Bridge Night Vision and Thermal (on a budget) - Arkayne

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Bridge Night Vision and Thermal (on a budget)

  • September 10, 2023
  • By Jared Daub
Bridge Night Vision and Thermal (on a budget)
Bridged Thermal And Night Vision
Both packages shown in image above. Details below.

Bridge Night Vision and Thermal (on a budget): By now you know: We are HUGE fans of dual band systems. We throw that term around, and sometimes forget that you might not even know what we mean. When we say “Dual Band”, it simply means a thermal bridged to a PVS-14 or other night vision monocular. Two very important aspects of succeeding in the dark that traditionally weren’t bridged. Times are changing and the technology is changing.

Bridging thermal and NV gives you more capability in the darkness.

Descending into the darkness with only thermal or only night vision is choosing to eliminate 50% of the data you COULD have. Running both gives you the best of both worlds, and it gives you the ability to cross reference data. Running thermal only or night vision only leaves serious gaps in your capabilities. Most people overlook the capabilities of a PVS-14 coupled with a thermal. Even if it is a handheld thermal, like the CBL19, you GREATLY increase your ability to identify and detect by simply having thermal on tap. To further clarify: If your crew doesn’t have thermal, you have a serious gap in your playbook.

The Rundown:

We can talk more about why we think this topic is so important in future blogs. In this one, I want to hone in on the two packages we now have available for our customers. Before I do that, I have good news and bad news. The bad news: Even the budget oriented option is going to run you around $6K all in. The good news is that is almost half of what our typical customer will spend on their bridged setup. The other bit of good news: If it is on our site, it means we run the unit(s) and trust it (them). We don’t list every option under the sun, we focus in on stuff we truly believe in.

The Budget Option:
PG 25 & STINGIR
PG 25 & STINGIR

Our objective behind curating this option was to make a bridged setup obtainable for normal people. We understand the times we live in and how tight finances are. EVERYONE is under immense pressure right now. We believe that owning this gear is important as we navigate these trying times. We believe that you should have gear like this if you are financially able to do so. But, for MOST people….spending $12K is out of the realm of possible. Let’s discuss the units in this package:

  • PG25 Night Vision Monocular (Green image intensifier tube)
  • STINGIR 384 (Or upgrade to a 640)
  • MOD Armory Bridge
  • All accessories that come standard with each Unit in this package
Pro’s and Cons of the Budget option:
  • Pros:
    • About half the price of the “Elite Package” (NOX18 & PVS-14)
    • MUCH lighter complete setup than the Elite Package
    • Comparable performance from the STINGIR 384 and 640 VS the NOX18
    • Comparable battery life and run time
    • Compatible with standard Milspec Mounts like the G24, Low Sto, and Photonis Breakaway Mounts
    • STINGIR 384 and 640 are weapons mountable for calibers up to .223/5.56 NATO
    • The PG25 is about half the physical size and weight of a PVS-14
    • The PG25 has a WICKED onboard infrared illuminator. Most potent one we’ve seen on a night vision monocular to date
    • Easier to mount the STINGIR to a bridge (left OR right eye) VS the NOX18
    • PG25 and STINGIR 384/640 are the same overall height and almost identical objectives. This makes bridging them seamless.
    • PG25 makes an AWESOME buddy unit if you ever upgrade to a PVS-14
    • PG25 Feels more robust than a PVS14 while being lighter and smaller
PG25 VS PVS-14
PG25 VS PVS-14 held in hands to show the size difference.
  • Cons:
    • STINGIR 384 is NOT manufactured in the US
    • PG25 is NOT manufactured in the US
    • STINGIR does not “feel” as robust as the NOX18
    • No specification sheets or hand select option is available for the PG25
    • PG25 does not have manual gain
    • The PG25 has VERY small glass and does have some edge distortion
    • The PG25 will not have as good low light performance as a PVS-14 with a Photonis or Elbit tube
Who is it for?

The budget option should be considered by folks who need to get into the darkness fast. Budget is also a primary point to consider with this setup. While the PG25 will not offer quite as high performance as the PVS-14, it does allow you to see in the dark. On the darkest nights, the onboard illuminator or a secondary IR source will bring the PG25 back into the game. Keep in mind: It will have to be VERY dark conditions to really see where the PG25 lacks slightly in performance. The fact that you have the STINGIR on tap allows you to care less about what night vision monocular you are running. The STINGIR 384 is an insanely crisp thermal. The 640 is even better. Both are VERY comparable to the NOX18. Overall, if you need good baseline performance, care about having the lightest setup possible, and like the idea of spending less to get this all done, this package is the one for you. If you are more concerned with a curation of “Made in the USA” units…continue reading.

NOX18 and PVS-14
NOX18 and PVS-14
The “Elite” Option:

Our primary objective for this package was to curate units that were manufactured here in the US that offer top level performance. We also wanted this to be the extreme durability option. If you are really hard on your gear, run in crazy inclement weather, need the highest performance units and budget is less of a concern..this might be a good one for you. This package includes:

  • PVS-14 with either Photonis or Elbit SLH intensifier tube
  • NVISION NOX18 Thermal Monocular
  • MOD Armory Bridge
  • All accessories that come standard with each Unit in this package
Pro’s and Cons of the Elite option:
  • Pros:
    • Higher performance all around (although the thermal comparison is VERY close. Frankly, the STINGIR 640 is a better image than the NOX18)
    • Feels more durable
    • PVS-14 and NOX18 share the same eyepiece. This makes the bridging process seamless.
    • NOX18 can be mounted to either left or right eye (Some nuance here, read the cons section)
    • Proven BAE thermal core in the NOX18
    • NO wifi, blue tooth, or GPS on the NOX18. If you truly want to go off grid, this is your unit.
    • Proven track record of the PVS-14
    • Each PVS-14 comes with specification sheet
    • Higher performance PVS-14 vs the PG25 in the other package
    • All components of this kit are US manufactured. Supporting small US businesses is important
  • Cons:
    • Bulkier and heavier than the budget option
    • NOX18 has no internal shutter. You must place your hand over the unit and manually re-calibrate every few minutes.
    • MUCH more expensive than the budget kit
    • NOX 18 is a bit more complex to be able to mount on left or right eye. Factory mount needs removed, unit needs rotated and bolted opposite way for switching eyes. In other words: not a super fast thing if you NEED to switch eyes now. This is because the battery housing sticks out far to the one side.
    • BAE core of the NOX18 is not as crisp as the new STINGIR 640 and the Infiray units
    • More weight means faster neck fatigue
    • No internal recording with the NOX18
Who is it for?

                    

This package is for the person who has the larger budget and wants to own units built in the US. It is also for the person who is subjecting their gear to harsher environments. We would trust the budget option as well, so don’t get us wrong here. BUT the Elite package simply feels more robust. It’s also much heavier, so there is a cost with the rugged feel. The fact that the NOX18 and PVS-14 have no wifi, bluetooth, or GPS functionality also intrigues many of our customers. You can truly “go dark” with this setup. For some of our customers, this is critically important. The fact that the NOX18 and PVS-14 share the EXACT same eyepiece means looking through both units is incredibly seamless. This is a fantastic package that will serve you well, should you decide to go down this road. Really the only negatives are cost, weight, and the manual recalibration. The manual recalibration is just annoying. It is NOT a dealbreaker. Frankly, we’ve just been spoiled by the auto shutter/refresh thermals we run. We wish the NOX18 had it, but we don’t feel that it is necessary. It takes seconds to recalibrate.

Closing thoughts:

Both options are on our site because we believe in them. So if you are on a tighter budget, do NOT feel bad about getting the budget option. It will give you the ability to see, shoot, evade, pursue, run, drive, and function in the darkness. That’s what this is all about: Equipping you with gear that is realistic. We don’t want to see people getting into reckless debt to get units they don’t need and can’t afford. We’d rather be real with you, and offer you something that is much more realistic. BUT…if your budget allows, we will deck you out with all the best gear money can buy. We are with you in this journey, no matter what phase you are in.

If you have questions, simply email us: cs@arkayne.com. If you want to learn more about both packages, check out our video below.

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