Primary Arms 5x Prism Scope vs ACOG – Pros & Cons

When considering the Primary Arms 5x Prism Scope vs ACOG, it’s important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of both so you can make the best decision for your needs.

Prism Scope Overview

Prism scopes are also known as prismatic scopes and are scopes that use a glass prism to bring an image into focus rather than using a series of lenses as in a traditional scope. The same benefits of a rifle scope–including a magnified image, reticle illumination, an etched reticle, and a focusing eyepiece–are usually included on a prism scope. The only difference is that prism scopes use prism light to focus rather than light projected through several lenses.

At their very basic, traditional scopes act like miniature telescopes and use an objective lens near the end of the barrel to transmit light back to the ocular lens, which is the lens closest to the shooter. The ocular lens magnifies the light, bringing the image of the target into focus. A prism scope removes many of the distortions that are found with traditional scopes because there are fewer lenses involved in projecting the image in the scope.

Advantages of a Prism Scope

Overall, prism scopes provide clearer, sharper, and brighter images than ACOGs, which means you’ll be able to acquire your target more quickly. It’s also relatively lightweight, as they are mostly limited toward the lower magnification ranges of 1x to 5x. They provide enough illumination for hunters to be able to kill with one shot, which is always the goal of a shooter.

Prism scopes are also equipped with a diopter, which is a small dial that allows a shooter to adjust the sharpness and clarity of the image to their own eyesight. This means if you have astigmatism or other eyesight deficits, you can dial in a prism scope to meet your personal eyesight needs. This means you can use a prism scope without corrective lenses (glasses), which provides a more precise view of your target and improves your aim.

Specific Advantages of the Primary Arms 5x Prism Scope

One of the most significant advantages of the Primary Arms 5x Prism Scope is that it is not as expensive as other options, but offers many features of higher-priced prism scopes. It’s easy to install on any rifle and comes ready to mount right from the box. It offers five brightness levels for illumination in red and green options, and has a magnification level of 5x, meaning an object appears five times closer in the scope than it really is.

For its magnification capabilities, the Primary Arms 5x Prism Scope is surprisingly compact, making it an easy device to carry when hunting. However, the dials are spaced out enough to avoid mistakes when sighting in on your target. In terms of size and price, you won’t find a better prism scope on the market.

Disadvantages of the Primary Arms 5x Prism Scope

While it comes down to preference between a prism scope and an ACOG, the main disadvantage of the Primary Arms 5x Prism Scope is that it doesn’t feel as well made as the ACOG. It’s not as expensive as other options, which does affect the manufacturing process. Additionally, this model tends to fog up when the weather turns cold, which can be a problem for late fall and winter hunts. It also requires batteries, which can be inconvenient.

ACOG Overview

ACOG stands for Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight and is a traditional telescopic sight that was originally made by Trijicon for military weapons like the M14 and M16. However, over time, ACOG has become a more generic term that refers to a rifle sight made by numerous manufacturers that offers fixed power magnification of between 1.5x and 6x. The reticles on an ACOG are illuminated by internal phosphor, which is the byproduct of the radioactive decay of tritium.

Officially, only Trijicon manufactures the ACOG line of sights, but shooters often refer to sights that aren’t red-dots, iron sights, or laser sights as ACOGs. There are currently 12 types of ACOGs that are manufactured by Trijicon, from the 1.5x16S TA44 to the 6×48 TA648. The first number on the ACOG type represents the magnification strength (1.5x or 6x) and the second number represents the diameter of the objective lens (16 mm or 48mm).

Advantages of an ACOG

If you’re looking for a scope that doesn’t require batteries, the ACOG is the best option. A prism scope has to have batteries to operate, which makes it more inconvenient than an ACOG. Even though the batteries in the Primary Arms 5x Prism Scope will last for 3,000 hours, you’ll still have to change the batteries once in a while, which is not a concern for ACOGs. This is one reason the military uses these scopes instead of other alternatives.

Another reason the military uses ACOGs is their durability. They are designed for combat, so you know that they aren’t fragile. While each ACOG comes with fixed magnification power, there are 12 models available, along with a dozen reticle combinations, so the options are more versatile than the prism scope. The ACOG line is compatible with night vision, making these sights more useful on dark hunts than the prism alternative. An ACOG is effective for targets up to 500 yards.

Disadvantages of an ACOG

The primary disadvantage of an ACOG is the price. Even the 1.5x magnification ACOG is going to cost you over $1,000, while the Primary Arms 5x Prism Scope can be obtained for under $300. The differences in performance are probably not worth the additional money for the average hunter, especially when the prism scope can be adjusted for variances in eyesight.

If you have it in your budget, an ACOG is probably the better option, especially if you’re looking for durability and convenience. However, if you’re not ready to drop thousands of dollars on a scope, you’ll find the Primary Arms 5x Prism Scope to be a worthy alternative.

Joseph Fox

Joseph Fox

Joseph Fox writes on a variety of topics ranging from reloading ammunition to gun cleaning. He has been featured on various publications like thetruthaboutguns, Sofrep & many more. Joseph is also the founder of Gunloading, where he reviews different types of reloading & firearm products available on the market.