UNIT Solutions is revolutionizing the tactical training industry with the introduction of its UNIT4, an M4 platform training rifle for use in military and law enforcement training. While the UNIT4 offers advantages in safety, price and accessibility, one of the biggest benefits to using the platform relates to health. Training with the lead-free and 100-percent biodegradable UNIT4 rounds can have huge health benefits for military professionals, law enforcement professionals and the environment.
In recent years, several articles have detailed the dangers that lead exposure can have for our military and law enforcement professionals, particularly as they train at indoor shooting ranges or training facilities. As the Seattle Times detailed in its 2014 investigative report, the combination of training with lead-based ammunition, poor ventilation at facilities and inattention to cleanliness can cause lead poisoning for users and in some instances, even their families. Shooters who leave the range can bring home particles or lead dust on their clothing, hair, shoes or other belongings, which can lead to detrimental health effects for those exposed.
While the most commonly used live ammunition contains lead, several training systems also feature ammunition that contains lead either within the cartridge, as a propellant or both. Some training systems providers do offer lead-free versions of their ammunition, but typically at a premium cost. In comparison, all marking and non-marking rounds developed for use in the UNIT4 are lead-free, allowing users to train indoors without risk of lead exposure. As a result, in force-on-force or CQB scenarios, users can replace blank rounds or training rounds that contain lead with the UNIT4 rounds to diminish health risks.
Beyond the reduced lead exposure risks, the UNIT4 also features rounds that are more environmentally friendly than its competitors. The platform shoots 8mm marking and non-marking rounds that are 100% biodegradable, allowing police and military to train in outdoor settings without concern for polluting the environment. Because the UNIT4 does not eject a brass shell, soldiers are not required to walk the range at the conclusion of training to retrieve all of the brass that could be harmful to the wildlife in the surrounding areas (see Brass Shell Casing Material Safety Data Sheet linked at bottom of article). In some areas, such as with the red cockaded woodpecker at Fort Benning, training occurs near the natural habitat of endangered species. Exposed brass shell casings, which tarnish over time, can be poisonous when the wildlife are exposed to them, while brass shell casings left in aquatic settings can damage water quality and wildlife. Removing brass from force-on-force and CQB training will not only keep the wildlife safe, but will also save soldiers considerable time that can be used for additional training with the UNIT4.
Across nearly every industry serious strides have been made over the past few decades to reduce the negative impact humans are having on the environment. In the future, I expect that trend to continue as new legislation and social pressures continue to promote eco-friendly policies and products. The UNIT4 offers a training platform today that was designed with current and future environmental considerations in mind.