If you don’t have night vision you’re missing out on half of a day. This is especially true when it comes to hunting. Night vision has been around for quite a while. And it has been in use with hunters in some form or another for some time. Many night vision scopes cost quite a bit. And for a more traditional analog night vision device like the PVS-14, you’re looking at spending 2-4k for a good model. This is well outside the budget of most people. And while there is no doubt that the PVS-14 provides superior gen 3 night vision it also must be paired with an optic. ATN has brought to market a simple, intuitive and reliable optic with built-in night vision capabilities.
While the ATN X-Sight II HD does utilize digital 1080p HD technology, I’ve found it to be enhanced when coupled with the IR illuminator that is provided. It puts a shine in animals eyes when viewed through the scope and made night shooting relatively easy. The X-Sight wowed me with the amount of features that it has. It should be noted that this isn’t your typical optic. You’re viewing everything through a tiny screen. Because of this eye relief is practically non existent, making for easy head placement.
The X-Sight can be used in day or night and can be easily switched through the on-screen menu. The optic is powered by either an external battery pack or 4 AA batteries. I’d recommend the external battery pack as the optic is power-hungry. It used the 4 AA’s in approximately 1.5 hours. With the battery pack it is lasting around 4-5 hours. The X-Sight has a built-in smart shooting solution. This allows you to enter in caliber, wind and several other variables and the computer automatically calculates everything for you. Incredibly handy and intuitive to use. The X-Sight also features a built-in range finder. So most things that you’d need to carry separate are contained within this unit. This is extremely handy and understated in my opinion. The firing solutions program has been in my experience, pretty dead on.
One of the coolest features in my mind is the recoil activated video. The system is automatically recording (when activated) and if you fire a shot, automatically saves the first 30-5 seconds (depending on settings) before the shot and a certain amount of time (programmable) after the shot. That way there can be no doubt that you made the shot. These videos can be synced with your phone so you can easily transfer them. The X-Sight also has customizable everything, from reticles to color of the night vision. Everything is easily changeable to your heart’s desire. I’ve loved this feature as it allows you to tailor the optic to yourself.
The night vision performance is good, though not amazing. Don’t expect modern PVS-31 filmess performance. It does well enough considering the 699 price tag. A good illuminator is very necessary. The X-Sight comes with an illuminator that works pretty well, however other IR illuminators can be had for quite cheap off of Amazon that perform quite well or even better. The 5-20x zoom is smooth, however the picture does get somewhat grainy at 20x. It is however still very usable.
The sight is definitely heavy, however it was not so much an issue when sitting and waiting for coyotes to come to me. Plus the X-Sight does come with most features that you would ever conceivably need which allows you to drop a couple dedicated units (range finders, ballistic calculators, night vision). I think that the X-Sight is a superior entry-level product that will serve you well in your hunting endeavors. In my experience it has been tough and utterly reliable under recoil. They can be had for around $699 depending on where you purchase it from. I’ve no doubt this optic will serve you well in most endeavors state side.