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Durkin Tactical Franklin Armory
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Posted: 1/1/2011 6:45:24 AM EDT
I just ordered one of these starlight scopes from What A Country. What can our retro experts tell me about them. I know they were used during the Vietnam war. Also how is the image quality. I see they were mounted on a M-16 Rifle as well.
Link Posted: 1/1/2011 8:30:29 AM EDT
These were good in the era that they were used. When newer NV eqpt. came out such as the ANPVS4 and then the ANPVS14 these would not hold a light to them. I think they fit right at home with our M-16's and M-14's since there were mounts made for both these weapons if the scope had the orig. mount on it. This mount was made by G&H and as seen by the photo on my old unit would mount right up.
Link Posted: 1/1/2011 8:37:06 AM EDT
Really freaking bulky and heavy and offest off the centerline of the gun.  That being said, they are a lot of fun to play with.

they are about the equivalent of the Russian NP31 night vision scope.
Link Posted: 1/1/2011 8:42:43 AM EDT
I love those retro NV devices.  Makes me think of Green Berets or the original Omega Man.  In comparison to a PVS-14, it's like greasing up the bottom of a 7-Up  bottle and looking through that.  I built a PVS-14 and mounted it on one of my AR's, but I'm too scared to shoot it because I'm afraid of killing it with the recoil.
Link Posted: 1/1/2011 9:11:44 AM EDT
I built a PVS-14 and mounted it on one of my AR's, but I'm too scared to shoot it because I'm afraid of killing it with the recoil.

Wow!  You built a PVS-14... can you elaborate on this?  What a project!

John Thomas

Link Posted: 1/1/2011 10:08:42 AM EDT
Star Lite Star Bright, they did the job ok they were fun to use also.
Link Posted: 1/1/2011 10:44:56 AM EDT
Yup, they are big, heavy, bulky, not the best quality image I've ever seen and they give the weapon a lop-sided feel when mounted.  However, lets look at what year they were developed. In those days, we had an entire room full of computers that today are down to the size of an Iphone or your common laptop computer.  Passive IR was new technology back then an other night vision devices of the day were your typical active IR that required a separate IR light source and larger heavy batteries, cables, and what not to be able to work and even then the IR beam could also be detected if the other guy had a similar IR receiver.  Look at the scopes on the SVD. It's sort of like an unnecessary appendix now but there is a switch on the side that flips down a filter to be able to spot the location of an IR source like those active night vision scopes would emit.  Would I want to go down range with one today and leave my PVS-14 behind?  Probably not since the 6 pound weight might be a little unbearable if your tried to mount it on your helmet like we can with the PVS-14.  All-in-all, it's crude by today's standards but for it's time, it was a giant leap forward.  Anyways, here's mine mounted on my M-14 and the smaller and lighter PVS-4 mounted on my A2.  Kind of gives you an idea of the size difference between the two.

Link Posted: 1/1/2011 11:47:07 AM EDT
The mount to place the PVS2 on the M-16 was quite odd and i dont have one so maybe someone will post a good pic. of it. I remember using them and after a while it felt like it was sucking your eye guts out with all night vision gone for the night.
Link Posted: 1/1/2011 12:17:42 PM EDT
I built a PVS-14 and mounted it on one of my AR's, but I'm too scared to shoot it because I'm afraid of killing it with the recoil.

Wow!  You built a PVS-14... can you elaborate on this?  What a project!

John Thomas

It's actually easier to assemble a PVS-14 than an AR-15.  The hard part for me was gathering all the parts on eBay and the EE; it took me the better part of a year.  The last and hardest part to find was a decent tube.  I was finally able to find a 64lp/mm mil-spec tube from an Arfcom member for cheap.  I traded him some 603 barrels and other retro stuff for it.  I love the results, and it was a really fun project.  The final cost of everything was less than $1K, so the savings are there.  I highly recommend it.  There is a tutorial thread in the night vision forum (now archived) that tells you everything you need to know:


Link Posted: 1/1/2011 1:00:14 PM EDT
Make sure the PVS2 has a green ring on the eyepiece.  This keeps any radiation from reaching your eye. The US tubes usually don't emit, but better safe then sorry..

Murphys surplus has several mounts i believe

Link Posted: 1/1/2011 1:03:00 PM EDT
you think those are bulky you should have seen the ones that we had mounted in our Blind Bat C130A birds in Ubon in 68.
Link Posted: 1/1/2011 1:50:22 PM EDT
Makes me think of Tower Five...
Link Posted: 1/1/2011 3:24:52 PM EDT
This is the correct mount for the AN-PVS2.Still available as shown in the link to RBR.

Link Posted: 1/1/2011 3:28:00 PM EDT
The AN/PVS2 was the 2nd version in the 1st generation "starlight" or passive NV scopes used by the US military, there was the AN/PVS1, followed by the AN/PVS2 in 3 variants, & the AN/PVS3, each was smaller & lighter & a bit more electronically advanced than the preceeding model, the AN/PVS1 came into service approximately 65-66, the AN/PVS2 approximately 68-69, the AN/PVS3 was just coming into service when we pulled out, 73-74. As stated in the above replies compared to todays NV they're heavy, crude, tempermental & the 1 & 2 models were a PIA to carry in the field, they did in fact mount off to the left on both the M14 & M16 & were "odd" to shoot due to the eye positioning, an instructor showed us a trick though (only applicable if your weak eye wasn't too different than your strong & the rifle was set up for it), on the M14 using your left eye allowed for an almost normal cheek weld, not a perfect solution & never "officially" sanctioned but a "field expedient" LOL! The AN/PVS2 came in a metal transit case w/spare batteries, tools, manual, carry strap & field carry case:

The metal case wasn't used in the field, it was a storage/transit case, the system was big/heavy enough in the field. There was this mount for the M14:

and another for the M16:

Here's a coupla pics of the AN/PVS2 on an M16A1 replica (for the "sharp eyed purists" the M16 shown is NOT a correct A1, it had an A2 lower, it's been totally rebuilt & corrected since, just haven't had the chance to get new pics!) to give an idea of what it's like:

and on an XM21 replica:

As said in earlier replies these scopes are "old" school & don't compare very well w/newer NV but they were the best there was at the time! These were 1st generation "passive" NV devices, meaning they did not emit any kind of electronic signal & were virtually undetectable, at least at that time. Looking at them today they're heavy, cumbersome, short ranged etc but they were "star wars" gear back then!
Keep in mind these NV scopes replaced the original IR (infra red) "active" AN/PAS4 NV sets:

Shown above in it's metal transit case & on the XM21 replica, these NV scopes were basically updated versions of the WWII era M1 Carbine "sniperscopes", the main drawback (besides being even larger, heavier, more cumbersome & requiring carrying a very seperate battery on your belt to power the IR emittor than the AN/PVS2), these were "active" NV gear, meaing they actually emitted an electronic signal, IR light, from the large round fitting on top of the electronic scope, this IR light source was very simple to detect using very simple electronics!, the AN/PVS2 on the other hand is a "passive" device, meaning it does NOT emit any electronic signal, it works by taking existing "ambient" light & electronically "intensifying" it inside the image intensifier tube, it could not be detected by an enemy. The drawback (at least to these 1st generation starlights, I don't know about the newer ones), is they required existing light, ie:, moonlight etc, if it was pitch dark, overcast, moonless etc they didn't work.
We were issued an AN/PAS4 NV set in 1971 on arrival in VN, used w/the XM21, we thought we were "invisible"!, in early 1972 we saw a Soviet SVD Dragunov that had been captured & were shown the PSO1 scope it was equipped with, when the SVD was adopted in 1964 it's standard daytime scope the PSO1 had been designed w/a built in IR detector! to give you an idea of the simple electronics needed to detect "active" IR NV here's a pic of the PSO1 scope & the scope on an SVD:

The above pic shows the IR detector built into the PSO1 scope, the round window facing up in front of the top dial is the power source, sunlight!, the small switch just behind it on the side is the on/off switch, at night, flip the switch to on after powering it w/sunlight & if the scope is looking at an IR source the source will glow green in the PSO1's crosshairs!

Above is a side view of an SVD w/PSO1 scope mounted to give an idea how small & light this "detector" gear was. 2 weeks after seeing the SVD/PSO1 we were issued/trained on the AN/PVS2 & it was a pretty comforting feeling, again!, of course 30yrs later when I started researching some of this stuff I found out the starlight scopes had been in service since 65-66 & we were issued an AN/PAS4 IR set in 1971!
The M14 & M16 mounts shown in the pics above mount both the AN/PAS4 & AN/PVS series NV sets.
Link Posted: 1/1/2011 4:40:23 PM EDT
So, here's a dumb question... with the AN/PVS-2 offset from the rifle so far to the left.  Does a right handed shooter use a normal cheek weld to the stock and sight with his left eye?  Or just kind of hold his head off of the stock and use his right eye?

John Thomas
Link Posted: 1/1/2011 5:01:17 PM EDT
LOL!. instructions are always to use your strong eye & make the "proper" adjustments, "improper" adjustments at times could be stuff stuffed into a sock tied around the butt (seen it done!), but mostly it's "feel" & being used to the equipment, really no difference than some other military modified scoped rifles (not specifically US military), a lot of various rifles used w/scopes don't have a "pproper" cheek/stock weld "thought" into them, at least older rifles, high turret Mausers, Mas semi's w/AP scopes etc, todays rifles seem to pay more attention to this w/the adjustable cheeks, pulls etc. The "trick" of using the weak eye was something one of the instructors told us about & then said said we shouldn't ever do it LOL! Shooting the XM wasn't much different than a scoped Mas say regards to not having a definite/defined weld on the stock, like everything else familiarity, repitition, practice & muscle memory can accomplish interesting things. Both the PAS4 & the PVS2's were'nt very long range capable either 200-400 meters max, being about invisible (or at least feelin you were) was pretty effective!
Link Posted: 1/2/2011 1:26:31 AM EDT

Are batteries still available in quantity for these AN/PVS-2s?

Link Posted: 1/2/2011 2:42:31 AM EDT
No but there is a simple adapter out there that uses 4 AA batteries that works quite well.
Link Posted: 1/2/2011 2:52:58 AM EDT
No but there is a simple adapter out there that uses 4 AA batteries that works quite well.

This.  I have one of the adapters for my PVS-1.  Works great and was like 20 bucks or something.  Never thought about it but it would make a great retro "accessory".

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