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ATN THOR Riflescope

Being in control, or at least feeling like you’re in control of a situation seems to give us satisfaction in our outdoor adventures. Being prepared with weapons and the tools needed to go where we want, and do what we chose are a large portion of that feeling of authority over our immediate surroundings. Until the sun sets, when much of our dominance goes out the window.
Today we are going to take a look at some equipment you can add to your arsenal that will keep you on top of things in pure darkness.

ATN Corp has been in the business of manufacturing low light sport optics for nearly 30 years now. They have been innovating night vision and thermal devices in every imaginable way.
Today we are going to speak about one product in particular, ATN’s THOR 4 640 2.2-25X thermal riflescope.

The THOR

The ATN THOR 4 is much more than just a low light thermal imaging optical sight. It also has an incredible array of smart functions like built in GPS, blue-tooth connection to apple and android devices, video and photo recording, and even ballistic solver built into the riflescope.
There are other more simple features that will enhance your experience with this scope as well. Rings to mount it come included with the scope, low battery consumption make the power last longer than anticipated. And you can even get it in one of your favorite camouflage coatings. There is much more to get into on the features, so I’ll move along.

Unboxing

When I opened the box to see the scope inside, I was a bit surprised. The THOR appeared to be a complete unit, sealed and ready to go. I pulled out the instructions because I’m an idiot when it comes to tech. The directions were easy enough to figure out, but for added help for those of us who struggle they even added some stickers in various locations indicating the purpose and function of each control.

Control panel on top of the housing, note charging port and SD card slot

There was also things such as a charging adaptor and the mounting rings to install the scope on your rifle. After a few hours good charging time, I took the THOR outside to see what I was missing in the darkness. I have used other thermal optics before, and I was perhaps expecting a little bit more because of my previous experience. But to be fair, the units I was comparing to this ATN cost three to four times as much. So there is certainly a grain of salt to take with my expectation.
The THOR was excellent for identifying small animals around the neighborhood inside 300 yards. I zoomed the power in and out using the power wheel on the left side of the housing, and then focused using the rotating objective housing. The resolution was more than adequate for identifying and targeting potential animals.

In the field

I wanted to get this scope mounted and into action as soon as possible. Using the provided rings, I mounted it up on my Desert Tech MDRX 308winchester.
It took some getting used to, but after a bit I had the THOR figured out. I managed to get it zeroed, though it took me more shots than it should have. The “Nuc” feature was an important one to figure out quickly. As far as I can tell, it seems to calibrate the sensor according to the current field of view. I found that significantly changing your field of view would cause some of the resolution to vary some, and by cycling the Nuc feature on the new viewing area would bring back the image. There is also an “Auto-Nuc” that you can set in the controls to have the device re-Nuc itself every so often.
The display was full of information, possibly more than some folks may want to see. It kinda made me feel like I was looking through the heads up display of an F-18. Angles on both vertical and horizontal plans are displayed, as well as a compass heading. There are an assortment of reticle choices you can choose depending on your needs, as well as a simple menu that can be cycled through quickly using the buttons on top of the housing. I had already installed a micro SD card that is used to store images and video clips recorded through the scope.

The Obsidian 4 Application

It was time to get the Obsidian 4 application connected and running, this app is made and offered by ATN for the owners of their products. It allows details entry and customization for some of the more tedious bits of data you definitely want right.
It took a minute to figure out how to properly get it connected to my phone, but after watching a helpful video on ATN’s website I was in business.

The Obsidian 4 app allows you to customize the data used in the ballistic solver that comes in the scope. You can change calibers, bullet weights, velocities and other pertinent information used to calculate the corrections for distance. You can also watch through the scope remotely which is also pretty cool, there is a slight delay in transmission but you can see everything you need to see and record it to your phone if you like.

The app was easy to navigate, and update the information. To be completely honest I found it to be an incredible amount of customization, I am barely smarter than most primates and I was beginning to worry I was going to screw something up faster than anything. But in a short time I had it setup to my liking, and ready to shoot. Continue Reading Here…

ATN Thermal Binoculars THOR 4 2.5-25X

Thermal weapon sights have become extremely popular over the last decade or so, I’ve had the good fortune to play with a few of them. Today we are going to talk about a supplemental thermal device, one I think is just as useful as a weapon sight; the ATN BinoX 4T 2.5-25X binoculars.
I say just as useful because whenever I find myself in the dark looking for potential animals to hunt, looking around through my riflescope is not only cumbersome but dangerous. The BinoX binoculars allow the user to safely scan the surrounding environment to identify potential targets, and it also gives you additional information that will help you make a better shot when the time comes.
The ATN Binox incorporate a rangefinder, variable power settings, video recording and image capture, and even GPS location that can be used to keep track of fellow hunters in the area. An IR illuminator is also part of the device, which allows you to illuminate targets when using in conjunction with night vision optics. It also incorporates wifi that can be paired to your ATN riflescope through the ATN Ballistic Information Exchange (BIX). Using the connection you can also stream to a paired device for additional viewing while recording the stream to the SD card inside the unit.
The ATN Binox uses an armored housing with a control pad on the top with various buttons to cycle through the menus and activate the different functions of the binoculars. At the rear of the binos you have an adjustable diopter to focus the image of the display inside. The front of the sensor lens can be rotated to focus the thermal image of the target, the right side is for the thermal sensor, the left side houses other sensors and needn’t be adjusted for image focusing.
The Center button doubles as a “Nuc” button that resets the sensitivity of the sensor based on the current field of view, as far as I can tell anyway. You can adjust the power magnification of the binoculars by using the arrows on the control pad, and the power button doubles as a rangefinder trigger when the unit is powered on.
The display inside gives you quite a bit of information, with actual readouts of both incline and cant as well as a compass bearing. You can select to use different widgets such as compass and angle displays, or if you like you can keep it simple and see just the image. There are many different settings that you can adjust to better fit your needs such as different shades for showing heat, you can select different colors or shades of black and white. There are different reticles you can use for measuring targets and distances and such, and of course you can change the units from yards to meters and MOA to MRAD if you like.
The Binox come with an extended life battery, which I was happy to hear. Most thermal devices I have used in the past burn through batteries far too fast. There was also a neck band to carry the BinoX with, it was also easy to adjust the two ocular lenses to fit your particular eye width.

Into the darkness
After confirming a bunch of settings around the yard and making my dog uncomfortable with shouting commands into the dark corners of the yard, I decided it was time to take the BinoX into the hills and see what I could find. It took a few minutes to find a contrast setting that I preferred, but I settled on the “Glowbow” setting. As you’ll see from my pictures I neglected to set the time and date.

a deer as seen at around 20X magnification from approximately 250 yards

Once I got into the mountains I began scanning where I figured I would be able to find a deer or two, or perhaps even a unsuspecting hiker. I did find something that quickly became frustrating. There were plenty of rocks in the hills that appeared to retain a bunch of heat, this inevitably gave me too many false ID’s of potential life. When I actually did see something that was clearly alive and warm, it was pretty clear. But often times I would have to watch at some of the more distant targets to see if they moved before I could confirm their identity.
I spent some time getting used to the imagery through the binos, and testing out the different functions. It did take me a minute to get used to some of the controls and understand everything, but soon enough I was finding things and measuring their distance with the rangefinder and even snapping pictures and videos of them.

Much like properly viewing an ultrasound image, it seems there is a bit of a learning curve with looking at images like this. Oftentimes it is easy enough to make out trees, rocks and so forth. You can even make out sunny spots and shadows in the images taken during daylight. I have seen better imagery from other thermal units, but to be fair they cost significantly more than this one.
Finding animals in complete darkness turned out be be everything I hoped it would be, it reduced the eiriness of the darkness. Thermal optics have the benefit of being useful in the daylight just as complete darkness, which is a leg up over night vision optics. I found that using the BinoX during the daytime was also helpful in finding things that were alive in a sea of ambient temperature trees and hills. Continue Reading Here…