ATN X-Sight HD Day/Night Riflescope Review
When I got my first look at the ATN X-Sight HD Day/Night Riflescopes that were introduced at the 2014 Shot Show, I knew I had to get one for review. The X-Sight scopes are loaded with features such as HD video, night time capability, GPS and a wireless interface for your smart phone, and ATN was able to do this in an affordable package. ATN offers two versions; a 3-12x power model for an MSRP of $629 and a 5-18x power model for $729. In February of 2014 I placed my pre-order with OpticsPlanet.com for the 3-12x model and after a 9 month wait, my new X-Sight Riflescope finally arrived. When I originally placed the order, the price was listed at $600, but since the X-Sight stayed on backorder for so long, Optics Planet gave me a 10% discount, so I got the 3-12x model riflescope at a price of $540 which I think was an outstanding price. I thought at this price, if the X-Sight proves to be everything they advertise it to be, this riflescope would be one of the slickest new innovative riflescopes on the market.
Due to an issue with the initial 3-12x models not having a forward focus ring, the night images were not as clearly focused as they should be and ATN allowed returns of this original model with the option to wait until the new 3-12x models were released which included the front focusing ring, or they would give you an upgrade to their 5-18x model at no cost. I decided to go with an upgrade to the 5-18x model because I was anxious to get one in my hands to review. Since I did have the 3-12x model for a few days before I sent it back, I took a set of photos and will show some throughout Part 1 of this review for comparison.
Also, in the spirit of being full disclosure, the original 5-18x scope I received had an issue on my first weekend of field testing. The filter that switches the unit from day to night mode became loose inside the unit and got stuck such that the unit could not switch back to day mode. I contacted ATN and they replaced my unit with another 5-18x X-Sight. There were times when I thought it took too long to get a replacement unit, but I didn't push the issue because I wanted to give ATN every opportunity to send me the latest version of X-Sight coming out of the factory which might include any other hardware tweaks. Throughout all this, I was still overall pleased with ATN's customer service and feel like I was treated fairly.
ATN (American Technologies Network Corp.) introduced their new X-Sight in the two models shown below. The primary difference between these two models is the power (zoom) ranges. The operational features associated with these two models seems to be identical and this review should give you a good idea on what you can expect from either version.
Figure 1 - ATN X-Sight 3-12x
Figure 2 - ATN X-Sight 5-18x
During my reviews I like to compare my results to the manufacturer's claims where possible so the following text in colored italics was taken directly from the ATN website on 12/6/14 and gives an Overview, Key Features, and Specifications for the ATN X-Sight HD Day/Night Riflescopes. The , and are my way to keep up with details that I have covered in this review with either photos, commentary or both.
What's In The Box
The ATN X-Sight HD 3-12x and 5-18x Riflescopes came boxed as shown below.
I included photos of all sides of the boxes so you can get an idea on what you might see if you were looking at this product sitting on the shelf in your local gun store. Clicking on these photos, or any other ones in this review, will bring up a high resolution photo showing greater detail.
When I opened the boxes, all the components were paced in a green soft case. Under the soft cases were the printed items shown further below.
Inside the case for the 3-12x model were the following items:
Inside the case for the 5-18x model were the same basic items plus the addition of the lens hood (sun shade) and objective lens cap.
Each box contained slightly different printed items. The following printed items were included in the 3-12x model box:
The following printed items were included in the 5-18x model box:
The X-Sight scopes come with a fairly decent green case to store the unit when not in use. I'm still struggling with whether or not a case is needed because I would expect many people to install the scope on their rifle (just like any other scope), zero the scope and then leave it on the rifle for years. On the other hand, since this is a specialty product and there may be situations where having a night vision device on your rifle when hunting may be considered illegal, the case does offer a good place to store the unit. Either way, you get a case.
The soft case has a removable portion that contained the illuminator, spanner wrench and Allen wrench. The two batteries were stored in the front zippered pocket. The X-Sight units were in the bottom of the case. The case came with a shoulder strap and the top flap is secured with a Velcro strip on the front of the case.
ATN X-Sight 3-12x Model
This next series of photos shows the "as-received" condition for the ATN 3-12x X-Sight. One thing to notice is that this X-Sight did not come with the red buttons as shown on the ATN website. Keep in mind that these photos show the initial unit prior to them adding the focusing ring on the objective lens, but the photos should still give you a good idea on the overall unit size and build. This 3-12x model measured about 9.25" in length with the eyecup installed and 7.87" with the eyecup removed. It also measured about 3.22" in width across the battery cap and rail section.
The total height of the unit measured 3.38" and the height above the rail to the centerline of the optic is about 1.80". In the photo below, I orientated the battery cap (large round knob) and HDMI / SD Card cover so that they would read correctly. Neither of these clocked to this position when fully tightened.
The bottom of the unit has a Picatinny or Weaver rail clamp style mount with a single recoil lug.
The left side of the unit has a short 3-slot rail section measuring 1.77" in length.
The eyepiece lens allows you to look at the embedded display and the objective lens brings the image into focus on the sensor.
The 3-12x X-Sight weighed in at 2 pounds 6.5 ounces (2.4 pounds) including four AA batteries and the scope does have a hefty feel for it's size.
I found a video online produced by ATN which explains the use of the X-Sight and I was able to capture this image below which shows the new configuration of the 3-12x model having the front focusing ring.
ATN X-Sight 5-18x Model
This next series of photos show the "as-received" condition of the ATN 5-18x X-Sight. The significant difference between this model and the 3-12x model is the large objective lens. This 5-18x model measured about 12.0" in length with the eyecup installed and 10.80" with the eyecup removed and lens cap off. It also measured about 3.21" in width across the battery cap and rail section.
Just like the other model, the total height of the unit measured 3.38" and the height above the rail to the centerline of the optic is about 1.80". In the photo below, I orientated the battery cap (large round knob) and HDMI / SD Card cover so that they would read correctly. Neither of these clocked to this position when fully tight.
The bottom of the unit has a Picatinny or Weaver rail clamp style mount with a single recoil lug. One thing this unit had on the bottom that was not on the other unit was the sticker on the mount stating "Made in China".
The left side of the unit has a short 3-slot rail section measuring 1.77" in length. This unit also including "X-SiGHT" in shiny black lettering along with what looks like a serial number for the unit.
The objective lens measured about 57mm in diameter.
The 5-18x X-Sight weighed in at 2 pounds 15.7 ounces (3.0 pounds) including four AA batteries and like the other model, the scope does have a hefty feel for it's size.
Adding the lens hood will add another 2.9 ounces bringing the total weight to 3.16 pounds.
With the 3.0" lens hood installed, the unit has a total length of 13.8" with the eye cup removed.
X-Sight Common Features
My view of the ATN X-Sight is that it is a ruggedized video camera with an integrated mounting system and reticle system. The unit includes a screen, body that contains the guts of the camera, battery compartment, memory card slot, video output ports, control panel and lens. All of these exist on video cameras and ATN has been able to package them into what looks like an interesting riflescope. The body of the X-Sight is all black except for the markings as shown. On the right side you have the battery compartment cover and memory card / output cover. In the photos below, both of these covers were tightened properly and their final orientation is what you see.
The left side of the X-Sight has a short rail section used for mounting the IR illuminator.
The rubber eyecup is a bellows style that is intended to cup around your eye preventing light from being seen externally and also preventing other ambient light from reducing your ability to see the night vision image.
The front objective lens end on the 3-12x riflescope measured 2.17" in diameter and has a ridged exterior. The visible portion of the lens measured 1.14" (29mm). The photo below shows the older version which does not have the front focusing ring, but the old and new configurations are relatively similar. If you take a flashlight and shine it inside this lens, you will see that inside the unit there is a sensor similar to that of a digital SLR camera.
The front objective lens housing on the 5-18x riflescope measured an outside diameter of 2.50" and the visible portion of the lens measured about 2.25" (57mm). Also you can see the front focus ring has a direction arrow to rotate the ring to focus at infinity. Using this ring, I was able to focus on objects extremely close (about 15 feet and more later in the review on focusing).
The top of the unit has a power button and a simple five button control panel. Forward of the power button is what appears to be the Wi-Fi and GPS antenna. The original 3-12x unit had black buttons with white markings and the 5-18x unit I received had red buttons with white markings.
This next photo shows the battery cover and memory card / output cover removed. Each of these covers has an O-ring to help seal the compartment, but I don't think the X-Sight is waterproof because this is not advertised by ATN.
I think it was a good idea on ATN's part to place the batteries sideways in the unit to prevent possible issues with recoil causing the battery contacts to gap which could cause the sight to turn off. The photo below shows a micro SD card installed in the center. ATN states that the unit accepts 4 to 32 Gb micro SD cards. The card I used for initially updating the firmware was 2 Gb and it worked without issue. I have since purchased a 32 Gb card that has also worked without issue. The port on the left is the micro USB port and the one on the right is the micro HDMI port. The micro USB port allows you to plug the scope into your computer to download the video and photos. It will also allow you to power the unit via your computer or some type of USB charging system provided you have already booted up the X-Sight. The unit must be turned on to access the memory card.
On the left side of the unit is a short 3-slot 1.77" rail for mounting the provided ATN IR850 Illuminator or any other type of rail mounted accessory.
The rail is held in place with two Allen head screws and I checked for tightness and they seemed sufficiently tight. I didn't remove the screws because the tightness implied they may have been installed with some type of thread locking compound.
The bottom of the unit comes with a rail mount. The rail mount fits any Picatinny or 7/8" Weaver rails. The side clamp nuts are 1/2" hex nuts and are designed so that they will not come off the cross bolt when fully loosened. This helps greatly when installing and removing this optic in less than ideal situations.
The mount on the 3-12x model was held in place with Allen head screws. Just like with the other two screws, I checked the tightness and they were good and also seemed like they were installed with thread locker. The mount also has a single recoil lug which is held in place with two Phillips head screws. These two screws were easily removed and doing so allows you the ability to flip the recoil lug plate around giving you the ability to shift the scope mounting position by 1/3". When I removed the recoil lug on the 5-18x model I found there to be a third mounting screw under the lug plate. After range testing, I also found these screws to not be sufficiently tight, so make sure you check yours.
The clamp plate is spring loaded so that as you loosen the 1/2" nuts, the plate pushes away from the mount which allows you a quick removal and installation.
The eyepiece comes with a removable eyecup that has a bellows shape. This type of eyecup is a good addition for those not needing glasses and who are trying to minimize the light signature on their face and maximize the pupil diameter of their eye to match the light coming from the X-Sight. For those who wear glasses, this eyecup is a pain in the rump (my opinion), but fortunately the eyecup can be easily removed. With it removed, looking through the X-Sight is like looking through any other riflescope.
The X-Sight also comes with a ±5 diopter adjustment which is made by turning the ridged ring shown below. If you wear glasses and choose not to use your glasses when using this scope, it is possible to adjust the diopter setting to allow the screen to be in focus. As for eye relief, ATN states it to be 67mm (2.64"). Since you are actually looking at a small video screen through the eyepiece, the ability to see the entire screen seemed to dictate proper eye position. I found the best eye relief to be somewhere between 1.5" and 2", so be warned if you are using this scope on a high recoiling rifle.
These next photo shows the ATN X-Sight Riflescopes installed on a simple AR-styled rifle I put together. Overall I think the X-Sight makes an attractive addition to this rifle system.
ATN IR850 Illuminator Details and Features
This next series of photos show the "as-received" condition for the ATN IR850 Illuminator which came with the X-Sight units. The original illuminator I received with the X-Sight was not operational and I called ATN and they immediately got another illuminator shipped out to me once I emailed them a copy of my receipt. The IR850 Illuminator is all black except for the simplistic white markings showing battery orientation, IR intensity up "+" or down "-" beside the two buttons on the top, and the arrows indicating you can adjust the direction of the IR beam. These arrows are beside the elevation and windage adjustment screws that are used to adjust the illumination to be zeroed on your field of view when looking through the X-Sight. To turn the illuminator on or off, you press both buttons down simultaneously. The intensity has four levels if IR illumination with the highest being 850 mW according to the specifications. I believe the illuminator produces an IR light in the 840 or 850 nm (nanometer) wavelength. This is not clear when looking at the ATN website. The illuminator is listed as 850 mW (milliwatts) which should be related to power of the illuminator and not wavelength.
The illuminator attaches to the rail with a standard clamp bar and nut arrangement. The shape of the nut is intended to be hand tightened so that you can install or remove the illuminator as necessary in the field without tools.
The bottom of the mount has a recoil lug similar to that of the X-Sight unit. Most likely this was done for commonality of parts and ease of fabrication because I don't see a real need for this 1/3" adjustment range on the illuminator. The mount is attached by two screws to a ring which goes around the body of the illuminator.
The illuminator his held tight against the ring via a special nut. The figure below taken from the X-Sight Manual and gives you a good idea on how the spanner wrench and nut are used.
These next photos give you some more views of the illuminator. Notice in the right figure that there is a green LED which is illuminated when the unit is turned on. It is possible to adjust the beam field of coverage (wide or narrow) by rotating the front knurled end of the illuminator. When the illuminator is turned on, it will visibly glow red, but do not look at this because doing so may damage your eyes (see Owner's Manual).
The ATN IR850 Illuminator with two CR123 batteries weighed in at 6.7 ounces (0.42 pounds). This means that the 3-12x model and IR850 together weigh in at a combined weight of about 2.8 pounds and the 5-18x model with illuminator will have a weight of 3.4 pounds.
These next photos are provided just to give you some more views of the illuminator.
This next series of photos show the ATN IR850 Illuminator installed on the 3-12x X-Sight Scope.
I found it to feel more natural to have the illuminator buttons oriented in the up position when making adjustments or turning the unit On or Off. I wish the illuminator rail had been located on the right side of the riflescope because I found that as I adjusted the focus with my left hand at night, I would block the beam of the illuminator and no longer be able to see what I was trying to focus on.
This next photos give you a look at the X-Sight riflescopes installed on a 300 BLK AR styled rifle with the illuminator installed.
You can see a Hardware Overview of the 5-18x model by watching the video below.
At the end of the day, it will be the performance of the X-Sight's key features that will define its success as a day/night riflescope. The specifications and features are very impressive and overall the unit does give the impression of decent quality. As with any new product, there will be growing pains as the product is put on the market before it reaches it's maturity. I think this was the case with the X-Sights I received, but at least based on my first hand experience, ATN has "in good faith" supported making good any issues I have had with the X-Sight or accessories. I still believe the X-Sight is a great value for what you get in this day/night riflescope and the fact that it also comes with an IR illuminator makes the value even greater. The next part of this review goes into the operational features of the X-Sight
For more detailed photos and commentary, make sure you check out the other parts of this review and feel free to leave comments below. The following links are provided to help you see other parts of this review.