Sighting in the dark

     Interest in night vision gear and what it offers to law enforcement and civilian users has increased. The first Gulf War made most realize that night vision has revolutionized the modern battlefield and is a crucial advantage exploited by U.S...


     Interest in night vision gear and what it offers to law enforcement and civilian users has increased. The first Gulf War made most realize that night vision has revolutionized the modern battlefield and is a crucial advantage exploited by U.S. armed forces. As often happens with technology, this advantage is now becoming available to the law enforcement and civilian markets.

     San Francisco, California-based American Technologies Network Corp. (ATN) manufactures advanced night vision equipment in many versions or types of night vision devices across the different technological designations (Generation 1, 2, 3 and 4). Night vision weapon sights, goggles, binoculars, monoculars and day/night systems are all available from ATN. Thermal imaging equipment is also offered.

     The PS22-3a Night vision optic mount is a top-of-the-line Generation 3 device using handpicked image intensification tubes for the highest performance. Generation 3 devices are considered so technologically advanced that exporting such devices from the United States without a valid export permit issued by the U.S. State Department is strictly prohibited. The PS22-3a meets or exceeds military specifications with a resolution of 64 lp/mm to 72 lp/mm and signal to noise ratio (SNR) minimum of 20.

     Resolution is defined as the ability of a night vision system to distinguish between objects close together. Image intensifier resolution is measured in line pairs per millimeter (lp/mm). SNR is a measure of the light signal reaching the eye divided by the perceived noise as seen by the eye. A tube's SNR determines the low-light resolution of the image tube. A high SNR translates into the tube's better ability to resolve objects with good contrast under low-light conditions. Many experts in the field feel the SNR is the best indicator of an image intensifier's performance because SNR is directly related to the photocathode's sensitivity and accounts for phosphor efficiency and micro-channel plate (MCP) operating voltage.

Day to night

     The PS22-3a is designed to mount in front of a day optic scope. The concept is based on wanting to give users the convenience of using their day optic at night without having to switch out aiming devices or having to dedicate a weapon solely for use at night. Any weapon can be adapted for night use as long as the PS22-3a can be placed in front of a suitable day optic device. The available choices for the day optic that are compatible to use with the PS22-3a are wide ranging. One important advantage of the PS22-3a concept is not requiring the optic to be sighted in every time it is employed, since the day optic never moves. The PS22-3a is attached or detached with no impact on the day optic's point of aim, and parallax is not an issue. Another benefit of the PS22-3a is that a scope's reticle does not need to be illuminated or IR-compatible for it to be visible when using the PS22-3a. This differs from night vision products that mount to the rear of the scope.

     Previous attempts to adapt a day optic for night use involved devices mounted behind the optic. This caused obvious eye relief issues unless the day optic was shifted forward, allowing for the night vision device and creating the need for the weapon system to be sighted in again or dedicated to night use — negating the convenience and familiarity of using one weapon system across multiple scenarios.

     Mounting an ATN night vision scope specifically designed for use in night operations, the Mars 6x-3 for example, avoids the hassle of the constant on/off procedure needed for designs not mounting in front of the day optic. If an aiming device is moved it needs to be sighted in again to guarantee accurate shot placement, especially if the weapon is intended for engagement ranges past 50 yards. The PS22-3a offers the versatility of allowing a law enforcement agency or civilian to take advantage of night vision technology without having to use limited resources on setting up a weapon solely for night time tasks.

This content continues onto the next page...
  • Enhance your experience.

    Thank you for your regular readership of and visits to Officer.com. To continue viewing content on this site, please take a few moments to fill out the form below and register on this website.

    Registration is required to help ensure your access to featured content, and to maintain control of access to content that may be sensitive in nature to law enforcement.