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Primary Arms has made quite the name for themselves. They’ve not only established an awesome retail website, but they design and produce a wide variety of optics at great price points, from red dots to prisms and LPVOs.

We have the latter in today’s review, and it’s a new model in their affordable SLx series. The new SLx 1-6x24mm SFP Rifle Scope features the ACSS Nova reticle and is part of the latest Gen IV series SLx LPVOs. Primary Arms provided the optic for this test and review.

Let’s find out if the new SLx is worth the upgrade. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

I mounted the new SLx ACSS Nova on my Interarms Mark X Mini Mauser in 7.62x39mm. The optic provides a 1 to 6X magnification range and is a second focal plane scope.

The optic is like most in the SLx range. It’s affordable with plenty of features and fairly standard in size and weight. The optic is 10.4 inches long and weighs 17.9 ounces. Its generous eye relief of four inches is quite forgiving. A 30mm tube diameter makes it easy to find rings.

The ACSS Nova Reticle

The reticle is illuminated and has 11 brightness settings. The illuminated portion is fairly small. It uses a new fiber wire system to create an incredibly bright dot. Most affordable optics struggle with being daylight-bright and eye-catching. That’s not an issue here.

Primary Arms provides a fairly simple reticle system with the Nova. Below that big glowing dot sits a series of four MIL extensions. If you know your dope (or are trying to learn it in my case), then you can use these extensions to compensate for drop. ACSS, as a reticle brand, has been a multi-use system.

The new ACSS NOVA reticle is fantastic. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

Those MIL extensions are designed to aid in rangefinding, and that’s why they get smaller as they descend. While there are four obvious extensions, the manual states a fifth mil extension is where the reticle tapers into a solid line.

The MIL extensions are designed to cover an 18-inch target from side to side at a particular range. Eighteen inches is close to the width of an average man with his arms at his sides and the width of an IPSC/USPA target. The first extension is 300 yards, the second is 400, the third is 500, and the fourth is 600.

As a 1-6X optic it’s versatile and functional enough for use on several different platforms. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The horizontal bar of the ACSS NOVA reticle also features six leads. The leads are designed for moving targets at a walk of three miles per hour, a jog of six miles per hour, and a sprint of nine miles per hour. The leads work best from 100 to 300 yards.

To be clear, as a second focal plane optic, the SLx’s MIL extensions only work at the 6X setting.

Adjustments and Zeroing

A set of marked, fingertip-adjustable turrets makes zeroing very easy. Once zeroed, you can reset the turrets to zero. Zeroing the SLx ACSS Nova LPVO was one of my easier zeroing experiences. It was a mix of a good optic and some good luck.

The fingertip adjustable turrets are a nice touch (Travis Pike for TTAG)

I only had to make some very minor adjustments to get dead-on target. The turrets provided very crisp adjustments, and they provide great tactile and audible feedback. Each adjustment is .1 MIL, and the adjustments were dead-on accurate. I zeroed the optic in four rounds total when you count the final round as a confirmation.

Punching Holes With the SLx ACSS Nova

The clarity of the SLx was impressive, especially for a $350-ish optic. At 500 yards, I could easily make out all manner of details on my target. I could differentiate trees, signs, and other various objects out at the end of the range. I could make out IPSC targets and large gongs and I can confirm the MIL extension is accurate for rangefinding on ISPC targets.

Also, at 200 yards, 7.62×39 drops seven inches, and some change and two mils equal 7.2 inches. This made it really fun to land headshots at 200 yards with the Interarms Mark X rifle paired with the SLx ACSS Nova rifle scope. Hearing the steel ding was a tons of fun. The ACSS Nova reticle isn’t busy or obstructive. It’s quite thin, and even at longer ranges, it’s easy to see and use.

The optic is surprisingly clear for the price point. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

That little red dot really is bright. The fiber wire tech they use is impressive. At 1400 in Florida, with a clear sky, the dot glowed brightly enough to overcome the sun at brightness setting level seven. Even setting 11 seemed like a bit too much for the brightest part of Florida spring.

The SLx comes with a nice throw lever. It’s handy and absolutely necessary. The magnification ring is surprisingly stiff and doesn’t move with ease. The throw lever seems necessary to ensure smooth manipulation between the different settings.

A throw lever is a must have on this optic due to a stiff magnification ring. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

Primary Arms has produced another very solid optic with the SLx Gen IV, and the ACSS Nova reticle is quite nice overall. It’s a simple LPVO with plenty of extra features. The glass is surprisingly nice for the price, and it’s a perfect companion to my Interarms Mark X.

Specifications

Magnification: 1-6X
Focal Plane: SFP
Adjustment Graduation: .1 MIL
Eye Relief: 4 inches
Length: 10.4 inches
Weight: 17.9 ounces
MSRP: 339.99

Ratings (Out of Five Stars)

Clarity * * * *
Is it as clear as a 2,500-dollar optic? No, but for shooting out to 500 yards, you won’t have any complaints. You get a good, clear sight picture with the SLx and the ACSS Nova that makes shooting at typical carbine ranges and varying light levels easy.

Ease of Use * * * * *
The SLx is a feature-filled optic, but nothing is complicated or difficult to figure out. A quick peek at the manual is all you need, and zeroing is a snap. The turrets are fantastic, particularly for an optic at this price point.

Ergonomics * * * *
The SLx is mostly solid when it comes to ergonomics. It’s not fancy or super lightweight, but it’s very much in line with most military style optics. The only downside is the magnification ring and how stiff it is to adjust.

Overall * * * * ½
The Primary Arms SLx ACSS Nova is a great budget LPVO for an AR of any caliber, a bolt gun, or any other weapon you’ll be using within 500 yards or so. And for most of us, that’s every rifle we own. For the price, it’s surprisingly nice and well-made. Budget optics have come a very long way. Primary Arms has a lot to do with that and the SLx Gen IV is an excellent example.

 

 

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15 COMMENTS

    • That mini Mauser does look pretty nice. It is such a nice addition, especially for someone who already has an AK or SKS.

      I was a little surprised to see Travis reviewing this “combat type” optic on a traditional hunting rifle. Then Travis mentioned 7.62*39, and I thought “it kinda makes sense”. I’d still probably run a 3-9x hunting scope on this gun and put the 1-6x ACSS on an AR or AK.

  1. primary arms makes pretty good stuff
    im still running one of their early 1-4x illuminated dot reticle scopes on one of my 16 inch ar15s chambered in 7.62×39
    with that optic on top of a bca upper
    a mil spec trigger in a psa lower
    and tula ammo in the mag
    i managed one time
    to put 5 rounds in a group
    that measured just under 2 inches
    it didnt look that great at first
    but then i remembered:
    that was from 200 yards away

    • I really want to like Primary Arms optics but that reticle is too busy, too gimmicky. An LPVO isn’t a long range optic, it’s a compromise short range optic with magnification you can crank up for when you’re not clearing rooms. If you’re squinting into an LPVO cranked all the way up and trying to count six mils down from the center line while bullets are snapping past your head, I submit that you’ve made a suboptimum choice.

      I liked the KISS reticle. It was a step in the right direction, anyway. So of course it’s been discontinued. The duplex plus illuminated dot on the 1-4x was okay except that the dot was 16 MOA across when it was on 1x, which is too big for a long gun that you think you ever might use past powder burn distance, too big for shotguns, and questionable in a pistol optic. The 1-4x Mueller, with its beach ball sized dot, has the same problem. An illuminated duplex with a center dot that’s 2 MOA at 1x would have been optimum, or just an etched glass 2 MOA dot in the center and nothing else at all that might distract the user or detract from its purpose. If you must get clever, a 2 MOA dot in the center of a 65 MOA circle, like EOtech uses, would have been perfectly okay.

      I think that compact LPVOs are a good match for brush hunting rifles. A compact, rugged 1-4x or 1-6x is the best thing I can imagine to go on top of a Marlin or Winchester lever action carbine, or a slug gun, if the optic will handle 12 gauge recoil.

      However, and this is not specific to Primary Arms, it is starting to look like the LPVO may not be the Holy Grail, one optic to do it all, that we thought it was a year ago. One of the things I am hearing from Ukraine is that in trench warfare, which is a pretty good match for “SHTF” conditions–getting invaded and shelled and having to live in the mud for months on end certainly qualifies as SHTF–LPVOs just aren’t holding up. Even the expensive ones that guys bought out of their own pockets, they’re breaking. The guys using them live in muddy trenches and are constantly having to throw the rifle into the bunker while they dive for cover because of incoming mortar fire. And they break. Even expensive LPVOs can’t hold up to that. Optical sights generally are proving fragile. Red dots are breaking too, and batteries are always in short supply at the sharp end, all the way down on the “zero line.” Know what optic isn’t breaking under those conditions? ACOGs. Nothing else is staying usable after the twentieth time it gets tossed on the ground or into a BTR. Variable optics just have too many moving parts that are too small and too fragile. You might want to consider irons as primary. If your preferred SHTF experience does not include the possibility of having to throw the gun to one side while you dive for cover, please feel free to disregard this.

      • I’ll note to not use this when I am fighting in eastern European trenches. For those of us that have multiple ARs to put optics on and looking for a range toy, I think it will work just fine.

  2. primary arms makes pretty good stuff
    im still running one of their early 1-4x illuminated dot reticle scopes on one of my 16 inch ar15s chambered in 7.62×39
    it holds zero enough
    that one time
    i put 5 tulas in a 2 inch group at 200 yards

  3. I gotta a 1-6×24 second focal plane LPVO. At this lower end they are mostly very similar. Figuring out if I’m storing my AR awaiting SHTF in ILLannoy keeps me from mounting it instead of my red dot/3xmagnifier. Quite the conundrum🙁

  4. Thank you Travis.

    I appreciate the thorough review. Many of us retired types can’t drop $2,500 on multiple scopes…however, $350 – $800 is doable. The under $1,000 optical arena (LVPO’s, scopes, spotting scopes, binocs, etc) is pretty crowded and good advice is welcome.

    • Some of us working guys also hope to retire some day. Therefore, we don’t want to drop $2500 on multiple scopes either. 😉
      I appreciate folks like Primarily Arms and Vortex making solid optics at a reasonable price point.

  5. Where is it made?
    Reading about China preparing to make a go at Taiwan in 2027, not sure if I want to support a potential future enemy by buying products made there.

    • better skip it then…I have this in a ACSS Raptor Reticle from 2018 and on the bottom of the box – Made in China. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news

  6. It is quite telling that very few people now even blink with Chicom stuff.

    I have heard all the arguments I think but at the end of the day, it still means when we buy a Chicom product we are actively supporting the extremely brutal regime that every day is murdering and internal exiling its opponents, especially Christians.

    Not only that but that regime has never wavered from the goal it set in 1949 when it took over—that by its 100th anniversary it will dominate the rest lf the world.

    But we still “must” have our stuff.

    I am a retired Marine (33 years’ service, 1968-2001, infantry/reconnaissance, 100% VA disabled from Vietnam wounds and Agent Orange.) fixed income, SS, VA and CRSC.

    I try to save my money and wait until I have enough to then get truly US-made (I know, I know—there are many tricks used now to fake all that) gear. I do my own research and actually talk with the manufacturer.

    I realize this is not the “norm” nowadays but that is how I have always rolled.

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