Friday Night Lights: Rocket Launcher Night Vision Mount – AT4 Vs. FIM-92 Stinger

    In the few years I have dabbled in night vision, never in my wildest dreams have I thought of what I will be covering on this week’s Friday Night Lights. Night vision rocket launchers! More specifically the rocket launcher night vision mount.

    Night Vision Mount @ TFB:

    AT4 Rocket Launcher Night Vision Mount

    A couple years ago, my friend Jason gifted me a PVS-4. It came from a Sheriff Dept that no longer needed it. When I got the PVS-4, I tried to look up what ridiculous things I could mount it onto. In my research, I stumbled across this picture. As far as I can tell, it was the only photo of an AT4 with PVS-4 on the internet. I tried searching for this PVS-4 rocket launcher night vision mount but I was unsuccessful. There is no information that I could find online about it. Fast forward to earlier this year, back in April, I had told some friends, who have reasonable success at finding obscure military surplus, to be on the lookout for an AT4 rocket launcher night vision mount. And wouldn’t you know it, one of my friends found someone who had one so I bought it.

    I have an AT4 simulator and immediately proceeded to mount my PVS-4 to it. As you can see, the AT4 simulator has hoses coming out the front for the FATS system.

    rocket launcher night vision mount

    When I posted pictures of the night vision AT4, some people said it reminded them of the AT4 from Michael Bay’s Transformers Dark Of The Moon movie. I searched IMFDB and they have some pictures of the prop AT4 and sure enough, it is sporting a rocket launcher night vision mount. The AT4 has been embellished a bit. A KAC broom handle VFG has been repurposed as a carry handle but it is installed in a strange orientation.

    Photo from IMFDB

    Photo from IMFDB

    They added an AR lower to function as a pistol grip and trigger.

    AT4 Night Vision Mount

    The mount is a giant clam shell that wraps around the launcher tube with an offset bracket that has a section of Picatinny welded onto it.

    This scythe-like clasp is what holds the clamshell closed.

    Apparently, this was manufactured in 1996.

    The optic mount is multi-function. It has a cutout and threaded screw to direct mount a PVS-4. Or you can use the Picatinny mount to grab onto the rail.

    The AT4 rocket launcher night vision mount has a raised section to clear the door for the rear flip-up sight.

    My rear sight is broken but if it was intact, you can see it would still be functional.

    Since the AT4 mount is Picatinny, you can attach any optic you want. Here is a CCTTS thermal sight.

    The bracket positions the optic a bit far from the launcher tube.

    I can actually aim with the flip-up sights with my right eye or adjust and look through the PVS-4 with my left eye. It is too difficult to try using your right eye to look through the PVS-4. You could try but it involves rotating the launcher and now your reticle will be canted.

    FIM-92 Stinger Night Vision Mount

    Last month I acquired an FIM-92 Stinger tube and when I enquired about sourcing some surplus parts to complete this display piece, Jason Crum of Ident Marking reached out and told me he has an ARMS #27 rocket launcher night vision mount for the FIM-29 Stinger. At least that is what he thinks it is for. He got it in a large batch of random accessories.

    Molded markings on the ARMS 27 Stinger mount

    Someone had used this rocket launcher night vision mount to test a laser pattern and etched what looks like zombies on the top of it.

    The Stinger rocket launcher night vision mount attaches to the hinges of the factory Stinger sight.

    Front hinge, see the hole?

    The rear hinge has a similar hole as the front hinge.

    Make sure this white wire does not get in the way.

    The Stinger rocket launcher night vision mount has a fixed pin at the rear.

    While the front has a spring-loaded pin.

    Pull that long rectangular latch rearward to retract the front plunger pin.

    See how the front plunger pin needs to retract so the mount can drop down in place? When you install this mount, you insert the rear section of the mount into the rear hinge then drop the front of the mount into place while holding the plunger pin back. Once dropped into place, you can release the plunger pin and it will lock into the front hinge hole.

    When the Stinger rocket launcher night vision mount is installed, you cannot open the factory Stinger sight.

    The Stinger rocket launcher night vision mount is similar to an M-16/M4 carry handle. I added a Picatinny rail adapter so I can mount anything to the Stinger tube.

    I think a thermal optic would make more sense especially since it can see through smoke.

    With the Stinger rocket launcher night vision mount, the AT4 or any other optic, is in line where the factory aiming sight would be if it was deployed.

    However, I noticed a slight issue using this rocket launcher night vision mount. You lose the bone conducting/vibrating alert. Since this is a used/spent Stinger tube I cannot test the audio tone generating speaker either. I am not sure if it still works when the sight is folded.

    I got tone! Firing!

    According to NightKerif.com, there was a reticle made for the PVS-4 just for use with a FIM-92 Stinger. There was also one made for an M67 recoilless rifle.

    Image from Kerif Night Vision

     

    Edit: Thanks to CompassCall on IG for digging up a photo of the actual ITT Defense F4960 Stinger Night Sight.

    Photo found by @compasscall note that the sight has the left eye shield just like the regular Stinger aiming sight.

    The Stinger night sight is a third-generation image intensifier system based on the AN/PVS-4 weapon sight technology. It incorporates a 60 mm, f1.2 objective lens (which provides a 2.26 magnification and a 23.5º circular field of view) with a 25 mm first- and third-generation F4844 image intensifier tube. The spectral response region is from 600 to 900 nm.
    Total length is 312.4 mm (386.1 mm with the mounting bracket attached), diameter 104.1 mm and weight 1.91 kg (2.27 kg with the bracket). The sight is powered by two AA size alkaline batteries which provide on average up to 30 hours of usage.
    The illuminated tracking/aiming reticle has a fully adjustable brightness control and is similar to the existing Stinger reticle. The combination of the lens and image intensifier tube allows acquisition of targets at ranges of up to 7,000 m and identification at 4,500 to 5,000 m even under starlight conditions.
    A total of 150 examples of the sight have been supplied to the US Marine Corps as the interim Stinger night sight system. These were deployed in the 1991 Gulf War.

    CompassCall even dug up the patent for the sight. Click here to see the patent.

    Final Thoughts On The Rocket Launcher Night Vision Mounts

    These mounts are interesting. However, I have not been successful in finding much information on them. I reached out to ARMS Mounts and while they are aware of the ARMS #27 mount, the person who knew about it in depth passed away a few years ago.

    I have a feeling these mounts are not that widely used. At least the AT4 mount does not seem to be used that much since I have not been able to find any content with it other than that one photo, a movie prop and my own photos. I also question its practicality. A PVS-4 is a night vision weapon sight. It has an illuminated reticle for specific calibers. It is also zero able but how do you zero a PVS-4 to either an AT4 or FIM-92 Stinger? They are both single-use weapons. The AT4 has flip-up sights which you could aim with your right eye, then adjust your head position to see where the reticle is and adjust accordingly but the AT4 sights are not super accurate and are nonadjustable. Have any of our readers fired an AT4? I assume the sights are good ’nuff otherwise it would make them useless. But I question mounting this large mount and a PVS-4 just to shoot a tank in the dark. Why not just use a PVS-14 to help see in the dark?

    The Stinger is a different animal altogether. While I kept saying “rocket launcher night vision mount”, I realize it is a missile launcher and it is guided. So you only need to aim the Stinger in the general direction of the target, wait to get the tone and press the trigger. Due to the design of the Stinger aiming sight, it is not really possible to use helmet-mounted nods at the same time. However using a PVS-4 or other night vision weapon sights, you wouldn’t be able to positively ID a plane in the air just by looking at it.  At night planes have positional lights so you know what direction they are headed, from a distance, so pilots do not crash into each other. Under NODs, those lights would be monochromatic as well as really bright and produce a halo bloom obscuring any detail of said aircraft. So I am not sure how practical night vision would be for a Stinger. Like I said earlier, I think a thermal sight would make more sense. Especially when watching your target after the missile has fired. There is a significant amount of smoke produced by the missile’s exhaust. Regardless these mounts are interesting and very uncommon. I hope you enjoyed this article. Thanks for reading.


    After I wrote this article, Chris Landrum posted this photo on a Facebook group. It is an image he saved but does not remember the origins other than it was something Knights Armament made for a LAW. What is interesting about this mount is that it appears to be a double-sided Picatinny rail. They mounted a PVS-4 on top and an AN/PEQ-2 on the bottom rail. Both are not narrow so they must stick out from the side of the LAW a considerable amount.

    Nicholas C

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

    Any questions please email him at [email protected]


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