I get a lot of questions, whether its via email or in comments, about setting up night vision equipment. Its something I cover in the Scout Course and the upcoming Carbine Course, not just setting them up but operating under them individually and as a team. And while there’s a few different ways to set your gear up, I’m a traditionalist and above all, keeping as simple a layout as possible. The simpler, the more rugged, the better.

My night vision device of choice is the PVS-14- its a simple and very rugged unit, and the one I’ve used since my first deployment to Iraq 14 years ago (hard to believe its been that long) and specifically, the newer white phosphor unit. I love it- it looks like how the outdoors look right after a snowstorm, and the advantage really is amazing to see even over the old green tubes that used to give us the little gremlins after moving under them all night (if you know what I’m referencing, you know what I’m saying;) ). Its a lightweight, single tube unit that can either be mounted in front of my ACOG (or some other optics) as well as on my head- making an efficient combination for multiple uses.

My old, tattered ACH helmet still painted from overseas work, replete with the X-nape straps for comfort. Not tacticool these days, but definitely functional and more affordable.

How I set mine up on my head is pretty simple- I cover my non-dominant eye because I can still use red dots with my dominant eye at night. For some this is tricky and that’s not how everyone’s brain works and I get it. But it works for me. But also, as everyone who’s done any night training with me knows, I can see very, very well at night and I keep my natural night vision in one of my eyes. In mounting it to my head, I run my old ACH helmet with the old school bolt-on rhino mount and flip-down J arm. I know, I know, there’s newer, latest n’ greatest stuff out there. But I’ve been running this setup a LONG time and its never let me down. Its light enough, and since the ACH is not a cool-guy piece of gear anymore, but it works.

Fighting with a weapon under NODs requires an IR laser to aim. Mine is mounted out front and centerline with the bore. No pressure switches to break either- I index the laser with my thumb. The sling loop just behind it serves as the memory point for my support hand and every one of my ARs are set up this way for commonality. The PEQ-15 is just one option of several on the market that are good to go, but its also one that sits the lowest on a rail so that there’s no obstructions in my field of view through the ACOG.

The package is light, streamlined and effective. There’s no bullshit hanging off the sides to get caught in my working environment and no bells, whistles or gimmicks.
The way it should be.