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Posted: 1/15/2015 11:11:08 AM EST
Night vision has been a long time dream of mine and I always planned on buying a PVS14 someday.
Typically I'm methodical in my research before I buy anything much less an expensive night vision setup but a friend pointed me to an Amazon deal earlier this week with a
$1,900 Pulsar Challenger G2+ for $900. I questioned if the reason it was still available was because it was a piece of crap but they were selling on ebay for $1,700 so I figured I could resell it if nothing else.
I checked it out last night and the thing is awesome. At least to my untrained eye with nothing to compare it to. I figured that barring finding out anything terrible about Pulsars products I would keep it.

Do you guys know anything about this unit? My google foo wasn't finding much in the way of reviews.
Link Posted: 1/15/2015 11:46:57 AM EST
I've never seen that unit before, but if you're impressed with its performance that's all that matters. Pulsars makes both hits and misses -- their most notable hits being in digital NV and thermal monoculars.

We're generally a "go Gen 5 or go home" group, but we occasionally allow lesser beings to post here because it makes us feel better about ourselves -- i.e. "Well, it could be worse, I could own Gen 2 gear like THAT guy!"

Link Posted: 1/15/2015 11:58:24 AM EST
[Last Edit: 1/15/2015 11:59:43 AM EST by AlmightyTallest]
I think it uses the Russian EPM207G-11-13B tube.

Specs for that tube are here, if that's the tube in the unit: http://www.ekran-os.ru/epm207g11121413eng

If this is your first night vision purchase, it's not a bad one, a few of us started out with Gen 0 Russian gear until we learned what was good and stepped up to Gen 2 or Gen3 devices, which are big leaps in performance over any Gen0 and Gen1 Russian equipment. Like Horta said, if your satisfied with it that's all that really matters. Never look into a Gen 3 product would be my only advise, it permanently spoils the person and causes an uncontrollable urge to sell off their stuff in order to achieve Gen 3 performance.

Some of the aliens around here have moved beyond standard Gen 3, but I wouldn't worry about that for awile, enjoy what you have human, you did good, for now.
Link Posted: 1/15/2015 12:36:39 PM EST
Since I don't have the ability to compare, what does gen 3 give you over gen 2?
light magnification?
Clarity?
Depth of field?

I've never had night vision but i really thought it looked good. The only thing I disliked was that i could see a red glow from the IR illuminator and that when the unit was focused to see at distance an object such as handgun sights were blurry.

Is it possible to have an IR illuminator that is completely outside of the visible spectrum or is that just the name of the game? How well do the Surefire IR filters work? Lots of visible light still?
Link Posted: 1/15/2015 12:53:05 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/15/2015 12:57:27 PM EST by AlmightyTallest]
Well, in general Gen 3 equipment will appear clearer depending on the specs, and depends on the lighting conditions, and they tend to give you more of a usable image under darker conditions without having to use IR light as much. The Gen 2+ equipment is good, there's nothing wrong with it, and depending on your situation, even under the darkest conditions with a little IR light, you'll still be able to see pretty darn well. You can purchase rather cheap IR illuminators and filter materials to make the IR light less visible to your eye while still allowing your unit to see the light. Some of the guys here are real McGuyver's with their setups and will be better able to help you out with using other IR light sources with your unit.

Congratulations on joinig the green eye crowd, it's a fun hobby and a very useful and powerful tool you have, so enjoy it and read up here, search the archives, and ask questions, the guys will help you sqeeze the most out of your purchase.
Link Posted: 1/15/2015 1:01:57 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By AlmightyTallest:
Well, in general Gen 3 equipment will appear clearer depending on the specs, and depends on the lighting conditions, and they tend to give you more of a usable image under darker conditions without having to use IR light as much. The Gen 2+ equipment is good, there's nothing wrong with it, and depending on your situation, even under the darkest conditions with a little IR light, you'll still be able to see pretty darn well. You can purchase rather cheap IR illuminators and filter materials to make the IR light less visible to your eye while still allowing your unit to see the light. Some of the guys here are real McGuyver's with their setups and will be better able to help you out with using other IR light sources with your unit.

Congratulations on joinig the green eye crowd, it's a fun hobby and a very useful and powerful tool you have, so enjoy it and read up here, search the archives, and ask questions, the guys will help you sqeeze the most out of your purchase.
View Quote
Thanks man.
Link Posted: 1/15/2015 1:04:05 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By EvilBlackDog:
Since I don't have the ability to compare, what does gen 3 give you over gen 2?light magnification?
Clarity?
Depth of field?
View Quote View All Quotes
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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By EvilBlackDog:
Since I don't have the ability to compare, what does gen 3 give you over gen 2?light magnification?
Clarity?
Depth of field?


More light amplification with less noise.
More "clarity" via higher resolution.
DoF is more about optics than the tube.

As AT mentioned, Gen 3 all-but negates the necessity of IR illumination in most situations.


I've never had night vision but i really thought it looked good. The only thing I disliked was that i could see a red glow from the IR illuminator and that when the unit was focused to see at distance an object such as handgun sights were blurry.


Gen 3 will not alleviate either issue.


Is it possible to have an IR illuminator that is completely outside of the visible spectrum or is that just the name of the game? How well do the Surefire IR filters work? Lots of visible light still?


Laser-based IR illuminators are virtually invisible. LED-based illuminators are visible and there is nothing you can really do about it. Filters are the worst way to achieve IR illumination and only work with pre-/non-LED lights, so you're stuck working with devices where some trade-offs are required. Laser IR illuminators have a fairly tight beam and aren't good for small spaces or illumination for walking around, but they're great for distance and weapon use.
Link Posted: 1/15/2015 1:06:39 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/15/2015 1:09:47 PM EST by Isaac-1]
To sum things up, Gen 1 is like looking through the bottom of a green glass beer bottle, Gen 2 is like a looking through a few layers green plastic sheeting in a snow storm, and Gen 3 is like looking through a pair of green sunglasses with a little snow falling. All are going to have limited depth of field, but as the others have said once you go Gen 3 it is hard to go back.

p.s. one thing to keep in mind about IR illuminators is that there is a big difference between the parts of the spectrum that Gen 2 sees vs Gen 3. Gen 3 is far more sensitive in the IR spectrum, but Gen 2 sees farther into the blue end of the spectrum. This means any given IR illuminator will seem much brighter when viewed with a Gen 3 scope, even before you consider the added overalll light sensitivity of Gen 3.
Link Posted: 1/15/2015 1:24:56 PM EST
LED-based illuminators are visible and there is nothing you can really do about it. Filters are the worst way to achieve IR illumination and only work with pre-/non-LED lights, so you're stuck working with devices where some trade-offs are required.
View Quote


Good thing to note here, as Horta said, if you go with LED illuminators you can't really use filters for them, to make them less visible you'd have to select one with a wavelength that's higher up the scale, say 920nm, and it will still be visible to your eye close up. The filters work with older incandescent lights, cheap to do, but pretty inefficient.
Link Posted: 1/15/2015 3:18:28 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/15/2015 3:24:42 PM EST by gman1971]
Here is a very simple table as to what is better (top of the chart is best) (number of dots in between denotes the improvement amount) I am going to go based on SNR here on the top stuff... remember SNR is measured in dB and dB is a logarithmic scale

US Filmless Autogated Gen 3 (originally Gen4) SNR: (high 30s -- low 40s)
.
US Thin Film Autogated Gen3 SNR: (low 30s -- high 30s)
US Thin Film OR Autogated Gen3 SNR: (high 20s -- low 30s)
.
US Filmed Gen3 SNR (low 20s -- very low 30s)
EU Photonis XR5 and similar Photonis tubes SNR (low 20s -- very low 30s)
Russian Gen3 SNR ( low20s (possibly even lower than this) -- mid 20s)
US modern Gen2 (very high 10s -- very low 20s)
.
Cascading Gen1(very high 10s -- very low 20s)
.
.
.
Russian commercial Gen2+ (mid 10s -- high 10s, possibly very very low 20s)
US old MILSPEC Gen2 (mid10s -- high 10s)
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Digital NV (n/a)
Russian Gen1 or Gen0 (n/a)
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 10:53:39 AM EST
Thanks for all the info guys.

If I were to sell this and be able to get $1,700 on ebay. What could I expect to buy used on the EE for that much?
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 11:43:42 AM EST
[Last Edit: 1/16/2015 11:48:34 AM EST by AlmightyTallest]
Check out the Night Vision EE currently for an example: http://www.ar15.com/forums/f_7/172_Night_Vision.html

Some of the EE items in that price range are Gen 3 PVS-14's or PVS-7's, Pitbull Monocular's etc. But keep in mind with what you have you probably have a warranty with your unit, and you said you were happy with the performance. Buying used sometimes can be challenging if you don't know what your getting into, it's safer to purchase in the EE than Ebay though in my opinion.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 3:44:42 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By AlmightyTallest:
Check out the Night Vision EE currently for an example: http://www.ar15.com/forums/f_7/172_Night_Vision.html

Some of the EE items in that price range are Gen 3 PVS-14's or PVS-7's, Pitbull Monocular's etc. But keep in mind with what you have you probably have a warranty with your unit, and you said you were happy with the performance. Buying used sometimes can be challenging if you don't know what your getting into, it's safer to purchase in the EE than Ebay though in my opinion.
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I second that. I only purchased in eBay the non-critical components, (rings, lenses...) the components that are hard to screw up once you know what to look for.

G.
Link Posted: 1/17/2015 1:01:16 PM EST
Is there a generic mount to attach a monocular like this to a rifle? I'm trying to find something specific or this unit but not coming up with much and I'm not sure what's available.
Link Posted: 1/17/2015 1:07:33 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/17/2015 1:17:59 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By EvilBlackDog:
Is there a generic mount to attach a monocular like this to a rifle? I'm trying to find something specific or this unit but not coming up with much and I'm not sure what's available.
View Quote

The standard USGI PVS-14 weapon mount works with the Challenger.
Link Posted: 1/17/2015 3:13:20 PM EST
Perfect. thanks guys.

Since everyone is so helpful I thought of another couple questions.

1. When looking for a helmet and mount... Are the mounts specific to the receptacle on the helmet or are they specific to the night vision?

2. IR Lasers... It seems that the skys the limit for these things. Is there one thats considered good bang for your buck? I want something that works reliably but I don't have the budget to pay $1,000 for an IR laser. Would mount it to a suppressed .300 BLK shooting subs so not a ton of recoil.
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