Optic Review: Primary Arms Advanced Series Red-Dot Sight

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Primary Arms, a popular online retailer of optics and gun accessories, introduced their own line of affordable optics a few years back. The Advanced Series is their full-size red-dot sight models. The OEM of the optic is actually Holosun and it’s made in China.

 

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Some the features that caught my attention about this Primary Arms red-dot sight are its 50,000 hours battery life, it uses a common size CR123 lithium battery, 2-MOA dot and the included flip-up lens covers.

 

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The Primary Arms Advanced Series red-dot sight is about the size of the Aimpoint Comp M4. It has an absolute co-witness height with its integral mount. As you can see that the Primary Arms magnifier at the back is setup for the lower 1/3 co-witness.

 

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This top view shows the control of the Primary Arms Advanced Series red-dot sight. The “+” and “-“ button controls the red-dot reticle intensity. In front of those two buttons is the laser activation button, but my sample doesn’t have one. On models that have the laser designator, it’s just an additional module added in front of the battery compartment. The laser is available in red or the more expensive green version. However, the laser is not synced to the optic’s windage and elevation adjustment. The laser has to be zeroed separately with it’s own adjustment.

 

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I am not a fan of the Holosun quick-detach lever that comes with the Primary Arms sight. It’s a bit chintzy for my liking and the latch locking mechanism is also rather unsubstantial. The lever itself seems to be just stamped from metal. Holosun has informed me that they are working on improving their QD lever design.

 

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Overall, the Primary Arms Advanced Series Red-dot sight is a good optic for the money. Its 2-MOA dot is very bright and remains sharp even when see through a magnifier.

 

Primary Arms Advanced Series Red-Dot Sight Specification:
Objective: 30mm
Body: Anodized Aluminum
Adjustment: 1/2 MOA per click 100
Reticle: 2-MOA dot
Sight Height: 1.5-inch
Power: CR123A lithium battery
Illumination Control: push button w/12 settings
Battery Life: 50,000 hours
Length: 5.75 inch
Weight: 13.4 ounce
Price: $169.97



Writer and gear editor with articles published in major gun publications. A five year combat veteran of the US Marine Corps, Tim is also part of Point & Shoot Media Works, a producer of photography, video and web media for the firearms and shooting sport industry. Tim’s direct contact: Tyan.TFB -at- gmail.com


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  • Gene

    I count about 19 sentences. Running into a deadline?

    TL;DR. QD takedown lever seems cheap but that may be changed. The pictures are more informative than the text.

    • thedonn007

      I agree. He normally has very good and informative reviews.

      • BrandonAKsALot

        Are you sure you’re thinking of the right person? This dude always posts like this. It claims review in the title and generally it has to do with Holosun and it’s just a run down of features and that’s it.

        • thedonn007

          You know. I think you are right. I think I got him mixed up with a guy that is based out of new mexico, Tom, I think?

          • Thomas Gomez

            Ha! Tom R and I can both put a lot of words down.

          • BrandonAKsALot

            Seems likely. I always enjoy Tom’s posts.

  • M

    Didn’t Holosun have QC issues with wiring with their RDS going dead left and right? I’d be hesitant to buy one

    • Henrik Bergdahl

      I got one of the newer models from them and did not have an issue. So there is one anecdote for you 🙂

    • BillC

      People seem to like them. However they are not as waterproof as they claim to be. The intertubes are filled with people (not everybody, mind you) who get water on the inside, but keep working. The trouble there is since they are nitrogen purged, if liquid can get in from a few minutes in a bucket of water or a bad rain, gas sure can get out.

      I’d be willing to try Holosun out, especially since they will just keep replacing them.

    • Barry

      I had a gen 3 primary arms m4 aa red dot (also made by holosun with a 10,000 hour battery life) that was returned for the led intermittently going out and coming back on after firing. Primary arms replaced it but the second one had the same issue on the first trip to the range. That one was replaced and the third one also had issues. I finally became fed up and got a real aimpoint m4s. Suddenly, no more problems! Primary arms did a good job honoring their warranty, but I just can’t trust holosun products because of my experience.

  • cwp

    I’m curious about this sight, because I usually feel like neither the “CHEAP CHINESE JUNK THAT WILL BREAK IF YOU BREATHE HARD ON IT” side or the “STOP WHINING, IT’S JUST AS GOOD AS AN AIMPOINT” side are totally accurate.

    But what I’m most curious about are how durable it is, how long the battery life is in reality versus claimed, how well it holds up under recoil from various calibers, what the optical quality is like … stuff like that. And, in particular, how it compares in these areas to what Vortex is offering or what AimPoint is offering. Without that kind of test results, it’s a tough sell, even for a range toy, when Vortex will just send me a new one if the first breaks.

    • hking

      Primary Arms has tighter QC and uses better materials than the $50 junk that might even be coming out of the same factory. the guys regularly go out to the production factory to check up on things and make sure their high standards are being met. They also have a great support department that will take care of you if any issues come up. Is it as good as Vortex? Not quite but as long as you dont drive a tank over it on purpose they will help ya out. I have a micro verison of their red dot and its not as nice as my aimpoints are, but its also 1/4th the price. I would trust it any day of the week for range use, light competition, and even HD. Maybe not SHTF or going to war but anything any civilian is likely to encounter in their lifetime it will be good enough.

      • micmac80

        You mean chinese OEM has thighter QC and better material for Primary arms labeled 40$ optics than for their 15$ model . OEM to final prices are often in 1:3 and eve 1:4 ratios.

    • Drew Coleman

      I have a Primary Arms Advanced Microdot on my home defense gun. It’s been left on since I bought it, and has been on many range trips. I probably wouldn’t put it through the same abuse I would have on my Comp M2, but I trust it to hold zero and stay running.

    • Joseph Goins

      It’s less than $170. Don’t be a cheapskate.

      • cwp

        Not to be a smartass, but the only reason I can occasionally buy expensive, high-quality guns and optics is because I avoid dropping $170 on things that might or might not be suitable to put on a range toy.

        If you’re doing well enough that two Benjamins has no impact on your budget, then God bless you. For me, being a cheapskate on stuff like this is not optional. I just don’t have the disposable income to buy one just to see if it’ll do the job.

        • Joseph Goins

          What I meant was it isn’t Chinese junk you can get for thirty bucks. That is being a cheapskate.

          Primary Arms isn’t as expensive your EOTechs and Aimpoints. It’s quality isn’t as high as the expensive models, but it is good enough for your above average hard use. YouTube personalities like Military Arms Channel say that they most put PA products on their guns so they have optics on everything.

        • Joshua Knott

          Here’s the thing ,I don’t have any unquestionable firearms or optics , put the stuff in layaway and chip away at it so that way you really have want you desire. I mean if it’s your only firearm then yeah you might need it day of, but when it comes to the rest, be smart and put your coins away ….and stop buying Chinese junk . The same people whine about American jobs then go buy a primary arms optic.

          • Dan Wilson

            So how is buying an Aimpoint any different as far as impact on American jobs?

          • Joshua Knott

            I mean you have a point, Aimpoint makes a fine optic, and there are some Chinese manufacturers that try and do everything they can to procure copies. To be honest my main issue is the CCP, American intellectual property being stolen by their government, and one thing other than being greed, ethics out the window corporate policy, American companies sending blueprints and plans overseas to weep the benefits of cheap (constant downgrading of the yuan)Chinese labor.

          • Dan Wilson

            I agree. US manufacturers must be competitive, though. I don’t see any that compete with the Primary Arms line at that price point, though.

          • RA

            I agree 100! The crappy part is the optics that are 100% made in USA are extremely expensive on any budget. The majority of American products being sold in the average consumer price range are made in china using contract manufacturing.
            I.E. even Vortex’s lower cost optics are not made in the USA.

          • Joshua Knott

            True, and im not saying the vortex isnt a good optic, but comparing a primary arms to an aimpoint is like me comparing a fine factory racing KTM to a Vietnamese street bike with the same outer housing. but like I said before it comes down to the bottom line of ethics that have gone totally out the window. I applaud people for their inventiveness and taking the initiative, but when they sacrifice what could have been American enterprise for foreign shipments burning crude, we are the losers as a whole.

          • RA

            Sad but true. Until it costs corporations more to produce products OCONUS they won’t stop. All about greed IMO

    • George Dean

      I have several scopes from Primary Arms, one of which is a 4-14X44 FFP with illuminated reticle. I’ve had that particular scope for about 18 months, mounted on a 20″ .308. Several months ago, with my head you know where, I managed to drop the rifle an its butt. It bounced once, rotated, and came down on the scopes sunshade, resulting in whacking the shade about 1/4″ towards the rifle bbl, and boogering the threads on the shade & scope. The objective of the scope was also now displaying about an 1/8″ of threads on the tube.

      I asked Primary Arms if they could repair the scope, and indicated I ws willing to pay the repair costs. They sent me a printable USPS shipping label via email. I packaged up the scope & shade, in the original box, sent it back & within a week received a new scope & sunshade, at no cost.

      Primary Arms provides a three year warranty on most of their scopes against anything besides obvious abuse.

      If you don’t like one of their products, under warranty, they will not hesitate to accept a return and give a refund, in my experience. These are good people to deal with and their products value received for the sum charged is incredible.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      There are quite a few reviews out there abusing the living snot out of their Primary Arms.
      My main rifle, I’d buy the best I can afford. But I have no problem slapping a PA optic on my other ones.

  • BillC

    How is this a review? It’s barely an overview?

    • Russ Kell

      Agreed that was a features overview and ‘this lever may break’. Not a review at all.

  • Jackson

    Waterproof to what depth and shock resistant to what height? Can the red dot be seen from the muzzle end?

  • Badwolf

    Only American made for me. It’s the best! No QC issues ever. R51 doesn’t count… or anything Remington.

    • GearHeadTony

      Or Kel-Tec….or Eotech….or Hi-point…

    • K-Gunner

      I’m all for buying American but did you know that Aimpoints have been made in Sweden?

  • Kurt Ingalls

    …..had zero problem with EoTech holo, sold it back to them……bought a Bushnell trs-25 and I am not looking back. For $89 I have beat the hell out of it and it just seems to keep working…..it is not, I repeat, not a T-2, but………if works!!!!!!!……and weighs in at around 6 ounces…. 🙂

    • George Dean

      I own an EXPS3 & an TRS-25. I love the 25, on a 6′ MKIII but for speed on target (Finding the dot–with two eyes open) the EOTech cannot be beat, especially in bright sunlight.

      • Kurt Ingalls

        Your right, George, the reticle on the Eotech’s are the best!!!!…..I hated to sell back my 517 but if I let the Texas sun get to it, it would not hold zero. I believe the XPS does not have that problem!!!! Good shootin’ on ya!!!!!! 🙁

        • George Dean

          “Good shootin’ on ya!!!!!! :-(”

          And to you Kurt. My daughter-in-law is a Texas gal. My son met her when he was with DPD.

          BTW: Problems were arising in some Eotechs in extreme heat or cold, I believe that they were buying them back under certain circumstances last year. I try to avoid letting the sun cook my gear–I went so far a few years ago to buy black-out tape and cover all the chrome on the tank and fork covers on my Harley. The desert sun was brutal, coming and going.

  • Gabriel

    Who makes that quad rail in the third pic? Anyone?

  • kreatin

    Thanks for the indepth review

  • User

    How is this a “review” … And what would you give the sight from 1->10