Jumping right into new tech for hunting and shooting can offer many advantages. Looking to get into night hunting? The starlight night vision technology is some of the best out there, but expensive and sensitive to day light. The intensifier tubes of traditional night vision can be damaged when used in daylight. So the gen1 to gen3 night vision would need to be a dedicated scope for night hunting only. Gen1 can be had for under $1000 but the best, gen3, costs a couple thousand. Enter digital technology!
The ATN day night scope uses a 4k cmos sensor, yeah a camera, to do both day and night. All camera sensors for digital cameras can detect infra red light. Even your phone camera can. Those cameras wishing to not see it have a filter in front of the sensor to block it. ATN and even the Bushnell I reviewed earlier use this to their advantage, giving us the ability to have a night vision that can be used in both day and night. Also the ATN 4k has may advanced features like a built in range finder and ballistics calculator!
The scopes housing is aluminum and very sturdy, also very heavy. The scope weighs in at a whopping 2.1 pounds! That is half the weight of any AR I would put it on. Other night vision scopes weigh in about the same, so I cant really complain about the weight since any night vision scope is going to add considerable weight to the rifle. ATN has switched from a futuristic look in the first gen of this scope and made them look like a traditional rifle scope. Nice move, while this was not a selling point or concern of mine, I know that this will help it sell in the future. The scope accepts standard 30 mm scope rings as well and comes with a very nice set. One has a rail to mount the included illuminator on, nice job ATN! The buttons are well sealed and the zoom dial looks like a turret on a traditional scope. The distance focus is just like a traditional scope and is stiff and stays put. The diopter focus, which focuses on the output screen is also stiff and stays put and you can focus with or without glasses. The included rubber eyepiece works amazingly well to place your eye at the correct distance and also conceals the light emitted by the output screen. Even with eyeglasses on the eyepiece functions well.
The camera focuses quickly and you can hardly tell that you are look thru a camera and not a traditional glass optic. The Bushnell night vision which I used before does not compare to the ATN. The output on it is grainy and slow, you know when looking thru the Bushnell that is is in fact a camera based system, not so on the ATN. The heads up display inside the eyepiece is amazing and makes a person feel like a futuristic soldier or a video game.
The HUD shows the direction you are looking via the compass, the pitch of the rifle and the cant of the rifle as well! No need for a scope level! a status bar shows what software is running and battery status. Zoom level, wind speed, your corrected aim and yards to the target!
The settings pages are numerous and easy to read and figure out. The reticle has 7 styles to choose from and you can change colors as well!
The scope also has wifi and bluetooth. The bluetooth is for the soon to be released laser range finder and wifi is to connect to the phone app.
The ballistic calculator stores several profiles, I think it maxes out at six. You are limited to six on the scope. I have not checked to see if perhaps you can store more on the SD card and swap out, this would be a nice added feature, since this scope can be zeroed for multiple rifles. Setting the profile is simple as most store ammo now comes with the ballistic data right on the box. If not go to the ammo makers website and find it, then input it in. Its that simple.
The zeroing feature is amazing! You can literally zero this scope in with two shoots! The yardage doesn’t matter either since the ballistics calculator will change yardage without even thinking! The first shot you sight in dead on the bullseye. Now holding the rifle in the same spot, you move a second cross hair to where the bullet actually impacted the target. Save and exit and fire another round, bullseye! It is that quick and easy! You can write down and save the x and y numbers in the zero screen and you will always have that rifles zero to input later! Now repeat the process on any rifle you wish to shoot the scope on.
You can manually enter the yardage for the ballistic calculator or you can use the range finder that is built in. While not as exact as a laser range finder it works off an azimuth to get the range, anyone who was in the Army or Marines knows how to get a azimuth. The scope uses the targets predicted height in the formula to get the range so it only a good guess to actual range. When I tried this on a exact known target size it worked amazingly well and dead on. But since any animal target will be a guess to actual height, the range finder will be close and probably close enough. To use it you select it via a quick button on the top of the scope. A line appears in the viewfinder. you place this line at the top of the target and hit ok.the scope will then switch lines and you hold this one at the bottom and hit ok. You now have the range of the target! If you have the ballistics plugged in and on the reticle will adjust to the new yardage and you just point and shoot! in the lower left will be your adjusted aim point in numbers.
The windage has to be inputted by the shooter I usually check my phone and input this at the beginning of the hunt, or leave it at zero to adjust with kentucky windage in the field.
They include a phone app to partner with the scope. This app would be super amazing if it worked… One of the few flaws with this scope is this app. It locks up and crashes on my phone and half the time does not save the settings or it crashes the scope! The stream of the view finder is one feature I really wanted for coyote hunting at night, no stiff neck from peering into the scope for hours. Sadly this stream works slow when it does work at all. The app has been updated since my first review and does preform better now. But since I was turned off by the app I don’t use it much.
While on the subject of the flaws, the next one is a big one and maybe the difference on the hunt. The scope will freeze up randomly. I had this happen twice while hunting and numerous times when just playing with the scope. While it is a simple matter to hold the power button down for 15 seconds to reboot, if this happens at that critical second you need to shoot…. One the plus side when it does freeze the HUD up, the camera still operates and the crosshair is still drawn and you can still shoot the rifle. this is where that adjusted reticle numbers is important, since you cant adjust the range when its frozen, but you can old school it! so while it sucks that the HUD is froze you can still make the shoot.
Another feature that I need to mention is the photo and video feature. You need an SD card to take both photo and video, without one the scope will not take them. The SD card cover needs to be trimmed, as the rubber flap has a piece of rubber to plug an empty SD clot, when a card is inserted the plug will eject the card and fail to close. I simply trimmed the plug of rubber off. Would be nice if ATN included two SD covers, one to plug an empty slot and one for the card. The recoil activated video is a nice feature but has froze the scope up repeatedly on me so I leave it off. The camera does take nice video and photos. Those videos and photos are not even close to what you see on the view finder in quality. The view finder is very sharp and well defined.
They have improved the firmware and are updating often, the last two hunts I went on the scopes HUD did not lock up. I have not tried the recoil activated video since the latest update. I think once they get all the bugs out of the software this will be an amazingly dependable scope.
Since the writing of this review ATN has updated the firmware numerous times and fixed the majority of the issues I was having with this scope. I also have gotten the ABL which is the ballistic laser that ATN makes to pair with the scope. The ABL is awesome for ranging and worked good. I mounted the ABL on the sunshade and it worked fine until I mounted the scope on my .308. After about seven shots the distance focus stopped working! I blame the sunshade mounting of the ABL. I have sent the scope back to ATN for warranty, I will see how the warranty process works with ATN. Once fixed I will mount the ABL on the scope itself and not the sunshade.
Overall I would give this scope a four out of five. The only reason for the four score was the freezing and had they shipped the scope with a much better firmware it would have been a five. Even with the lose of focus issue from the ABL being mounted on the sunshade this scope has been a performer and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a night vision scope.