Primary Arms SLx 1x Compact Prism Scope: All the Positives of a Red Dot with None of the Negatives

What if you could have all the advantages of a red dot but none of the negatives? 

Red Dot Positives:

  • Field of view
  • Excels at both eyes open shooting
  • Daylight bright illumination
  • True 1x
  • Small & Lightweight
  • Simplistic
  • Durable

Red Dot Negatives:

  • Completely electronic – Battery or electronics fail and you have nothing to aim with
  • Shooters with astigmatism (30-60% of the population) don’t see a clear round dot but rather see a blob of distorted light that looks bloomed and constantly changes shape. 
  • Not precise, generally 2-8 MOA dots.
  • Poor light transmission (due to coatings needed to reflect the dot).
  • Poor quality lenses, often plastic, with distortions that most users can’t see due to lower magnification but that ultimately affect the sight picture. 

The scope cover caps are removable.

The Primary Arms new SLx 1x Compact Prism Scope ACSS Cyclops has ALL of the advantages of a red dot but NONE of the negatives. How? Well, it uses an actual glass etched reticle. It’s clear and crisp because they use higher quality lenses. Add daylight bright electronics and you have a bright clear crisp aiming point that still exists should the electronics fail. It’s kind of a cross between a real scope and a red dot. 

The PA SLx 1x Prism only weighs 9.7 oz so it will work great on a lightweight build. 

The scope is fully Nitrogen purged, IP67 Waterproof and Dustproof. Primary Arms claims they have durability-tested this optic wearing out two 308 FN SCAR rifles. FN SCAR rifles are piston-driven and notorious for wrecking optics.

The mounting base uses a T1 Industry standard and can be interchanged for different mounts if a different height is desired.

The base is removable so you can use other popular micro red dot mounts. However, the base/mount that it comes mounted on is completely acceptable and puts the height at 1.41″ which is about perfect.

Under the scope cap there is a fast focus ocular adjustment for focusing the reticle to your individual eye.

There is an adjustable ocular so that you can focus the reticle perfectly for your individual eye. This is really important because the aiming point is very fine. I love how small it is because it allowed me to still shoot 1 MOA groups at 100 yards. You usually don’t associate precision with one power optics but this delivers. For speed, there is a much heavier horseshoe shape that is bracketed over the precision aiming point. It’s especially fast illuminated.

The zeroing windage and elevation adjustments are capped. The caps have tethers which is a great feature! The adjustments can be made with a cartridge rim or a coin.

While this scope certainly isn’t intended to be dialed, it has 50 MOA of adjustment and the windage and elevation turrets move in .5 MOA increments. 

The illumination setting is easy to adjust. It’s also easy to access the battery compartment using the new battery or a coin.

Even though the reticle looks orange in this picture, it’s actually bright red. We’ll blame the photographer.

The model I tested has red illumination. There are 11 illumination settings, 12 if you count the off position. Each setting has a positive detent. The owner’s manual claims 13,000 hours of battery life on a medium illumination setting which is 541 days or 1.48 years. This probably varies from brand of battery and I didn’t test this. Even if you should have a battery fail or get in a situation where the world ends and you can’t get a replacement battery, you still have a reticle to aim with because it’s glass etched. Without illumination, the reticle is black and contrasts well.

This is a picture taken from the owners manual showing the holds on the chevron. The owners manual is substantially better than what I’ve seen from the rest of the industry.

Speaking of the reticle, the model I tested has the ACSS-CYCLOPS reticle which is basically a chevron (an inverted V) with a horseshoe over the top of it. The tip of the chevron is meant to be zeroed at 50/200 yards. The owner’s manual shows holds for 300 yards and 400 yards which I did verify working by shooting those distances with an AR-15 using a 223/5.56. 

Below the reticle is a rangefinding stadia which I didn’t use or test. My personal preference would have been for PA to have left that feature out and kept the image cleaner as I think it’s gimmicky. I can guess pretty close to 400 yards and I’m likely not shooting past 500 with a 1x in 223 regardless. There may be someone that loves it and it really doesn’t hurt the functionality of the scope so I guess it really doesn’t matter.  

I should mention that both the Chevron and the Horseshoe illuminate.

Overall, the optic is a winner. It seems well designed, well-engineered, and it’s very functional.  It worked. I fully plan on purchasing this from PA and using it to shoot a limited 3 gun match where you can’t use magnified optics. 

The current price is $239.99 and they were in stock when this review was published.

Click HERE to visit Primary Arms for more information on the SLx 1x Prism

SPECS:

  • Battery Type – CR2032 3V Lithium Coin
  • Brand – Primary Arms
  • Click Value – 1/2 MOA
  • Eye Relief – 3.70 in
  • Field View 100 – 76.30 ft
  • Illuminated – Illuminated
  • Magnification – 1X
  • Manufacturer – Primary Arms
  • Night Vision Compatible – Non-Compatible
  • Reticle – ACSS CYCLOPS
  • Total Elevation Adjustment – 50 MOA
  • Total Windage Adjustment – 50 MOA
  • Turret Features – Capped Turrets, Tool Adjustable
  • Type – Fixed Magnification
  • Weight – 9.7 Oz
  • Warranty – Lifetime Warranty

About the author: True Pearce is the Managing Editor at GunsAmerica. He’s a competitive shooter, hunter, instructor & attorney. You can see and follow his adventures on Instagram. @true1911 https://www.instagram.com/true1911/

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Todd February 19, 2021, 11:22 am

    Noting where it is manufactured would be, in fact IS, mandatory in my purchasing decision making.

    Not noting its point of manufacture generally defaults to Communist China or Turkey in my experience.

    Either is a no-go for me.

    Todd.

  • JohnL February 19, 2021, 9:54 am

    It s a good sight, I have a couple. Wish they had updated reticle, less busy and a 400 yrd mark 4 762×39. I’ve used them with multiplayer with no issues? For me it was like using an FFP? I also talked to their tech?

  • Dallas February 19, 2021, 8:32 am

    Matt – I have found the BOG Deadgrip tripod meets my needs

  • Green tip February 16, 2021, 1:24 pm

    Motion activated? Or not..did I miss that? Like the glass “etched” concept, big plus. PA makes great stuff or so I hear…I KNOW they stand behind their products. It’ll sell…guaranteed

  • Damon Burch February 15, 2021, 11:38 am

    To say it has “all of the positives” of a red dot isn’t exactly true. One of the biggest positives of most red dots is being parallax free. Your head can be out of position and still have point of impact line up with point of aim. This makes fast target acquisition while shooting from weird positions under stress easier. I’m not smack talking the optic (I actually have one) just pointing out that red dots can be better for cqb IMHO. I like both for different reasons

  • Bob February 15, 2021, 10:52 am

    Are there any flip up magnifiers that can pair with this prism? I know that red dots can pair easily, but the inability to pair with magnifiers has been a negative of other prisms I’ve looked at in the past.

    • Brian February 19, 2021, 7:04 am

      That is one of the more significant downsides to a prism setup. They do not pair with magnifiers if you want to have the option to change from a 1x like the red dot gives you. Essentially that is why prism sights frequently are manufactures with a preset magnification of 3x and 5x. I think the 1x is a great idea for the exactly the reasons the article states. The difference in accuracy that is achievable with a prism vs a rds for those of us battling the astigmatism effects is very significant depending on the severity of the astigmatism. I have a SwampFox (not to plug them) prism sight on a PCC and have found the prism sight to be an outstanding device. I would also say that the BDC aimpoints are absolutely spot on once it’s zero’d. Absolutely confident the PA prism would do the same. Especially appreciate the T1/2 footprint mount. Great move by PA.

      • Bob February 19, 2021, 9:56 am

        That’s my understanding too. I have two prisms and love them because of the etched reticle and zero blur with my minor astigmatism. The only downsides are the parallax and magnifier incomparably. The title of this article caught my eye with “all the positives” and “none of the negatives.” It seems the headline is a bit sensationalized to encourage clicks. FYI, I have several Primary Arms red dots and one PA prism. They provide a very good quality product and a great entry price point.

  • Matthew McGaughey February 15, 2021, 9:07 am

    What tripod are you using there? Also does anybody have a recommendation for a shooting Tripod?

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