ATN’S X-sight II HD Scope
ATN’S X-sight II HD Scope
Acrisp cool breeze blows against my balaclava-covered face. The dew that has been leaving the area damp soaks through my wool woodland camouflage and threatens to pierce my base layer—it’s both cold and wet. I have been sitting among these granite rocks for the last three hours; trying to remain as quiet as possible in the early morning darkness has been a trying experience. Hunting is not killing; hunting is waiting. And the waiting is usually done in contorted positions in extremely cold weather. The tools of this trade have evolved from simple obsidian-tipped spears to fletched arrows to lead-based projectiles. But there’s a romanticism associated with the hunt, and for that romanticism to be consistent I have consistently chosen to use wood-furnished bolt-action rifles with glass optics. The optics are typically expensive, but employ simple glass nonetheless. You could point out that this may be somewhat hypocritical; were I a true romantic, I would have reverted back to the obsidian-tipped spear. But there is little debate that modern technology dramatically improves the chances of putting meat on the table and a trophy on my wall. With that in mind, I was a little nervous about reviewing the two products that showed up at my door at the Artemis Defense Institute, delivered in a brown UPS box from Atn—the company’s X-sight II HD and the ATN Laserballistics 1000 Laser ranger finder.
The Artemis Defense Institute is a tactical training facility. Most of our instructors are former SWAT operators and active duty Force Recon Marines. This results in some pretty exotic gear making its way through our doors on a fairly regular basis. Make no mistake, I am a gear junky yet when I’m hunting, I have always preferred to go old-school. So what was I to make of some strange looking, technologically powerful pieces of equipment that threatened to redefine how I hunt? Well, evolution is a necessity of life, and we must always be prepared to dispassionately evaluate new technology and see how or if it improves upon the status quo. With that in mind, I took the X-sight II HD out of its box for a closer look.
X-sight II HD Scope
There’s definitely something to be said for this optic’s cool factor straight out of the box; ATN has achieved an A grade in that. The scope is really more of a television set that has been mounted inside a tube. And like the television you use at home, this one has a slew of features. The image displayed when the scope is activated resembles a crisp HD broadcast. The strangest thing that took me a moment to get used to was the shape of the optic field. As I am more used to a circular field of view, I was slightly put off by the square image displayed by the ATN X-sight. However, I stopped noticing after the first few seconds. The most impressive thing is the night vision capability that comes embedded in the unit. Make no mistake, this is not the same night vision that our SF guys use downrange, but neither is it the cheap green Eastern Bloc version either. Before I even had a chance to mount the scope on my rifle, a couple of my instructors stole it from me and used it to walk around inside our lab—the training area where we house our force-on-force simulators. The ambient light is extremely low in there and they were able to use the optic to not only navigate their surroundings but could also read the writing on some of our signs located across the building, all in virtual darkness—not bad for a civilian optic. Chief among some of the X-sight II HD’S other notable features are its camera and video capabilities. Many have spent a lonely Saturday evening drinking whisky and watching those 30-minute hunting shows, wondering how
we could arrange our own lives to spend as much time afield as the host. Many of the camera men that accompany these hosts have become an inspiration to others to offer video services to hunters that want more than just a trophy from their hunt. The most important part of this video is, of course, the moment that the hunter connects. Too often these videos are simply the hunter lying prone and firing, then a quick cut to him walking up to his fallen animal. This is really not the camera man’s fault. Sometimes the animal is at such extreme distances that the camera cannot easily pick it up in time, so they just focus the lens on the hunter. Other times the camera itself creates the illusion of distance and makes the animal so small that it looks like the moose hunter is actually shooting at Coues deer. The X-sight II HD eliminates this issue. Since the scope is broadcasting a signal to a screen, it has the ability to not only record the information being broadcast, but to create a series of still photos as well. Upload that video to the web,
and then edit it into your hunt video and you now have a more thorough digital memento of the experience. A built-in compass also allows for quick understanding of your relationship to the sun for those of you that plan on using this on a predator hunt. As far as optics go, I can honestly say it is just as good as a traditional scope, but different. Like I stated earlier, the field of view takes a bit to get used to unless you already have experience with digital scopes. The ballistics seem to be just fine, as well. I used the scope on my Remington 700 chambered in .308. That rifle is capable of sub-moa groups at 100 meters. After pushing through 50 rounds down range (with the occasional break for cleaning), the scope was still holding its zero. The single biggest concern—and it is a concern I have with all electronic parts taken afield—are the batteries. Unlike a red dot incorporated with BUIS, if this scope goes down you are SOL. You will want to make sure that you
“The most impressive thing is the night vision capability that comes embedded in the unit.”
bring an extra set of four AA batteries on your adventure, as well as a Micro SD card if you want to keep the video.
A Plus All Around
The X-sight II HD from ATN is an exceptional product that enhances the shooter’s experience when afield. We had two targets set up at known distances: one at 214 and the other at 378. I set up on the 200-yard shooting bench and ranged the target with the one of ATN’S LRF 215 laser rangefinders. I
“The x-sight II hd from atn is an exceptional product that enhances the shooter’s experience when afield.”
checked the range display in the upper left of the screen, and it also read 215. At this point I'm itching to sling lead so I settled the reticle in on the center of the target, went hot and heard the tell-tale ring of the steel. After a couple more direct hits, I moved down to the next station to try my hand at a first-round hit on the 378-yard target. As expected, I made another firstround hit with an optic that was zeroed for 100 yards. To say the least, I was impressed from the very beginning. I look forward to putting it further through its paces.