In the last few years we saw a spike in scopes with 6x to 8x and lately even 10x zoom ranges. Two of the most popular scopes with a 1-8x magnification range are the Primary Arms 1-8x and the Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8x scopes.
Scopes with a large zoom are getting cheaper and more capable. And a 1-8x scope is pretty much useful for any scenario ranging from home defense to medium-range hunting.
We decided to put two of the best scopes with that magnification to the test and check them out side-by-side in our Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8x vs Primary Arms 1-8x comparison.
We’ll give you an in-depth evaluation where we compare
- Lens Quality and Clarity
- Reticle Usability, Illumination, and Precision
- Size and Weight
Read along to find out whether the Primary Arms or the Vortex Strike Eagle is the better scope!
Let’s first have a look at each of the scopes before we compare them in detail.
Side by Side Comparison of the Vortex Strike Eagle vs Primary Arms SLx
The following table highlights the technical specifications and measurements of each of the two scopes:
|Primary Arms SLx
|Vortex Strike Eagle
|Objective Lens Diameter
|3.5 – 3.3 inches
|Field of View @ 100 yards
|110 – 14.5 feet
|109 -14.4 ft
|Max Elevation Adjustment
|Max Windage Adjustment
Primary Arms SLx 1-8×24
The Primary Arms SLx 1-8×24 is a great scope. It offers solid performance at a reasonable price. It’s by no means the cheapest Low Powered Variable Optics (LPVO) you can find, but it’s priced right for the quality it offers.
The best feature is, without a doubt, the ACSS (Advanced Combined Sighting System) reticle. It’s a great reticle for fast target acquisition and quick holdover calculations. To make it even easier to use the optic, the ACSS reticle is calibrated for various cartridges. These include the 5.56, 5.45, as well as the .308.
The reticle of the Primary Arms SLx 1-8×24 has an illuminated chevron at its center. The red illumination can be adjusted through 12 brightness settings, including using the scope without any illumination. It’s hard to imagine to find any light conditions where you couldn’t dial in a brightness that improves your targeting. A downside is that the SLx does not have a feature to automatically switch off the illumination. If you forget to do that, you’ll drain the battery pretty fast.
The reticle is on the second focal plane and will stay constant in size across the whole magnification range.
The scope tube is built from a single piece of 6063 aluminum. The scope diameter is 30 mm. It’s reasonably lightweight at 16.9 oz and measures 10 inches in length.
The magnification starts at 1x and ranges to 8x. Do not confuse an LPVO starting at 1x with a red dot sight, though. You still have to use the correct eye relief at 1x magnification for a scope.
Primary Arms uses the best available glass in that price range to keep the optic distortion-free across the whole magnification range. The lenses are fully multi-coated to reduce glare and prevent fogging of the glass.
The capped turrets for elevation and windage provide tactile and audible 1/2 MOA clicks. You can adjust elevation and windage within 100 MOA. The field of view ranges from 110.00 ft at 1x magnification to 14.50 ft at 8x.
Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8×24
The Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8×24 is among the best entry-level LPVO scopes you can find. It’s a great match for your AR or a number of other rifles.
The illuminated BDC3 reticle works best with .223/5.56 mm and .308/7.62 mm rounds. It makes it easy to calculate holdovers and accurately use the subtensions for up to 600 yards.
The BDC3 reticle sits on the second focal plane. That means that the subtensions and holdover points are only valid at full 8x magnification. An SFP reticle usually works well for hunting but won’t be the best choice for precision target shooting.
The illuminated reticle of the Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8×24, and you can adjust the brightness in 11 levels. In bright daylight and sunshine, it’s easier to use the reticle without any illumination. At the highest brightness settings, the illumination is a little too bright and does not work that well.
There also is no automatic switch-off of the illumination. If you forget to turn it off, you’ll drain your battery pretty quickly.
Vortex uses aircraft-grade aluminum for the scope’s body. The scope tube diameter measures 30 mm with a 24mm objective lens. The scope is heavier at 17.6 oz than the Primary Arms SLx . The length is similar at 10 inches.
While Vortex does not use the XD glass for the Strike Eagle, it uses high-quality glass that results in a crisp and vivid scope image. All outer lenses are fully multicoated. The coatings reduce reflections and increase light transmission.
The Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8x starts with true 1x magnification. We have not tested co-witnessing with iron sights at 1x, but technically it could be possible. The 8x upper magnification allows to shoot out to several hundred yards without problems.
Vortex added low-capped turrets with a 1/2 MOA click value. Windage and elevation have an adjustment range of 140 MOA each. The field of view at 100 yards ranges between 109 to 14.4 ft. The eye relief is a solid 3.5 inches.
The Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8×24 is a well-rounded Low Powered Variable Optics (LPVO) that is a fantastic match for your AR-15.
Primary Arms 1-8x vs Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8x
Here we go with the fun part… Our head-to-head comparison of the Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8×24 vs Primary Arms SLx 1-8×24.
Glass Quality and Clarity
Both the Primary Arms SLx and the Vortex Strike Eagle use high-quality glass that’s quite clear. Neither uses XD glass that you typically can find at scopes that cost a lot more.
Both scopes have a little blurring around the lens edges. Overall, they do provide a clear and crips sight image. You’ll be happy with either scope if you’re not trying to do any real long-range shooting in bad light conditions.
The Vortex Strike Eagle does have a slight edge over the Primary Arms SLx with regards to glass quality and clarity in our opinion.
The Strike Eagle comes with the Vortex AR BDC3 reticle. It’s an easy-to-understand reticle that provides you with bullet drop compensation features out to 650 yards.
The 1 MOA dot is surrounded by an illuminated horseshoe. It does help with fast target acquisition, specifically on short ranges.
The SLx has Primary Arms’ ACSS reticle. It’s probably one of the overall best reticles you can find. It provides BDC estimations out to 800 yards, range estimation, and holdover for wind. It’s easy to understand and use.
The center of the reticle is an illuminated chevron. On long ranges it’s a little too thick, but for shorter ranges it feels like a nearly perfect setup.
The reticle has become very popular and is being licensed by other scope manufacturers. The reason is that it provides reliable and fast target acquisition and is easy to manage.
Both scopes are second focal plane optics. The reticle is located on the rear focal plane and will stay the same in size across the magnification range.
The ACSS reticle from Primary Arms is slightly better than the AR BDC3 reticle from Vortex. However, once you get used to the Vortex reticle, you’ll be able to shoot with the same reliability and ease as with the ACSS reticle.
Both scopes offer illuminated reticles. In both cases, the chevron/horseshoe in the center of the reticle is illuminated to provide optimized target acquisition in any light condition.
The Strike Eagle provides 11 brightness settings, and the SLx comes with 12. Neither is compatible with any night-vision devices.
There does not seem to be a noticeable difference in brightness between the 11 vs. 12 settings.
Both illuminated reticles are powered by a single CR2032 battery. You can get those at every supermarket or gas station. It’ll be easy to replace in case you run out of battery no matter where you are.
As both scopes offer very similar capabilities in this category, we don’t crown a winner. There’s no deciding advantage or disadvantage for either of the scopes. It’s a draw.
Construction and Durability
Both the Strike Eagle 1-8×24 and the SLx 1-8×24 offer similar design features and materials being used. Both are built with a single-piece tube made from aircraft-grade aluminum.
The solid construction of both scopes gives neither one a clear advantage. We do think, though, that the Strike Eagle is a better choice than the SLx simply because it comes with the Vortex VIP lifetime guarantee. The Vortex warranty is legendary and covers every component of the scope for life. Vortex will either repair or replace the scope if anything breaks. The PA warranty isn’t bad either but doesn’t quite reach the same levels as the Vortex VIP does.
Field of View and Eye Relief
Both scopes come with a 24 mm objective lens and a 30 mm scope tube diameter. It’s no surprise that the field of view at 100 yards is roughly the same for both optics.
The Primary Arms SLx has an FoV @100 yards ranging between 110.00 ft at 1x magnification to 14.50 ft at 8x. In comparison, the Vortex Strike Eagle has a field of view between 109 and 14.4 ft. So, by all means, they are the same.
The eye relief on the Strike Eagle is a consistent 3.5 inches, while the SLx has an eye relief between 3.5 and 3.3 inches. That’s again a pretty small difference. Yet, we prefer that the Vortex scope has a consistent 3.5 inches of eye relief.
The Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8×24 and the Primary Arms SLx 1-8×24 have capped turrets with a click value of 1/2 MOA. With similar tube and objective lens diameters, you’d expect windage and elevation adjustments to offer similar ranges.
Not so fast…
The SLx provides a 100 MOA total elevation and total windage. This is sufficient for nearly all circumstances that you might encounter with a 1-8x scope.
Vortex did, however, top that range with a total windage and total elevation of 140 MOA. At least theoretically, the Strike Eagle takes the win in this category.
The Primary Arms SLx is slightly heavier and longer compared to the Strike Eagle. The SLx measures 10.4 inches, while the Strike Eagle comes in at 10 inches. Neither of those scopes will fit on anything other than a rifle, so the 0.4 inches difference does not account for much.
With regards to weight, the Vortex scope weighs 17.6 oz. The SLx weighs 18.06 oz. The difference is negligible when you consider that you mount either scope on a rifle that weighs more than a couple of pounds.
Final Thoughts – Primary Arms 1-8 vs Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8
Both the Primary Arms SLx 1-8×24 as well as the Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8×24 are great Low Powered Variable Optics (LPVO) at a great price. They offer similar features and capabilities.
The Primary Arms scope shines when it comes to the reticle. The ACSS reticle on the second focal plane is among the best you can get.
The Vortex Strike Eagle wins the comparison on the lens quality and measurements. It’s also slightly better with regards to the adjustment capabilities.
The reticle on the Strike Eagle is also really impressive, so we’d overall go with the Vortex scope if we had to pick one. With regards to pricing, you typically will get the PA SLx for a bit less than the Vortex Strike Eagle. If money is your decisive factor and you find a good deal on the SLx, then, by all means, go for it!