Category Archives: Optics

The Vortex UH-1 Sight and V3XM Magnifier Are An Amazing Combination On A Galil Ace Pistol

Well, the pandemic threw all my plans right out the window including having time to go to the range. I bought and customized my 7.62×51/.308 Galil Ace Pistol in the Fall of 2019 and just recently was able to take it to the range with my daughter and good friend Niko.

Niko having fun with the Ace and optic combination.

When I was planning the customization of the Ace, I wanted a holographic sight for rapid target acquisition in close, parallax free viewing and also a magnifier to help me out to a hundred yards or so. By the way, tons of guys go further even without a magnifier but this is just me.

Being a Vortex Optics fan and having read good reviews of their Razor AMG UH-1 optic, I bought one plus the V3XM Micro 3x magnifier. I have to admit that I was nervous. Years back I built an AR-15 and installed both a full size red dot and a full size 3x magnifier and honestly did not like it. The combination used a ton of top rail space due to the size of the two parts and it was heavy. To be honest, I found myself wishing I’d just bought a 1-4x or 1-6x optic at the time.

Why Bother With A Magnifier?

In case you are wondering why I even wanted the 3x magnification, it’s s a simple answer. As I get older,I find myself needing more magnification for any degree of target shooting as I get closer to 100 yards and beyond. Yeah, make fun of me but in talking with a lot of 50+ year old guys, I’m not the only one. I tend to favor 1-6 and 1-8x Vortex Strike Eagles for relatively close in optics – they are light, rugged and allow me to trade off field of view and magnification.

The optics combo fits nicely on the Ace. I like the quality quick release levers they used. The levers clamp very well and have a repeatable zero when removed and re-installed.
Here the magnifier is swung out of the way for 1x viewing through the UH-1. All controls are very easy to use.

At any rate, back to the UH-1, the UH-1 itself weighs about 11oz and the Micro 3X (V3XM) magnifier adds 9.55oz. So you are looking at about 20-21oz or just over 1.25 pounds for the combination. A 1-6x Strike Eagle weighs 18.5oz and then you need to add at least a basic cantilever mount at 1.3oz, you are totalling 19.8oz.

Why am I bringing this up? Some situations really require variable magnification optics and the 1-6x and 1-8x Strikefires are hard to beat. In other cases, you are expecting situations where you will need little to no magnification then the UH-1 wins hands down. Why? Target acquisition is screamingly fast and you don’t have parallax. No parallax means that no matter how you look at the projected recticle (the hologram), the recticle is on the target. With regular scopes, as your eye position changes relative to the recticle, the point of impact changes. This is one reason why a good consistent cheek weld is so important with a traditional optic. Bottom line is that holographic sights seriously rock when it comes to speed of target acquisition.

A 7.62×51 Galil Ace Is Not A Distance Weapon

Another thing to point out is that this weapon is not a target rifle by any stretch of the immagination – it’s for close in work. The 7.62×51 Galil Ace pistol has an 11.8″ barrel and that short length is really going to limit the weapon to less than 200 yards and that is just my opinion because that short length will reduce the velocity of the bullet and there will be more bullet drop at a given distance. The reason is simple – the 7.62×51 and .308 cartridges are still burning powder, generating more pressure and bullet speedwhen the bullet exits the muzzle – all that burning powder makes for an impressive muzzle flash but that’s actually a waste of powder and why it will have less velocity than a weapon with a longer barrel.

How far do I intend to shoot the Ace? Now that’s the real question and is what drove the selection of the optic. I honestly plan to shoot it under 50 yards the majority of the time. I can flip the magnifier out of the way if I don’t need it.

A Bit Of Range Time

How did it work at the range? It was fantastic. The Ace itself ran great with PPU M80 FMJ ammo and the optic pairing was way better than I expected. The recticle was nice and bright even during mid-day son and it was easy to swing the magnifier in and out of position. All three of us liked the Ace and optic combination. After shooting the Ace for the first time, I can definitely see why they have such a excellent reputation.

Even in close the magnifier worked nice. It still has a pretty wide field of view — 38 feet at 100 yards. I went from being cautiously hopeful to really liking the combo.
In this photo, Niko is getting ready to shoot with the magnifier swung out of the way.
I’m still trying to learn the art of getting a decent photo of a recticle. With the UH1 you have 1- brightness levels to select from and I really like it.

In Summary

I really like the pairing of the UH-1 optic and the V3XM magnifier on my Galil Ace. The pairing works really, really well and I am already planning on getting one of the new second generation UH-1 optics for a new build I am planning – a 7.25″ 12.7×42 (Beowulf) pistol 🙂


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Vortex Second Generation 1-6 and 1-8×24 Strike Eagles Are On Sale At PSA With Free Mount and Shipping – Coupon Good Thu 5/13/2020

PSA has a deal going on through 5/13 (they extended the deal) on the new second generation Vortex Strike Eagle Scopes. The deal includes the optic, a Vortex 2″ cantilever offset mount (their 14919 CME-202 mount to be specific) and PSA is including free shipping. Use Coupon Code: Strike

What are the differences?

  • Has the new 5.56 calibrated reticle – the AR-BDC3
  • Integral throw lever on the zoom ring
  • Slight design change to the 1-6 body so it looks like the 1-8

Click on the photo to open the PSA page


This is a short post – you might want to snag this deal while you can. I have a first gen 1-6 and really like it. The scope has a great field of view at 1x and helps you zoom in to see things better.

I hope this helps you out.


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com.


By the way, the following are first generation Strike Eagle listings at other vendors so you can compare – I have a first gen 1-6×24 and it has held up great. It’s living on my Beowulf right now so it’s up to you as to whether the new features matter enough:

Part 3: Two Rivers Arms Yugo M76 Rifle – The Trigger

When I sent the M76 to Two Rivers Arms to build, I was still using Tapco G2 triggers in my AK builds. Since then, I have moved to ALG Defense’s AK Trigger Ultimate With Lightning Bow (AKT-UL) for anything I’ve built in the last two years. Folks, these are wicked triggers and absolutely hands down my favorite AK triggers.

The top trigger is the ALG AKT-UL. You can see the distinctive shape and the silver colored Nickel Boron finish. The bottom is the Tapco G2 I originally sent to Two Rivers to use. The AKT-UL comes with a new disconnector spring but uses the existing hammer spring. ALG does sell a heavy hammer spring separately if you want it. The extra spring is an auxiliary trigger spring for increasing the pull, which I don’t use. One small pin can be installed and filed down as needed if the safety doesn’t block the trigger sufficiently. I have not needed it so far on any of my rifles. I think the second pin is just a spare.

Not only does the AKT-UL give you three compliance parts as it includes the hammer, trigger and disconnector but the feel is amazing. Now if you know how to tune a G2 trigger, you are used to having a fairly decent AK trigger. The AKT-UL units step it up a notch for sure. ALG does have a shorter and more crisp pull for sure plus they will tell you the trigger has about a 3.5 pound pull which you can tweak a bit by bending the hammer spring.

I got out my Lyman digital trigger gauge and did 20 pulls. The average was 3 pounds 13 ounces and the nice wide trigger shoe makes it feel less.

This is a peek in the M76 receiver as it came from Two Rivers. You can see the Tapco G2 fire control group, orientation of the hammer spring and the pin retaining wire that I am not a huge fan of and replace with a plate. This layout is what you see in most AK rifles unless you get into specialized trigger systems on some of the more modern military designs. For a new person, note the orientation of both the hammer and its spring.

Installation Notes

Safety First Always – Make Sure Your Weapon Is Unloaded! Always assume a weapon is loaded until you confirm it is not. Keep ammo away from your work area and don’t test fit with live ammunition.

Second – read their instructions – they work and you have options. This is not one of those cases where the instructions suck – they are actually quite good. The come with the trigger plus ALG makes them available online – click here to read the instructions for both the Enhanced (EL) and Ultimate (UL) triggers.

I really don’t have any surprises to report. It installed the same as any other AK fire control group and I didn’t need to use any pins and I certainly didn’t want a heavier pull so I didn’t use the auxiliary trigger spring either:

1. Install the hammer with the ears to the rear and spring around the back of the hammer. If it fights you during installation and the little legs that sit on the trigger are facing down, odds are you have the spring installed right. I lubricated all pins with Super Lube Grease before installation. That stuff is my favorite grease now.

Here, the new hammer is installed. Note how the “ears” of the hammer are facing towards the back of the rifle. It’s a common mistake for people new to the AK family of weapons to think that is the part that hits the firing pin but it is not. Also, note how the spring is going around the hammer. You can’t see them but the legs of the hammer spring are facing down. I use needle nose pliers to lift them around out of the way to install the trigger and then set them on the back legs/bars of the trigger.

2. Here’s a tip you will not see in the instructions. A trick I was taught years ago is to use a slave pin that will allow you to assemble the trigger, disconnector and its spring outside of the rifle. This makes it sooooo much easier!! What you do is cut a spare fire control pin or a piece of 5mm stock (0.1969″ or 13/64″ – cheap drill bits work great) down so it fits just inside the trigger pin hole from left to right and slightly taper the ends using a file or sandpaper. Trust me, if you don’t take a few minutes to do this, it is a heck of a juggling act to get the trigger in place with the pin pushed through while keeping the disconnector and its spring in place (don’t forget the little disconnector spring!!).

Here, you can see the slave pin and how it is holding the disconnector nicely in place. I’m not sure why ALG added the window in the disconnector to see the spring but it sure is handy to confirm the spring is there. Perhaps that is why they did it.

3. The trigger is installed by lowering it into position, pushing a fire control pin through the receiver and into the trigger carefully pushing the slave pin out the other side where you can grab it. Note, you will need to wiggle the trigger around some and I just do that with my right hand as I feel the pin through with my left.

4. Next, I used one of our fire control group retaining plates to secure the pins in place instead of the retaining wire. The wire is fine and you can use it if you prefer – I simply don’t care for them. Unlike some plates on the market, our plate is approximately 1.186mm thick and completely fills the groove of the pins to keep them from walking left or right and potentially falling out of the receiver.

Top is our AK fire control group plate. Below it is the type of retaining wire you would see in a M76. AKMs are a bit different due to the differences for automatic fire.

You install the plate by inserting the nose groove into the hammer pin and then rotating the plate down so it secures the trigger pin as well. The rear hole of the plate, the only hole really,is where the selector/safety lever passes through and locks it into position.

This photo shows how the front of the plate engages the hammer pin and the middle groove secures the trigger pin.
Here. everything is installed except for the selector/safety lever so you can see the fire control group and the plate.

That’s it for the trigger. Next up was the need to fix the magazines so they would not nose dive when empty and hit by the bolt carrier. That will be my next post.


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com.