Objective Lens Best Night

Spec Ops Shooting

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Diameter Power

56mm set at 9x

50mm set at 8x

44mm set at 7x

40 mm set at 6x

This also shows why some scope makers use ever larger objective lenses to allow higher magnification without reducing relative brightness.

When adjusted properly, your optics will disclose more detail than is visible to your naked eye. Our students are surprised to be able to engage balloons accurately at 200 yards under a half-moon using only daytime optics. One tip, though, is not to aim too long or focus your eye on a target too intensely or it fades from view.

Also, light of any kind in your field of view diminishes your ability to see targets. The effect of such light can be minimized by relocating your hide so the light is to your side or back.

Even in total darkness, you still can hit targets accurately 100 yards away with a daytime scope by having your spotter illuminate it with a four-cell flashlight or a SureFire. With practice, you can hit head-size targets with only 1 second of illumination, which we've done many times in demonstrations. This technique is well suited to police and counterterrorist operations.

Any extra light you can bring to bear will pay big dividends at night. Vehicle high-beam headlights generate enough reflective glare to see all the targets on a range, and, during a search for a hostile in a wooded area, this can help you spot him optically before he spots you.

Diversions and Deceptions

Every time a sniper fires in darkness, he also creates a muzzle flash that tells the enemy, "Shoot here!" Bolt-action rifles lacking any kind of flash suppressor generate a particularly conspicuous flame at night.

In an urban hide, the muzzle flash will fill the room and look like someone just took a photograph, it's so bright. Friends who've experimented with wet bandanas draped over the muzzle tell me these dampen the flash and claim it doe« not degrade accuracy, but I haven't tested this myself.

Another technique is to mask the flash by having your muzzle well back into foliage. Similar results are achieved in an urban hide by draping dark curtains in front of the windows, which you emplace after sunset. Leave a narrow hole for aiming and for your bullet to exit.

As a rule of thumb, much more so than in daytime, I think you should fire only one shot from a hide at night, then displace or withdraw. The odds of having that muzzle flash detected are jusc too great, especially if you attempt a follow-up shot.

I've already plugged the need for dummy positions to fulfill the enemy's psychological desire for retaliation. At night this bccomes much easier because it's so simple to simulate a muzzle flash. The claymore mine firing device can be unwound and placed up to 50 feet away; at the instant you fire, your sponer detonates the cap, which bangs and flashes dramatically.

Hie same can be achieved by removing a smoke grenade fuze and attaching a pull wire to its ring. Just be aware that your pull cord can become tangled, there's a two-second delay before it flashes, and there's no "bang." A truly insidious sniper, however, does the same thing, but with a brilliant trip flare. Not only will the enemy fire at this dazzling light, but the more he looks at it, the more he'll burn out his night vision, and the easier it becomes for you to disappear.

Something a bit more subtle is to expose an IR chemlight in a dummy position, again using a pull cord so that enemy NOD-equipped riflemen have something to shoot at, too.

If you want to fire in darkness but lack NODs, you can use a World War I German trick, callcd a

"fixed rifle." All you do is sandbag a rifle firmly so the crosshairs are dead on a point that you're sure will have activity' after dark, such as a bunker slit or window. Long after sunset, when there's a hint of activity, pull the trigger and who knows? As a minimum the enemy will conclude you can see him, and this has psychological effect at least.

But whether firing for deception, with NODs, or just available light, the challenges and special techniques for night shooting are so significant that we recommend 40 percent of practice shooting take place in darkness.


The first electro-optical devices that improved observing and shooting at night were introduced by the United States in the closing days of World War II. When a target was illuminated with a nonvisible infrared spotlight, a shooter could look through a compatible IR night vision scope and hit reliably to nearly 100 yards. Problem was (aside from bulk and weight), anyone on the battlefield with an IR-filtered viewer could see the spotlight as clearly as a white light beam. Through most of its post-World War II history, the Soviet army relied on assorted IR devices despite this substantial vulnerability-, while American night technology went in a profoundly different direction in the 1950s.

Nai:i Germany, too, had developed IR devices late in the war, as well as a completely new technology that had not even reached prototype stage, the cascade image tube. The U.S. Department of Defense contracted with RCA to continue this research, which in 1958 resulted in a new, passive viewing technology that intensified available light. No IR spotlight was required because this device boosted available light by about 20,000 times to make faint images visible. Within a few years, the U.S. Army fielded the AN/PVS-2—the Starlight scope—the world's first passive night sight, which was used extensively in the Vietnam War, Thus, the Starlight scope and other passive viewing systems of that era are considered Generation I (Gen. I) devices.

Marine Scope Used VietnamNight Sniper

To put these capabilities in perspective, the comparative data on the previous page from ITT Night Vision contrasts how far you can see a 6-foot man in low-light conditions.

From my experience, I'd say these figures exaggerate sniper engagement distances by about 25 percent because merely being able to make out a human figure against a contrasting background is not as visually difficult as picking out a tactical target and placing your crosshair on him. Still, the Gen. ID possibilities are impressive, allowing engagements at distances compatible with sniper rifle capabilities.

Paralleling the evolution of night vision devices has been a family of supporting laser pointers and illuminators. While I believe that visible-light lasers have almost no utility as day weapon sights, ER-

wavelength lasers—not visible to unaided eyes—are a tremendous aid to shooting and signaling at night The U.S. military uses two types of ER wavelength laser weapon sights, the AN/PAQ-4 and AN/PEQ-2, mounted atop and on the forearm side of assault rifles, particularly the M4 carbine. The PAQ-4 is purely an aiming device, projecting a 0.5 mil IR laser beam that the shooter can see while wearing night vision goggles. Though it looks similar—about the size of a paperback book—the PEQ-2 is both a weapon sight and a laser illuminator. When used to aim, the shooter sets the PEQ-2 beam to 0.5 mil and output power on low so it doesn't glaringly overwhelm his goggles. To illuminate a target, he widens the beam to 10 mils and increases power to 24 milliwatts. This intense non-visible spotlight helps identify targets as far as 2,000 meters away, allowing engagement by night vision devices—but just like IR lights in the early days, it can be seen by anyone with a night vision device.


Used in tandem with night vision goggles, the AN/PEQ-2 laser aimer projects an otherwise invisible dot for night shooting.

Passive Night Vision Weapon Sight
The AN/PVS-1Q day/night scope is being used by both Army and Marine snipers.
Simrad Kn203 Fab Night Vision

A USMC sniper practices firing from a hovering helicopter using an AN/PVS-10 day/night scope.


Developed in Norway and now manufactured in Florida under license, the Simrad is a night vision adapter that attaches to a sniper scope's objective lens. Originally produced as Gen. II devices and now Gen. Ill, the Simrad KN203 and KN253 FAB convert a daytime scope to a high-quality, night-capable viewing system. Snipers really like the Simrad because it employs the excellent lenses of their daytime scopes, which they believe are superior to the AN/PVS-10. Further, they point out, when using the PVS-iO they must carry its bulk and weight (5 pounds) everywhere, on every mission. Depending on the model, the

Simrad Kn203 Fab Night VisionSimrad Night Vision ScopeSniper Training

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  • taina
    IS 2000 KN253 Fab Night Observation?
    9 years ago
  • fre-qalsi
    How far can a night sniper see?
    9 years ago

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