Review: Knights Armament Co. AN/PVS30 Clip-On Night Vision

Nicholas C
by Nicholas C

In the world of night vision, a clip on night vision weapon sight is used to see targets at long distances. My friend J.W. Ramp recently acquired a Knight’s Armament Company UNS™ LR LP clip-on Weapon Sight and let me borrow it for this review. The UNSLRP is classified as the AN/PVS30 and features a Gen 3 image intensifier tube.

photo by J.W. Ramp of his MK12MOD1 clone

Augment Your Scope With a PVS30

As you can see in the photo above, the PVS30 is mounted on your handguard top rail positioned in front of your optic. J.W.’s MK12MOD1 clone is using a Nightforce 2.5-10×24 behind the PVS30. With this setup, we were able to see 300 yards easily with a full moon. See the pics below. The numbers are the 300 yard berm.

One problem I experienced was trying to capture these images. If you have ever tried photographing or videoing your scope through your smart phone, it is challenging.

When paired with a MAWL-C1+ it is easy to ID targets on a moonless night.

According to KAC here is the range capabilities of the PVS30.

Recognize a standing man under starlight: >800M

Recognize a standing man under 1/4 MOON: >1000M

Recognize a vehicle under starlight: >1000M

Recognize a vehicle under 1/4 moon : >1500M

Unfortunately I was unable to find a place to test these ranges with the PVS30.

Shooting With The PVS30

One problem with the PVS30 is the weight.The PVS30 weighs 2.9 lbs and putting it out that far on the handguard makes it challenging to hold for extended periods of time. Of course this set up is not really made for such shooting positions. You would typically go prone or shoot off some surface. Either a barricade or a tripod. When I was shooting the MK12MOD1 the muzzle flash would show up in the PVS30 and cause the autogating to activate which results in the PVS30 dimming a little bit.

How you mount the PVS30 does not matter that much. J.W. informed me that you do not need perfect alignment in order to see through the PVS30 and more importantly even if there is an offset, it will not affect your POA or POI. I would equate it to a scope being parallax free but it is the PVS30 that is parallax free.

Above is my Troy Pump Action Rifle, it is chambered in .300blk. I put the PVS30 in front my Meopta HTR 6.5-20×50 and I was able to see steel at 200 yards. I was surprised how clearly I was able to see with high magnification cause technically the scope is zooming onto the image produced by the PVS30. While the 1200 yards is not long range, I have difficulty seeing targets out that far with my PVS-14 monocular. Usually I would have to rely on my IR laser reflecting off the target to ID and engage the target. With the PVS30 I could see the steel. One issue I did have was the color paint that is on my steel target. It blended in with the back stop. Only when we illuminated the target with the long range illuminator of the MAWL-C1+ were we able to differentiate the target.

Below is a photo shot by J.W. Ramp of his friend modeling the MK12MOD1. The green glow of the PVS30 is shining through the scope and illuinating his eye like he is some sort of cyborg. The purple tinted light is the IR light emitted from the laser and illuminator. It was shot with a full spectrum Nikon D5500.

Photo by J.W. Ramp

PVS30 Close Up

This PVS30 is an older version and runs on 2xAA batteries. The newer PVS30 run off a single CR123A and has a run time of 30 hours over the 20 hours on the 2x AA batteries.

There is a rear rubber lens cap. When I put it on the Troy PAR, I forgot it was on there and the KAC Koozie shroud wrap covered it up. I turned on the PVS30 and thought I had broken the unit or the batteries were dead. Nope. I could not see the rubber cap in the dark through my scope.

The PVS30 comes with a foam rubber shroud wrap coupler to cover up the gap between the rear eyepiece of the PVS 30 and the objective lens of the scope behind it. It is to help hide the glow of the night vision. It also works as a can koozie.

So how much does a KAC PVS30 cost? Well brand new they are around $11K USD. But J.W. got his from Euro Optic. Euro Optic has a limited supply of Buy Backs and are only $4,700 USD.

This is a US Army Buy-Back Knight’s Armament AN/PVS-30 night vision scope. It is in Grade A (Above Average) condition.

With the AN/PVS-30, you’ll receive the latest high performance night vision to add to your rifle. Best suited for front line long-range rifles, you can be assured of universal accuracy time after time. If added to your existing scope, your scope and eye relief with be unchanged. A refractive lens provides high performance light collection in a lightweight frame.

Taking (2) AA batteries (included), the battery life can last well over 24 hours. Additionally, the batteries can be changed even when you are in a shooting position. Optimized for long-range sniper weapons, the AN/PVS-30 supports magnification up to 20x.

  • Focus Range: 20 meters -> ∞
  • Gain Control: On/Off Gain Control knob
  • Finish: Flat Black Matte
  • Waterproof: Up to 3 Feet for 4 Hours
  • Warranty: 1 Year

Mount is KAC 26597 Quick Attach/Detach (to MIL-STD-1913 or compatible rail). Includes tactical carry case, shroud, lens cleaning kit, AA batteries, and Certificate of Conformance.

The PVS30 is awesome if you want to see targets at long range at night. Flashlights only work so well and seeing past 300 yards is tough. The only issue is weight and finding ways to mount the PVS30 if you are not using an AR-15 style rifle with a long railed handguard. With the scope behind the the PVS30 you dont really need a laser and your reticle shows up perfectly clear against the green image. At $4,700 the PVS30 is more reasonable to acquire and if you can afford it and want to shoot long range at night then pick one up. For more information check out Knight’s Armament.

Nicholas C
Nicholas C

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2 of 18 comments
  • John John on Apr 12, 2018

    >"This PVS30 is an older version and runs on 2xAA batteries. The newer
    PVS30 run off a single CR123A and has a run time of 30 hours over the 20
    hours on the 2x AA batteries."

    Huh. So can you use rechargeable batteries in the older PVS30?

    Also, the first sentence should read "AT long distances". Wouldn't notice except it's literally the first sentence of the article. :)

  • Adam Adam on Apr 14, 2018

    And still cant have one in Australia