Nikon Black X 1000 Review : Should you buy this SFP Long Range Scope from Nikon?

Gungoal's Rating

 

Nikon Black X1000 is an mid priced long range scope under $650. It is Nikon’s answer to directly compete with Vortex Viper PST line. Even though the Black X 1000 is not a high end rifle scope and can’t compete with the likes of Burris XTR II, but it is a very good value per dollar spent scope. And most likely it could serve you well on many target shooting and hunting applications.

But is the Black X1000 the best deal in its class or is there a better scope within its price range? Worry not, I’ll tell you all there is to know about this optics so you can make informed decision whether the Nikon Black X1000 is the right optic for you.

Quick summary

Compared to Vortex Viper PST GEN 1, the Black X1000 has better glass but dimmer reticle illumination. Both scopes’ turrets track true has tactile clicks. Nikon has Lifetime warranty but isn’t reliable as Vortex’s.

Compared to Athlon Ares BTR, the Athlon is offered in FFP and zero stop feature at cheaper price than Nikon X1000 and they have similar glass. Turrets track well and you get a christmas tree illuminated reticle. Athlon Ares BTR is the best deal in my opinion.

Nikon, is a Japanese multinational corporation headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, specializing in optics and imaging products. Nikon’s products include cameras, camera lenses, binoculars, microscopes, ophthalmic lenses, measurement instruments, rifle scopes, and spotting scopes.

Black X1000 is said to be an in-house original design by Nikon, as opposed to some other manufacturers or lower end models just selecting pre-defined specs from 3rd party OEM team.

There are 5 available combination of magnification, objective lens, reticle units and illumination  for you to choose from :

  • BLACK X1000 4-16x50SF Matte X-MOA
  • BLACK X1000 4-16x50SF Matte IL X-MOA
  • BLACK X1000 4-16x50SF Matte IL X-MRAD
  • BLACK X1000 6-24x50SF Matte IL X-MOA
  • BLACK X1000 6-24x50SF Matte IL X-MRAD

PROS and CONS of the Nikon Black X1000

Pros

  • Glass with clarity and light transmission
  • Tracking and tactile turrets
  • Matching turrets and reticle units
  • Price competitive
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Second Focal Plane
  • Reticle illumination not as bright as peers
  • Chances of turrets defects
  • Small internal turrets adjustments
  • Nikon’s warranty not as dependable as Vortex’s

 

First Focal Plane Upgrade is Available with the FX1000

If you’re into long range shooting, you might find the Second Focal Plane reticle of the X1000 model to be a bit lacking.

To solve this issue, NIkon offered an improved version, Nikon Black FX1000, shortly afterwards. By adding about $100 more, FX1000 gives you First Focal Plane and zero stop feature. Other than these 2 aspects, the FX1000 is the same scope as the X1000 model. Consider upgrading if you’re interested in a First Focal Plane scope.

As an optic enthusiast, my experience tells me that scopes with bigger tube diameter tend to perform

In this article, I’ll be reviewing only the Nikon Black X1000 6-24×50, X-MRAD reticle and skipping the 4-16×50 model because I haven’t used them and have no direct experience to share with you. That said, 4-16×50 should have similar qualities and slightly better glass as it is at lower magnification.

Best for : Shooters who want affordable SFP long range scope with good glass and quality turrets that tracks well.

Glass, Reticle and Lens coatings 4.6
Turrets 4.7
Ease of Use 4.2
Weight and Size 4
Durability 4.2
Value 4.2

 

The Whole Story of the Nikon Black X 1000

Since no optics nor products exists in isolation. And words such as “crisp” and “great” glass don’t really mean much when you have no benchmarks. I’ll be comparing the Nikon Black X1000 with other rifle scopes in similar price range, so you know what’s the best option for your money.

Read on to find out why the Nikon Black X1000, even though impressive, isn’t a perfect scope.

Meet the Benchmarks

The Nikon Black X1000 costs about $500 (4-16×50, no illumination), $650 (6-24×50) at the time of this writing. And I’ll be comparing them with :

Vortex Viper PST SFP Athlon Ares BTR FFP

These are 2 popular options in the market with similar price point and should give you a realistic feel of how good the Nikon Black X1000 really is.

Nikon Black X1000 glass is much better than VIper PST, on par with Athlon Ares BTR

To determine the Nikon Black X 1000’s performance, I lined it up alongside Vortex Viper PST SFP 6-24×50 and Athlon Ares BTR FFP 4.5-27×50.

Vortex Viper PST : Comparing head to head, the Black X1000 is the clear winner by a wide margin. Glass is markedly clearer and brighter on so magnification spectrum. Eyebox is also more forgiving especial at higher magnification.

Athlon Ares BTR : Glass quality is on par with the Black X1000.

Precise turrets trackability

All 3 scopes turrets are high, target type turrets which track well. They all passed my 5 MOA box tests with flying colours.

Other additional turrets feature

  • Nikon Black X1000 : Zero reset
  • Vortex Viper PST : Zero reset, Zero stop (shim)
  • Athlon Ares BTR : Zero reset, Zero stop (7 screws)

Athlon Ares BTR has the best zero stop system of the three. However you might take some time setting up the zero stop because there are 7 screws for you to handle. Viper PST zero stop’s shim system is rather slow and slow and tedious to use.

The FX1000 upgrade adds zero stop (3 screws) feature to your scope and is easier to use than Athlon Ares BTR.

A bit dim reticle illumination, no Christmas tree design

Vortex Viper PST : One thing Vortex Viper does better is its reticle illumination as it is brighter and doesn’t bleed, unlike Nikon Black X1000’s reticle which is not bright enough on sunny days and trend to bleed a little on high magnification.

Athlon Ares BTR : Ares BTR’s reticle is a Christmas tree design which provides more minute holdovers. But people who prefer relatively clutter-free reticle will prefer Nikon. Note that the Ares BTR is a First Focal Plane scope and is offered at a cheaper price.

Model Reticle
X-MOA (Nikon Black X1000)
Illuminated X-MOA (Nikon Black X1000)
Illuminated X-MRAD (Nikon Black X1000)
EBR-1 MOA (Vortex Viper PST)
EBR-1 MRAD (Vortex Viper PST)
Illuminated APLR3 MIL (Athtlon Ares BTR)
Illuminated APLR3 MOA (Athtlon Ares BTR)

FX1000 is the upgraded FFP version of the x1000 model.

Side parallax knob, 50 yards to infinity

Model Parallax
Nikon Black X1000 6-24×50 Side parallax knob, 50 yards to infinity
Vortex Viper PST SFP 6-24×50 Side parallax knob, 50 yards to infinity
Athlon Ares BTR FFP 4.5-27×50 Side parallax knob, 25 yards to infinity

Athlon Ares BTR has the advantage of smaller minimum parallax adjustments. That said, these scopes are designed for longer range shots and shouldn’t be affected much by 25 or 50 yards parallax adjustments.

Comparable size and weight to peers

Nikon Black X1000 6-24×50 Vortex Viper PST SFP 6-24×50 Athlon Ares BTR FFP 4.5-27×50
Length (inches) 15.2 15.5 13.8
Weight (oz) 25 23.4 27.3
Tube Size 30mm 30mm 30mm

Durability and Warranty

Personally I have a great run with all 3 optics and have no durability issues with the scopes. That said, I’ve heard stories of turrets defects with the Nikon Black X1000. Issues include :

  • Not tactile clicks
  • Ghost clicks (you hear additional clicks when adjusting turrets)
  • Stiff turrets
  • Debris inside the scope

Even though Nikon offers Lifetime Warranty, its claiming process is more complicated and slow compared to Vortex’s

Note that Athlon products also have reliable lifetime warranty and attentive customer service.
 

Hear What Others have to say about the Nikon Black X1000


 

My Verdict of the Nikon Black X 1000

Gungoal's Rating

Compared to Vortex Viper PST GEN 1, the Black X1000 has better glass but dimmer reticle illumination. Both scopes’ turrets track true has tactile clicks. Nikon has Lifetime warranty but isn’t reliable as Vortex’s.

Compared to Athlon Ares BTR, the Athlon is offered in FFP and zero stop feature at cheaper price than Nikon X1000 and they have similar glass. Turrets track well and you get a christmas tree illuminated reticle. Athlon Ares BTR is the best deal in my opinion.

Pros Cons
✓ Glass with clarity and light transmission ✗ Second Focal Plane
✓ Tracking and tactile turrets ✗ Reticle illumination not as bright as peers
✓ Matching turrets and reticle units ✗ Chances of turrets defects
✓ Price competitive ✗ Small internal turrets adjustments
✓ Lifetime warranty ✗ Nikon’s warranty not as dependable as Vortex’s

 

Alternative options

1. Vortex Viper PST SFP

  • More expensive
  • Slightly worse glass and lens coating
  • Brighter reticle illumination
  • Has zero stop feature
  • Better warranty and customer service

 

2. Athlon Ares BTR FFP

  • Cheaper
  • On par glass quality
  • Christmas tree reticle
  • First Focal Plane
  • Has zero stop
  • Lower minimum parallax adjustment

 

Nikon Black FX1000

  • More expensive
  • First Focal Plane
  • Has zero stop feature
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