When the Smoke Clears – ACT In Black DTNVG review – by LT07
Becoming firm friends over a mutual appreciation of gears, MilSim, and Plastic Deth in general, Lewis, perhaps better know as LT07 has stepped in for this guest editorial spot.
As you saw earlier this year, in my earlier review and subsequent ‘deployment’ to Op Darkwater, ACT in Blacks LUNOX took the world by storm. Now their back with yet another stunningly accessible piece of kit – the DTNVG.
LT07 recently upgraded his kit, and took advantage of ACT’s latest entry to the NV world – read on …
ACTinBlack Sarl. DTNVG Review
It’s been touched on before by many a player on how Night Vision or NOD’s as we like to call them adds a different perspective to any MilSim or event with a night game element or phase. My personal experience with nods started with a Stirling Airsoft event at ‘The Valley’.
I attended the four day event and during that time saw the players guys use their NOD’s to great advantage. After that I was hooked on acquiring one of these high end devices. On my travels I picked up a Gen 3 GSCI PVS14c and used that with great effect at Combat Airsoft Groups’ Operation Snakebite. After that I saw a set of ANVIS6 for a ‘good’ price and acquired them. The ANVIS were a great step up from the single tube with a better field of depth perception being the most noticeable immediate improvement.
After an unfortunate incident at an event which involved damaging the ANVIS unit. I turned to the guys at ACTinBlack who managed to repair the unit after going well beyond the call of duty to assist in getting the unit back up and running.
After the repair of the unit and the fact it had highlighted how delicate these expensive bits of kit can be I started to follow what was shaping up to be a nice, new, built from the ground up alternative to the ANVIS. I started talking to one of the guys from ACTinBlack who was very helpful and patient with my plethora of questions. Over the course of a few months and the success of their popular LUNOX units, I decided to take the plunge and upgrade the ANVIS housing.
It worth noting that I couriered the system to ACTinBlack and within 24 Hours the upgrade to the unit had been completed, tested and ready to ship back to me.
Right down to the details, the DTNVG. What does DTNVG stand for? Well its Dual Tube Night Vision Goggles, as you can see it’s a binocular type system. As I understand the system comes in two types ANVIS lenses or PVS14 lenses. It comes as either an upgrade to ANVIS/PVS units or whole systems built to spec.
First look at the DTNVG out the box and thoughts are it has more of a visual resemblance to the PVS15 than the ANVIS it is also slightly lighter than the ANVIS which is 590g and the DTNVG weighs in at 528g.
The bridge mount does not use the classic ANVIS ball detent mount, instead uses the more stable dovetail connection.This reduces the inherent wobble that is a characteristic of all ANVIS units.
The DTNVG does not use adjustment screws for the eye separation and tilt. It has individual adjustment pods which flip up and down as required. The adjustment is easy enough but stiff enough that you know its not going to adjust by accidentally knocking it.
Using these flip up pods the unit when powered up will switch off when the pod is raised enabling you to switch the unit off quickly say in a sudden high light situation or raise a pod in case you need to use one tube for any reason. When raising the pods and having the unit in the stowed upright position it also allows the weight to be centred further back on the helmet which allows for less head and neck strain as it has a better centre of gravity.
Next feature to take note of is the battery housing at the front of the unit which houses a single CR123a battery. Battery time is approximately 25 hours, as read from ACTs website. The housing of the battery within the unit adds to the advantages in my opinion as you no longer rely on an external power source, and can use the unit handheld if required.
Next to the battery housing is the large on/off power switch. Easy to find and use when mounted this switch has various functions. The most obvious being on/off for the unit. This is achieved by a solid click of the switch right if you are looking at unit. A further turn to the right and you get a momentary function of the built in IR, another nifty feature. If you pull the switch out and turn to the right, then the IR function stays on until turned back to the on or off position.
As mentioned this unit has an IR function which allows for close range reading or super low light conditions such as internal rooms. The confirmation of the IR illuminator is also verified by the means of a red status light internally when using the unit.
The system has a really sturdy feel about it and you know the guys over at ACT have designed this not only to eliminate the fragile body of the ANVIS but to expand further on it, enhancing and adding their own features to improve user satisfaction.
The unit was mounted via a Wilcox L4G24 mount to a replica Ops Core helmet with a C2r Fast counterweight. Using the system when out and about, it seemed quite balanced even though the counterweight was around 300g. The unit performed as the old ANVIS did optics wise, if not slightly better due to upgrading one of the tubes so they are both at the same spec at the same time as swapping to the DTNVG. The optics and power switch were easily accessible in complete darkness just by touch and the unit was extremely easy to setup to personal preferences with eye spacing due to the flip up pod adjustment.
In the normal usage position the unit flips up to a near vertical rest. It can then have the pods flipped back to allow the unit to sit flush to the front of the helmet. This was surprisingly comfortable, it eliminated lot of strain on the head and neck. Stowing these like this also makes the whole setup extremely low profile which reduces the chances of getting snagged on any objects while moving around various terrain.
So in conclusion is this unit worth it?
… in my opinion yes. Looking at it from my personal experience the DTNVG is a great upgrade from the ANVIS housing. The overall durability was my primary reason to upgrade from the ANVIS housing, and DTNVG offers a ground alternative to the wobbly fragile primarily aviation ANVIS with an overall improvement and added new features. A final point that is worth mentioning is the legality of ownership, yes the dreaded ITAR all NV owners hate. For all ‘whole system’ purchases this unit also offers the fact it is ITAR free and is completely legal to own without fear of reprisals or confiscation. LT07
The DTNVG for whole system option (not the upgrade option) comes with:
2x sacrificial lenses
2x demist shields
2x eye cups
Battery adapter (to use AA batteries)
And of course the expertise and professionalism of ACTinBlack.
Huge thanks to LT07 for taking the time out to write up this detailed and insightful review, you can get more details here at ACT’s website: https://www.actinblack.com/product/dtnvg-avs/