Introduced at SHOT in 2017, the UH-1 Razor was updated in 2020 as the Gen II and is Vortex’s premier reflex optic. The robust housing, and overall design continue to provide rugged performance and play a fitting tribute to its U.S. Army’s UH-1 “Huey” namesake.
Much like the previous generation, the UH-1 Gen II is designed for professional and uses an ERB-CQB Holographic Reticle. The internal hardware includes FHQ Technology that minimizes stray light emissions from within the optic. The Gen II’s exterior utilizes a matte black, aircraft-grade aluminum housing, which minimizes external reflectivity. Additionally, a picatinny rail QD-release lever is integrated into the housing and sits the reticle at a lower 1/3 height profile.
The high-quality optical glass is coated in ArmorTek to increase scratch resistance, then sealed in an anti-reflective coating. The interior of the optic is sealed with Argon gas to maximize performance of the overall system and minimize parallax. The Gen II also comes with a built-in picatinny quick disconnect mount and throw lever for ease in mounting.
A single CR123 lithium battery is the power source for the Gen II (with an average 1500hr run time in the UH-1 on a level seven brightness setting) that sits under an access cap designed to be manipulated without the need for hand tools. One difference that separates the Gen is Vortex removed the USB rechargeable battery connection that was directly into the side of the Razor’s housing.
The Gen II has 15 different brightness settings (including eight different night vision device settings), and the reticle will pulse when 25 hours of run time remain (but that feature can be cancelled). To prevent potential power drain, the Gen II optic has an auto shutoff feature that power downs the Razor after 14 hours of inactivity (but again that feature can be deactivated if so desired).
Vortex also backs up its optic line by offering a transferable lifetime warranty that supports the optic, regardless if the owner is the original purchaser or not.
- Power: 1x
- Objective: 30mm
- Elevation Adjustment: 0.5 MOA per click
- Windage Adjustment: 0.5 MOA per click
- Reticle: Red ERB-CQB; Red 65-MOA Segmented Circle; 1-MOA Red Dot
- Length: 3.88”
- Width: 2.65”
- Height: 2.5”
- Weight: 11.6 oz.
- Eye Relief: Unlimited
The UH-1 Razor Gen II is only available in a matte black.
Product Evaluation Scores:
- Cost – Fair (2/5): At an MSRP $899.99 the UH-1 Gen II is the second iteration of the previous successful holographic optics, the UH-1 Gen I. The Gen II utilizes improved internal electronics, lighting-cut housing to reduce weight, and an updated the power supply. The Gen II is available on third-party retailers (such as Amazon, eBay, etc.) however consumers should approach these sites with some caution as refurbishments and counterfeits have been identified on the internet. In contrast, market alternatives for holographic optics include the XPS2 ($629.99) by EOTech, the Carbine Optic ($909.99) by Leupold, or the 512 ($623.52) by Holosun. The price point for the Gen II places it in the upper tier of the holographic red dot market but one of the newest offered, and at a fair price point considering the materials and functionality offered. In time, just as with other market alternatives the price may decline some as other newer offerings are released.
- Comfort – Good (4/5): From a comfort aspect, the Gen II mounted easily via its integrated rail mount, and (once adjusted) the optic’s locking mechanism kept a solid hold with absolutely no excess movement. The optic’s overall field of view while looking through the window was one of the physically largest windows on the market, however the perception of looking through the elongated housing (like looking through a tube) made for a notable detraction in that range of vision. This still translated to rapid target acquisition when transitioning between multiple targets, and similar field of view to what individuals may have experienced with other popular holographic optics. The Gen II’s red ERB-CQB holographic reticle showed up brightly in full sun, but showed some signs of image dispersal (possibly due to excess environmental light entering the optic). In comparison, in low-light or indoor settings the reticle was bright and clear.
- Durability – Good (4/5): The Gen II housing was made from aircraft-grade aluminum (presumably either 7075 or 6061) which gave it a very good level of performance in terms of impact resistance, and the sealed internals prevented penetration from moisture or dust to provide an extremely robust and durable optic. Some surface marring was attained during normal range stages, striking the optic housing with loaded magazines, and stressor drills, but none of this marring penetrated the hardened exterior coating nor impacted zero. This bolsters the 2018 efforts by Vortex during DoD trials (as fallout from the 2015 parallax issue discovered in EOTech) to present an alternative optic designed for customers within the Department of Defense as well as civilians that could withstand the rigors of the field.
- Functionality – Good (4/5): From a functional aspect, the GEN II presented a similar format as the initial generation of the UH-1 in that the buttonology and reticle were similar and provided clear and tactile controls, thus the performance of the optic on target was also similar. The size of the window allowed for rapid acquisition and wide field of view, while the variance in reticle brightness (including night vision settings) was an additional bonus. While Vortex cited the need for lightening cuts to the Gen II’s exterior as a weight-saving feature, this was minimally noticeable in the broader scale of the overall rifle. The design to the Gen II’s ERB-CQB reticle was beneficial between distance targets (200-300 yards), then rapidly transitioning to closer-in threats (20-50 yards) by easily adjusting the sight picture. Additionally, the reticle’s circular design enabled for easy sight picture alignment on associated targets as opposed to chevron or donut type reticles. The process of zeroing the optic was easily achieved and the elevation/windage adjustment knobs provided a clear audible/tangible touch. One of the biggest differences between the Gen I and Gen IIs is that the latter no longer had the rechargeable USB port, which was seldom utilized by most to begin with. So the removal of that from the Gen II’s design didn’t hinder anything in performance of the optic’s function, and likely translated to less room for internal components to fail. The toolless battery port was also easily accessed with only the fingertips, and still retained securely throughout dynamic movements or contact to surfaces.
- Weight – Fair (2/5): With its overall weight of 11.06 oz., the Gen II is 0.02 oz. lighter than the previous version of the UH-1, which is correspondingly attributed to the lighting cuts on the optic’s housing and the shift from internal power source to exclusively a CR123 supply. Despite this, the optic’s overall aluminum housing was still lightweight enough so that it wasn’t unbalancing while mounted to the rifle, nor impacted the performance of the rifle (i.e. top-heavy) during the cycling process. In contrast, the XPS2 (9.0 oz.) by EOTech, the Carbine Optic (9.5 oz.) by Leupold, or the 512 (8.1 oz.) by Holosun. This weight reflects the reality that the housing of the Gen II was still the largest (and thus more mass) of the alternatives listed—if only by several ounces. It would be recommended to Vortex that in the next version of the UH-1 it examine reducing some of the optic’s overall housing and reduce the total weight while bringing the topic into alignment with much of the market. For what is offered by the UH-1 Gen II the features and durability still provided for a fair optic given its total weight amid the current market.
Overall Rating – Average (16/26)
I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via High Ground Media, LLC, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.
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