NODs, NODists, and the rest of us

Night Optic Devices (NODs) are certainly one of the more expensive pieces of kit available to airsoft players. Once the preserve of a select few, elite milsim players, they are becoming a more common sight on the field, especially in dark indoor sites and at full weekend events. On the face of it, they do seem to be a huge advantage to those with the money to invest; obviously being able to see in the dark is going to win against someone who can’t.

Cheaper models are available now, from as little as a few hundred but stretching all the way up to many thousands of pounds/dollars/euros. Without going to much into technical specifications, the extra cost will give you a clearer picture at a longer range. The cheaper Gen 1 models require a low level red light to work that highlight you badly to other NOD users. But, let’s be honest, at any price point they look cool af.

Norvern Monkeys Ronan, Albie and Aiden gearing up for night ops at last year’s England game. From having none, the team now has quite a few players who can equip NODs.

There are plenty of guides by far more knowledgeable users out there for selecting a set, but I’m not writing this article to support their use. Not that I’m against NODs either, they present a different challenge and add a lot to overnight events.

Norvern Monkey and Sniper buddy Aiden on England duty last December

Last week I was discussing a podcast with a friend, who is a NODist by some milsim players who were using NODs but were complaining about not being able to use them properly because of poor discipline from their non-equipped teammates.

All night vision suffers from one weakness, and that is white light. A torch, basically. Shone at the NODist, it’ll blind them.

Although trying (my best) to play Battlefield 4 at the same time as listening to this podcast, the NODists had pushed round behind enemy lines and ended up getting shot up by their own teammates due to some apparently poor discipline and lack of communication. I’d say realistically if you’ve pushed further ahead, using your expensive advantage, then surely it’s on you and your squad to radio in your location? The podcast continued. The NODist host had then had a much better second game in the dark when all the NOD users were put on the same team, and therefore more understanding of how to play effectively with them and swept to an easy victory. As you would expect from a team who can see in the dark vs one that can’t. Hope they enjoyed the win.

Personally I think that unbalanced the teams a bit but that wasn’t the bit of the podcast that struck a nerve. The guy argued that it was really annoying that he’d spent so much money on his setup to be able to use it and had his experience ruined by the inexperienced other players on his team. You might think that a fair point, but it’s a bit like me turning up to an event with my bolt action rifle and dictating to other people that because I only have one shot at a time, that they should switch to semi automatic only to improve my experience and help me win.

Not a chance. There are many things to spend your money on in airsoft but no matter how much something costs you can’t expect other players to bend to your will just to justify the expenditure. In fact, you should expect players to then start finding a way to combat it, without cheating. Everything we use has an advantage and a disadvantage, and part of the game is exploiting strengths and weaknesses. If I’m 100m away from some guy with a pistol, I’m not going to walk right up to him so he can get his money’s worth out of it. I’ll stay out of range if I can. Enemy team got NODs? Get a cheap torch and render them ineffective.

It’s been said many times before, especially here at, that money doesn’t buy you any success in airsoft. And you shouldn’t expect it to.

No, I don’t own any NODs and if I did have the money to, I’d buy lots of little improvements instead.

2 thoughts on “NODs, NODists, and the rest of us

  1. Jungle's Airsoft Blog says:

    I think I watched the live stream you were talking about, I’ve seen a lot of advances in night vision over the years, from 18 ish years ago when the TA were fielding the CWS (yes I’m old) through gen1 for airsoft (friend had a skull crusher mounted cobra) to current gen2+ that costs more than our current family car, I think digital night vision is currently were the biggest leaps are going to come from, a year or so I bought a helmet mounted digital unit for under £200, very limited but functional, then the Sionyx Aurora arrived and stirred the pot, the current top end Pro version is £1k but thinking about the speed that devices like computers and mobile phones develop I think that within 5 years digital NV will be giving the analogue kit a run for its money.
    These days you can buy clip on thermal cameras for your iPhone just imagine that tech blended with the Sionyx of 2025 the possibilities are there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. philiprobins image journal says:

    nice comment and observation from the 1st gen ,jungles airsoft blog . i discovered those cheap wide angle thermal image security camera another ebay bargains at 20 whatever and the very same thought crossed my tiny beguiled mind , what is if this was mounted facing forward , then heres the rub , you gonna be searching youre glowing smartphone for signs of activity. , illuminating yourself for all other sharpshooters like a tower de trump


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