SightMark 1×24 Night Vision Monocular, Best Beginner NVG?


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Night vision can be useful for tactical and survival situations. The prices range from $99$3,700+.

The SightMark 1×24 monocular is a Russian made PVS-14 style knock off. Unlike some other Chinese made digital night vision units that sell for around $150, we decided to go with “true” night vision option and review this $299 night vision monocular.

Included in the Kit

Included in our kit:

  • Carrying Bag
  • Monocular
  • Plastic Mounting Rig
  • Head Mounting Straps

The entire kit comes packed neatly inside this shoulder bag.

It’s a nice addition for the kit but the thin walls of the bag is obviously cheaply made, and I wouldn’t expect it to offer any real protective capabilities if you’re out in the field, running, jumping, etc. It’s just a nice thing to have for storage.

The head unit it comes with is also a convenient addition, however just like the bag it comes it, it may not serve your needs if you’re seriously planning on using this for tactical use case.

The main problem is the plastic mounting gear. For walking around and “ghost hunting” it works fine, but if you’re running around, moving through the brush, etc, the weight of the monocular does cause the plastic mount to flex and it will bounce around in front of your eye.

Because these accessories are nice optional feature, and most low end NVG kits don’t normally have this, I won’t be very harsh on it.

I think it’s a great addition for anyone’s first night vision kit.

Lastly it should be noted that the headgear with the monocular mounted does NOT fit back inside the bag even in the folded position! 🙁

The Unit Itself

It has a decent weight to it, heavy enough that it doesn’t feel like a cheap toy.

On the first day, I wore it for over an hour straight, with the head kit properly mounted, I didn’t feel tired or annoyed with the weight. However the headgear itself isn’t the most comfortable thing I’ve ever worn!

The nice thing about this NVG is that it runs on 2 x AA batteries, so if you ever were in a survival situation, you can have ready access to power.

The unit features two buttons only, “ON” and “IR” which turns on the infrared light for further clarity.

One thing I did notice about this unit, is that the “ON” button does not need to be pressed down for any amount of time for the NVG to turn on. This could be a plus for quick activation, but could also mean accidental power draining if you’re not careful.

Night Vision Quality

I was actually very impressed with the quality. I had owned a digital night vision camcorder which ONLY functions using an IR light.

I had never owned a “true” phosphor night vision unit, let alone one for only $300.

Unfortunately, I could not get my DSLR to work with the NVG (since it’s designed for your eyes) so the image is made using my phone.

You can expect that the quality is MUCH different in person. It’s actually very sharp!

There is some heavy distortion around the edges of the image but the center seems nice and in focus. There was ambient moon light present and it was enough to light up the scene through the NVG.

The video mode (above) actually captures the sharpness of the image much better (checking out my pitch black garage with IR light turned on).

Conclusion

I have been playing with this for almost a month now and I have been very impressed.

I almost made the mistake of getting a $99 Bushnell or Sightmark unit that was 2×24 instead of 1×24.

The difference would have been a 2x zoom on the unit. Having the zoom on the unit is NOT ideal if you plan to wear it mounted over one eye and walk around with it.

I am pleased with this purchase and I think it actually makes a great addition to my tactical bag or camping pack.

Overall, because I could not find this unit for any cheaper than $299 on eBay, I would say it was totally worth the price and would not recommend any other cheaper unit or digital night vision.

 

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