If you live in a state that allows the use of night vision for hunting, the ATN X-Sight HD digital night vision riflescope would be an excellent choice of optic. The ATN X-Sight HD series of night vision rifle scopes are digital night vision scopes. These scopes do not use an Image Intensifier/Photocathode, but rely on a CCD sensor and an infra-red light source. Essentially they are a camcorder, or a digital night vision camera with an adjustable infra-red filter and a reticle. Since they do not have an Image intensifier/Photocathode, end users do not have to worry about burning out the Image Intensifier, they can be used in the daytime and they are less expensive.
Key Features of the ATN X-Sight HD 3-12:
- Night and Day scope
- The ATN X-Sight HD can record video and capture pictures
- GPS/Image Stabilization/E-Compass/Altitude
- Multiple reticle options to choose from.
- The ATN X-Sight I tested was a variable 3-12 power scope. Magnification was adjusted via the E-Zoom feature
- Runs on 4 AA batteries
- The ATN X-Sight has slots for a Micro SD, Micro USB as well as a Micro HDMI. Accepts 2 to 32 Gb Micro SD cards.
- Eye relief is 67 mm. Diopter Adjustment is +/-5 (This is for vision correction/focus)
- LCD Display within unit is 800×600 px
- Remote view finder application is Android and IOS compatible.
- The ATN X-Sight weighs 2.3 lbs. Dimensionally it is 8”x3.25”x3.13”
- The ATN X-Sight comes with a removable IR illuminator. The illuminator is 850mW, and when looking at the light source, appeared to be in the near IR frequency/range.
Field testing was done at the family ranch in the highlands of Central New Mexico. I got to the ranch around 2 p.m. and set up both a paper target and an 8”x10” steel target. For precision/scope tests I use several rifles. For this test I chose my Billet Rifle Systems AR-15. The Billet Rifle Systems rifle is my precision AR-15. It features a billet upper and lower receiver that have absolutely no play or wobble between the receivers. The barrel is a 16” heavy fluted, mid length, 1/8 twist from FAXON Firearms. The trigger is a Mil Spec trigger that has been enhanced with Taylor Tactical’s AR-15 MIL-SPEC Trigger Adjustment Grip Screw. The trigger has zero creep, a clean break, and a short reset. The trigger breaks at around 5.5 – 6 lbs. My Billet Rifle Systems AR-15 can easily shoot sub minute of angle paired with the right ammunition. All shooting was done off of a bipod in the prone position. During zeroing, my Kestrel Weather meter was showing minor gusts of 2 – 3 mph from my 9 o’clock position. After consulting Knights Armaments Bullet Flight, I settled on a 100 yard zero. For a 100 yard zero, the ballistic solver showed the bullet would be .5 inch low at 36 yards. Walking back 36 yards from my paper target, I settled on a reference point and fired a 4 shot group.
Zeroing the X-Sight is very easy. After shooting the first group, I went into the main menu, and found the “Zero setup feature”. Holding the rifle steady, I adjusted the reticle to the center of the first group. After adjusting, I fired another 4 rounds and was delighted to see my shots landing right where I wanted them. Walking back 100 yards, I aimed at the center of the steel target, slowly squeezed the trigger and observed my round land exactly where I was aiming. After confirming at 100 yards, I took the batteries out of the ATN X-sight to confirm that my zero would not be lost. I inserted the batteries again, powered on the ATN X-Sight, aimed dead center of the target, squeezed the trigger and was delighted to see my XM193 round land almost on top of my initial shot.
Grabbing my range finder, I walked back another 100 yards. I have to admit, picture on the LCD was grainy and pixelated. At 200 yards I had no problems hitting the target. I sent 5 shots down range and observed/heard 5 hits. Walking 300 yards from the target, I proned out, electronically zoomed the scope to 12 power, adjusted the lenses to get a better sight picture, loaded the bipod, held 6 inches above the target, rotated the safety, let out the air in my lungs, gently squeezed the trigger and sent a round down range. Through the grainy pixelated LCD screen in the ATN X-Sight I observed a sway of the steel target then heard a nice solid “ping”. I fired 3 more shots and heard/observed 3 more solid hits. Walking to the 400 yard line I could barely see the target due to the pixelation. Holding roughly 30 inches above the target I hit the target on my 3rd attempt. In total, zeroing and daylight testing only took about 45 minutes. Since it was 3 p.m., I needed to wait about 5 hours for complete darkness. Since I had 5 hours to kill, and since at the time of testing, I was training for a Survival Trial competition, I grabbed my hiking backpack, which weighed 53 lbs, and went for a 12-mile ruck around the ranch.
After knocking out 12 miles and seeing some beautiful country and a huge herd of antelope, I ate a quick dinner and got set up for the night portion of the test. For safety purposes I put a glow stick near my steel target and scanned the range with my 600 lumen flashlight before every shot. Starting at 300 yards, I proned out, turned on the IR illuminator provided by ATN and tried to see the steel target. At 300 yards I was not able to observe the target. I could not see the target well enough to shoot it till I got within 70 yards of it. At 70 yards, I proned out, adjusted the scope and squeezed off 5 rounds in fairly rapid succession. All shots hit the target. Walking within 50 yards of the target, my view of the target rapidly improved.
After 3 hours and 40 rounds of XM193 I came to the following conclusions:
- I think the ATN X-Sight was designed for static varmint, predator, or hog hunting.
- Zeroing was fast and extremely easy.
- If you are hog hunting using a feeder, experiment with hanging some IR flood lights around your feeder. You will get a really good sight picture.
- Experiment with placing the IR light. When I mounted the light on the actual scope, the light illuminated my front rail. I was not able to get a good sight picture.
- In its night vision capacity, the ATN X-Sight performs really well 70 yards and closer. If you want to push further you will have to get a lot more IR illumination.
- The daylight feature is nice for recording and zeroing though I would never use it for daytime hunting. Even the cheapest rifle scopes beat the image on an LCD screen.
- Check local and state laws before you use this scope for hunting! I cannot stress this enough!
- Use lithium batteries. I used standard alkaline batteries and the unit lasted about 20 minutes. With lithium batteries I had the scope constantly on for about an hour.
- I don’t think this series has any law enforcement application, but ATN makes a lot of products that have both Military and Law Enforcement Application.
- The scope has multiple reticle options. This was a really neat feature.
ATN did a really good job with the X Sight. ATN recently released the second generation of this optic with the ATN X-Sight II HD Scope. The ATN X-Sight II claims to have a better sensor that provides a better, less pixelated picture. I was very impressed with the ATN X-Sight, and if I had problems with feral hogs on the ranch, I would not hesitate to use the first generation ATN X-Sight for removal of these destructive but tasty pests.
As always, tips, gripes, jokes and humor are welcome in the comments below.
Phil Note: I have the second model coming for review. Several significant new features have been added.