Friday Night Lights: Nocturn Industries UANVB-OC and Micro

2022 has been a great year for night vision. 2023 is already starting to look bright with what we see just on the horizon. The first Friday Night Lights of the year we start off with a bang and take a close look at Nocturn Industries UANVB-OC aka the Samurai. They also sent their UANVB-OC Micro and it is the lightest night vision binocular with manual gain and IR illumination ever made.

Nocturn Industries @ TFB:

UANVB-OC = Lightweight But Feature Packed


UANVB-OC next to the UANVB-OC Micro

Nocturn lent me two pre-production samples of their UANVB-OC. OC stands for Off-board Control. If you notice, they do not have an onboard battery compartment. Instead, they have a fixed pigtail. This helps strip unnecessary weight from the UANVB-OC. They use a proprietary battery pack that controls power and manual gain. Yes, these have manual gain. They also have onboard IR illumination nestled in the middle of the bridge. Just like the Nocturn UANVB Katana, the UANVB-OC Samurai has the same feature set. They have magnetic reed switches to shut power to the pods when you articulate the pods out 90º. They also have integrated IPD stops.

So how lightweight is a UANVB-OC? These were built with 18mm Photonis tubes and RPO 2.0 lenses. This UANVB-OC has lightweight diopters for the eyepieces to save more weight. You may notice the ocular lock rings are missing but that is simply because they do not need them. The lightweight Nocturn diopters have set screws that you use to keep them in place. These weigh just 14 ounces.

The UANVB-OC uses a proprietary battery pack. However, it is not your run-of-the-mill battery pack. See the images below. The battery pack Nocturn sent is a pre-production sample and not the final version. They are still tweaking the aesthetics. What is important to know is that it has two knobs. The bottom right is for power and IR illumination. Just like a PVS-14, you twist the knob to turn the UANVB-OC on. Pull the knob and twist more to turn on IR illumination. The knob on the bottom left is for manual gain control.

The battery pack is to that much bigger than a PVS-31A battery pack.

The battery pack is a mere 6.1 ounces.

Having the manual gain control on the left side is perfect if you are a right-handed shooter. Typical manual gain on standard night vision devices is controlled with a knob often front-facing. So your hand has to reach up to turn it which results in obscuring your vision somewhat. With the UANVB-OC battery pack, your right hand can stay on fire control while your support hand reaches back to the battery pack to adjust the manual gain. All the while your FOV is uninterrupted. Nocturn uses a special 5-pin LEMO cable to deliver power, control manual gain and IR illumination all from the backpack.

To save weight Nocturn sent their 4xAAA battery pack. They plan to make a AA version as well as one that is smaller and takes 2x CR123 for increased run time.

The custom-printed board is a nice touch.

The cable for the battery pack is thinner than typical remote battery packs so it is easy to cut a channel in your helmet rails and integrate the cable through.

If you don’t want to do this, you can route the cable like normal and use the Velcro to hold it down.

The power cable pigtail on the UANVB-OC housing is positioned at the top of the bridge. So it is easy to route it through the Wilcox G24 mount. You can fold the mount without issue. And no one runs the mount collapsed all the way so no issue of the cable getting pinched.

UANVB-OC Micro Is Even Lighter!

Remember the EOTech BinoNV-C? It was so lightweight that you do not need a counterweight? It weighs 14.9oz but it uses 16mm tubes to achieve its lightness. Well, Nocturn is making a housing to use those same tubes and it is obscenely lightweight in comparison. This unit is using RPO 3.0 eyepieces and RPO 2.0 objectives.

Look Ma! No Counterweight

Yes, you read that right. The UANVB-OC Micro is a mere 11.4 ounces. That is lighter weight than a PVS-14! Since the UANVB-OC Micro is so lightweight, I tried using it on my Crye Nightcap.

The entire setup weighs just 29.7 ounces. That is less than a GPNVG!

DadNods Are Here

To prove how lightweight the UANVB-OC Micro is, I bolted them directly to the bill of a hat.

Final Thoughts On The UANVB-OC

I fell in love with the UANVB-OC Micro. The regular 14oz UANVB-OC is great but when you hold the micro in your hands, your eyes light up in disbelief that something can be so lightweight. The problem though is that Photonis USA does not sell the 16mm tubes separately. They are only sold in their built units. At the moment, the only way to get 16mm tubes is to try and find someone in Europe to sell some to you. I went to easter PA and my friend Ted Colegrove invited me to a night shoot so I brought the UANVB-OC Samurais with me. I ran the 16mm Micros the entire night and they ran great even though there was no moon. It was rather cold as well. Below 40ºF.

Nocturn Industries is still finalizing the battery pack design but project the price for the housing with the battery pack will be $2,500. At least that is their hope. It depends on what the final cost will be for the electronics for the battery pack. Due to the proprietary nature, you cannot use a regular battery pack and their battery pack will not work with other night vision devices.

Nocturn Industries has a lot coming out this year. They will be at SHOT Show 2023 and I look forward to seeing what else they have cooking. They have already announced their Chimera quad project and the UANVB-OCR as well as their UANVB-R. Both are aluminum machined housings. Since their family of binos is based on the Katana design, they can make any device in MJF polymer, aluminum or a hybrid of the two. Like you can get a metal Katana bridge with polymer arms for a Chimera. The future of night vision housings is looking bright and Nocturn Industries is shining brighter than most.

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