A Digital Night Vision Attachment is a device that mounts in line with a standard daytime riflescope allowing it to be used in dusk, twilight and night time without having to reset zero or unmount said daytime riflescope from the firearm. Since there is no need for a dedicated night time rifle, the setup also maintains the same ballistics and rifle ergonomics.
Keeping the exact same eye relief and pupil extraction of the daytime scope are also additional advantages of a DNVA, provided the device is of the front-mounted type.
Enter the Pulsar Forward F series, the newest and most advanced Digital Night Vision Attachments from the European manufacturer.
Available in two models, the F135 and F155, the Forward F is meant to be mounted in front of a daytime riflescope using an adapter tube clamp with a bayonet-type quick mount. The Forward F is built using Pulsar’s unified architecture design philosophy, and includes video recording and a Wi-Fi module, for video streaming to smartphones or internet including live direct streaming to YouTube, using the free Stream-Vision app.
Pulsar Forward F Digital NV Attachment: converts daytime riflescope into a digital night vision riflescope
Technically, the Forward F series is based on its proved digital imaging platform already used by Pulsar in other high-end optics. The CMOS is a high sensitivity, ½” size, 702x526 pixel monochromatic sensor, day/night use compatible, coupled with a 640x480 AMOLED display. The proprietary image processing engine is also capable of increased sensitivity with image integration, called SumLight (lowers framerate and noise, but allows use of the device with no IR Illuminator). A detachable, variable power and focusable 940 nm long-range invisible IR illuminator is mounted on the right side of the Forward F.
The front, all glass, lens objective is respectively a 36mm f/1.2 for the F135 and 50mm f/1.0 for the F155; the rear prefocused relay lens is built to interface with most daytime optics. The Forward F in both versions offer a 1x native magnification, however the F155 is best used with 4-8x magnification riflescopes, while the F135 with 2-6x optics.
Both Forward F units are quite compact, adding respectively just 155 mm for the F155 and 135 mm for the F135 (seems the naming of the models follow their length) to the size of the daytime scope. Weight is 540 g and 430 g without batteries, thanks to the composite alloy- glass-fiber reinforced Nylon technopolymer casing construction that is also IPX7 certified waterproof. Another 135 g must be added for the FN adapter and 130 g for the IPS5 B-Pack battery.
The Forward uses proprietary quick-mount B-pack batteries, available in two sizes, IPS5 and IPS10, for up to 16 hours of continuous use.
Controls are located on top: four buttons in a circle, right behind the focus knob. A small button on the IR illuminator controls its activation and power. Controls are not easily reachable once the unit is mounted and the included wireless remote with encoder wheel is the best way to operate the Forward F.
The Forward F box includes a standard Pulsar remote, a Cordura pouch to carry the Forward and accessories when not mounted on the rifle, one B-pack IPS5 battery, dedicated charger and adapter, cables and manual. The Clip-On Day Scope Bayonet Adapter, available in three sizes (FN42, 50 and 56), is NOT included and should be purchase separately, based on the scope used.
Test: Pulsar Forward F135 Digital Night Vision Attachment
We used a Yukon Jaeger 1.5-6x42 variable magnification riflescope to test the Forward F 135, mounted on a Remington 700 hunting rifle.
Mounting the adapter tube clamp to the daytime optic’s objective bell is critical: it must seat perfectly, so that zero is retained once the Forward is then mounted to the riflescope.
Zeroing of the unit is not necessary, but if small shifts of zero occur, they can be easily corrected using a display adjustment routine in the Forward’s menu.
The image through the riflescope’s eyepiece should be adjusted with the diopter ring so that the menu selections are sharp; no additional adjustment is necessary. Compared with a dedicated night vision riflescope the performance is not bad - a tradeoff is always required. However, the Forward F135 performed admirably, and even at the highest magnification (6X) resolution was acceptable.
We found the best magnification for the F135 is about 3x, the FOV of the riflescope covers almost exactly the diagonal of the display for the sharpest image and the status bar is perfectly visible. Pulsar claims a detection range of 370 m for the F135 (450 for the F155) and we feel it is fairly honest and close to the unit’s actual performance.
In our opinion, Pulsar’s Forward F Digital Night Vision Attachment is a viable, easy and economical alternative to add quality night vision versatility to a hunting firearm, retaining full daytime zero and performance, and avoiding a second dedicated night hunting setup.