Primary Arms makes some seriously quality optics for a very fair price. They have a wide selection and features to meet the needs of a novice, intermediate, or expert shooter. For our 10.5″ pistol, we needed a simple red dot for close range shooting and this little guy fits the bill just fine.
This is a small, lightweight red dot, advertising 50,000 hours of life from it’s CR2032 battery. Which is great if you occasionally forget to turn them off, as I do.
While unpacking our shiny new optic, I noticed it came with helpful booklet, an allen wrench for mounting to your rail, and a nice rubber lens cover for both of the glass ends of the optic to protect them when not in use. This thing is small. smaller than I expected. The metal covers over your windage adjustments feel secure and snug. The “+” and “-” brightness adjustment buttons have a nice feel, and they’re adequately sized. It is worth noting that there isn’t a dedicated on/off switch, you’ll have to hold down the “-” button until the optic is off. Depending on how bright you need it to be, you may find yourself holding the buttons for quite some time to get the to appropriate brightness. Although options are nice, there is over a dozen brightness levels to choose from. I think I’d be happier with about half as many choices so I could get to my desired brightness more quickly. Personally I don’t see much value in the many nuanced levels as you often can’t even distinguish a difference until you press the button 3-4 times. The “red dot” itself is pretty clean and round until you get into the brightest options; at which point it becomes a bit misshapen and overwhelms the viewing area. On the plus side, Even against direct sunlight and snow, while wearing sunglasses I didn’t need to use the brightest settings.
At The Range
I first used a laser bore sight to get things within a usable accuracy. Nothing is more frustrating than sending an entire magazine down range and not even being on paper; this makes the laser bore sight my preferred first step when sighting in a new optic.
It became readily apparent that my new optic wasn’t high enough above my gun to use comfortably. I found myself canting my head severely toward the gun, which made for an uncomfortable shooting experience. This optic is mounting on a pistol, and when shouldered I developed some neck stiffness from cocking my head to the extreme right. When holding the gun further out, more like a pistol, I still found my view to be uncomfortable. It was just far too close to the gun for good sight picture and ergonomics. To address this, I ordered an inexpensive rail riser; which fixed everything in this regard. I finally had a comfortable view through the red dot, with or without resting my cheek on the buffer tube. I found the sight to be very accurate and comfortable to use in the 50-100 yard range. Much beyond that, unless you have the eyes of a bird of prey, you’ll likely find you want magnification of some sort. But Red dots are designed to maintain a wide sight picture and make acquiring your target fast while maintaining some peripheral vision. This optic didn’t disappoint.
The glass is extremely clear and has no distortions or negative effects on what you view through it that I could perceive. The dot is more than bright enough for all ambient light levels.
Long Term Use
This optic has a reputation for holding zero quite well, and after transporting my gun, occasionally bumping it on things, and firing 300+ rounds it is still extremely accurate. I will not be showing my groupings here since I wasn’t using a sandbag or rest, which is the preferred method. Let’s just say that while holding the gun or resting the barrel on a fence while standing or kneeling I had no issues hitting a torso-sized target out to 100 yards. Primary arms offers a companion magnifier if you foresee yourself needed to get up close and personal, and make longer range shooting a better experience.
The Primary Arms Advanced Micro Red Dot checks all the boxes for a quality, inexpensive short range optic. If you’re planning to mount it directly to the upper, pick up one of the risers that PA offers otherwise you’ll likely find its not at a comfortable viewing angle. Overall Grade: 4/5.