I did it! I got to do a video review!
As an editor, the editor in fact, I actually don’t get to do these nearly as often as everyone assumes. I’m busy checking everyone else’s work and out and about 1,001 other tasks that go on behind a page to keep it running.
So when Unit Solutions sent me an awesome looking hard case and a box of shiny sealed ammunition packs, I was… excited doesn’t quite cover it, but it is the best if an underwhelming descriptor. I didn’t even care what was in the box. I was hands back on a genuine full blown T&E.
What was in the box?
The video gives the details. All of them.
But for those wanting a text breakdown, the Unit 4 is CO2 powered 8mm BB gas gun that can fire a marking or a non-marking airsoft consistency projectile to about 50 yards. It is select fire and uses many genuine AR-15 components in its construction.
The bolt carrier and magazine system are obviously designed to cycle based on the altered gas system and both the trigger and buffer are also tuned to work with the CO2 action. But several of the parts, and an even greater number of the parts functioning styles are completely comparable to the AR the Unit 4 is based upon. As many of the stock or off the shelf parts as were useable were kept in the design, contributing greatly to the authentic user experience with the system.
The single most visceral interaction was the felt recoil. The recoil impulse, despite the drastic change in mass and velocity of the projectile, feels incredibly authentic and that is one of the things lost during dry fire or using other substitute manipulations for getting reps on the gun is lack of recoil. The Unit 4 recoils, you get the authentic movement of the bolt carrier mass back and forth as part of the cycling experience.
As a non-firearm training tool, to run the mechanics of an AR rifle, it feels peerless. If at any point you require something that isn’t a firearm due to legal restrictions it fits the mold exquisitely. Additionally it covers down on the force-on-force aspects of training, where a safe to shoot (with basic PPE) maintaining both round counts and the feel of the shot mechanics. These are simply things that do not transfer from an AEG type airsoft gun and every factor that is different introduces greater artificiality into the scenario. Too much artificiality induces greater disconnect into the training, so every felt stimulus that you can maintain (and do so safely) is a value add.
The authenticity of the feel has a ‘cool factor’ all its own, but humans are tactile creatures and we learn and react very much based upon feel. Even if intellectually we know what and how things function, anti-lock brakes for example, it is the feel of them and the familiarity with them that allows us to respond appropriately. So feeling the Unit 4 recoil and the bolt mass lock back very much like the 5.56 gun will is a huge plus. Being able to load it authentically, run the controls authentically, even feel the trigger break properly all add direct tactile connections to the M4 and reduce the artificial disconnect. It’s a detail that I appreciate when they could have introduced highly functional shortcuts and workarounds to cost cut but drastically increase the disconnect.