Articulating vs. Fixed Bridge Goggles: Here’s What To Know

October 13, 2022
Articulating vs. Fixed Bridge Goggles: Here’s What To Know, Steele Industries Inc

When seeking a quality night vision device, you can generally select from a binocular night vision device or NVD that is either articulating goggles or a fixed bridge system. The features of a ruggedized night vision goggle could be a more practical choice than the other.

Helpful Information for Buying a Fixed Bridge Design or Articulating Goggles

Companies offer different features when it comes to night vision options. NVD enthusiasts generally have a choice between fixed bridge systems and moveable options like articulating pods. Along with the bridges, here’s what separates them as vision optical pods.

Fixed Bridges Design

In a fixed bridge design, optical pods are attached and can’t rotate out independently. The interpupillary adjustment is made using a thumb screw to fully cover the eyes, and it remains set. The pods can also move in either direction along the fixed bridge.

Articulating Goggle

With this option, two optical pods still cover the eyes. The main difference between an articulating unit and a fixed bridge is in how the tubes are adjusted and the mount used. Articulating units allow the optical pods to pivot both out and in from the bridge. Users can still set the proper interpupillary distance on the unit and achieve obstruction-free storage of this night vision equipment.

Choosing Articulating Housing Against Fixed Bridge Systems

The features of night vision binoculars contribute to how effective it is and how well it fits your unique NVD needs. All night vision devices amplify surrounding sparks of light to intensify the image for more effective vision. These devices improve your ability to remain out of sight from far away and from others who do not possess night vision themselves. A well-chosen pair will provide better, real-time, actionable intelligence for decision-making.

IPD Stops for Fixed Bridges or Articulation

IPD stop allows users to set the interpupillary distance specifically to their eye along the bridge. Every time the helmet is removed or put on, the position changes. For a night vision device to be effective, the tubes must properly align with your pupils. The stops work much better than zip ties.

With a moveable option, the stop allows the user to set the desired stopping point for each pod. These can be done independently from one another. This can save time and create consistency in the optics.


Both types of night vision equipment allow for a better line of visibility in low-light environments, but there are other features that determine utility. Your preference and intended use for the equipment plays a role in which features offer the best fit for your needs.

Night Vision and the Tubes Inside

A dual tube has incredible depth perception and reliable supportability. Gain refers to the number of times the light input is amplified. Gain is typically controlled with a single knob and adjusts both eyepieces at the same time. With fixed systems, the tubes are in one position and both eyes are adjusted simultaneously. 


Binoculars are mounted to the helmet and exposed to damage from tree limbs, debris, or improper stowing techniques. You can find housings manufactured from molded polymer, but those with an aluminum chassis increase rigidity and strength. The weakest point for any night vision device is the joint that connects the pods and the bridge, often contributing to higher risks of damage or breakage when the NVD is dropped.

If you need to replace the housing, look for equipment that uses polymer on polymer or polymer on metal for the housing. Either will increase resistance against impact damage.

Make Your Choice Using a Comparison of Features

This quick summary can help you decide which type of night vision is best for you, although there really is no bad choice. Most people select a unit that fits their needs.

  • Price: Articulation devices cost more than fixed housings.
  • Vehicle use: Articulating devices are better for moving in and out of vehicles without having to stow them. They can be flipped into a comfortable position. A fixed bridge often catches with the goggle sticking out and becomes a snag hazard.
  • Simplicity: Generally, fixed goggles are faster to use in the deployed position and stay in the correct eye position, even when stowed and redeployed.
  • Durability: Fixed bridges are more durable than most bridges in articulating pairs, given the susceptibility of the articulating hinges to damage.
  • Sights: It’s more convenient to move one tube of the articulating vision to use a thermal or scope than move the entire fixed system to the stowed position.
  • Comfort: Articulating pieces are better for extended use as the stowing options can reduce neck strain.

With these differences in mind and comparing other resources, you are better equipped to make the best decision on your night vision purchase.  Shop the selection at Steele Industries to purchase industry-leading night vision equipment or contact Steele Industries today to find out more.