ARP 140 - Night Vision Devices

U.S. Army Cpl. Shaun Armstrong, of South Carolina, assigned to Focus Targeting Force, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, secures a landing zone during an air assault mission during Operation Champion Sword on Aug. 2, in the Khowst province, Afghanistan. Operation Champion Sword is a joint operation involving Afghan national security forces and International Security Assistance Forces and focused on specific militant targets and safe havens within Sabari and Terezai Districts of Khowst province in eastern Afghanistan.
U.S. Army Cpl. Shaun Armstrong, of South Carolina, assigned to Focus Targeting Force, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, secures a landing zone during an air assault mission during Operation Champion Sword on Aug. 2, in the Khowst province, Afghanistan. Operation Champion Sword is a joint operation involving Afghan national security forces and International Security Assistance Forces and focused on specific militant targets and safe havens within Sabari and Terezai Districts of Khowst province in eastern Afghanistan.

Welcome to Episode 140 of the AR15 Podcast. On this episode we’re talking about how to see in the dark.

We want to let you know about a new source of cool products! Please go to to pre-order the Huckleberry patch and buy FRN stickers.

Main Topic: Night Vision Devices

Featuring Ryan from Nightlong Industries

A little about Ryan

  1. Shooting background, flying in the Army
  2. Nightlong Industries - history, current business, product lines

What do we mean by Night Vision?

  1. Image intensification
  2. Tubes vs Digital
  3. IR light vs visible light
  4. Differences in generations
  5. Military-tech vs civilian-available equipment (Class 1 / 3 - 0.7mW / 15mW)

What devices have Night Vision capabilities

  1. NV Monocular - Armasight Ghost, PVS-14
  2. NV Goggles - PVS-7
  3. NV Binoculars - Sentinel, MOD-3
  4. NV Scopes - PVS-4, Legionnaire, PVS-24, CNVD-LR


  1. On the rifle
    1. Dedicated scope
    2. Clip-on
    3. POI shift
    4. Magnification options
    5. On the head
      1. Helmet mounting
      2. Aiming considerations
        1. IR designator
        2. NV-setting on optic

Alternatives to traditional NV

  1. Thermal (FLIR) - Thermal units (X320/640, IR Hunter/Patrol)
  2. "3d" or color images - ‘Color NVG’


  1. Build your own
  2. Sourcing parts
  3. Tube specs, ruggedness
  4. Housing systems
  5. Upgrading
    1. 10-33 program
    2. Buying off the shelf - manufacturers, brands
    3. Repairs / warranty
    4. Price ranges

What do we mean by Generation?

Gen 1 NV:  use an intensifier tube that amplifies ambient light by accelerating electrons and striking a phosphor surface just like a Television, Most Gen 1 equipment uses similar technology and thus image tube performance does not vary too much between similar Gen 1 products. What does make a performance difference in Gen 1 products is the quality of the lenses, the controls, and the devices’ design.

Gen 2 NV:add a micro-channel plate that multiplies the number of electrons before they impinge on the phosphor screen, thus increasing gain.

  • Gen 2+, Gen 2ST :  This is base quality Gen 2 that is a huge step up from Gen 1. Comparing base level Gen 2 to Gen 1 would be like comparing a motorcycle to a bicycle – they both have 2 wheels but that’s about it.  These image tubes will have more imperfections and lower performance than higher level Gen 2 gear. These are known as standard Gen 2 or standard tube.
  • Gen 2CGT, Gen 2MS : This  level  of Gen 2 is a good choice as they are cleaner and generally perform better than base Gen 2 but usually don't cost much more for the increase in quality. These are sometimes referred to as custom grade tubes or mil-spec grade.
  • Gen 2HPT, Gen 2HP : This is extremely good Gen 2 equipment. Big step up from the two lower grades of Gen 2 in performance, getting very close to Generation 3 performance. However the price of this high level of Generation 2 gets very close to some Gen 3 and with the much longer life expectancy of Gen 3 image tubes, the Generation 3 is often the better choice. This Gen 2 grade is called high performance tube or just high performance.

Gen 3 NV:further add a Gallium Arsenide photocathode which creates significantly more photoelectrons than Gen II night vision devices

  • Gen 3 : This gets you the real deal, Gen 3. These will usually have more imperfections/blemishes and lesser performance than the higher levels of Gen 3 however they still give great overall performance  and will last you about 10,000 hours plus, which is much longer than the lower generations.
  • Gen 3ST : These Gen 3ST image tubes are technically at the same grade level as Gen 3. However from what we have seen of these image tubes is that they tend to be a bit nicer in terms of less blemishes. These tubes are a great buy for low cost Gen 3 when available.  The only problem is, they are not autogated/pinnacle tubes.
  • Gen 3A : This is a better grade than standard gen 3. The image tubes will typically be clearer and they will usually come with image tube data test sheets (detailed test data on each image tube).
  • Gen 3P/Gen 3AG : These tubes are like Gen 3A tubes except that they have autogated power supplies. They allow for vastly superior performance in light polluted areas. This grade/type of image tubes is what's currently used by our US military and special forces. These are what we prefer to use as they work great in all lighting conditions, including dusk and dawn. These tubes are often referred to as Pinnacle or Autogated.
  • Gen 3 with HS : HS is our abbreviation for hand selected image tubes. This is an option that you will see on some of our  Generation 3 equipment. This is the absolute best in night vision equipment performance. Our hand select quality image tubes have a minimum Signal to Noise Ratio of 27 or higher and extremely good clarity. The Signal to Noise Ratio is the best indicator of how well the device will see in low light and the higher the number is the better. Less than 5% of Gen 3 image tubes meet our strict hand selected standards. These tubes are stronger and clearer giving  you better performance in low light, which in turn gives you longer distance capability. If you are looking for the absolute best  performance possible our Hand Select image tubes are it.

Gen 4 NV: (GEN 3 FILMLESS) GATED/FILMLESS TECHNOLOGY represents the biggest technological breakthrough in image intensification of the past 10 years. By removing the ion barrier film and “Gating” the system Gen 4 demonstrates substantial increases in target detection range and resolution, particularly at extremely low light levels.

This is a tricky one as technically there is not really a Gen 4 classification, according to the US Army. When it was initially introduced the US Army recognized the Gen 4 technology classification. However, after testing reliability and lifespan of the Gen 4 the Army determined that this technology did not meet their strict requirements and thus recanted the Gen 4 definition. So what does this mean for someone looking for the best equipment they can get. In terms of performance Generation 4 equipment is equivalent to or better than most Gen 3 autogated. However, the very nature of the 4th Generation technology makes it more prone to failures and reduces its life expectancy as compared to quality Gen 3 equipment. For our money we use HS (hand selected) Gen 3 autogated models. Although some people feel that Gen 4 gives a little better image, it is really a bit of a toss up and it often comes down to which unit has the better individual image tube.

Otis Technology:

August 23: Don Hall

August 30: David Dickerson

September 6: David Hibler

September 13: Stephen Carter

The fine folks at Otis Technology have sent over a mountain of rifle maintenance tools and cleaning kits for the AR-15 and AR-10.  We’ve been tasked with giving them away.  Watch for the special posts on Facebook and Instagram to get a chance to win some of the awesome products made by Otis Technology.  We’ll give away a complete MSR Cleaning kit in either 5.56 or 7.62 in the middle of each month up until Christmas, when we’ll give away a complete Otis Technology Elite Cleaning System to one lucky listener.  During the alternating weeks, we’ll be giving away a host of Otis tools and cleaning supplies.


Seth Mullins If you could talk about the clip on style night vision I would greatly appreciate it. I'm running a sightmark ghost hunter monocular with a clip on mount on my 1.5-6x32 scope. I've been told that mounting on the front will throw the zero off but when I mount it behind the scope the image quality is very poor. A rep from sightmark couldn't clarify and if anyone has experience with it, any info is awesome.

Mike Kyle It would be great to see a range of NV talked about from the budget minded guy to the guy who has the most toys wins type NV. I myself would love a decent priced piece that would allow me to snipe pests around my chicken coop @ 75 yds or less.


ARP 088 - Zeroing Your Black Rifle


Welcome to Episode #088 of the AR15 Podcast. I’m your host Reed Snyder and with me today are both co-hosts, J.W. Ramp and Anthony Hardy.  This is the podcast about your favorite black rifle!  This show is for you; whether you're building your first AR or you’ve been building ARs for years. There is something we can all do to take our black rifle to the next level. Brownells helps make this show possible.

Don’t forget that Brownells, with their 100% lifetime satisfaction guarantee, is there for you anytime you have a problem, like when you can’t remove the taper pins from your new barrel to slip off the front sight base and you now have to find a new barrel.


080-001-017WB – Brownells – .223 Wylde HBAR Rifle Gas 20" Barrel

714-000-021 – Precision Reflex, Inc. – Gen III Delta Carbon Fiber Forearm

Shop for AR-15 parts at Brownells.  Go to:


Lining up your FSB/Gas Block

Main Topic:  Zeroing the MSR

1.         Basic Terminology

  • Point of Aim
  • Point of Impact
  • Trajectory
  • Zero
  • Aperture

2.         Iron Sights

3.         Scopes

  • Methodology
    • Boresight
    • Three Shot Groups
    • Adjust for Effect
    • Purposes
      • 100 yards plus
      • Modern Scopes allowing for closer ranges
      • Important Considerations
        • Check Your Mounts
        • Set Up Multiple Targets
        • Know the impact of your adjustments

4.         Red Dot Sights/Holographic Sights

  • Methodology
    • Boresight
    • Account for Engagement Distance
    • Account for Elevation over Bore
    • Adjust for Effect
    • Purposes
      • Quick Shots
      • Shorter engagement distances
      • Speed on Target
      • Wider targeting tolerances
      • Important Considerations
        • Dot size
        • Sight offset (2-2.5” above bore)
        • Parallax not very pervasive


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Brent W:  Reed, I just bought a fn15 from Bud's. I would like to swap the factory hand rail with a 12" carbon fiber quad rail. Any problems in my future with the a2 front sight of the gas block? Thanks

2k4ranger: Hello since you have been talking a lot about Appleseed a lot on the podcast i just wanted to leave my 2 cents on my Appleseed experience. Just so we're clear I'm a self taught shooter and mostly shoot bench rest and pistol.

I went to an Appleseed class in northern WI and was very disappointed, maybe I just had a bad instructor or I'm too stuck in my ways but I would personally not recommend the Appleseed project to anyone.I was extremely disappointed in the instruction, and found the techniques with the sling manipulation to be extremely unpractical in both hunting and range shooting, I wish I could have my 22lr back.

Anyways just my personal experience.  Thanks for the excellent podcast.  Always learn something new every time I listen.

Anthony F: Hi, I am a long time fan of the black rifle and was really excited when I found your podcast. I looked through the back catalog of podcasts and could not wait to start listening. I finished listening to the two latest episodes and liked the information they contained but I have found the audio quality makes it difficult to listen to. I tend to listen to podcasts when I am driving, exercising or reloading and it was frustrating to have to keep rewinding the audio stream to try and catch what I missed the first time. I use an Android phone with an app called Pocket Cast to stream the audio and either the bluetooth in my car or beats headphones to listen. I don't seem to have this problem with other audio feeds so I don't think it is my equipment. Is there any plans to upgrade the audio quality of the show or are there and audio streams that are better than others? Thank you.

Dave in New Mexico:  Reed,I just finished listening to podcast #87 and what a struggle it was to understand you and JW. The audio quality was poor and you both sound like you were talking in a tin can. Your words sounded run together and very muddy, not clear and crisp. Can you borrow Jake’s microphone that, that he can’t afford, and use it?? Please go back and listen to see if you are not hearing what I am, if you aren’t and it sounds fine to you then disregard this e-mail I listen to yours and other Firearm Radio Network Podcasts on iTunes.