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Unity Tactical FAST Mount

As more and more people realize that the phrase “there is nothing new under the sun” also applies to shooting techniques, tactics, and equipment, presenting yourself as one of the ‘early adopters’ of one of these things has become the new “in vogue” thing to do. “No, I’m not just jumping on the 2011 bandwagon, I was shooting an STI edge in USPSA years ago.” “I was using LPVOs on carbines back when the only option was a Burris 2-7.” “When I started using red dots on pistols, we were still walking 10 miles to school in the snow all year, and it was uphill both ways.” While everyone continues to argue about how they started using high mounts “before it was cool”, I will just continue to appreciate and take advantage of new innovation in optic attachment; namely, the Unity Tactical FAST mount. For anyone who isn’t aware of the more technical specs of the mount, allow me to introduce you to the internet. A quick rundown of the features follows anyway:

1-2.26” red dot mount (approx. .5” higher than a standard lower 1/3rd mount)
2-integrated and adjustable front and rear sights
3-optional QD lever ($34 MSRP)
4-companion magnifier mount with unique “swing-to-center” mechanism

While early uses of high optic mounts were intended for use with gas masks, passive night vision aiming, and to clear IR lasers mounted at 12 o’clock on rifle forends, many shooters (like myself) have found these high mounts to be of benefit without those mission requirements. For example, the high mounts allow for a more “head’s up” shooting position. In this article, I will overview several of the questions you might have about high mounts in general, and the FAST mount in particular.

Iron Sight Options

One of the very unique features of the FAST mount is not readily apparent from a profile shot of the mount. Inside the mount is a set of iron sights that combined are both windage and elevation adjustable. Just typing this out, I can almost see the comments now. “Nate, even attempting to use those sights inside the mount is just ridiculous, the sight radius must make shooting with any degree of accuracy impossible,” types somebody on the internet, before adjusting the Ruger LCP he is carrying in his front pocket. Well, I decided to find out. I did a series of accuracy tests in several combinations. I hope this is valuable for many of you, and should be applicable to a variety of different rifle set-ups out there. Because both the rear and front sights are removable, I will be shooting in the following configurations.

1: front and rear FAST mount sights
2: front FAST mount sight and traditional rear sight
3: Traditional front sight and FAST rear sight

I will note that it is possible to use traditional fixed or folding sights through the FAST mount if you remove both front and rear sight from the mount. Because the accuracy/usability is no different from using your irons as normal, I will not be doing any testing in that configuration. I do make this note for those who might be issued a rifle with a fixed front sight post, or have fixed irons as mandated by policy. The FAST mount absolutely works in conjunction with fixed or folding iron sights similar to the KAC Skyscraper mount.

1: front and rear FAST mount sights

There is no such thing as free lunch, and I found that to be the case using the integrated FAST mount sights. After a few reps bringing the gun on target, the sights lined up quite easily, and I found this set-up to be completely workable on closer-range targets (<50 yards). The other side of the coin was a measurable decrease in my precision. Shooting for groups at only 25 yards, I personally was only able to manage a 2.5” group from the seated position. Contrast that with a consistent 1” groups with my more traditional back-up iron sights at the same distance (MBUS pro). While I am certain better shooters than me could eek out better groups, I would not call the integrated sights equal in performance to a standard set of iron sights, and I would not expect them to be.

2: Front FAST mount sight and traditional rear sight.

While on the surface this combination might not make a lot of sense, if your particular set-up leaves no space for a front sight, taking advantage of the rear sight can more than double your sight radius, and I found that slight increase certainly tightened my groups up.  While I did not do extensive accuracy testing at further distances, I found the seemingly marginal increase in sight radius turned a struggling accuracy experience into a much more capable sighting system.  While on the surface this set-up looks a little funny, many people using an IR laser system on a rifle, especially with a short forend, often forgo iron sights as rail space is at a premium.  The space behind the red dot on the upper receiver, however, is still open and available.  For anyone in this particular situation, I recommend giving this set-up a try.

3: Traditional front sight and FAST rear sight

For those with the rail real estate up front, as well as wanting the higher mount, this particular combination is very effective. Group sizes shrunk down nearly to traditional iron sight sizes. I even shot a bit without the rear aperture installed at all-only using the “ghost ring” left in its place, and found it to still be up to standard accuracy-wise when compared to the other combinations.  If you have the space for a front sight, and want greater accuracy potential should your red dot go down, this is the way.

You might be thinking at this point, “who really cares about slight variations in accuracy, these sights are meant to be a quick-and-dirty back ups for shooting up close.” Well, I did some work on that as well. I set up two basic target arrays, and shot them with both the FAST sights, and with a traditional 1X optic.

My first set-up was a 10” steel target at 50 yards, with two paper targets, each 45 degrees off of center, at 10 and 25 yards respectively. I got a single hit on the 50 yard plate, then shot each paper target twice. My times with a 1x optic were 4.73 and 3.75. Shooting the same drill with traditional irons I was able to shoot it in 4.31 and 4.39. Finally with the FAST back-up sights I managed a 4.81.
I then removed the steel plate from the equation, and shot a transition drill with the remaining paper targets; three shots to the 25 yard paper, 2 shots to the 10 yard paper, then finished with one final shot back on the 25. Once again the 1x optic edged out the standard irons and FAST irons. Times for each were 4.05, 4.13, and 4.49 respectively. Certainly there were only minor differences in times, and that would be expected as the targets get closer, and thus easier to hit.  Even with irons only a couple inches apart, it turns out it is possible to hit target even if you aren’t a computer.  In summary it ended up working out pretty much like it did in Beggar’s Canyon back home.

A couple final thoughts after using this mount for some time.

1-a little bit goes a long way when it comes to adjusting the iron sights. If you are used to spinning the dials on a red dot when doing an initial sight-in, restrain yourself!

2-a tip for anyone who might consider themselves “high mount curious;” a .5” picatinny riser, in conjunction with a 1/3 co-witness mount that you might already have, will give you a very good idea if the FAST mount is for you without the total financial commitment of the mount.

As a conclusion, I have to say I am very happy with the FAST mount, and consider it money very well spent. I have a realistic expectation of what the integrated back-up iron sights will do for me, and I also realize they are just that: back-ups. I have been using high mounts for some time on AR-style rifles, and I consider this another refinement of a concept that has been around for longer than I’ve even been alive. When you consider the price includes a back-up sighting system that requires no additional real estate on your rifle, it starts to look like an even better value.

Nate Osborne
Range Manager
Nathan Osborne began a serious study of shooting in 2012 when taking the "Citizens use of Deadly Force" class with Massad Ayoob. Being able to drink from the fire-hose in class started a desire to learn as much as possible, and hopefully be a source of quality information to others. In addition to attending and working as staff with the Massad Ayoob Group, Nate has taken classes with John Chapman, Earnest Langdon, Chris Costa, and others, and will never be able to go to classes from every instructor on his 'to attend' list. He is also a Glock and S&W M&P Armorer.

Nate currently manages a gun range in Northern Utah while finishing a master's degree, and running a weekly practical pistol match.

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