Patrol as a clipon

  • I get a fair number of questions about whether the IR-Patrol works as a clipon. And my answer usually resembles something like, "it is a crappy or "sub-marginal" clipon.

    That said, myself (and a partner) are attempting to address some barriers with using the patrol as a clipon. Here is the current version of the "contraption".


    That is an xtr2 3-15x scr-mil on the 5.56(18), with the radius on top, currently the "standard" setup for that rifle. Both the UTC-x and PVS-30 fit on the front and currently the ELIR-3 (tuned) is on the 3 o'clock of this rifle, for use with the PVS-30.

    The unusual part is the IR-PATROL mounted as a clipon. Screwed on to the rear of the ir-patrol is a USGI PVS-14 3x magnifier. This device happens to (almost) thread on to the back of the PATROL, because the Patrol has a PVS-14 rear end. The threads are a "little bit different" ... but it actually threads on tight and has not moved after 50rds of 77gr smk BH. But there is room for improving the threads there and that is an action item.

    On the front we have a 3x germanium magnifier which is a modification of the one shown on the Night Optics website. This is NOT the Torrey Pines version or the IRD/Trijicon version offered for sales for ~$2,500 on most websites. This is a 100% different widget. The current modification has the goal of improving the mount so that the 3x G magnifier will not move when being shot off the rifle. The TP/IRD/Trijicon version moves and hence cannot be used as a magnifier when shooting the patrol, either as a standalone sight or as a clipon.
    And results from testing last week are that the current mod is insufficient. After 20 rds of 50 fired, the 3xG started moving. This causes "crazy" POI offsets. So mod 2 has now been planned and the parts are heading back into the hardware lab for rework. I am 80% sure this issue can be resolved.

    The 3x on the rear does 2 things, it is increases the focal length to allow greater than 1x magnification to be used behind the patrol in clipon mode. This limitation is a show stopper for most people and it is not a well known limitation. But any device with a PVS-14 rear end will have this limitation. The USGI 3x screwed on the back fixes that issue. The 3x on the back also demagnifies the image and provides a sort of "poor man's tiny screen". I mentioned this idea of the "Thermal Clip-on" thread.

    The good news is that the image thru this contraption is AMAZING. I've run it for several nights in the rain and in clear conditions and compared it side by side to Trijicon Mk3 60mm dedicated scope.
    In the rain, after some image optimization both devices could see cow ear at 400yds. This cow happened to be working on a bale at night in the rain on the other side if my alfalfa patch. The thermal conditions were awful, but both devices were equivalent and could clearly see the ear of the cow and the head moving around grabbing grass off the bale. I had the day scope on 8x behind the Contraption and the 60mm on 2x digital (9x net) for purposes of the comparison and again, the images were equivalent after optimizing.
    In clear conditions, the Contraption won. On 7x, the image was totally clear, no fuzz, no pixellation. I was focusing (using patrol front focus) on trees between 100yds and 500yds and the resolution rivaled NV and beat the 60mm on 2x digital. I was surprised. I expected equality not superiority. But this means the Contraotion beats the SNIPE and rivals the UTC-x at that magnification at those distances in those conditions.
    I cranked the magnification up to 15x on the xtr2 behind the Contraption. The image was fuzzy. But, I could not detect pixellation!
    I need more time with the Contraption to test various combinations of settings. But preliminary results are that the Contraption is worth pursuing. We might even offer this as some sort of "Patrol Clipon Enhancement Kit" ... so stay tuned.

    Issues on the list to be worked on
    01 - Adjust thread on 3xG to direct thread to front of Patrol, and give up on the pressure clip mount.
    02 - Adjust threads on the 3x USGI to provide a more secure lock on.

    Then it will be time for another round of testing, both image and shooting.

  • Excellent! I have two patrols, and after having tried them as a clipon, I swore - never again. lol

  • Update on this.

    After about two additional months of adjusting and testing, here is where we are:

    The threading of the 3x Germanium magnifier on the front was successful The front magnifier can now be screwed on tight and that enables the patrol to be shot with a 3x on the front. To our knowledge, this is the first time, this has been possible. The 3x magnifiers that are sold for the Patrol only work as clipons for observing, not shooting.

    The re-threading of the 3x USGI magnifier on the rear was also successful. No moment there either.

    The current issue is the lens in the lens cell on the rear of the pvs-14 diopter housing (on the rear of the patrol) allows the lens to wobble enough to throw off the POI. So the support for the lens in this lens cell needs to be reworked. In order to enable the Patrol to remain in warranty, we would have to replace the 14 housing on the rear with a new "improved" housing. But that is totally possible.

    So, bottomline, we now have a viable 3x G magnifier on the front that can convert the patrol into a patrol with a 3x magnifier that can be shot successfully. Because the patrol inherently looses zero if you turn the focus knob after zeroing, we want to add a clip that will prevent the focus ring from moving. This can be removed if the patrol will be used mostly as a spotter. But if the patrol is to be used as a scope then the clipon can be added. My patrol has two raised silver dots on both sides of the focus ring that enable me to return the focus ring to that point (just a bit shy of the infinity focus). So basically to use the patrol as a scope, you set the focus to infinity (or slightly short of infinity) and then zero and don't touch the focus ring. That has always been true for the patrols and still is. But we will be able to provide a locking widget to prevent it from moving if desired.

    So the journey continues!!