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Primary Arms Platinum 1-8x24mm Scope

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Primary Arms has long been known for its cheap and cheerful line of rifle scopes, loving crafted from 24 karat Chinesium. They’re the kind of aiming device you could buy on a beer budget, yet still not be afraid to take to one of Dan Brokos’ carbine classes where they’ll be subjected to fairly hard use, getting slammed into vehicles and generally rolling around in the dirt. What you may not know, is that for the past couple of years they’ve also imported a 1-8 LPVO which will hang with name-brand glass costing quite a bit more.

The scope in question is the Primary Arms Platinum series and rather than share a production line with their budget products made in mainland China, this one’s produced in the Light Optical Works plant in Japan. Why should this matter? Well, LOW make scopes and components for a number of respected brands that are clearly content with the quality they can turn out. Like most companies who fulfill OEM contracts, they’re quite happy to produce whatever their clients specify, and in this case, Primary Arms appear to have upped the ante.

Lenses are clear out to the edges, with very little noticeable chromatic aberration at 8 power. On our test model, the first focal plane ACSS BDC reticle seemed to be closely matched to the ammo it was designed around and proved usable on both close range hosing targets and at the ballistic limit of the weapon system it was mounted to. Turrets are large, locking and provide decent feedback to both fingers and ears, and there’s a zero stop on the elevation dial to prevent you from cranking it past its resting point.

All good stuff, but do all these features come together as a cohesive whole? Both the scope and rifle we used as a test bed arrived just two days before the SMM3G match in Arizona, marking the start of the 2019 three-gun season. Patriot Ordnance Factory sent over one of their Revolution DI .308s, and it was pressed into service in Heavy Metal division, where targets could be found from 3 yards up to 500. The scope was zeroed according to the manufacturer’s instructions, placing SIG 147-grain FMJ into a 1.5-inch group an inch above the point of aim. Other than that, there was no time to practice with the combo, and it was off to the races.


It’s perhaps a measure of the quality of the components selected that they coalesced to produce a cohesive whole. Normally, I’d want to spend at least three months with a set of gear before committing to a major match, but that clearly wasn’t going to happen here. After 11 stages where the rifle was dumped into barrels, slammed against barricades (including a helicopter fuselage), subjected to a minor dust storm and general lack of pampering, the following conclusions were reached.

1. Like most 1-8 scopes, the eyebox on 8 power is fairly tight, so if you need to use the upper end of the magnification range, you’re going to want to be in a stable position.

2. Illumination is good, but could be brighter. The Arizona desert is a harsh test for any reticle, as there’s so much reflection from a light-colored environment and the midday sun is legendarily harsh. We were left wishing that there were two more stops on the dial when using the scope at 1x.

3. Image quality at 1x is very good. Not as flat as the Trijicon Vcog, but on a par with Vortex’s Razor HD 1-6

4. BDC hash marks were good enough to make one-for-one hits at 500 yards on LaRue targets without any prior refinement to our 100 yard zero.

5. At 27 ounces without mount, it’s a bit of beast and noticeable on a lightweight .308 like the Revolution.

Bottom Line

For 1,400 bucks, you could avail yourself of the aforementioned Vortex and get yourself an excellent, time-tested scope, one which was almost selected for duty by Army SF, losing out only on price. Or for a hundred bucks less, there’s the Primary Arms 1-8 with a bigger tube, more magnification, exposed turrets and a more feature-rich reticle. We hate making “just as good as” arguments, as in 90 percent of cases it simply isn’t true, and you should go be poor elsewhere. But in this instance, we were impressed by the features/price ratio enough to give this one a longer-term evaluation. Good stuff.

[Photos By Kenda Lenseigne.]

Primary Arms PLx8 Illuminated ACSS Griffin MIL Reticle

Magnification: 1-8x24mm
Focal Plane: First Focal Plane
Tube Diameter: 34mm
Eye Relief: Low: 3.98-inches, High: 3.83-inches
Weight: 26.9 ounces
MSRP: $1,300


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