Are you looking for the best durable, long-range scope? Do you need a hunting or tactical scope with little to no compromises?
If these are questions you can relate to, the Nightforce Optics ATACR 5-25×56 might be the scope for you!
It’s one of the most DURABLE optics out there, with high-quality glass and useful features.
In this guide, I’ll explain the pros and cons of this riflescope, including the build, ease of use, performance, and pricing.
- Nightforce ATACR 5-25×56 Overview
- Full Review of Nightforce ATACR 5-25×56
- Customer Testimonials
- Alternatives to the Nightforce ATACR
- Frequently Asked Questions
- My Final Verdict: Is It Worth It?
Nightforce ATACR 5-25×56 Overview
The Nightforce ATACR line of scopes is well known for its durability and top-tier glass and is used by many US Special Forces and military operations.
ATACR stands for Advanced TACtical Riflescope. Nightforce loaded this scope with tech to improve accuracy at long range.
The Nightforce ATACR 5-25×56 is the latest scope offering in Nightforce’s line.
This optic has a 34mm main scope tube, sporting a large 56mm aircraft-grade objective lens in the front. The front cover screws cover the larger lens and protect it.
The 34mm main tube has an advantage over previous Nightforce scopes because of added durability and more space for the windage turret and elevation adjustment mechanism.
The Nightforce ATACR 5-25×56 is finished with a smooth matte black texture, which helps ward off fingerprints.
The markings on the turret housing are off-white for easy readability.
Nightforce has a custom process for this scope, which include:
- Hand-bedding the ED glass lenses
- Adjusting the elevation turret to 110 threads per inch
- Using titanium in the springs.
The scope is in the first focal plane, which works well with elevation adjustment turrets and windage stop mechanisms to enhance performance.
These features come in handy when a shooter needs to hit a target at a longer range.
- Optic glass is crystal clear, with accurate colors
- Generous eye relief for shooting in an awkward position
- Smooth and ergonomic adjustment mechanisms
- 30 MOA intervals in the elevation turret
- The reticle is in the first focal plane (no need to use correction value)
- Heavier than other scopes
- On the expensive side
Full Review of Nightforce ATACR 5-25×56
Since this Nightforce ATACR 5-25×56 has a lot to offer, I’ll give a comprehensive breakdown of its standout features.
I’ll give the scope a final rating, considering all of the factors on this enhanced feature list, and you can see if this scope is worth buying!
Build and Design
The build quality on the ATACR is TOP-NOTCH! The aircraft-grade aluminum and matte coating protect the scope from damage.
I didn’t notice any scratches or fingerprints at all after taking this out in the field!
It comes with Tenebraex flip-up lens cap covers that protect the optic glass from dirt and scratches when not in use.
The front cover screws into the sunshade, and the rear cover clamps on the eyepiece.
The best part about these covers is that you can chamber a round and cycle the bolt without removing them by shifting the flip-up portion.
You can also quickly detach and reattach the covers if you wish.
The 34mm main tube also helps with the looks of this scope.
While the objective lens on this scope is bigger than other Nightforce sights, the larger main tube keeps dimensions proportional.
The overall length of the scope hasn’t increased compared to earlier models, which is always a welcome change.
Ease of Use
Many of the features introduced in the Nightforce ATACR 5-25×56 focus on making the scope EASIER to use.
One of these features is the generous eye box or eye relief at 3.54 inches (90mm), making target acquisition fast and scoping in and out easier.
The turrets are smooth and easy to adjust, which is another plus! The elevation turret is 1/4 inch shorter than the last generation but is easier to grip.
True enough, the good eye relief and smooth turrets made shooting pretty easy!
However, the scope is heavy, which can differ in how much it affects you based on your use case.
I’ve used it for long-range hunting, and lugging it around was pretty annoying.
The Nightforce ATACR 5-25×56 has four optimized reticle designs: MOAR, MIL-R, TReMoR3, and H59.
The MOAR reticle features a subtension of only 0.140″, which helps in long-range situations and several tactical matches.
The reticle has a floating crosshair and hash marks in one MOA interval. These are placed along the horizontal and vertical stadia.
The MOAR reticle’s stadia remain SHARP even into the scope’s mid-magnification range, meaning fast and accurate windage holdoffs and instant corrections for follow-up shots.
Combining the MOAR reticle with the first focal plane and parallax adjustment knob makes for quick and accurate follow-up shots if the first is missed.
The elevation turret has features fit for long-range shooting.
It now features 30 MOA per revolution. The clicks are smoother and don’t hang up between each click.
Additionally, the Nightforce ATACR 5-25×56 has a time-proven ZeroStop system.
The dedicated zero-stop system brings your optic back to zero after each shot.
A quick, tall target test is a visual indicator that the ATACR deserves the reputation of an accurate shooter.
The windage turret shares the same clicks as the elevation turret, although they’re harder to see due to the smaller indicator marks.
It also has a stopper for the right wind correction, which helps so that I don’t get confused about whether turning the turret further affects the shot.
The scope also has a turret cap so that you don’t accidentally move the windage turret.
There are also beauty rings that protect the threads even with the turret cap off.
The Nightforce ATACR 5-25×56 also has the new Digillum Illumination System.
The entire MOAR reticle illuminates to a red or green illumination, and you can also control the brightness.
The illuminated reticle really helped me with my low-light performance, especially the green reticle.
A distance-marked parallax knob with approximate yardage numbers is also included in this turret.
The ATACR 5-25×56 helps keep an accurate sight picture, especially when rapid transitions are needed, like match shooting.
The magnification range on this scope ships with a 5x to 25x variable zoom, meaning faster target engagements, and accurate tracking from medium to long range.
The Nightforce ATACR 5-25×56 also includes an integrated power throw lever or PTL, allowing for faster magnification changes where speed is crucial.
The scope ships with a flush insert installed, which allows the shooter the option of a smooth power ring.
Thanks to the fully multi-coated ED glass, I get crystal clear image quality in weapons like long-range hunting rifles.
Seeing smaller targets in long-range hunting needs clear image quality, which the ATACR 5=25×56 definitely delivers!
Combined with the scope’s power range and the MOAR reticle, this should be in all long-range hunting rifle lists.
You definitely pay a premium with all these amazing features and durable build.
The Nightforce ATACR 5-25×56 comes in at an eye-watering retail price of $2700, which is definitely on the premium side of rifle scopes.
If you’re a beginner with shooting and are not sure about what ranges you’ll be engaging at, it may be best to look elsewhere first.
However, if you’re an experienced shooter that knows they need the best out of their scope, this is definitely worth the price.
Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Don’t just take my word for it! The Nightforce ATACR has received a lot of love from fellow hunters.
For instance, one reviewer had a very positive experience with the scope, praising its durability, clarity, and sighting.
“This scope has an incredible quality that you notice immediately after pulling it from the box. I have always been a Vortex guy but for my latest rifle in .300rum, I am glad I chose the NightForce. No too take anything away from Vortex, but the overall feel of the scope is as good as it can get. The clarity of the glass is great and the reticle is excellent too. Very satisfied after sighting it in and I cannot wait to hunt with it this fall!” -Anonymous
“The ZeroStop function was simple to use and the varying intensity of the illuminated reticle is a really nice feature. Was hitting 300-700 yard targets right out of the box in decent winds. It does carry some heft but that’s part of the price for quality construction. Considering its performance ability and cost, I’m a bit surprised that NF doesn’t include a bubble level or a better cleaning kit. If NF’s other scopes have the same quality and performance, then they’ve got a customer for life here.” -Anonymous
Here’s a short summary of Nightforce’s history.
Nightforce is a well-known sports optics manufacturer that produces scopes for different purposes.
Anyone from these fields benefits from Nightforce’s products.
- Competition shooters
- Armed forces
- Law enforcement agencies
- Tactical shooters
- Precision benchrest shooters
Nightforce has at least one military contract that we know of to have their scopes on guns used by various branches of the military.
In addition to its riflescope sales business, Nightforce also sells spotting scopes and other accessories that complement its main products.
All these products are legendary for their durable build quality and use by US Special Forces.
Alternatives to the Nightforce ATACR
If the ATACR 5-25×56 doesn’t sound like the right scope for you, here are a few alternatives to consider.
High Tech Alternative: Nightforce BEAST 5-25×56
Looking to stretch your shooting to the long-range?
Look no further than the Best Example of Advanced Scope Technology or BEAST scope.
It combines ALL of the best technologies from all the Nightforce lines into one monster of a scope!
Similar to the ATACR, it has the Digillum Digital Reticle Illumination, the same ED glass on the ATACR, and ZeroStop technology for quick target re-engagement.
However, the BEAST has the new i4F intelligent four-function elevation control, which allows for quick adjustments to the windage, distance compensation, and to other turrets.
This system, combined with the XtremeSpeed accurate reticle options, makes it the most lethally accurate sight for long-range engagements.
If you need an optic with nothing held back, the BEAST is the way to go.
However, if the $2,700 you had to pay for the ATACR was a lot for you, the BEAST would be too expensive.
It’s one of the most expensive scopes I’ve seen. However, you can be assured that you’re getting only the best of the best.
PRO TIP: Even if the BEAST has great long-range capabilities, pairing it with a spotter using good spotting scopes can greatly improve accuracy and range.
Low Light Alternative: Nightforce 2.5-10x42mm NXS Scope
If you need great low-light performance at a lower price, the 2.5-10x42mm NXS is your best bet.
The 42mm objective lets in maximum light without sacrificing weight and scope profile.
It also has the same Digillum Digital Reticle Illumination on the ATACR. The ZeroStop technology also returns here for precise follow-up shots in the dark.
The closer range variable magnification optics are also useful for mid-range shooting, which is usually the distance you shoot at night.
I appreciate this added functionality when trying to hunt in darker areas.
Having the reticle lit up, and more light in the scope itself helps a lot in target acquisition.
It’s not a cheap scope, coming in at $1,600, but this is definitely more budget-friendly than the ATACR and will serve you just as well if you need to shoot in low-light situations.
CONSIDER: There are more options for low-light scopes meant for hunting than Nightforce’s offerings. Research a bit more before purchasing.
Frequently Asked Questions
After reading my review on this scope, you might still have other questions. I have a list of the most commonly asked ones and answered them below.
Are Nightforce Scopes Worth It?
It’s no secret that Nightforce sights aren’t cheap, but Nightforce sights are WORTH IT for the price.
Even within the different lines of scopes Nightforce offers, some may provide more benefits to you than others.
However, if you pick the one that suits your needs the best, you can be assured that it’s made with the best materials and has cutting-edge ballistics technology.
Whether or not they’re worth it depends on the value they give you.
Where is the Nightforce ATACR Made?
Nightforce ATACR scopes and some parts, like the main tube, are made in the United States, but the glass comes from Japan.
Does Nightforce Make a Fixed Power Scope?
Yes, Nightforce makes fixed power scopes. A great option is the Nightforce Competition SR Fixed 4.5×24 model.
My Final Verdict: Is It Worth It?
Compared to other scopes in this price range, I can vouch that the Nightforce ATACR 5-25×56 is WORTH IT!
It’s a tactical powerhouse that offers many high-tech features that you won’t find in other optics.
The useful MOAR reticle, first focal plane, generous eye relief, and large objective glass also help with great clarity and visibility.
Pick this scope up if you’re a serious shooter that needs these features and know you’ll use all of them to their maximum potential!
However, if you are strapped for cash, you may need to look elsewhere.