Tactics, Technology and Training for Today's Law Enforcement Professional
with Law Officer Magazine
Night Vision: The GT-14 from N-Vision Optics
By Greg White
In recent years, police officers' use of night vision technology has increased, and night vision devices (NVDs) are now common in many patrol operations. With the information highway spewing the tactics and techniques that tactical teams use to respond to critical incidents, few big secrets remain. We know the suspects are in there, and they know we're coming for them. Most of the time, situations play out as we expect, but that two-percenter who has trained for his big day remains a threat. He's studied tactical teams and tactics and knows our next move. That's what we have to always plan and train for. You can't beat white light when identifying a suspect in a dark room or hunkered down in a shadow. Unfortunately, it also gives you away, sometimes way before you find the suspect. Night vision enables entry teams to stay in a stealth mode while clearing an interior of a house or building, and it provides perimeter units a better view without revealing their locations.
I tested the GT-14 tactical night vision monocular from N-Vision Optics. I was impressed by all of the options for this unit. The monocular and several accessories came in a hard case. The kit N-Vision sent me included a weapon mount, helmet mount and camera mount. Other available accessories include a head mount and a shatter-proof eyeguard.
The GT-14 is lightweight and easy to operate. It can focus from infinity down to .8 feet. It doesn't have magnification, but N-Vision offers an optional 3x lens attachment for longer-range observations. Both shockproof and waterproof, the unit functions well as a handheld device. Operating with one CR-123 battery, the unit can run for 20 hours with the integrated infrared (IR) illuminator on and 40 hours with the IR illuminator off. The device includes an automatic brightness control, and indicator lights show when the IR light is on and when the batteries are low.
Using N-Vision's mounting bracket, I first put the GT-14 on my AR-15. I have an Aimpoint NVD-compatible sight that worked perfectly with the monocular. Alignment was no problem, and within minutes I was good to go. Next, I fit the GT-14 on an MP-5 that included an NVD-compatible Eotech sight. Once again, the device installed easily and posed no alignment issues.
I normally use a helmet-mounted system, so I next removed my mount and attached the one provided by N-Vision, which was almost identical to mine. I adjusted it quickly, and found it comfortable to look through. (I prefer a helmet mount for entries because if I need to transition from my shoulder weapon system to a handgun, the NVD remains operational.) The NVD weighs only 310 grams (approximately 11 oz.), and I didn't notice the additional weight on the weapon or the helmet.
The GT-14 also includes a camera mount. I mounted the unit to my video camera and took some interesting footage of my living room that resembled a B-horror movie. The video camera setup offers useful applications for training purposes; I'd like to video my agency's entry team on a blacked-out stealth entry to assess how quiet we are and how we move through the structure, for instance.
Overall, I'm impressed with the GT-14. The device sells for approximately $2,800. Optional mounts and adapters can total another $600. The only thing N-Vision overlooked, along with other manufacturers, is an adapter to fit a 3x-9x variable or 10x fixed rifle scope to add an economical sniper solution to the industry.
SERGEANT GREG WHITE is a 15-year veteran of law enforcement. He is a sniper on the Carlsbad (Calif.) Police Department's SWAT team.
GT-14 Night Vision Monocular
- Lightweight, rugged, waterproof construction;
- Easy to install and operate;
- Automatic brightness control;
- Accessible push-button on/off/IR switch;
- Easily replaceable CR123 lithium battery; and
- Compatible with weapon-mounted IR laser aiming and illuminating devices.
- Lacks an adapter to fit a 3x-9x variable or 10x fixed rifle scope.