One of the coolest parts of working here at GearExpert by OpticsPlanet is that I get to try out some of the latest tactical and hunting equipment as soon as it comes out, or in this case, BEFORE it comes out. Armasight is the newest brand to come to OpticsPlanet, and we are really excited to have them. In fact, we’ve been excited since SHOT Show, where we got to talk to their representative and check out a few of their Night Vision devices. I suggest taking a look at all of their optics, as Armasight Thermal Imagers are superb and their flashlights and red dot sights are said to have the type of quality I experienced from their night vision. No doubt I’ll have info on other Armasight optics in the future, but for today I want to focus on my two favorite: the Armasight Spark CORE Night Vision Monocular and the Armasight Dark Strider Night Vision Binocular.
Generation 1 Levels Up with Armasight CORE Technology
As many of you know, there are multiple generations of Night Vision technology. The first generation was developed during the Korean War, and can give you a really nice image for certain purposes, but as the technology is old you won’t see anywhere near as much detail as from a later generation night vision device. The jump from first to second generation is really astonishing. Of all the improvements, this is the most significant. Generation two to generation three is nice, but won’t give you the same level of operational difference.
The problem with going from a Gen 1 unit to a Gen 2 is price. The technology is a lot more advanced and more delicate, so to make it tough enough for real world use (let’s be honest, you’re sloshing around in the woods banging the night vision around and won’t be using these optics in a laboratory setting) they have to put a LOT of time and effort into making Generation 2 technology tough enough for reliable use. This translates to higher prices.
Armasight saw this price issue and wanted to give hunters and shooters the quality image of a Gen 2 Night Vision device, but at the price of Gen 1. Since the nature of Gen 2 NV Devices requires a lot of time and money, they instead put their efforts into perfecting Generation 1 tech. And now we have Armasight CORE Technology.
The CORE tech in the Armasight Spark CORE Night Vision Monocular is far more efficient than other Gen 1 night vision tech. You’ll get the kind of sharp and detailed images from this monocular that is normally only going to come from Gen 2. That’s huge! And it’s totally affordable. Win win.
I was able to get a hands on look at the Spark Monocular and I have to say I liked it quite a bit. In the picture at the top of the page you can see the user end of the monocular. The eyecup is super comfortable, but should note the switch. With just a quick turn of that knob you can turn the NV unit on, and a just one more quick turn and you turn on the IR Illuminator. When you combine this illuminator with the CORE tech, you’ll be able to see what you need when you need it. No more worries about a lack of ambient light or a blurry image from your Gen 1 Night Vision Monocular. The Armasight Spark CORE gives you an amazing image in virtually any setting.
To make this monocular an even better deal, the included case is outstanding. Immediately upon picking it up I could tell it was sturdy, and there was plenty of fabric to pad and protect your treasured NV Unit. There’s just enough room for your Spark without having a ton of extra space for it to slide around all over the place, and the outside pouch is perfect for carrying extra batteries or whatever else you might need close at hand when using night vision.
For greater Magnification the Armasight Dark Strider brings you Close
The one thing the Spark Monocular doesn’t have is magnification. This isn’t a big deal most of the time, as Night Vision is often used to get around and maintain your bearings in the dark. A lot of people would stumble all over the place if they had to navigate using a magnified image.
That said, just like you need a binocular to view distant objects during the day, having a little magnification at night is absolutely necessary for success. Enter the Armasight Dark Strider Night Vision Binocular. The 5x magnification is plenty for many low light operations, but it’s not so great as to blur your image. You get a 14 degree field of view and the focus range is 10m to infinity, so you can use it for a ton of purposes.
When I first picked up the Dark Strider I could feel it’s strength. These binoculars are not going to fall apart on you. They weigh about 3 pounds, which isn’t too heavy to mind hauling them over miles, but at the same time I prefer my optics to have a little bit of weight. I just don’t trust optics that are feather-light. The rubberized body was really nice and had a phenomenal tactile feel. They’re not going to slip out of your hands. The toughness of the Dark Striders goes further than durability to stay reliable. They’re also waterproof and fog resistant so you don’t have to worry about a little bit of adverse conditions ruining your day.
Like the Spark CORE Monocular, the Dark Strider Binoculars have an IR illuminator, but this illuminator has a bit more functionality. As you can see in the picture above, the IR Illuminator is adjustable. If you’ve ever adjusted the beam on a flashlight to make the beam tighter or wider you’ll understand how useful this is. If you’re taking an overview of the field one night you’d want a wider IR beam to give a little extra light for a quick look. When you spot something and need a sharper look, you twist the knob and get a nice tight beam that will go further and let you see greater detail. The knob is nice and larger and easily reached when viewing through the binoculars. You can actually turn it while viewing. That’s a sweet feature that really helps you get a quick view.
I was super impressed by the Armasight Dark Striders, and the whole package felt like an outstanding addition to OpticsPlanet’s selection of Night Vision devices. I can’t wait to get my hands on even more sweet tech from Armasight in the (hopefully) near future.