AmmoLand editor, Jim Grant reviews the Vortex AMG UH-1 Gen 2 Holosight optic.
U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- When I first heard about Vortex entering the holographic weapon sight market back in 2017 at SHOT Show with their AMG UH-1, I was intrigued, to say the least. While I’m heavily invested in EoTech sights, I’m not blind to their faults. That and my experience with Vortex’s magnified optics definitely gave me high hopes for their first foray into this new realm of gun-sights.
That said, I had no experience with the first generation UH-1 sights. At the time of the first generation’s release, I had 4 EoTechs, 2 AimPoints, and a Trijicon optic for close to medium-range shooting. I honestly didn’t need anything like it. But then a few years ago something happened – I got my hands on a PVS-14 night vision monocular. Suddenly, I wanted everything to be NV-compatible. (and yes I’m aware that mounting a PVS-14 on a weapon can cause damage to the unit) Problem is, selling my old EoTech’s became very difficult after the whole thermal drift fiasco came to light. So I ended up borrowing an EXPS3 from a friend, and while functional, I wanted to try something new.
Thankfully, the engineers at Vortex had shooters like me in mind when they introduced the latest addition to their product lineup, the Vortex AMG UH-1 Gen 2 holo sight.
Vortex AMG UH-1 Gen 2
If you have any experience with the original UH-1, nearly everything about the second generation model will be familiar to you. But for those of you new to the optic, let’s get a full run-down of the features.
Tipping the scales at 11oz, the UH-1 Gen 2 is an unmagnified holographic weapon sight with one MOA dot surrounded by a hollow crosshair and a triangle at the bottom. When zeroed at 25 yards with a 5.56mm caliber firearm, the center dot will be acceptably close to point of aim out to 400 yards. The triangle at the bottom shows the point of impact at 10 yards – an excellent feature when shooting over cover.
The UH-1 is powered by a single CR123 battery, which provides roughly 1500 hours of operation on the medium brightness setting.
The UH-1 is adjustable for windage and elevation with a set of inset dials that can be easily turned with a small coin or the rim of a cartridge. Each click shifts the point of impact by half an MOA, and the crosshair can be shifted 100 minutes of angle in both elevation and windage. Lastly, the entire unit measures 3.9 inches long and 2.7 inches tall. This permits the sight to give shooters a lower third co-witness with standard AR-15 height iron sights.
Like the original model, the Vortex AMG UH-1 Gen 2 uses a QD Picatinny mount to quickly and securely attach to a given firearm. Opposite of the locking latch, the UH-1 features a small slotted bolt that adjusts the tension of the optic on a given weapon. This is pretty standard on modern firearms, but still, a nice feature that allows shooters to ensure their combat optic is mounted as securely as possible.
So what’s the big difference between the first and second-generation models? NVG-compatibility. The Gen 2 Vortex UH-1 features 15 daylight illumination settings as well as 4 separate night vision settings. These are crucial if a shooter planes to run an optical sight forward of a weapon-mounted NVD.
To evaluate the new Vortex AMG UH-1 Gen 2, I mounted it on a few different firearms to get a better feel for the optic. I also combined it with a few different accessories to see how compatible the Vortex is with various peripherals designed for other holographic optics.
First, I installed the Vortex AMG UH-1 on a standard mid-length PSA, PA-15 carbine. This is just a 16-in barrel AR-15 with a fixed stock chambered in 5.56mm. On the PA-15, the Vortex handles well and feels perfect in terms of height-over-bore. In a nutshell, a shooter’s eye naturally aligns with the optic, and the way it comes in to focus when a shooter trains their eye on their target makes identifying and acquiring a proper sight picture effortless.
Other AR-style rifles I installed the AMG on included my LaRue Tactical 14.5in pinned and welded barrel carbine in 5.56 and .300blk (I have two barrels) as well as both these same ARs with CMMG’s .22lr conversion kits installed. Why would I bother with the .22lr conversion? With all the insanity in the world at the moment, I wanted to get more experience running the Vortex without burning through my stash of now covidly-expensive centerfire ammo. Still, after running the optic on various MSRs in both center and rimfire configurations, it’s very apparent that the Vortex UH-1 is designed primarily for AR-15s.
But what about less common firearms?
To find out, I mounted the UH-1 on my three favorite home-defense firearms. A PTR 9CT MP5 pistol clone, a SIG MPX K SBR, and a Benelli M4 12 gauge auto-loading shotgun.
Obviously, the first two have very minimal recoil, but they do have somewhat different ergonomics from a standard AR -especially the MP5 whose stock comb (or brace comb in this instance) isn’t the same as an AR-15. On both 9mm pseudo-sub-guns, the AMG UH-1 proved fast and intuitive, though on the Benelli it sat a little higher than what I normally would run. Even still, it made running the plates on my Action Target plate rack a breeze.
As far as peripheral compatibility, the Vortex UH-1 was the perfect height for an EoTech magnifier as well as the LaRue Tactical PVS-14 mount. The only accessories that likely wouldn’t fit, would be those designed explicitly for a unique design. Like a kill flash for an Aimpoint CompM4 or lens covers for the EoTech EXPS3.
The UH-1 might look as big as a tank, but it feels just as tough as one with its tough-as-nails construction. Between its ingenious reticle design, long-lasting battery life, and night vision compatibility, the second generation Vortex UH-1 may just be the gold standard by which future holo sights are measured. Sure, the $800 (less $$ online) price might scare some off – but this Vortex is worth every penny – especially for shooters looking for an optic they can bet their life on.
About Jim Grant
Jim is one of the elite editors for AmmoLand.com, who in addition to his mastery of prose, can wield a camera with expert finesse. He loves anything and everything guns but holds firearms from the Cold War in a special place in his heart.
When he’s not reviewing guns or shooting for fun and competition, Jim can be found hiking and hunting with his wife Kimberly, and their dog Peanut in the South Carolina low country.