Primary Arms SLx 3x and 5x Gen III Optics

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Primary Arms SLx 3x and 5x Gen III Optics

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- Primary Arms has recently released the highly anticipated Gen III version of their SLx lineup.  Featuring 3x and 5x prismatic optics (similar to the design popularized by the Trijicon ACOG), the SLx series has been a commercial success for Primary Arms.  They’re continuing to refine the brand, as evidenced by the updated releases.  Today we’re checking out the Gen III SLx 3×32 with ACSS CQB .300 BLK/7.62×39 reticle and the SLx 5×36 with ACSS-Aurora reticle.

Primary Arms SLx 3x and 5x Gen III Optics

Let’s take a quick look at the tech specs for each of these optics, then check out what separates the Gen III from the Gen II.

Technical Specifications:  SLx 3×32 w/ ACSS CQB .300BLK/7.62×39

  • Battery Type: CR2032 3V Lithium Coin

  • Click Value: 1/4 MOA

  • Eye Relief: 2.72 in – 2.92 in

  • Field View 31.5’@100yards

  • Illuminated:  Yes, 11 Brightness Settings In Red

  • Battery Life:  3000 Hours
  • Magnification: 3X

  • Reticle: ACSS 7.62X39/300BLK CQB

  • Total Windage and Elevation Adjustment: 60 MOA

  • Turret Features: Capped Turrets, Tool Adjustable

  • Fully Nitrogen Purged, IP67 Waterproof and Dust Proof
  • Weight: 18.4 Oz

Technical Specifications:  SLx 5×36 with ACSS-Aurora reticle

  • 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

So we can see that the 3x and 5x share a lot of common elements.  They also share the same generational upgrades, of which there are two.  First is an improvement in the mounting system.  According to Primary Arms, the SLx Gen III optics now feature the “addition of improved mounting system that features integrated recoil lugs and hardened steel cross-bolts”.  The second is the replacement of the center dot in the reticle with a chevron, billed as “an infinitely precise aiming point to make precision shots”.  Although not mentioned in the press release by Primary Arms, battery life is also up from an unofficial ~1900 hours to 3000 hours.  Also not mentioned is a slight weight gain of around 2 ounces.

Primary Arms SLx
The turret caps are retained by a rubber “strap”, the best method I’ve seen yet.

The reticles used are some of Primary Arms’ best.  The CQB .300 BLK/7.62×39 offers easy hits past 200 yards with subsonic ammo, and much further than that with supersonic selections.  The switch from a dot to a chevron is a small one but makes a functional difference.  The Aurora reticle is new to me, but it’s quick to pick up and enjoy.  Both reticles have ranging functions, and the 5x Aurora has windage/leads as well.

Primary Arms SLx
Primary Arms SLx 3x32mm Gen III Prism Scope – ACSS-CQB-300BLK/7.62×39 Reticle
Primary Arms SLx
Primary Arms SLx 3x32mm Gen III Prism Scope – ACSS-CQB-300BLK/7.62×39 Reticle
Primary Arms SLx
Primary Arms SLx 5x36mm Gen III Prism Scope – ACSS-AURORA Reticle
Primary Arms SLx
Primary Arms SLx 5x36mm Gen III Prism Scope – ACSS-AURORA Reticle

The glass on both optics is really clear, with good light and color transmission.  The aluminum housing is well-built and feels very solid.  The turret caps are retained by a rubber “strap”, the best method I’ve seen yet.  While the turrets themselves aren’t finger-adjustable, they’re smooth when spinning with a tactile click at each adjustment point.

Primary Arms SLx
Primary Arms SLx 5x36mm Gen III Prism Scope – ACSS-AURORA Reticle

At the range, both versions performed just as solidly as previous iterations.  While I prefer the 3x over the 5x, that’s not due to any mechanical issue, just a matter of me preferring “jack of all trades” optics over more specialized versions.  The Primary Arms 3x gives a good amount of magnification, while staying low powered enough to allow for quick shots when needed.  The 5x certainly makes seeing at distance easier, far more than I’d assumed a mere 2x difference would before setting these up side-by-side.  The green reticle on the Aurora will be a Godsend for some shooters with aging eyes, as green is considerably easier for our eyes to pick up and differentiate.

Primary Arms SLx 3x32mm Gen III Prism Scope - ACSS-CQB-300BLK/7.62x39 Reticle
Primary Arms SLx 3x32mm Gen III Prism Scope – ACSS-CQB-300BLK/7.62×39 Reticle

Primary Arms has a really consistent formula for building and refining optics, and they keep up the pace here.  While the refinements to the Gen III SLx line are minor, they’re in two of the most important areas for an optic: the mount and the reticle.  If you’ve been a fan of Primary Arms before this release, you’ll find no reason to stop.  If you weren’t sure prior to now, it’s a great time to jump in and give them a shot.  The SLx 3×32 Gen III Prism scope with CQB-300BLK/7.62×39 reticle runs $289.99, while the SLx 5×36 Gen III Prism Scope with ACSS Aurora reticle runs $329.99.  Check em out!


About Rex Nanorum

Jens Hammer

Rex Nanorum is an Alaskan Expatriate living in Oregon with his wife and kids. Growing up on commercial fishing vessels, he found his next adventure with the 2nd Bn, 75th Ranger Regt. After 5 tours to Afghanistan and Iraq, he adventured about the west coast becoming a commercial fisheries and salvage SCUBA diver, rated helicopter pilot instructor (CFII) and personal trainer, before becoming a gear reviewer and writer.”

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