Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision Riflescope Review 

 September 20, 2019

By  Randy Angwin

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Last updated on September 17, 2022

Night Owl Optics is among the industry leaders in the manufacturing of night vision binoculars and monoculars. By making use of only the best in night vision technology, Night Owl Optics products won’t disappoint where performance and durability are concerned.

NightShot NV Riflescope

Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision Riflescope with IR illuminator, Black, NIGHTSHOT

From its wide range of impressive products, our interest today is primarily focused on the NightShot night vision rifle scope.

For people looking for an affordable night rifle scope this is the product to pick. 

Despite its low cost, the unit’s performance is in no way comprised. Made of engineered thermoplastic, it’s clear how strong the scope it. The general consensus is that this NightShot night vision rifle scope is an extremely high quality product as evidenced by the following key features.

Spectral Range

This NightShot night vision rifle scope has a wide spectral range of between 400nm to 900nm.

Frame Rate

Here we’re referring to the frequency at which the frames in an image are displayed. And this frame rate will determine how smooth the pictures are.

As general rule, the higher the frame rate the better. And this unit delivers a frame rate of 30 frames per second which is considered to be adequate for clear pictures.


You can comfortably view objects within 100 yards using this riflescope in a typical night time environment. If the lighting on a particular night is better the detection range increases to 200 yards.


With any riflescope, you want to enlarge the size of objects you’re viewing from a distance to get a clearer picture. And that’s something you can do with ease using this model. You can magnify objects up to three times for enhanced visibility.

Display Resolution

Images are displayed with impressive clarity despite using this scope in no or low light conditions. And that’s one of the products huge draw cards. This is thanks to the high 640 x 480 display resolution.

You have the option to pick from three reticle types. And each mode can be set in white or black. Simply adjust the reticle type - and color - to best suit the shooting environment at any given time. This significantly enhances the display picture.

Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision Riflescope with IR illuminator, Black, NIGHTSHOT

Mounting Options and Max Calibre

Setting up the unit is relatively quick and simple. Just follow the instructions as stated in the manual. Alternatively you can contact the manufacturer for any mounting advice.

The manufacturer gives you two mounting options with this scope. You can either mount it using the Weaver or picatinny rail systems. Regardless of the option you pick they both have the same dimensions; 0.835”.

If however you happen to have a dovetail rail, then we’d recommend that you purchase an adapter rail. This is because most Dovetail rails vary in size and can range from between 9.5mm and 19mm. As a result the adapter rail works by converting the mounting option accordingly.

Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision Riflescope with IR illuminator, Black, NIGHTSHOT

IR Illuminator 

Another of the unit’s impressive features is the integrated 850mm IR illuminator. The illuminator features a high power rating which is necessary for optimum night time viewing.

It should be noted that the illuminator is non-removable. But you do have the option of adding an additional IR illuminator. Simply make use of the mounting rails provided.

When not in use, the illuminator can be turned off to preserve the device’s battery life.

Weight and Dimensions

Weighing only 1.3lb, you can tell that it’s a relatively lightweight unit. Carrying it around will be hassle free. The product has the following dimensions; 13.2” x 2.7” x 4” which makes it a compact product for easy handling.

Battery Life and Power 

You’re likely to be impressed by the product’s long battery life. You can expect a battery life of between 4 to just under 18 hours. But note that the duration is affected by factors which include frequency of usage, settings and the type of batteries you use.

Needless to say, by using poor quality batteries, you’ll significantly shorten the battery life. You can either use it with alkaline or lithium batteries but be sure to opt for high quality batteries such as the latter.

When using alkaline batteries, the battery life will last approximately 12hours with the illuminator turned off. Expect the battery life to last over 17 hours with the lithium battery under the same settings.

When the IR is on high power, the battery life drains quickly; it may last only two hours. By setting the IR to low power, the battery life is lengthened to approximately five hours.

Important tip: To remove - or replace - the batteries, be sure to first remove the scope.


The product is covered by a one year limited warranty on any defects or malfunctions.

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Can it be used during daytime?

With most night riflescopes you can only use them at night. Fortunately that’s not the case with this digital night vision scope. Because it’s a digital scope, you can use it in pretty much any lighting condition - including daytime. Just be sure to turn off the illuminator and adjust the brightness downwards. This process prevents the image from being “washed out”.

Can an additional battery pack be attached?

Unfortunately not.

Is there a zoom function?

No. The device does not feature a zoom function.

Will it work with a crossbow?

This night vision digital scope is designed for many applications including the crossbow.

Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision Riflescope with IR illuminator, Black, NIGHTSHOT

Final Thoughts

Overall this is considered one of the best digital night vision scopes under $400. For such a low price, the quality is unmatched. The riflescope produces stunning clear images even in the darkest of nights. This scope is not only lightweight but also user friendly. Controls are simple and intuitive. 

In addition, you’ll be impressed by the general solid build of the product. The scope is water resistant so exposure to wet conditions is unlikely to damage the unit which adds to its durability. You’re guaranteed a long lasting unit if you pick this product.

Will we be recommending this NightShot Night Vision Rifle Scope to a friend? Absolutely.

About the author 

Randy Angwin

Randy Angwin holds a master of science degree from University of Florida. He is an expert in infrared and night vision technology. His knowledge helps us staying on top of the latest trends in the thermal industry. When not working, Randy likes to hunt and spend time with his two German shepherds.

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