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Review: Nocturn Industries Manticore

Updated: Mar 11

Last week we took at deep dive into the ARGUS PNVG-18quad tube pano housing. This week we take a look at the Nocturn UANVB-FC aka Manticore.

Manticore on helmet

Last year Nocturn teased us with prototypes of a metal Manticore at SHOT Show 2023. Well it is finally here and it was worth the wait. Now you can have all the features of their iconic UANVB Katana but with onboard IR illumination and manual gain.

Just like the UANVB, the Manticore is an articulating dual tube binocular housing. And just like the UANVB, the Manticore has reed switches to shut off power when the pods are rolled up and out of the way. Roll them back down and power is restored.

Size wise, the Manticore is not that much different from the UANVB Katana. In fact the pods are almost the same if not the same used in the UANVB-R (metal Katana)..

Rolling the pods back towards the helmet brings the CG of the goggle closer to the helmet reducing leverage on the front of the helmet and reducing pressure on your forehead.

Just like the UANVB-R, the Manticore has the same IPD stops and bungee/tether points at the back of the bridge.

The pods on the Manticore look very similar to the UANVB-R design. Even the skeletonized arms look just like Nocturn's metal Katana.

In the photo below you can see the remote battery port is off to the side of the battery housing. Nocturn uses the LEMO 0B cable for delivering power. It is smaller than regular LEMO for ANVIS or Fischer for L3 goggles.

You can run the battery pack cable up and through the gap in the night vision mount like a Wlcox G24.

Manual Gain Manticore

FC of UANVB-FC stands for Forward Controls. And that is what you have on the Manticore. It is still push button to turn it on but rather than have a power button on the battery cap, like the UANVB Katana, it is along the front of the bridge. Next to it is the IR illumination button.

As mentioned earlier, the Nocturn Manitcore features manual gain. There are + and - buttons to change the gain up or down. But in order to achieve this, you need to have modified 11769 tubes in the Manticore. The Manticore does not utilize the normal EGAC found on 11769 image intensifying tubes. Instead Nocturn replaces the factory EGAC pigtail with their own pigtail that wraps around the side of the tube. See photos below.

Nocturn's manual gain pigtail is seen below. You can see the normal two contacts for power and ground, the other contacts are for controlling manual gain.

Here are the corresponding contacts inside the Manticore pod.

Another change Nocturn implemented within their Manticore is their tube retaining ring is translucent. The tube retaining ring is also acting like a light pipe.

Here is the red LED making the translucent tube retaining ring glow red.

Final Thoughts On The Manticore

The Manticore is a bit more expensive than a ruggedized Katana. It is $400 more and $674 more than a printed Katana. But you have manual gain and an onboard IR illuminator. Something some departments and contracts require in their requests for night vision. For regular customers looking to have a Manticore built, you do need to send your 11769 tubes to Nocturn to get converted especially if using Elbit tubes which need to have their EGAC desoldered.

Weight wise, the Manticore in this review weighs in at just 17 oz fully built with CR123. It is not the lightest housing on the market but it might be the lightest with manual gain. Their Samurai is lighter but it is not made of metal and the controls are in the remote battery pack. The Manticore is like the Katana in that you can use any battery pack you want, you just need to get a conversion cable from Nocturn. Thanks to Nocturn for letting me borrow the Manticore for this review. For more information go to Nocturn Industries website.

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