By now, my review of the Gen 1 NOD (night observation device) from OPMD should have posted. And while the Gen 1 offers some nice features, the real reason they sent me the device was so I could have a point of comparison for how awesome their PVS-14 NOD really is. And I can now say, without a doubt, that I’m in love.
There are many differences between the Gen 1 scope and this PVS-14, starting with the power source. The Gen 1 scope uses a CR123A battery, but the PVS-14 uses one AA battery just like the military issue version. Nevertheless, I’ve been using this NOD for about three months and haven’t needed to replace the batteries once. And even if I did need to, replacing the battery is a snap and extremely cheap to do.
Just like with the Gen 1, the cover on the PVS-14 has a hole in the center for daylight use. It’s not recommended for long periods, but if you really feel the need to try your scope in the daylight it’s possible. I wouldn’t recommend removing that cap, though. The objective lens cap isn’t really held in place by anything, although there’s a loop for a lanyard if you are so inclined to use one. The battery cover, on the other hand, is secured to the side of the device so you don’t lose it in the dark if you need to change the batteries at midnight. There’s also an infrared illuminator that can be turned on to light up the surrounding area, but you won’t really need it unless you’re indoors.
The controls for the device are on a stalk at the back of the unit, clearly labeled and designed such that you can feel your way around the controls. The eyepiece can also be fine tuned for your specific eyesight, and there’s even a chart printed on the outside of the ring to give you an idea where it needs to be set based on your prescription.
The PVS-14 shipped to me with two mounting options, either a headband mount for hands-free night vision or a weapon mount to put it in-line with a red dot of some sort. Since I didn’t have a high speed low drag optic with a NOD setting, I opted to use the headband for a nighttime hunting excursion. And man, was it awesome.
In the field, the PVS-14 really can’t be beat. Not only does it provide enough light intensification to make midnight seem like noon, but the resolution that this thing gives you is incredible. Remember how the Gen 1’s picture looked? That was with a high ISO setting and a slow shutter. This one snapped like it was daylight.
I still can’t get over how dazzlingly bright and clear that picture is. The ability to see individual blades of grass means that you can actually use this for hunting without any supplemental light source, infrared or otherwise. It’s perfect for those with hog problems or hunting exotics that only seem to come out at night.
The only downside is that you pay for the quality. While the Gen 1 device was around $280, the PVS-14 clocks in at a hefty $2,895. It’s about 10 times the price, but in my opinion you also get 10 times the clarity and usability — and it’s a bargain when you consider that comparable products cost well over $3,000. It’s not something that the casual hunter would buy and throw in their bag, but for serious hog hunters who need that edge in the middle of the night accept no substitutes.
OPMOD PVS-14 Autogated Gen III Night Vision Scope
Overall Rating: * * * * *
I’d love to see this kind of quality at a lower price point, but you get what you pay for.