How To Sight In A Night Vision Scope

Have you recently purchased a night vision scope and are struggling to get it properly sighted in? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Sighting in a night vision scope can be a complex process that requires precision and attention to detail.

Night vision scopes have become increasingly popular among hunters, law enforcement officers, and outdoor enthusiasts. They allow for clear visibility in low light conditions, making it easier to spot targets in the dark. However, in order to fully benefit from the capabilities of a night vision scope, it is essential to properly sight it in.

Sighting in a night vision scope may seem daunting at first, but with the right approach and some practice, it can be done effectively. By following a few key steps and avoiding common mistakes, you can ensure that your night vision scope is accurately zeroed in, giving you the best possible performance in low light situations. In this article, we will guide you through the process of sighting in a night vision scope, helping you achieve optimal accuracy and precision.

Understand the Basics of a Night Vision Scope

Before diving into the sighting-in process, it’s essential to have a good grasp of how a night vision scope works. Familiarize yourself with the various components of a night vision scope, such as the objective lens, the image intensifier tube, and the eyepiece. Understanding these components will help you make the necessary adjustments during the sighting-in process.

Determining the Zeroing Distance

One of the first steps in sighting in a night vision scope is determining the zeroing distance. This is the distance at which the point of aim and point of impact align. The zeroing distance can vary depending on the specific firearm and ammunition being used. It is crucial to determine the zeroing distance accurately to ensure effective targeting.

Set Up a Stable Shooting Platform

To ensure accurate results during the sighting-in process, it’s crucial to have a stable shooting platform. Use a solid shooting bench or table to eliminate any unnecessary movement that could affect your accuracy. Additionally, consider using a sandbag or a shooting rest to provide extra stability for your rifle.

Initial Sighting-In

The initial sighting-in process involves aligning the point of aim with the point of impact at a close range. Start by selecting a target at a distance of around 25 yards. Aim at the target and fire a shot, carefully observing the bullet’s impact on the target.

Establish a Starting Distance

To begin sighting in, establish a starting distance between you and the target. It’s recommended to start at a shorter distance, such as 25 yards, to make initial adjustments easier. As you progress and achieve better accuracy, you can increase the distance gradually.

Fine-Tuning the Sighting-In

Once the initial sighting-in process is complete, it is time to fine-tune the sight-in at longer distances. Choose a target at your desired zeroing distance, which is typically around 100 yards for most rifles. Shoot a group of shots and carefully observe the group’s placement on the target.

Take a Shot and Observe Impact

Fire a shot at the target and carefully observe where the bullet lands. If the bullet hits significantly off the mark, note the direction and distance of deviation. This observation will help you determine the necessary adjustments to make.

Make Elevation Adjustments

Elevation adjustments involve moving the reticle vertically to compensate for bullet drop or rise at different distances. Use the elevation adjustment knobs on your night vision scope to make small upward or downward movements of the reticle. Again, test-fire after each adjustment to assess accuracy.

Tips for Successful Sight-in

Achieving a successful sight-in for a night vision scope requires attention to detail and certain considerations. Here are some tips to help you achieve optimal results:

Consistent shooting technique

Maintaining a consistent shooting technique throughout the sight-in process is vital. This includes consistent body position, grip, trigger control, and follow-through. Any inconsistencies in the shooter’s technique can lead to variations in shot placement and hinder the sight-in process.

Taking environmental factors into account

Environmental factors such as wind, temperature, and humidity can affect bullet trajectory. It is essential to take these factors into account during the sight-in process. Note any changes in conditions and adjust your aim accordingly to ensure accurate shot placement.

Patience and persistence

Sighting in a night vision scope can be a time-consuming process that requires patience and persistence. It may take multiple adjustments and shot groups to achieve the desired point of impact. Avoid rushing the process and stay focused on refining your aim.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

While sighting in a night vision scope, it is important to avoid certain common mistakes that can affect accuracy. Here are some mistakes to avoid:

  • Improper mounting of the scope: Ensure that the scope is securely mounted on the firearm and properly aligned.
  • Over-adjusting the scope: Make small adjustments while sighting in. Over-adjusting can lead to inaccurate results.
  • Neglecting environmental factors: Take into account environmental factors, such as wind and temperature, when making adjustments.
  • Poor documentation: Failing to record and document adjustments can make future sight-ins challenging and time-consuming.
  • Skipping the verification step: Regularly verify the sight-in to ensure consistent accuracy.


Sighting in a night vision scope is a critical process that significantly impacts your shooting accuracy in low-light conditions. By following the steps outlined in this article and remaining patient and persistent, you can ensure that your night vision scope is correctly calibrated, providing optimal performance and accuracy during nighttime activities.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

How often should I verify the sighting-in of my night vision scope?

It is recommended to verify the sighting-in of your night vision scope periodically, especially if you have not used the firearm for an extended period or if you have made any modifications.

How often should I check and adjust the zero of my night vision scope?**

This will depend on factors such as the stability of your firearm and scope mounting, environmental conditions, and the frequency of use. However, it is generally recommended to check and adjust the zero of your night vision scope periodically, especially before important shooting engagements or hunting trips.

Is it possible to sight in a night vision scope during the daytime?

Sighting in a night vision scope during the daytime is possible, but the effectiveness may be limited as the scope relies on ambient light to create a visible image.

Can I use the same technique to sight in a thermal scope?**

The basic principles of sighting in a thermal scope are similar to those of a night vision scope. However, the specific instructions may vary depending on the manufacturer and model. Always refer to the user manual provided by the manufacturer for accurate information.

Should I sight in my night vision scope every time I change ammunition?

If you switch to a different brand or type of ammunition, it is recommended to perform a sight-in process to account for any variations in bullet trajectory.

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