L119A1

MARUI NGRS L119A1/A2 HYBRID

Introduction

As a follow up to my first write up on the prototype L119A2 rail from Angry Gun/RedWolf UK, I thought I would do a piece on how my build with it has developed subsequent to the article, and capture the changes to the Marui NGRS Diemaco in general since it was featured on the much missed Reptile House Blog.

I ran my L119 with two uppers, one CQB 10in variant and another 16in SFW variant. Both these uppers and the lower were very much setup as a modern iteration of the L119.

When I received the L119A2 rail I decided to set it up as an A2 upper on an A1 lower in a ‘hybrid’ setup. It very much represents the successor to my CQB upper in terms of setup, and retains many of the same ergonomic and aesthetic approaches, while both utilising the benefits of the A2 features and reflecting referenced A2 setups and equipment.

NGRS L119A2 4

My primary weapon setups since I started playing airsoft almost 7 years ago have been the L85A2, MP5 and L119A1; None of those platforms is distinguished by being at the current forefront of small arms innovation. While my interest in building weapons to suit impression kits has restricted me from exploring too far, I have been somewhat envious of the Geiselle railed HK416s and Block II M4A1s being used by others into American impressions. A L119A2 being adopted by UKSF, and now being buildable in airsoft form, has at last let me run a setup that is approaching being modern.

Accessory Selection

Both when at milsim/realsim events and skirmishes, I always look to eliminate any excess kit which can encumber movement, interfere with slinging the rifle or snag, so my kit choices are always geared toward both keeping a low profile with the rifle and allowing parts to be removed or altered as quickly as possible.  It is important to be able to do this while still retaining the functionality required of the system, and staying true to reference material for the impression.  As mentioned before, my setups are based on using kit seen in various pictures, or occasionally using brands known to be used, I rarely copy a specific picture exactly, but rather pick and choose from within the reference material to create solutions which work for me.  Much as the real guys will put together individual gear setups from within the kit which is issued to them or can be acquired relatively easily.

The first step therefore was to examine what UKSF correct options would let me run a much slicker setup than that available on my A1s. The first consideration here was the optic. The referenced optics on A2s are a Trijicon TA01ECOS ACOG, an Aimpoint Comp M4 (on standard or GG&G mount) or a Aimpoint Micro T1 (on a GG&G mount). The T1 was a standout choice, it is small and light, which contributed to the setup I was trying to achieve, and it was broadly distinct from an A1 setup, since T1s on L119A1s are much rarer than ACOGs or M4s. Furthermore the real GG&G mount was accessible and replica T1s perform much better and are much more usable for my intended purpose than replica ACOGs.

NGRS L119A2 1

There were few other decisions setup wise. I decided on a Surefire FH556-216A as opposed to the SOCOM flash hider since I prefer the look, while the Element LA-5B is a stock choice for any modern British spec Diemaco. The AFG is well pictured with the real guys, and is also my favourite foregrip, so that was my choice at the front; I went for the older AFG1 variant since I prefer the ‘wings’ on the side and slightly wider profile. A Magpul RSA-QD ensured the A2 upper could interface with the same sling as my A1 uppers, or indeed forego a sling if needed.

Finally the flashlight is perhaps the largest expense beside the weapon, assuming you aren’t using real optics. Based on reference pictures, the Surefire M620V is the salient choice. You could probably get away with the dependable M600 Scoutlight, although it is abit obsolete, it is a much more accessible choice if going for real weaponlights. I have had enough replica flashlights fail that I was loath to not go real, however I really wanted to run a M620V. The chunky aesthetic, lack of a clunky bolt like on the M600, and QD feature all attracted me. To this end I went for a Night Evolution M620V, which seemed a good unit, although the lack of realistic trades annoyed the perfectionist in me, so it got painted immediately.

NGRS L119A2 2

In a very lucky break however, in the space of a week from receiving the replica, I noticed a real M620V head on sale for a very, very good price. Additionally I knew another member of E27 was looking to shift a M620V body, and he very kindly threw in the port for a tail switch. With a Surefire tailswitch scavenged from my bits box, I had a real, working M620 for about £100. I couldn’t find a real mount for it, but I bought a repro mount from a fellow Diemaco builder, and promptly replaced the replica M620V with a real one. Very lucky I grant you, but it does go to show how a combination of patience, research and keeping your eyes peeled can sometimes combine with some good fortune to let you really get the most for your money with builds.

Setup

When seen next to the A1 uppers, the A2 will hopefully stand out as a development from them, but also display the similarities in ethos which have been used and tested on the other setups. The A2 most vitally allows a much sleeker setup, the rearward side rails are now slick, and you only have rail where needed, while the much longer free floating rail allows the hand hold to move much further forward and increase stability and decrease the congestion evident in A1 builds with a lot of attachments. It really does work a lot better than the A1, and the silhouette is striking and distinct, which is pleasing for those not wanting UKSF kits to get too generic – while much of the gear choices look rather American nowadays, the rifle retains a rather unique look.

NGRS L119A2 3

This sleekness and the improved ergonomics are the key benefit to the L119A2 over the A1 in airsoft terms. For those hoping the setup will be lighter, it is unlikely to be the case. My L119A2 upper setup here is in fact heavier than the L119A1CQB, at 1798g to 1743g: This includes the fact the A1 has an Eotech 552 and MATech BUIS, while the A2 only has a T1. Without accessories the A2 upper is 170g heavier – That isn’t much at all, it certainly isn’t a heavy rifle and it is well balanced, but it dispels the notion that the sleeker setup will be lighter.

NGRS L119A2 1

I have two further Angry Gun A2 rails in the pre-order, and when they arrive both will be going on full L119A2 builds, rather than the hybrid approach here. These will be much more involved builds and take a great deal longer to get right, however so this setup allows me to get started right away.  I haven’t undertaken any receiver modifications yet to make the receiver itself more accurate, although that is certainkly on the cards in the future, I am considering various options on that front.

I still have one more article planned to write on the Angry Gun L119A2 rail, this one is more of an indulgence detailing my personal build, the final one will be somewhat more technical and give greater detail about the product. I will try and get it out before the pre-orders arrive around end September 2017.

Parts lists below, * denotes replica:

L119A1 Lower:

  • Marui NGRS CQB-R
  • Magpul ASAP Sling Plate (Modded to fit)
  • Laylax Next Gen Recoil Body ( Custom engraved Diemaco trades and cerakoted)
  • G&P Locking Pin
  • Magpul BAD Lever
  • G&P Storm Grip
  • Magpul PTS Enhanced Trigger Guard
  • Blue Force Gear QD Sling Loop
  • Blue Force Gear Vickers 2-2-1 Padded Sling
  • Magpul EMag (Converted with Marui NGRS Internals) or Magpul PTS PMags for Marui NGRS

L119A1 10in Upper:

  • Tokyo Marui NGRS Upper*
  • Tokyo Marui NGRS Front Sight (Modded to remove bayonet lug)*
  • Pro Arms 10in L119 Barrel (Modded for KAC RAS)*
  • Replica Surefire FH556-216A Flash Hider (Modded to accept Angry Gun Suppressor)*
  • Angry Gun SF556 SOCOM Suppressor (Modded to fit FH556-216A Flash Hider)
  • Knights Armament Company RAS
  • AR15 Front Cap (Without M203 cut outs)
  • G&P Barrel Nut/Delta Ring*
  • Magpul RSA-QD
  • Magpul AFG1
  • Magpul Enhanced XTM Rail Covers
  • Element LA-5 (Custom sticker set) *
  • Surefire Scoutlight with KL4 Head (Tactical Optician Lens Protector)
  • Haley Strategic Thorntail Scoutlight Mount (Modded to raise flashlight in line with LA-5)
  • Eotech 552 Holographic Sight and MATech BUIS or Diemaco DIS Iron Sight

L119A2 10.5in Upper:

  • Angry Gun Prototype L119A2 rail*
  • Toyko Marui NGRS Upper Receiver*
  • Toyko Marui NGRS CQB Outer Barrel*
  • Toyko Marui NGRS Barrel Base*
  • GG&G Accucam Aimpoint T1 Mount
  • Nuprol Aimpoint T1 Replica*
  • Element LA-5 with custom sticker set*
  • PTS Ergo Ladder rail covers*
  • Magpul AFG1
  • Magpul RSA-QD
  • Replica Low Profile Gas Block (modded)*
  • Replica Surefire FH556-216A Flash Hider*
  • Surefire M620V (Replica mount)

L119A1 16in Upper:

  • Tokyo Marui NGRS Upper*
  • Army Code Diemaco Front Sight*
  • Pro Arms L119 Barrel Extension*
  • Marui NGRS Outer Barrel (Modded to reduce to 10in)*
  • Laylax Reinforced Barrel Nut Base*
  • Replica Surefire FH556-216A Flash Hider *
  • Knights Armament Company RAS
  • G&P Barrel Nut/Delta Ring*
  • AR15 Front Cap (Without M203 cut outs)
  • PTS Ergo M4 Rail Extension*
  • Magpul RSA-QD
  • Magpul XTM Handstop Kit
  • Magpul Enhanced XTM Rail Covers
  • Magpul Ladder Rail Covers
  • Element LA-5 (Custom sticker set) *
  • Replica Trijicon ACOG TA01ECOS (Built from several parts inc G&P Acog, Replica LaRue QD Mount, Replica RMR with side switch, Real Trijicon Bikini Cover, Offset ACOG BUIS, Tactical Optician Lens Protector)*
  • MATech BUIS

Angry Gun L119A2 Prototype Rail – Write Up Vol 1

Introduction

This is a first impressions write up of a prototype, pre-production, Angry Gun L119A2 style rail.

First of all, the caveats:

1 – I have been involved, in a small way, alongside several others, in encouraging and helping bring this product to fruition. This prototype rail has very kindly and generously been provided to me by Angry Gun, free and before general production. I will try and be as objective and fair as possible, but in the interests of transparency, that’s where I am coming at it from.

2 – This is a prototype, it may therefore differ very slightly from the actual production variant based on the manufacturer’s own testing and the feedback from myself and the distributor (RedWolf UK). I have no link to RedWolf UK other than being friends with the UK manager. There’s no commercial interest or otherwise there.

In the pictures, you see the prototype Angry Gun L119A2 rail mounted on my Tokyo Marui NGRS A1 lower – in a sort of hybrid setup. I haven’t had opportunity to build a complete A2 rifle yet – rest assured when the rail hits general release, I will.

I have, and this review pertains to, the shorter CQB rail, for the 10.5in upper. There is also a 15.7in upper with a longer rail. I don’t have an example of the longer rail, however the attachment method, fit, finish, and quality should in theory be identical – it is simply an elongated version, with the obviously benefits and drawbacks that entails (greater weight and centre of gravity moved forward versus greater rail real estate, hand positions and accessories further toward the muzzle).

NGRS L119A2 5 (Large)

Genesis

The L119A2 had been rumoured for some time before it was seen in public, first as a grainy still, then a few days later in a glorious high resolution photo in the hands of Blades during Exercise Winchester Accord – That was May 2016. This new rifle obviously caused some excitement among UKSF Impression fans, and after 17 years of the venerable L119A1 people began experimenting with building L119A2s – many based on Geiselle rails or KAC URXs, but if we’re completely honest, while they looked ok, most just looked like M4s with freefloat rails.

I began messaging airsoft manufacturers to see if any would be interested at all in catering properly for this very keen market. Most rebuffed or ignored me, although a few discussions developed, and the one with Angry Gun seemed really promising, they were polite and keen, and asked for more information.

I then sounded out several people, both in UK groups and also a few helpful individuals from Canadian airsoft groups, their own forces use a very similar system, so they were keen on seeing something happen. Slowly, from a variety of sources, I compiled enough information for the manufacturer to make it a feasible project. I also used the L119 Owners Club and The Airsoft Diemaco L119-A1 Appreciation Group to try and demonstrate the demand for the product. Angry Gun were interested in the product but concerned it might be abit too niche, serious buy in and commitment from RedWolf UK to the product helped push it over the line.

The rail quite simply would not have got to the stage it is now, fairly imminent release, were it not for the information people helped me dig out, the buy-in and backing from RedWolf UK (In particular Gaz) and of course Angry Gun themselves. So if you’re excited about the product and pleased it’s coming to market, you have them to thank.

I run the L119 Owners Club Facebook group and Gaz runs The Airsoft Diemaco L119 Series Group, while information has been provided by British and Canadian aficionados, and the rail, has been designed and built in Hong Kong, the whole enterprise has been global, community based, and very rewarding to witness, and see the fruits of.

UKSF adopted the A2 during 2015/16 and to have an airsoft build possible in just over a year is remarkable.

NGRS L119A2 4 (Large)

Concept

So addressing the first point, many will know since the rail was announced, that Angry Gun obviously aren’t producing a full monolithic upper receiver, as per the real Colt Canada rifle. The Colt Canada IUR (Integrated Upper Receiver) is the system used on the L119A2, and CANSOF’s closely related C8IUR. This is used by Colt Canada under license from LMT, who hold the patent. In short, on the real thing, there is no ‘rail system’, the upper receiver and front end are completely seamlessly integrated from the same material.

There are numerous reasons why this approach wasn’t undertaken by Angry Gun.

1 – All airsoft manufacturers use different dimensions for upper receivers and lowers, so rather than one product the manufacturer would have instead be producing many small runs of similar products.

Design and testing costs would spiral, economies of scale wouldn’t be achieved, stock would be harder to move… It wouldn’t economically stack up – and you might still find compatibility problems. A rail will work with almost any system, no fuss.

2 – As above, costs would be vastly higher for a full monolithic upper, but you would also need larger machines to actually produce the items, especially the 15.6in version.

3 – If you product a monolithic receiver, the barrel, barrel nut, gas block, etc all become complete propriety too. You will likely also need to provide a barrel nut tool alongside the rail. This greatly increases cost and complexity.

4 – A rail system lets you retrofit the item more easily to existing weapons, rather than having to build from scratch.

HAO Airsoft have suggested they will release a monolithic upper in CQB variant for the PTW only. I am sure, given their reputation, that will be a great product, but PTWs are a niche market, and you can bet the price will be rather eye-watering. If you want a L119A2 in the next six months (minimum), you want a 15.7in version, or you want to use a platform other than a PTW, then this rail is the only game in town.

Neither the costs for the Angry Gun or HAO products are confirmed – I am not aware HAO have even started prototyping, however my discussions with them are not as in depth as those with Angry Gun. Logic, and an examination of HAO’s existing catalogue, suggests that their product will be several times more costly than this rail however.

NGRS L119A2 6 (Large)

Accuracy

The replica looks very accurate to the real thing, I have studied it from a variety of angles and it’s very close.

The very few variations I found and improvements I suggest, I will relay to Angry Gun privately at this point. I feel given I have a prototype it would be deeply unfair to review it like it was the finished article. The number of items I found were very few, and very minor and I had to crawl over it and check between reference pictures a lot to find them.

I am very impressed, the item is true to its inspiration and of high quality, the design solutions to making it look monolithic are creative and very well delivered. It’s one of the highest quality replica airsoft products I have come across. If anyone has followed my builds or kit at all they might realise I have high standards on kit and builds, and frequently use real parts and kit. I am thrilled with the quality and talent evident even in a prototype rail. Attention to detail and faithful reproduction of the reference weapon has been on display throughout the work and manifests in the prototype.

The grenade lug on the rail is removable, but the attachment is secure and seam is pretty much invisible. The lug isn’t removable on the real thing, but the fact it is on the replica is for two reasons.

1 – It hides the barrel nut interface bolts below. Keeping these hidden helps it appear monolithic.

2 – If you like want to build a C8IUR for a CANSOF kit, then removing the lug makes it look exceptionally close to their issued weapon. If you were super keen you could get an extra rail slow machined in there to finish it off.

The major noticeable difference between a standard receiver and Angry Gun A2 rail combination and a true Integrated Upper Receiver is the area of the join. Obviously a true monolithic upper has no joint whatsoever, and there is a ‘flare out’ between the receiver and rail areas, there is also a built up area around the ejection port which is chunkier than on a standard AR pattern upper. This is not present on the airsoft system. It does not detract majorly from the effect though, and I am exploring options regarding receiver modifications.

NGRS L119A2 7 (Large)

Fit and Finish

The rail is built using 6061 Aluminium, and the finish is anodised in a Matt Black. Rail numbers are applied using a laser, and there are no other markings present, as per the L119A2 reference pictures seen thus far.

It is secured via two bolts to the chunky hidden barrel nut fixing, to hide the attachment method as well as possible. The securing bolts are under the grenade lug on the bottom of the rail. The rail also has a couple of areas where it overlaps the receiver to further integrate it visually and stop rotation. This did mean the ejection port pin on my NGRS interfered slightly with the rail however, so it required trimming by about a millimetre.

I found the finish to match my brand spanking new Marui NGRS upper incredibly well, but obviously upper finishes differ based on the manufacturer in question and age. The dark grey cerakoted lower on my A1, which has been somewhat worn, has a markedly different finish. Certainly in some cases a lick of paint will help tie the rail and upper receiver together.

I haven’t put the product through any torture testing and I have yet to get it out for a game, I therefore can’t talk about its long term durability with any great certainty. What I will say though is that the finish is very similar to my Angry Gun suppressor on my A1, which has held up great so far. Also by the very nature of the item, there’s not a huge amount that can actually go wrong with it. I think, like most airsoft products, you have to expect if you use it properly at skirmishes and events it will scratch up and wear over time. Personally I don’t anticipate the rail being any more susceptible than anything comparable on the market, and a bit of wear and pristine kit looks good anyway. I don’t abuse things, but at the moment everything on my A2 upper is brand new, and I hope it will develop abit of character over time.

Everything has been fitted tightly to the upper, there are no weird gaps or junctions, and no movement. This obviously may vary between receivers but it’s excellent on my Marui. The join is small and certainly from any more than a few centimetres it looks pretty seamless. Mounting an optic over the join also helps.

It is worth noting that the holes on the rail for gas block pins to be knocked through don’t align perfectly with airsoft gas blocks. That shouldn’t be a problem though given that the rail isn’t actually monolithic.

When using a stock Marui NGRS barrel and barrel base, you do need a handful or barrel nut shims, but that shouldn’t be a problem for most. Many people have a random box full of shims like that you accumulate over time, and if not, they aren’t expensive to buy.

I initially bought and modded a replica Daniel Defense low profile gas block to stand in for a Colt Canada one, but having fitted it, it is obviously too long compared to the real. It fits with the Angry Gun rail just fine, but doesn’t look like an A2 should. I am exploring other options, but a modded Noveske style gas block seems a strong option for those after something accurate to the real A2.

-EDIT- A Noveske style gas block, once modded with a bolt to the front, works a lot better.

Ergonomics

If, like me, you’ve resisted the profusion of cool HK 416s and pimped M4s in favour of using L85A2s and L119A1s for years, the change is marked. Using the L119A2 upper I’ve built from the Angry Gun rail is a complete revelation. You gain rail space, it’s absolutely rock solid with no wobble at all, and it’s very ‘pointable’. LA-5 boxes, optics, sling mounts and hand grips can all move further forward, easing the congestion with the A1 once it was set up more heavily.

The system retains the two full length rails in the 12 and 6 oclock positions, with much smaller rail elements to either side in the 3 and 9 oclock positions. This saves weight, and gives a potentially more comfortable hand position where in traditional quad rails the backward side rails would rarely be used. The grenade lug also functions as a sort of handstop if using a magwell grip. I have found however that moving an AFG to the foremost position on the lower rail gives the best ergonomics, and is a setup favoured by the guys carrying L119A2s for real.

NGRS L119A2 3 (Large)

Litmus Test

I guess the litmus test is this. Given that I have been given a rail, for free, it’s easy to say I like it. Would I actually go out and spend my own money on one though?

The answer is a resounding yes – I will certainly buy a further two, if not more, when they go on general release.

Availability and Price

Release date will vary on if/how quickly Angry Gun can accommodate any comments we make from testing and review. It wouldn’t be too far off though, and Pre Orders will be available from RedWolf UK.

Price will inevitably depend on the finalised production costs from the manufacturer, the exchange rate and costs at the time of order. I don’t think they will compare unfavourably to other airsoft rail systems in terms of price though, and they will totally unique.

-EDIT- RedWolf UK have give an early indication that the price will be around £135, with the above caveats.

NGRS L119A2 1 (Large)

Conclusion

Ultimately, as touched on before, if doing a modern UKSF or CANSOF impression, you may very well want to build an L119A2 or C8IUR – the L119A1 seems to have left services with the ‘main’ UKSF units. If that’s the case, the Angry Gun rail is the only product on the market that can do that convincingly.

If you do buy one then I doubt you will be disappointed in the product, I certainly haven’t been with the prototype. I intend to follow this write up with a further one, with more technical information on the attachment system, weight and what I know of compatibility with various brands as time allows. If you have any questions please feel free to ask on the Facebook threads in L119 Owners Club.

Pictures are of the prototype Angry Gun L119A2 rail fitted to a Tokyo Marui NGRS upper receiver, on my NGRS L119A1 lower.  The parts list for the upper is as follows, * denotes replica:

  • Angry Gun L119A2 rail*
  • Toyko Marui NGRS Upper receiver, barrel base and CQB-R Barrel*
  • GG&G Aimpoint T1 Mount
  • Nuprol Aimpoint T1 Replica*
  • Element LA-5 with custom sticker set*
  • PTS Ergo Ladder rail covers*
  • Magpul AFG1
  • Magpul RSA-QD
  • Replica Daniel Defense Low Profile Gas Glock (modded)*
  • Replica Surefire FH556-216A Flash Hider*