Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Skill Set: ATN Night Vision

Night vision equipment is cool. Being visually oriented creatures puts us at a disadvantage once it’s dark. It’s very empowering see what others can’t. For armed professionals this ability is essential. In some states it’s legal to


hunt varmints using night vision. If the zombies do attack night vision would be a good thing to have, plus shooting at night without having to use a flashlight is an evening of fun.
When Brownells began stocking ATN’s line of night vision scopes, which are affordably priced, I immediately placed an order. Brownells carries several different models of ATN’s scopes. I, of course, ordered the least expensive of the Aries MK models (#100-010-904), which is a Gen I with 2.5 magnification. This is a stand-alone scope with crosshairs, and can be used in the daytime with the cover – which has a small hole in it – over the front lens. More money gets you more magnification, or with the PS40 and PS22 series a smaller package that mounts in front of your regular day time scope and features an automatic cutoff feature for bright light.
The MK350 model runs off a CR123 battery. A push-button turns it off and on, there’s a knob to adjust the brightness of the reticle, and the scope adjustments – 1/4 minute per click – are handled with large easy to reach knobs.

Night vision amplifies the existing light. The key to being able to really see with any NV is using a good IR illuminator. The scope came with an IR illuminator but I discovered it doesn’t supply enough light for rifle work. Using an IR light such as Streamlight’s SuperTac is like the difference between night and day, allowing you to see out to several hundred yards even in pitch-black conditions.
This also provided me an opportunity to use MechArmor’s TacOps-1 charging handle. With the ATN scope, or a traditional optic, the scope has to be properly positioned to provide the correct eye relief. Usually this mounting position makes it difficult to work the AR’s charging handle. MechArmor’s handle is heavy-duty, with extended lathes, making it easy to operate with the scope. The ambidextrous design allows you to cycle the handle using either hand, so for a right handed shooter in a prone position it’s easier and requires less movement to cycle using your strong hand. This is a good piece of kit.
Mounting the scope is easy, and it’s simple to operate, just pay close attention to the directions concerning focusing. This model is bulky, adding about three pounds to your rifle, which makes it top heavy so it does take some getting use to. Also, make sure to use a good firing position to avoid getting kissed in the eye by the rear of the scope as you fire.
I think the night vision market is about to explode. There are legitimate uses for this gear, and as mentioned even if you don’t really need it the cost isn’t that bad compared to the cool factor. As with any kit practice so you know how to work it properly. Remember, it will be dark, you won’t be able to see, except through the scope, and the ability to operate all your gear in the dark is mandatory.

April 13, 2013 Posted by | AR-15, Gear | Leave a comment