The Army’s Special Operations Command has been looking at a new non-lethal, non-weapon to be the exact copy of the Army’s M4 carbine. This will serve as a valuable training tool that can be used anywhere and anytime. 

Unit Solutions Inc. has produced the Unit4 which looks exactly like and functions the same as the Army’s M4 carbine. According to the company’s website, the UNIT4 Training System is a mil-spec, standalone, M4 training system that uses CO2 to fire 8mm non-lethal projectiles. Classified as a non-weapon by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), the UNIT4 has been specifically engineered to allow police and military users to train safely, affordably, and more frequently

Former Green Beret Joe Fitterer, who is now a field service representative of Unit Solutions, spoke with Military.com. He stated that the training weapons used in the past, which fired submunitions, required designated ranges and training areas because they utilized primer-fired ammunition.  

“You are no longer [required] to go to the range for training,” he said. “You can train off-range.” This means units will be able to do more training and conduct it closer to their base without any risk to troops nearby. It has always been a pain in the fourth point of contact for Team Sergeants and Team Leaders of SF A-Teams to get enough range time or training areas designated for training to keep the teams up to date. Now, the Unit4 system will solve this problem and allow troops to engage in close-range, tactical training.

The training tool/weapon uses compressed air cartridges and is designed to replicate an actual M-4 with semiautomatic and fully-automatic firing. Its paintball-style, non-marking projectiles shoot at 300 to 350 feet per second, with a maximum range of about 35 meters, Fitterer said. It can’t break the skin or a quarter-inch glass beyond five feet. 

“All the components look very similar to a user’s M4; there is a slight modification in the lower [receiver] and the bolt doesn’t have a firing pin and it’s a smoothbore barrel,” Fitterer added.

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According to UNIT4’s website, the advantages of the system are the following:

  • Classified by the ATF as a non-firearm
  • Does not need to be stored in the armory
  • Immediate access with no requisition process
  • Can be used outside the shoothouse
  • Does not require HAZMAT vehicle for transport and can ship through U.S. Mail
  • identical to M4 service rifle in form, fit, and function
  • Forged from military-grade aluminum
  • Fires in semi and full auto
  • 30-round magazine capacity
  • Realistic recoil
  • Identical trigger pull to real M4
  • Standalone system
  • Cannot be converted to a real firearm
  • Eliminates the possibility of putting live ammunition into a training scenario
  • 100 percent biodegradable, lead-free, brass-free projectiles will not break human skin
  • Only requires eye and mouth protection
  • Costs as low as $0.30 for marking and non- marking rounds
  • Save up to 50 percent or upwards of $3,000 per system per 10,000 rounds fired compared to blanks or other non-lethal training ammunition
  • Prevent wear and tear and extend the life of service weapons by using a dedicated training system

The 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Georgia, the 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and 5th Special Forces Group at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, have all evaluated the system. 

The idea is that once the Army’s Special Operations Command comes onboard with the system, other conventional units will follow suit. This is why UNIT4 is currently selling the system for $500, although its actual price is $1,000. The price in January is slated to rise to $750 per system. Its compressed air ammo costs just 30 cents per round.

Filterer added that some of the A-Teams that tested the systems asked for their unit to purchase 12 pieces, one for each man on the ODA.

Check out below the company’s video on the training system: