There are many misconceptions and questions about PVS-14’s and buying night vision devices in general. So, I wanted to clear up some issues. Here are some of the questions we are frequently asked. What is the difference between your TNV/PVS-14 and your competitor’s Product?
This is one of the most common questions we field. The simple answer is: just because something is called a PVS-14, does not mean it is a legit PVS-14. The complex answer is this: TNV/PVS-14 NVG’s are semi-custom night vision systems that are held to the highest spec. We stake our name and reputation on every goggle that leaves our facility. Most night vision distributors are resellers, buying and selling night vision like any number of other tactical products. They do not specialize in night vision devices or build them. They have little to no control over the components or image tube specs. At TNVC, night vision is what we do and who we are. We are on contract for the highest minimum spec, brand new U.S. image intensifier tubes made by L-3 Warrior Systems and Harris. This means that our “standard spec” is on par with “hand select.” Why is this important? Because no two night vision image intensifier tubes are created equal. That’s right: every single image intensifier tube is going to be different in spec / aesthetic image. The reason for this is that it’s more accurate to say night vision image tubes are grown than it is to say they are built. It is impossible to build a perfectly clean image tube. Current production tubes can get close, but not perfect. And just because a tube has a very clean,almost blemish-free appearance, does not mean the performance specs will be anything to celebrate (the same is true for the inverse). The trick is to get a tube that has both highspecs and clean image. This is where TNVC’s spec comes in.
We base our spec off the current OMNI contract with the Department of Defense. But, that is just the beginning. Before we began the TNV program for building high-spec night vision devices, we were a distributor/reseller like many others. The problem was that we had no control over the minimum spec of image tubes in the systems we were reselling. By letting others build systems for us, we were at their mercy. Some manufacturers would do their best to work with us on delivering only high spec systems, but it was never guaranteed. Manufacturers and tube distributors have product they need to move. It comes down to numbers, and sometimes the customer is left holding the short stick with an expensive NVG and a mediocre tube.
The majority of tubes in a production run will meet the wide MILSPEC. Some will not meet it, while others will exceed it. Either way, it still costs the manufacturer the same amount of money to build a tube that doesn’t pass muster as one that does. And the manufacturer will not want to leave money on the proverbial table, so they will sell these “grade B” tubes at lower prices to recoup investment. Now, there a couple large distributors out there. These companies need to take good and bad tubes from the manufacturer per contract. And since not everyone knows that not all image tubes are created equal, there are clearing house companies that will churn out sales of mediocre night vision that’s built with mediocre or low MILSPEC tubes. The staff knows nothing about the product beyond the generic spec sheet and the buyer gets unwittingly screwed. Getting a low-MILSPEC goggle issued to you is one thing; spending thousands out of your own pocket and getting a low-MILSPEC goggle is quite another. That’s why we do not accept low MILSPEC or Grade B tubes at TNVC. If we are mistakenly shipped such a tube from the manufacturer, we ship it right back. We also only use brand new production tubes that come with manufacturer factory data sheets. This is important because it’s piece of mind for the buyer that they are getting a genuine system built with genuine parts.
Some companies are trying to pedal re-potted image tubes and non-gated systems. This should be a clue as to a knockoff or substandard NVG. All current PVS-14’sare auto-gated. So, seeing a company advertising a non-gated tube in a "new" NVG should be a red flag. Re-potted tubes can be a problem as well. There is no real way to warrant a re-pot (rebuilt) tube, nor is it possible to know the life expectancy. There is a lot of money to be made on cheap, refurbished, re-potted night vision. First time buyers are usually blinded by science or under the impression that all night vision goggles with the same name/designation are the same. We are often approached by manufacturers and other entities trying to sell us a batch of "re-pot, scratch & dent, like-new, or other mysterious origin tubes. They offer great prices and we know we could move the inventory cheap. But, we are unwilling to stake our name on something we cannot confirm. These tubes are usually bought by competitors. Hey, that's capitalism. But, there are always consequences for cutting corners.
Another reason the TNV/PVS-14 stands outis that we only use true MILSPEC housings and lenses. Our goggles are built using the same parts that are used down range. Yes, we just finished telling you that MILSPEC tubes is simply a starting point. But, Injection molded housings and good glass is repeatable and standard. But buyers should beware of cheap copy or refurbished housings. There are many copies of the PVS-14 made all around the world due to true PVS-14 housings being ITAR restricted. These housings are certainly not up to spec. We have seen plastic threads holding metal screws, cheap glass, and non-impact rated polymers. If you're looking at a "new" Gen3 PVS-14 for around $2K, you should be seeing all sorts of red flags. That's still a lot of money. The bottom line is that a deal that looks too good to be true, is. Lastly, we offer a full 10 year warranty on our TNV/PVS-14’s. Our return rate for warranty repairs is less than 1%
. We are so confident in the materials, components, and workmanship we provide, that we are willing to guarantee the system for 10 years after purchase date. If you invest inyour NVG, you should know that it is covered.
Should I get Green or White Phosphor?
Green is the most visible color to the human eye. But white is the brightest. White phosphor (WP) image tubes were developed in response to special operations units needing to go into darker conditions and operate more effectively under night vision, before they needed to supplement with active infrared. Infrared illuminators could be used relatively freely in the beginning of the GWOT because the enemy did not have night vision capabilities. But as things progressed, bad guys began getting their hands on night vision. Even the most rudimentary Gen1 device can still see an active IR light source. So, it behooves operators to be able to go longer into darker conditions, before needing to rely on IR. Another problem guys were having is that some of the population will develop a headache if looking through green screen for too long. While this is not a common problem, the abundant visibility of green can be a lot to handle over extended wear. White Phosphor changed all that. L-3 developed Film-less White Phosphor image tubes that provide a lot of benefits. First, the image is brighter because it is white rather than green. Second, the tube is film-less, so the performance specs will naturally be noticeably higher than their filmed counterparts in very dark environments. And finally, the lack of film provides more physical robustness to stand up to recoil. But is it worth the price tag?
That’s hard to say. Personally, we tell people that they should go for it as long as they can comfortably fit it in their budget. If you need to stretch for that extra price,then we say you can’t go wrong with our above spec green tubes. A lot of infantry kids are killing a lot of bad guys through green screen and there is nothing wrong with it. That said, we hold our WP tubes to the same above spec standard as our greens. This means that they are exceptional, but also rare. We don’t always receive enough WP tubes to meet our demand because the manufacturer simply does not have enough to pull from the production line. While WP sounds cool and is a great up-sell for dealers who simply want to turn over NVG systems, a lot of the WP tubes that get out on the commercial market are actually reject tubes from the factory - the dirty little secret of the white phosphor world. What’s more is that the Harris White Phosphor tubes are still filmed since film-less is patented by L-3. This means they are noticeably lower performers when looked at side by side with L-3. Is white phosphor worth it? we say yes, but only if you can afford it. Otherwise, we sell a ton of high spec green to a lot of happy customers.
Why is there a lead time on your systems? I can buy something in stock from your competition.
Why is there a lead time for any semi-custom product? Let’s look at this objectively. If all of our products were the same and could be stamped out of a mold by the thousands, then customers would be right to question lead times. But as you’ve read, night vision is anything but cookie cutter. we often use this example: if you buy five Aimpoint Micro T2 sights from five different Aimpoint dealers, you are going to get the exact same thing delivered to you from everyone. That’s because the technology is 100% reproducible. But you could buy two TNV/PVS-14’s from TNVC on the same day and find them to be different when they are delivered because the specs on the data sheets don’t match exactly. This is the result of the image tube production info we already covered. TNVCis very picky about what we ship to our customers. Every goggle out the door is a representation of the brand we have built and we will not tarnish it with sub-par systems. Quality components build quality assemblies, which build quality systems. All of this takes time. Our technicians painstakingly inspect all parts before assembly to make sure they meet our stringent standards. This is a lot more time consuming than simply drop shipping a night vision goggle that “meets the minimum spec” from a distributor.
Yes, we live in an instant gratification-driven society. People complete their online order and immediately peek outside for the UPS truck. But let's be real. Good things are worth waiting for. This is especially true of expensive investments. We cannot stress this enough: night vision is not cookie cutter.
So,I can get a perfect tube from TNVC?
Now, there is no such thing as a perfectly clean tube. It’s impossible. But, we hold our tubes to the highest possible standard to insure that our customers are getting the bestvalue. Yes, this means our tubes will cost a bit more. Yes, it means we discriminate in choosing tubes that pass. And yes, this means that manufacturers can’t always keep up with the demand for our spec and we usually have a back-order. But, that is the case with anything that is the best. Most every manufacturer of top quality gear is going to be on back-order compared to the “good enough” brands. Look at the top firearms, gear, and optics manufacturers. Gun shops are full of cheap-model AR's. But the best brands don't compromise. All of them have lead times because they are highly coveted and can’t produce product fast enough to fill orders. Just like them, we are heavily invested in our products and are unwilling to compromise our quality and spec to meet the demand of the “immediate gratification” crowd.
This brings us to data sheets. we wouldn’t want you to get the idea that we are only concerned with the cosmetics. On top of that, you are going to get a guaranteed higher spec on paper too. Again, we don’t take whatever rolls out of the factory. We have a higher minimum spec on paper and data sheets are scrutinized to make sure that everything meets our standards. If something doesn’t add up, it gets sent back before it even sees a body housing. This insures that none of our customers end up with a 1353 Luminous Gain (even if they don’t even know what that means). Buying a TNV/PVS-14 is never a crap shoot. You know that no matter what, your system will have a higher minimum spec than other offerings. We aren’t just going to pull a random bag off the shelf and ship it to you.
I’ve seen heard a lot about TNVC and see you all over the forums, magazines, television and social media. Why should I buy from you?
TNVC is your one stop shop for everything low light and no light related for the last 11 years and have educated and have sold thousands of NVG's and accessories. We also train armed professionals for a living with in-house training staff who are ex-Special Operation Personnel, we do NOT farm out and/or contract NV trainers. We here at TNVC are the actual educators and trainers who build your systems and talk with all our customers on the phone each and every day.
We are a very proud Vet owned company and made up of former/current military and law enforcement professionals along with hunters who have used this gear on a two way range and in hunting fields and have an intimate understanding of what works and what doesn’t.
Our sales staff is made up of shooters who care about this industry and strive to put the best possible gear in the hands of our customers. We don’t know if our gear is going to be used for recreation or downrange, so we build it for the later. Night vision is a system of systems. Without the proper accessories, night vision is useless. Our sales team also does not work on commission. We won’t pressure you to buy something in order to make a sale. That sort of business model lends itself to numbers rather than customers. We are here to support our customers before, during, and after a purchase. Night vision is usually a once in a lifetime purchase for most people. It’s scary to spend thousands of dollars on a product that you don’t fully understand. We are here to educate you and make sure you get the product that best suits your needs.