Sightmark SM18008 Photon XT Review: Multifunctional Night Vision Rifle Scope

Sightmark SM18008 Photon XT Review


What We Like

  • Great for both day and night use
  • Accommodates several other accessories
  • Easy and precise adjustments
  • Decent eye relief
  • Higher image resolution
  • Comes with a nice carry case

What We Don’t Like

  • Field of view can be quite narrow for close-range shots
  • Manual is not very detailed
  • Front focus dial can be a little awkward to reach

Bottom Line

It is also about versatility and superior performance both day and night with this scope as the infrared illumination makes it very handy for different shooting situations.


Any hunter or target shooter looking for a highly dependable scope with night vision that does not cost a fortune but still does a good job will love the Sightmark SM18008 Photon XT as it does an amazing job.

This scope makes use of infrared illumination and will use AA batteries that are designed to deliver many hours of continuous operation. Also, the scope has some high-quality lenses and a digital reticle that will combine to deliver superior image quality.

Sightmark SM18008 Photon XT Review

Sightmark SM18008 Photon XT Scope

Photo: Sightmark

Clarity: Clear and High-Resolution Images

Sightmark SM18008 Photon XT has been designed to deliver crisp and clear sight posture to make hunting more effortless and accurate regardless of the conditions. And it will achieve this amazing picture with some high-quality lenses.

These lenses are made from high-quality glass material with multiple coatings that are meant to ensure they will make good use of the light to deliver the best sight picture. Also, the lenses on this scope are designed to be robust for long service as the will be more resistant to scratches and other things like dirt and debris.

To ensure optimal clarity, this scope provides a decent 4.6x magnification that will allow you to see the images closer and in more detail. And with the relatively larger objective lens diameter of 42 mm, there is also enough room for more light to come in to ensure even crispier image quality.

This scope also gives you a relatively wider field of view for its size and price range. You will be able to see across 18 feet wide section at 100 yards, which should be enough for hunting and target shooting from a few hundred yards out.

Besides delivering a clear and bright enough picture, this scope will also make shooting more comfortable as it will include a decent 2.36 inches eye relief. This and the generous enough eyebox makes this scope comfortable enough for shooting on different rifles.

Primary Use: Day and Night Shooting

The inclusion of night vision is one of the main things that will make this scope special as it will open you up to more possibilities when it comes to shooting. Night vision makes this a highly useful scope for both day and night shooting.

For the night vision, this scope will include a built-in infrared illuminator. This infrared illumination is very handy for use in low light conditions and complete darkness, and it will make this scope highly versatile as it will be handy for any shooting condition.

To make this an even more versatile and convenient scope, it will allow you to adjust the brightness levels by choosing from 11 illumination levels to fine-tune the scope to suit the specific conditions.

Shooters will also be able to capture everything they see through the scope using the video output function, which can be a very useful function for different non-hunting situations. Hence, besides target shooting and hunting, this night vision scope will also be useful for other things like observation as it can also double up as a night vision monocular.

And to make this an even more versatile scope for different uses, it will also include a digital reticle with 6 styles. This reticle will include the red, green, and white options for the long-range shots, two crossbow reticles that can handle different arrow speeds, a mil-dot reticle, and a couple of duplex reticles for varmint hunting.

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Construction & Build Quality: Solid and Lightweight

The Sightmark SM18008 Photon XT is also a solid rifle scope that you can be sure will serve you well for a long time to come. It is made from a combination of metal and class-nylon composite material.

The material combination used to make this scope will not only make it tough and durable but also helps keep the weight down. This scope will be up to 30% lighter than many other night vision scopes out there. Hence, you can be sure it does not add a lot of weight to your rifle.

And to give you some assurances it is built to last, Sightmark will provide a limited lifetime warranty for this night vision scope.

Another element of the construction that many hunters will love is that this scope comes in a more low-profile design. This low profile style will provide perfect co-witness with the holographic and reflex sights.

Sightmark SM18008 Photon XT has an IPX4 rating that will mean it is a more weatherproof model that will be effective enough at keeping water and other things like debris and dirt out. And although there is no nitrogen purging, there is hardly any complaint about fogging.

Also, this is a shockproof scope that is designed to withstand high recoil and lots of vibrations. And to ensure you can easily add other accessories that you need to enhance the overall performance, it will also include an integrated weaver rail.

Adjustments & Set-up: Precise Digital Adjustments

Like any other scope, the set up for this one will still require you to understand the basics of mounting a scope, and you also need to have the right tools. But with that said, the setup process is still quite straightforward.

This scope can be easily mounted using just the regular scope mounting rings, and so you will not need to spend a lot of cash on any complicated mount rings. And if already have the standard mount rings for other rifle scopes, you will not even need to buy new ones.

For the adjustments, this scope uses digital elevation and windage adjustments that will ensure you will get highly precise and repeatable settings. There is also a wide enough range for both as they will give you get 60 clicks for windage and elevation adjustment.

With this scope, you will also get an eyepiece adjustment ring that will make it easy to adjust the image sharpness to your liking. All you will need to do is rotate it until you get a sharp enough image of the scope’s reticle.

Price: Inexpensive for A Night Vision Scope

Good night vision scopes will typically cost thousands of dollars as they are one of the most advanced types of rifle scopes. But, the Sightmark SM18008 Photon XT has been built for hunters and target shooters on the market for something more affordable.

For a night vision scope with infrared illumination, this model is one of the cheapest options you can get anywhere. Even if you add the cost of buying the mount rings and a few other accessories that you might need, you will still spend under $500 scope, which is still a fantastic deal for a night vision scope.

The package also includes a few extras like a carry case for the scope, a 1/4-inch socket, and a nice lens cloth.


More budget-friendly and multifunctional night vision scope that will be very handy for a wide variety of shooting situations and conditions.

Sightmark SM18008 Photon XT proves that you do not always need to spend a lot of cash to get a good night vision scope. This scope has a decent 4.6x magnification, some high-quality lenses and a digital reticle with 6 styles to ensure you get a superior sight picture. Also, it is a lightweight and well-built model that will also be easy to mount with standard rings.


  • Product Name: Sightmark SM18008 Photon XT
  • Product Brand: Sightmark
  • Body Material: Glass-nylon composite / metal
  • Reticle: Digital with 6 styles
  • Magnification: 4.6x
  • Objective Diameter: 42 millimeters
  • Field of View: 18 feet at 100 yards
  • Range of detection: 130 yards
  • Eye Relief: 2.36 inches/60 mm
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty

Key Features

  • Digital reticle with 6 styles for increased versatility
  • Video output makes it possible to record videos
  • 2.36 eye relief is good enough for this scope
  • 18 feet at 100 yards field of view is wide enough
  • Additional weaver rail allows you to mount more accessories
  • Digital adjustments for increased precision
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