The PS22-3a can be utilized as a handheld Night vision device for general observation roles. This expands its possible uses in the law enforcement or civilian market. Its compact size, approximately 5-inches by 3-inches by 3-inches and weighing just more than 1 pound, allows for easy carrying and unobtrusive use compared to if it was mounted on a weapon and used for observation. The PS22-3aoffers a clearly marked off/on switch, easily adjustable focusing ring and accessible battery compartment for the CR123A battery. Battery life is rated at 50 hours of use. The PS22-3a's quick detach and attach method allow for easy use back and forth between handheld use and weapons mounted. More versatility is gained with PS22-3a adaptability for use with spotting scopes and cameras.
Range testing took place on a variety of rifles ranging from AR-15, AR-10 and Savage FP10 bolt-action models with optics consisting of the Trijicon 4x20 ACOG, Leupold Mk4 CQ/T and Leupold Mk4 3x9, 3.5x10 and 4.5x14 scopes. The image quality was excellent with the optics' crystal clear day image qualities transformed into crisp green-tinted images by the PS22-3a.
One observation is that the user should refrain from turning on any illuminated reticles too brightly, as this was found to wash out the green background. The normal black reticle on the Leupold CQ/T and Mark 4 scopes showed up fine against the bright green background.
The PS22-3a proved easy to detach and mount between the different weapons and optics. The day optics' zeros were not effected out to a tested 250-yard range. The PS22-3a remained clear and with minimum "blooming," or random black spots, that night vision devices can experience. The automatic brightness control incorporated in the PS22-3a automatically adjusts the brightness of the image intensifier tube to the optimal setting, and shuts the unit down if unexpectedly exposed to a bright or intense light. This protects both the PS22-3a and the user from damage. This is especially important with an night vision unit used as an aiming device. The day optics' crosshairs or aiming point must remain undisturbed for accurate shot placement. The PS22-3a turns any day optic into a very capable medium range night weapon sight.
Field of view was narrowed when utilizing the PS22-3a's as compared to the normal field of view inherent in the day optic. Ensure the person, officer or department trains in the use of the PS22-3a to become familiar with the night vision device.
Generation 3 night vision gear is expensive so ATN often offers the same basic design across different technological generations. If the PS22-3a is the concept an individual or department wants but the price tag is prohibitive, a similar product is available in a Generation 2-type model, i.e. the PS22-2. This allows great flexibility in fitting needs into tight budget requirements. The forward-mounting ability is present with the PS22-2 at a reduced price compared to the Generation 3 PS22-3a, albeit with reduced viewing range capabilities. Unless one was previously exposed to Generation 3 night vision, the Generation 2 PS22-2's ability would surely dazzle its owner.
ATN prides itself in not only servicing the military and law enforcement market, but also the civilian consumer, thus the justification for keeping a wide ranging product line available. The PS22-3a serves to maximize an individual or departments' night vision dollar.
Todd Burgreen is a freelance writer with work published in a variety of firearms and weapons publications.