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Nightforce NX8 vs. ATACR Scope

    Nightforce ATACR     7x-35×56 mm   Nightforce NX8              4-32×50 mm
Magnification 7 – 35 x 4 – 32 x
Objective Lens Diameter 56 mm 50 mm
Scope Tube Size 34 mm 30 mm
Weight 39.3 oz. 29 oz.
Length 16.0 in 13.5 in
Eye Relief 3.26 – 3.58 in. 3.4 in.
Field of View, Linear 7x: 15ft; 35x 3.4ft (@ 100yds) 4x: 26.1ft; 32x 4.6ft (@ 100yds)
Parallax Adjustment Side Focus 11 yds-∞ Side Focus 11yds-∞
Elevation Adjustment 100 MOA/29 MRAD 90 MOA/ 26.2 MRAD
Windage 60 MOA/17 MRAD 20.4 MRAD
Elevation Turret Details Exposed, ZeroStop Exposed, ZeroStop
Windage Turret Details Capped Capped
Reticle Details Illuminated MOAR F1 Reticle Illuminated MIL-C Reticle
Reticle Position First Focal Plane (FFP) First Focal Plane (FFP)


Though it hasn’t such as long tradition as some renowned European optics manufacturers, Nightforce Optics has gained a considerable share of the market, specializing in competition, military and law enforcement applications.

Nightforce Optics was founded in 1992 by Ray Dennis, an Australian dentist and unlike other competitors in the sporting optics industry, Nightforce only produces gun optics, i.e., rifle scopes.

Furthermore, while other optical manufacturers offer scope models that cover all budget classes ranging from entry-level to mid-level to high-end scopes, Nightforce produces only top-tier scopes packed with loads of impressive features and superior quality.

Nightforce NX8 vs. ATACR Comparison

While the Nightforce scopes are geared towards the higher end of the riflescope market, the NX8 can be considered their upper mid-level lineup.

As the successor of the Nightforce Extreme Scope, NXS lineup, the NX8 family of optics comes from the 8x zoom range and ED – Extra-low dispersion glass. 

Developed from the NXS series, the main difference between the NX8 and the NSX scopes is that the NX8 uses ED glass like ATACR scopes, whereas the NXS does not.

As Nightforce wants a modern midpriced scope of extremely compact size, the solution was to develop an entirely new optical design around extra-low dispersion (ED) glass and pair it with lens composition and coatings.

The NX8 family of optics includes six (6) models ranging from 1-8×24 LPVO (Low Powered Variable Optics) to 4-32×50, a strictly long-range scope.

The Nightforce NX8 comes with improved features and advanced technology of the NXS but is packed in a much smaller package and at a lower price point.

Following the Nightforce’s motto, “Rugged, Reliable and Repeatable,” the NXS series is bulletproof thanks to the extremely rugged and thick housing made from 6061-T6 aluminum alloy. The NX8 boasts the Nightforce’s legendary durability due to the robust construction based on a central tube made two to three times thicker than other scopes.

Comparing the Nightforce NX8 and ATACR scopes are challenging since no models in the same power magnification configurations exist across each line. So for the head-to-head match-up, we chose the two largest models with plenty of power that match up closely.

While the Nightforce NX8 lineup covers every rifleman’s needs, we will compare two models with similar magnification ranges for this review – the NX8 4-32×50 mm vs. ATACR 7-35×56.

Nightforce NX8 4-32x50mm

The NX8 4-32×50 is the long-range hunter’s dream, whereas the ATACR 7-35×56 is premium-level tactical rifle scope.

While the Nightforce NX8 lineup covers every rifleman’s needs, we will compare the NX8 4-32×50 mm for this review vs. ATACR 7-35×56.

The NX8 4-32×50 and ATACR 7-35×56 riflescopes are designed for engaging targets over and beyond 1,000 yards and are intended for accurate firing under extreme duress.

Nightforce ATACR or Advanced Tactical Riflescope scope is bigger, heavier, and, naturally, more expensive than NX8. When speaking of the physical features and dimensions, there are noticeable differences in size and weight between these two Nightforce’s’ highest magnification range models. Compared to ATACR 39 ounces, the NX8 4-32x50mm measures 29.3 ounces.

On the other hand, the compact NX8 4-32x  is just 13.5 inches long, making it considerably shorter than this ATACR model and the other NF scopes. The difference in weight is noticeable, with the NX8 models typically weighing less than the ATACR models. But, tipping the scale at over 29 ounces, the NX8 4-32x50mm is not the lightest long-range option on the market.

Compared to the Nightforce top-of-the-line ATACR series, the NX8 family uses the same ED-level glass for the lens system, but the ATACR models have better glass than the NX8.

The illumination control on both scopes is placed on the left side of the rifle scopes, and the illumination can be changed from red to green. On the same left turret, both scopes, the NX8 and ATACR, sport side focus parallax adjustment. While the parallax control has minor differences in their LPVO offerings, the bigger magnification models have a parallax adjustment range from 10 meters / 9 yards to infinity.

Both rifle scopes can be shipped either with MOA or MIL-based reticles and turrets, and they are always matched.

For many rifle shooters, glass quality is of little importance, but features like reliable tracking and consistency are. The Nightforce NX8 uses an 8x erector design with silicone bronze hardened turrets. The erector system in an ATACR scope boasts the hardened materials and Nightforce’s bedding compound, which doesn’t allow lens movement under impact and glass-to-metal contact.

Nightforce ATACR 7-35×56

The ATACR family of rifle scopes are the best and the toughest scope models from the company Nightforce.

Suppose the name of this product sounds threatening and offensive. In that case, you are right because the ATACR line of tactical precision riflescopes is built from the ground up to meet the harshest battlefield conditions and the most demanding needs professional shooters may have.

Actually, the “ATACR” designation is a pseudo-acronym that stands for “Advanced Tactical Riflescope.”

The Nightforce released the ATACR series in 2013 as an evolution of the classic NXS line of Nightforce rifle scopes. While the popular NXS series of scopes were made for precision rifle shooting (PRS) and 1,000-yard benchrest competition,   the ATACR rifle scopes are built explicitly for the use of military personnel and law enforcement agencies.

Currently, it consists of 6 different configurations with the MOAR or MIL-R reticles placed in a first or second focal plane. Like in the NX8 series, the reticle options are marked with “F1” for the first focal plane and an “F2” for the second focal plane models.

When comparing ATACR 7-35x and NX8 4-32x models, the apparent difference is the higher magnification power of the ATACR model.

Tube Size and Construction

Compared to the 30mm NX8 main tube, all ATACR scopes are based on 34mm tubes, allowing an extensive elevation and windage travel range for shooting longer distances.

On the flip side, the 34mm tube of the ATACR 7-35×56 scope comes with an increased weight and 34mm rings that cost substantially more than standard 30mm rings.

As you would expect from battlefield-ready riflescopes, the ATACR scopes are built like tanks. Their housings are very rugged, with walls that are about three times as thick as a standard scope wall.

Objective Size and Overall Size

When you pair these features with a large 56mm objective lens, as a result, you will get more weight and bulkier optics on your rifle. In numbers, it means 39.3 oz vs. 29 oz. in favor of the NX8 4-32x50mm.

The other dissimilarity is length. The NX8 4-32x50mm is 2½ inches shorter than the ATACR 7-35x56mm model, similar to the March F series scopes. However, the shorter body and an uncommon 8x erector design don’t negatively influence image quality because 4-32x NX8 has an extra glass in the objective lens group designed to correct any degradation that shortens a scope creates.

Optical Quality

Although both Nightforce series use very comparable ED-level glass, the Extra-low dispersion glass found in the ATACR family of riflescopes is better as it provides more light transmission, a tad clearer image and better edge-to-edge clarity.

Reticle Options

While the ATACR ED glass is a gamechanger, another distinct feature differentiating ATACR from the NX8 is detailed reticles with specific preset Mil or MOA adjustments and choice of specific reticle options such as TReMoR3 or Horus H59 reticle.

Finally, the last big difference is the hefty price tag of the ATACR 7-35×56, which is well above the NX8 4-32×50 model. While the NX8 is Nightforce’s upper mid-range offering, the ATACR 7-35x is a premium-level tactical rifle scope that settled Nightforce as a high-end, precision scope manufacturer.

Final thoughts

Depending on your budget, you can choose to either buy an expensive telescopic sight that comes with all bells and whistles or buy affordable gun optics with limited features. 

NX8 is one of Nightforce’s newest series that presents an evolution of the popular NXS series. Many users agree that this NightForce model gives you the best value for money.

As we stated earlier, the ATACR scopes are overbuilt for an optic, whereas the NX8 are more commercially oriented products with more features adapted to civilian needs and shooting styles.

Finally, if you are a serious shooter, you know that it is important to invest in a reliable scope that provides value for the money you spend.

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