Best Night Vision Scope under $500 – 5 Top Rated Cost Friendly Optics for Night Time Use

Whether you want to explore nighttime hunting or target shooting, you want to invest in the right and good quality gear. The best night vision scope under $500 combines affordability and quality to give you long lasting optics.

Although they don’t require you to dig dip into your pockets, the scopes facilitate comfortable usage with a range of at least 200 yards in total darkness so you can enjoy shooting as if it is day time. So below, we’ve included the top 5 picks for the best night vision scope under $500 for this year – happy hunting!

1. Vortex Optics Crossfire II V-Brite Illuminated Second Focal Plane Riflescope

Designed in a V-plex format that is illuminated, the Vortex Optics Crossfire II V-Brite Illuminated Second Focal Plane Riflescope is perfect for both day and night time functions. Built with battery-powered electronics, the V-Birte illuminated MOA reticle uses the V-Plex format to illuminate the center dot, thus, improving image rightness in extremely low light conditions.

Thanks to this reticle design, the scope is perfect for hunting and shooting applications. Furthermore, the riflescope features a second focal plane (SFP) reticle on the other end that maintains the same target size even if you change the magnification.

Additionally, the scope is designed with capped windage and elevation reset turrets with ¼ MOA clicks for accurate settings. Additionally, it also delivers a parallax-free performance from 10 yards to infinity. Its fully multi-coated lens increase light transmission and is paired with multiple anti-reflective coatings for air-to-glass surfaces.

The hard-anodized aluminum tube on the other end maintains a matte surface with no glare to help camouflage your position. Its single-piece design reduces holes within the housing and is sealed with O-rings and nitrogen for a waterproof, shockproof, and fogproof performance.


  • V-Briteilluminated MOA reticle offers ample brightness to work in the dark
  • Hard anodized aircraft aluminum tube with matte surface for low glare and camouflage
  • O-ring sealing prevents moisture, dust, and debris from penetrating the tube
  • Single-piece tube for shockproof performance to withstand impact and recoil
  • Capped reset turrets for quick re-indexing to zero after sighting in
  • Caps offer external protection for the turrets for added durability


  • The focus ring requires more pressure to adjust

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2. Vortex Optics Crossfire II V-Plex Second Focal Plane Riflescope

Integrating a V-Plex reticle, the Vortex Optics Crossfire II V-Plex Second Focal Plane Riflescope enjoys a duplex reticle style performance which allows it to cater to a wide range of hunting and target shooting applications especially when holdover is important.

The reticle integrates a wider and darker horizontal and vertical post that barrow down to a finer liner with a duplex-based crosshair. Whilst the riflescope reticle works great for short to medium range applications, it offers adequate brightness in the dark. The adjustable objective on the other end allows for improved image focus.

Plus, the focus ring is located at the front end of the riflescope to make it easy to focus the image without losing your target view. Furthermore, the fine focus ring adjustment offers excellent parallax removal. It’s anti-reflexive and fully multi-coated lens delivers bright and clear image viewing. The long eye relief and forgiving eye box on the other end provide enhanced target acquisition and quick sighting. Its fast focus eyepiece on the other end allows for quick and easy reticle focusing.

The caped reset turrets are finger adjustable and built with ¼ MOA clicks for zero resets after sighting in. For added durability and ruggedness in the outdoors, the scope features an aircraft-grade aluminum single-piece tube with O-ring sealing and nitrogen purged for waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof performance.


  • V-Plex reticle accommodates short to long range applications for hunting and target shooting
  • Single-piece tube for better sealing to enhance waterproof and high tensile performance
  • The second focal plane reticle maintains the same target size at different magnifications
  • Hard anodized aircraft-grade aluminum for added strength and durability
  • Nitrogen gas filled to prevent internal fogging
  • Fast focus eyepiece for quick and easy reticle focusing


  • The eye box is not as comfortable at high magnifications

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3. Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision Riflescope

Built with a large 40mm objective lens, the Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision Riflescope promotes superior light transmission to improve image clarity, brightness, and contrast. With a 3x magnification power, the scope offers a range of 100 to 200 yards – typical for nighttime use.

Yet, it still boasts an affordable price tag to make it one of the best low cost night vision scopes. Furthermore, features a strong weatherproof build – allowing it to withstand the harsh conditions and the heaviest recoil from firearms such as .30 rifle calibers. The scope comes with three choices of reticle types in black and white to give you a variety of setting choices to suit your needs.

Additionally, the scope features a second focal reticle plane build which allows the target size to remain the same even at different magnifications – thus, allowing you to enjoy the same high quality and clear image appearance even at higher magnifications.

The night vision riflescope also integrates a built-in IR illuminator which allows you to make full use of it even in total darkness. Yet, you can still use the riflescope in the day time without risking any damage. For easy mounting, the digital riflescope is compatible with Picatinny and Weaver rings that it comes with.


  • Comes with a compatible Weaver and Picatinny mounting rings
  • Built-in infrared illuminator for use at night
  • 3 reticle types in black and white for accurate adjustments
  • ¼ MOA clicks on windage and elevation turrets for fine adjustments
  • 100 to 200 yards range for night time environments
  • SSP reticle maintains target size at different high magnifications


  • The battery life is short – especially during IR operation

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4. Pulsar Digex N455 Digital Night Vision Riflescope

Built with ultra nighttime sensitive nighttime sensors with HD display and a wide selection of brightness and contrast settings, the Pulsar Digex N455 Digital Night Vision Riflescope delivers a distance range of 450 to 550 meters. Its built-in IR illuminator on the other end offers full use on a moonless night.

An all-metal housing on the other end makes it light whilst maintaining ruggedness at the same time. Furthermore, the exterior of the body is coated with antiwear elements for a long lasting and decent look. A built-in video recorder with HD quality sound and video, allows you to capture both still pictures and video footage of your shooting adventures.

You can even transfer the footage to a PC/laptop or mobile device via a wireless or wired connection. Whether you are viewing the images through the scope or scanning the video footage on your mobile phone, the 1280×720 HD CMOS sensors ensure HD image quality with incredible precision.

The scope’s 30mm tube construction enhances its size to allow for even better light transmission and image clarity and brightness. Its 4-16x variable magnification offers 2x step magnification for optimal viewing whilst maintaining a generous field of view and image clarity.


  • Stadiametric rangefinder to help determine the range of known target heights
  • Removable eyecup on the eyepiece with magnetic fixing
  • Customizable automatic shut down
  • Durable 30mm tube with the weather-resistant protection
  • User friendly controls for added convenience
  • A choice of 10 reticle shapes in 8 color modes to adapt to different light conditions


  • Issues with quality control

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5. Hawke Sport Optics 14242 Vantage 4-12×40 AO 22 WMR IR Riflescope

Built with a single inch mono-tube, the Hawke Sport Optics 14242 Vantage 4-12×40 AO 22 WMR IR Riflescope boasts great durability and strength. The tube is fully sealed and filled with nitrogen to make it shockproof, waterproof, and fog proof Plus, the scope is all caliber rated to work with a wide range of firearms for a variety of uses.

Featuring a magnification range of 4-12x, the scope offers a range of 100 yards at just 100 yards and features pre-calculated aim points Its mil-dot reticle design on the other end is exclusive to the brand whilst promoting easy zero and downrange accuracy.

The built-in IR illuminator on the other end allows you to comfortably use the scope during both day and night. In addition to the illuminator scope reticle also boasts a second focal plane design. With this SFP reticle build, the scope retains the same target size appearance and size even at high magnifications.

The large 42mm lens size promotes adequate light transmission to ensure image clarity and brightness even in ultra low light conditions. The elevation and windage turrets are built with 1/4MOA click increments for fine and accurate adjustments. The turrets are built with caps to protect them.


  • Capped low profile turrets for accurate adjustments and durability
  • Built-in IR illumination to use at night
  • Adjustable objective for parallax-free performance
  • 11 layer fully multi-coated lens for increased light transmission
  • The high torque zoom ring
  • Fast focus eye bell


  • Parallax adjustment is not as smooth

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Why Are Night Vision Scopes So Expensive?

This is because night vision scopes are not used as much as regular riflescopes. Some night vision scopes are even banned in some areas. This is why manufacturers have increased the pricing to make up for the losses. However, currently, you can still find very good quality affordable night vision optics.

Which Color Is the Best for Night Vision  Scopes?

Red and green are better colors than white. Whilst red beaks down rhodopsin slowly and preserves the durability of the night vision design, the green color is much more effective. Greenlight penetrates better for improved image clarity and detail. After all, green color even works better naturally for the human eye. This is because the eye is most sensitive to green and can distinguish more shades of green than other regular colors.

Can Night Vision Scopes Damage Your Eyes?

Generally, night vision scopes do not damage your eyes unless you buy low quality ones that will have bits and pieces protruding into your eyes. However, even with the best night vision scope under $500 that is correctly calibrated, you will not suffer from eye damage or injuries simply by using night vision scopes.

Do Night Vision Scopes Work in Total Darkness?

It depends on the night vision scope design. Night vision scopes built with IR illuminators offer enough reticle brightness to allow you to use them even in total darkness. Alternatively, in the case of total darkness, thermal scopes are not affected even in the absence of the moon or starlight. Unlike night vision scopes, thermal scopes detect your target through the heat they emit from their bodies.

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