Primary Arms offers some of the most popular and affordable optics around. For instance, their 4-14×44 Mil Dot FFP Scope, their 6x scope with .22LR reticle, their 1-6x ACSS scope, and their 2.5X Prism Scope with ACSS Reticle are all great products that many shooters love to use.
Sure, these products may not be the most expensive, or the most “top of the line” shooting equipment you’ll ever see in your life. But they’re aren’t to be. These products excel at being affordable, good-quality optics that get the job done.
Primary Arms has a new product out that shooters are sure to love. According to The Truth About Guns:
Primary Arms’ latest offering is their Advanced 30mm Red Dot, which appears to be their answer to the new Aimpoint PRO. Like the Aimpoint PRO, the Primary Arms Advanced Red Dot is a rugged, full-sized 30mm unit with a true 1x field of view and a 2 MOA dot.
Both units use a twelve-position rotary switch for on/off and brightness control. The Primary Arms unit goes from OFF through three night vision and seven daylight levels to OFF, whereas the Aimpoint PRO has four NV and six daylight settings.
The PA optic comes with rotatable, solid, flip-away lens covers, as opposed to the solid front and transparent rear covers of the Aimpoint (which do appear to be more durable). Unlike the Aimpoint, the PA optic does not come with a Picatinny mount, though Primary Arms has a number of mounts available for about $15 when purchased with the unit, and during promotions a mount is often free. The mount seen here is their High Cantilever 30mm unit.
Both optics take a 1/3N “button” battery. Primary Arms lists the battery life at 14,000 hours (which is over 18 months continuous use), as opposed to the 30,000 hours claimed for the Aimpoint. Both have tethered cap turrets with a wide slots that are click adjustable with a coin, thumbnail, case rim, etc.
OK, you get the picture – from the outside it sure looks like a knock off of the Aimpoint Pro. But how do they compare in use?
Looking through both of them, the clarity of the glass is indistinguishable to me, as is the sharpness of the dot – both very, very good. Both have some color shift, but you are always going to have that with a non-holographic red dot.
At maximum brightness settings, the Aimpoint’s dot does appear to be ever-so-slightly brighter with a deeper color saturation, but even in blindingly bright Central Texas summer sun I never had a problem picking up the dot on the Primary Arms unit.
Aimpoint’s strong suit is that its products are, quite literally, battle tested, with a legendary reputation for durability and reliability. While I can’t claim to have put the Primary Arms optic through anything close to the military’s testing protocols, it took everything I threw at it without complaint.
First up was full auto testing. Thanks to a friend of mine who is a collector of NFA weapons, I had the opportunity to run the Primary Arms unit atop a SWD M11A1 with a 9mm upper and a SilencerCo suppressor, running 72 round drum magazines (which we were emptying very quickly, because, dammit, ‘Merica!). Despite dumping several hundred rounds down range in full auto fury, the Primary Arms optic never flinched, flickered, or wobbled, making it easy to keep the spray of lead on target.
Same story with an IWI X-95 and an SBR’d AR, both with and without a suppressor. Mag dumps, aimed shots, dropped weapons, caliche dust – no hiccups from the optic and it held zero.
To top it off, this testing was in the sun on an oppressively hot Central Texas summer day. How hot did it get on the range? Hot enough that my iPhone 7S cried uncle:
According to the review, the Primary Arms Advanced 30mm Red Dot was able to withstand the intense Cupertino heat without shutting off or flickering once. This is pretty significant, especially since the iPhone was crying for mercy.
Primary Arms is also extremely confident in the Red Dot’s ability to perform over a long period of heavy use. So confident, in fact, that they’re backing their product with a lifetime warranty. This warranty covers a product defect (due to workmanship or materials), or even just simple wear and tear.
Primary Arms’ Red Dot is a very high-quality, durable product that shooters are sure to love. And, at a street price of only $120 (when there’s not a sale), this is a pretty difficult deal to beat.