The saying in real estate goes something like “Location, location, location”.  In most industries, it’s more like “Timing, timing, timing”.  Such has been the case with more than a few products by Vortex Optics, a Wisconsin headquartered manufacturer.  While the Vortex UH-1 holographic sight had been in development for some time, performance issues by holographic optic market leader EOTech made them very vulnerable to the competition.  While many EOTech customers were returning their holo sights for fear or result of thermal drift problems, they simultaneously started looking for alternatives.

The UH-1 is a sturdily built optic.  It features a shock-proof metal housing as well as multi-coated, scratch-proof windows.  The reticle is a 65 MOA circle surrounding a 1 MOA dot.  The UH-1 is powered by one CR123A or as an option, one LFP123A which can be recharged while installed through a micro USB port. The whole package is only 3.5″ long and weighs in at 11.8 ounces.  This includes the built-in quick release mount.

Vortex UH-1 AMG
Even on a sunny day that threatened to wash out my camera, the UH-1 was sufficiently bright

Operationally, the UH-1 has 15 brightness settings, controlled by the two buttons on the ass end.  Windage and elevation adjustments are handled via two “coin slot” countersunk knobs.  The UH-1 has 100 MOA of total travel for each axis of adjustment.  Battery life is around 1500 hours on medium setting with a CR123A, around 1000 hours with the lower-capacity LFP123A.  Auto-shutoff is provided at 14 hours.

Mounting the UH-1 takes but a second with the excellent built-in rail mount.  The mount features a low profile lever with an ingenious release button/lock that ensures that the lever can’t accidentally release the optic, even if snagged on gear.  A little boop on the button and the lever releases.

Given the obvious similarities between the UH-1 and the early-to-mid EOTech’s, it’s fair to make some comparisons.  One such parallel is the reticle itself.  Both feature a 1 MOA dot inside a 65 MOA circle, with tiny hash marks on the 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions outside the ring.

When shooting, the UH-1 may as well be an EOTech, minus the thermal shift.  Shooting is fast, given the eye’s natural propensity to center circular objects, such as the large aiming circle.  The dot in the middle will naturally align very near to center, especially given just a few reps of practice.  Shooting can also be very precise, given the aiming dot’s 1 MOA size and many brightness options.  When shooting groups, it’s easy to get up on a small bullseye by dialing down the brightness to minimal levels where the dot is nearly translucent, only slightly superimposed on the target.

Vortex UH-1 AMG
Large control buttons are easy to manipulate

I’ve only been running the UH-1 for a couple months, which I don’t consider a lot despite my regular range trips.  A couple months is more than enough to suss out any obvious design flaws or quality control issues though, and with that in mind, the UH-1 has performed exactly as you would want your new optic to perform.

Vortex came into the optics market with a splash and has been expanding both their product line-up and their loyal fanbase.  The UH-1 is definitely in a prime position to take in jilted owners of EOTech’s, with quality and durability to spare.  The Vortex UH-1 runs $499, I’d say it’s a great option at that price.

Rex Nanorum