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  • Post last modified:January 20, 2023
nightforce 4-16x42 f1 review

Referenced Texas Gun Talk

Nightforce ATACR is the Ferrari equivalent in the rifle scope world. Trusted by competitive and professional shooters including USSOCOM.

The following review looks at one of the company’s newest, technology packed rifle scopes, The Nightforce ATACR 4-16X42 F1 scope for mid range precision shooting.

This front focal plane ATACR 4-16X scope offers a broad magnification range up to 16X for quick and precise targeting. Each feature inside this scope has been identified as a powerful motive for purchasing the Nightforce scope.

There are other higher end models available from NightForce, but price and quality don't usually go hand in hand, and the 4-16X is pretty high end enough with a MSRP of $2500.

scope tracking test

Referenced NightForce

NightForce Optics subjects each of their scope to repeated hard impact tests far beyond normal tolerances. Each optic is hand-checked for accuracy and overall product integrity.

Our review examines each specification of the ATACR 4-16X42 and benefits to its core customer base.

  • Core specifications of the ATACR
  • Contents of the Nightforce box
  • Core customers
  • Features
  • Reticles

If mid range precision shooting is what you're interested, please learn more about this scope below:

Core Spec - ATACR 4-16X42

  • Magnification Range, 4x to 16x
  • Tube Diameter, 34mm
  • Objective Lens Diameter, 42mm
  • Turret, Tactical
  • Adjustment Increment, 0.25 MOA or 0.1 Mil /Click
  • Length, 12.6 inches
  • Weight, 30 ounces
  • Click Value,.250 MOA or.1 MRAD
  • Eye Relief, 3.5 inches
nightforce atacr 4-16x42 f1
Nightforce ATACR 4-16x42 side view

What’s New in the ATACR™ 4-16x42 F1

eye relief ATACR 4-16x42mm

Referenced bestpatron.eu

ATACR 4-6x42 is a new standard in mid-power optics. ATACR features some of the best rifle scope glass in the industry with its ED processes.

Low profile objective lens - Nightforce ATACR’s objective lens provides a low-profile platform, which sets up perfectly for tactical situations.

Included Tenebraex Flip Covers - Now a part of the ATACR package.

Faster return to zero - ZeroHold feature is a breakthrough in ease of use in the field. Return your scope to a pre-set zero without looking has been the standard in rifle scopes

More reticles options - 6 reticle patterns to choose from including the Horus Tremor 3 for faster ranging, wind holds and better accuracy

Ideal Users for the ATACR 4-16X42

nightforce atacr 4-16x42 f1 on ar15

The ATACR 4-16X42 is great for:

  • Military
  • Competition shooting
  • Long range shooting

ATACR stands for Advanced Tactical Rifle Scope. Military precision rifles on the AR platform have been using optics in the 10X range. Nightforce and the new ATACR line of scopes give them more magnification.

The magnification range gives military shooters versatility in any situation. The Nightforce scope is lightweight and is 12.6 inches long, making the ATACR perfect for an long-range shooting & hunting.

Competitive shooters will find the advanced optics and tactile feel of the ATACR turrets to be an advantage. The high-end 16X is ample magnification to shoot long-range, reducing any mirage effects on the target.

A magnification range of 4x to 16x on the ATACR gives big-game hunters the luxury of quick target acquisition & identification in various distances and conditions fast.

What's Included In The Packaging

nightforce atacr 4-16x42 f1 unboxing
  • Scope
  • Manuals
  • Lens cover
  • Adjustment tool
  • Warranty card
  • Sticker

Features of the ATACR 4-16X42


Nightforce has designed the turrets for its ATACR to make it easy for shooters to adjust elevation and windage in adverse conditions. Minor details, such as the engraved font size, have been improved.

Lettering on the elevation turret and focus rings has been enlarged. This improvement draws the shooter’s eye into the essential numbers under stressful situations.

nightforce atacr 4-16x42 f1 turret adjustments

A combination of audible and tactile information from the turrets makes adjustments extremely precise. Patented ZeroStop on the ATACR is a hard mechanical stop.

No matter how many adjustments or knocks your scope takes, ATACR can be returned to a pre-set zero, even in the dark or with gloves on.

nightforce atacr 4-16x42 f1 illumination control button

ZeroHold is another Nightforce patented technology. This mechanism lets the shooter press a button, and the ATACR scope instantly returns to zero after elevation adjustments.

Also, the shooter can make adjustments below the zero setting. ZeroHold makes it almost impossible to have unwanted adjustments to the Nightforce scope.


nightforce scope precision tracking

Nightforce has incorporated ED glass into its line-up of high-end ATACR rifle scopes. Extra low dispersion glass is specially formulated to reduce optical color defects or chromatic aberrations.

The ED glass helps the Nightforce ATACR 4-16X42 deliver sharp target images and contrast in low-light situations. Targets are bright and clear at any magnification setting, regardless of environmental conditions.

Manufacturing processes for Nightforce ED glass compresses the distance between each color’s plane of focus. The compression results in much greater color saturation, target detail, and target contrast against various backgrounds.

Many have wondered why Nightforce created such a small objective lens diameter of only 42mm when the tube diameter is 34mm. The reasoning behind this configuration is the advanced ED type lenses.

 These lenses perform better in light transmission than most of its competitors. ED glass makes it possible for quicker focusing times at any range.

Included Throw Lever (PTL)

The NightForce Power Throw Lever is included with the scope for fast magnifcation dial for the shooter. No need to purchase aftermarket scope magnification ring.

Eye Relief and FOV

nightforce atacr 4-16x42 f1 on SCAR 20

Referenced NightForce, Features NEW FN SCAR20S

The scope's relatively shorter length is ideally suited for tactical platforms like the AR. A smaller objective lens diameter allows the scope to be mounted closer to the barrel for a more precise line of sight.

Experienced long-distance hunters find the ATACR scope is ideal for any lighting condition. The broad range of magnification gives hunters the ability to target game at any distance.

  • Eye Relief for the ATACR is 3.5 inches, which seems to be the average for high-end scopes. Mounts and rings can make up the difference if a shooter needs to add inches or take away. The 42mm objective lens significantly impacts how the shooter sets up their equipment and firing position.
  • The field of View for the ATACR is exceptional and what a shooter would expect from a high-end tactical scope. At 4x at 100 yards, the ATACR gives a FOV of 26.9 feet, with a crisp edge-to-edge focus. The FOV at 16x magnification is an impressive 6.9 feet.


MOAR reticle 2

As experienced shooters would expect, Nightforce has provided a variety of quality aiming points for the ATACR. They designed each reticle with a specific shooter in mind. The MOA or MRAD adjustments are the best aiming point technologies available in a rifle scope.

atacr 4-16X42 RETICLE OPTION 1
  • MOAR F1 features a floating center crosshair for a precise aiming point. This reticle provides 80 MOA of elevation below the center line and 40 MOA windage.
  • Horus 59 is a non-illuminated milliradian based grid system. This patented reticle is designed for fast ranging and holdovers that feature lead markers for moving targets.
  • Horus Tremor3 is an illuminated reticle giving the shooter faster target acquisition. The speed shooting formula is built into the Horus Tremors3 elevation.
  • Mil-C F1 is designed for the competitive shooter. This reticle gives shooters fast target acquisition and an accurate calculation on the distance to a target.
  • Mil-R F1 is the perfect hunting reticle. This aiming point offers shooters effective first-shot placement, and any follow on shots.
  • Mil XT is another reticle for competitive and field shooters. The aiming point allows for quick, accurate target acquisition.


Nightforce has developed illumination technologies that dramatically increase the effectiveness of the ATACR 4-16X42.

Nightforce illumination dramatically improves the target image, providing better edge-to-edge brightness.

  • Simple operation - Digillum increases the functionality of the digital illumination platform with a single button. Choose the right setting for your environment from dim to bright, and Digillum gives the shooter the perfect setting.
  • No added weight - Nightforce built Digillum into the ATACR side focus, meaning there is no added weight or knobs.
  • Daylight visible is an illumination technology for first focal plane scopes. Nightforce provides the reticle illumination controlled by a rotary dial with ten brightness settings. With the ATACR, there is an additional two settings for night and low-light situations.

Recommended Rings

The Nightforce ATACR is a high-end scope for experienced hunters and competitive shooters. You want to install quality mounts and rings to complement the Nightforce scope. Keep in mind the 42mm objective lens will keep the tube body close to the rifle barrel.

Nightforce builds a complete line of quality rings and mounts.

This author has always believed the best rings and bases come from the scope builder. Nightforce rings and mount products are on the pricey side; however, you never go cheap with the equipment when you deciding to go high end.

  • Nightforce Optics 34mm 1.375” X-High Ultralite Ring Set. The set-up for these rings will be higher if the shooter prefers a line of sight off the barrel. Rings are narrow, giving adequate clearance and movement if the shooter needs to adjust for eye relief.
  • Xtreme Duty Compact Magmount, Nightforce One-Piece Mounting System. Combining a mount and rings gives the shooter the ultimate freedom to adjust for the perfect firing position. Rings are 1.5” high plus adding 20 MOA.
  • 1500 X-Treme Duty 34mm Nightforce Ring Set. Ultralite, 6 Bolt, Black rings at 1.5.” This ring set is an extreme duty set for shooters who put their equipment through demanding conditions. These rings work with Weaver and Picatinny mounts.

long range shooting reticle pov

Up your mid range shooting accuracy with the NightForce ATACR 4-16X42, check out some best deals on OpticsPlanet by clicking on our link below:

What Are Others Saying?

From LongRangeOnly.com, “I had the opportunity to use this scope in the role they intended it, tactical style shooting, and long-range hunting. I found it to be equally useful for either application. The excellent MOAR reticle allowed me to engage multiple targets at varying distances.”

With this 4-16x42, Nightforce has put together a package that is very user friendly with a combination of features and performance, which makes it an excellent option for a versatile, do anything kind of optic. This scope is perfect at home on a semi-auto precision rifle, as I have done, or on a bolt-action, even a long-range hunting rifle isn’t a problem,” says GunsAmerica Digest.

Wrap Up

Shooters, who choose the Nightforce brand, accept a competitive spirit and unyielding excellence. The ATACR 40 16x42mm scope is evident of the commitment to excellence.

Nightforce continues to add amazing technologies to their products. Digillum, ZeroStop, and ZeroHold bring a new level of comfort and convenience to the market. Nightforce ED glass is beyond what other competitors are bringing to market. Target images have clarity and sharpness at any of the magnification settings.

The ATACR 4-16x42mm rifle scope can be used for any hunting, competitive shooting or just plain fun.