The ATN X-Sight II is a truly affordable night vision optic that also comes loaded with a number of other excellent features.
In this modern “Call of Duty” world, we often find ourselves walking away from the controller and into the game itself. This is evident once you pick up the new ATN X-Sight II HD. The X-Sight II is the product of several thousand hours of research and development geared toward bringing a feature-packed digital optic to the consumer for a price that fits nearly every budget.
Imagine a day/night optic that not only provides ranging capabilities and ballistic corrections but gives you the opportunity to film the shot in HD, all for under $700. Have I grabbed your attention?
Good, read on to see what I thought of it once I had it on the range.
The Package Has Been Delivered
Taking it out of the box, my first impression was that it wasn’t as heavy as I imagined. Weighing in at just a hair over 2.5 pounds, it wasn’t the monster that I was expecting at all.
The unit runs on four AA batteries that are kept in place by a beefy screw-on cap. Although the manufacturer recommend lithium batteries, I found that good rechargeable batteries provided up to 3 hours of scouting use. Utilizing the camera, range finder, etc., will undoubtedly drain them faster, but the battery lifespan is certainly adequate for a day on the range or a morning in a tree stand. No tools are needed to change batteries, so the practice of carrying replacements is practical. Better still, ATN offers an optional Power Weapon Kit (ATNCorp.com; $99) that provides 22 hours of use contained in a handy butt stock pouch.
Mounting is simple via the Picatinny mount that comes already attached. The mount has a unique spring tensioner to keep the screws from loosening during operation, eliminating the need for thread locker. An optional 850mW infrared illuminator (included) can be attached to the optic for use in pitch black scenarios. Once the optic is weapon mounted, all that’s left is to install an SD card (up to 64 GB) and press the power button.
Fire It Up!
Once you hit the power button, you are taken to the home screen. From here you are ready to take a shot or navigate the menus for the various features. Without sounding like a commercial, let me list some of the features that you have at your disposal, and then we’ll examine the most intriguing of the batch:
- Night vision
- Digital still and video camera
- Look angle display
- Ballistic calculator with automatic correction
This optic actually starts to pay for itself once you factor in the money that you save if you were to purchase each of these standalone devices. Not to mention lugging all that equipment around isn’t much fun either.
The ballistic features grabbed my attention right away. With experience in long-range shooting, I can appreciate all the work that the X-Sight II HD would save the casual hunter.
With traditional optics, you would need to range your target via reticle use, laser rangefinder or the use of skills that take years to perfect, and then calculate your drop based on DOPE or separate ballistic software. After that, you have to “judge” how much distance to subtract to accommodate the slope that you are shooting from and then make a precise shot – all before the target moves or the wind changes!
The X-Sight II HD uses a two-step system to do the math for you; all you have to know is the approximate size of the target, then range the feet and head. It’ll spit out a distance and, based on your own ballistic input, give you a shot correction to place a first-round hit.
Zeroing on this optic is different than what most shooters are used to. The scope is zeroed through a process that involves firing a shot, and then putting the reticle where it actually hit and pressing the enter button. Of course, if your shot is off the paper, then you must start closer and work your way back in small increments.
The X-Sight II doesn’t have traditional windage and elevation knobs, something that lost some points with me. However, it does have the ability to save preset zeros, which I thought was pretty useful and certainly much faster than dialing up. This feature allows you to not only save zeros for different distances, but for different guns as well. This becomes very helpful if you’re utilizing a multi-caliber system like the War Lock in our Frontier Tactical test rifle.
We tested the repeatability of this function with the Frontier Tactical 300 BLK War Lock Kit (FrontierTactical.com; $1,200), firing a very true Team Never Quit subsonic 200-grain round (SnakeRiverShootingProducts.com; $28.99). Switching from our 15-yard profile to our 200-yard profile, we kept a solid zero at both distances.
The scope comes pre-programmed with seven reticle styles. Among them include a BDC and a Mil-dot. We found the Mil-dot scale to be true 7.3x magnification, with each windage subtention representing 2 mils, and each elevation subtention representing 1. If you are an MOA fan, we found the subtention to be 1 MOA on the elevation axis and 2 on the windage line at exactly 12x zoom.
This information provides yet another way to range a target. Aside from style, you can also change colors, providing solutions for daytime and nighttime shooting as well as a blue option for our colorblind friends.
Light Up the Night
While all of the aforementioned features are certainly attainable for the price point at hand, the one that sets this optic apart is of course the night vision. Night vision alone can exceed the cost of the X-Sight II HD by four times, or more. ATN did an amazing job of making it affordable, yet not cutting corners in contrast or sharpness.
The end user can change themes from B&W to traditional green, as well as adjust light sensitivity on the go. Unlike conventional day/night optics, activating night vision accidentally during the day will not damage the X-Sight II.
We used the night vision feature to aid our ongoing struggle with pest control. Among our zero profiles is a 15-yard zero for our Wolf Jager .22 XP PCP air rifle (RLAirgunSupply.com/jager; $1,124.95), transforming it into the ideal tool to control raccoons, opossums or whatever lurks in the night around your trashcans. The X-Sight II HD will work well on any pre-charged pneumatic or CO2 air gun, just be sure to stay away from spring piston powered systems. As this style can, and will damage most optics.
The last feature to note is the X-Sight’s media suite that allows for still photography and full HD video. While afield we see many interesting things that we would like to remember such as tracks, scrapes, waypoints and off-season game that we might want to keep track of for later in the year. Having this sight mounted onto our rifle kept us from having to dig for our phone or standalone camera when these photo opportunities presented themselves.
While these features are not new to the market, the recoil-activated video system (RAV) makes them truly unique. The RAV buffers approximately 10 seconds of video and automatically records when it detects recoil. Therefore, while hunting you don’t have to be concerned with flipping on the camera if you are hoping to record the shot of a lifetime. After the pursuit, you will wind up with a video that includes the instant before the shot, the shot and what happened afterwards!
The unit also is WiFi capable, transmitting what you see to a tablet or smart phone. This feature is very handy for training new shooters or just sharing the fun with someone on the range.
Does the Job
Using this optic for our testing left very little to be desired, other than a wider field of view. Only seeing 64 inches at 25 yards on the lowest magnification setting means it does take some time find your target, particularly if there aren’t any defining objects in the landscape.
However, if you are looking for an all-encompassing piece of equipment that has a terrific price point, this is it. Consider one for your next predator hunt, big game hunt or even just an everyday range session, as this will fit the bill without breaking the bank.
For more info visit ATNCorp.com.
ATN X-Sight II HD
Generation: Smart HD Optics
Magnification: 5x-20x Digital Zoom
Eye Relief: 65mm
IR Illuminator: 850mW Detachable
Sensor: HD 1080p 130 Sensor
Ports: Micro HDMI, Micro USB, Micro SD
Power: 4 AA batteries, or extended power kit
Compatible Mounts: A.R.M.S #17 or #35, LaRue LT270, American Defense AD 170
Data Storage: Micro SD card, up to 64 Gb
Video Out: 1080p at 30 fps
Remote View Finder: Yes, via iOS or Android app
Dimensions: 11.36 in. x 3.5 in. x 3.45 in.
Weight: 2.55 lbs.