Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Primary Arms SLx Gen II MicroPrism Scope - the Astigmatism Red Dot

Primary Arms SLx Gen II MicroPrism Scope - the Astigmatism Red Dot

There may be just one reason that I am selling all my Trijicon, Eotech, Vortex, and other red dots and prismatic optics and replacing them with PA SLx Gen II MicroPrism scopes, however likely there are many. It may be that I am sick and tired of picking up a gun and having a dead battery and literally useless clear tube or glass reflector where a red dot should appear. 

With almost all AA or AAA powered prismatic optics I have the same short battery life issue. Even many “long running” 2032 powered red dots from a few years ago can only run for 2000-3000 hours. It might be that I am tired of a fuzzy red dot or circle dot that no matter how good it might be or expensive the optic is, it is still just a fuzzy aiming point usually with poor see-through light transmission. It may be that I see no advantage to a red dot with limited FOV, expensive and low runtime CR123 batteries, and weight that is 6-10 ounces heavier than the PA SLx prism optic. It also might be that my prepper mindset is screaming that if an EMP goes off, buzz… fizzle, the optic is fried and I just have a clear tube to look through on my rifle with any other red dot optic.

Or it could be that the bombproof Primary Arms SLx Gen II MicroPrism Scope delivers a tiny format, comparatively huge crystal clear FOV, insane 25K-50K hour (3-6 year) runtime on a cheap and compact 2032 battery, fast as hell and super crisp etched reticle with useful 50/200/300/400 yard aiming points, an etched black reticle that is still visible even with the battery removed, an adjustable focal eyepiece to get a perfectly focused and crisp reticle, bikini lens cover, and an included configurable mount with extra heavy duty torq screws. It also includes mounting spaces to accommodate just about any co-witness height. Oh and it does this for a $269-$399 price depending on which 1x, 3x or 5x model you choose. So basically for the price of a single “premium” red dot with less features, I could likely buy two or more of the PA MicroPrism scopes.

For those with any minor eye focus correction prism scopes like the new Primary Arms SLx Gen II MicroPrism scopes, are without question the best option when it comes to something that resembles a red dot. The technology progression of optics has been impressive in the last decade. The clarity and precision coating technology of many of today’s mid-grade optics rivals that of premier tier optics from twenty years ago and obviously today’s top tier optics offer spectacular clarity all thanks to improved glass grinding, finishing and especially high-tech lens coating technologies. The 1x and 3x SLx PA MicroPrism optics I started testing really blew me away. Here I was using “state of the art” $500-$1500 red dots that were just five or so years old and these significantly less expensive PA MicroPrism optics were just blowing these old premium red dots away. They are that much better, lighter, run longer, clearer, and in some cases faster than just a dot. Primary Arms has also embedded their auto-live illumination sleep mode that turns the power off until motion is detected - a feature that likely adds to the overall impressive 25K-50K hour runtime.

Primary Arms has really impressed me over the years. As a jaded writer that has been writing in the industry for about twenty years, eye-roll inducing “me-too manufacturing” patterns occur all too often, however in this case I have been increasingly impressed. Over a decade ago I purchased a couple optics from Primary Arms that were old enough to have the old scroll style logo on them. One purchase was a red dot and another an extraordinarily beefy 4-16 FFP MilDot… and I still have them and have been wildly impressed with the quality despite surviving an absolute beat down in the last decade. The 4-16 is my standard QD mounted optic to drop onto nearly every review. I have purchased more than a few Red Dots from PA and they have all increased in quality over the years. Over the years, Primary Arms has continued to innovate and actually brought to the US market some of the first 50K hour runtime red dots, the very innovative ACSS and Cyclops Reticle, the first screw-on Autolive upgrade cap in 2023 and a host of premium quality optics such as the extremely innovative 1X and 3X SLx Gen II MicroPrism scopes reviewed here.

Prior to eye surgery on my dominant eye, which corrected my astigmatism and pulled my vision back to spectacular 20/10, I fought constantly with red dot and holographic optics. What I saw as my astigmatism increased was initially a very splashy red dot, a large direction dot smear, and later a dot so splashy that it was unusable for anything except CQB applications. Generally, I switched completely to LPV (Low Power Variable Optics) or Prism 1X scopes which allowed focus adjustment and delivered a blur free reticle. I am here to tell you that if you have any minor eye correction or any astigmatism, you should 100% focus on prism based optics if you want something resembling a red dot, plus they have many other benefits that red dots and holographic sights do not.

Primary Arms SLx  Gen II MicroPrism has some really distinct features and advantages including size, clarity, field of view, etched and illuminated reticle, the ACSS or Cyclops reticle, Autolive and a very extended runtime all in a size that is roughly the same as your standard red dot. PA has done years of work refining the ACSS reticle and they did a great job with these microprism optics. Looking through the crystal clear optic you are met with a semi-circle and upside down V aiming point offering a very sharp precise aiming point at the tip for 50/200 yards, 300 yards on the inside of the V and 400-yards at the bottom of the V. Under the reticle is a ranging chart which allows for easy and simple target ranging to 400-yards.

When prismatic scopes broadly hit the civilian market thanks to Trijicon and later Burris, they were extremely heavy, but offered a shorter overall size and large optical clarity advantage over standard red dots. About ten years ago, the format shrank substantially to about half the size and weight with the Vortex Spitfire and Burris ARx prism optics, but now Primary Arms Gen II MicroPrism are the newest prism technology with an absolutely tiny overall size.

Primary Arms offers three models in 1x, 3x and 5x magnification and offers some models in black and FDE. Having owned a number of Trijicon ACOGs, I like the PA SLx microprism optics better. Sure, the PA optic is IP67 dust and 1M waterproof rated for 30-minutes, so if you plan to go swimming to depths of 500-meters, the ACOG might be a better option, however considering I can buy five PA SLx 1x Microprisms for the price of one ACOG, it might be a good bet on going swimming with the Primary Arms MicroPrism optics. If this was a review on Snapbook or Twittergram it would get a solid 5 stars.

Battery Life 25,001 - 50,000 Hours
Battery Type CR2032 3V Lithium Coin
Brand Primary Arms

Click Value 1 MOA
Color Black
Field View 10076.50 ft

Focal Plane Prism Scope

Illuminated Partial Illumination

Magnification 1X, 3X or 5X

Manufacturer. Primary Arms

Optic Series SLx


Reticle Color Red

Total Elevation Adjustment 120 MOA

Total Windage Adjustment 120 MOA

Turret Features External

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