Primary Arms has always been a decent option for budget-minded individuals looking for some entry-level options into the magnified optics world. Today we’ll be examining the recently released SLx Gen III 5X Prism Scope I was sent for testing and evaluation. The series so far has been a great success commercially but Primary Arms has also taken some strides to improve the quality over previous generations of the SLx series of optics.
TFB REVIEW: Primary Arms SLx Gen III 5X Prism Scope
Before we get started on the 5X Prism scope it is worthy to note that Primary Arms has also updated their SLx 3x scope, and their SLx MD-25 red dot sight. Be sure to head over and read Nicholas C’s review on the MD-25.
The new scope I received came with a nice engineering test sheet as well as some notes to explain how the scope was tested before it was shipped out to me. I thought this was a nice feature and I wonder if anyone else has received something like this. Either way, it was nice to see a little bit of effort put in by Primary Arms to verify that their product was being quality tested before being shipped out.
SLx 5×36 Prism w/ACSS Aurora Reticle Specs
- Battery Type: CR2032 3V Lithium Coin
- Click Value: 1/3 MOA
- Eye Relief: 2.50 in – 3.00 in
- Field View 18.8’@100yards
- Illuminated: Yes, 5 Brightness Levels In Red And Green
- Battery Life: 3000 Hours
- Magnification: 5X
- Reticle: ACSS Aurora
- Total Windage and Elevation Adjustment: 35 MOA
- Turret Features: Capped Turrets, Tool Adjustable
- Fully Nitrogen Purged, IP67 Waterproof and Dust Proof
- Weight: 18.4 Oz
- Lifetime Warranty
- Made In China
Things I Liked
I am not normally a fan of budget options for optics – especially ones that are mounted to intermediate or larger caliber rifles. However, I will have to admit that this particular prism scope is well built. The optic came out of the box ready to mount to a rifle and that’s exactly what I did. I chose to mount it on a basic AR-15 with a flat top receiver.
The mounting system is similar to other cross bolt style mounting systems. This is apparently a new addition to the Generation 3 line of SLx scopes but the mount does include recoil lugs which help keep the mount and scope secure in the rail segments so that the cross bolts aren’t bearing the brunt of the recoil.
The battery life is stated to be 3,000 hours and I did actually test this feature to see if it would hold up to the claim. I received the scope on April 20th and I am writing this review on June 21st just a touch over two months later or about 1,400 hours. The Li-ION CR2032 battery is still powering the illuminated chevron at the medium setting.
While 3,000-hour battery life isn’t mind-blowing, at least Primary Arms is holding up to its claims thus far. I have had some electrically illuminated optics that had such poor battery life I was constantly worried about bringing extra batteries with me just in case it ran out in the middle of a shooting session. I have full confidence that the battery will continue to perform over the next two months without incident.
The glass was pleasantly clear enough in normal conditions. It’s not the best glass I’ve looked through but for a price point of less than $350, I can’t really complain. Unrelated to the water test, I did notice that both the ocular and objective lenses fogged up occasionally on the exterior when being taken in and out of the air-conditioned truck.
Does it Track and Hold Zero?
I tested the tracking of the scope even though this had already been done according to the inspection form that came with the scope. I found that by doing a “box” test. This means I moved the turrets 10 clicks right, down, left, again left, up 10 clicks, and finally right ten clicks in order to see if the scope will track and remain accurate throughout adjustment.
Subtracting any inaccuracies on my part I was able to get less than a 1/2 MOA difference at 50 yards when shooting from a stabilized position (sandbags) after the box test. I think this demonstrates that the scope will in fact track and is at least quality enough to be relied upon for accurate windage and elevation adjustments. The adjustments for windage and elevation are not adjustable by hand but they have positive clicks that are surprisingly tactile.
There were a few things I did to test the durability of the scope. With it mounted to the gun I subjected it to being pulled in and out of the safe, being tossed in the bed of my truck and driven around some backcountry roads on the way to my range and a couple of times it slid from an upright position to falling on the ground unintentionally. Throughout all this, the scope kept its zero and didn’t show any drastic marring of the anodizing.
As a final test, after I did my shooting with it, I tossed the scope (and the rifle) into the shower to simulate the scope being exposed to rain. I let it sit in there for about 20 mins and then took it out and left it to dry overnight.
I was happy to find that the scope is actually waterproof and didn’t take on any water or any rust or corrosion due to being exposed to water. This is always a great feature even for a budget optic that is being used just for trips to the range.
Despite its entry-level price, the SLx Gen III 5X Prism Scope does the job well. It hits the big three important points for me as far as scopes go in this order: Clarity, Accuracy, and Reliability. Some nice features to see added would be some finger adjustable turrets, but even higher-end scope manufacturers don’t always have this feature.
All in all the Primary Arms SLx Gen III 5X Prism Scope is a fine entry-level option for someone who is considering buying a prism scope and doesn’t want to make the massive investment on other, higher-priced brands and options – especially if they aren’t sure if the fixed magnification scope is going to be right for them. Thoughts and comments welcome below. Would you put this on your rifle?