I've owned 7 Night vision devices and have used 6 of them for Airsoft.
From Gen 1 handhelds and weapon scopes to gen 3 Monoculars, to tier 1 pinnacle NSW gen 3 binoculars. I was working on a write up for this, but unfortunately hit the wrong button and deleted it. So I'll keep this real simple, concise, and hopefully it will aid some of you future NV Device users with your first purchase.
Night vision In Airsoft
First things first, prepare for it to get broken. You can bring NVG's out to games and protect certain ones with Sacrificial lenses, or other custom shields, but at the end of the day(or night in this instance) there is a risk of you damaging your new expensive toy.
Now with that out of the way, lets talk some money.
I don't have a lot of money, what should I buy?
The best "bang for your buck"
NV Device for the average Airsoft user is a Gen 1-2 Hunting scope. Obviously the heavy contribution here is the price. There is no requirement to sell your soul to the devil in order to get out there with a green eye. Prices will very depending on model/design, what you should recognize right away is that companies like Yukon, and ATN do not make the image intensifier tubes, they simply build the enclosures and put the unit together. While Yukon appears to have good quality control on their tubes, keep in mind there are dozens of other companies out there building NV equipment pulling from the same stock of tubes. With scopes like this you can count on a nice large objective lens that will let quite a bit of light in, and typically these units will have adjustable magnification, reticle with can be zeroed, and good battery life.
Also keep in mind, NVG mounting solutions can get expensive, with a rifle mounted NV scope - you don't need one.
I have a bit more money, what should I buy?
To be honest, I have yet to find anything good in the 1000-1500 dollar price range. You're better off spending less to get an NV scope for airsoft at this point, or more to get a good monocular optic
I saved up some money, what should I buy?
With this budget for airsoft, you can now safely enter the realm of Gen 2-3 Nightvision monocular's, allowing you to become the light weight night stalker you sought out to be when you decided to dump $2500.00 out of your wallet on a toy. The following websites have some wonderful Generation 2/3 equivalent units sold right here in Canada:
Do you need it? Probably not.. Do you want it? Who doesn't.
Over the past 2-3 years, the growing trend in Ontario has been 24hr games, and overnight airsoft skirmishes, so if you're worried about your investment going to waste.. don't be.
I begged my wife to increase my toy budget a bit, what should I buy?
If you bought a AN/PVS-14, or something along those lines - good for you. Unfortunately items like this are milspec USA made ITT Generation 3 tube NVG's and are very illegal to export from the USA (Once in Canada they are Legal to own). If you happen to get one, keep in mind that the mounting solutions for these units can be very expensive and equally difficult to source. Not to mention, you will be unable to claim any warranty on your unit as any warranty repairs (if you had a warranty) will need to take place in the USA. So for airsoft, you really really need to ask yourself "Is this worth the risk"
So to recap:
Cheapy NVG's to get you started:
More expensive NVG's to help you fight at night:
Canadian bought/locally serviceable NV Monodculars
Hopefully this bit of info will help people make their purchases, I'll post up a more detailed thread later.