We recently posted our latest video on You Tube - link at bottom.
I was just looking back and discovered that we've had our Night Vision Devices BNVD-SG for over a year - wow time f’n flies!
Here’s a quick summary but watch the video!
Dual PVS-14's Pros
1. Easiest way to go if you already have a PVS-14
2. Multiple dual mounts available ranging in capability & price point. Mounts vary from fixed positioning to having the ability to rotate tubes like the BNVD. Our experience has been using the Night Vision Devices Dual Adapter and the Integrated Components D-14 mount.
3. Can add/remove each 14 as needed, whether to share, or service/replace if a problem arises. If one goes down you have another working PVS-14 as back up. We really like that
Dual PVS-14's Cons
1. Heavy and bulky
2.Cannot properly collimate the image tubes
3. Two power switches, two gain control knobs, and two AA batteries. Not a huge deal for the civilian but the BNVD-SG only has one power switch and one gain knob that controls both, and only one battery to have to change if you run it dry.
1. Much lighter than dual PVS-14's
2. Collimated and matched image tubes provide a better image than duals
3. Single power switch, gain control knob, and single AA battery
4. Rotating tubes allow you to move the image tubes up away from your eyes without having to put them in the stowed position
5. Has power "on" position on the power switch that turns them off when flipped up in the stowed position
1. They're more expensive than dual PVS-14's
2. Cannot split image tubes apart. Not a major deal. We found we almost never split our duals apart. Once you go bino you never go back. However since there's only one power supply if it has a problem both image tubes may lose power so you don't have a backup like dual PVS-14's
Running dual PVS-14's really isn't that bad provided you have good tubes, a decent helmet, mount and counterweight. It's still heavy but you get used to it. We started with only one PVS-14, quickly added a second with the Night Vision Devices dual mount, and then got two more with the Integrated Components D-14 dual mount. That's how much we liked them.
Even though they're not properly collimated like the BNVD is, with the Night Vision Devices dual adapter the image is pretty good. Once you get your eye spacing dialed, the image is consistent because the mount is rock solid. The D-14 has more play but you can get it pretty close. With that said the BNVD image is definitely better but most will be happy with the image from the duals. Some people get headaches from duals but this could be specific to the person or perhaps their tubes weren't matched well. We never had that problem. Starting with one PVS-14 and adding a second down the road is cheaper and easier to budget than laying out all of the money up front for the BNVD.
It would be interesting thing to try the new Night Vision Devices UL-14's in a dual setup. These are PVS-14's but use lighter optics and a different power supply with push buttons that saves a lot of weight compared to standard PVS-14 optics and housings. We hope to try these soon.
The Night Vision Devices dual adapter is affordable and very lightweight. It is pretty wide but does an excellent job mounting two PVS-14's for your eyes to get a great image. As a testament to their design - the Marines use them (search for MARSOC or Marine VBSS on You Tube or online - it's open source). One downside or plus side depending on the situation, is that it uses a bayonet interface. The other downside is that in the stowed position using a Rhino II type of mount it sits kind of high.
The Integrated Components D-14 is twice the cost of the NVD dual adapter, is way heavier, but offers the ability to rotate each PVS-14 like the BNVD with quick release function for each 14. It works well in that regard but there's a few issues, at least for us, that we had to work around or fix. Watch video for more info on that.
There's other dual mounts available to choose from like Wilcox and RQE. Plenty to choose from. If you run dual 14's you need to have quality dual mounts/adapters and a quality mount to connect them to your helmet. Also you'll need a quality helmet and counterweight to support the whole thing.
We sold a set of 14's to buy the BNVD-SG. I was afraid we'd regret it if the BNVD wasn't a whole lot better. Well it is. We've run both back-to-back and trust us the BNVD-SG is far away superior to dual PVS-14's. The matched and collimated tubes make for a clearer and better image than duals.
Because the BNVD is so much lighter it's a lot more enjoyable to wear for long periods of time. The single gain control is awesome and the benefits of being able to rotate the tubes can't be overstated. We use it all of the time. It's so much easier than putting them up in the stowed position, especially when you only need them out of the way for a short period of time, and they stow flat on the helmet. This makes getting in and out of vehicles, short entryways, or any situation where you might smack your NVD. Using the BNVD as a handheld binocular works extremely well. It's small and light and packs very well.
Is the BNVD-SG several thousand dollars better than dual PVS-14's? Well, that depends. Is a Ford Raptor better than a Ford Ranger? They both get you places but one is way more fun to drive. If you got the money to spare then yes. If you don't, then the duals will suit you just fine.
The new Night Vision Devices UL-14's would be a really great option if you're looking to buy your first PVS-14 having the option to add a second for a dual setup. The weight penalty isn't as high as standard 14's so dual mounting them could make an interesting alternative. This is something we're looking into and might have that review in the future.