The 4K Pro is a highly capable Digital Night Vision Optic for anyone new to Night Hunting or looking to slowly work their way to thermal. It’s certainly good enough for many of my fellow Texans who may shoot a pig once or twice a year. It’s an accessible product at an accessible price point and it’s a great way to get people introduced to the world of Night Hunting.
I started hog and predator hunting like most people- using green and red flashlights to try and identify game with varying degrees of success. After spending a few years playing with lights, I knew it was time to up-level my tools but the price to admission for Thermal and Night Vision optics was always out of reach.
What is Digital Night Vision?
Digital Night Vision is a relatively new technology that keeps getting better every year. The ATN X-Sight 4K Pro is a prime example of this.
Digital Night Vision is different from Thermal imaging which uses heat signatures to recreate an image. It’s also different from traditional ‘Analog’ Night Vision in that it doesn’t rely on tubes or a chemical reaction to enhance ambient lighting. In addition, Analog Night Vision units could be damaged if used in daylight. Digital Night Vision can be used either day or night, opening up options for many different styles of hunting.
Instead, Digital Night Vision takes in ambient lighting with the help of an infra-red light source and processes that signal to recreate an image in the dark. This is a super-simplified explanation so please don’t bust out the pitchforks yet, Internet.
The 4K Pro isn’t ATN’s first foray into Digital Night Vision. Its predecessor, the X-SIGHT II, was met with a lukewarm response from the predator hunting community and to their credit, ATN listened to their criticisms. The 4K Pro truly is an accessible Night Vision Optic for most people interested in Night Hunting or with a passing interest in Night Vision optics.
First Shots, Initial Thoughts
The 4K Pro comes in two models, a 3-14x and a 5-20x magnification models. Digital magnification is handled incrementally with a simple rotation of the left turret knob instead of the traditional stepped zoom you see in a lot of Night Vision Optics. The 4K Pro comes with scope rings, scope cover, sun-shade, rubber eye-guard, and an IR illuminator with a mount out of the box.
I don’t use the included IR torch. Instead, I upgraded to a larger Streamlight IR torch and mounted it using a Magpul flashlight mount. There’s nothing wrong with the IR torch ATN provides it just fell short of my needs. It’s not uncommon for me to stalk 300+ yards or more so I need as much range as possible. Additionally, 200-yard shots at night aren’t unheard of so I opted to upgrade my IR torch. The one provided by ATN will be perfectly fine for folks hunting from a blind or on smaller properties.
The housing unit is about what you’d expect from a Night Vision Optic, the same camcorder on a rifle profile that we’ve all come to know and love.
As far as image quality, you’re able to record in 1080p but I’ve observed your image quality is only as good as your ambient lighting. The included IR torch runs on two CR123 batteries. IR torches are power hungry so plan to burn through batteries like crazy. I can usually squeeze 2 hunts out of a pair of batteries if I’m being careful to shut the IR torch off when it’s not in use.
Speaking of batteries, the 4K Pro has an astonishing 18+ hours of continuous run time. I’ve spent over 2 years using this optic and I can attest to the longevity of its battery. I’ve gone on 3-day hunts without even coming close to worrying about my optic dying on me.
Everything about this scope is user-friendly. Navigating the menu is incredibly easy to do. After exploring the menu, I knew how to access my recordings, zero the scope, and toggle between reticle options. In addition, the buttons are tactile and responsive. They’re pronounced and never leaving me second-guessing if I actually hit record or not. The buttons are comparable in feel to the controls on the SIG Romeo 5 or any of the red dots manufactured by Holosun. This is a small detail but it makes a huge difference in the field.
The 4K Pro comes with all the standard features you’d expect from any Night Vision or Thermal optic. Here’s a list of what’s included ranked by how often I use it:
- Media Capture: You’re able to capture photos, video, and audio in 1080p resolution with the press of a single button. You can also view your media thru the scope or remove your micro-SD card to view it on a computer.
- One-Shot Zero: This works surprisingly well. It’s definitely easier to use if you have a bench rest vs sandbags though.
- Multiple Zero Profiles: I’ve actually never used this feature because I’m a little OCD about confirming my zero before a hunt but I’ve heard from others that it works flawlessly.
- Ballistics Calculator: Again, I’m OCD about zeroing so I confirm my zero religiously. I’ve never used this feature but I poked around with it and compared it against Federal’s ballistics calculator and it matched 1:1.
- Rangefinder: I wanted to like this but I find it highly inaccurate but it could very well be a user-error. You have to hold an X-Axis plane above and below a target long enough for the rangefinder to calculate your range. I’ve only tried using this in the field and I’ve gotten some wildly inaccurate reads.
I’ve had 2 years of experience with the 4K Pro and I’ve become intimately familiar with its shortcomings and the trade-offs you’re making in choosing Digital Night Vision over thermal.
First off, durability was an issue with my first model. On a hunt in 2018, I dropped my AR-10 about 3 feet from the truck and it landed on the 4K Pro. That unit was unable to be zeroed or hold zero ever again. Sadly, I had to send it back to ATN and they sent me a replacement model pretty quickly. I’ve been using that one ever since without any further issues. That experience did leave a bad taste in my mouth though so I tend to be much more careful with this optic than I am with a Trijicon or AimPoint.
Next is more of a criticism of Digital Night Vision technology as it’s not necessarily unique to the 4K Pro. The IR illuminator makes follow-up shots incredibly hard because the expanding gas from your initial shot reflects off of the IR and temporarily whites out your field of view. Here is an example of this:
This definitely isn’t a dealbreaker as it only lasts for a moment but it’s disorienting. If you hunt from a blind, this shouldn’t be too big of an issue at all.
If you’re Night Vision-curious, the ATN 4K Pro is a legitimate option at a forgiving price point. It’s loaded with features that will certainly give any Night Hunter an edge but it also works to push Digital Night Vision technology forward and continue to innovate. I haven’t sold my unit even after upgrading to a Pulsar Thermion because I like to give the 4K Pro to new hunters who tag along with me from time to time. I think if you keep your expectations within the confines of the technology’s limitations you will be delighted with the 4K Pro.