Every so often, you see something that turns your opinion on a subject upside-down. An idea that’s so simple and yet so revolutionary that it makes you question your position.
I’ve always thought of magnifiers as ugly, bulky lumps that when they’re stowed, need to be plaved somewhere safe (twist mounts) or end up clumsily hanging off the side of your rifle (flip to side).
However, with the introduction of Unity Tactical’s FAST Mount series, many of the negatives appear to have been resolved and after purchasing the Unity Tactical FAST Micro Mount (reviewed here), I became more receptive to the idea of adding a magnifier to my GBBR.
As mentioned previously, my relationship with Unity Tactical is non-existent and my relationship with Tactical Kit (where this was purchased) is that occasionally I’ll be lent or given something to review. However, this specific mount was paid for by myself and as such, I’m under no obligation to review it, positively or otherwise.
The Unity Tactical FAST FTC mount system uses a novel “Flip To Centre” stowed/deployed mechanism, hence… FTC.
The majority of the mount is made from the same 7075-T6 Aluminium as the Red Dot FAST Mount, which is then type III hardcoat anodised in Black or FDE. As before, the colour can vary, but it’s usually within an acceptable range. If your biggest concern is matching the colour of a mount, then FDE probably isn’t for you.
A QD throw-lever type allows you to attach this to a 20mm Picatinny rail such as found on a flat top AR. The QD throw lever (produced by American Defence Manufacturing) is also adjustable for off-spec rails. In use, it’s an excellent mount and I can’t think of a better option.
The QD throw-lever allowing the end user to choose between Deployed (magnifier up), stowed (magnifier down) or removed (literally off the weapon).
Each option is available to the user without need for tools, it also has the benefit of keeping the rail space clear when removed.
Certainly when using Head Mounted Night Vision Devices (HMNVDs) it makes sense to keep the space behind a Red Dot Sight 100% clear, so it’s nice to see the mount offer this benefit.
The FTC mount is designed to be used in a single direction, by this I mean that the mount can only be installed in one direction, with it’s integral guard making it impossible to fit the other way around.
However, this isn’t an issue. Because of the ambidextrous nature of the mount, it’s be irrelevant which way it’s mounted. There is a slight offset to the left when the magnifier is stowed, but it’s minute in comparison to the competition.
The top half of the mount is affixed to the bottom via a cantilever type design, a single pivot point joins the two and a “force to overcome” type locking system provides a solid “stowed” and “deployed” position for the magnifier arm.
The magnifier is held within a closed loop cradle, two Torx bolts providing the friction lock to keep it firmly in place. The nature of a closed loop means that certain magnifiers may not fit, so be aware of this before choosing your magnifier. Aimpoint magnifiers are a drop in fit (a good friend has had no issues with his), but I certainly had to work harder than I anticipated to install my Primary Arms magnifier.
Whilst there is a very small amount of wiggle within in the cantilever arm, I’ve been assured that this is a normal symptom of magnifier mounts. It’s something that initially irked me, but in all honesty, there’s zero impact on the point of aim and in normal use, it isn’t even perceptible.
Using this magnifier has been somewhat of an turning point in my thoughts on magnifiers in general, I’ve gone from agnostic to true believer. The simplicity of the design is what makes this mount so unique, a higher aiming position of 2.26” keeps your head in a natural place and with the “force to overcome” locking system, there’s no fiddly buttons or levers to worry about. You’re able to use gross motor skills to flip between stowed and deployed, the actual magnifier itself becoming the handle for the mechanism.
Unity Tactical make an EOTech specific sight riser and FTC Mount, should holographic sights be your preferred option. Due to the nature of EOTech design, they’re significantly different in appearance, but contain much the same benefit as found with this one.
So, does it have a downside? Well… It’s not cheap, that’s for sure. For this mount to work at its best,you need to invest in FAST mounts for both your magnifier and red dot sight, which can cost more than some sights cost alone. I’m sure you could make up your own, cheaper 2.26” height red dot mount but the Unity Tactical FAST is as good as it gets, so if the cost isn’t a barrier, why bother?
The compatibility with certain magnifiers is also worth considering, whilst the majority of users will be using Aimpoint or EOTech manufactured magnifiers, those using Holosun or Primary Arms magnifiers might struggle to find a compatible model. For those using Vortex… Well, I’m afraid there simply isn’t a compatible option as of yet.
My personal advice? On a lower budget I’d go for one of the cheaper options such as their 3XMAG-1 Magnifier, otherwise… one of the more expensive Aimpoint models would work well. The Primary Arms magnifier I’ve chosen is a complete bastard to fit, I’ll seriously warn people from following my footsteps without knowing what they’re getting themselves into.
So as always, the big question is: Can I recommend it to a friend?
The answer is an absolute yes. It’s not within everyone’s budget, but if you’re already invested with Unity’s FAST Micro Mount or EOTech riser system, adding this is a no-brainer.
From it’s ease of use to it’s sheer ability, I’d say that this is almost a magnifier mount for those who’ve tried (and hated) other magnifier mounting options without finding a suitable option.A mounting system so different, you absolutely need to try it out before passing judgment.
This mount, along with Unity Tactical’s range is available within the U.K. and EU from Tactical Kit. They also offer worldwide shipping should you be further afield.