When it comes to thermal rifle scopes, they can be really expensive – like crazy expensive.
However, when ATN Thor LT came out, there was finally an affordable thermal rifle scope option. It seemed to have all the right features.
So, is it good enough? Well, I can say, for a night vision option that is a thermal riflescope, it is one of the best ones under $1000 – so much so that in my article on the best night vision scopes under $1000 it did get my best Thermal Scope grade.
But as you’ll see, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I recommend you purchase it – especially if your budget is under $1000.
Before diving into my experience with this rifle scope, let’s go over the ATN Thor, and see why it came to be.
ATN Thor LT Specs
- Magnification 3-6x
- Length 11.5 in
- Width 2.2 in
- Height 2.2 in
- Weight 22.4 oz
Specs of the ATN Thor LT Scope
The ATN Thor LT thermal scope is a budget-friendly entry-level device with variable magnification options of either 3-6x or 4-8x. Its fixed reticle is suitable for skilled shooters. It offers basic thermal imaging capabilities that allow for identification of heat signatures at ranges up to 400 yards.
Although it lacks the bells and whistles of higher-end models, its simple user interface and long-lasting battery make it a reliable choice. It’s designed to withstand the recoil of high-caliber weapons and fits standard 30mm rings for easy mounting.
Priced under a thousand dollars, this lightweight scope offers core functionalities such as “White Hot” and “Black Hot” visual modes. It also performs well under varying environmental conditions. However, users should be aware of its limited customer service and the absence of advanced features, such as integrated range or MOA/MRAD adjustments.
A major benefit to this particular scope is that it comes with a 3-year warranty.
- Magnification: 4x OR 8x, not a stepped-up magnification
- Resolution: Varies based on model
- Reticle: Fixed reticle
- Battery Life: As advertised, can last an entire night
- Weight: One of the lightest thermal scopes in the market
- Human Recognition Range: Varies depending on conditions, but up to 300-400 yards for a deer-sized target
- Price: Under $1200
ATN THor LT Features
1 Magnification Range
Several magnification ranges to choose from to meet your needs.
2 30mm Tube
30mm tube makes finding scope rings easy.
3 Push Button Controls
Simple, top mounted controls, are easy to use
4 One Shot Zero
The one shot zero feature allows you to quickly get your scope dialed in.
5 Extended Power Kit
Additional extended power kit available to allow up to 22 hours of continuous use.
Models and Variations
The ATN Thor LT is available in 7 different models, grouped into two categories, either 160 or 320. Within the lower cost 160 line, you can get magnifications of 3-6x, 4-8x, or 5-10x. In the more expensive 320 models you can get scopes in the same magnification ranges as the 160 line plus a 2-4x option.
My Review of the Thor LT Scope
Okay, so let me start off by saying that I’m not actually the biggest fan of ATN and some of the scope options. However, when reviewing this, I really tried to keep previous bias out of it – so take this with a grain of salt.
While I do recommend it as the best thermal scope option for under $1000, I don’t necessarily believe that someone should buy it. I think that for a proper thermal scope, you should probably step up in the price, or perhaps switch to a night vision scope. However, that all depends on your budget, and need for a thermal scope.
So, let’s look at what I liked and what I didn’t like and why I give the above recommendation.
Let’s start with the feature that most stood out to me—the tracking capabilities.
The ATN Thor LT offered exceptional tracking capabilities. When out at night, I could clearly see the fine details of my target up to 70 yards away. The thermal imaging was only in black and white, but the clarity was undiminished. However, as I’ll discuss later, that’s only 70 yards. After that it started to blur and become unshootable.
I do love it’s refresh rate though. At 60hz I never really saw any lag, and that is very impressive for a thermal priced in this range.
Another impressive feature was the glass quality. Any experienced hunter will tell you that poor-quality glass can ruin even the best scope. On both ends of this scope, the glass was crystal clear. What’s even more impressive was its ability to stay fog-free. Whether it was a humid or a dewy morning , the Thor LT remained clear. I never had to deal with the haziness or fogging that usually interferes with a hunter’s line of sight, and that alone is a big win in my book.
Now, let’s talk about the fixed reticle. If you’re like me and are used to scopes with MOA/MRAD adjustments, this could be a bit jarring initially. There’s a bit of a learning curve. My first time out with it, I zeroed the scope using a steel target at 50 yards. Then, I went to a 100-yard range and it pleasantly surprised me. The fixed reticle did an excellent job; my shots were hitting the target consistently. It’s a different experience, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a non-issue.
The turret design is basic but functional. For those accustomed to the feature-packed turrets on high-end scopes, this might feel a bit underwhelming. However, the simplicity worked in its favor. During a tense moment when a buck was passing by at 60 yards, I was able to easily make quick adjustments without fumbling. Sometimes simplicity trumps complexity, especially in high-pressure situations.
For a price under $1000, you might think there’d be significant compromises, but I didn’t find that to be the case. Sure, you’re not getting some bells and whistles found in more expensive thermal scopes, but where it counts—in performance and reliability—the Thor LT delivers.
Okay, that all sounds great, right? Well, here are some problems I have with it.
First, this should really be called a short range thermal scope. While I see people saying that it is clear to 100 yards, I see degradation at around 70 yards. I also didn’t like the underpowered sensor.
Another thing is the magnification. It only has 4x and 8x. There is no in-between.
Another thing, which I personally haven’t experienced, is that customer service on ATN gets a bad rap. So, if you need to call in that 3 year warranty, it appears as though this is a bit laborious.
In conclusion, it’s a solid thermal option for the price range. It’s a fantastic entry-level thermal scope that doesn’t break the bank but still delivers where it counts. Although there are a few downsides, the product’s great tracking, high-quality glass, and reliability make up for them. For anyone looking to venture into the world of thermal scopes without committing to a top-tier price, the ATN Thor LT is a solid, reliable choice.
It’s just that it is really for short range, and a bit limited. Perhaps I’m a bit of a thermal snob and I understand, but I feel like one should probably step up if really dead set in getting a thermal.
So would I recommend the ATN Thor LT? Only if you really need a thermal, and can’t spend more than the cost of this one. In this price range, I do think it is the best in the market. I’d personally rather upgrade the thermal, or get a NV scope instead.
Real-Life Tips and My Personal Experience
I’d recommend the ATN Thor LT to anyone new to the world of thermal scopes. Here are some quick tips from my own experiences:
Zeroing: Don’t use paper targets. Go for steel ones that can heat up when you hit them.
Magnification: Be aware that it’s either 4x OR 8x. It doesn’t gradually step up.
Screen Freezing: Be cautious, the screen may freeze after a shot. I’ve found power cycling the scope usually solves the problem.
Customer Service: Don’t count on rapid support. Be prepared to be patient or even solve minor issues on your own.
Battery Life: The battery life is decent but always carry an extra set, especially if you plan on long hunting sessions.
Familiarize Yourself: Get to know the scope during daylight as well. Understanding its capabilities in various lighting conditions will make you more versatile in the field.
The ATN Thor LT offered exceptional tracking capabilities.
On both ends of this scope, the glass was crystal clear.
While the fixed reticle did an excellent job in our testing, it was limited to just the one option.
The turret was basic but functional, which can be nice in high pressure situations.
The ATN Thor is a good value, but it may be low on features found on more expensive scopes.
FAQ for the ATN Thor LT
Yes, the scope can withstand recoil from high-caliber weapons.
Excellent. I went through an entire night of hunting on a single charge.
You can easily recognize deer-sized targets up to 300-400 yards, depending on conditions.
For anyone venturing into the world of thermal scopes, this product offers an affordable entry point without compromising too much on quality. Its simplicity, combined with essential features, makes it a great scope for night hunting. Would I recommend it? For its value, absolutely. But be prepared for a few caveats.
November 28, 2023
November 28, 2023
November 28, 2023
November 28, 2023