Vortex Scope Vs. Primary Arms

Vortex Scope Vs. Primary Arms

In this review, we are going to make an in-depth comparison of two 1-8X scopes. We will be comparing the Strike Eagle 1-8X and the Primary Arms ACSS 1-8X. It is noteworthy that there are a lot of similarities between these two scopes. One of the popular similarities between these two scopes is illuminated reticles and their related price, which is pegged at around $400.

The desire to help myself and others get the best 1-8X optic is the fuel behind this comparison. It is important to get high-quality optics if your eye is not that clear. While you might have tried other scopes like the 1-6X of the Vortex PST, such won’t deliver the sort of clarity you desire. This comparison is made with both scopes, without mounting them.

To ease the comparison, we will be paying attention to the same features in both scopes. This will include their internal and external features. We will also explore some of the differences that exist between these scopes. At the end of this review, you will find picking the best reticle less stressful. For the sake of earning little profit from this review, we will deliver direct links for both products.

How We Carry out Our Comparison

There are a lot of pictures taken to highlight the difference and effectiveness of each scope. This will be followed by personal thoughts on each of the scope. We will also highlight the one we picked and factors that influenced our decision to go for the scope.

Vortex vs. primary arms

Having used the Vortex Scope before, I have seen how effective it can be with a clear sight picture compared to the primary arms scope. I also detected that it has a thicker horseshoe, which is tight compared to the Chevron. The Vortex is better for up-close shooting, as it perfectly helps you know where to target and where to shoot. The USPSA target is a perfect replica of popular cardboard cut-outs, which is used in the 3-gun.

On the other hand, the primary scope is perfect as it delivers clean pictures that show the right place to aim for the shooter. It eases the decision to go for either the bottom of the horseshoe or close up. Unlike the Vortex, in the Chevron, there are no big thick rings that obstruct shooting. Let’s focus on some of their similarities.


For the horseshoe, the Primary Arms are the best option as it perfectly frames the target. On the other hand, the Vortex provides a scatter image, which covers most parts of the site picture you are trying to see.

Bullet drop compensator

The primary arm reticle is the best when it comes to bullet drop compensator. The design is thinner and does not have large windage. The presence of dots also makes it perfect for shooting.

Target obstruction

Primary arm scope horseshoe often makes the target unclear when you make use of 100-yard zero. The Vortex, on the other hand, does not have such an issue. While it sometimes obstructs the target too, it provides a clearer target image. The radicals that lit up in the Vortex is the major issue that obstructs the target image on the Vortex.


While the comparison is not direct, one lit up more than the other. The Primary Arms are brighter by fractions when shooting in daylight. It is hard to notice the difference. The brighter the light where you are shooting, the less effective you become on your rifle.

Essential features to note

Some of the essential features include the Primary Arms Horseshoe that does not significantly obstruct your sight for up-close shooting. Nevertheless, if you are looking through 3×3 and set it at 25 feet, you can get a clear picture that will nonetheless frame the target.

If you are shooting at small items or animals like clay pigeons, hitting the target becomes easier. You will have your 100-yard zero, and you can aim through the bottom of the horseshoe.

For the USPSA target, by putting it in the middle and using the top of your Chevron coupled with your 100-yard zero, you can hit low effortlessly. You can also aim your gun up and aim at the bottom of the horseshoe.

When shooting on your Vortex, you might need to offset the hole, while the large circle presented isn’t that useful, which may result in shooting too high if you stick to the bottom of the circle.

For bench comparison, the primary arm has a better bullet drop compensator, as it can also use the width for ranging. One of the Primary Arms reticles’ exceptional features is the series of thin lines, which makes the horseshoe shape. If you can squint very well or see clearly, you can see it more clearly. It is a cool feature that makes shooting easier on the Primary Arms.

The Primary Arms with the Chevron and the horseshoe being lit makes it more efficient to focus and draw the eye. The Vortex, on the other hand, features a solid itching. The Vortex reticle lit up all around it, and in the middle, this makes focusing on the target harder.

The goal sometimes, when shooting, is to draw the eye to the middle at the range. It is not always beneficial if the bullet drop compensator is lit. The best result is getting the lines in the right position, while one will still need to squint and focus; having it lit will reduce efficiency. This often depends on personal preference.

Vortex also has thick edgings on the blood drop compensator. The thickness is excessive, as it makes it hard to focus on the target. Depending on the shooter, some might see this as an advantage. 

The Mechanics

One of the interesting parts of the scope is mechanics. For the Primary Arms, which is often set at 100 yards, you can use the tip of the Chevron when shooting at 100 yards, use the bottom of the Chevron when shooting at 200 yards, use the top of the post when shooting at 300 yards, and first hash mark at 400 yards. 

The reticle of the Vortex should be set at 0 to 200 yards. Zeroing it at 50 yards makes it easier for you to be close. But it is best at 0 to 200. What do these numbers and features mean? 

When shooting at 100 yards, your accuracy with the center dot is reduced greatly. Your shots will be a few inches away from your target; this depends on the type of ammo you are using and the area you are shooting from. At 200 yard zero, it is still effective and helps you shoot well. Nevertheless, you will need to make some adjustments if you engage in precision shooting. You should drop to 300 yards for the first hash and 400 yards for a second hash with your Vortex. 

Shooting at moving target

If you are shooting at a moving target or for windage, Primary Arms features little dots that are close to the bullet drop compensation parts of your reticle. The function is to show you what is needed for 5 MPH wind. It also features an 8.6 MPH moving target indicator, with an average speed corresponding to the running speed of a human. 

For the windage, the Vortex delivers better results. It features a 5 MPH wind, which is located near the center post. For the outer edge of the reticle, it is used for 10 MPH. As such, you can easily detect if there are any moving targets. You can also use the large horizontal bar for the detection of moving targets.

Range finding

The Primary Arms scope is known for its perfection for range finding. Using it width-wise, you can easily measure 18 inches shoulder to shoulder in the center bit. Additionally, for every drop in elevation, you can monitor the tapering down or measure 5 foot 10 (approximately 6 feet) from the target vertically by moving from the bottom to the height of the make. Next, you can frame your target to know at what range it is set. 

Focusing on the reticle

You may wonder, which one will I choose? The Primary Arms have a better reticle. While the Vortex is excellent, the big circle it features makes it less effective. 

The big horizontal marking it features is another issue. It obstructs your view, making the Primary Arms a better option. The horseshoe, when used on a 3×3 target, should frame it perfectly. The result is more precise and faster, making it a top option for action shooting. 

While the Chevron is also a good option, dots are sometimes better. Some experts prefer using Chevron, especially military men, with eight cogs. 

Primary Arms have lesser clutter, reduced edgings, and thinner etchings. As such, you see more of your target than the reticle. While each one will decide what they find more effective, it is best to go for tools that will not obstruct shooting. As long as you can see your target perfectly without any obstruction, then you have made the right decision. 

The Vortex scope’s advantage is that it has a larger circle that conceals the lost target in the center. It’s a disadvantage that the bottom does not work effectively for up-close shooting. As such, it is less useful and efficient. 

If you are an experienced shooter, especially a military shooter, there are several ways you can use this tool, unlike average shooters. For average shooters like me, the horseshoe’s bottom edge or the bottom edge of the reticles can be used for shooting targets at 25 yards or less. 

You will require less illumination, making lit Chevron and horseshoe a better option compared to a lit circle and the other part of the reticle in the Vortex. The moving target indicator present on the Primary Arms is another plus. It makes shooting more effective when it’s for moving targets.  As long as your target is running, you have no better option. 

Final Thoughts

The Primary Arms often features a horizontal and vertical shoulder with rangefinders. Depending on your purpose of buying this tool, you can use it on silhouettes for range finding. You can also use it for 3-guns and use it for detecting objects. It can also be used for scaling as this will make identifying the range you’re shooting from easier. This will prevent you from shooting and focusing on the bullet drop adjustment. 

The range finder is an excellent tool that is carefully designed; it is a near-perfect tool that makes shooting more efficient. While the strike eagle one day is also an excellent option when searching for scope, but the Primary Arms reticles deliver better results. If the prices are related, it is best to go for the Primary Arms. It is highly affordable and relatively efficient and effective.