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Friday Night Lights: Dual Tube Spotlight

For this week’s edition of Friday Night Lights, we resume our Dual Tube Spotlight and take a look at probably the most popular articulating dual tube bino housing on the market. The DTNVG (Dual Tube Night Vision Goggle) is made in Luxembourg by Act In Black and has taken over the commercial market as the must-have bino housing. Let’s take a closer look.

Act In Black DTNVG-14

Act In Black is based out of Luxembourg. Typically we do not really see many non-US made night vision housings. The AGM NVG-50 is made in Belarus and the BNVD-1431 is made in China and you have the DTNVG. Sure there are the Thales Lucie and Simrad GN1 but those are biocular NVGs, not binocular NVGs.

In order to keep the bridge as minimal as possible, the bridge is not symmetrical. The battery compartment and power switch dictated the shape of the bridge.

Why is the DTNVG so popular? It is available separately as a bare housing. Sort of like a stripped lower. You can build it up how you see fit. Also, the DTNVG has features that most binocular housings do not. In the commercial market for NVGs, dual tube bino NVGs were dominated by the Sentinel and now RNVG. While those housings are rugged for ground use they do not articulate. The monocular pods on the DTNVGs roll up like gull-wing doors.

DTNVG pods rolled up.

The DTNVG monocular pods can rotate past 90 degrees.

You can independently roll up each pod to your preference.

Articulating the monocular pods up and out of the way allows you to use other optical devices like a thermal monocular or laser range finder.

Before the DTNVG, there were few options for an articulating housing. If you recall, I reviewed a set of PVS-15s. The monocular pods do pivot but they only swing 90 degrees. It is more for interpupillary distance adjustment than anything else.

Look how tall the PVS-15 is compared to the DTNVG.

Notice how the DTNVG pods swing up higher than the dovetail but the PVS-15 cannot.

Articulation is not the only feature. Both the BNVD-1431 and NVG-50 have articulation but the DTNVG shuts off the power to the tube once the pod is rolled up. The PVS-31 does not do this and it is one of the most iconic articulating dual tube binos.

The DTNVG uses magnetic reed switches to accomplish the auto shut off feature when the pods are rolled up.

The DTNVG also has an auto shut off feature when you flip the NODs up against your helmet.

 

Look how far the DTNVGs stick out when the pods are not rolled backwards to the helmet.

DTNVG housing has to pivot past vertical in order for the auto shut off to be complete.

One small issue with the DTNVG auto shut off is that you can accidentally enable it if you do some extreme activities. If you are inverted like Maverick in his F-14 then the DTNVG will go to sleep. Or what if you need to fast rope out of a helicopter head first in the dead of night? LOL. While these issues are rare it may be a concern for some.

The DTNVG is powered by a single CR123 and the battery compartment is at the front of the bridge. You can run them for 25 hours of continuous use.

My DTNVG is from the earlier versions. The power knob was unique to the dual tube NVGs but they have since simplified their supply chain and are using PVS-14 style knobs.

To the left of the battery compartment is the onboard infrared illuminator and on either side of the bridge are holes for looping cordage so you can attach a dummy cord or tether.

On my DTNVGs I opted for DEP Ether eyepieces. They are advertised as being 30% lighter but I did not find that to be true.

 

Marketing also claims that they have a more generous eye box and that is a partial truth.  The glass in the eye cell is wider than a traditional PVS-14 as seen in the IG post above. But what actually matters is the eyecup retaining ring. The Ether ring inner diameter is the same as the glass but a PVS-14 ring is narrower.

PVS-14 Eyecup retaining ring makes the glass look smaller.

But once you remove the eyecup retaining rings you can see the PVS-14 glass is the same size as the DEP Ether glass.

Act In Black makes an ANVIS compatible variant so you can use ANVIS objective lenses.

Photo by Act In Black

And last SHOT Show, TNVC showcased Act In Black’s new DTNVS their lightweight evolution of the dual tube night vision goggle.

Final Thoughts

The DTNVG is the most popular articulating binocular housing. Why? Because you can buy it. The only other articulating binos are the following: PVS-31 which are not sold to civilians, Night Vision Devices BNVD but you have to buy prebuilt by BNVD or the relatively recent AGM NVG-50 housing. There are bridges that allow you to combine two PVS-14s and some bridges have articulation but it is not the same. The fact that the DTNVG shuts off power to each individual pod is something no other binocular housing can do. Unfortunately, the DTNVG is more expensive than any other commercially available housing. Your standard RNVG, without glass, is around $1,200-$1,500. The AGM NVG-50 is similarly priced and it comes with the optics. The DTNVG retails for $2,800 just for the housing alone. Fully built with the best image intensifier tubes you are looking at around $9,000. For just a few thousand dollars more you could buy a PVS-31, however, customer support is not easily available to civilians. The optics on the PVS-31 are proprietary where the DTNVG can use PVS-14 optics or ANVIS objectives.

While the DTNVG is durable, it is not impervious to damage. It is a molded polymer housing. Here is a picture someone shared online of a broken DTNVG housing.

The DTNVG is hard to beat for the functionality and outside of this rare occurrence, they are robust.

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