written in November, 2017
A couple of links to where you can buy this sight on Adorama and Amazon are at the bottom of this post
This will be brief: I finally got the UH-1 onto a rifle and headed to the range. The rifle in question is a comparatively light weight carbine with an ARP SOCOM profile midweight 16″ barrel with matching bolt, Brigand Arms handguard, Voodoo integral bolt carrier, Ace UL stock and an excellent TriggerTech trigger. Naturally, the whole thing was neutered with a finned grip to make it California legal.
Together with the UH-1, this combination weighs 7.2 lbs, which is handy enough for my purposes. The UH-1 itself, together with the an adjustable QD mount weighs in right around 12 ounces, which, while heavier than small red dot sights, is perfectly manageable. Still, if you are trying to build a 4 pound AR, this is not the sight for you.
If you are reading this, you have probably heard of UH-1, but for the sake of being thorough…
UH-1 is Vortex’ new holographic sight. To he best of my knowledge, it is only the third holographic sight to hit the market. For years, EOTech has been just about the only provider of holographic sights. Bushnell had Holosight XLP for a little bit years ago. Now, Vortex jumped into this holographic pond with the UH-1. Vortex’ timing is quite good since EOTech is going through all sorts of PR problems with their weapon sights and Vortex is likely to be a beneficiary of that.
I’ve owned a few EOTechs over the years and also owned Bushnell’s Holosight XLP some years ago. I’ve always had some reservations about the way the optical system of the EOTech worked, but they have clearly done well enough with that. Still, I have been sort of on the fence about the whole holosight business.
Compared to the more ubiquitous reflex red dot sights, holosights have some advantages in terms of reticle patterns and parallax correction, while reflex sights have a substantial advantage with battery life and size. For combat purposes, one important feature of the UH-1 is that it has effectively zero forward light signature. By definition, none of the red dot sights can match that.
At the heart of reflex sights is an efficient LED. At the heart of a holographic sight is a laser. Lasers need a lot more energy, so the battery life of the UH-1 is a few hundred hours, while battery life of a modern red dot sight like the Shield SIS, that I consider to be the best of the breed, is thousands of hours.
With that out of the way, my initial impressions of the UH-1 are very positive. I mounted it on the rifle, set up on the bench and sighted it in at 100 yards. To be more exact, I sighted it in to be about two inches high at 100 yards, which gave me a chance to make sure that the adjustments are reasonably accurate and the sight stays zeroed. They are and it does.
The rest of my first shooting session with the UH-1 was spent shooting off-hand. Since I absolutely stink at offhand shooting, I make it a point to practice. UH-1, in this role was absolutely spectacular. I shot at paper at 100 yards and steel plates at 200 yards. The sight picture was extremely easy to acquire and, the fairly classic at this stage, circle/dot reticle is very quick. Vortex added a secondary CQB aiming point to the reticle in the form of a triangle at the bottom of the circle. Here is what the reticle looks likes (image shamelessly stolen from Vortex’ website):
I have not yet had a chance to speed up and shoot at anything closer, so I do not yet know how quick the triangle will be to pick up at speed.
I have slight astigmatism, so conventional red dot in reflex sights do not look round to me. I’ve learned to deal with that, but the reticle in the UH-1 makes precision a little easier for me. The reticle is slightly pixelated, but that has never bothered me before and doesn’t bother me here. The 1 MOA (or rather, single pixel) dot allows for good precision.
I see no obvious forward light signature, so that claim seems to be true. From what I can deduce of the internal design, it seems reasonably robust, but ultimate reliability can only be determined by time and multiple units in the field.
I will keep running the UH-1 side by side with Shield SIS and see if I can form some opinions on how what seems to be the best of the holosights compares to the best of the reflex sights.
And on Amazon: