THE IPHONE OF RIFLESCOPES

THE SMART FEA­TURES ON ATN’S X- SIGHT 4K PRO 5-20X MAKE IT A WIN­NER

Tactical World - - Contents - TEXT BY MIKE SEAR­SON | PHOTOS BY BEN DAVIS

The smart fea­tures on ATN’S X-sight 4K Pro will blow you away. By Mike Sear­son

My first ex­pe­ri­ence with night vi­sion oc­curred when I was a 17-yearold Ma­rine back in the late 1980s. It was an AN/PVS-4 (Night Vi­sion Sight, In­di­vid­ual Served Weapon, AN/PVS-4), and its claim to fame was that it was the first sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion pas­sive night vi­sion sight.

Al­though it was state of the art at the time, it left a lot to be de­sired. Ma­jor im­prove­ments to night vi­sion have been made since then. The new gear is much clearer, lighter weight and prob­a­bly a lot more ex­pen­sive, even when ad­just­ing for the rate of in­fla­tion. Yet, I was re­cently able to lay hands on a weapon-mounted night vi­sion scope that was dif­fer­ent in sev­eral ways than even the multi-thou­sand­dol­lar units used by the mil­i­tary. The best part, though, had to be the price. The scope in ques­tion is the ATN X-sight 4K Pro 5-20x.

DIG­I­TAL NIGHT VI­SION

Stan­dard op­ti­cal night vi­sion de­vices am­plify am­bi­ent light from nat­u­ral sources, such as the moon and stars, or man­made sources, such as dis­tant street­lights, through an in­ten­si­fier tube, which projects an am­pli­fied im­age onto a phos­phor screen be­fore the eye­piece. Dig­i­tal night vi­sion, on the other hand, pro­cesses the ex­ter­nal light within a cou­pling de­vice and projects it to a liq­uid crys­tal dis­play (LCD). As a re­sult, dig­i­tal night vi­sion de­vices can be used in day­light, as well.

Most dig­i­tal night vi­sion de­vices fea­ture sev­eral dis­play set­tings that al­low the ren­der­ing of the im­age on the LCD in green, red or gray. Green is typ­i­cally the high­est qual­ity, red is used for pre­serv­ing night vi­sion and gray de­creases the viewer’s light sig­na­ture when view­ing. In­stead of look­ing through a scope, it is more like look­ing through the viewfinder of a cam­era.

SET UP

There is a bit of a learn­ing curve when set­ting up, or at least there was for me.

Mount­ing the scope to the ri­fle is pretty straight­for­ward. First you have to find room for the bases of your rings on the rail and make sure the rings en­gage the tube prop­erly. Then, you make sure the scope is level and your eye re­lief is okay.

I mounted the scope on a Cobalt Ki­net­ics Re­con car­bine. This is a fast-han­dling car­bine built like a Fer­rari. It sports a 13-inch bar­rel and a 3-inch per­ma­nently at­tached Cobalt PRO Muz­zle Brake, mak­ing the to­tal bar­rel length 16 inches. A com­fort­able PDW stock al­lows the shooter the abil­ity to make the ri­fle even more com­pact.

Ze­ro­ing the scope is com­pletely dif­fer­ent than a tra­di­tional ri­fle­scope, and I mean that in a good way. How­ever, it must be done at a range as op­posed to bore­sight­ing in your back­yard or work­shop.

The shooter takes aim at the tar­get and af­ter fir­ing the first round, you must move the ret­i­cle to your point of im­pact, press a but­ton and set your zero.

Even bet­ter is the fact that the scope will store mul­ti­ple “ze­roes” for mul­ti­ple ri­fles, so should you want to move from a 5.56 ri­fle to a .458 SOCOM or to a .308 bolt gun; you can do so with min­i­mal shift in POI (Point of Im­pact).

The ATN X-sight 4K Pro 5-20x in­cor­po­rates smart­phone tech­nol­ogy like we have never seen be­fore in a ri­fle­scope from a rangefinder to an in­ter­nal bal­lis­tics cal­cu­la­tor. Imag­ine a scope that “knows” the wind, range, tar­get an­gle, tem­per­a­ture, hu­mid­ity, and as we men­tioned, can be set up for dif­fer­ent ri­fles. You no longer have to imag­ine, be­cause now it’s a re­al­ity. In keep­ing with that smart­phone spirit, the shooter can stream HD

video di­rectly from the scope, plus si­mul­ta­ne­ously record what they are view­ing to the SD card in­side. I am start­ing to think of this as the iphone of riflescopes.

The view looks a bit dif­fer­ent than a stan­dard glass op­tic. I was wor­ried at first that turn­ing up the mag­ni­fi­ca­tion might pix­e­late the view, but it turned out that worry was un­founded. The view is crys­tal clear on ev­ery mag­ni­fi­ca­tion set­ting.

THE RI­FLE

I mounted the ATN X-sight 4K Pro on a Cobalt Ki­net­ics Re­con car­bine. This is a short ri­fle with a Pdw-type stock, built by Cobalt Ki­net­ics to give the shooter an al­most “SBR” type of feel. The bar­rel is 13.5 inches with a 3-inch PRO Muz­zle brake per­ma­nently at­tached in or­der to bring the bar­rel length up to 16.5 inches.

Cobalt Ki­net­ics builds true cus­tom ri­fles, and this one is more in­tended for a per­sonal pro­tec­tion role as op­posed to a three-gun or pre­ci­sion­type ri­fle, but it can dou­ble in a com­pe­ti­tion or hunt­ing role as well. Even though the Re­con has a shorter than nor­mal bar­rel, it has proven it­self to be a 1 MOA ri­fle with low re­coil due to the lin­ear muz­zle brake. It proved to be an ex­cel­lent host for this par­tic­u­lar scope.

I fol­lowed in­struc­tions to the let­ter and was av­er­ag­ing 1.5-inch groups with Aguila 63-grain 5.56 am­mu­ni­tion at 100 yards. At times, I felt more like I was watch­ing my shoot­ing on tele­vi­sion as op­posed to through the scope of a ri­fle. While I was not able to shoot in com­plete dark­ness, I was able to do so in low light con­di­tions, and re­moved the scope sev­eral times to check its re­turn to zero. All was sat­is­fac­tory on that front.

SMALL HEADACHES

The scope was not per­fect, though. It is pow­ered by an in­ter­nal bat­tery pack

that re­quires charg­ing via USB ca­ble. A fully charged bat­tery lasts about 18 hours. I found this out the hard way be­cause I was play­ing around with it a lit­tle too much over the course of a week and when I fi­nally got to the range, it died on me al­most im­me­di­ately.

Af­ter let­ting it charge up overnight, I re­turned to the range and was able to shoot with it ex­ten­sively. An­other prob­lem that I ran into was that the red dig­i­tal crosshair ap­peared too thick on low mag­ni­fi­ca­tion and at close range. This may be some­thing a shooter can get used to, but it took me a while to get as com­fort­able with it as I could be.

Per­haps a fu­ture en­hance­ment could be the abil­ity to change ret­i­cles, or at least ret­i­cle thick­ness. It may be rapid fire, but it is some­thing to note.

FI­NAL VER­DICT

Most of my test­ing was based on ac­cu­racy and func­tion­al­ity of the ATN X-sight 4K Pro. I am con­vinced that this scope would make an ex­cel­lent day and night hunt­ing scope out to 400 yards.

It could serve well in cer­tain tac­ti­cal op­er­a­tions, but more long-term test­ing on dura­bil­ity, as well as over­all re­li­a­bil­ity will be needed be­fore I can give a fi­nal ver­dict.

The smart fea­tures present in this scope make it a win­ner on so many lev­els, and the price is a very good one. How­ever, long-term dura­bil­ity in ad­verse con­di­tions needs to be eval­u­ated be­fore mount­ing one on a duty or de­fen­sive ri­fle. TW

“… the scope will store mul­ti­ple ‘ze­roes’ for mul­ti­ple ri­fles, so should you want to move from a 5.56 ri­fle to a .458 SOCOM or to a .308 bolt gun; you can do so with min­i­mal shift in POI (Point of Im­pact).”

Build qual­ity on the Cobalt Re­con is su­pe­rior to just about ev­ery other AR- 15 out there. These are truly the Fer­rari’s of cus­tom AR- 15s.

The PDW stock may look un­com­fort­able at first glance, but af­ter fir­ing a few rounds down range, shoot­ing is down­right pleas­ant.

The ATN X- Sight 4K Pro 5-20x mounts like a tra­di­tional ri­fle­scope, but ze­ro­ing and gen­eral use take it to a whole new high- tech level.

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