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Old 09-05-2016, 03:55 PM
Plumber101010 Plumber101010 is offline
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Default Wrapping my brain around the use of night vision



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Been thinking for many years of getting NV and thermal imaging. At least once a month I'm ready to pull the trigger.

But as I run the different scenarios through my head sometimes I just can't justify its use. I mean if it was free great, but considering the cost involved, bang for buck, that sort of thing, doesn't pay off of my mind.

For thermal imaging and the night vision that I want to get I'm talking about a $15,000 investment. All things considered I have to make sure that there is a real benefit to having it

But I am an island for the most part and maybe it's time for me to open this discussion up to get others opinions as sometime people can get analyzation paralyzation. I'm famous for it myself.

So this is what I have come up with so far as to why I dont need that technology, because:

If it's in the woods and they have a flashlight their presence is known and you can shoot at the light (them) without night vision.

If they don't have a light you can then put your weapon light on them and shoot them. Then turn off your light and run to a new position.

Some say well you give your position away when you turn on your light, but Muzzle flash and light both give away position.

If nobody's around and I'm navigating through the woods then use my flashlight who cares.

If I'm navigating through the woods without a flashlight and have Night vision, they have a Flashlight they can spot me walking! They turn on their light and shoot at me.

I see these videos with the military running around the streets of Iraq and they all have on night vision. Yet it's not pitch black to begin with and you can see 20 soldiers running around with or without Night Vision and so I ask myself, why don't they just all have Flashlights?

When they go barging into doors inside rooms, now the others see them and shoot at them so why have night vision?

So the only scenario I can come up with is this. I am trying to sneak around where I don't want people to see me AND get a better view of my surroundings than my eyes alone will give me.

Is it worth all that to carry around the extra weight?

So I'm hoping somebody can explain this to me in a real world, tactical type situation. Somebody who can explain to me why my thinking is wrong and why if I can afford it I should get it!
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Old 09-05-2016, 04:08 PM
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Thermal is a game changer even among those with nvgs. Your chance of surviving capture or attack can be helped exponentially if you have nvgs and others don't. If they have nvgs and you have thermal, your way ahead of them, especially in poor weather conditions.
Cost is very hard to justify and it's not likely to be in use much. But if you're in a situation and it gets you through...basically priceless.
Heavy cloud cover/dark night/smoke/dust/etc all effect nvgs. They are also marginal in the picture offered even with great conditions and no washout. Depth perception is also difficult to learn to master with nvgs.
My suggestion would be a thermal optic for your long gun. Use a quick detach mount and you can use it as a hand held.

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Old 09-05-2016, 04:26 PM
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NVGs are cost effective nowadays. Primary usage would be recon work or to enhance non-verbal communications at night. Also great when combined with IR warning devices in a defensive posture. Thermal and FLIR are awesome, but cost prohibitive.


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Old 09-05-2016, 05:03 PM
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I'll have more time later but in short:

I have yet to meet one of us who's been on the 2Way firing range that DOESN'T want NVG'S and a plate carrier.


Telling.
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Old 09-05-2016, 05:21 PM
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If someone is using a light and you are using NV you can see them before their light is visible to the unaided eye.
Example
OpFor snatched my ambulance and driver Suns' going down I move back in to the trees lay down some pine boughs, put my ranger taco on top cover with more pine and crash out.
Wearing my NVGs.
O dark 30 ( goto come up with another term, "assoclock" ?) I hear something turn on the NODs look out on the road a dozen IR lamps have it lit like a runway. OpFor squad moving up the road. If they'd been using white light I would have seen them 1/2 mile off.
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Old 09-05-2016, 06:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomad, 2nd View Post
I'll have more time later but in short:

I have yet to meet one of us who's been on the 2Way firing range that DOESN'T want NVG'S and a plate carrier.


Telling.
When I was in it was typically just a sniper or marksman on overwatch with Starlight scope NV, and even then that was a game changer.

I could see wrestling with the cost for just a lone person, but if you are dealing with any kind of group then NV almost becomes essential to keeping track of your group and the opposition.

Taking a family out an escape path with NV and a smart dog you can plainly watch through the glass gives you a huge advantage if the opposition isn't well equipped military.

Opposition hit suddenly in the dark hunkers down fast and stays down longer. This equates to more escape time. Send the family and dog ahead down the escape path while you hang back to take a couple snipes will suppress their movement greatly. A couple episodes of this could buy your family a good half hour travel advantage or more.
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Old 09-05-2016, 07:24 PM
Exarmyguy Exarmyguy is offline
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I have night vision but one day i would love to get some thermal. It is worth it if you can afford it.
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Old 09-05-2016, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Plumber101010 View Post
If it's in the woods and they have a flashlight their presence is known and you can shoot at the light (them) without night vision.

If they don't have a light you can then put your weapon light on them and shoot them. Then turn off your light and run to a new position.

Some say well you give your position away when you turn on your light, but Muzzle flash and light both give away position.

If nobody's around and I'm navigating through the woods then use my flashlight who cares.

If I'm navigating through the woods without a flashlight and have Night vision, they have a Flashlight they can spot me walking! They turn on their light and shoot at me.
First, why are you shooting everybody?? What if those people are relatives, friends, neighbors, or just decent folk passing through?

Second, without night vision or thermal how will you know that someone else isn't out there and watching you?

Third, if you have a nod and they are using flashlights you should see them a long time before they see you.

Fourth, what if they have thermal or nightvision? If you don't have it you could be screwed. If you have it that could level the field and give you a chance.

Regardless, thermal and night vision provide a means of identifying animals and people without either possibly knowing you are there. That could make hunting in a survival situation much easier. It can make protecting crops and/or livestock much easier. It could make defense of your area much easier.

Sure if you take a shot at someone the muzzle flash will show your position but your first shot could make the difference. And after you shoot you should be moving and if they don't have thermal or night vision they may not be not be able to track you.

I had a Flir Scout that I purchased used for a very good price several years ago. I wasn't sure that I also needed night vision but recently found a great deal on some used Gen 3 gear and pulled the trigger on it. Based on what I'd read I wasn't expecting it to be that useful without an ir spotlight but it is really amazing.
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Old 09-05-2016, 07:46 PM
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I guess I'm still just not understanding it in an actual example. That's what I was hoping for. For someone to say hypothetically, you're in this situation and this is the best you could do BUT if you had night vision you could do this and because of the night vision you were able to save your life whereas without it you couldn't.

I'm trying to think of an actual possible **** hits the fan scenario where having night vision mod three goggles (which is what I have chosen to get depth perception, and to be able to drive as well) as well as a thermal scope, with quick detach would show that without it I'd be dead!

I understand that use is an advantage but I'm trying to think of a life or death scenario to say that in this situation, this is what you could do that you could not do with just your eyes or flashlight.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts
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Old 09-05-2016, 07:49 PM
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Well Burtenshaw, I'm going to assume that anybody who's chasing behind me on my 30 acres at night without screaming out my name or identifying themselves is pretty much an enemy
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Old 09-05-2016, 07:51 PM
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I wish I could afford some high end NV or thermal. I just have a hands free Gen 1 set. It will help me if I have to navigate to my BOL on foot. I would prefer to move at night and not be visible because of light emitted from a flashlight. The rest of my family also has some Gen 1 NV gear. They are coming to BOL from the opposite side of the state. It will also help with security at BOL. Gen 1 is better than nothing. The ability to see in the dark gives one a huge advantage over those who rely on flashlights, etc.

Even though my family has Gen 1 NV, I am planning on getting a bunch IR flashlights that can be used to light up the area if needed. I do have a question for someone with more experience using NV. Would an IR flashlight blind high end NV goggles if it was aimed directly at them? I know it washes out my Gen 1 stuff, but I have no way to test that out on better units.
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Old 09-05-2016, 07:56 PM
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Have NVGs on, toss out a perimeter of IR chemlights, you'll see people breaking that light if they are trying to sneak up on you and they won't be the wiser.

Using NVGs and an IR laser, get your sight picture on someone without revealing your position.

Use NVGs and IR flashlights for communication over distances without sacrificing security.

Those are just IR uses. Using NVGs makes traversing rough terrain at night easier, hence less risk of injury.


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Old 09-05-2016, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kfilly View Post
I wish I could afford some high end NV or thermal. I just have a hands free Gen 1 set. It will help me if I have to navigate to my BOL on foot. I would prefer to move at night and not be visible because of light emitted from a flashlight. The rest of my family also has some Gen 1 NV gear. They are coming to BOL from the opposite side of the state. It will also help with security at BOL. Gen 1 is better than nothing. The ability to see in the dark gives one a huge advantage over those who rely on flashlights, etc.

Even though my family has Gen 1 NV, I am planning on getting a bunch IR flashlights that can be used to light up the area if needed. I do have a question for someone with more experience using NV. Would an IR flashlight blind high end NV goggles if it was aimed directly at them? I know it washes out my Gen 1 stuff, but I have no way to test that out on better units.
With my pvs 14 I'll see your ir flashlights far away,you'll never have a chance to blind me even if you could,my pvs 14 is auto gated so no you can't blind me,even with a powerful white light flashlight.
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Old 09-05-2016, 08:14 PM
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Default Wrapping my brain around the use of night vision

IR won't flash blind most gen 3 or better NVGs. Gen 3b and better have autogating to help prevent white light flashblinding. Older than 3b and you can white light blind people but anyone with training in NVGs knows multiple ways to prevent flashblinding issues.

If the opposing side has NVGs, then your simply back to par, but it's better than them having the advantage.


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Edit: misspelling
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Old 09-05-2016, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Somebody who can explain to me why my thinking is wrong and why if I can afford it I should get it!
It's really quite simple. With top end passive night vision and/or thermals... you can see in the dark... usually without being seen yourself. At distance. With enough fidelity to discriminate between animals, human threats, and human non-threats. With quality optics, you can positively identify specific people at distance (like your own family members). You can identify armaments, vehicle types, and the actual detailed activities of those moving around in the shadows. Or detect a deer, wild pig, or coyote moving across your property. Night vision helps you to detect threats and to rule out threats. It also allows you to make safer, faster, and efficient route selection in the dark. Whether on foot or while driving. And (especially with thermal) it allows you to see farther through some kinds of weather that limit natural night vision (dust, fog, light rain, light snow, etc.)

It's literally an added Seventh sense to your naturally given Six: sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste, and intuition (hunch). A 7th super power granted by technology.

I used night vision for all 35 years of my US Army SOF career. Over the course of that career, I used night vision equipment a hell of a lot more than I ever did a gun. I cannot imagine an hours of darkness scenario (or a blackened interior structure/tunnel in daylight) where I would not want to have such a device handy. Why? Because 99+% of human beings on the planet do not possess such equipment. I can see effectively where they cannot.

Your having such expensive devices gives you almost magical advantage. Mainly in being able to passively (without emitting signature) see the other guy first without him being able to see you. The advantage is as distinctive as comparing the abilities of a blind man to one who is sighted. Or the lethality of an unarmed person to one holding a loaded firearm. It's really that significant.

With thermals, you can see deep into concealing vegetation, spotting hidden threats. You can detect flying aircraft & unmanned drones, heated houses or cabins tucked deep in the woods, the cooling engines of parked vehicles, passing wildlife, manned checkpoints/road blocks, occupied vehicles, crewed boats, distant encampments, running vehicles, threat hide sites, sniper/observer positions, random pedestrians, stray dogs, & a host of other things that emit a thermal signature. Often at distances of hundreds of yards. Farther in open country, desert, or on waters.

Worrying about specific scenarios is like asking when your sense of hearing, smell, or eyesight might prove to be handy. Right now, your eyes deliver limited biological adaptation for natural night vision (retinal rods & visual purple). But with modern devices... you can see like an owl. Your electronics allow you to not only see in the dark, but to magnify the image. And going the owl one better, you can see lightly concealed heat sources at a great distance, out ranging that night hunting owl.

Just a hint: In the land of real bullets and real dead people, nobody with even a modicum of training uses white flashlights in non-structural terrain. Not unless they're part of an overwhelmingly numerically superior assault force doing building clearing in lightly defended urban terrain. Shining a visible light in the woods or open rural country is an invitation to a Darwin Award. Infantry patrols do not use flashlights to "navigate". They use either 1) night vision devices and/or 2) natural MK I Eyeball night vision.

Inasmuch as you seem to have the budget, but little experience, I'd suggest you spend about $4k on a higher end auto-gated Gen III passive monocular (e.g., PVS-14). Toy with that for a bit and the advantages will immediately become apparent. Then... if you want more capability, move on to even more expensive thermal gear.
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Old 09-05-2016, 09:05 PM
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The high end NV IS expensive (even more for thermals). But even a first gen gives one a significant advantage, especially to someone defending his home. As long as he understand the limitations, dangers and can get around some of them.
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Old 09-05-2016, 09:28 PM
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For those old enough to remember the starlight scope...
This is older generation thermal AN/PAS-14. Worked but was bulky (not nearly as bad as a SL, but not great) and ate batteries like a fat kid eats doughnuts.

I've used some of the newer stuff and had a week or so from the factory reps in a "how-to" class. Lots of cool aspects of the newer generation and it can accept regular AA batteries if need be.
Way better sight picture than even previous gens. You can select different reticles based on the weapon your mounting it on and actually save the zero data for that weapon. That way if you break it off the mount for stand alone use you can remount it and retain almost all your zero.
Eyepiece has a press-to-on switch which helps add some to the battery life. It also recalibrates the sight each time it comes on. They are much more compact than previous stuff but still not feather light. Even mounted on an M4 it's heavy. Add in other stuff like a Harris, pak18, etc and it becomes a load. Not sure how far out these are from civy access but i thought I'd add it as an idea/option.
The 3 pictured pictured have various ratings. The largest being able (supposedly) to survive and function while mounted to a M2 .50 or MK19. They actually have a small monocular/eye pro which functions like a monitor screen. Keeps you from going racoon when firing the big boys.
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Old 09-05-2016, 09:42 PM
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I was an AFSOC flyer so I have experience with the AN/AVS-6s...in an airplane and every once in awhile in the woods for SERE junk. What I don't have any experience with are thermal optics.

If you were to chose one, NVG or Thermal? Can you land nav with thermals? I have no idea.

Thanks!
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Old 09-05-2016, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Praestes View Post
Have NVGs on, toss out a perimeter of IR chemlights, you'll see people breaking that light if they are trying to sneak up on you and they won't be the wiser.

Using NVGs and an IR laser, get your sight picture on someone without revealing your position.

Use NVGs and IR flashlights for communication over distances without sacrificing security.

Those are just IR uses. Using NVGs makes traversing rough terrain at night easier, hence less risk of injury.


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IR CHEMLIGHTS??? Never knew such a thing existed but what a fantastic idea. Up till now I've concentrated on Gen3 pinnacle because I don't want to have to use IR illumination in case anyone else has night vision.

In fact, most people will probably have a lesser grade night vision and have to depend on IR to get around so I'm making sure I get the best I can get my hands on so I won't need it and can spot them coming a mile away.

But CHEMLIGHTS? Cool!!! That way I can use it without giving away my position
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Old 09-05-2016, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Astronomy View Post
It's really quite simple. With top end passive night vision and/or thermals... you can see in the dark... usually without being seen yourself. At distance. With enough fidelity to discriminate between animals, human threats, and human non-threats. With quality optics, you can positively identify specific people at distance (like your own family members). You can identify armaments, vehicle types, and the actual detailed activities of those moving around in the shadows. Or detect a deer, wild pig, or coyote moving across your property. Night vision helps you to detect threats and to rule out threats. It also allows you to make safer, faster, and efficient route selection in the dark. Whether on foot or while driving. And (especially with thermal) it allows you to see farther through some kinds of weather that limit natural night vision (dust, fog, light rain, light snow, etc.)

It's literally an added Seventh sense to your naturally given Six: sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste, and intuition (hunch). A 7th super power granted by technology.

I used night vision for all 35 years of my US Army SOF career. Over the course of that career, I used night vision equipment a hell of a lot more than I ever did a gun. I cannot imagine an hours of darkness scenario (or a blackened interior structure/tunnel in daylight) where I would not want to have such a device handy. Why? Because 99+% of human beings on the planet do not possess such equipment. I can see effectively where they cannot.

Your having such expensive devices gives you almost magical advantage. Mainly in being able to passively (without emitting signature) see the other guy first without him being able to see you. The advantage is as distinctive as comparing the abilities of a blind man to one who is sighted. Or the lethality of an unarmed person to one holding a loaded firearm. It's really that significant.

With thermals, you can see deep into concealing vegetation, spotting hidden threats. You can detect flying aircraft & unmanned drones, heated houses or cabins tucked deep in the woods, the cooling engines of parked vehicles, passing wildlife, manned checkpoints/road blocks, occupied vehicles, crewed boats, distant encampments, running vehicles, threat hide sites, sniper/observer positions, random pedestrians, stray dogs, & a host of other things that emit a thermal signature. Often at distances of hundreds of yards. Farther in open country, desert, or on waters.

Worrying about specific scenarios is like asking when your sense of hearing, smell, or eyesight might prove to be handy. Right now, your eyes deliver limited biological adaptation for natural night vision (retinal rods & visual purple). But with modern devices... you can see like an owl. Your electronics allow you to not only see in the dark, but to magnify the image. And going the owl one better, you can see lightly concealed heat sources at a great distance, out ranging that night hunting owl.

Just a hint: In the land of real bullets and real dead people, nobody with even a modicum of training uses white flashlights in non-structural terrain. Not unless they're part of an overwhelmingly numerically superior assault force doing building clearing in lightly defended urban terrain. Shining a visible light in the woods or open rural country is an invitation to a Darwin Award. Infantry patrols do not use flashlights to "navigate". They use either 1) night vision devices and/or 2) natural MK I Eyeball night vision.

Inasmuch as you seem to have the budget, but little experience, I'd suggest you spend about $4k on a higher end auto-gated Gen III passive monocular (e.g., PVS-14). Toy with that for a bit and the advantages will immediately become apparent. Then... if you want more capability, move on to even more expensive thermal gear.
Now that's a response!! Thank you for taking so much of your time to explain it to me

Yes gen3 pinnacle is the only thing I'm considering, but I'm going with mod 3 goggles. As I say I get depth perception, I can drive, run, jump, and if need be, take them apart and have two separate monoculars to split between me and someone else.

For thermal vision I am definitely going with IR patrol, with the Wilson quick release so that I can go back-and-forth between rifle and spotter handheld.

$7500 each so 15K investment. Obviously before I spend that kind of money I'm trying to figure it all out.

Thermal vision for sure because I look at it as this. If I had to live off the land and it's 12 o'clock and I'm starving. I could pop into the woods in my backyard at lunchtime spot a rabbit sleeping in the Thicket and walk back out with lunch!

So that in and of itself is an amazing thing and almost worth the investment for that alone.

For hunting there be no debate. It's just tactical that confuses my head.
Of course I'll have an IR laser so I can shoot with goggles from the hip.

I guess what confuses me is the combination of both. As I see this playing out, the goggles are strictly for navigation with the availability of course to shoot with my laser. And the thermal imager is for shooting only not navigation.

So I see me moving around at night with the goggles, thermal imager on the AR, but then stopping every 50 yards or so and flipping up my goggles and using the thermal imager to take a closer look around and make sure it's clear. Then flip down the goggles and move on.

Pete repeat. I really see the thermal imager only being used for hidden threats and not necessarily night threats as the night vision goggles with IR laser can take care of that for the most part.

But if somebody is wearing camouflage and they are Tucktaway in the woods night vision will hardly do that good where as thermal imaging will let them shine!

But your points were well-made and I think you pretty much sold me with the ONE statement that I didn't think of. Distance!!!

Flashlight will only get me as far as the light will go. Night Vision will get me as far as the eye can see and that was just something I never considered
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