A few years ago Kinetic Development Group (KDG) came out with their Optics Hub. It is a way to up-armor a Leupold MK4 spotting scope while potentially working with other spotting scopes. Its main feature was that it gave the user the ability to attach accessories to your spotting scope. However, there was one accessory that was not really possible, night vision. Well, now the KDG NOX (Nighttime Optic Extension) has come out for mounting night vision in front of a spotting scope. Let’s take a closer look.
Spotting Scopes @ TFB:
- Friday Night Lights: Tricked-Out Spotting Scopes
- Spotting Scopes Gone Wild – The KDG Optics Hub
- Kowa Announces Flagship TSN-99 PROMINAR Spotting Scopes
KDG NOX For Nighttime Observations
The KDG NOX is designed to mount a night vision rail to the KDG Optics Hub. The KDG NOX has a recessed platform that fits the Optics Hub perfectly. However, you do not need to use the Optics Hub if you choose not to. In my article about tricked-out spotting scopes, I mentioned the Bushnell Legend Tactical Scope has potential but lacks the ability to mount night vision in front. So I borrowed my friend’s Bushnell and you can see it mounts directly to the NOX.
The KDG NOX plate is mirrored on both sides. It has these index pins for mounting the night vision rail.
Underneath the KDG NOX plate are countersunk holes and threaded 1/4-20 holes. The countersunk holes are for bolting the NOX to the bottom of the Optics Hub or directly to your spotting scope. The threaded holes are for mounting the NOX to your tripod.
The night vision rail is mounted to a T-Bar that hangs down off the KDG NOX mounting plate. The rail slides up and down this bar and is held on with a bolt and nut. Loosen the bolt and you can adjust the height of the rail. The KDG NOX was designed for the Leupold MK4 so it does not really work with the Bushnell Legend Tactical spotting scope with the way it was designed.
However, you can flip the T-Bar and invert the night vision rail. You have to be careful as the T-Bar is close to hitting the eyepiece of the PVS-30. But it works. I could move the PVS-30 further forward to clear the T-Bar.
I was able to install the Bushnell Legend Tactical spotting scope in the Optics Hub but I had to remove the top Picatinny rail from the scope.
Now I can mount the UTCXII thermal clip-on in front of the spotting scope.
Some tripods might not fit the recessed mounting plate of the KDG NOX. My Meopta MeoPro HD80 has a pedestal for mounting to tripods directly but it is too wide for the NOX mounting plate. So I had to use the Optics Hub, bolted the MeoPro HD80 to it and bolted the NOX to the Hub. Now I can mount night vision in front of the MeoPro HD80.
Alternate Use Of The KDG NOX
The NOX has a reversible rail. You can unbolt the T-Bar from the front and bolt it to the rear. Or you can just rotate the entire NOX 180º so the night vision rail is in the back. Now you can mount cameras or a night vision monocular to look into spotting scopes with straight eyepieces.
Below I mounted a MUM-14 with Picatinny weapon mount to the KDG NOX rail. Now I can use night vision to look through the spotting scope. This works but it is not as good as a dedicated night vision clip-on.
You can also mount cameras to the KDG NOX rail. Here I mounted my Chronos 1.4 high-speed camera so it can film through the spotting scope. You can lego together some optics mounts and mount a smartphone behind your spotting scope as well. With regards to my Bushnell Elite LMSS the eye relief changes when I change the magnification. So I have to move the camera forwards or backward, otherwise, the image gets cropped out. This is not possible with standard digiscoping adapters that mount your phone cameras directly to the eyepiece.
Final Thoughts On the KDG NOX
The KDG NOX is a solution for people looking to mount night vision or thermal in front of their spotting scope. It is great not needing the Optics Hub if your spotting scope can fit on the NOX plate. The KDG NOX retails for $399.97 direct from Kinetic Development Group. If you need to use an Optics Hub it is only an additional $197.99. So for about $600 you can mount any accessory you want to your spotting scope. That is a little bit more than the Badger Ordnance SLICK but there are some benefits to the Optics Hub and NOX. The Optics Hub has a lot more real estate for mounting accessories whereas the Badger SLICK only has three Picatinny rails. The night vision rail on the SLICK is positioned at an angle. While this is not an issue for a clip-on night vision device, they have round images, it is an issue for thermal clip-ons since they have rectangular images. This is more of a personal preference than anything else but seeing a canted rectangular image is annoying.
Right now KDG is exploring options for offering the T-Bar and night vision rail separately for NOX owners to add them to the other side. However, according to my contact at KDG, the T-Bar and rail make up the bulk of the cost in the NOX. I would like to see the night vision rail redesigned and made with Picatinny underneath. That way you can mount accessories under your night vision device or invert the rail for more height adjustability. For more information on the KDG NOX, go to their website.