Early Integrated Rifle Electronics

"Not in production" ... heh

At their SHOT Show booth Knight’s Armament Company (KAC) had an early model Armalite AR-10 with a post-WWII night vision system on display. I do not know which night vision system this is or even if it was a production system. The scope looked similar to the M2 Infrared Sniper Scope Gen 0 and the lamp looked similar to the Active Infrared Gen 0 “20,000v” system (if it helps, the lamp is labeled MODEL X-26A). What is really interesting is that the IR lamp switch is integrated into the rifle pistol grip. To turn it on all the operator needed to do was squeeze his middle finger, not unlike the Crimson Trace laser grips today.



Of course whatever ergonomically advantage that switch offered, it was offset by the 25+ lbs of extra weight the operator had to carry around with him (scope + lamp + battery).


Many thanks to the KAC employee (and also TFB reader) who showed me the system.


Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Clint Notestine

    Coming soon to Black Ops 3

  • Edward Franklin

    That does appear to be a “20K Volt Set No. 1” fitted to an AR-10. The switch in the pistol grip is an interesting idea and actually quite clever.
    It’s interesting that they used the 20K though, would’ve expected to see the AN/PAS-4 adapted to the rifle instead but prehaps they were using outdated equipment just to test the viability of the concept and would’ve moved to modern gear if it had moved forward. Heck with how the technology was progressing back then they could’ve been leapfrogged by the AN/PVS-1’s and just dropped the whole idea, only twenty years seperates the ‘Vampir’ and the first ‘Starlight’ scopes afterall.

    • DiverEngrSL17K

      Excellent critical comment — thanks. For those who might be interested in finding out more about the German ZG.1229 “Vampir” IR system of the Second World War and its variants, try http://www.achtungpanzer.com as a starting point. The system was developed and manufactured by the German industrial giant, AEG, in different sizes and configurations for infantry, armor, anti-tank gun and vehicle-mounted usage. The armored versions saw limited service in the latter half of the war with what is reportedly considerable success when used properly, but the general destruction of many Wehrmacht records in the turmoil of that period has so far not enabled full confirmation.

      As far as small arms go, ( relatively ) compact models were developed for applications ranging from the StG-44 assault rifle to the MG-42 GPMG, but did not see widespread adoption due to the lateness in the war, shortages of resources and more pressing equipment priorities.

  • Vhyrus


    Really?! Well Jeez, thanks for getting my hopes up!

    • wetcorps

      I’m sure they put the sign because people kept asking ^^

  • mikee

    And the AR-10 hasn’t aged one iota!

    • Anonymoose

      I wouldn’t say it hasn’t aged, but it’s still sexy. :3c

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      SHOT Show taxes my memory, so much stuff all at once, but whatever the furniture on that AR-10 was made of, I love it. (Either wood or bakelite … can’t remember).

      • DiverEngrSL17K

        Kevin R.C. O’Brien over at weaponsman.com has a very well-written, highly-detailed historical and technical article on AR-10 furniture entitled “How Armalite ( 1955-1960 ) Made Stocks & Furniture”.

  • Fred Johnson

    Nice piece of history. Thanks for the pics!

  • gunslinger

    man. glad that this is not a target. looks very very consealable

    but it is great to see the evolution of equipment.

  • Bud Harton

    The scope is an IR and that discus thingee on top is the IR illumination. This was tried before passive night vision was introduced. We had a similar setup on an M1903A3 in VN in early 1966. It was fun to play with but useless tactically because of the weight.

  • Core

    Amazing platform.