As The Last Light Fades – ACT in Black Lunox NVG review
Since the dawn of time, mankind has sought the ability to see in the dark, ergo that’s an ability in some shape or form we’ve had for some considerable time. But, to endlessly see through the gloom wherever you are, perhaps many miles away from the flick of a switch, or street lighting. Perhaps, for whatever reason, covertly you don’t want to employ a torch either.
Well, whilst not new technology, this is where the sorcery of Night Vision casts its spell and illuminates the shadows and corners of the world, not otherwise observed under the auspices of the naked eye.
I shall not attempt to really discuss the science behind it all, leaving that to more learned experts, although I will give it some due reference further along here in this article.
For many years, and for long as I’ve been involved in ‘Plastic Deth’ the application of Night Vision has been primarily restricted to lower end optics of no real noteworthy mention, or at the other end of the spectrum so prohibitive in cost they are elusive to all but the few. Even then, it’s a market fraught with risk, dependent on your location, inherently these have often come onto the market under nefarious circumstances.
Until now, enter ACT in Black, a Luxembourg based Night Vision company, who whilst a fairly new addition to global scene have already built a strong reputation based on reliability, integrity and customer based focus, forged from high standards of quality, product and value.
Not content, in being a distributor of key branded NVG products, they set upon revolutionizing the market by developing their own NVG, offering per price point, a comparable quality NVG that ably sits alongside most high end devices, but pleasingly not at an unobtainable price, that’s not prohibitive to all but the very few.
In the winter of 2014 they began developing and testing what would become the Lunox. Employing their expertise and experience from maintaining, repairing and servicing NVG’s, as well as knowledgeable sales service of highend Night Optics, they decided to turn their hand, not necessarily to a more economical product, but one that offers the very best of technology commercially to the general consumer.
Here, this has been admirably achieved, producing in the Lunox, an intuitive NVG that in shape and form possesses all of the hall marks of the venerable PVS14. It is instantly identifiable, despite being incredibly light weight, the Lunox is a robust and sturdy device. Cased in a high impact polymer, the Photonis Commercial tube, which in this instance is Autogated, has an assuredly luxurious feel to it. Machined with precision and clean lines it is exceptionally solid.
So, it looks great – but how does it perform. Well, firstly – whilst a novice to NVG’s, despite briefly using either friends optics or being lucky enough to see other high products in operation this is, as intuitive and easy operate as any other iconic device seen in operation across the globe.
It’s power switch, positively and firmly clicking into place offers three modes of operation, off, on – a standard setting when there is sufficient ambient background light, moon or starlight, and IR – which, as I’m sure you are aware, gives the tube its own illumination to work off in exceptionally dark conditions.
Using this briefly late last night, amongst a very shadowed setting, under very heavy cloud cover with little to no moon or starlight, even in standard ‘on’ configuration the tube easily gave a clear and sharp picture. It was easy few steps to adjust the diopter at the rear of the tube to optimize eye relief and clarity best suited to my individual preference. From there, you simply adjust the front dial (Range of Focus Ring 0.25m to infinity) around the forward lens to achieve optimal focus, field of view and depth. As I discovered, one small limitation, I struggled to perhaps read small print at very close proximity whilst worn, but otherwise a broad field of view offering explicit detail and clarity is achieved.
From here on in, producing little to no fatigue, sitting peacefully watching the world go by in virtually absolute darkness was a sublime and surreal affair. Every leaf, blade of grass and building formerly cloaked in darkness is easily observed albeit in swathes of soft green are all easily objectified.
I primarily ran the unit here installed with ACT’s OEM ‘Amber Filter’ which provides a warmer easy on the eye view. However I briefly operated the Lunox without this, and was very pleased with the more austere sharper emerald green tones as often popularized from stereotypical NVG imagery.
It’s all down to preference, but the anodized filter acts as protection, a de-mist preventative, as well enhancing the overall picture, it also minimizes the splash of green light commonly reflected on the eye.
This too can be said of my IR filter on my Surefire M951, which naturally gives a very strong illumination to assist use in exceptionally low light. So, with much enthusiasm I tested a variety of IR patches, and both S&S Precision’s Manta and Core Survival’s HelStar Strobes – all proving to be highly effective tools to accompany the Lunox.
I’m obviously smitten, in comparison to other products on the direct civilian market, this stands squarely and proudly heads and shoulders above the competition. Moreover it chases hotly on the heels of its bigger brothers in use by LE or the Military.
Photonis Comm/Grade Tube
The Commercial Grade tube, as the name implies, is a tube which is intended for commercial/civil purposes. These tubes were sorted out during production, since they did not meet one or several of important required, parameters for the extremely high set military specifications. This gradation is intended by the manufacturer for commercial/civil markets. The price-performance ratio of these tubes is also excellent and therefore, it provides a favorable entry-option into the world of High-End image intensifier tubes. Without any technical tools, the non-fulfilled parameter values are hardly visible by the human eye, using the night vision device. In the majority of cases the reason for the downgrade of the classification of Commercial Grade tubes, is the above-average load of black spots and turbid locations – which are indeed not conform with military specifications. These side effects are basically not a disadvantage at all – they can be described as cosmetic defects, since they are unnoticeable in the field of view during the night observations.
Further testament to the Lunox’ operability was recently evidenced at Combat Airsoft Groups recent NVG training module. Here teams got hands on with the devices, and put them through their paces at what was an extensively rigorous CQB excercise in exceptionally low light conditions. This can be viewed here on the below trailer:
The only difference, quite possibly in my amateurish experience perhaps being the ability to focus on exacting tiny visual minutiae. This, is for all intents and purposes, for my intended use, neither problematic or of relevance when seeking out the opposition in game.
So, factoring in its outstanding performance, rugged durability and easy intuitive operation – offset against its incredible price point – this is quite possibly the clear undisputed champion out there right now. It’s clear the development and production of this product is representative of ACT’s impeccable reputation and a true labor of love and passion to bring enthusiasts the very best in commercially available NVG’s – S23
Multi-Purpose System Yes
Lens System 30mm
Range of Focus 0.25 m to infinity
Diopter Adjustment +2 to -6 dpt
Infrared Illuminator Yes
IR Indicator Yes (in FOV)
Low Battery Indicator Yes (in FOV)
Power Supply 1x CR123
Environmental Rating Waterproof and weatherproof
Battery Life 50 hrs
Dimensions 120x 50 x 55 mm
Weight 0.315 kg
Warranty 2 Years
ACT in Black:
Web Store: http://www.actinblack.com/act_shop/product/lunox/