Rangers, Green Berets Showing Interest in New Nonlethal M4 Carbine, Firm Says

An Army Green Beret evaluates the Unit Solution’s Unit4.
A forrmer Army Green Beret with 3rd Special Forces Group evaluates the Unit Solution’s Unit4, non-lethal M4-carbine-like training tool at a private range in North Carolina in July. (Photo: Unit Solutions)

A California-based company has introduced a nonlethal M4 carbine-style training tool that is catching the interest of elite door-kickers in Army Special Operations Command.

Unit Solutions Inc.'s Unit4 is a standalone M4 look-alike system that uses carbon dioxide to fire 8mm nonlethal projectiles, thus making it a "non-weapon" by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms standards, Joe Fitterer, a field service representative of Unit Solutions, told Military.com.

Other nonlethal training systems on the market rely on primer-fired ammunition and require designated training areas, said Fitterer, a former Green Beret with 3rd Special Forces Group.

"You are no longer [required] to go to the range for training," he said. "You can train off-range."

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The Unit4 system is designed for close-range, force-on-force tactical training. It can fire on semiautomatic and fully-automatic, launching paintball-style and non-marking projectiles at 300 to 350 feet per second, with a maximum range of about 35 meters, Fitterer said.

"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 said.

"We are certified by [National Technical Systems] to not break skin or quarter-inch glass outside of five feet."

The 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Georgia just purchased 30 of the systems. And two other SF units, 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and 5th Special Forces Group at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, have evaluated the system, Fitterer said.

Military.com reached out to Army Special Operations Command to confirm the Ranger Regiment's purchase but did not receive an immediate response.

"We are basically trying to get it in the door of Special Operations Command," Fitterer said, adding that the company will work with any service that is interested.

"Right now, we are so new that we wanted to get into special operations -- with the idea that if Green Berets and Rangers have it, other units are going to want to get it."

The Unit4 project actually started in 2011 and is now in its third-generation model, Fitterer said.

"It has taken a long time, but if you don't have the right product to introduce, then you are not going to get a second chance," he said.

Unit Solutions teamed up with weapons manufacturer Lewis Machine & Tool Co. to make the Unit4 and is currently selling it for $500 a system, Fitterer said.

"It costs $1,000 for them to make it; we sell it for $500 right now, because we feel that people will like it and use it enough they will continually buy ammo for it," he said.

Beginning in January, the unit price is set to go up to $750, Fitterer said, adding that ammunition is about 30 cents a round.

Currently, there is no set number of systems being marketed together as units assess how to use the system to complement their training, Fitterer said.

"We have had some individual [operational detachment alpha teams] that want to buy 12, one for each man on their ODA," he said.

"Some people think it is kind of a niche product and other people, you can tell that the gears start working in their brain, and they think of all the different training avenues they can take with this system."

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to correct the organization certifying the training system.

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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