The Fox Unit X1 – A Non Semi Auto AR

Do you live in one of those states where it feels like the Constitution is a little less limited? You know states like California where your rights to own firearms don’t seem to matter to the tyrants in charge? Well, if so, we might have a way to help, well not us, and certainly not me, but a company called Fox Unit. FU is short for Fox Unit, and well, I guess you can figure out what else it’s short for. The Fox Unit X1 is a non-semi-auto AR. That’s a lot like an AR.

The Fox Unit X1 utilizes a proprietary lower receiver that triggers the bolt to lock open after every shot. This renders the weapon a bolt action design by law. You can send the bolt home and feed the next round. It’s not a traditional bolt action by any means, but it’s fast, so damn fast. Much faster than any other bolt action on the market. As a bolt action, it can be sold in California with removable magazines, flash suppressors, and all the normal features you’d find prohibited by the state.

As a lower, you can use whatever upper and almost any caliber you want. It needs to work with the multical lower, so 5.56, 300 Blackout, so on, and so forth. If you shoot AR-15s, you know what exactly I mean. All those big, major calibers will work with the Fox Unit X1 and the integrated bolt action system.

Inside the Fox Unit X1

The Fox Unit X1 uses what Fox Unit calls the rapid bolt spring-assisted non-semi automatic system. This integrates a Magpul BAD Lever into the system itself. After a shot is fired, the bolt locks to the rear, and the shooter can send it home rapidly with the BAD Lever. This allows for a very rapid rate of fire for a bolt action design.

The Fox Unit and the BAD lever make a rapid-fire bolt action rifle.
The Fox Unit and the BAD lever make a rapid-fire bolt action rifle.

If you want to go faster, that’s completely possible. Hold down the bolt release with your off-hand, and the bolt drops as soon as it locks to the rear. It’s essentially semi-automatic, but not really. Well, not technically. The gun’s still a bolt action by law and by design. The Fox Unit X1 allows you to have a ban-free rifle with all the standard features and without all the drama.

At the Range

A giant sign proclaiming the “World’s Only Non-semi-automatic AR” caught my eye. I meandered, damn near just wandered into their booth. My curiosity peaked, and I had to know more. I’ve seen bolt-action AR-15s. I’ve seen pump action AR-15s. It’s debatable if these weapons can really be considered AR-15s. They certainly require their fair share of proprietary parts, upper receivers, and similar parts.

However, the Fox Unit X1 allows you to use all your standard parts and pieces outside of the proprietary lower receiver. You can drop your upper of choice and make it a rifle, pistol, or whatever you desire. The guys at Fox Unit were nice enough to let me run the Fox Unit X1 more than once.

Fox Unit X1, non-semi-auto AR
Ever want a non-semi-auto AR? Well, it’s an option!

I ran it using the BAD lever and holding the bolt release button. You can go pretty dang fast with just the BAD lever. You can go pretty damn fast, faster than any bolt action rifle, and hell, faster than any straight-pull bolt action. What’s interesting is that the recoil impulse is a bit different than a standard AR, dare I say.

It’s lighter since the bolt locks to the rear. It doesn’t dive forward since the bolt locks to the rear. It’s not something that matters without a decently powered optic at a bit longer of a range. However, on range day, I had an optic and tiny little targets, so I got to experience the power of the unique impulse. It barely moves the scope reticle, and the gun stays on target.

Going Fast

Hit the bolt, and boom, your follow-up shot is ready. The trigger is rather impressive and delivers a solid experience, especially if you’re going for precision over speed. Top it with a good optic, and you’ll be pretty damn rock solid.

Now, if you want to go fast, just hold that button. I couldn’t pull the trigger fast enough to beat it. It’s just as fast as a semi-auto…without being a semi-auto. I scored shot after shot on target and had zero accuracy issues with the Fox Unit X1.

The Fox Unit is a 50 state-friendly lower.
The Fox Unit is a 50-state-friendly lower.

That being said, I had the gun mounted on a big ole tripod, and I was wrapping my hands around the magwell to reach the bolt release. The shooting stance was straight out of 2001’s CQB tactics. If I had to build an AR around being compliant and using the Fox Unit X1 for home defense or a similar task, I’d work on building the rifle to be very light in the front.

A short handguard and pencil-thin barrel or an AR pistol platform would work perfectly. That way, the magwell grip wouldn’t affect control overall. It’s not perfect, but if I wanted to avoid the rather silly gun laws in some states, this is just one more solution to the problem.

bolt-action AR-15
The Fox unit offers you a fast-firing, bolt-action AR-15.

It works and works well to simulate semi-auto fire. This allows you to have a full-featured AR that’s plenty capable of home defense and a rapid rate of fire that’s chock full of all the features you want in your AR platform.

Price and Pomp

The Fox Unit X1 promises to provide a complete lower for about 300 bucks. You’ll need your own receiver extension, buffer, buffer spring, and stock or brace to complete the setup. The Fox Unit X1 plans to start shipping in the second quarter of 2022.

While this is a niche AR platform, I can see the value for those of us behind enemy lines, so to speak. The rather ingenious solution allows Fox Unit to say FU to gun laws that prohibit the rights of our citizens. Sure, a semi-auto option might be better, but this is the closest you can get in many jurisdictions without losing complete AR parts compatibility. The Fox Unit X1 delivers a simple option contained in the lower receiver of America’s favorite rifle.

Send a big FU to tyrannical gun laws with the Fox Unit X1.

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine Gunner and a lifelong firearms enthusiast. Now that his days of working a 240B like Charlie Parker on the sax are over he's a regular guy who likes to shoot, write, and find ways to combine the two. He holds an NRA certification as a Basic Pistol Instructor and is probably most likely the world's Okayest firearm instructor. He is a simplicisist when it comes to talking about himself in the 3rd person and a self-professed tactical hipster. Hit him up on Instagram, @travis.l.pike, with story ideas.

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