There have been recent research advances in AlGaN-based self-assembled nanowires (NWs) as building blocks for ultraviolet (UV) optoelectronics grown by plasma-assisted molecular beam epitaxy. We review the basic growth kinetics on various foundry-compatible-metal/silicon-based substrates and the epistructure design for UV devices. We highlight the use of diffusion-barrier-metal thin film on silicon substrate as a solution to enhance device performance. NWs offer the opportunity to mitigate the detrimental quantum-confined Stark effect (QCSE), which lowers the recombination rate thereby reducing the device efficiency. On the other hand, the polarization-induced doping from the graded composition along NWs can be advantageous for eluding the inefficient doping in AlGaN-based UV devices. Sidewall surface states and the associate passivation treatment, as well as the use of ultrafast electron-microscopy characterization, are crucial investigations in shedding light on device performance under the influence of surface dangling bonds. For investigating the electrical performance of individual NWs and NWs light-emitting diode as a single entity, recent reports based on conductive atomic force microscopy measurements provide fast-prototyping in-process pass-fail evaluation and a means of improving growth for high-performance devices. Stress tests of NWs devices, crucial for reliable operation, are also discussed. Beyond applications in LEDs, an AlGaN-based NWs solar-blind photodetector demonstrated leveraging on the dislocation-free active region, reduced QCSE, enhanced light absorption, and tunable-composition features. The review opens pathways and offers insights for practical realization of AlGaN-based axial NWs devices on scalable and low-cost silicon substrates.