I’ve had more fun with the new ATN X-Sight 4K Pro digital riflescope than any product I can remember in the last several years. I have temporarily overlooked a few glaring issues with it that I attribute to growing pains, but I’m excitedly on board with this product and am giddy with the reliable capabilities it should have upon firmware maturity.
I have been testing and destroying shooting sports products professionally for three decades, so this enamored view I have of the 4K is not a knee-jerk reaction to a new type of product.
In fact, it’s not really a completely new product, since it’s based on its predecessor, the X-Sight II. I’ve logged plenty of hours on the X-Sight II and have had more than a couple debacles with it. I didn’t love it. The 4K not only addresses the shortcomings of the X-Sight II, it improves it in such ways as to make the two seem only distantly related. They don’t even look the same.
Details and Features
My sample sight is the X-Sight 4K Pro 3-14x. It is a variable-powered digital daytime riflescope with nighttime capabilities that mounts with standard 30mm rings. The outside diameter of the objective is 76mm. It does not use an image intensifier tube of any generation. Daytime viewing is color, and night vision mode is in black and white only.
The Pro model comes with three AR-height rings, one of them a black gun-appropriate cantilever that allows the scope a more-forward mounting position for proper eye relief. However, in this setup, to get proper eye relief with the fixed A2-style stock, the scope had to be moved rearward. So, I mounted the cantilever reverse of what is customary.
One of the ring tops has rails on each side to mount the included IR light. The powerful IR light clamps onto the ring top and is adjustable in direction and beam.
It’s a bit clumsy when installed, but IR or ambient light is absolutely required for use in complete darkness. In Texas, hunting hogs with a couple of 4K Pros this past May, I observed that with the IR light and some moonlight [[in those particular conditions—ital]], I could target pigs out to about 100 yards. You can upgrade to one of ATN’s more-powerful IR lights for significantly more distance at night. If your target has some illumination by the impact area, you can shoot as far as needed.
Many folks assume that with such a product, your shooting distance might be limited, yet in daytime, you can shoot as far as you can see. I tried some targets at 1,000 yards, but the wind and the firearms I was using made these attempts ridiculous. Still, I easily picked off steel at up to 300 yards in gusty conditions.
It’s a second focal plane scope, so the crosshair stays the same size throughout magnification, although it’s a fairly heavy reticle and covers a lot of target at long range.
The X-Sight 4K Pro has a 4K sensor and records in 1080p. Daytime movies and still pictures are delicious and colorful. A remarkable attribute that the 4K sensor delivers is very good image resolution and edge-to-edge clarity from lowest to highest magnification.
A Plethora of Information
The viewing screen has loads of information. It shows compass heading, a status bar (with icons for battery level, SD card, ballistic calculator, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi), your zoom level, a pitch scale with detailed pitch value, wind direction and speed (manual input), reticle correction position, roll scale with detailed roll value and rangefinder distance. Alternatively, you can choose to show minimal widgets with only the status bar and magnification level visible.
The operating system is the easiest I’ve ever used on such an electro-optic. Index your middle finger on the enter key, which acts as a home base. Press once for the main menu carousel, then use left and right buttons to navigate to the heading you want to go deeper into. Press “enter” for the submenu and use the magnification wheel to scroll to your desired selection. Your menu options in the carousel are night mode, rangefinder, advanced shortcut, distance entry, environment, Wi-Fi, recoil activated video (RAV), ballistic calculator, zero reticle (for one-shot sight-in) and system settings.
I could get much more granular in menu description and use, but a couple of parts deserve special comment. For one, the rangefinder is not a laser rangefinder; rather, it is a stadia line rangefinder that uses angles and a predetermined target height to estimate distance.
For instance, if you enter a value of 30 inches (from the belt to the top of the head on a human), press the button to position a mark at the top of the head and then another at the belt. The angle is computed to determine an approximate distance that is displayed in the upper left corner of the screen. It also automatically adjusts your reticle for the proper hold.
Also, the unit is always buffering, so you can set the RAV to record how many seconds you want it to start recording [[before]] you shoot and for how long after. So, the whole scenario is captured in 1080p for your viewing pleasure later. However, you can also stream it to your phone or tablet to allow others to view in live time through ATN’s Obsidian 4 app, which also allows you to adjust the scope’s functions through the same smart device. Beware: A .17 HMR and other rimfires might not have sufficient recoil to activate the RAV, but you can simply press a button to start recording manually.
The X-Sight 4K Pro is not perfect, but improvement will come from ATN in the form of updates, just as with your phone. I’ve crashed the Pro plenty of times but got it back up with minimal issues. There are some bugs, for sure.
Battery life is an incredible 18 hours, and you can plug in the accessory ATN Extended Battery Life Package that comes with a nicely executed, adjustable nylon cheekpiece that holds the battery and a few cartridge loops. A paired Bluetooth remote and rangefinder are also available.
Absolutely Worth the Price
Will I use the X-Sight 4K Pro on an elk hunt? Laughable. Nevertheless, I could see the utility of it for pigs and other varmints and maybe on some easy deer hunts. It’s not waterproof, and I wouldn’t want to be dropping it or banging it around, but recoil resistance should not be an issue.
ATN is way ahead of the game with the X-Sight 4K Pro. Digital is the future. Image-intensified night vision and thermal IR devices are several times the price of the 4K, and the 4K delivers excellent recorded picture quality in a mind-blowingly fun riflescope.
There isn’t enough space allotted in this article to further explain how enjoyable this product is to use and share with people, as well as its myriad attributes and capabilities. Even used only as an image-capturing/sharing spotting scope, the 4K is worth the price of admission. (Oh—don’t forget the car window mount.)
Magnification (Digital): 3x–14x
Field of View (1,000 yards): 460 feet (3x) to 240 feet (14x)
Sensor: ATN 4K M265 Sensor, 3864 (H) x 2218 (V)
Core: ATN Obsidian Dual Core
Display: 1280 x 720 HD
Eye Relief: 3.5 inches
Micro SD Card: Up to 64 Gb
Battery Life: Up to 18 hours
Weight: 2.1 pounds
Other features: 3D gyroscope, 3D accelerometer, E-barometer, smart rangefinder, recoil-activated video, electronic compass, smooth zoom, changeable reticle types and colors, microphone, water-resistant, included IR light and AR-height rings.
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the September 2018 print issue of Gun World Magazine.