An important issue that every shooter should overcome when integrating stealth technology such as image-intensification and thermal devices into their inventory would be how to engage the tools used during daylight hours with the tools used during low-light hours. Rifles require optics and iron sights for unnecessary aiming systems during the day.
However, during darkness, the same guns would require white and infrared lights to search and identify objects or people. Moreover, a dedicated night optic and an infrared laser also referred to as a clip-on night vision device would be attached to the day scope for finding, identifying, and aiming at the target.
Several advantages and disadvantages have been associated with every setup. However, the concept of a clip-on night sight attached to your existing day scope has been largely appealing for several reasons.
Clip-on night vision benefits
Clip-on night vision devices would be attached in front of the day scope on the rifle. To attach the night vision scope, you would need to place the NVD on an extended Picatinny rail or the fore-end bracket with a Picatinny rail. Most clip-on optics could be attached directly to the riflescope. However, the other available options could be attached to a specific mount replacing the top of the forward scope ring.
Use of a clip-on in front of the day optic enabled you to make the most of a familiar scope, adjustment knobs, reticle, and other controls he or she trained on during daylight hours for various night operations. This method would not require a reticle in a clip-on optic. The clip-onscopes would present the field of view and the target image to the day optic. Most clip-on scopes would be competent to work standalone where the clip-on would become the only optic. It would provide the target image and the aiming point. However, this configuration would lose the benefits of using the same day scope during the night operations.
The clip-onon the front of the day scope would benefit from the day scope’s magnification. It would also take the ability to zoom in and out. Clip-on night vision devices comprise digital zooms only that would degrade in quality with increased magnification. As the day scopes use optical zoom, there has been no degradation of the image due to enhanced magnification.
With increased magnification decreasing the exit pupils, there would be a significant reduction of light transmission. Most clip-on scope models would perform well only up to a moderate magnification level.
If the most popular clip-on NVDs have a drawback, even the use of image-intensification technology that depends on available light to render and display an image to the day’s optics. The efficiency of the clip-on increases as the amount of light rises. Conversely, the scope of the clip-on would be greatly limited on those dim, moonless, overcast nights and which require extra illumination with an infrared system. This has benefits and drawbacks as well.
To use an infrared illuminator is like flipping on a glowing light that says, “Drop artillery here!” for a military sniper operating vs a night-vision-equipped adversary. “On the other hand, by watching the reflections of the infrared light off the bases of the bullet, the sniper’s spotter, who also has a clip-on placed at the front of a spotting scope, or even the sniper himself, will watch the bullet travel to the goal.
It makes it much easier to detect impacts and adjust for a follow-up shot while observing the trace of the bullet than to do so during certain daytime conditions. If you’re an adventurer looking for some steel goals to ring after hours, it’s not a big deal to use infrared lighting.
Mounting a clip-on next to your day scope often takes full advantage of the magnification of the day scope and zooming in or out capacity. Generally, night-vision systems only have optical zooms that decline dramatically in quality as magnification rises. There is no distortion or pixilation of the image as magnification is enhanced as day scopes utilizes so optical zoom. However, there would be a decrease in transmitted light because the exit pupil increases with enhanced magnification. Some clip-on versions will only work well at moderate levels of magnification.
More considerations on Clip –on night vision
In broad daylight, switch your image-intensifying clip-on enabled and you can ruin it easily. Points throughout this case go over to the thermal one.
A further alternative would be to use your thermal clip-on throughout daylight hours as a handheld monocular. Via the thermal scan, you could identify heat signatures where animals can be hidden. Use your day’s optics to zoom in until you find the heat signature. Recognize the target then and hit the shot if necessary.
The capacity to use the optical zoom of the day scope links to the primary advantage of an image-intensifying clip-on over even a thermal clip-on: recognition. There is no question that identification can be made easier by a thermal clip-on or thermal scope, simply by recognizing the existence of a target. Even so, with an image-intensifying unit, recognizing the target is typically simpler due to the higher information available by such an optic.
When you operate under the kind of engagement rules or use of force standards under which military snipers and law enforcement marksmen operate, it is necessary to positively recognize the person who just stepped up to the building you are watching. There is a major difference between a tall guy with a beard and a silly hat just entered the building” and “Osama bin Laden just entered the house.” Positive recognition is enabled by the enhanced detail available by an image-intensifying system.
A thermal clip-on is a perfect choice for the around-the-clock hunter. In daylight hours, you have set up your stand. For your day optics, you have been zeroing and training. You are familiar with the controls and are relaxed and secure in their use. You can simply clip on your heating after sunset and the heat signatures of the animals are immediately noticeable. You could use the thermal clip-on throughout the day as well for that matter.