Over the past year I’ve had the opportunity to try out several digital night vision units. These appeal to me for several reasons: they potentially offer a better price to performance ratio than conventional night vision units, they don’t have image intensifier tubes that can age, and they aren’t damaged by daytime use. The latest model I’ve had the opportunity to try out is the Pulsar Digisight Ultra N455.
This unit is an upgrade to the Digisight Ultra N355 and features:
- HD-sensor 1280×720 pixels
- 500 m nighttime viewing range
- Wide field of view
- Picture in Picture mode
- Integrated video recorder
- Updatable Software
- 10 electronic reticles, including MilDot
- Precise zeroing with “Zoom Zeroing”
- Invisible long-range IR Illuminator
- Integration with iOS and Android Devices Wi-Fi
- Remote Review and Operation Using Smartphone
- High caliber recoil resistance: 12 gauge., 9.3×64, .375H&H
- Extreme Operating Temperatures (-25…+50°C)
- Fully waterproof IPX7
- Side incline and elevation angle indication
- Stadiametric rangefinder
This unit is fairly light weight considering its size and features. It is equipped with a reversible mount that helps set proper eye-relief on a number of different platforms. The mount is also adaptable to both Weaver and Picatinny rail systems.
Unlike some previous digital units I’ve tried, this model is more like a first-focal-plane optic that adjusts the size of the reticle as the image is magnified. There are three magnification settings: 4.5X, 9X, and 18X. The picture-in-picture mode allows a magnified image to be added in a small window when the main view is in a different magnification mode. There are 10 reticle selections in 6 colors. The contrast of the reticle can be adjusted in relation to the image.
Zeroing the optic is easy to over-think, but not too bad once you figure it out. During sight-in mode, a small red X appears in addition to the reticle. The shooter only needs to hold the reticle on the aiming point and adjust the position of the red “X” to the center of the group. The red X can be used as an aiming point in sight-in mode to refine the zero. When the shooter is satisfied, the reticle moves to the position of the red X, which disappears. Like most digital units, the reticle moves on the image, rather than moving the image under the reticle, sometimes resulting in a reticle that isn’t centered in the field of view. Some of this could be adjusted by adjusting the mount, and that may be the best bet if the crosshairs are too radically off-center.
The view can be real-time streamed (with a very minor delay) over WiFi to a smartphone, which allows for remote aiming if desired.
The elusive soda can engaged in picture-in-picture mode with a suppressed .22 in complete darkness at 25 yards with the IR illuminator in its lowest setting:
Tracking elk at over 600 yards by starlight and a little skyglow off the clouds with no additional illumination. Too far for an ethical shot, but enough to begin a stalk (where hunting at night is lawful, of course.)
The Digisight Ultra N455 is an impressive optic, for nighttime pest elimination, this is a perfect optic. The illuminator glow is one of the dimmest to the naked eye that I have seen, while offering impressive infrared illumination. Digital units are sensitive to IR laser, so a long-range IR illuminator would be a useful addition depending on the shooting environment and range.
Clarity: 5/5 – ample focus that actually exceeds what the photos show
Amplification: 5/5 – as digital units go, this one is amazing
Features: 4.5/5 – I’m not fond of the USB connection that is recessed to prevent using standard USB cables, but it’s not the end of the world. I would prefer that the reticle stayed centered in the field of view during windage/elevation adjustments, but that also is something that can be coped with. The selectable reticles and colors offer enough variety for any taste, environment, or type of shooting. Large internal memory for saving photos and video is also good.
User Friendliness: 5/5 – It’s intuitive to use and controls are easily accessible
Value: 4.5/5 – At almost $1300, this unit does represent an investment, but digital night vision doesn’t “age” like traditional intensifier tubes.
Total: 96% – Of all the digital night vision weapon sights I’ve tried, this one offers the best clarity, most features, and best light amplification. The clip-on Forward F155 (no longer marketed in the US for some mysterious reason) is the only unit that came close. I’ve been looking for a replacement for the old first-generation unit on my suppressed rimfire for a long time…and I think I’ve finally found it.
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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