Nocturn Industries UANVM “Tanto” Night Vision Ultralight 3D Printed Monocular

Nocturn Industries Ultralight Adaptable Night Vision Monocular or “Tanto”

Nocturn Industries has started shipping out their Ultralight Adaptable Night Vision Monocular (UANVM), or what they call the “Tanto.” While severely undercutting the weight of a standard PVS-14, the Tanto also is designed for adaptability. Uniquely featuring an extruded hinge point on the back of the battery compartment, this housing will be able to be “adapted to a proprietary powered articulating dual bridge mount called the TAB (Tanto Articulating Bridge) “Daisho” with minimal tools or extra parts.”

First and foremost, the weight savings on this housing is no joke. Built using standard optics for a better comparison, the Tanto comes in at 8.76 oz compared to a mil-spec PVS-14’s 12.5 oz. Running this for 5 or so hours in one evening had noticeably smaller fatigue on my neck, and felt like a featherweight after running a PVS-14 paired with helmet-mounted thermal. The weights for the final configurations of this monocular are listed below:

8.76 OZ with standard optics and a battery
9.83 OZ with standard optics, battery, and Noisefighters X14 arm
7.76 OZ with RPO optics and a battery
8.83 OZ with RPO optics, battery, and Noisefighters X14 arm

Weight verification on a cheap scale.

The Tanto utilizes a clicky on/off power button for the monocular to remain simple and lightweight. After a little bit of use, I have got to say – I am a fan. This made power activation easier in the cold with gloves than with the traditional switch.

Left: N-Vision NOX18 thermal monocular Right: Nocturn Industries Tanto

Featuring a Multi Jet Fusion polymer body, the Tanto incorporates the most modern of concepts to provide a durable and robust housing. This monocular “meets and exceeds” MIL-STD-810G and IP68 equivalencies according to Nocturn Industries, and has been drop tested onto concrete from the NATO 1.5 meter standard. While I was sent this housing to test and write about, I did not take it upon myself to drop test the Tanto so we will take them at their word on its reliability. In my hands, the unit feels rugged and reliable.

The Tanto will attach to any standard PVS-14 J-arm style mount. Using a single CR123A, users can expect to get around 40+ hours of runtime. For most of pictures in this article I have the $25 Nocturn Industries Onyx filter screwed onto the back of the eye piece. While the unit I was testing utilized a green tube, the Onyx filter turned what I was seeing into a black and white image. This filter will attach to standard PVS-14 eyepieces.

Green Onyx Filter threads onto the back of the eyepiece
Left: Typical view through a green phosphor tube Right: View through same tube with Onyx Filter attached

Nocturn Industries also utilizes its own infinity focus stop rings. This will allow users to fine-tune the adjustment range to set a limit on focal distances. While fine-tuning the focus based on object distance isn’t difficult, I did enjoy being able to quickly focus the Tanto at a set distance by just cranking it to my previously set focus stop. Quick and simple.

Infinity Focus Stop

Aiming to save weight and decrease lead times, Nocturn Industries also makes their own “RPO” lightweight diopter housings. These are nearly half the weight of standard Carson diopter housings. While reducing weight, they sacrifice smooth adjustments. Focusing the eyepiece feels a bit gritty. I think this is due to the thread tolerances on printed vs machined parts, but the lightweight RPO is fully functional and I didn’t have a single performance issue with it.

RPO lightweight diopter housing

Now back to adaptability and the option to run two Tanto’s as binoculars. While most of the time a standalone set of duals such as (RNVG’s, DTNVS, PVS31’s, etc.) would be a better option than a set of bridged PVS-14s, those choosing to run helmet-mounted thermal, or a mount such as the Noisefighters Panobridge can now have ultimate adaptability. To convert two Tanto’s into duals, all that is needed is the Tanto Articulating Bridge, or “Daisho” which should be available in the not-to-distant future. This will allow users to simply remove the battery cap, insert the bridge into the battery compartment, and then tighten the rear clamp screws on the bridge. Quick conversion, and then users have articulating binoculars powered by a shared battery.

Two Tanto’s joined together using the “Diasho”

After just a couple of nights out hunting and driving with the Tanto, I was impressed. Being used just as a monocular, the Tanto is a lightweight and durable choice. However, having the ability to later be converted to an articulating set of binoculars is a huge perk for those who want adaptability. For running thermal paired with a single Tanto, two Tanto’s on a bridge that is panoramic, or just wanting to be able to swap from a binocular back to a monocular to share with a friend, the Tanto paired with the up and coming Daisho will be a powerful combo. I for one love having more options and this new design gives them to me. MSRP for only the Tanto housing is $549, but consumers can choose from three different colors, or even purchase a complete setup with their preferred optics and choice from three minimum FOM ratings for Photonis 4G WP ECHO tubes.

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About the author: Mitchell Graf is passionate about hunting and competition shooting. During college he was the shooting instructor for Oklahoma State’s Practical Shooting Team, and these days he spends as much time as he can chasing after pigs and coyotes with night vision and thermals. You can follow Mitchell’s adventures over at his Instagram @That_Gun_Guy_

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