Interview: Rich Norman Pics: Snook Snaps and Jay E27 is a UKSF Impression group based in the UK. – E27’s IG bio. As understated as the Regiment they are influenced by, E27 are titans of the UKSF impression scene. A remarkable feat, given that the group formed barely 16 months ago. I have a few […]
The Angry Gun L119A2 rails have been released, and have in the past week or so been landing on doormats around the country, and indeed worldwide.
Almost invariably the feedback has been great, and having had a part in bringing them to fruition, I am immensely relieved and gratified to know the community likes them. It really was an effort by the community of airsoft L119 fans for airsoft L119 fans. It’s somewhat surreal, despite having had my own prototype rail for some time, to see the production model cropping up all over on people’s builds.
In total it took about 18 months from the first public sighting of real L119A2s in May 2016 for the product to hit the market. This time included the period taken when several of us were trying to entice manufacturers into looking seriously at the prospect, through early discussion with Angry Gun, the gathering of sufficient information and reference material to allow the design, and discussions between Angry Gun and potential distributors to determine if there was a market for the product. This is where Redwolf UK really stepped up and backed the product where other UK distributors and retailers had been cool on the idea; there RWUK showed foresight, a dedication to deliver an innovative product, and a canny eye for the market, which allowed the whole enterprise to go ahead. From there the product was fully designed, prototyped, tested, refined and then put into production, which was expanded from the initially projected production numbers to meet demand.
I won’t go into specifics, but the popularity of the release has surpassed expectations and it has been a great success. Hopefully this will bode well for more UKSF and L119 related releases in future.
I received my two rails I had ordered from the production run and was pleased to see a couple of the really minor issues I had highlighted with the prototype had been finessed. My rails are currently waiting for base rifles to be added to, but many others on the L119 Owners Club and The Airsoft Diemaco L119 Series Group Facebook Groups have been posting up some truly excellent A2 builds.
While I don’t think anyone has achieved a truly perfect build quite yet, with trademarks, receiver mods, blending, and correct accessories in in one package, a couple are very well on the way and already have rifles which would satisfy all but the most pedantic.
The below are a few of the rifles I have picked out from the groups or which the owners have very kindly sent me information and pictures on – all are stunning builds, and a few varying aesthetics are on show which already displays the variation in function, look and base rifle which is possible. Any who frequent the groups may well recognise all of them, but I wanted to provide a bit of a showcase here.
Andy’s GHK base L119 is the first featured, he has already built a truly excellent L119A1 so I was keen to see how he would deliver an A2 – it certainly doesn’t disappoint. It features all the necessary parts, from the Ergo Grip to the extended charging handle, a TA01ECOS and a Surefire M620v. The whole package looks believably like an issued weapon.
Gaz’s rifle is also GHK based, and features many of the same little details as Andy’s above. Gaz however has opted for the sleeker M600s used on A1s, and features a T1 sight on the CQB upper, a popular choice I also made with mine. Most striking however is the carbine upper, which is really simple and elegant, and again looks like it could have come straight from an armoury. A tiny detail, but a very important one, is that Gaz has modded his uppers using modelling putty to replicate the monolithic IUR, and disguised the join and altered the profile around the ejection port.
James C’s Marui NGRS is a deceptively simple, slick build but if you look closely, many of the key details are there. Trades and the receiver mods should round it out into a build which is absolutely spot on.
James M’s A2 is another GHK build, but this time features the much rumoured Surefire Warden, and an offset mount with another M600. A bold paint job unifies all the disparate parts into a convincing modern build, and the beginnings of wear and chipping to the paint make it look authentic. The chunkier profile of the Magpul ACS stock balances the weapon visually and is true to reference material.
Mike’s Systema PTW L119A2 rounds out the selection. It uses the standard A2 accessories of a M620v, LA-5B and Magpul AFG2, with the optic a T1 on GG&G mount. Everything is true to reference material there and really pulls it together into a convincing L119A2 setup. A Magpul pistol grip is the first pistol grip of the selection to be swapped out from the issued Ergo, and so follows on from the increasing variety of pistol grips shown on later L119A1 build – this also neatly deals with the difficulty of making Ergo grips work for PTWs. The use of a Magpul STR stock, much the same as James’ above, balances the weapon aesthetically. What stands out most for me is the simple but effective paint job, with a variety of tans, greens and browns, which looks very realistic, and is unerringly close in colour palette to an actual painted A2 reference picture I have seen.
Beyond those featured above, there have been loads of really great A2 builds cropping up, and I hope to see many more in future.
Thanks to all the above for providing or letting me feature their builds.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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*
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