ATN ThOR LT 160 3-6x Review: Pros, Cons & Best Features

ATN ThOR LT 160 3-6x Review

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Thermal scopes are rising in popularity because they’re awesome. They are a different beast from night vision (both analog and digital) and come with a different set of advantages and disadvantages.

Both are expensive, but both technologies are coming down in price as things mature and the tech gets better.

This article will discuss one of the most popular entry-level thermal devices: the ATN ThOR LT 160 3-6x. We’ll talk about whether it’s worth your money or if you should look elsewhere.

Is the ATN Thor 160 3-6x Worth It? 

When it works as intended, it’s absolutely worth the money if you don’t want to spend even more for a nicer model. There are annoying things about it, and it’s not great for longer distances, but these are small sacrifices for the performance it gets, as long as you don’t get a lemon. 

I wish I could give a blanket recommendation for the Thor LT, but unfortunately there are a lot of “if’s, and’s, or but’s” about it. If you want to shoot at night, and you are shooting at distances less than 100 yards, but you’re not shooting a caliber with recoil heavier than a .223, then the ThOR LT can be a good choice. 

An In-Depth Review of the ATN 160 3-6x

ATN 160 3-6x

Features

1. Sensor Resolution & Detail 

The sensor is in the name: 160 pixels by 120 pixels. That may sound tiny if you’re comparing it to traditional visible-light sensors, but it’s not so bad in the thermal sensor world.

That said, it’s still the smallest you can use with any expectation of quality, but it’s not like other thermal optics are using 4k ultra HD sensors while this guy is stuck in the 100s.

The detail is fine, but even at maximum magnification you’re not going to get enough detail to identify the type of animal at 100 yards, and definitely not further away than that, unless you’re looking at something large and obvious, like a bear or moose. 

Any typical four-legged creatures are just going to look like little white (or black) smudges on your screen at that distance. So the sensor resolution is satisfactory if you’re doing pest control around the ranch, hog hunting, or something else that can happen within 100 yards. The larger the animal, the easier it will be to identify.

2. Magnification

Magnification

The magnification is 3-6x, but the zoom is purely digital, which means that you aren’t actually getting more detail when you turn up the magnification, you’re just making the existing details larger. Sometimes your eye won’t be able to tell the difference, and sometimes it will be glaringly obvious.

Think of it a lot like zooming on your phone screen by pinching in and out – it doesn’t make smaller things more detailed, it just makes them bigger, so you can end up just getting a larger image that’s more pixelated. 

For the most part, you won’t really run into that issue with the ThOR LT, but if you’re trying to see something that’s only a few yards away and then crank the magnification to 6x, it’s probably not going to look much clearer than it did at 3x.

3. Battery Life

ATN claims the battery life is 10 hours or longer, and while I haven’t personally had the privilege of running the battery all the way down, the videos and reviews I’ve been able to find seem to corroborate this claim.   

Giving it that much battery life was a really good choice. Night hunts tend not to last longer than 10 hours (because, you know, the sun) so this means that in 99.9% of situations, your battery will last the entire duration of your hunt, and then you can charge it during the day even if you’re going out multiple nights in a row. 

The LT doesn’t do much besides provide a thermal image – no recording, no wifi streaming, etc. So there aren’t a whole lot of variables to worry about taking away your battery faster than you are expecting.

4. One-Shot Zero

The “one-shot zero” is fine, except apparently the intended behavior is to simply move the reticle to a different portion of the screen, rather than shift the optics so that the reticle stays in the center of the glass even after you move it into position. So you might end up with your reticle in the bottom right corner of the glass after you zero. It’s a little weird, but as long as you know it’s going to happen it’s not the biggest deal.

While it can be convenient, this particular feature feels more gimmicky to me. After all, any scope can be a “one-shot” zero if you are confident enough in the placement of your first shot to adjust without making a group. 

Digital scopes in general have methods of zeroing that are different from traditional scopes, so it’s not uncommon to see features like this. It’s certainly not a drawback, but it also may not be a very meaningful benefit depending on how you shoot and how you like to zero.

4. Lightweight Construction

Lightweight Construction

The ThOR LT is almost weirdly light. While it’s nice not to add quite so much weight to your set-up, my first thought was concern that it might not hold up to recoil very well, and that indeed seems to be the main issue with the ThOR LT: in response to recoil, the screen starts to have issues.

I’ll talk more about that in the “cons” section, but for now let me just say that the lightweight construction seems to be a double-edged sword. If you’re putting it on a .22, crossbow, or a BB gun of some kind, then you’ll be fine, but even something as low-recoil as a Grendel can cause the screen to flicker or go black. 

ATN Thor 160 3-6x

The price of ATN Thor 160 3-6x varies, so check the latest price at

Pros

  • Price is sub-$1000: It’s hard to overstate this as a benefit. The idea that you can get usable thermal imaging out as far as 100 yards for less than $1k was a pipe dream just a few years ago. It’s insane that the technology has come as far as it has.
  • Suitable resolution for the intended range: As much as I can complain that the ThOR LT won’t get you farther than 100 yards, it was never designed to do so. The ThOR LT was designed for close-range hunting, and the sensor resolution is perfectly adequate for that purpose.
  • Long Battery Life: ATN clearly designed this with night hunters in mind. As long as you have a way of charging it between nights, you shouldn’t ever lose power in the middle of a hunt.

Cons

  • Quality Assurance is Lacking: These scopes run into a lot of issues, mostly to do with the screen flickering or going completely black. Resetting the scope seems to fix it a lot of the time, but that usually means re-zeroing and can be a big issue in the middle of a hunt.
  • Customer Service doesn’t have a good rep: When things do go wrong enough that you need to start asking about repair or replacement, there are a lot of horror stories about it taking months when it should have taken days, about waiting on hold forever and no one answering, etc. YMMV.
  • Build Quality Seems to Blame: The screen flickering issue seems to come down to the construction. I’m certainly not an expert in scope manufacturing, but it’s hard not to draw a straight line from screen issues that seem to be triggered by recoil, and a scope that is noticeably lighter than other scopes.

Who Is the ATN THor 160 3-6x Best Suited For?

This particular scope is best-suited for a rancher, farmer, or anyone with property trying to deal with nocturnal pests. It will also perform well in any nighttime hunting scenarios taking place within 50 yards, and for types of game larger than “critter” status out as far as 100 yards.

Everything about the scope seems to be geared towards this: the sensor resolution is a good fit for that distance, the lightweight construction seems to be done with the expectation that larger calibers won’t be used, and it’s priced more like a tool than a toy.

What Is the ATN Thor 160 3-6x’s Performance Like?

The performance of the ThOR  LT is good in the situations it is designed for. If you try to take it further out than 100 yards then the image will start to fall apart. If you pair it with a medium-bore rifle then the scope itself might start to fall apart. The magnification and image quality are both good fits for short-range applications.

Also, If you wish to know how to sight in a scope, Go thhrough this video.

FAQs

What Is the Recoil Rating of the ATN ThOR LT?

I haven’t seen official recoil ratings posted by ATN anywhere, but I have seen reports of the LT getting screen flickering issues in response to recoil as mild as 6.5 Grendel and 5.56 NATO. That isn’t universal, and plenty of folks have used those calibers without issue, but even with a price as affordable as the ThOR LT, that’s a lot of money to roll the dice on.

Can You Use the ATN ThOR LT During the Day?

Yes, you can. This is one of the main advantages that thermal scopes have over night vision scopes. Using an analog night vision scope during the day will immediately destroy the internals. Some digital night vision scopes can be used during the day but only in their “daylight” mode. The means by which thermal scopes obtain an image is not affected by greater visible light.

How Far Can a ThOR LT Thermal Scope See?

How far can your eyes see? The scope can see as far as your eyes can, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get useful visual information from that far away. In terms of telling between one small four-legged creature and another, you’ll start to lose that ability somewhere between 50 and 100 yards. 

Conclusion

As I mentioned at the beginning, I wish I could give a blanket recommendation for the ATN ThOR LT, but it seems to be a bit of a mixed bag. For the most part, if you do end up with a lemon, you should eventually be able to get the scope repaired or replaced. That process could delay your enjoyment of the scope for months, though, so if that’s unacceptable, you may want to look elsewhere.

For a lot of folks, the tech just isn’t ready at this price-point yet, and if you want to purchase with confidence, you’ll need to be prepared to spend more than the ATN ThOR LT 160 3-6x costs.

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