…On Force Multipliers (Night Vision)
Night vision, Passive, Infra-red, and thermal may well be the best investment that you can make to protect your stores and loved ones. I suspect when the seams of society unravel that the night will truly be the stuff of nightmares.
If you have made good inroads into your stores, you may want to take a look into the market of night vision devices. Think about NVDs as you would your weapons battery it is just as important. They are tools that will allow you to do more with less.
Most Preppers look at the prices for NVDs, gasp, and opt to buy another case of ammo. There are good deals out there if you shop hard. As I write this, I am taking delivery of two Generation 2 NVDs that I paid about $1800 for total. Both are ATNs, a brand that was sold to me by the Gen 3 that I have owned for some time. One is a monocular that can be weapon mounted with an adapter or used with a head harness via a J-arm. I also acquired a compass that will mount to this device, making night navigation easier. The other is a complete weapons system with mount and IR illuminator in a hard-shell case. Both were found on E-bay, new or near new, at half the going price for such devices. Not everyone buying or selling NVDs is knowledgeable, so if you educate yourself about NVDs in general and Google/Wiki educate yourself about the particular device you are looking at, you CAN find good deals.
These two devices will back up an already considerable night surveillance package. The capstone of this system is a SPI MD-1 Thermal imaging pod. Yes this was expensive, but I still shopped it almost $1K off at $3000. Cheap for thermal. This pod has programmable PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) capabilities and also contains a HD video camera and a bore sight-able laser designator. It has recognition out to almost 200 meters. This will be on an elevated central mount on the retreat, fed to a controller with 3.5” display and 40” flat screen. (yes, we have extensive solar to power all this stuff). This can be programmed to perform automatic 360 degree, high-low surveillance patrols as well as track intrusive aircraft.
To boost the effectiveness of two Gen one devices (one handheld-Bushnell, the other a weapon mounted-Aeoptics) there are a number of remote controlled 12V IR LED floods on the perimeter.
There is also a Gen 3 weapons mounted and a number of low-light video cameras. The thermal, cameras and IR floods are all controlled from a central location.
A little education on NVDs, numbers you should know:
NVDs amplify available light (starlight, ambient background light) to provide a recognizable image to the eye. The amount of amplification (GEN #) will determine the clarity/resolution of the image.
Thermal detects the variance of body heat to the ambient background heat to display an image. The sensitivity to this difference will determine its resolution. Most thermal devices provide for a choice of positive/negative and a number of pseudo-color displays to enable you to choose the best option for your particular surveillance problem.
Gen 1-This is basically little better than updated Korean war era IR devices. Improved with an IR Light source. 20-38 lp/mm (line pairs per millimeter) this determines clarity; they have a IIT (Image Intensifier Tube) with a life of 2000-2500 hours.
Gen 2-provides very good service, some Gen 2+ approach Gen 3 levels. 32-45 lp/mm and a life of 5000 hours.
Gen 3-amazing clarity. 50-64 lp/mm and a life of 10,000 hours.
Thermal (FLIR-Forward looking infrared) all FLIR systems also have generational and image resolution specs that must be considered. These are also tied to image clarity. All FLIR systems are expensive starting at $3000+ minimally for a weapons site and going over $20,000, off the table for most all Preppers. I recommend a fixed mount system. These can be found used/surplus as 12V vehicle mounted Marine or Border Patrol units.
Other specs to be considered: power supply (AA, CR123,12V vehicle, or AC), mounts, lens covers, cases, reticles, IR illuminators, magnification and the adaptability to existing daylight scopes ,weapons mounts, helmets and head harnesses.
The Force Multiplier theory: adding technology to increase the effectiveness of an individual team member to perform as 2 or more. Sadly we cannot buy team members, but for a few thousand dollars we can add night vision and turn a force of eight into sixteen or more. That’s pretty cheap for that kind of security. Remember that attackers must have a 3 to 1 advantage minimally to have a chance at breaching a defensive position. The more force that you can effectively project, the better your chances at resisting a large force.
NVDs are very useful for perimeter defense as well as on patrol in ambush and anti-ambush situations. Some are also adaptable to vehicle operations.
An important note: NVDs image clarity is degraded by smoke, fog and rain. Thermal is not.
Seize the night…long live the republic. D.