This article is absolutely not the type of review where I describe in detail all the attributes of the Unity Tactical FAST Micro Mount. There are better and more thorough reviews by more experienced people. The most comprehensive review I’ve seen is by Sage Dynamics:
There are many and varied excellent points in that video and if you watch one primer, make it Sage’s.
In fact, I didn’t intend to write anything about the mount until Covid lockdown ended and I’d had a few games with it. However, in reality you don’t need that level of reflection to know that this mount is absolutely stellar – it’s blindingly obvious from first use. In addition, one thing lockdown and this spell of good weather has given me, is the opportunity to shoot paper targets outdoors on a frequent basis.
Wait! What The Hell Is A High Mount Doing On An L119A2 Clone?
While no one who values their reputation over time would ever say something as divisive as “uKsF d0nT uSe…” without caveats, they’ll never have me back judging clone competitions if I don’t make it clear from the outset that the FAST mount is not currently known to be clone correct for the UKSF L119A2.
However, for this review the platform upon which the mount resides is irrelevant, because it bestows the same capabilities on any AR-style rifle. And it’s the ergonomic side of those capabilities that I want to set out, because buying the mount was a cathartic leap of faith which changed my mind about how an AR-form factor should be set up.
1.93 Versus 2.26
Some time ago, I made the grave error of assuming a 2.26” centre line optic mount would make no difference to me whatsoever. That was based on my use of a 1.93” height mount. Now, while 1.93” is the sweet spot for some, for me it wasn’t massively different to lower third.
So, the first point I want to make is that ergonomically, 2.26” is significantly different to 1.93”.
You Don’t Need NODs Or A Gas Mask To Benefit From 2.26
The second point is that choosing a 2.26” optic mount doesn’t just facilitate passive aiming with NODs (switching the optic reticule to IR at night, rather than mincing about with an IR laser which is highly visible to OPFOR also using NODs). Nor does a 2.26” optic mount only allow easier aiming while wearing a gas mask.
While both of these advantages are well advertised elements of the Unity FAST package, they stem from situations that most of us don’t find ourselves in.
In actual fact, to leverage what I see as the primary and widespread advantage of a 2.26” optic mount, I say that you needn’t own NODs or a gas mask at all.
I want to be really clear on this because I think it’s key. I know a lot of people who have dismissed the Unity FAST Micro Mount because “Useful for NODs” has for them translated as “not useful for the majority.” That’s regrettable because a 2.26” optic mount is, first and foremost, useful in the prevailing conditions most people find themselves aiming a gun in; i.e. daylight.
And here’s why…
The Ergonomic Quantum Leap
More and more, the accessories I find myself adding to my Systema PTW AEG are based on a drive for improved ergonomics. Musculoskeletally, I’m falling apart!
Regular readers will know that not so long ago I sang the praises of the Magpul MOE K2 grip with its more ergonomic, upright angle. I think I would go so far as to say that the Unity FAST Micro Mount is an even bigger ergonomic win.
What tipped me over the edge into buying the mount was this video by DWAI, at approximately 6:04 on the timestamp:
It made me realise that when I’m using a lower third co-witness mount, I’m peering past the optic with my head down and my eyes rolled up almost into my skull. Not only that, but my neck is craned over and my upper back is curved – which then puts pressure on my lower back, to support the contortions (I can literally feel the pull when I switch back to lower third). My arms and shoulders, too, feel strained.
In fact, as I found later from examining comparison pics of me shooting, bio-mechanically I was a mess. With a raft of chronic musculoskeletal issues and headaches (recently tracked down to my neck), bad posture inculcated by a lower third co-witness mount really is not going to help. All this – stuff I’d been putting up with for years – was highlighted by the arrival of the new mount, and it’s amazing how a seemingly small change can have profound effects.
Heads Up Shooting
The very first thing I noticed when using the FAST Micro Mount was the heads up aiming posture. We’ve all heard about heads up shooting and know what it means in theory, but the experience took me by surprise. It’s not just about the increased situational awareness of holding your head in the way nature intended – upright and level. It’s about the way I simply was not tensed-up. Until that watershed moment, I hadn’t noticed how much tension there was in my body when adopting a ‘correct’ shooting posture.
On the other hand, shooting with the FAST Micro Mount is relaxed, natural and…pleasant. The situational awareness is (like NODs or gas mask use) a huge, huge bonus.
1. Lower Third – Tense
We’re used to the cheek weld and the pose looks purposeful, but it isn’t natural. The neck is bent low in line with the red dot – with eyes looking up, relative to an unnatural head angle. Clearly the cheek is pressing hard on the stock. Note also how the strong shoulder is pushed forward. Reverting to lower third for this pic after five days of 2.26 use, I could feel my lower back twinge. Aside from the ergonomic compromise, it’s evident that situational awareness could be better.
2. Unity Tactical FAST Micro Mount – Relaxed
Neck position is significantly more natural in the the heads up setting. Shoulder position, too, is more natural. Evidently, situational awareness is much improved and the ‘chin weld’ we’ve all heard about is more ‘lower cheek’. It’s easily repeatable and doesn’t rely on the cheek being pushed down hard on the stock.
So What’s the Downside?
I must admit that I do like shooting prone and that’s a bit more challenging with the FAST mount. Secondly, height over bore is (obviously) high. This affects POI when the user is very close to a target. It can also affect the user’s perception of where their barrel is relative to obstacles.
However, this is the stuff that you simply adapt to or get used to over time. It didn’t even take a bag of ammo before it became second nature to me.
Other Ergonomic Changes
With such a big change in ergonomics, I reflected upon other weapon manipulation aspects such as: whether to run a front grip; what stock to use; how far out the stock needed to be; etc. You can’t add a paradigm shifting component like the FAST Micro Mount without checking if further optimisation has been enabled by it.
Stock length was checked first, but was found to be correct. It was originally set using the crook of arm method, which is a common yardstick used to derive extension. To learn more, check out Ronin Tactics’ video starting at 1:19 – Tu Lam is one of the method’s many professional proponents.
I tried a few different stocks. I stuck with the Magpul CTR as it’s pretty low bulk compared with the ACS – although the ACS provided a more familiar weld. And don’t be put off by changing from cheek weld to chin weld. It sounds inferior, but it’s merely incidental – although it does help while wearing bulky earpro.
Lastly – and this took me by surprise – I added the clone correct Manta suppressor cover for looks, and found that the additional mass up front worked well.
How Do You Know If A 2.26” Optic Centreline Mount Will Work For You?
I wish I’d known this before I took the gamble in buying the mount, but Unity Tactical provides a downloadable file. This allows a prospective buyer to gauge the FAST Micro Mount’s usefulness to them, by building a 1:1 scale mock up.
Is the reader persuaded that the Unity FAST Micro Mount absolutely is not niche, and that one doesn’t need NODs or a gas mask to capitalise on its use?
I hope so.
There will be those out there nodding and saying, “Yep, we already knew this.” For instance, I know plenty of ACOG/RDS users and those with old skool Aimpoints on 2.6” high carry handles, who have been heads up shooting for years. And that’s not to mention the new generation of Tan_Rifle-inspired tanodised CAG HK416D clone builders, with their heads up style EOtechs and Wilcox riser combos.
Then there are the real guys at the sharp end, past and present:
But there will also be those – just like me – who perhaps hadn’t given enough weight to the advantages of the Unity FAST Micro Mount. If you’re on the edge of taking that leap, all I can say is that I’m glad I did it.
In these times of lockdown in the UK, I’m really lucky to have a long enough garden to get good use out of the mount – not to mention an understanding wife. Since the mount arrived I’ve enjoyed target practice so much more, and my joints and tendons have thanked me for switching to 2.26″.
Needless to say I’ll be writing a more detailed product review, with longer term feedback, in the foreseeable future.
I purchased my Unity Tactical FAST Micro Mount from Tactical Kit
Check out my review of Unity Tactical’s FAST FTC magnifier mount