Armasight Spark Core, the poor man's PVS14?

Discussion in 'Equipment & Survival Kits' started by BlueZ, Apr 25, 2017.

  1. BlueZ

    BlueZ Well-Known Member

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    Armasight Spark Core, the poor man's PVS14?

    Over the last couple years I had countless conversations with people who had an interest in something that can allow them to engage targets at night but without the high pricetag of a Milspec unit such as a PVS-14.
    Generally the answer invariably was "You gotta pay to play" or "Such a thing does not exist"
    Recently I had an opportunity to experiment with just such a unit and compare it to my existing milspec PVS-14
    The goal was to assemble and test a complete configuration with tube, laser IR light, helmet etc for 1300 dollars or less.

    This is what I got (all prices approx. retail. If I secured a sale price for any item I will list a good retail price instead so as to not skew the numbers):

    -Armasight Spark Core $485

    - OTAL (milspec IR laser) $340-390. So less than half the price of a DBAL or PEC2 type unit that features IR laser AND visible Laser. This features ONLY IR laser. But that is our high pay off feature so I judged the OTAL sufficient for an economy set-up.

    - Armasight mount #170: $185. I also purchased from my vendor on Armasights recommendation their #70 mount . But ithis seems designed as an adapter for a regular PVS14 mount w/ JArm. This may give me better fit according to Customer Service.

    - Inforce Weapons Mounted Light, w/ IR, usually priced between $140-160 dollars. I found it on sale for 100 bucks but I believe this low price cannot be relied on for cost planning and "count" it as $150 cost.

    - Lancer FAST (Bump) Helmet for $85 shipped.

    Total system cost approx. $1250

    In order to test I exercised this unit by duplicating to the best of my ability the environment encountered in light patrolling and also night time live-fire.

    First the Bad:

    - No gain control, Brightness comparable to lowest third gain setting on a PVS14, so is not terribly bright

    - A little bulkier and heavier than a PVS14 tube

    - The Armasight Mount #170, is clearly intended to mount this unit on a shroud equipped helmet... it works but just barely. While the mounting seemed reasonably secure. The adjustments in general were a bit iffy. I was able to make it work but in the end even with the adjustments maxed out for distance (mostly by where you screw the "arm" onto the Spark Core) the unit was still too close to my eyes. I had to take off the eyecup). The "Steps" of flipping down the unit cannot be changed via the screw that backs up that bearing. As a a result the tube was not perfectly level in front of my eye. Adjustments to the helmet padding were able to overcome this.

    Mount is serviceable but needs improvement. Customer service says they have an adaptor which can make a regular PVS14 mount work. I have this adapter and may try it in the future for better fit.


    The good:

    -Picture surprisingly clear and free of distortions.

    -Has both diopter (-5 to +5) and distance focus adjustments. (So for most folks who wear glasses they could use the monocular w/o wearing them).

    -Used it in a moderate rain with no ill effect on the unit afterwards (though raindrops on the lens interfered with vision at some point...but this would be same for any other unit regardless of price so it doesn't count as a negative)

    -Was able to engage targets with IR laser without resorting to IR Light illumination from my weapons mounted light. IMHO his is a KPP (Key Performance Parameter) for nearly everyone.

    -Responds real well to an IR WML and this extends engagement distance to maybe 90m (=100 yards). Without Active IR WML I observed being able to see (and engage via IR laser) a man sized target at 30-40m.

    - Price! Priced in the high 400s this unit is an incredible Value. Also now one doesnt have to stress so much about the units well being anymore.. If its gets stolen/lost.. sure thats bad... But its not 3-4k+ bad!

    Just understand that it is not a PVS14 and do not except Milspec performance out of it.

    What you can expect though is to have a moderate but practical and useful Nighttime engagement capability with this unit and this arrangement is dramatically superior over mounting a sight on your weapon direct ( as most other affordable units are used)

    JRH Enterprises helped me put this kit together.
    They usually focus on milspec stuff and this unit is not on his site.. but Robert said he would do special order as long as the buyer is educated to not expect a PVS14.

    Robert also has good deals on OTALS:

    www.jrhenterprises.com/OTAL-C-Infrared-only-laser-OTAL-CIR9056.htm?categoryId=-1

    Can't say enough good things about Robert from JRH. He comes out to train and is simply one of us.
     

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    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018
    Caribou likes this.
  2. BlueZ

    BlueZ Well-Known Member

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    Wearing the unit at the ready waiting for it to get dark
     

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  3. Flight1630

    Flight1630 Junior Member

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    Might want to think about submitting this as a entry.
     
  4. BlueZ

    BlueZ Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm... I thought this would engender a lot more comment and questions ;)
     
  5. Flight1630

    Flight1630 Junior Member

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    Tough crowd around here I guess. Lol

    Have any pics through the sight at night time?
     
    BlueZ likes this.
  6. Pessimistic2

    Pessimistic2 Watching the world self-destruct!

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    Me, too.....especially with the difference between the thermal imaging (IR) systems and the low-light (Starlight) tech, and all the price differences as well. (Best systems for the least expense, type thing...)

    http://www.optics4birding.com/starlight-technology.aspx
    Excerpt: "Night Vision Types
    Night vision devices come in multiple basic technologies. Digital night vision, Starlight technology, and thermal-imaging are the most common. Both Starlight technology and digital night vision amplify whatever available light there is, while thermal-imaging (or infrared) devices look at heat. These three technologies give very different results, are different in design, cost, and image appearance. We will look at all of these technologies but the majority of the night vision devices available on the market are Starlight technology and we will focus most of our discussion there."

    :dunno:
     
    BlueZ likes this.
  7. Flight1630

    Flight1630 Junior Member

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    Say whaaaat
     
  8. Pessimistic2

    Pessimistic2 Watching the world self-destruct!

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    What? I stick my foot in my mouth (again)?? :dunno:
     
  9. tmttactical

    tmttactical Supporting Member

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    Relax, you just referenced thing over our poor edercations. :rofl:
     
  10. Pessimistic2

    Pessimistic2 Watching the world self-destruct!

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    Edumacation.....

    This little piggy went to market......:p
     

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  11. LastOutlaw

    LastOutlaw Well-Known Member

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    First of all... great post!

    Like flight 1630, I would like to see a few pics taken thru it at night. I like the affordability factor but want to get an idea of what I'll see when I look through it.

    I have a question about the helmet... will it attach a mil spec unit? I'm in the market for a head mount other than the cumbersome MICH for hunting use. A braincrusher is not what I want. I do like the mil mounting hardware but want a lighter helmet. I really need a good solid mount for high end gear. Nothing like dropping a 3 thou unit on the rocks when your mount fails. Any suggestions?

    It needs to accept this adjuster and have the mount shown below it:
     

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  12. Flight1630

    Flight1630 Junior Member

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    Yes my edumakasun not so goot. Last week I could hardly spell truck driver this week I are one. Lol
     
  13. BlueZ

    BlueZ Well-Known Member

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    Is that a rhino mount?
    I belive they will fit .....I have one coming myself to match up to a J Arm to improve my adjustability.

    The Lancer Bump Helmet has a shroud in the front just like the high end milspec ballistic units.

    I picked a affordable bump helmet but not the exact cheapest one (for obvious reasons).

    These Bump helmet shrouds will accept any milspec mount that also fits military helmets that feature a shroud.
    Using Bump helmets in lieu of MICH, ACH etc is becoming more popular even among the most serious shooters.

    ballistic protection is great in a military environment where shrapnel and other indirect fire threats abound.
    And thats why steel ballistic helmets started it all in WW1 from the original German coal shuffle and the british helmet which I believe was also ballisitc.

    But even if you are equipping a paramilitary mutual aid group or such indirect fire will be a minimal threat.
    This is the one I got( different patterns/colors available)
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/182342310926?_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2648&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT

    Better ones than these are available but the aim was a total system cost as low as possible while still serviceable.

    You cna see the shroud as i its common with many mil helmets.
    I am sure its not as strong/durable as them... but on this particular bump helmet it seems the shroud plastic is thicker than in some others
     
  14. BlueZ

    BlueZ Well-Known Member

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    PS: I have not taken pics yet.
    thru the unit compared to a pVS14 as where i live there is simply too much light around for a good comprison even at night

    PS2: Where I tested it was in the countryside
     
  15. Pessimistic2

    Pessimistic2 Watching the world self-destruct!

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    Yeah, now if you could just get that "parking thing" down, we'd all feel a weee bit better!:eek:
     

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  16. Flight1630

    Flight1630 Junior Member

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    And that I hate to admit. That is one of my better parking jobs :rolleyes:
     
  17. BlueZ

    BlueZ Well-Known Member

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    I may have another opportunity next weekend :)
     
  18. BlueZ

    BlueZ Well-Known Member

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    Update:
    Used it again.

    This time unlike last time there was plenty of moonlight.
    (last time was overcast and raining)
    No Active IR illumination needed at all to make it work under these circumstances.

    Of course those are ideal conditions..

    Still it was too dark to shoot w/o NVG and the combination Armasight Spark Core and my OTAL IR laser worked w/o any IR light illum needed under these condtions.

    I did notice a lot more distortion though under this less dark night than the previous test.
     
  19. BlueZ

    BlueZ Well-Known Member

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    Bump. sorry about bumping my own thread i know its not good ettiquette but I put alot of work into this one :D
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2020