Types of Night Vision Goggles
To breakdown the different types of night vision goggles is quite straightforward. However, to assess all the various models, versions and brands is incredibly extensive. Basically there are two general designs of spy night vision goggles- Monocular and Binocular. Monocular is a single eye goggle and Binocular has dual eye viewing.
In terms of performance regarding optical clarity, visual quality, target detection and technical ability we differentiate between devices by a categorization referred to as ‘generation’. Night vision device generation advances from 1 to 4 with 4 being the most sophisticated technology.
Generation 1 technology is very popular, it will amplify existing light several thousand times so users can see objects brighter and sharper in dark conditions. These units can view objects as far as 75 yards in pitch-dark conditions and much further in ambient conditions at a low cost.
Generation 2 technology is a modified version of the generation 1 device with the addition of a micro channel plate (MCP). The MCP produces many more thousands of electrons thus amplifying light many more times than the generation1 giving you brighter and sharper imagery. In pitch dark conditions objects can be seen 100 yards away and much further when there is ambient light.
Generation 3 technology is more advanced with the addition of a gallium arsenide layer to the photocathode tube. This produces brighter and sharper images. These devices can see up to 150 yards away in pitch-dark conditions and further with ambient lighting.
Generation 4 technology is the most advanced form, succeeding all other generations of night vision optics available. Its capabilities are improved by the subtraction of the ion film barrier and gating the system. Its overall visibility and target detection is considerably higher and puts it at the top of the tactical night vision market. In pitch-black conditions it typically reaches a distance of 200 yards or further, with considerable ambient lighting it can provide visibility of up to 1000 yards or more depending on the environment.
Continue to page 2 for our list of the top night vision goggles.