The vehicle is equipped with an IR driving light and an IR searchlight.
It lags behind other Soviet armored fighting vehicles because it has no fire or nuclear, biological, chemical (NBC) protection systems, which significantly reduces its effectiveness.
During night operations the center periscope can be swapped for the TVN-28 night vision device which gves the driver clear vision up to 60 meters.
The driver also has a small hatch that opens upwards - while it cannot be used to leave the vehicle, it can be opened in relatively safe areas for extra vision.
While its maximum armor protects it fully against small arms fire and small artillery shell fragments, it cannot protect it against large shell fragments and .50-caliber machine gun bullets.
Although its front armor might protect it against 7.62 mm small arms fire, that same fire can sometimes penetrate the sides.
The only variant to have a NBC protection system is the BTR-50PK.
The BTR-50 was developed in 1952 and entered service with the Soviet Army in 1954. It served in the motorized rifle regiments of tank divisions and mechanized brigades in the Soviet and East German armies.
The commander, who sits on the left hand side of the front of the vehicle, has three vision blocks and periscopes in a projecting bay and a cupola with a vision block facing forward.
It is located on top of the projecting bay, opens forward and can be locked vertically.
The engine has a cooling system and a pre-heater (intended for ignition when the air temperature is −20 °C or below).