BLUF (bottom line up front): Head mounted thermal (HMT) and NV is an awesome combination but it favors those who prefer or are comfortable using a single PVS-14 monocular. It is something you have to try out for yourself to know if you like it and if you can use them together at the same time.
I think it is a great way to start out because having dual capability of thermal & NV is a huge advantage. If you’re not opposed to dual PVS-14’s than even better. You will always find a purpose for a thermal monocular, ideally you should have one if you’re out using NV, and having the ability to swap between dual -14s and HMT/NV is pretty f’n slick.
I’ve been using a Breach/-14 combo on the KVC & D-14 bridges for the past week or two and I feel like I have enough time using it that I can share my experiences so far. This applies to me personally and I am only doing to help out the guys who are thinking of going this route. I had a bunch of questions myself and asked several guys who have done it before deciding to try it for myself, so I had a good idea of what I was getting into.
For me, it is best to use one or the other. Either the Breach is down and -14 is up or vice versa. I cannot get HMT/NV to fuse reliably unless I am looking at stuff really close such as within arms distance or not much further than that. Some guys can do it but I am not one of them. I used an amber filter on the -14 and set the Breach to Sepia. The colors work together well but my eyes/brain do not like both images together. Standing still I can shift my focus from eye to eye while both are in front of my eyes but one eye or the other will take over. I tried them with both eyes and what worked better was NV on dominant and Breach on weak.
It gives me eyestrain and sometimes a headache trying to use them at the same time. I catch myself doing a 1000 yard stare kind of thing in an attempt to try to see them together and I end up seeing double. My brain is basically fighting my eyes trying to figure out which image to use. Walking around this way it is very clumsy and doing it outdoors with outdoors type of obstacles (not in your backyard or neighborhood park) with ditches, rocks, roots, etc. is a great way to eat shit and test out your breakaway mount and/or bump helmet, lol. I never ate dirt but came close. I have tried it every night and I can’t get it to work/fuse together. Using them separately is what works for me.
Since I am using them separately, I ditched the amber filter and use outdoor alert mode on the Breach, which IMO is the best damn palette once you dial in the settings for your conditions/terrain. What I do because I prefer duals over a monocular, is run the duals (-14’s on KVC bridge or Anvis-9 binos) and keep the Breach on a neck lanyard. I move a hell of a lot better with duals, have so much time under them, and since I have them, I use them. If all I had was a monocular It’d be fine and I’d make it work. If a monocular works great for you then you are good to go.
It takes about as much time to lower the Breach on the bridge as it does to partially stow the duals or tilt them up to look at the thermal. By partially stowing what I mean is I raise the goggles halfway up not locking the mount holding them with my left hand while bringing the Breach to my right eye using my right hand. When done the Breach hangs back on my neck and the goggles go right back to deployed. It is a quick way to scan and get back on NV.
I love the setup of dual PVS-14s on the KVC with OSS and Breach with K Clip and it has become my favorite but keep in mind I’ve used dual -14s for many years now so I’m good with the weight. Reasons are I can pick and choose what I want when I want it. For example, when I go outside to have a smoke on the deck at night, I start with Breach/-14 with the Breach deployed with lanyard attached and around my neck and -14 up. I’ll immediately see any animals. I’m primarily looking for javelina before letting my dog out because they come through often and are known for attacking dogs mistaking them for coyotes.
HMT is bad ass and IMO is the best way to scan with thermal. You can scan longer versus getting sick of holding your arm up. If I take the dog out for a walk I’ll pop off the Breach, hang it off my neck, and pop in the other -14 to move better using duals. I’ll stop and scan ahead with the Breach doing the partial stow method, raising up a -14, tilting my head back, etc. and if I want to put the Breach back on the bridge it’s a quick process. It takes practice but I’ve gotten pretty good at swapping devices in the dark by feel. I use a small dump pouch to put the -14 or Breach into.
I’ve used the Breach only on the KVC several times such as twilight when it’s too bright for a -14 and during the full moon. If it is bright enough out, I can walk with the Breach okay but generally I just roll it up if I am moving.
The Mod Armory 16650 battery extender is a must IMO for this type of use since there are no remote battery cables to disconnect or get snagged. I keep an extra fully charged 16650 in my pocket. The other night it was in the 20-30’s and I got somewhere around 2 hours out of one battery. I tested it on a 70 degree day and got a little over 4 hours just leaving it turned on.
The only thing I don’t like about the Breach compared to what I was used to with the PTS233, is that there isn't an actual stand by mode where you can quickly turn off the screen and turn it back on. Accessing the stand by modes or powering it off are multiple button presses on the Breach versus the simple PVS-14 style knob on the 233. It will power off by holding the center menu button for several seconds. I find it easier to just leave it turned on. When I have the Breach hanging on the lanyard turned on, I stuff it inside my jacket to keep the light from shining up at me and to protect it.
Overall, it is a pretty awesome combo, and is worth trying out.