At the 2018 SHOT Show, Nightforce brought along their brand new 1-8 power scopes, including the much-anticipated NX8 1-8 power compact carbine optic. Alongside it, the company also debuted the ATACR 1-8×24, a larger, more capable one-to-eight that is better suited to distance shots.
Despite both being variable-power optics in the same power range, the Nightforce ATACR 1-8 was designed to provide better visibility and precision at long distances, and is correspondingly larger and heavier than the NX8.
The NX8 in particular will almost certainly fill a very special and important niche. Not only is it cheaper than the ATACR 1-8, by about a thousand dollars, but it also is over an inch shorter, and more than four ounces lighter. This makes the NX8 a true red dot substitute for tactical carbines, combining the readability and reaction time of a red dot with the good target ID and precision qualities of a medium power scope, without a serious weight or size penalty versus most full-size RDS and holographic sights. Nightforce representatives said that the NX8’s characteristics are best suited to lighter weight carbines intended for use out to 600 meters, while for weapons designed for ranges longer than that, or where price and weight are less important, the ATACR 1-8 was a better fit.
The views through the ATACR 1-8 and the NX8. Note that the ATACR’s reticle includes windage markings to better facilitate shots beyond 600 meters. The large black area around the ATACR is just a an optical artifact of my camera position. Both reticles are illuminated, and come in MOA and Mil versions.
Company representatives told TFB that the ATACR 1-8’s design stemmed from unspecified military requirements, and that the smaller NX8 was created independently to fill the niche of a versatile close range optic for more price- and weight-conscious customers. The NX8 is expected to retail for around $1700, while the ATACR 1-8 will retail for about $2700.