Smart HD Optic: ATN X-Sight HD

Author and his new favorite AR with 3-12X ATN day/night X-Sight.


I’ll begin this report with the one shortcoming of the American Technologies Network (ATN) X-Sight day/night scopes: they do not have an on-board laser rangefinder.

That said, let me explain why I consider this a minor issue. If we get in the “Way Back” machine and plant ourselves a few decades in the past, we’ll discover there are lots of ways to closely estimate shooting distances.

If we combine one of those techniques with a qualified rifleman who knows the bullet’s trajectory from his firearm and the aiming compensation needed to correct for distances that are shorter or longer than his zero distance, plus any uphill or downhill variations from his shooting position, we will find that it is indeed possible to make an accurate shot without the benefit of a laser rangefinder.

Top view of X-Sight shows control panel for this new digital day/night scope.


One of the easiest and most accurate ways to know (through trying it) is to see how much of your crosshair is covered by an item of known size at a given magnification power at known distances.

Two quick examples are automobile wheels and tires, and doors to a building. Fire hydrants and mailboxes on posts at the curb are two more, and I’ll bet you can come up with several other examples that are of standard dimensions.

Of course, laser rangefinders are common equipment nowadays, and I have units from Leica and Bushnell that are accurate to the nearest meter/yard at ranges well beyond average (or prudent) shooting distances, so I don’t consider the lack of one in the X-Sight package to be a major detriment. Also, use of a weapon-mounted laser rangefinder requires you to break one of the basic firearms safety rules—never point a gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy.

X-Sight with provided 850 mW InfraRed illuminator. This markedly increases the distance at which you can identify and engage targets in the dark.


WHAT THE X-SIGHT DOES HAVE

Now let’s take a look at all the valuable features that are part of the X-Sight package. First, the X-Sight is a breeze to operate. There is a set of four arrows pointing to 12:00, 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00 on the control pad on top of the scope, along with a select button in the middle of the directional arrows. The power switch is immediately above this cluster of controls. This makes it very easy to use the controls without lifting your head up from the scope.

Another important feature is that the X-Sight is a day/night instrument, so it is not necessary to mount a night-vision scope to co-index with the normal daytime optics.

Next is the smooth power zoom control to change the magnification when desired. This is done with the up or down (12:00 or 6:00) arrows on the control panel on the top of the scope.

Once calibrated, an onboard electronic compass becomes part of your After Action Report if you are a military sniper and is especially important for the law enforcement officer who must use lethal force.

The compass heading is part of that documentation, which also includes a Geo Tag capability for you. This Geo Tag function is paired with a time/date stamp on still photos or video captured by the X-Sight.

Yes, the X-Sight will help you document the event with still shots or video, which can be captured at 1080p@30FPS (Standard Full HD) or 720p@60FPS (Slow Mode HD). Runtime depends on your available memory.

Right side of ATN X-Sight shows battery compartment and access to USB, HDMI, and wifi ports.


Still photos can be taken one at a time, or the X-Sight can be programmed to take timed shots in bursts of two to ten with a delay interval of two to 15 seconds between exposures.

The X-Sights also have a microphone if a soundtrack is desired, but it can be turned off if not needed. An altimeter function is valuable as a component in this documentation, in addition to possibly being a factor in calculating needed hold-off for the shot. The night-vision display can be set to black and white or green and white, and a brightness control adjusts the image intensity in either day or night mode.

The X-Sights have nine different reticle displays to choose from in three colors and designs. A crosshair can be had with a plain (open) center or with a center dot, and a familiar Duplex design, with the crosshairs thicker on the outside but stepping down to a fine line presentation in the center, is included.

Photo taken with X-Sight shows date/time stamp that is just one of scope’s self-documenting features.


All selections are available with a reticle in Black or Day-Glo Red or Green. The Duplex is the choice for range estimation because the two line thicknesses lend themselves well to bracketing an object of a known size.

Finally, the X-Sights have an image stabilization feature that guarantees good image quality when using the scope, both for the operator and so that the still or video images are sharp and crisp.

Offloading the images can be done by removing and using the SD chip, through onboard USB or HDMI ports, or wirelessly via the wifi function, which is also a quick and easy way to network the image and pertinent data to other receiving/display devices.

I can think of several reasons to include other real-time viewers (read: higher-ranking personnel, to include the shoot/no shoot decision maker) as the event unfolds and, as above, that is possible with the X-Sight.

ATN X-Sight looks right at home on Battle Born AR-15 from Reno Guns.


TWO MODELS: 3-12X AND 5-18X

The ATN X-Sight is available in two different models: 3-12 power and 5-18 power. They are not quite as trim as a regular scope of those magnifications, but are the smallest and lightest with the features that I have seen to date.

The 5-18X is 10.3×3.5×3.2 inches and weighs 2.7 pounds, while the 3-12X scope I tested comes in at 8×3.25×3.13 inches and weighs 2.3 pounds. These X-Sights have an integral mount that fits Weaver or Picatinny rails thanks to a reversible plug on the underside that changes the spacing between the two lugs of the mount.

I was having a great time watching the coyotes roaming the golf course below my house, but then I got the call I was waiting for, and the deal was on! It’s a long drive from coastal southern California to my friend’s property across the state line, but worth it because he has several hundred acres of high desert with no neighbors for miles. It’s a true shooter’s paradise, and I was eager to arrive and get the X-Sight mounted and in use.

I have two very accurate bolt-actions on hand, one in .25-06 and the other in .223, but I chose to go with my new favorite, a reliable and extremely accurate Battle Born AR-15 from Reno Guns out of Reno, Nevada.

This is the newest gun in my safe, but it is already becoming one of my go-to rifles for testing optics or ammunition. It shoots any of the multiple loads from different manufacturers tested very accurately, and it puts Black Hills .223 52-grain moly-coated HP bullets into tiny clusters after launching them at nearly 3,143 feet-per-second out of a 16.5-inch barrel.

Four-shot group fired over improvised rest with target just over 50 yards downrange and illuminated with ambient light from an almost full moon.


TESTING UNDER A FULL MOON

While my buddy’s land has a lot of space, very little of it is level, and the “designated shooting area” is an exercise in logistics in the dark, so I set my target box on a convenient mound some 52 yards away, according to that Leica laser rangefinder, and had at it.

I used a “standing Okie benchrest” (bags on the pickup truck’s hood and leaning over the fender to fire) and it took very few rounds to get the rifle zeroed. Once I had it dialed in, I waited for dark and fired four shots for the record, leaving out the fifth round so I didn’t screw up a beautiful group. It was a full moon, so I just used ambient light to perforate the Caldwell Insta-View targets.

I had mounted the supplied 850 mW Infra-Red illuminator light. Switching that on showed the system was valuable for precision shooting well out past 100 yards and would easily allow for very accurate fire in a combat/firefight environment out to about 300 yards, or farther as needed.

In closing, I hope I have made it clear how valuable the X-Sights can be for law enforcement and military applications, as well as for private citizens chasing wild hogs or predators in the dark. I’m sure other companies are studying the X-Sights to learn how ATN packed so many features into a device that is barely larger or heavier than a standard optical scope.

Right now, ATN is way ahead of the game with the X-Sights.




RENO GUNS BATTLE BORN AR-15

The well-built and accurate Battle Born AR-15 from Reno Guns is the result of an evolutionary process that began in 2008 and culminated in the product offered today. This is a hand-built rifle with all made-in-the-USA parts, resulting in a completely reliable AR that is exceptionally accurate with a smorgasbord of loads from many different manufacturers.

My AR liked everything I fed it. The champ for velocity and accuracy with this gun so far is the 52-grain Moly-Coated HP from Black Hills Ammunition.

Owner Debbie Block is a real go-getter, and she just sent me some information on Reno Guns’ new home: a 24,226-square-foot facility with 20 live-fire lanes stretching out to 25 yards and a 220-square-foot digital range area for reality-based and force-on-force training.

In addition, a large events/training room has private access to a four-lane shooting area for live fire. A 4,500 square-foot retail store offers a variety of products for shooters. Over 100 rental firearms are available, and as many Range Safety Officers as needed for the shooters on the line. Simulator training, reality-based training, CCW qualification and more are offered. Finally, a highly qualified resident gunsmith is on site.

I encourage S.W.A.T. readers to visit Reno Guns & Range at 2325 Market St. when they are passing through or spending time in Reno, Nevada for, ahem, any reason.

SOURCES

AMERICAN TECHNOLOGIES NETWORK CORP.
(650) 989-5110
www.atncorp.com

RENO GUNS & RANGE
(775) 826-2626
www.renoguns.com

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