Ok, so I've been looking to equip my AR family with some optics. I've been watching various auction sites and boards looking to pick up a used Aimpoint or Eotech or two, but even the used ones have been out of my budget. I was researching the new Burris AR-332 3x compact scope when I came across the Primary Arms M3 clone, with a 4 MOA dot (red only). It's a Chinese Aimpoint copy, but it has gotten good reviews, so I gambled and ordered one.
First off, Primary Arms ships FAST. I ordered it on a sunday evening and Monday morning at 10:00am I had a order shipped email. I received it in a couple of days.
It comes in a nice box with lots of foam padding, and they included an extra set of batteries, which is a nice touch. The fit and finish on the optic were nice, not like the usual Chinese crap you see. I ordered it with a high mount for 1/3 cowitness with the iron sites. They also offer a cantilever mount, but they were out of stock on them. The mount is sturdy, and a step up from the pot metal cheesy ones you see on Ebay.
I do have to say that the flip up covers are adequate, but only just. They are kind of flimsy. I'll probably get some Butler Creek ones in the future.
I mounted it on a 9mm midlength AR flattop. I purposely did NOT loctite the mounting screws, to check if it loosens up. I took it to the range this morning to zero it in. The windage and elevation adjustments were ok, you got a positive click feel to them, but they weren't what you find on high end optics. It only took about 10 rounds to sight it in at 25 yards. The dot is nice and crisp, and it doesn't get washed out in full sun. It has seven levels of brightness, but I only had it on 5, which was perfectly visible. The glass is surprisingly clear, much better than the comparable Ncstar or tasco offerings.
I put about 300 rounds through the rifle this morning (A 9mm AR is a blast to shoot, but that's another story). The red dot was right on target and I didn't have any movement or drift. Offhand shooting with both eyes open was easily accomplished, and there weren't any parallax issues (you wouldn't expect any from a unmagnified optic anyway).
I removed the optic when i broke the rifle down for cleaning. The mounting screw was still tight, I didn't observe any loosening. After cleaning, I remounted in the same spot, we will see how well it holds zero next weekend.
Conclusion: The Primary Arms M3 clone gets a thumbs up from me. If it holds zero after remounting, i"ll give it two thumbs up. Is it as good as an Aimpoint? Nope, but it doesn't pretend to be. As a matter of fact the owner of Primary Arms makes it a point to state that this is NOT an Aimpoint. But for the price point, it seems to be a heckuva lot better than the other stuff out there. So for those of us that can't afford to drop $500-$700 on an Aimpoint or Eotech, this is a pretty good alternative.
I'll update with pictures once the batteries charge up...
Primary Arms Aimpoint M3 clone: $69.00 with standard low mount, $10.00 extra for the high mount. cantilever mounts and magnifiers are available as well.http://www.primaryarms.com/product.sc?productId=18&categoryId=5
Here are some long overdue pictures: