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...


Available mounts

     One component of the ATN PS22-3a is its adaptability. A plethora of mounting options are available, including a 7/8-inch weaver mount, ARMS quick-release adaptor, Picatinny rail and scope ring adaptor mount with different size inserts for the various scope objectives one may encounter. A platform ring is also available for using the ATN IR450 illuminator with the PS22-3a, if desired. Loosely speaking, the IR450 is an infrared "flashlight" that increases the available ambient light for the PS22-3a process, resulting in brighter images. This enables the passive Generation 3 PS22-3a to operate under the most adverse ambient light conditions, for example a cloudless moonless night in the middle of nowhere or the interior of a large factory or warehouse. Tactically, one must be cautious when using IR illuminators because anyone in the vicinity with night vision gear will be alerted to your position when used. This is probably not a huge consideration for the law enforcement or civilian user — at least not yet. The PS22-3a is right at home on any AR-style weapon platform equipped with full-length Picatinny rails. The PS22-3a was tested on various AR-15 models, combined with the Trijicon ACOG and Leupold Mk4 CQ/T optics. The PS22-3a used in conjunction with the Armalite AR-10A4 chambered in .308Win and Leupold Mk4 3.5-10x scope translates into a hard hitting weapon fully capable of taking advantage of the PS22-3a's viewing range.

     Using the PS22-3a with a bolt action rifle is a little more problematic due to the mounting requirements. The optional ATN scope ring adaptor is workable; however there are concerns over long-term durability and keeping it in place. The 14.5-ounce MIRS Scope Mount, from McCann Industries mounts simply and securely, is available for several different bolt-action rifle models, and gives the user the ultimate flexibility in mounting the PS22-3a, IR illuminators and tactical lights. The decision to use the McCann Industries' MIRS Scope Mount should be based on how often the PS22-3a will be used with a specific bolt-action rifle. The ATN scope mount adaptor will more than suffice if the bolt action is not the primary platform for the PS22-3a.

     The PS22-3a is better utilized on scopes with smaller objective lenses. A scope with an objective lens larger than 40mm decreases the PS22-3a's 13-degree field of view. This is due to the PS22-3a's 21 mm exit pupil. The optimum scope magnification range to use with PS22-3a is between 1x to 6x, with 2.5x to 4x being the sweet spot. ATN literature points to the Trijicon 4x20 ACOG and Leupold CQ/T as the ideal set-up with the PS22-3a, based on the exit pupil to objective lens considerations. Choosing a high magnification scope, a 6.5-20x50mm objective lens model for example, is counter-productive considering Generation 3 night vision devices have a listed detection range of approximately 350 yards, and a recognition range of 300 yards with both measurements highly dependent on ambient light conditions. I have found 300-yard detection and 220-yard recognition ranges are a more realistic expectation. These ranges do not require a high magnification scope for effective target engagement. This is supported by PS22-3a range testing.

     Buyers beware of claims from manufacturers stating figures that greatly exceed these for other Generation 3 devices. There is a subjective quality to what is meant by detection and recognition, not to mention ambient light conditions and object being viewed. ATN is expecting to release a PS22 model with a 40mm exit pupil later this year designed for use with scopes sporting 40mm to 60mm objective lenses.

Handheld too
  • 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.