Friday Night Lights: NVD KAC UNS®SR Night Vision Clip-On

    Welcome back to another Friday Night Lights. This week we take a look at a somewhat uncommon night vision clip-on. It is thanks to Night Vision Devices that I get to check out the KAC UNS®SR for this review. The UNS®SR stands for Universal Night Sight Short Range. But what does that mean and what can it do? Let’s find out.

    Clip-On Night Vision @ TFB:

    UNS®SR Small Clip-On Night Vision

    The KAC UNS®SR is tiny. Look at the photos above. It is almost the same size as my Aimpoint COMPM4. The UNS®SR is a miniature night vision clip-on. It is powered by a single AA battery for a run time of 36 hours. The rotary switch on the left side is just like the PVS-30 and PVS-27. It has a lock out feature so you need to pull the switch outward a little bit to clear the lock out nub then rotate it to turn on the UNS®SR. Once it turns on, rotating the rotary switch more will lower the gain of the image intensifier. Just like a PVS-30, the objective lens is adjustable. See the knurled ring? Rotate that and you can adjust focus on your target. Because the clip-on is so small, it is really easy to adjust focus and manual gain with your support hand without having to move to look away from your optic.

    At first glance, the UNS®SR does not seem that small but looking at it side by side with a PVS-30, you get a better sense of how small it is.

    Since the KAC UNS®SR is so small, so is the objective lens. Here is the lens next to the objective lens of the PVS-30. While the lens seems small, I did not notice any issues with its ability to amplify light.

    Size Matters, If It Fits It Sits

    The UNS®SR was designed for short-range use. Since it does not need to see that far, they can use smaller lenses and reduce the overall size of the clip-on. Since the UNS®SR is so small, it can safely fit onto small firearms. Here it fits on a Desert Tech SRS. A full-size clip-on might fit but it would be ungainly and hang over the barrel and possibly the muzzle.

    The UNS®SR only weighs 1lbs 2.7oz. When you mount it on a gun, it is not unwieldy. See the IWI X95 below. I have a 3X magnifier, Aimpoint COMPM4 and the UNS®SR. I can engage targets out to 500 yards with this setup.


    UNS®SR on an X95.

    What about a normal gun? How about an HK 416?

    Short AR platforms, like this HK 416, do not have a lot of real estate on handguards. But since the UNS®SR is so small, it can comfortably fit on the handguard between the EOTECH and MAWL-X1.

    It may seem like it, but the UNS®SR does not touch the EOTECH nor the MAWL-X1.

    Lookin Through The UNS®SR

    The UNS is a short-range clip-on. Also, it can only handle magnification up to 8x but from my testing, 6x magnification is the highest I would be comfortable using. I found LPVO scopes to be a perfect match with the UNS®SR. The 1x on LPVOs are rarely a true 1x especially if something is close to the objective lens. I find they tend to magnify things like my thumb and laser devices mounted at 12 o’clock on a rail. This slight magnification works in the UNS®SR favor. See below. When looking at the UNS at a true 1x like your eyeball or a red dot behind it, the night vision image is small and appears far away. This is partly due to the nature of a clip-on for use with magnified optics. But with the slight magnification at 1x and the position of the clip-on so close to the objective lens, the image appears more natural to your eye.

    Above, the UNS®SR at 1x on the LPVO. Below I changed the magnification all the way to 6x on the LPVO.

    6X magnification seems to be the most the UNS®SR can handle. I tried higher magnification and the night vision image quickly became distorted and pixelated.

    Here is the same scope setup. 1X and then 6x. The 6X image is not great but that is partially due to the ambient lighting.

    The UNS®SR was really designed to be paired with an RCO (Rifle Combat Optic) like the Trijicon ACOG. I do not have an ACOG but I do have a Browe BCO which is similar in shape and size but it is 4×32 rather than the typical 3x mag found in ACOGs.

    Take a look at the image below, that is my usual test object. The utility shed is 530 yards away. This seems like a reasonable image and the distance is where the UNS®SR reaches its max capabilities. Trying to see further becomes more challenging because you are limited with the range of magnification.

    Thermal Fusion

    Since the objective lens of the UNS®SR is small, you can fit a COTI like device and project thermal into the field of view. Here is a test I did with a Jerry-C. The thermal image is offset a little bit but it works. The thermal image does not look that great under outline edge detect mode but under full or half thermal it is not that bad looking.

    Final Thoughts Of The KAC Short Range Clip-On

    The price for the UNS SR is a bit high at $6,000. You can get a full-size clip-on and be able to see further however those systems are really large and heavy. A PVS-30 weighs more than double that of the UNS SR. If you need to be able to see short to medium range like out to 500 yards with night vision while saving weight, then the UNS SR may be a solution for you. It really shines when you have a weapon platform that does not offer a lot of rail space to accommodate larger night vision clip-on devices. Also, the UNS SR is rated for up to .50 BMG so it can handle any and all recoil you could throw at it.

    I would like to thank my friend Ted Colegrove for facilitating this device through Night Vision Devices. And of course thanks to Night Vision Devices for letting me borrow the UNS SR for this review. If you have any questions or need more information go check out their website.

    Nicholas C

    Steadicam Gun Operator
    Night Vision & Thermal Aficionado
    Flashlight/Laser Enthusiast
    USPSA competitor

    Any questions please email him at [email protected]