Sightmark’s Digital Technology Makes Night Vision Versatile, Affordable

Sightmark has a reputation for making quality, budget-friendly riflescopes. But it’s the company’s line of digital optics capable of working past curfew that has piqued the interest of predator hunters and others.

Sightmark’s Digital Technology Makes Night Vision Versatile, Affordable

Electronic controls sit atop the unit, toward the shooter. In testing they were a challenge to activate intuitively, although with familiarity the effort required diminishes. The number of variables you can control is impressive. (Photo: Guy Sagi)

Sightmark has a reputation for making quality, budget-friendly riflescopes, but it’s the company’s line of digital optics capable of working past curfew that has piqued the interest of predator hunters and others.

If the firm’s Wraith HD 4-32x50mm digital scope is any indication, they’re worth the space in your display case.

Night Shift

The Wraith HD 4-32x50mm uses a simple process to “see” in the dark. The riflescope collects infrared light through a 50mm objective lens. Once passed through, it strikes a CMOS sensor like the one in your digital camera and phone. Processors manipulate the data and finally a 1280x720 display lights up in the eyepiece for your viewing pleasure. 

It’s computerized, live-view fast and no longer cutting-edge expensive. The latter fact is, thankfully and unusually, reflected in the optic’s $599.99 MSRP.

There’s not a lot of reflected infrared at night, especially on the completely overcast evening I evaluated the HD 4-32x50mm. The included IR emitter came in handy, despite its run-of-the-mill tactical flashlight profile.

The emitter deserves an article of its own, but here’s the condensed version. Rotating the bezel can focus the beam further downrange or adjust it for a widespread, up-close-and-personal spread. Length, depending on that configuration, varies from 5.25 to 5.62 inches. It runs on a pair of CR123 batteries and weight with the angle adjustable Picatinny mount (all included) comes in at 8.4 ounces. It uses an LED to generate the IR light, and there’s a slight red glow in the visible spectrum if you look directly into the lens. The emissions are invisible to the eye, otherwise.

The scope and emitter performance at 100 yards is downright amazing. There’s no doubt the former is not military grade, but when you can watch the leaves moving in a stiff breeze in total darkness, it’s clear it performs. The riflescope is 4X, but you can also digitally magnify up to 8X — providing a 32X zoom. It blurs a little and gets noisier (like static on the TV), but it works well. The black-and-white night setting seemed to outperform the green/night option, although that may be entirely personal preference.

By Daybreak

It also functions as a daylight scope and to zero you use the menu. I mounted it on a 5.56 NATO modern sporting rifle and walked a target’s box to determine if the 1/4 MOA “clicks” were repeatable. They were and the optic held zero through several shooting sessions. 

In full light, the clarity was very impressive. Quality dropped slightly when increasing the digital magnification, which is expected on any electronics serving this mission.

The only optical complaint is a common one that plagues some cameras and even expensive lenses. A very thin and light purple line would sometimes run parallel to horizontal objects of high contrast (trees in this case). In photography it’s chromatic aberration, although with the processors involved, it could be something different.

Regardless, there’s no doubt this is a solid choice, even at high noon. At 4X is clear enough throughout its entire range to make other digital optics envious. 

Digital Dope

The scope has a compartment sealed from the elements by a captive, rubberized top. Underneath you find a 5-volt, micro-USB port for external power in case the batteries that run the scope die. It also makes connections for future firmware updates possible. An adjacent slot accepts a microSDXD card to record AVI-formatted videos or jpg still images. The former files can be up to 1920x1080 HD, with the latter’s maximum at the identical pixel count.

Maximum memory card supported by the Wraith HD — enough to record seven hours of a hunt if you drop video resolution to 1280x720. Expect the AA cells in the main unit to last approximately 4.5 hours when just passively viewing. The figure drops to 3.5 when you record a lot of video or photos. 

The IR emitter produces 3,000 milliwatts and its rated to be effective up to 200 yards.  

Nuts and Bolts

The Wraith HD 4-32x50mm measures 10.5 inches long, 1.875 wide and 3 inches tall. It tips the scales at 36.3 ounces. The unit features aluminum construction and is IP55 rated for water resistance. It’s shockproof to drops of up to 3 feet and rated to survive recoil up to what’s delivered by a .308 Win. The optic is not nitrogen purged and functions in temperatures ranging from 5 to 122 degrees.

The included IR emitter attaches to a 2-inch Picatinny rail on the optic. An integral Picatinny mount on the riflescope’s underside makes anchoring on a rifle fast and effortless. 

An accordion-like, rubberized eyepiece mitigates the amount of light emitted from the display. It’s soft, comfortable and does a good job reducing visible signature at night. Eye relief is 2.4 inches. 

The optic requires manual focusing with a nicely knurled ring just behind the 50mm object lens. It’s generous and textured enough for gloved use and so is the diopter adjustment toward the eyepiece. The scope ships with a rubberized objective lens protector. 

Electronic controls sit atop the unit, toward the shooter. In testing they were a challenge to activate intuitively, although with familiarity the effort required diminishes. The number of variables you can control is impressive.  

Up to the Console

There’s no doubt your customers will take pleasure in the display options. For example, the reticle can be black, white, red, blue, green, cyan, orange, yellow or magenta in color. A couple clicks in the menu and it’s set. While evaluating, black seemed highest contrast at night with red always visible in the daytime. 

Users also have a choice in reticle shape. Chevron, duplex, dot and seven more. There’s even the option to fine tune things further by entering and storing the rifle profile.

The scope can play videos and show photos through its eyepiece — no external devices required. The display is dimmable and also shows battery power, magnification and other information on the bottom. 

At the Controls

A rubberized panel accesses main-menu functions and powers the unit on and off. Hold down the center button to activate the scope. Shutting things down requires holding pressure on the same button for several seconds. A countdown timer assists in the latter process. 

Once ready for operation, pressing the forwardmost button increases magnification. The one closest to the shooter decreases it. Access the menu by depressing the center button again (once the scope is on), then the left and right arrows to change or modify the selection. 

Select between photo or video in the main menu and use the right arrow button to capture photos or video.

The center, main power button was easy to engage with a simple push in the field. It’s possible with gloves, but those to the sides, under the arrows, are another story. I needed a headlamp to index correctly at night and even in the daytime it was challenging.

Time and practice will change that fact, although even then gloves will need removal. Odds are good things will wear in, though, since the sample unit seemed to be on its inaugural run. 

Worth a Look

It comes as no shock that the Wraith HD 4-32x50mm digital scope’s daytime performance was extremely good. The slight loss of detail at highest digital magnifications affects units from Sightmark’s competitors, even those with much loftier price tags. At 4X, where no digital interpretation is involved except transmission to the screen, most shooters will be surprised at the quality. Add the brightness adjustment you don’t see in non-digital optics and it adds unusual versatility.

The nighttime performance may not rival military-grade gear — a fact dictated largely by price and partly by law — but it does deliver all the solid information required by hunters to clearly identify the target and deliver a clean, ethical shot. Even at high power the noise was not annoying, despite extremely dark and stormy nights. It performs well and reliable in tough conditions.  

For $599.99 the Wraith HD 4-32x50mm digital scope is one of those rare deals that will be hard for your customers to beat. Add the fact it’s covered by the Sightmark limited lifetime warranty and it’s well worth a look.


Manufacturer: Sightmark

Model: Wraith 4-32x50mm digital riflescope

Objective Lens: 50mm 

Reticle: Simulated second focal plane, 10 shaped options

Adjustability: 12.5 windage, 7.125 elevation

Field of View: 21 feet at 100 yards

Eye Relief: 2.4 inches

Overall Length: 10.5 inches

Weight: 36.3 ounces

Power Source: 4 AA batteries

Accessories: Infrared emitter, CR123 batteries and its rail mount, manual

MSRP: $599.99

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