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Night Vision - Basic to Best: Part 1, Affordable PVS-14 Setup

Part 1: Affordable PVS-14 setup - What you need to know before you buy night vision.

Why we’re talking about night vision affordability:

Hi everyone, I’m Tim Yackley, and welcome to my new series on night vision. This is the written version

I’ve spent many days, and over the last year and a half, purchased and configured night vision set ups. One of the biggest hurdles to doing this was understanding what I need and what will work effectively, versus what people are doing just because they have money to drop on gear someone else said they use.

In this first episode, we’re going to take a look at what is the most affordable way to get into night vision while still having all the functionality you need.

The Glock of night vision: the PVS-14

In this first video, we are focusing on the PVS-14, because it is a balance of functionality, price, and the ability to upgrade. You can think of it like the Glock of night vision.

The PVS-14 is a single monocular, It’s been in service since 2000, it’s been in the hands of our military all over the globe, and thus is a proven system. There are also a TON of units out there, still being manufactured. What this means is it’s one of the cheapest options available, with a ton of mounts for it.

Why would you want to get something like this? Well, it lets you see and shoot in the dark, whether you want it for predator hunting, or just shooting at night, it’s a great tool to have. Why don’t more people have something like this then? Well, the main reason is the entry cost, which is why I’m writing this.

Set up your setup

Night vision requires you to not only purchase the vision part of night vision, but also requires a way to use it. This means that you have to have a range to shoot, mounts, a helmet, and more.

The PVS-14 will be the most expensive part of a setup, and they can be bought for anywhere from $1500-$2300 used, to $3000 new. So after you get past that, the rest can be actually affordable.

You need 5 items total: the actual night vision, (in this case we have a PVS- 14), then a J-arm, a mount, a shroud, and then last, the helmet.


We can break this down further: the J-arm screws into the PVS-14 to attach it to your mount. J-arms can be found for less than $20 on eBay, and J-arms utilizes the “Bayonet mount”, which we’ll get into now.

Mounts: Rhino vs Rhino II

There are two options for the bayonet mount: the surplus Norotos Rhino, and the Rhino II. The Rhino is the standard surplus mount for the 14, it allows you to adjust the position of the PVS-14 forward and backwards, as well as gives you the ability to tilt it up and down. The Rhino mounts that you can find on a platform like eBay are about $50. Your other option is the Rhino II, which adds vertical adjustment, and in my opinion is really needed for most people. They run about $90, and are well worth the extra money over the standard Rhino.

Shrouds & Helmets

Next we have the shroud, which doesn’t do anything special. It simply screws into your helmet to attach your mount. A shroud costs about $10-20. Next you’ve got your helmet. Now, you can either go for a Bump helmet, or a ballistic helmet. Bump helmets are lighter and run about $300. Surplus ACH or MICH ballistic helmets are obviously heavier, but are more affordable, at around $150-200.

Affordable Night vision total:

Used PVS-14 - $1800-2300

J arm - $20

Rhino II - $90

Shroud - $20

Surplus ACH helmet - $175

So if you want the most affordable setup, I would go with a used PVS-14, somewhere from $1,800 to $2,300, a J-arm, a Rhino II, and a surplus ACH. The total for the whole setup could be about $2,100 - $2,600, depending on what you pay for the PVS-14.

In the next episodes, I plan to cover rifle setups, IR lasers and illuminators, helmet setups, hearing protection to run with helmets, upgrading to binoculars, and more. - Like this last photo!:

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