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.
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.
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.
- 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
Fit and Function
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.
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.
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
“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.
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.
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.
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