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DNV9 – Digital Night Vision

DNV9 - Night Vision Review

Night vision is an essential tool for anyone who is next-level tactical minded or ultimate-defense minded. By that I mean home defense, SHTF or WORL.

There once was a time when owning night vision was simply cool. Nobody asked, who’s tubes or what FOM?

It was probably 2010, the first time that I remember someone handing me their PVS14 and conveying the information of tube manufacturer. Years later, manufacturer and FOM became the standard disclosure. Night vision owners had become compelled to let you know that this… was the good stuff.

The Rise of Technical Standards and NODs Cult

Since then, night vision ownership has evolved into something between a community and a cult. Your NODs buddies will hit you up to tell you that this weekend they are going shooting “under NODS”. And now, the guys that get in to night vision at whatever level they can afford are branded “poors” for their inability to acquire the “cool guy” shit. And that.. is about when I began to get tired of the growing night vision community/cult.

DNV9 - Night Vision Review

My Journey into Night Vision

My first NODs, (we barely ever called them that at the time) was a set of PVS7s and I cut my teeth on them learning to move in the dark, identify/navigate obstacles and find sign with (not under) them. I worked for a company that did tactical man tracking instruction, day and night. It was my job to show up looking every bit the part, but we had to know what we were doing behind (the terminology we actually used) night vision, as well if not better than the high speed units we were instructing. I needed be able to move with agility. Know what I was seeing. Identify sign (tracks laid by man) and follow it with expertise. It was a skillset that had to remain sharp and well polished.


I was good at my job and through my work, night vision became my passion. I became a night vision dealer, on the person to person basis. I had connections, access to dealer pricing through multiple companies. And utilizing the revenue generated, I constantly upgraded my own kit to become an eventual authority. From the most affordable night vision on up.

DNV9 - Night Vision Review

The Obstacle

And as the cult of night vision grew, I have found that the biggest obstacle to entry on the consumer level is the idea that one must own the “cool guy” shit, As if, if you cannot, then why bother with night vision at all? As if, your kit cannot command the ultimate respect among your peers, its probably not worth having.. Or maybe even, what would people on the internet think?

The Answer

The fact of they matter is you dont know any of these people from the internet. You arent in a contest of owing the coolest night vision, if it comes down to crawling in the dark and fighting for your life. The only contest that matters, is between the haves and the have nots.

Entry-Level Night Vision Ownership

As my friend Bill Rapier likes to say, “the most bang for your buck that you will get out of night vision is from your first tube”. Meaning, that your entry into the world of night vision is the most important move. You elevate your fighting capability from, say, a three to a six just by getting in. Even a bargain PVS14 monocular with blems significantly surpasses the nonexistent night vision capabilities of the have nots.

I have also found that there are many otherwise very capable people who recognize the tactical value of night vision capability; People who once (military service personnel) wielded that capability in their line of work, are often the same people who find themselves pushing the acquisition of the night vision to the back burner, due to budgetary constraints.

This has always saddened me. Therefore, as a night vision dealer, I have always kept an ear to the ground for that sort of, minimally viable option.

Enter the DNV9

DNV9 - Night Vision Review

As a very serious and discerning night vision owner, with a keen eye towards emerging night vision (and thermal technology) and a commitment to enabling my friends and colleagues, I have a tendency to look at all that the market has to offer a bit differently than others.

For me, night vision is a tool and there are different grades of night vision that make them more or less capable for different missions. There is a grade of night vision fit for piloting a helicopter. A grade fit Seal Team 6. A grade fit for the advanced tactician running and gunning. And a grade fit for moving about carefully in the dark, making observations from the shodows and taking an effective shot if need be.

Some are willing to pay a lot of money simply to look and feel a lot cooler and more capable than they are in reality. I’m not here to pass any judgment about where you fit in or the price point that you chose to get into night vision. But I am here to encourage you to get into the night vision that you can afford. Because its better than being.. that guy.

That guy, is a friend and neighbor of mine. He comes from a die-hard pro2A family, has plenty of money to spare and all the cool toys. A safe full of guns that he is ready to pass out to his friends and family should the SHFT and for himself a PVS31.

This friend consults with me about almost all his acquisitions. I seem to be the only one up to speed and on his level on a multitude of matters. But he didnt want to listen to me about night vision. He wanted the coolest of the cool, even if that meant he was the only member of his family capable of seeing in the dark.

When we chatted just a few weeks before my DNV9 got here, he dismissed it as a toy. That’s one way of saying that it is just not cool enough, for your taste. But very short sighted. Because if you realize the need for night vision capability and do not have the disposable income. Or are simply seeking an affordable backup for the night vision that you already have, you should really listen up.

DNV9 night vision is in my not so humble opinion, the best of the best when it comes to this new emerging technology.

Because, you aren’t embattled in a game of keeping up with the Jones’s if the lights never come back on. Your goal should be to separate yourself from the HAVE NOTS and not just by firepower alone.

DNV9 - Night Vision Review

Personally, I own a PVS7, 2X PVS14s (white phosphor) on a bridge, 1X RNVG (white phosphor), an IR Patrol thermal optic, a COTI and almost 10X IR laser aiming devices and illuminators. And I am still fascinated by and functionally impressed by the DNV9.

In fact for the price of my PVS7, I could own three fully functional DNV9 monoculars. And I have every intention of going that route. Because three people outfitted with a monocular can do more than one outfitted with a PVS7.

Sound crazy?

Well, for those looking down on the DNV9 from their high night vision horse.. to me, you are that guy that is late to the party with his Rolex. Cant tell me what you like about it, don’t know why you had to have it, aside from to be like everyone else and can’t appreciate a Seiko.

If you got in to night vision and the highlight of your ownership is to flex on other night vision owners.. then I dont care what you think about night vision. You want to talk about FOM. To me, you are just another FOM Queen.

I’ve seen guys with the coolest night vision walk up to a line of 4X4 posts in the ground and trip over the chain with their 12 thousand dollar night vision. Because they thought the fist thing that you needed to do, “under NODs” was go shooting. Turns out that was the last thing that you thought you needed to do as well.

You need to overcome the ‘Cool Guy’ Gear Syndrome

Your mission is not just to acquire night vision and go shoot. If you are night vision equipped, firstly get training. Then get everyone else in your sphere on board and equipped with whatever they can afford. But don’t be the guy that has night vision while everyone else wishes they could afford it, just like you.

Empty your gun safe of emotional attachments to raise funds, if need be, but get on board. I have helped many guys make those same decisions for themselves. I have gotten a significant number of friends and family onboard, squared away and reasonably capable as well. And now, my work has just gotten a whole lot easier with the DNV9.

DNV9 - Night Vision Review

Digital Advancements and Market Evolution

This digital night vision technology may be wildly decried for its current various inadequacies. But I assure you that it does the 100% of the work of most budget night vision on the market today and it is only getting better. And its only going to continue getting better, until some of the guys, that were once famous for branding other guys “poors” begin to regret being married to their fast becoming outdated technology.

As far as the DNV9 goes, in the now, I expect nothing shy of an onslaught of criticism from those most heavily invested in analog night vision technology. I expect nothing less than the insecurities of those could afford the cool gear past to come pouring out in the form of negative comments against this technology. And I expect that these criticisms will continue until the advantages become so slim that they are of no consequence whatsoever.

DNV9 - Night Vision Review

But in the mean while. All the put downs directed towards this technology are just screams into the void. The void between this technology and the last and the cost of entry to each. My friends and I sometimes joke, that for all our high end kit we might just get smoke checked by a farmer with a 30-06 and a bargain night vision optic. What most people really dont like about the DNV9 has nothing to do with the technology, but the very real threat.

In the tactical world we have words like mil-spec and military grade to toss around as affirmations of a product’s worthiness for real world use. The DNV9 is electronic night vision and in the electronics world there is a delineation between professional grade and consumer grade, in cameras for instance. In between, is a class that is referred to as “prosumer”. This is a near professional grade camera that can take professional grade photographs in most conditions. Think of the DNV9 in this way, at least for now. Because soon, I fully expect that digital night vision will surpass the previous analogue technologies.

Night vision is evolving more quickly than many realize. And before you know it, you will be seeing advanced digital night vision such as the DNV9 being adopted by professionals and analog units begin to fall by the wayside. In the mean while, Hoplite and the DNV9 will continue creating waves by offering the most advanced digital night vision available on the market. And you have access to it now!

DNV9 digital night vision represents the wave of the future. Not only that, but the affordable wave that many have been waiting for. I believe that this unique new technology is poised to change the game and enable the masses. And I we at Max Venom proud to be a part of it!

For more in-depth information, stay tuned for our forthcoming follow up reviews
– Mission Specific – DNV9 vs DNV8 (Gen 2 vs Gen 1 sensor)
– Travel Night Vision – ITAR and the DNV9
– Truck NODs – Don’t go alone, in the dark

DNV9 - Night Vision Review