ANATOMY OF NIGHT VI­SION GOG­GLES

Tactical World - - Contents -

If you’re ready to jump into the world of night vi­sion, this is a must-read. By Daniel Bales

If you are look­ing to pur­chase your first set of night vi­sion gog­gles (NVG), you must go be­yond the ba­sic unit, it­self. Night vi­son is a sys­tem and re­quires sev­eral key com­po­nents that work to­gether. With so many op­tions when it comes to night vi­sion, it can some­times be daunt­ing to un­der­stand what the part is and/or does in the NVG sys­tem.

We’ll help you un­der­stand the re­quired parts in de­tail to ei­ther help you bet­ter use your cur­rent sys­tem or as­sist you in pur­chas­ing a new sys­tem.

The re­quired parts in­clude the fol­low­ing: hel­met, shroud, mount, J-arm, NVG unit, and lan­yard. Each of these parts as­sists the other in mak­ing a com­plete, use­able night vi­sion pack­age.

Hel­met

The hel­met is the base to which all the other night vi­sion equip­ment is mounted. The hel­met can be one of two types. First is the bal­lis­tic hel­met, which can de­flect and/or stop cer­tain rounds and shrap­nel from strik­ing your nog­gin, based on its pro­tec­tion rat­ing. The sec­ond is a bump hel­met, which will not stop pro­jec­tiles and works more like the pro­tec­tive hel­mets you see bike riders use.

No mat­ter which hel­met you pick, there are a few things you will want that will make your NVG equip­ment more com­fort­able. They are the hel­met pad­ding and the chin strap.

The hel­met pad­ding is some­thing that you don’t want to skimp on. The pad­ding is what con­nects the hel­met shell to your head, mak­ing it com­fort­able to wear over long pe­ri­ods

of time. The cheaper the pad­ding, the faster your head is go­ing to hurt.

Team Wendy’s Com­bat Hel­met Liner sys­tem is a great pad­ding sys­tem that you can ad­just to your de­sired needs, based on your hel­met and head size. The chin strap is again some­thing you do not want to cheap out on. I rec­om­mend Team Wendy’s CAM fit re­ten­tion sys­tem.

The CAM fit sys­tem al­lows you to turn the knob and tighten the strap to your head with­out even us­ing the chin straps. Once the CAM fit sys­tem is snug, you can ad­just the Team Wendy chin straps to your head size and you are ready to move to the next piece.

Team Wendy Ex­fil Bal­lis­tic: $1,011.10 Team Wendy Ex­fil LTP: $299.95

Shroud

When buy­ing your hel­met, be sure that it comes pre-drilled for an NVG shroud. The hel­met shroud at­taches to the front of the hel­met above your eyes and can be drilled in sev­eral ways, ei­ther three hole or sin­gle hole. I rec­om­mend three hole be­cause it is more rugged. Hel­mets can come from the builder with­out a shroud, or pre-drilled holes. You should have it mounted by the builder, so you have one less thing to worry about. For the shroud, I rec­om­mend the Wil­cox, based on their tough­ness. The hel­met shroud at­taches the NVG mount and NVG unit to the hel­met, mak­ing them a sin­gle unit ready to use. Wil­cox L4 Three-hole shroud: $60-$113

Lan­yard

On your hel­met, you should place some sort of lan­yard re­ten­tion de­vice. There are sev­eral types

out there. Wil­cox, again, makes my fa­vorite. The Wil­cox lan­yard re­sem­bles a key lan­yard that main­te­nance work­ers use on their belt. They can pull the keys to un­lock a door and after­ward let them go, re­turn­ing them to their stowed po­si­tion.

The Wil­cox lan­yard at­taches to ei­ther the hel­met shroud or the hel­met rail sys­tem. The lan­yard strap is then at­tached to the NVG unit. This lan­yard sys­tem keeps your ex­pen­sive NVG unit from hit­ting the ground, should you drop it. An­other lan­yard sys­tem is sim­i­lar to a shoe string at­tached to the NVG unit cre­at­ing a large loop that can be placed on the user’s head. This lan­yard is in­ex­pen­sive, but works nonethe­less.

Wil­cox NVG Lan­yard: $113

“WHEN BUY­ING YOUR HEL­MET, BE SURE THAT IT COMES PRE-DRILLED FOR AN NVG SHROUD.”

Mount

The NVG mount at­taches the NVG unit to the hel­met and al­lows the user to move the NVG unit into the cor­rect po­si­tion over the eye or eyes. I again turn to Wil­cox; their G24 mount is top of the line.

Most mounts have sev­eral ad­just­ments. One ad­just­ment is for the stow­ing fea­ture. This al­lows you to move the NVG unit up into a stowed po­si­tion or down over your line of vi­sion. Mounts like Wil­cox make use of an au­to­matic lock­ing mech­a­nism—a small but­ton is pressed to change be­tween the two po­si­tions.

You will also find two or more ad­just­ment levers and points that bring the mount closer or move it away from the user’s face, tilt the NVG unit at an an­gle, and slide the unit up and down on an arm for a more spe­cific fit. This is im­por­tant for in­di­vid­u­als that wear pre­scrip­tion eye­glasses or shoot­ing glasses and/or gas masks.

The last fea­ture on the NVG mount is the NVG unit re­lease. This re­leases the NVG unit from the mount and hel­met, for tasks like chang­ing bat­ter­ies, clean­ing the unit, or just stow­ing the unit when not in use. The re­lease shouldn’t al­low the NVG unit to be freed by some­thing as sim­ple as some­thing brush­ing over it, caus­ing your $3,000 unit to fall on the ground.

Wil­cox G24 Mount: $463

The Path

These are just some of the fea­tures of the night vi­sion sys­tem and my rec­om­men­da­tions are based on what I have used (and bro­ken). When look­ing for what you wish to buy, work with rep­utable com­pa­nies and be sure to fit each part with the oth­ers to make sure they work well to­gether.

If you are in­ter­ested in train­ing with night vi­sion, or any other as­pect of tac­ti­cal shoot­ing, check out LMS De­fense for all your train­ing needs. TW

Should the mount, shroud or J- Arm fail, or the tube some­how dis­lodge from the hel­met, the lan­yard will keep your $ 3,000 in­vest­ment from shat­ter­ing on the ground or be­com­ing lost. A prop­erly de­signed night vi­sion sys­tem con­tains sev­eral cru­cial parts that you want to make sure are up to snuff.

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