Night Vision for Home Defense? Seriously?

FLIR night vision image of bad guy (courtesy ammoland.com)

Press release: –-(Ammoland.com)- It’s your worse nightmare. Something went “CRASH!” in the living room and now you’re lying in bed, shocked awake and quietly trying to hold your breath while straining for tendrils of sound. The sole focus of your existence at this moment is trying to classify the problem as routine or something far worse.

Is it the cat, a cat burglar or something more horrendous? Did one of the kids get up in the middle of the night and bump a table or is someone inside your home, preparing unthinkable horrors for you and, even worse, your family?

As your feet silently hit the floor and you consider the options, your first wish is for some kind of superhuman vision that would give you a clear advantage in what could soon be a lethal-force encounter.

Fortunately, if you are among the growing group of truly prepared Americans, you have an extraordinary advantage that gives you the figurative high ground against any threat: thermal imaging and night vision devices (NVD).

Armasight by FLIR’s newest MNVD and BNVD families of night vision monoculars and binoculars are offered in a full range of the latest night vision technologies and incorporate a wide, 51-degree field-of-view, which makes it easier to track moving objects while remaining motionless. Photo courtesy of flir.com/ots.
Armasight by FLIR’s newest MNVD and BNVD families of night vision monoculars and binoculars are offered in a full range of the latest night vision technologies and incorporate a wide, 51-degree field-of-view, which makes it easier to track moving objects while remaining motionless. Photo courtesy of flir.com/ots.

Until recently, many home-defense responses involve the use of flashlights. Obvious cost comparisons aside, thermal and night vision devices represent a better alternative by all other measures, allowing a defender to silently observe the area without giving up the concealment afforded by darkness.

This ability to observe, plan and act before openly committing to an engagement provides time – a truly priceless commodity.

Long a staple of military and law enforcement teams, these two technologies are becoming a more common and important part of the home-defense plan for those who are serious about self-protection. As prices continue to decline, physical size decreases and features and image quality increase, more homes, apartments, ranches and homesteads are gaining the significant advantages that come with these devices that literally offer a sixth sense.

In the electronic vision systems arena, there is considerable confusion between the two types of devices. Thermal imaging is much more effective at finding bad actors, especially those trying to conceal themselves because a heat signature is virtually impossible to disguise.

On the other hand, NVD’s require some type of existing light, which, even if it is supplied by an IR illuminator, can still give away the user’s position. In the end the choice often comes down to cost, as NVD’s are somewhat less expensive, though the market is rapidly narrowing as thermal imagers come down in price.

FLIR night vision

Extremely handy in a variety of outdoor applications, FLIR’s sub-$600 Scout TK handheld thermal camera is a great and affordable tool for home and property-defense situations. Like the ThermoSight Pro, it also has onboard image and video recording.

For example, the new handheld or weapon-mountable FLIR ThermoSight Pro PTS233 thermal imager offers an unparalleled suite of professional features at a price starting under $2200. Similarly, the compact, 7.4-oz. handheld or helmet/goggle-mountable FLIR Breach PTQ136 multifunctional thermal monocular starts at just $2,495.

Still too much? Consider that the capable FLIR Scout TK thermal imager – ideal for detection and identification at the relatively close engagement distances typical in home defense scenarios – is available at a street price below $600. On the NVD side, the Armasight by FLIR MNVD night-vision monocular offers Gen 2 resolution for under $1700. All are solid options for those who are serious about family and property protection.

Discovering a bad guy in the living room may be one of the most-feared home-defense scenarios, but plenty of other situations involve defense of the greater homestead. While catching someone burglarizing your barn or trying to siphon gas from your truck in the driveway may not be as grave as confronting an invader inside your home, any one of these possibilities can easily justify the cost of a thermal or night vision device.

Offering an impressive array of professional-grade features, FLIR’s compact new Breach multifunctional handheld thermal monocular weighs just 7.4 ounces. Its long-range detection and other advanced capabilities make this lightweight thermal imager a great choice for a range of security and outdoor applications. Photo courtesy of flir.com/ots.
Offering an impressive array of professional-grade features, FLIR’s compact new Breach multifunctional handheld thermal monocular weighs just 7.4 ounces. Its long-range detection and other advanced capabilities make this lightweight thermal imager a great choice for a range of security and outdoor applications.  

Even without a specific threat, thermal imagers or NVDs are great ways to determine why the dogs are barking or why the driveway alert went off when there is no vehicle to be seen. The ability to thoroughly scan every inch of your property while hidden by darkness goes a long way towards ensuring a peaceful night’s sleep.

The home-defense mission also often extends to livestock and pets. Having the ability to see and engage raccoons that are constantly killing and eating your chickens, the feral hogs decimating your corn crop or coyotes stalking your dog in the back yard pays real dividends in both money and peace-of-mind.

With prices dropping and ever-increasing capabilities, now is the time to seriously consider adding a thermal or night vision device to your home-defense plan. The value of increased safety and security made possible by the ability to see through the darkest night while protecting your family and property simply cannot be measured.


About FLIR Systems, Inc.

Founded in 1978 and headquartered in Wilsonville, Oregon, FLIR Systems is a world-leading maker of sensor systems that enhance perception and heighten awareness, helping to save lives, improve productivity, and protect the environment. Through its nearly 3,500 employees, FLIR’s vision is to be “The World’s Sixth Sense” by leveraging thermal imaging and adjacent technologies to provide innovative, intelligent solutions for security and surveillance, environmental and condition monitoring, outdoor recreation, machine vision, navigation, and advanced threat detection. For more information, please visit www.flir.com and follow @flir.

comments

  1. avatar pwrserge says:

    Where’s the problem? I have a PVS-14 on a head mount sitting inside my nightstand.

    1. avatar Arc says:

      You have my sympathies…

      -retired 0311

  2. avatar anonymoose says:

    Srsly.

  3. avatar Mark says:

    I want to learn more about this topic. Very interesting. Is thermal the way to go? Weapon mount or ???

    1. avatar C.S. says:

      The problem with thermals in urban environments are windows.

    2. avatar pwrserge says:

      Thermals are highly overrated. In urban environments, gen III NODS are more than good enough to see quite clearly. Weapon mounts are a bad idea. They cause you to lead with your weapon and a head mount is quite easy to put on. I have one paired with digital ear pro so that I get the best situational awareness possible.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        They may well be over-rated, but they are *far* cheaper than light-amplification, if my memory is accurate.

        As for the problems with reflections, I sure would hope homeowners would know what reflections look like in the device viewer with no intruders inside the home.

        In my opinion, thermals would make an *outstanding* addition for ‘augmented reality’ in the dark, in something like a ‘Google Glass’ type of device. Hands-free and leaving both hands empty for other uses.

        Like dealing with intruders…

        1. avatar Some Random Guy says:

          The Armasight Spark Core IIT is around $500. Gen “CORE” is somewhere between a Gen1+ and a Gen2 in resolution, light amplification and observable range.

          Quite a good compromise for the money.

  4. avatar former water walker says:

    Sure! Why not…under $600 sounds pretty interesting too.

  5. avatar Hunter427 says:

    Low cost way is strong blinding strobe flash light with bullets to follow, bullets are cheap and so in the flashlight about $30.

    1. avatar David Walters says:

      This^

  6. avatar Swarf says:

    It’s your “worse” nightmare? “straining for tendrils of sound”?

    Is their copy guy a dim witted 8th grade emo?

  7. avatar ATFAgentBob says:

    As mentioned before thermals are great but they can pick up reflections off of windows, mirrors, and tv or computer screens. NVGs using light amplification (the standard military type monocles being an example) generally don’t pick up reflections. Both systems can give away your position by the light emitted from the viewing lens although one has to be looking and at the right angle to actually see it. Both systems can totally kill your depth perception and cause a massive headache until you get used to them. Now that bit about the headache only applies to the monocular type systems and the depth perception bit applies to both.

  8. avatar Aaron M. Walker says:

    1st, They came for your Bump Fire stocks and Your Hand-Cranks…Because they are designed to help make weapons of war—So they were BANNED, and that was okay…2nd Then THEY came for your High-Capacity Magazines…Because they held too many shots to kill many people….As weapons of war—And So they were BANNED….3rd, THEY came for your Telescopic sights….Because No one needed to see that far…And it made it easy to kill people at a distance…Only the Military/Police /Government and it’s agents in the role of sniper needed that….Not Civilians…So they were BANNNED…..4th, Then they came for your Night Vison sights…………

    1. avatar Marty says:

      Yup, that can be expected and has actually happened in the socialists states like Kalifornia, NY, NJ etc. There are still great states here who believe in individual rights. I voted with my feet and left Kalifornia and haven’t regretted it at all. I feel sorry for friends and relatives who are stuck there.

  9. avatar Tile floor says:

    If you want it, go for it.

    I used NODS in the military and they are a tremendous force multiplier. Their impact on a fighting force cannot be overstated.

    I don’t plan on using them for home defense. My goal is to grab my son from his crib throw my wife and him into the bedroom closet and stand by ready to drop the hammer. I’m not going to clear my house unless I absolutely had to. I was an infantryman for 6 years and have been police for 6, and I’ve cleared enough structures to know doing it by yourself is Ill advised.

    Side note, If someone’s siphoning has out of my truck I’m not going to use night vision for Christ’s sake

    1. avatar Blurb says:

      Might not want to use a flare, either.

      1. avatar Swarf says:

        Or… you might. Depends on how much you like your truck.

      2. avatar Tile floor says:

        Funny story.

        A guy on my shift got into a pursuit a couple of years ago and the dude running crashed. Long story short another (stupid) dude tased him while the suspect was covered in gasoline and he went up like an inferno.

        1. avatar AZgunner says:

          I love a story with a happy ending.

        2. avatar IdahoBoy says:

          If you give a man a fish, he will be fed for a day. But if you set a man on fire, he will be warm for the rest of his life.

        3. avatar Tile floor says:

          The ironic part was earlier in the night he stole his girlfriends car… after he burned her with a cigarette lighter.

          Karma is a bitch

  10. avatar strych9 says:

    Something went “CRASH!” in the living room and now you’re lying in bed thinking about the poor bastard who just found out how angry your three big ass dogs are about his entering your house without an invitation.

    You yawn, grab your pistol and your phone and begin a leisurely walk towards the screaming while debating what number to dial first, 911 or ServePro because you know it’s gonna be a fucking mess when you get down there.

    Upon arrival downstairs it’s pretty much what you expected. Poor dude picked the wrong house and has literally been torn apart by dogs. He’s still gurgling a bit since they tore his throat out but you know he’ll be unconscious and then dead before an ambulance gets there. Shitty way to go, but hey, he’s the one who rolled the dice and lost. At this point it dawns on you that you forgot to set the security system when you went to bed… ah well, 911 before ServePro it is. As you start to pull up your phone you wonder what the bill is gonna be to clean this up.

    Oh, and as for NODS, I personally don’t see the point in them for HD except under very, very limited circumstances.

    1. avatar Hank says:

      Don’t forget to have a smoke before you dial 911!!!

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        Strych is in Colorado.

        For him, putting away the ‘smoke’ before the cops arrive is probably a wise idea.

        And Strych, are the dogs actually that angry or just *really* happy that a new chew-toy unexpectedly showed up at oh-dark-thirty hours? 😉

        What I envision Strych’s puppies are thinking in that scenario :

    2. avatar anonymoose says:

      My basset hound has a huge voice but he’s only 18″ tall. He’s also extremely stealthy when he’s preparing to pounce.

      1. avatar Ragnar says:

        Put some night vision on your basset hound and just see how stealthy and deadly he can be.

    3. avatar Texas Gun Gal says:

      ServPro first because they won’t shoot your dogs

    4. avatar Rick3 says:

      Sorry, but I just LOVE that little scenario that you’ve laid out. I can replay it in my head, in detailed HD, and it just warms the cockles of my heart.
      Why don’t we hear about real world scenarios like this on a regular basis? Because the dogs barking scare the intruder off before any damage is done to him? Just guessing…

  11. avatar JDH says:

    I have 2 pitbulls and an alarm. By the time they get past that (if they do) I’ll be plenty ready.

  12. avatar Badwolf says:

    If you have the means to get it, why the heck not? I see him before he sees me. You want the odds stacked in your favor.

  13. avatar Specialist38 says:

    This wasnt listed as sponsored content….but it sure felt like it.

    Im just happy to have a weapon light and tracers to walk to my target.

  14. avatar sound awake says:

    i have two 89 cent stickers on the two most likely ways an intruder would enter my house that show a .45 pistol with the caption:

    “warning-protected by high speed wireless device”

    if that doesnt work i still have the .45 pistol

    1. avatar txJM says:

      Translation: “Goodies inside. Wait for cars to leave.”

  15. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

    I am still waiting for the price and weight to improve. I just have to have them by TEOTWAWKI. Anybody know when that will be so I don’t wait too long? I live in lodge pole pines in a very scantly populated area and still haven’t decided which way to go yet either.

  16. avatar Ragnar says:

    Having considerable experience with both thermal imaging (FLIR) and image intensification (NVD) systems; my recommendation is to first use what you are comfortable with. If you have experience with one or the other, from military or LEO operations, go with what you know. You will be able to maximize the usefulness based on previous experience and knowing the “tips and tricks”.

    If you have no previous experience; the article covers the benefits of each. Personally, I prefer the head-mounted night vision monocle (PVS-14), paired with an IR laser mounted to my weapons. Weapons mounted night vision is not the best choice, as already stated, due to the muzzle being directed wherever you are observing, possibly flagging friendlies. Having an IR laser, boresighted to the weapon zero, gives an immediate reference for weapons aiming, even off-shoulder, without giving away your position.

    As for night vision devices needing a light source; the better the optic (Gen 2 vs. Gen 4), the less light needed. Also, most homes have sufficient light available, with all those little lights on appliances, electronics and power-strips. If you want more light for better acquisition and recognition, a few well placed red LED lights will create excellent light for night vision devices.

  17. avatar Arandom Dude says:

    Now maybe I’m old fashioned, and I’m certainly not an operating operator who operates, but my go to night vision device is a flashlight. BTW, referring to dealing with a raccoon as “engaging” it is incredibly dorky.

    1. avatar Quasimofo says:

      Gotta eliminate those tangos messing with the garbage cans…

      As for nightvision devices, if you got ’em/want ’em, that’s great. I still think a decent flashlight will serve most folks just fine for likely situations and responses. For me, the price isn’t worth the “gee whiz” factor yet, either.

    2. avatar jwm says:

      My wife has salt lamps all over the house that are on 24/7. No such thing as a dark house outside our bedroom.

      I got a bright flashlight next to my bed.

  18. avatar txJM says:

    What a shameless plug for something that isn’t even gun-related.

  19. avatar Wayne Clark says:

    We have a Yorkie that barks if anyone even walks down our street…& that’s when we’re up & watching t.v. I can only guess at the noise she would make if anyone tried breaking in if we were sleeping. Hell, she growls at me if I get up to go piss & disturb her!
    A flashlight does me just fine.

  20. avatar Ardent says:

    Did the article actually warn about the IR emitter giving away your position? I mean, it most certainly does. . . to anyone else in the area wearing a set of NVDs, but. . . if you’re expecting nocturnal, uninvited guests who wear NVDs, and who will stay in the fight once they realize you’re awake, armed, and equipped with FLIR. . . you either already have this equipment, booby-traps, fighting positions, a squad, a bunker to fall back to and etc. . . or you plan to die.

    Rare event: Home invasion. Unicorn event: Home invaders with NODs (Unless it’s LE . . .in which case you have other considerations).

    I’m reminded of the kid who never gets to play with the others in the neighborhood because by the time he has his favorite toys and his costume on it’s time to come in for dinner. . .

    ET from ‘bump in the night’ to contact with intruder (avg)? Because by the time I get my speed boots, anti FLIR trousers and blouse, plate carrier, electronic ear plugs, gloves, mask, helmet, comms, NODs, thigh holster and carbine on, and turn all the electronics on and square them away. . . I mean then I’ve got to deploy my white light and IR strobes incase the other guys have NODs. . . some smoke probably wouldn’t hurt. . . hey, I’ve got a gas mask. . . maybe I should blow some CS before I even leave the bedroom to sort of, you know, start softening the opposition up, I mean, where the heck did I leave my ballistic shield. . . ‘Honey?! Have you seen my ballistic shield?!’

    So, ok. . . there are advantages to NVDs, and every bit of kit I described. . . but home invasion isn’t really where I see that level and type of gear being the deciding factor. Cheaper and perhaps better would be to own the light inside your home by blacking it out sufficiently that the only means by which to navigate at all is to bring a white light or use FLIR. Then, when you hear something go bump in the night, you only need to wait until you see a light. . . and shoot the s**t out of what ever is holding the light. . . and go back to waiting for the cops. I say look for the light because they aren’t going to be using FLIR. Partially because you can pawn that equipment and stay high for days. . . why pull a home invasion while you still have valuable electronics from the last one laying around? If you’re really sweating the robbery boys having NODs, install a canary floor in your hall. Still cheaper than NODs, easier to use, doesn’t require batteries, and won’t leave you up at 3:00AM trying to decide between your electronic amplification ear-pro and your NVDs while you’re hearing chirps from the hallway (also, the squeaky floor won’t divulge your position like FLIR based NODs would, putting that horror to rest).

    TL/DR: NODs are overkill for HD, Home Invaders don’t use FLIR, controlling the lighting in your home is cheaper, easier, and more effective than NODs, secure control of your lighting before buying NVDs.

    1. avatar tiger says:

      Claymores! You need Claymores!!!t

      1. avatar ironicatbest says:

        I’ve eaten BB’s, red beans and rice for two weeks. I am my own Claymore

  21. avatar tiger says:

    Night Vision gear? We are drifting into Prepper Paranoia & Tom Clancy films.

  22. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    Even without a specific threat, thermal imagers or NVDs are great ways to determine why the dogs are barking..
    Which is why I would love to have one.
    The Sheltie does a fantastic job of alerting me to the intruder on the property; I just don’t know what the intruder is. I just wish the Sheltie could speak English.

  23. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Before I would spend between $600 and $3000 on thermal or light amplification optics for home defense, I would simply spend a couple hundred dollars on remote controlled lights in the home. If a home invader is making his/her way across your dark living room and various lights suddenly turn on, I expect him/her to realize that the homeowner is aware of their presence and it is time to go. This could also temporarily blind your home invaders if their eyes were adapted to the dark.

    This solution also helps police if you call them and ask them to sweep your home.

    Having said all that, I can see a HUGE advantage to thermal or light amplification optics if you have to trek outside of your home for some reasons.

  24. avatar oliver says:

    Its your worst nightmare. Something went CRASH in the middle of the night, deep inside your bowels. Was it the gas station burrito that you so foolishly ate or a rabid weasel mistaking your ass for a comfy den? With our tactical colonoscope you don’t have to wonder. You only have to ask yourself, do I really want to know? Easily mounts to your thermal vision goggles with our tactical duct tape. Remember folks, dont be a fool, be tacti-cool.

  25. So night sights are stupid because it is too dark to identify your target but night vision is just as stupid because…um…who’s side are we on here?

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