Digital Night Vision Scope for $599? Hog Hunting with the ATN X-Sight II HD – Full Review

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The X-Sight II isn’t perfect, but it’s a tremendous value for night hunting (it also looks great on an AR).

Earlier this year I noticed a Facebook ad for American Technology Network’s (ATN) new X-Sight II HD digital rifle scope. As firearm-related ads are wont to do, it called my name until I finally decided to check it out.

According to ATN’s website, the 3-14x power model features a range finder, night vision, a ballistics computer, photo and video capabilities, one-shot zero, a gyroscope, a compass, an e-barometer, and Wi-Fi connectivity. ATN packs all of these features (and more) into the X-Sight II and sells it for a supremely reasonable $599.

The scope comes in a nice carrying case, which fits both the optic and the infrared flashlight necessary for night vision.

Six hundred dollars is a nice chunk of change for a rifle scope, but for a night vision optic that also records video, it all seemed a bit too good to be true. And after using the X-Sight for the last few days, I’m still not sure what to think. I was both impressed and annoyed at various points during testing, which I explain below. But first, a little background.

ATN has been a leader in night vision and thermal imaging for roughly the last two decades. They offer high-quality optics used by military and law enforcement, and as their name suggests, they manufacture many of their products in the USA. When it comes to rifle optics, binoculars, and spotting scopes, ATN has the chops to do just about whatever they want.

The company has begun more recently to invest in the commercial market by producing optics at price points closer to what most consumers are looking to spend. They offer the X-Sight II in a 3-14x power model for $599 (which I tested) and a 5-20x for $699.

I tested the X-Sight on several guns, but the non-adjustable stock on my Savage 11 made getting a clear sight picture more difficult.

The X-Sight II is a cool product. There’s no doubt about that. But as far as functionality goes, it’s a mixed bag. Some features I loved. Others… not so much. So, rather than endorsing or criticizing the optic as a single unit, I organized my review around the Good, the Average, and the Ugly. I didn’t want to stick too closely to the title of Eastwood’s classic flick because the “average” features weren’t necessarily “bad”—they just weren’t quite what I was expecting.

Shooters control the menu and power using six buttons located on top of the scope. The arrow keys double to zoom the scope in and out and to capture still and moving images.

SPECS

  • SENSOR: HD 1080p ATN L130 Sensor
  • MAGNIFICATION: 3 – 14X
  • FIELD OF VIEW @ 1000 YARDS: 460 ft
  • OBJECTIVE LENS: 50 mm
  • SYSTEM RESOLUTION: 160 lp/mm
  • EYE RELIEF: 65 mm
  • GPS (GEOTAGGING, ELEVATION, ETC.): Yes
  • 3D GYROSCOPE: Yes – GS7
  • E-BAROMETER: Yes
  • SMART RANGEFINDER: Yes
  • SMART SHOOTING SOLUTION: Yes
  • E-COMPASS: Yes
  • MOUNT: Picatinny, Interchangeable
  • COMPATIBLE MOUNTS: A.R.M.S.® #17® (single lever), A.R.M.S.® #35® (double lever), LaRue LT270, American Defense (AD-170)
  • BATTERY TYPE: 4 AA type batteries, 1.5 V (Lithium recommended)
  • DIMENSIONS: 11.56″ x 3.1″ x 3.4″/294 mm x 79 mm x 87 mm
  • WEIGHT: 2.15 lbs
  • WARRANTY: Two years

Using the X-Sight feels a bit like flying a fighter jet. The display provides tons of information, all of which can come in handy on a hunt. Image courtesy of manufacturer.

Fit and Function

This is the infrared flashlight. It can be mounted to an accessory rail or to the rail on the side of the X-Sight.

Three things here. First, the X-Sight II is a digital rifle scope. Basically, it’s a nice digital camera set up to be a firearm optic. That’s how ATN packs so many features into the X-Sight while keeping the cost down (it’s also made in China, which probably helps).

Second, “night view” on the X-Sight might not function exactly as you imagine. The scope sees in the dark by sensing the infrared light emitted by a separate device that mounts to an accessory rail or the rail on the left side of the sight. The X-Sight doesn’t use an image intensifier tube, which is how more expensive night vision optics work. This setup means that night view won’t function unless the infrared flashlight is mounted and switched on. It also means the shooter can see only as far as the infrared flashlight can shine.

Third, keep in mind that the eye relief is only about 2.5 inches. Be sure you can mount the optic far enough to the rear to be able to place your eye comfortably on the black latex eyepiece. I was able to do it with my adjustable AR-15 stock, but I had more trouble with my Savage 11.

I was standing in roughly the same spot when I took these two pictures. The target is about 100 yards away, which seems to be the effective range of the infrared flashlight. The nighttime picture doesn’t quite do justice to the image—I’m confident I could have hit the target at 100 yards. (I added the yellow outline).

The Good – Night Vision, Ballistics Calculator, and Ammunition Profiles

The X-Sight’s value goes up exponentially when the sun goes down. Hunting hogs or coyotes with a red or green light work well enough for many hunters. But the X-Sight’s night view allows users to stay in complete concealment, line up each shot, and make a clean, ethical kill. The effective range is roughly 100 yards, which is lots of room for most hunts, especially at night.

The adjustable stock on my AR-15 allowed me to use the scope comfortably. As long as you’re not allergic to the latex eyepiece, you shouldn’t have too much trouble.

Shooters can easily toggle between day and night view on the menu screen, and the infrared light includes three intensity settings as well as a focus lens. Night view can also be set to a green or white color scheme, though I found the white setting to be a bit easier to see.

If you do lots of night hunting, this scope is probably worth your money for the night vision capability alone. You might be able to get a higher quality image with a glass scope, but you’re probably going to pay more than twice as much for it.

The ballistics calculator is the X-Sight’s second exceptional feature. It works like other ballistics calculators in that shooters input factors like range-to-target, bullet velocity, and wind speed. But unlike the ballistics app on your phone, the X-Sight’s calculator moves your reticle precisely where it needs to be. Check out this video for more info on how to use the ballistics calculator.

Finally, the X-Sight allows shooters to zero the scope with different types of ammunition and save each zero in an ammunition profile. I began by zeroing the scope using 55gr .223 ammunition. Then, as I planned to take down a hog or two, I also zeroed using 62gr .556 and saved that zero in a second ammunition profile.

I toggled back and forth between the profiles, and found that the reticle moved each time to the correct point of impact for each load. This feature is awesome if you like to use different loads for different applications. You can simply save one profile for your match ammo and another for your hunting ammo.

The Average – Rangefinder, Image Quality

The scope saves images and videos to a micro SD card (not included). It also has HDMI and micro USB inputs.

“Smart Range Finder” is a bit of a misnomer. The feature asks the shooter to place the reticle at the top and the bottom of each target, which allows the X-Sight’s computer to measure the angle and calculate the range using the target’s height. There’s only one problem—the optic doesn’t know the height of the target.

I tried to calculate the range of a target I knew to be 200 yards away, but the computer estimated the range at 450 yards. When I inputted the correct target height, the computer gave me the correct range, but that doesn’t do me much good if I’m looking at a deer of uncertain size at 400 yards.

Still, I can see how the range finder could be useful. If you’re expecting the functionality of a laser range finder, you’re going to be disappointed. But if you know the average height of the deer in your area, the X-Sight gives you the ability to make a good range estimation in a matter of seconds.

ATN also makes much of the “HD” quality of their optic’s screen image, and while I’m sure it’s a step above previous models, it leaves something to be desired. I have a 14x scope, and I’m usually able to see hits on target at 100 yards. I had to use a spotting scope to see my hits with the X-Sight, which was a bit disappointing. That being said, the image quality is good enough to get the job done. It may not be crystal clear, but that’s the trade-off for a night-vision capable scope at this price point.

Here’s an example of an ammunition profile. The more information you include, the more accurate the ballistics calculator will be for each load. Image courtesy of the manufacturer.

The Ugly – Frozen Scope, Dead Scope

I won’t spend much time here because, quite frankly, the scope functioned as advertised. But I did want to note two of my less-than-satisfactory experiences.

The first occurred as I was testing the Recoil Activated Video function. After one of my shots, the scope image froze in place. I tried to restart the optic, but none of the buttons worked until I removed and reinstalled the batteries. This is one of the drawbacks of a digital scope—if the electronic image stops working, your hunt is over. I only experienced this problem once during the course of three days, but it was concerning enough that I wanted to mention it.

The second ugly moment happened during my would-be hog hunt. I used AA alkaline batteries during the course of my testing, which ATN does not recommend because alkaline batteries only last about two hours. I can’t fault them for the short battery life, but I was expecting some kind of warning before the scope died. Instead, I found myself out in the field looking at a black screen. I should have been using higher quality batteries, but I would have appreciated a warning light or message before I lost the ability to use my firearm.

Shooters can improve the image quality with the focus adjustment knob (left) and the diopter adjustment ring (right). Focusing the image isn’t what you want to worry about during a hunt, but for long-range shooting it’s a nice feature.

Conclusion

Overall, the X-Sight’s Good qualities far outweigh the Ugly, and the optic includes, even more, features that I don’t have space to cover. If you’re looking for a reasonably priced night hunting rifle scope, the X-Sight is for you. The infrared light works well, and the image at night is good enough to hit anything out to about 100 yards. The X-Sight isn’t perfect, but it’ll be a huge asset the next time you head out to reduce the wild hog population on your property.

For more information, visit https://www.atncorp.com/x-sight2-hd-day-night-rifle-scope-3-14x.

To purchase a Trijicon optic on GunsAmerica, click here.

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • William M Durham September 23, 2017, 3:23 pm

    I was interested in one of these but there is never any information available as to what you can put it on. I got in touch with them and was told do not try to use this scope an any rifle with a hefty recoil. Will not handle a big kick, whether it means no Weatherbys like I wanted to put it on {240 or 257 Weatherby] or no wsm or large rifles. Seems as if they are made for the little boys and I guess they know they make it. But said absolutely no to anything like a Weatherby.

  • Greg September 19, 2017, 7:08 am

    I learned about this scope while watching YT videos of another application for it. That is night hunting for rats with a PCP pellet rifle. Due to the much closer range to target, it is well suited for that with ample IR illumination and is bad news for barn rats. I am planning to buy one just for that purpose.

  • Jimmy vickers September 18, 2017, 1:13 pm

    Hey Carl, CHILL OUT!

    • Carl September 18, 2017, 6:21 pm

      OK! You are right! Sorry, no offense – hummmmmmm….

  • Infidel762x51 September 18, 2017, 9:04 am

    I have one of these and a drawback he does not mention is during daylight operation you must keep your eye snugly against the eyepiece, especially if then sun is coming form one side. The image is totally washed out if sunlight gets between your eye and the eyepiece. If you wear glasses you need to take them off for daytime shooting. At night or dusk and dawn you can’t beat if for the price.

  • Mike S September 18, 2017, 7:50 am

    I’ve had one of these for about a year. Not crazy about it at all. It has frozen in me a number of times,and it’s nearly impossible to fine-focus. The focus knob on top of the scope is very stiff, and has about 270° of turning range, but only 10-15° of that range is needed to focus from 7 yds to infinity, meaning it you barely perceive any movement of the knob, you probably went past your focus point. I wrote ATN THREE times about that over the course of two months, and in spite of their promise to respond with a couple days, they apparently can’t be bothered to respond ever. The other things that I would add to your review, is that the dang thing is HEAVY, and even the recommended lithium-ion batteries don’t last but a couple hours. The stock-mounted battery pack would add much needed time of use, but also a lot more weight. I also have found the buttons to be finicky at times. Your eye has to be not only close, but right in line, else the whole presentation goes blurry.

    • Dr Motown September 18, 2017, 8:33 am

      I use an Armasight clip-on, and it works much better than you describe your ATN experience. I can see clearly past 100 yards for sure, especially with the IR amplifier turned on, and I can dial up my day scope to at least 6x and still have a clear picture. Got it about 3 years ago, a Gen 2 model, I believe, but, of course, the cost was around $1800 as opposed to $600. As usual, you get what you pay for…

  • Jimmy G September 18, 2017, 7:34 am

    OKAY ! I want one ! ((( BUT ))). In the reviews I read battery life is only two hours long. Now I hunt coyote at night and raccoon but I might spend hours inn the stand. Two hours of battery life I would have to have at least two extra battery packs to make this work. So what is your solution to my problem? This would be my Birthday present to myself. 9/11/49.

    • THADIUS September 18, 2017, 8:23 am

      Re-read it.. when using the WRONG batteries, you get only two hours… use the correct batteries and you get 5-10x that. (*depending on quality of the batteries you buy)

      • Mike S September 19, 2017, 12:15 am

        Two hours max on the recommended lithium-ion batteries. Don’t be fooled by Madison Ave. hype.

  • Carl September 18, 2017, 7:03 am

    To use a piece of equipment (alkaline batteries) that the manufacturer said NOT to use – especially when “reviewing” an important hunting device – is blatantly stupid! The reviewer is not qualified to be a reviewer if he can not follow simple directions for a device. Why next he is going to say the 9mm gun did not shoot well – and oh, he put .22 ammunition in it when the directions said to only use 9mm! Get another reviewer next time!

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