I’ve been delinquent in answering the questions forwarded to the blog comments section lately. It’s been a very busy summer. I know, “What’s the maximum effective range of an excuse?” …… Zero meters Sarn’t.
So a fellow blogger picked up my slack and not only answered the question but did a pretty good job while he was at it. A little copy and paste and here you have it from firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have a few minutes, go check out his blog.
weston.pecos, My experience with thermals vs. NODS is based on 7 years in the US Army Infantry. I’ve had the opportunity to use the AN/PAS 13 (multiple variations), as well as the SkeetIR and MTM(Mini Thermal Monocular). As far as NODs go, I’ve used both the AN/PVS-7’s and AN/PVS-14’s. I’ve messed with a set of some whiz-bang combo where the thermals are overlayed(slightly offset, orange in color, and you can use each individually or together) with our armorer in Afghanistan for a few minutes, and they seemed interesting. I prefer the thermal imaging 95% of the time. If given the choice, I would grab the SkeetIR over any normal NOD that I’ve used. However, the version I used was in 2012 at NTC and had some software bugs. Essentially, my peeve against standard NODs is that even through it enhances the image, you still have to deal with shadows. Granted it’s not hard to hide from thermals to begin with, it’s stupid easy to not catch something in the shadows with NODs. This is especially true when ambient illumination is low(woods, urban environments, palm groves). Now, if you’re in the open desert with a full moon above you, a set of AN/PVS-14’s are nice to have. But after a “COP Defense” at night with partial illum on a mountain, and a set of the 14’s in one hand a SkeetIR in the other, going back and forth between the two as the action is going down, I wanted to take the SkeetIR home with me. TI doesn’t have any issues with shadows. In the end though, it’s what you can afford. I would recommend your group/tribe try to find someone with examples of both that is willing to let you try them out one evening(if possible), otherwise if it were me, I’d attempt to have the group invest in at least one of each. IIRC, a decent set of AN/PVS-14’s runs about $3-4 K US. However, I haven’t looked at the price of them in a while. I have no idea at this time what a decent set of thermals would run. Hope this helps.
Back to DM. I concur with his entire article. Just remember that most non-thermal night vision equipment amplifies (intensifies) existing light. If you’re working in extremely overcast conditions, or in a dark building, it’s effectiveness will be drastically diminished. If OPFOR is good with camo and concealment, (stay in the shadows boys and girls) they will probably defeat your light-enhancing equipment. TI, not so easy.