Do Rangefinders Work At Night

This question may have come up once or twice before your routine hunting expeditions at night. No doubt, rangefinders are indispensable tools to use during the day for activities like surveying, golfing with friends, etc. but what about at night?

Will a rangefinder work in poor light? Can we still trust these distance measurement devices to work effectively? Well, the answer is not very simple.

Although this device can still work at night, we may not be able to use it effectively. The time of day doesn’t automatically stop the rangefinder from working.

However, there are very serious visibility problems with using the rangefinder in low light or at night. If you can not see what exactly is out there, what target will you then aim for? This is why most people consider rangefinders to be pretty useless at night.

Do Rangefinders Work At Night

Can rangefinders work at night

Visibility at night is very minimal. You can barely walk two feet in the dark without using a flashlight. Most people prefer to utilize devices with flashlights attached to be able to carry out some activities at night.

Unfortunately, rangefinders do not work with flashlights, which makes them unsuitable to use in low light conditions. You could also struggle with readability problems using a rangefinder at night.

You may already have secured a vantage point while hunting and proceeded to use your rangefinder, peering through its scope hoping to locate your target by adjusting the reticle to focus.

Only to be confused about what is about 150 yards from where you stand by a small sprouting tree or a hunting game. And I need not tell you the dangers of using such a device with readability issues.

Even if you do get a positive confirmation on your target, it will appear black through the scope, blending perfectly with the darkness of the night which may eventually worsen the problem.

Will a rangefinder work in the dark

LaserWorks LRNV009 in Action
LaserWorks LRNV009 in Action

Of course, as we evolve with technology, we aim to find solutions to problems with previous inventions.

For rangefinders, many manufacturers have begun implementing certain changes to make up for the readability difficulties that accompany night use, thereby making using rangefinders at night a real possibility.

They utilize a much brighter reticle in the scope, and the reticle is used in a more distinct color like green. The readings of the measurements should also be green to aid in easy detection.

Also, utilizing a backlight display will make it easier to use at night.

The lenses on the scope of the rangefinders should be as wide as possible in order to gather sufficient light to aid visibility.

For the lens diameter, the rule of thumb is; the wider the diameter, the brighter the image. For instance, you may see a scope with 6X magnification, and a diameter of 30mm, or a 9X magnification and a diameter of 50mm.

For different scope types, you may measure its diameter up to 40mm or even 60mm which will mean a clearer and more detailed image. But for rangefinders, you may not be so lucky.

The diameter of the objective lens of the rangefinder is often significantly smaller and could be as small as 20mm, which is a major reason why these devices may not be suitable for low light conditions.

To remedy this, manufacturers have infused these rangefinders with unique coatings that are capable of trapping more light, and overall improving visibility. Although these coatings are not 100% guaranteed to help you use rangefinders at night, they help to improve the current night blindness.

Rangefinders for low light conditions

Nighttime isn’t the only low light period where you may want to use a rangefinder. The few hours before dawn, and the hours leading up to dusk could also be devoid of bright light rays, and as such you may wonder about the fate of your rangefinder during these periods.

Well, there is a way around these low light periods. It is advisable to utilize rangefinders with the unique features needed to be used during low light conditions.

These devices are often very difficult to obtain as they are in such high demand. They also may be more pocket draining than the conventional rangefinders.

How then would you know a rangefinder suitable for low light? While many manufacturers claim their product is just what you need to survive any lighting condition, some of them turn out disappointingly.

Rangefinders with a wide lens diameter and night vision features will be suitable for you to use in low lighting conditions.

Additionally, the rangefinder should have good optics quality. It should be able to positively impact your accuracy and the visual quality of the target.

Do rangefinders have night vision

Rangefinder in IR Night Vision Mode
Rangefinder in IR Night Vision Mode

There are several ways to solve the visibility and readability problems associated with rangefinders. One of them is to use night vision with your rangefinder.

Night vision is perhaps the best way to utilize these devices effectively. To do this, you can flood the area with a special IR light, or alternatively, you can use a spotlight.

After flooding the region with IR light, you may then use your rangefinder or scope to view your target. Some of these rangefinders come factory fitted with IR light and so are more suited for low light conditions.

Best Night Vision Rangefinder – LaserWorks LRNV009


Final words…

Rangefinders are very important devices if you must excel at night hunting. Now that these devices come with night vision features, the sky is only the beginning.

However, if you are not using a rangefinder equipped with a night vision light, you can use external lighting, like a porch or street light to view your targets.

These lights brighten your path while hunting and improve your target visibility significantly negating the need for any form of night vision.

It is pertinent for you to avoid using white light as your spotlight as much as you can. Red or green lights are a more acceptable alternative for your night hunts. Although they may not be quite the same as hunting during the day, they are effective nonetheless.

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