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[Hands-On Review] Primary Arms Cyclops Gen 2: Worthy Prism Optic?

Primary Arms' Cyclops Gen 2 offers a lighter, smaller approach to a prism than its predecessor...but is it worth the cash? Come find out!

Do you like Greek Mythology? Do you like prism optics?

While this combination might make for a strange dating profile, the Primary Arms Cyclops Gen 2 might be the right choice for you.

Cyclops Gen 2 medium left
The Cyclops Gen II

I recently got to test this one out and even compared it to the original model. The Gen 2 Cyclops is much improved and has some solid features.

The importance of a good optic for your rifle (or another long gun) goes without saying. The Cyclops Gen 2 is an outstanding value.

at Primary Arms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Keep reading and I will tell you why…

Table of Contents


All About the Cyclops?

I love the name Cyclops and it makes perfect sense for this optic since they were powerful, one-eyed giants according to mythology.

Cyclops Mythology
Ray Harryhausen at his finest!

The features of the Gen Cyclops are perhaps less legendary, but a great value nonetheless.

This is a 1x prism optic so the view-through is a bit different than a red dot (more on those differences here).

I found the glass to be clear, but it also has that thick glass magnification-feel the further off-axis your eye becomes.

Cyclops Gen 2 close right
Once you’re lined up, the view is great

Approaching the Cyclops, the eye box was very forgiving and I was able to sight through it up close and ridiculously far back too, though the sense of magnification grows the further back you go.

ACSS Reticle

I love the ACSS reticle. The horseshoe is wonderful for bigger or closer targets, and the chevron is good for more precision, distance shots.

Its reticle is etched, so it will work without batteries. Overall, I find the reticle a little small, but that’s likely just my eyes.

Cyclops Gen 2 close left
The illumination dial is knurled, and good sized.

Zeroing & Adjustments

For shooter preference, there is an adjustable diopter for your vision. But the ring is pretty stiff so it’s not going to move on accident once you get it dialed in.

Zeroing was easy — though the click value is 1 MOA. I’m not sure why they went in this direction but for me, it doesn’t really matter…it’s a prism optic, not a distance scope.

Worth mentioning that hash marks exist for ballistic drop for 200, 300, and 400 yards.

ACSS Reticle Ranging
Primary Arms ACSS Reticle

These also serve as ranging guides. Placing your target’s base at the bottom line will give you distances based on where they stack up.

This is based on an average height target of 5-feet-10-inches. If the head reaches the 200-yard mark, you have your approximate target distance.

The horseshoe and chevron light up red (green is available!) when you activate them. Brightness (13 settings) is very good and the upper end is definitely good for daylight.

Cyclops Gen 2 far left
The more I used it, the more I liked it.

There are three night vision settings.

The dial is firm and won’t roll or change accidentally. There are no alternating off options but there is a reason for that!

Equipped with AutoLive technology, the Cylcops will automatically shut off with 2 minutes of inactivity. It also features shake awake that resumes the same brightness level as when it shut down last.

The technology has worked every time but requires more than a casual bump. It’s great because it likely wouldn’t turn on just riding in a car, but pops up when you shoulder it.

at Primary Arms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

This battery-saving feature is powered by a CR2302 3V battery and is estimated to provide 29,000 hours of battery life.

Finally, the Cyclops comes with several different mounting options (including cantilevered) which are adjustable for height.

Gen 1 vs. Gen 2

I must admit when I received the Gen 2 Cyclops for testing, I was pretty neutral. Not having experience with the first version, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Luckily I found the original model to compare it with. The Gen 2 is svelte by comparison with the housing roughly a third less in length.

Cyclops Gen 2 pair
Gen II left, Gen I right

Primary Arms indicates the weight is also down around 20% from the original version.

In addition, the exterior is more rounded, less angular. The capped turrets were replaced with shouldered and recessed windage and elevation adjustments.

Bottom Line: Is it Worth It?

I wasn’t sure the Cyclops Gen 2 was going to live up to its titanic name, but it absolutely did. I ran this optic on an AR-15 for roughly 1,000 rounds.

Cyclops Gen 2 view through

Once I grew accustomed to the differences between a red dot and prism optic, I found the Cyclops to be intuitive and extremely useful.

I enjoyed the smaller size of the Cyclops Gen 2 as compared to the original. I ended up thinking it’s similar in shape and form to a Trijicon MRO, though at a much lower price point — heightening the value in my mind.

In short, yes, totally worth it.

By the Numbers

Ergonomics: 4/5

The only manipulation that happens on this optic once it is mounted and dialed in is the brightness setting. Even then, once this is set, you can simply forget about it with the shake awake feature. The dial is conveniently located for right-handed shooters though, on the left side. I’m only taking off a little for the size of the reticle.

Reliability: 5/5

I had zero problems with the function of the Cyclops. Through several trips to the range, the lit reticle kept coming up after it had gone to sleep. And while I did not outright abuse the optic, I was not gentle with it either.

Accuracy: 5/5

After zeroing, the Cyclops stayed on target. I did shoot in some colder weather but didn’t notice any shift in zero. I didn’t shoot in any heat.

Value: 4/5

The running price for this optic is between $250 and $270 — if you can find it! You’re getting a prism optic with a lit reticle that can run for up to 29,000 hours on a battery due to features. Plus, with the etched reticle, the Cyclops has redundancy should that battery or the electronics fail.

at Primary Arms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Overall: 4/5

All in, the Cyclops is a great optic and the more I ran it, the more I found myself appreciating it. Really, my only misgiving is the size of the reticle and this could entirely just be me.


So far the Primary Arms Cyclops Gen 2 has proven very rugged. It’s a great choice for close-quarters engagements, with some ability to reach out too.

Cyclops Gen 2 casing
Cyclops Gen 2

If this is what you’re looking for, it could be a match made in Olympus!

Do you enjoy prism optics? Let us know in the comments section below and get even more info on our top picks by reading 6 Best Prism Scopes: Robust & Better for Astigmatism.

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24 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Al Lovitz

    I bought a Gen2 SLX with a Green optic. I'm extremely happy with my purchase.

    Personally, I don't find the optic too small. I do appreciate the fact that I can still use the optic if the battery quits.

    I liked the Cyclops so much that I bought the Primary Arms 3X Magnifier. This combination gives me the ability to reach out a little further to "touch" my target.

    I'd love to show how well my Colt and this combo did at the range. But I can't attach any photos. Suffice it to say that at 100 yards all groups (with an occasional flyer -me) were right at 1, or less MOA.

    Overall, I'd highly recommend this sight to anyone, and certainly to anyone that has an astigmatism.

    April 17, 2023 5:56 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mike Peltier

    After looking at his at the counter I concluded it would be great with my target 22
    Did not want to mount a full sized scope and with my astigmatism red dots are a no go for me.
    The reticle on this optic was razor sharp no matter what I aimed at and the eye relief is more than adequate for a handgun

    January 30, 2023 10:24 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Got this since I have an astigmatism. Red dots are not great for me but with this I can clearly get on target. Love the cyclops reticle. Works great, feels like solid construction, and holds a zero. Had it several months now and no complaints except for the 1moa click adjustment... Like.... Why? Lol but it is great otherwise. Considering the new PA magnifier that pairs with it. But not yet, other more pressing gear needs come first.

    February 19, 2022 12:36 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Big Tee

    I need this.

    February 18, 2022 7:52 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Aprilia RS660

    I have two Primary Arms MD-25 on a Romy and IWI Zion. One with the PA Full size Magnifier and one with the PA Micro Magnifier...I could not be happier. The look beats the pants out of what this looks like and if looks is not a concern in the decision making process. As far as made in China...Absolutely hate it...But the red dots made in America are not worth it to me when your primary funds go to a house in CA.

    February 16, 2022 8:57 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Bert Powers

    Where is it made?

    February 16, 2022 3:05 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sean Curtis


      The Cyclops II is made in China.

      February 16, 2022 8:08 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Bert Powers

        Thank you. That's a no go fir me.

        February 16, 2022 8:14 am
        • Commenter Avatar
          Sean Curtis


          February 16, 2022 8:15 am
        • Commenter Avatar

          Where's your phone made?

          February 16, 2022 8:39 am
          • Commenter Avatar
            Bert Powers

            Flip phone made here.

            February 16, 2022 8:41 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    in all honesty I would like to have one sent to me for testing as well, but some of use are less fortunate then others. a $250. plus price tag for a 1x prismatic optic. no I don't think so, they can stuff that where the sun don't shine, I don't care how good you say it is. That is too much for any optic in my Book, there are way to may alternatives out there for way less cash, that will serve their purpose. Honestly anybody that spend that kind of money on an Optic must not have a family kids or a wife. a wife is going to complain about the gun you bought, then when you start spending more money on that said gun, especially for something that cost all most as much as the gun, well you get where I am going. So in conclusion to hell with that Price Tag, drop it to less then $100 then we can talk

    February 16, 2022 2:14 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sean Curtis


      Thanks for your perspective. It's not for everyone, I get it. It might be interesting to write an article on those cheaper alternatives you're mentioning.

      February 16, 2022 8:11 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Aaron Short

        now there would be an article to read. actual budget optics for less then $100. I know they probably wont stack up to allot higher end optics, but us guys on the lower end of the food chain don't have no other option. I make less then a $1000. a month so everything I do has to be cheap cost, cheap made, Not even US made, but they serve their purpose, as I would love to have a better optic, I just cannot justify that much money, or loo my wife and try to explain. There are the guys like you all meaning sponsored(media influencers) that have drawers full of stuff, I would kill for, doing nothing but collecting dust, that didn't cost you a dime. I bet at any given moment, you could build an AR just out of parts you have laying around, that were just sent to you to check out, and give your approval. when I have to beg for scraps. I am turning 50 in April and probably wont even be able to do my 50th Bday build like an 50th anniversary build), but hey I trust, and like your input to, so I have no room to talk, that's why I read your articles. but anyway. I am starting to babble, so you have a great day & God Bless

        February 16, 2022 10:43 am
        • Commenter Avatar
          Sean Curtis


          I feel you brother. It wasn't that long ago I didn't have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out. And while I am lucky, I did work hard to get the drawers full of goodies--rest assured they are not collecting dust. We do have some content on less expensive optics, but we need to update it. There are some new companies putting some decent products out there.

          I appreciate you supporting our site, we try to be a resource to everyone who comes here!

          I hope you get everything you want for your birthday. 50 is a big one (believe me, I know).

          February 16, 2022 2:29 pm
          • Commenter Avatar
            Aaron Short

            Personally I love y'all content, I am one few that remain that still would rather hold the morning paper, but now(pew pew tactical) is my morning paper. Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to be disgruntle in anyway. I just have an opinion on these ridiculously high priced optics, that cost more then the guns they are put on these days. Out side of that all I want to do is build me that one AR-15 I have always wanted for my 50th Birthday. I am hoping, I can gather enough parts by April to get it done, but being on a fixed income make it tough. You have a Great Day and God Bless

            February 17, 2022 3:04 am
          • Commenter Avatar
            Ike the okie

            I can speak from my small experience trying to stick to slightly above rock bottom components, you should expect to have almost as much in running gear as in the rifle.
            You COULD build a PSA for about 300, but no extra mags, light, optic, or sling. Add that and bottom of the barrel you might do 200 for a total of 500 with some support gear

            February 25, 2022 6:38 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Charles Dwyer

    Been running PA optics for 7+ years. Love the ACSS reticles so much I sold off other scopes to totally run PA. Sometimes they are a little heavier but so little it makes no difference. Solid performance baked by outstanding customer service (had one issue, immediately replaced) and great attention to detail.

    I cannot over emphasize the value of running the same reticles from one gun to the next, whether it's 556, 308 or 9MM all I need to do is recall which caliber I am shooting. I even have one on my 6.5 Swede hunting rifle - I just refresh my memory from my notes on holds and I am good.

    February 15, 2022 7:42 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sean Curtis


      Thanks for your thoughts, that's a great point I hadn't considered -- running the same reticle on multiple guns. I did find myself enjoying it the more I used it.

      February 16, 2022 8:12 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Billy from Boston

    I found one a few weeks ago and love it! It’s replaced a Sig Romeo4t/Juliet4 Combo that only worked some of the time due to being near sighted and having an astigmatism. The Romeo4 red dot has no diopter adjustment but the Juliet does. Blah blah blah… the PA SLX 1X M.P. solves all my problems!

    February 15, 2022 4:15 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sean Curtis

      Billy, glad you found a solution!

      February 16, 2022 8:12 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Felix Lgn

    Irun these on more than a few of my AR types and found them perfect to alleviate the starburst I get from red dots. Once a shooter can get used to the horseshoe and chevron. They eye gets drawn rapidly to the center of these much like a red dot. Just my experience with these both GEN 1 and 2. A 3x magnifier makes longer shots possible too.

    February 15, 2022 3:31 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sean Curtis

      Very cool Fenix, thank you.

      I hadn't considered the benefits to those with an astigmatism, it makes a lot of sense.

      February 16, 2022 8:14 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Al Lovitz

      Pal, you're right on target. Forgive the pun.

      April 17, 2023 6:02 pm
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