NVM14-3 NIGHT VISION MONOCULAR
American Technologies Network Corp
Review by Fred Fusco
This is the gear review for NVN14-3 Night Vision monocular manufactured by ATN (American Technologies Network Corp). I will discuss the optic in four categories…Cost, Durability, Size, and Function.
The price of the monocular is $2,999. This price is relatively inexpensive in an ever growing world of civilian available night vision technology. Designed with the budget conscious, night time hunter in mind, this optic does well when compared to it’s competition. The model sent to me for this review was accompanied by ATN’s Goggle kit which is a head harness set up to wear the goggle hands free on the head. This accessory made the use of the NVM14’s easy and more natural. The head harness is an extra and retails at $229. If you are hunting or patrolling at night with the monocular, this addition may be necessary to free up the hands for other tasks such as manipulating a weapon or some other equipment. I normally use NVG’s with a military style “bump helmet” for comfort however the mount for the goggle didn’t line up well with the Wilcox Industries 3 hole shroud I have mounted on my helmet which made it necessary for me to use the ATN head harness. The length of travel wasn’t enough to bring the google close enough to my face to facilitate using my helmet.
The durability for the monocular itself was excellent. This monocular did get bumped and banged around a bit especially in the dark like most night vision devices do. I didn’t have any issues with the monocular. ATN includes a rubber eyepiece for wearing comfort as well as a protective lens cap which allows you to test the goggles out in normal daylight or well lit rooms. This is achieved with the pin-hole in the cap which allows a small amount of light in to let the image intensifier tube function without letting too much light in to overpower the unit. Also included with the monocular is a soft carrying case.
The mount itself for the monocular could use some re-engineering. I am not a fan of the materials used to construct the mounts and attaching hardware. There is a lot of plastics used and they normally don’t fare well with this kind of equipment. I was a bit worried about breaking the mount while using. Luckily I was able to avoid any breakage.
The size and weight of the NVM14-3 is about average with a goggle of similar capabilities. Being that it’s a single monocular tube, it has a lower profile than a dual tube system. This is nice as you don’t the “stiff neck” when wearing the goggle for long periods of time like with a dual tube system. So the size and weight are a plus.
Now for the function. I ran the full gamut of testing and evaluation on the NVM14-3 monocular that one would expect from a retired Special Operations Soldier who has done just about every task possible at night under night vision goggles. I used them during low light/no light shooting with and without IR laser and floodlight use, no light driving, patrolling, land navigation, and a wide range of tasks under no light. I also brought them with me while instructing a few courses for various US Military Special Operations units. I can honestly say that they worked well for me and I was able to accomplish everything I needed to with no issues. This monocular is a great low cost option for using in no light environments (non-combat).
I will discuss some of the function “cons” I experienced. Though they were very small and non-problematic, there were a couple of things I feel I need to mention. First is fixed pattern noise. In the manual that comes with the monocular, there is a section that describes some of the operational defects that normally come with night vision devices that utilize image intensifying technology. Different devices I have used over the span of my 20 year career in the US Military have displayed this defect in some way. As the technology improves and evolves, it becomes less noticeable. With the set I used, there was noticeable fixed pattern noise. This was in no way a problem or show stopper for me. In no way does this affect the function. It’s merely a pattern of “grid like” appearance that resembles chicken wire some would say. Some also say it looks like a faint pattern of honeycomb or hexagonal patterns on the screen. It doesn’t affect the appearance or display in any way so it’s really not a big deal.
Another part I would call a “con” is the mounting system. I am not a fan of plastic especially for mounting optics. Although I didn’t break the hardware included. I could see myself breaking the mounts at some point with continued use over time. I was always good at breaking things and durability is one of my T&E strong suits! However for the average civilian user, the present state of this monocular should be more than adequate. Also ATN offers a limited warranty on all of their products.
The operation knob which is the power switch for the monocular has 3 positions. There is an off position, an on position, and an IR position. The on position turns the goggle on without an external IR light source. The off position in the center powers the unit off. The IR position turns the google on with the aid of a small IR illuminator which is used for darker environments at close distance up to 3 meters. When in IR mode, there is a red indicator light in the eyepiece to let the user know the illuminator is on.
The goggle is powered by a CR 123A battery and is included with the monocular. The average battery life span is 50 hours. The eyepiece has a diopter adjustment to adjust to the users eye. There is also an objective lens focus to adjust for viewing objects at different distances.
So that pretty much sums up my review of the ATN NVM14-3. I was pleasantly surprised at the performance of this night vision device as compared to it’s price. It’s definitely a great asset to the hunter or night shooting firearms enthusiast. I am looking forward to doing the reviews on a few other of ATN’s night vision devices.
I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer via Spotter Up so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.
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