Reload Image

Don’t let the fancy paint job and sleek look of this American Defense Manufacturing (ADM) Universal Improved Carbine (UIC) Mod2 fool you; this thing is about performance, not looks. Not just a general-purpose, home-defense/duty AR, it also works for competitions and hunting.

Something for Everyone

The ADM UIC Mod2 rifle is designed to be a top-of-the line tactical carbine, complete with ADM’s patented “ambidextrously operable firearms receiver assembly.” This means both right- and left-handed people can reach the controls … all the controls.

Because of the balance among barrel weight, handguard weight and length, and controls that can be manipulated by anyone, ADM built versatility into this rifle.

The Magpul SL stock adjusts easily for setting length of pull. The ADM handguard has a flat bottom and sides—good for creating a solid position if you need to shoot off a wall, barricade, etc. MLOK slots on the handguard make attaching accessories easy, too.

With a fully-ambidextrous lower receiver, including charging handle, bolt catch, safety and mag release, this patented lower receiver makes an impression.

When it comes to charging the rifle, the Bravo Company Mfg. Gunfighter ambidextrous charging handle also gives right- or left-handed shooters an easy grab. In competitions, you sometimes run into odd staging conditions, such as a staging table on which your gun won’t rest the way you would like it to. You know you will either have to pick it up and turn it to charge the gun, or reach out with your other hand. So, this piece makes sense, no matter which hand you were born using.

“The ADM UIC Mod2 rifle is designed to be a top-of-the line tactical carbine, complete with ADM’s patented “ambidextrously operable firearms receiver assembly.” This means both right- and left-handed people can reach the controls … all the controls.”

The mag release on either side is another plus that evens out the speed at which a left-handed person can operate this rifle. If you share gear with a lefty, this seems to be an optimal setup. If this were your battle rifle, knowing you could operate it more effectively with either hand would be comforting.

Having run a battery assist device on my competition rifle for four years, I was curious about the bolt catch on this rifle. For most people, a battery-assist device isn’t a big deal, but I’ve run into situations where it’s an asset.

While looks are not what should sell you on a rifle, this one turned heads in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, New Mexico and back home. The Cerakote paint job on the mag and rifle made it stand out as a beauty, even while taking out prairie dogs in the Wyoming dust.

Usually, it’s in a speed contest in a match, but if you travel all the way to Russia to shoot, and the stage brief requires an empty chamber, bolt condition your choice, bolt locked back and running a battery-assist device is going to be the fastest way to get shooting. Seating a mag on a closed bolt is difficult; trying to seat a mag in full-on adrenaline mode with a closed bolt can be both comedy and tragedy.

Another reason I like the right-side bolt catch is for teaching. Watching a brand-new shooter who’s never worked with an AR lock back the bolt can be painful when they are trying to find the left-side bolt catch. A bolt catch on the right side of ADM’s receiver just makes sense.

The integral right-side bolt catch—part of AMD’s patented lower receiver configuration—is positioned to shorten the learning curve on using it. And unlike a BAD lever, this bolt catch is up and away from the trigger. Something that makes sense when “finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot” should be overriding the way you manipulate a rifle’s controls.

The trigger is a Geissele G2S trigger that lives up to the job of being part of an accurate rifle. It is a 4.5-pound, non-adjustable trigger with a very positive reset. This is an upgrade from a stock trigger; however, it is not a highly tunable match trigger. It definitely gets the job done and will facilitate more accurate shooting, compared to a GI trigger.

The 45-degree safety is something that was different for me. If you like these, you’ll get one on this rifle. It was smooth to engage and disengage. It has a wider shelf for your thumb than a standard safety. And, if you like the idea of resting your thumb on the safety while you fire, this safety stops in a comfortable position.

An oversized trigger guard, flared magwell designed for speed and tensioning screw to adjust upper-to-lower fit—this rifle has details beyond the ambidextrous controls that put it a step above basic black rifles.

The 15-inch handguard makes for a comfortable grip of the rifle with your support arm and allows for easy grip of the rifle with your forward arm, capable of a forward C-grip or whatever type of grip you want. The long handguard also facilitates shooting from and over barricades and lessens the likelihood your barrel is touching an obstacle. This also gives you space to mount a light, bipod stud or any other attachment you might want to add.

There is also a small magwell built into the lower, which helps reloads by funneling the magazine up and into the receiver for faster mag changes. It’s a detail borrowed from the competition market, but it is honestly useful for anyone who needs to change magazines quickly.

“Taking the familiar black rifle and making it a little better and a little more useful to every possible consumer seems to be what ADM accomplished with this rifle.”

Find Your Balance

Unloaded, and as it comes from ADM, this rifle weighs 6.2 pounds. The test rifle, with optic and as configured, weighs 9.02 pounds. But there is balance in this rifle—not just physically balanced in your hands. It is also balanced in the parts used to configure it.

This rifle comes with a 16-inch Criterion barrel chambered in .223 Wylde, 1/8 twist, with the company’s hybrid contour. Criterion’s barrels are button rifled and use a unique chrome-lining process that gives the benefits of chrome lining while maintaining match-grade accuracy.

The solid feel of this rifle was one thing several shooters remarked on. You pick it up, adjust the stock to your length of pull, put the gun up—and your sight picture is there. It’s just ready to run.

While the competition side of the AR market often pushes light, lighter and lightest, lighter is not always better. Recoil management is assisted by a barrel in a heavier contour. This rifle’s barrel is contoured in Criterion’s Hybrid contour, which means that it’s designed to have less weight than Criterion’s HBAR barrels. It’s the middle ground between a government profile barrel and an HBAR contour.

Another area in which the rifle finds balance is in the details that are apparent in the machining. There was a clear effort to lighten the weight of the handguard via holes drilled into the Picatinny rail section on the top of the handguard.

The muzzle device is a BattleComp 1.0 Compensator.

Weight also comes into play with the compensator: a BattleComp 1.0 that weighs 1.7 ounces. With some AR comps weighing well more than 3 ounces, this comp helps lighten the rifle. As for function, there was mixed feedback from shooters who tried it. Some shooters really like tunable comps; others don’t consider the comp much at all. But the felt recoil seemed average to me. There was less blast from the sides, and being used to shooting near people with comps that displace a lot of gas and energy, when others shot this rifle, I did feel less-concussive force standing nearby while the rifle was being fired.

Finally, the effectiveness of the flash hider aspect of the BattleComp 1.0 was apparent. I could see it with my naked eye at dusk, but not very well.

Accuracy Matters

Beyond all the details examined, I also looked at accuracy. I tested seven types of ammo at 100 yards, and the Criterion Barrel in 1:8 twist definitely likes 69-grain projectiles. Nevertheless, it also shot some 77-grain rounds well. (I have to beg forgiveness, because accuracy testing was done in oppressive heat and mugginess that eventually developed into a severe thunderstorm. It was hard to develop a good sight picture: As conditions worsened, the groups opened up. This rifle can do better—of this, I am certain).

“The trigger is a Geissele G2S trigger that lives up to the job of being part of an accurate rifle.”

The best groups were shot from a rest with Federal Gold Medal Match 69-grain Sierras pushing 2,746 fps with a standard deviation (SD) of 19.2. Second-best accuracy was Fiocchi 77-grain at 2,499 fps with an SD of 24.2. Third best was PPU, .223 Remington Match, 69-grain HPBT going 2,635 fps, with an SD of 20.3. All three of these types of ammo are commonly available, and a 69-grain HPBT projectile would be my choice for a starting point in developing a load for this rifle.

The barrel is made by Criterion Barrel Inc. and is hand lapped, has a nitride finish, a 1:8 twist, hybrid contour and is chambered in .223 Wylde, so it shoots both .223 Rem and 5.56 NATO. (Photo: Robb Manning)

Other ammo fired for testing was Winchester Varmint X, .223 Remington 55 grain, moving at 2,881 fps, with an SD of 20.1. I shot this offhand, so I didn’t include it in the performance chart. It was very effective on prairie dogs and made for great practice on quick offhand shots. (If you’re a competitive shooter, helping out a rancher with prairie dogs is a great situation for long-range work on small targets, as well as moving targets and quickly acquiring a sight picture.) The group was not as tight as the 69-grain projectiles, but it worked for the job.

The groups are proof that the Criterion barrel lives up to the task of putting rounds downrange where intended. The scope my test rifle was fitted with was a Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen2 1-6×24 with an ADM Delta-C 30mm scope mount. This combination worked well, in terms of height of the scope for a variety of bodies. For young junior shooters to tall guys, this scope mount height works well. The height-over-bore for this scope in this mount is approximately 2.7 inches—the general range for height at which many AR scope bases put the optic.

The upper-to-lower-receiver fit is something that gets tossed out in discussions of rifle accuracy, and this particular rifle had such a tight fit that I wondered if I had pulled the rear pin all the way out when trying to unhinge the rear of upper from the lower. In addition, the UIC Mod2 has an integral upper/lower tension-adjusting screw.

The Parts That Make up the Whole

While this rifle fits the tactical carbine/home-defense/competition AR category, it’s functionality definitely earns it a place among ARs that fit more than one shooter and skillset, making it versatile. As a shooter who shares rifles with people of different builds/sizes, I see the adjustable stock as not just practical from a cost perspective, but as a fast and easy-to-adjust component of the rifle.

The adjustable Magpul SL stock gives this rifle adjustability. It can go from 33 inches overall length up to 36¼.

Some smaller details that were part of this particular rifle are add-ons. There were railscales on the rifle … I could take or leave them. If you have to shoot through ports or C-clamp to walls or barricades, anything on the handguard can be problematic. The smaller diameter of the MLOK handguard is a feature I like, and adding bulk/diameter to the outside of the handguard isn’t necessary.

“I see the adjustable stock as not just practical from a cost perspective, but as a fast and easy-to-adjust component of the rifle.”

This is personal preference, but I prefer integral QD attachment points on my handguard for sling attachment. I realize this conflicts with my preference for narrow-diameter handguards, but this is one thing for which I think extra bulk is worth it. ADM makes handguards that do have integral QD attachment points and offers other UIC models with this as an option.

There is a QD attachment point in the buttstock and one on the back of the lower, above the pistol grip, for a single-point sling. It’s fixed and offers a place for a single-point sling with no rattling pieces that some single-point attachment plates have.

The author throws down with the UIC, spitting the wrath of the gods out of the muzzle.

Just for Looks … and for Looking

The Cerakote paint job done by HD Arms of Waukesha, Wisconsin, received a lot of compliments as this rifle travelled around with me this summer. It’s a small perk, but for a rifle to stand out in the crowd of black rifles, this paint job definitely set it apart.

It comes standard with a Radian Weapons 45 Degree Talon Ambi Safety. The trigger is a Geissele G2S Trigger. (Photo: Robb Manning)

The Magpul MBUS sights are a nice accessory, but I would love to see them offset, because most people run an optic on a rifle. If they were offset, they would be accessible in the moment—say, if you were shooting a competition stage and when you came up on your optic and fogged it or it picked up dirt or water. Sights that complement on the spot, that’s what I want. In competitions, we use offsets for close targets and leave our scope’s magnification turned up so we can save time on the clock for shooting and not adjusting the optic.

In other environments, using offsets and an optic is handy when you have both close and far targets (e.g., small prairie dogs popping up from their hole 10 yards away while his “cousins” are playing at 300 yards out). Having both sighting modalities in play at the same time only gives you options.

Hands-On Tools

What sets this rifle apart from other ARs on the market are the controls. The ambi safety, integrated bolt catch and magazine release, along with the ease with which you can get your hands on each feature, are great. Installing a bolt catch on both sides of the receiver is a good improvement in an AR designed for competition; for empty gun starts and for small hands or new shooters to be able to lock the bolt back without a lot of juggling, battery-assist devices are helpful. The bolt catch on this model is above the mag release, making the learning curve on where you need to move your finger to lock the bolt a familiar “reach.”

“If this were your battle rifle, knowing you could operate it more effectively with either hand would be comforting.”

This rifle’s usefulness crosses multiple categories of rifle applications, from home-defense to hunting to competitions: It’s versatile enough to fill more than one need, and it does them all well.

Taking the familiar black rifle and making it a little better and a little more useful to every possible consumer seems to be what ADM accomplished with this rifle.

And making tools better is what innovation is about.







E.S.           S.D.


Sm. Grp.   Avg. Grp.


Federal Gold Medal Match


73 19.2 .90


Winchester White Box, 55 grains


81 32 1.79


Hornady Steel Match


78.5 23 2.52


Fiocchi 77-grain Exacta Rifle Match


88 24.2 .798


PPU .223 Rem Match, 69 grains


82.2 20 1.51


Notes: Groups were fired from a rest at 100 yards. Velocity is in fps, calculated at the muzzle using a PACT Inc. chronograph. E.S.=Extreme Spread; S.D.=Standard Deviation; Sm.Grp.=size of smallest single group for that ammunition, in inches; Ave. Grp.=the average group size in inches for three five-shot groups.

Rifle As Tested:

  • Copper-distressed Cerakote finish (Nonstandard for Mod2 configuration)
  • ADM Delta-C 30mm scope mount
  • Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen2 1-6×24 scope


American Defense Manufacturing UIC Mod2 Specifications

Caliber: .223 Wylde chamber (for use with both .223 Rem and 5.56 NATO)

Action type: semiauto

Receiver: ADM fully ambidextrous 7075 billet aluminum upper and lower receivers

Barrel: 16-inch; .223 Wylde; 1/8 twist; nitride finished; hand-lapped, hybrid-contour (Criterion Barrels Inc.)

Trigger: Geissele G2S trigger

Sights: Magpul Pro BUIS set

Stock: Magpul SL stock

Weight: 6.2 pounds (unloaded)

Overall length: 33 inches (stock collapsed); 36¼ inches (fully extended stock)

Accessories: Ships with 1 Magpul 30rd PMag, 1 Magpul MLOK QD sling mount, 1 Magpod, 1 railscales HPT rail cover set, 1 Slip-2000 Sample Pack, 1 pushbutton QD swivel, 1 Raven Concealment TopStop, 1 cable gun lock

MSRP: $1,850 (Mod2); $2,000 (Mod 2 Special Edition, one-color Cerakote); $2,600 (Mod2 Special Edition, distressed Cerakote)


American Defense Manufacturing

HD Arms (for Cerakote information):

(262) 357-4222


Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the December 2017 print issue of Gun World Magazine.