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Raptor Night Scopes
By Alex Osinski
The Raptor night vision riflescopes are considered the best current manufacture heavy dut night vision riflescopes on the market. Hard to get and costly when available, they are often seen as the ultimate in "high speed" night shooting gear. No compromising quality comes with hefty price tags from $5,000 to $6,800 and common surcharges due to limited availability. The Raptor comes in two variants. The 4 power variant (usually called the Raptor 4X) is roughly the size of a PVS-4, albeit a little bit lighter in weight. The Six power (or Raptor 6X) is a monster sized scope made specifically for rough duty use in heavy recoiling rifles like the Barrett M82 .50 caliber.
Each RAPTOR comes in a high quality Pelican type foam lined hard case, ARMS STANAG and Picatinny rail adapters and owner's manual (civilian market versions have a different owners manual than the military issue versions).
Controls on the Raptor are numerous, but all pretty simple to use and straightfoward. There is no objective adjustment on these, so you make the range adjustments through knobs located on an axle in the middle of the scope. These knobs are easy to use, and either side will make the same adjustment. Ocular adjustment works over a broad enough range that few, if any, users would need to use corrective lenses while using a Raptor. This is done with a fairly conventional ring at the rear, just in front of where the shuttered eyeguard mounts up.
The reticule needs some explanation. It is a red on green mildot that is adjustable for brightness and of course windage and elevation. Making mildot range estimations and adjustments through a night vision scope is tricky, but in the case of the Raptor 6X, it is probably the only scope of its type that would be used by both the shooter and the spotter for this purpose. The question remains on how much utility you will get out of the mildot arrangement on a night vision scope where even on its best night, will not have the resolution of a sniper grade mildot scope in the daytime. Windage and elevation adjustments are done with positive clicks on conveniently located thumbwheels.
The shuttered eyepiece prevents light from leaking out from around the sides of the user's eye or from the back of the scope when it is turned on while the user is not looking through it. This feature is to help reduce the chances of similarly equipped opponents from detecting the user in an otherwise unlit environment at night. While this is a nice feature, it can be irritating to use and these shuttered eyeguards are often removed by troops who do not anticipate going up against night vision equipped opponents or who operate in environments with enough light to mask evidence of the night vision scope in use. It is nearly impossible to use a shuttered eyepiece with corrective eyeglasses, so someone who normally wears eyeglasses will want to either remove them when using the scope, or remove the shuttered eyeguard. The eyeguard on the Raptor is tricky to remove. This can be further complicated by the fact that the Raptor is made to be mounted on heavy recoiling sniper rifles and the user will often want to maintain a little more distance between the scope and their eye when shooting. In either event, maintaining a good cheek weld will be very important when using a night vision riflescope of this type.
This picture of the right side of the scope shows the streamline of the main housing since most of the controls are on the left side. The knob you see in the middle of the scope serves the same purpose as the left side range focus adjustment knob as they are on the same axle. The default mounting point for the Picatinny rail adapter is on the most forward set of STANAG mounting points. The mount can be shifted two notches to the rear (thus moving the scope body forward) to correct eye relief on different rifles using different mounts, but some foam in the case will have to be cut away to get the scope to fit back in it.
The bottom view of the scope further illustrates how and where the mouting points work. You can flip the entire mount around to pointing to the rear to get a broader range of mounting options.
Remember that setting the eye relief for this scope on a sniper rifle is going to be very important if you are actually going to try and use this scope for shooting extended ranges at night. Probably the number one problem everyone has with night vision riflescopes is that most have pretty bad eye relief and cheek weld issues when mounted on a rifle of any sort, especially those which were not engineered to take a large scope in the first place. With that in mind, a properly set up scope will not reliably return to true zero when it is put on and taken off, say in a set of scopes for both day and night shooting, but it should get you pretty close. IE, using a Trijicon 6x for daytime and the Raptor 6X for night use on an AR-10 or Barrett M82 would give very practical 500 yard accuracy, but not 1000 yard accuracy unless you leave one of the scopes on the gun full time and virtually abandon the use of the other scope. With that in mind, the Raptor is still going to have practical limitations of the target discrimination distance inherent in current night vision technology.
Realize that increases in magnification on a riflescope do not equate to increases in resolution. In fact, if there are any flaws at all in the tube or signal to noise issues (static "snow" in the image), the magnification and clarity of the optics will bring that out. That is why the manufacturer (NAIT) uses the best possible tubes in these scopes.
The Raptor scopes are not for everyone, but for the discriminating tactical operator or survivalist who wants the best of the best and can afford it, the Raptor is the ticket.
We do not always have these in stock but usually have them available from a supplier. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.