Better known in the US than in Europe, the Primary Arms company is a supplier of quality optics for sport shooters and law enforcement operators; their SLx Gen III 3x prism sight is specifically conceived for duty, competition, and defensive purposes on modern sporting rifles
Primary Arms is a Houston, TX -based company that provides accessories and optical sights to the international civilian and law enforcement markets. Appealing to an increasingly wide pool of both budget and quality savvy users, Primary Arms has managed to build itself a positive reputation as a supplier of sound and solid products in a relatively short amount of time.
In no small portion, that reputation was owed to the SLx line of riflescopes and optical sights, of which the Primary Arms SLx Gen.III 3x32mm prism scope represents the latest iteration. The Company was so kind to send us a semple for test and evaluation.
Right out of the box, the Primary Arms SLx Gen III 3x prism sight inspires a sense of solidity, with its industry standard hard-anodized aircraft-grade aluminum alloy body that's 5.6" (14,22 cm) long and keeps the overall weight down to 16 oz (453,5 grams) – a good containment of mass and encumbrance that will be welcome by shooters and operators who want to keep their rifle as light as possible.
The SLx Gen III 3x prism sight features an additional, removable MIL-STD 1913 Picatinny rail riding on top, providing additional mounting space for an ancillary unmagnified red dot, and a nearly undestructible mounting system, improved from the already strong design found on the previous versions of the SLx series.
The SLx Gen III's interface consists of a removable MIL-STD 1913 Picatinny top mount and a low mount with hardened steel crossbolts for ACOG-type interfaces. A removable high-strength proprietary riser and a removable spacer allow to tailor the scope height to both AK and AR platform standards.
According to Primary Arms, the manufacturing materials and procedures make the mount of the SLx Gen III twice as strong as as the majority of direct competitors: while most prism mounts may fail at 30 inch-pound (approximately 3,38 newton-metre) of force, the SLx Gen III mounts and hardware are tested – with over 6000 rounds of .308 through an FN SCAR-17s rifle – to double that performance and hold zero in abusive field conditions.
The SLx Gen III features a 32mm objective lens and an overall very crisp and clear optical system, offering a field of view of 31.5 ft at 100 yards (9,6 meters @ 91,44 mt.) and a 2.72 - 2.95" (6,9 - 7,5 cm) minimum eye relief.
This combination of factors is tantamount comfortable use, excellent sight picture, and fast tracking of both fixed and moving targets – and it proved so in our tests. A generous focus dial is located on the eyepiece.
A set of capped, ¼-MOA-per-click turrets allow adjustment of the reticle on a 60 MOA range for both windage and elevation. The turret caps are secured by unobtrusive rubber holders against accidental loss.
A detailed view of the ACSS-5-56 CQB M2 reticle:
I. Infinitely precise center chevron
II. CQB-optimized horseshoe
III. Target-ranging ladder
IV. Bullet drop compensation
V. Wind holds
VI. Moving target leads
The SLx Gen III 3x prism scope features the latest iteration of Primary Arms's patented ACSS (Advanced Combined Sighting System) reticle. The sample we received for evaluation featured the ACSS-5.56 CQB M2 variant, which is optimized for 5.56x45mm/.223, 7.62x51mm/.308, and 5.45x39mm caliber ammunition; a second version – dubbed the ACSS-CQB 300BLK/7.62x39 – also exists, optimized for the .300 AAC "Blackout" round and for AKM platforms in 7.62mm M43 caliber.
The reticle is etched on glass, and illuminated in red by a LED powered by a single CR2032 battery that provides ten different illumination levels depending on the environmental light conditions. The battery seat, located on top of the scope right behind the elevation adjustment turret, also dubs as the illumination adjustment dial.
The only downside – possibly the only real downside of the entire scope! – is that none of the modes is NVG-compatible. Nevertheless, a single battery can provide up to 3000 hours of continuous runtime with the illumination on medium setting.
The ACSS reticle combines ballistic drop compensation, wind holds, moving target leads, and range estimation in an intuitive system that's still remarkably comfortable and fast to use with both eyes open in close quarters as well.
Primary Arms advertises the ACSS CQB reticle as ranging out to an impressive 600 yards (548,6 meters), and reviews found on the Company website report of users easily popping steel at 200 yards with ease.
We tested the Primary Arms SLx Gen III 3x32mm prism sight on a set of steel targets at various distances, ranging between 20 meters (approx. 21.8 yds) and 200 meters (approx. 218 yds).
Using a Faxon Firearms ARAK-21 platform with a 12.5" barrel and Fiocchi .223 caliber 55-grain FMJ ammunition, we found this to be true. 8" AR500 targets would ring regularly at 200 meters, with very little spread even in rapid fire. The ACSS reticle makes staying on target very easy.
The SLx Gen III 3x prism scope comes from factory with two removable lens covers and a set of tool for the installation and the removal of the mount riser.
On the US market, the Primary Arms SLx Gen III 3x32mm is priced at $289.99, putting it perfectly within the reach of most shooters that are on the market for a reliable optical solution that won't break the bank.