ATN X-Sight II Smart Day/Night Riflescope Part 1
- By Pete Moore
- 1 Comments
- Last updated: 22/03/2017
I remember getting the first, Mk1 X-Sight, digital day/night optic in 2015. I was blown away by what it potentially offered and it had more features than my daughter has issues. The Mk 1 3-12x50 proved less than impressive, with problems on image quality, zeroing and focusing and had me tearing my hair out at times. However, I received the larger 5-18 Mk 1 version and it was certainly better and brought back a little faith and interest in the product!
In 2016, ATN launched their X-Sight II HD Smart Day/Night Riflescope (Mk11). Most noticeable was the new HD (high definition) optical package, which was much more like it! However, it did not stop there, as areas like the front focus has also been improved with a turret at 12 o’clock, which gives more movement and does not restrict operation with an IR torch fitted! Unique is the fact it’s a user-selectable, true day and night optic.
The Mk11 is offered in two models, the smaller 3-14 x 50 and the larger 5-20 x 85 (on test). It weighs 2.55 lbs and measures 11.36 x 3.5 x 3.45” and is heavier than a comparable day scope, though reasonably compact. Mounting is by a Picatinny base with twin nuts, compatible mounts are available from A.R.M.S., LaRue and American Defence. The 3-14 is slightly smaller and lighter at 2.15 lbs and 11.56 x 3.1 x 3.4”. Power is supplied by 4 x AA batteries; Lithiums are recommended, which give a quoted run time of 8-12 hours, depending on the functions running. I’ve had 8+ hours with ease. There’s an optional rechargeable, Power Weapons Kit, with a 22-hour run time. Good idea but more weight on the gun!
What initially struck me was the vastly improved HD function, which is a quantum leap forward over the Mk1, which gives great, full-colour imaging! Plus, at the press of a button, you can switch to full NV mode (green or white) along with a myriad of other functions. I would not use them all, as I’m more about shooting; however, ATN has packed a huge amount of technology into a practical sized package at very competitive prices! Supplied are an IR850 IR Illuminator (with QD mount), soft bag, C-spanner and a sun shade with occluder cap. The main body houses the multi-button key pad that handles all functions, on the left is a short Picatinny rail for the IR.
Functions are as follows: HD Day/HD Night, Full HD Video & Photos, Smart Shooting Solution, Smart Range Finder, Recoil Activated Video (RAV), WiFi (Streaming, Gallery & Controls) iOS & Android, Bluetooth 4.1, 3D GS7 Gyroscope, 3D Magnetometer, 3D Accelerometer, E-Barometer, Smooth Zoom, Profile Manager, Electronic Compass, GPS Geotagging and elevation, Microphone, IP Rating Weather resistant, Multiple patterns and colour options for reticule, Micro HDMI, and 2-year warranty; phew!
As an existing X-Sight owner, the improvements on the Mk II are pleasingly obvious as well as the new features. RAV has the camera record a number of seconds of video, which is constantly updated, and when you take the shot, the camera actuates automatically and what has been recorded is kept then seamlessly added to the actual moment of shooting and just after. Reticule choice has improved from the three of old to include a Mil-Dot type, ladder, circle dot and an open cross dot in a wider range of colours – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, grey and black. The menue is easier to navigate too. The shooter’s view now includes an inclinometer and cant meter that displays the off sets in degrees. Magnification dials up/down by cursors with a read out of the setting, though it returns to x5 when switched off.
There’s a new ballistics package with the ability to input data such as bullet weight, BC, velocity, wind, with the X-Sight automatically supplying things like barometric pressure, altitude temperature etc. The rangefinder works on bracketing a ‘known height’ measurement, with a number of animal pre-sets as well as ‘enter your own height’ function. All these features are downloaded to a micro SD card (not supplied), which runs the sight using ATN’s Obsidian Core II programme. As things change, be they improvements or bug fixes, you get an e-mail then, log in and down load the latest firmware.
This review will require at least two parts such is the scope of the package; part 1 is an intro and initial impressions. As with the original, the Mk II is a sharp learning curve. The key pad consists of six buttons - top POWER (ON/OFF), middle ENTER (select functions) with four arrow pads (cursors) at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. Reticule focus is at the rear with a rubber/bellows eye cup, on the right of the body is a large round drum (battery compartment cover) forward of this is a screw-off plate that accesses the micro SD card (not included) along with micro USB and HDMI ports. At 12 o’clock on the forward body is the focus drum. A captive rubber front cap is included and the 85mm objective is threaded for a 3.5” sun shade and an occluder cap with a small hole in the middle. I was a bit confused by this at first!
The scope has a 4-meg, on-board memory and will accept up to 64-meg micro SD cards. You have to register your device first on the ATN website (www.atncorp.com) then down load the firmware, this has to be done on your PC using a card adaptor. With the card installed, press POWER for 5-seconds and it will actuate then display the screen with the reticule in the middle. Then you will get a drop down asking if you want to upgrade the firmware, using the 3 and 9 o’clock keys select (NO) and press ENTER and you’re in! ATN includes a basic start-up guide but has the full manual on the website, which I’d recommend!
The menue is easy; press ENTER and scroll left/right through the option icons, what you want is the ‘spanner’ (SYSTEM OPTIONS) which gets you into everything you need to set up, such as reticule options (shape/ colour), zeroing, brightness and all the rest of the good stuff. Using the cursors, move across and up/down to get what you want and ENTER to select, then exit using the cursors back to the main screen. NV mode is a separate icon, as are other major functions.
Reticule-wise, I found the Mil-Dot type in red with its vertical and horizontal hash marks practical for most needs. Zeroing is easy, with a double cross system – note your point of impact (POI) get into ZERO mode and you will get a white cross superimposed over your reticule. Maintain that over your aim point then with the cursors move your cross to the POI then press ENTER and you will get a menue that includes SAVE & EXIT, press ENTER and it’s set. One tip here for ease of spotting, use Shoot & See type targets that have a black backer which flakes off in a yellow or orange circle when hit. Also, the rifle needs to be stable when adjusting; a bipod and rear bag helps no end!
In the main screen you can adjust the magnification by using the 12 and 6 o’clock cursors. They only offer continuous pressure operation, so be aware it’s all too easy to run past your setting before you come off the button. Single press increments would be a useful upgrade!
Though with much better resolution than the Mk1 I did find that the view was less than crisp, even with the improved focusing, which made seeing the bullet holes at 100m and general viewing less than ideal. I tried dialling down the brightness, which helped a bit; after all the X-Sight is really a big digital camera, but not by that much. Frustrated (a regular thing with the Mk1) I remembered the sunshade and that strange occluder cap. I fitted this and things improved, my guess is that big 85mm lens might let in too much light, which distorts the image and the occluder sorts that out; otherwise why would they include it? For day use it’s now a permanent feature!
In NV (NIGHT MODE) for me the green worked better than the white option. The included IR torch is to be frank; not all that and lacks power at longer ranges. I fitted a Nightmaster NM800 X-Searcher in their adjustable mount and that really allows the X-Sight to realise its full NV potential, with a pleasing crisp and clear view and image. Overall, I reckon the Mk11 X-sight is a quantum leap over the Mk1 and will prove both popular and practical with many shooters! Next month into the field day and night!
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