Week

Flir II

Here are JWR’s Recommendations of the Week for various media and tools of interest to SurvivalBlog readers. This week’s focus is on thermal night vision monoculars. (See the Gear section, near the end of this column.)


How Not To Be Hacked: The Definitive Guide for Regular People

o o o

Nuts! A 101st Airborne Division Machine Gunner at Bastogne


Silly Wizard: Wild & Beautiful

Guest Article: The MVT Lite Fight Concept- Part 2, by Max Alexander

Light Weight Gear

We’ve covered the first two components of the MVT Lite Fight Concept —Lite Hydration Pack (LHP) and plate carrier. However, I haven’t wrapped up my comments relating to plates. Here are my notes:

Ballistic Plates:

  • There is a persistent tomfoolery about steel plates. These are heavy, suffer badly from spalling (ever shot a steel target; you are wearing one). You cannot navigate while wearing them (magnetic compass). In the winter it would be like wearing a refrigerator.
  • Ceramic/hybrid plates are criticized for needing a little more care, like not throwing them off the back of your truck lest they crack (which in itself does not make them ineffective) and for not being as “multi-hit” as steel. I don’t throw my optics or night vision or radios off the back of my truck either.
  • Ceramic/hybrid plates are in fact multi-hit and due to the weight savings are a considerable investment in … Continue reading

Letter Re: Night Vision Gear and Infrared

Night Vision Gear


I’ve read JWR’s books and have been reading your site for a year now. I am a big fan. However, I’ve seen little or no verbiage on where to buy reasonably priced NVG or IR. Obviously your books and those of other good writers, like Joe Nobody, talk constantly about using them, and yet, it seems none are priced less than $1500. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks in advance. – J

HJL’s Comment:

As an entry level device, you can get a first generation device (usually Russian made) at nearly any sporting goods store that carries hunting/camping equipment for as low as $300. While these devices are okay for basic use, they have limited range and limited resolution. Unless they have been autogated (shuts off temporarily when bright lights are sensed) they can be damaged in normal light. They can also go completely white (well, really green) ruining … Continue reading

Bushnell Equinox Night Vision Scope, by Pat Cascio

Bushnell Equinox Night Vision

This week, I will be reviewing The Bushnell Equinox Night Vision Scope.

Most readers readily know that I’m a bargain hunting hound. I have to be. I simply don’t have enough income to purchase all the “toys” I want. It’s been this way my entire life, too. Several of my are amazed at my bartering skills and survival mindset, but I have to be this way. Now that I’m semi-retired and collecting my very meager social security benefits each month, I once again am forced by life to make do with what we have.

I know that many people believe that all writers make millions of dollars a year. If only that were the case! Most gun writers I know hold down a second regular job. They can’t live on what they are paid for their articles. What we do is akin to a “ministry”, if you will. Our hearts are in it. We love to pass along information to our readers. When testing various products, we all hope we get it right most of the time.

The local gun shop knows that I love a bargain. It has to be a bargain before I’ll even look at a firearm and consider purchasing it. Every now and then, the gun shop will set a firearm aside for me. They seem to know that I’ll probably buy it some how! I know I’m in trouble when I walk in the front door and someone starts waving a gun in the air to get my attention. Grrrr!! Continue reading

Firefield Nightfall-2 Night Vision Scope, by Pat Cascio

We all know, or at should know, that there are certain pieces of kit that we should have if we are truly preparing for a SHTF scenario of any type. We always discuss firearms, and that is first on most lists. We then have to add food and water, as well as shelter of some type, because we never know what the emergency might be that brings us to a scenario where we might have to bug out or are left to our own devices to survive as best we can. To many of us, this is an excuse to purchase more guns and ammo, and if that is your number one goal you aren’t really a Prepper, in my humble opinion. There is a lot more involved in surviving whatever may come our way than just owning a lot of firearms. As stated, food and water are a must. … Continue reading

Amazing Affordable Force Multipliers – Part 1, by Tupreco

Night Vision, Thermal Vision, Wireless Video, EMP Protection

I decided now is the time to put this together because the consistent theme in every prepper blog and financial publication today is that TIME.IS.RUNNING.OUT. Even non-preppers know something is up because it is starting to pop up now and then in random conversations. Many average people are finally realizing that something is different this time. However, they mostly still want to complain and do nothing, but at least it’s a start. In the meantime, the more motivated among us are making ready for the pending disruptions we know are coming. This remains an excellent strategy to provide for loved ones and do what we can to help put the pieces back together. Having a plan and working it is critical, and priorities should be reviewed frequently. Yet, even up to the end, we will all have loose ends and things … Continue reading

Scot’s Product Review: Armasight Night Vision Accessories

I recently reviewed the $549 Russian-made Armasight Spark Core night vision device and promised to do an update on some of the accessories that can be used with it. If you recall, I liked the monocular unit (which was $90 less when I bought it) and felt it offered a lot of bang for the buck, enough so that I purchased it on my own and then reviewed it. I still like it, but I am very concerned about not being able to get a response from Armasight on several questions. I contacted them both as a purchaser looking for product support and as a SurvivalBlog writer looking for information. I received no reply from emails or phone calls. They also neglected to answer a request to borrow some of the accessories for a review. Even if they don’t want to make anything available, courtesy should mandate a … Continue reading

Letter Re: Light Blocking Suggestions for Windows

Here in Alaska, people often block incoming light with a single layer of aluminum foil.. the kind from the supermarket.  It is difficult to sleep here in summer when the sun never sleeps.  This same method would work to keep light in. 

light weight
easy to store

Regards, – Carol S.

Letter Re: Light Blocking Suggestions for Windows

Hello Jim,
I’ve been following the window light blocking conversation with interest. The prospect of spending money and time for highly specialized fabrics or felts, for a highly specialized purpose, which may or may not be a future necessity, just doesn’t feel affordable or practical to me. In comparison, I believe my simple, flexible, and inexpensive alternative approach has much to offer.

I’ve been stocking up on large Polar Fleece blankets, as a multi- purpose basic material, from my local thrift store, where I can often find a queen or king size for around $10. Two or three folded layers will block out any light as necessary. The fabric can also be used for clothing, for insulation, for padding, and for so much more. I prefer to think in terms of basic “building block” materials that can serve many functions, and this is one good example.

Keep up the … Continue reading

Letter Re: Low Voltage DC LED Strip Lights for Disaster House Lighting

Dear JWR:
This might have been thought of before, but I just stumbled into something called LED strip lights. Here is a sample.

They come in 15 meter rolls, are about 1/2 inch wide and have 300 individual LED lights. They can be cut into segments between every third light. They run off of 12 volts DC and are actually rather bright while using little electricity. If you purchased one of those little strips the reloading companies sell to mount inside the press so you can see what’s going on, it is probably this stuff. There are several versions. Some have 150 light and some have larger LEDs that put out more light. There are several colors available including multi-color ones for holiday lighting.

I’m seeing a lot of possibilities for emergency use. A strip with six LEDs on it will light most … Continue reading

Letter Re: Light Blocking Suggestions for Windows

Mr. Rawles,
I’ve just listened to another interview you gave, and noted yet again that you consider light control of utmost importance.  I have several suggestions from the fabric store.  There is a material that really does work perfectly for light control at a reasonable cost (helped by the readily available Joann Fabric Store – also online – 50% off coupons): drapery lining material referred to as ‘blackout’ fabric.  A common brand of this fabric is Roc-Lon, if searching online for it. 

Another fabric I’ve worked with is the Warm Window insulated shade system ( and also carried at most Joann Fabric stores).  This system uses multiple layers of fabric which not only produces a blackout effect but also provides a vapor barrier and a nice layer of insulation for windows.  This fabric can be used to make something like a balloon shade, which can be raised and … Continue reading

Letter Re: Selecting a Prepper’s Firearms

James Wesley,
I have found red dot scopes to be real helpful, and great for target shooting and plinking.  The problem of course are the [button] batteries. I have a cheap red dot on one of my [Ruger] 10/22 fun plinking gun.  Everyone loves it.  However, too Many times I have left the sight turned on only to have a useless device atop my rifle. I have spent much money on the special “photo type” batteries for these illuminated scopes (with and without reticles). Those scopes that have a regular reticle and the option of illumination is not as catastrophic as a red dot with a dead battery and no quick back up iron sights.  I have added Trijicon RMR Dual-Illuminated Sight (Ruggedized Miniature Reflex) to two of my survival rifles. The illumination of the dot is done with with ambient light and has tritium illumination for low light/night … Continue reading