Milsim

Review – Airsoft International’s Task Force Black L119A1 Build Guide

The L119A1 build guide accompanying the previously reviewed Airsoft International Task Force Black impression guide has been largely recycled from a previous issue, but there’s no great problem with that, since as a direct addendum to an article which references the L119A1, it is useful.

The problem however comes from the fact the L119A1 enjoyed a pretty decent time in service with UKSF, at a time of great development in weapon technology and accessories, so setups across that life changed markedly. The L119A1 featured in the article is not a Task Force Black setup – but this is not made clear. The L119A1 still has a ‘Task Force Black’ tag running across the top of the page, which suggests it is meant to be a Task Force Black setup.

Let’s put aside the super geeky things of the L119A1s idiosyncrasies in terms of front end cap, type of KAC rail, receiver profiles and buffer tubes – that’s too in depth for a mainstream magazine, they shouldn’t be looking to bog down in detail, so I’ll only assess if they get the main parts right.

They move from front to back across the weapon, so I’ll do the same.

Firstly they recommend a Madbull Surefire replica – which isn’t really a great choice given it’s a rather ropey clone, but they do correctly identify the mods needed to make it a little better. They also give a mention to the excellent Perr Mike suppressors which remain the best option for builds of the TFB era. Their advice on flash hiders is passable, they neglect to mention the Surefire birdcage which would be most correct for the TFB era, but do mention the 216A, which is correct for L119A1s, but too late for the TFB era (they also mention one is pictured on the opposite page, which is isn’t).

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They generally get the barrel lengths right, and the method of achieving them. They then go on to mention the 10in L119A1s have standard M4 front sights but with the bayonet lug “generally” removed – this should be “always”. They do however differentiate between 10in and 16in front sights, therefore avoiding a common mistake made.

They generally get the KAC RAS correct, but for the few geeky details I will bypass, and although the KAC vert grip advice is correct, there were others used. The article doesn’t mention the other correct accessories for the front end, and here they should have mentioned the Surefire M600 torch and a PEQ box. The accompanying photo shows a PEQ-15, which isn’t correct – this should be either a PEQ-2 for earlier TFB setups, or a FDE LA-5 (distinguished by the railed adjustment dials).

For the lower receiver they somewhat muddy the waters by referring to the rifle being made by Colt Canada, while showing Diemaco trademarks. Personally if building a TFB era weapon I would go for Diemaco – certainly for an early one, although it is possible very late TFB/K era weapons might have been Colt Canada marked. Airsoft International also recommend Airsoft Machine Shop for doing the engravings here – this I believe is grossly irresponsible. While Airsoft Machine Shop produce excellent work, if sending a part to them for work you are odds on to lose it, or at the very least get it back about 6-12 months later after having had to harass them in the interim. They have left so many people out of pocket and lacking parts that to recommend them at all is really poor.

Pistol grip wise they identify correctly the Storm Grip (Stowaway Grip), however they then seem to go off on a tangent about Hogue Grips, which have been seen (albeit rarely) on much later L119A1s. A Hogue grip wouldn’t be correct for a TFB impression, and for some reason AI seem to think they represent a nightmare choice for AEG users – I am not sure why given Toysoldier have produced a trademarked rubberised Hogue Grip which will take an AEG motor.

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Next they address optics. The article inform us the least contentious choice is an Eotech 552 – while it is not wrong to use an Eotech 552, the least contentious choice is certainly an ACOG TA01NSN. AI then move on to the ACOG, but state the TA31 is the model used, which is incorrect – UKSF haven’t been pictured with this variant, and it would be a weird choice for a TFB kit. The additional information on wing mounts, mini RDS sights and DIS iron sights is broadly correct however.

They then move onto the stock and butt pad, which they get broadly correct, although mention the CTR would be incorrect for TFB era as it is too modern – this is right, although it does beg the question as to what was going on with the rest of the article.

Finally, while not mentioned in the article, the pictured sling mount on the example is a knock off Magpul ASAP, which is not correct for TFB era, and the example pictured isn’t a particularly good replica anyway.

Mercifully though they sign off this article with links to Warlord Tactical, who make excellent replica parts for the L119A1, and the L119 Owners Club group on Facebook, which I run, and where a lot can be learned about the platform.

Review – Airsoft International’s Task Force Black Impression Guide

Introduction and Context

Volume 13, Issue 13 of Airsoft International features a write up of how to achieve a Task Force Black kit, with an accompanying guide to building a L119A1, the issue weapon of UKSF at the time.

For those that don’t know, Task Force Black was the name given to the UKSF deployment to Baghdad in GW2, whose task was hunting ex regime individuals and later jihadists. It changed name to Task Force Knight partway through its existence, and worked extremely closely with American special operations forces in the city at the time. It represented a wholesale change in how UKSF equipped itelf and the missions it undertook, and the meshing of operations and information and they fed into an extremely taxing workload of raids. The UKSF elements involved were primarily SAS, with support from Signallers, Med and EOD specialists, and backed up by 1Para, later formally stood up as SFSG.

Task Force Black kit is quite consistent, compared to earlier period, since each man was issued a huge bag of kit, so they weren’t wanting for much – and it was all the same. Usually the helmet, ancillary equipment, weapons and plate carriers were all pretty consistent. The camouflage however was an eclectic mix of British and US patterns, often mixed and matched together, under the more consistent base.

The above lends the kit a somewhat unique and very appealing look, and for some time it was the ‘go to’ kit for airsofters wanting to run UKSF impressions. It has been somewhat overtaken by modern UKSF impressions, but the appeal does endure. The issues with the kit are primarily based off the fact it was envisaged that it would be used for a few hours at a time, in short engagements, transported to the target by vehicle or aircraft. It is therefore bulky, heavy and ill suited to going prone – or indeed any other mission but a direct action raid. It was also intended to be used in a punishing series of raids, often nightly, for six months – the kit is durable and as such heavier than today’s kit which does a similar job. Modern kit, leveraging new technologies in a sector which at the peak of the Global War On Terror had a large amount of investment in R&D, is much lighter and able to do the same job with less bulk and weight. Additionally, if a lightweight bit of kit does break, with greater SOF budgets it is not as problematic to replace.

Modern UKSF kits are therefore better suited to a wider range of activities, will be more comfortable and lighter, and allow us to indulge our inner geardo. TFB kits are often stowed in the back of gear cupboards, but a lot of us still love them – especially those who started UKSF Impressions when these were the only game in town for a modern kit.

The Airsoft International article is therefore a way to propel the kit back into the thoughts of both impressionists and mainstream airsofters who might be curious about dabbling in the impression and milsim scene. In this the typically sharp graphic work and high visual production values of the magazine help – although what will really make or break it is the quality of the information imparted in the article.

The review will focus on the accuracy of the guidance given and information imparted, and won’t really address the often painfully bad spelling, grammar and often nonsensical sentence structure – which appears now to be back with a vengeance, after the issue had been largely eliminated for a year or so.

Where pictures have been taken to illustrate points, text and images which aren’t salient have been blurred, so I’m not reproducing material from the magazine as a whole, regardless of the worth of it.

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Reasons for Review Article

I realise analysing an article in the way I am about to can be perceived as aggressive, and be taken personally, so I will outline my reasoning for doing so.

Airsoft International, as a hobby and industry magazine with journalistic articles, opinion pieces, and guides, is trusted by a large number of people, across the airsoft community. The fact something is in print and on a shelf suggests a degree of reliability and research has gone into its making, and the information within can be trusted as being solidly researched and delivered without undue bias. Lately – this has not been the case.

Those new to the hobby, or impressions, may well rely upon the magazine for information on how to build impressions, and while the article does recognise that it is not perfect, it does give a lot of information and advice which will lead people wanting to achieve the same look to go out and spend their hard earned money on achieving an impression. I think it is reasonable therefore to expect the information to be right, or where corners have been cut for cost or ease, to highlight this.

Indeed AI’s social media posts would have you believe they are the biggest and best airsoft publication about, so I do not think it unfair to dig a bit deeper into an article to see if these claims are justified. The motivation for doing so was the fact that a rather disastrous and misleading attempt at a MARSOC impression guide was published recently, so upon hearing a Task Force Black impression guide was going to be published, this piqued the interest of impressionists who have an interest in this era.

To clarify though, I have no bone to pick with Airsoft International personally, beyond the above belief they should adhere to the standards and quality of the sort of publication they purport to be, out of respect for their customer base. Indeed I was heavily involved in the last UKSF Impression article they published, the modern UKSF Counter Terrorism kit guide in collaboration with E27 found in Volume 12, Issue 12.

I understand AI has to operate in an industry which is under pressure, and cannot have expertise in absolutely everything, but a basic knowledge of the subject matter should be attainable, and there are people who will offer input and guidance on specific areas within the community for free or little cost – indeed E27 didn’t receive or ask any payment for the article they assisted with.

The number of errors in some articles is staggering, and a cynic might suspect that often these are not always the product of ignorance, but rather ensuring a substantial portion of the suggested kit purchases for an impression or setup are available from the magazine’s sponsors.

General Criticisms

The article kicks off with a bit of background information about what Task Force Black was, and this is a worthwhile approach, I always think it is vital when putting together kit to understand clearly who uses it, what their job was and what they used it for. The synopsis however seems somewhat meandering and could certainly have been trimmed into a punchier, more informative overview.

Next the piece moves onto a paragraph musing on the choice between DCU and CCU uniform cuts, before basically saying you can use whichever you like – certainly a lot of patterns and cuts were used, but again this could have been a lot less waffly and more focused.

Then, we have five paragraphs on the MICH 2000 helmet. Those looking to build a Task Force Black impression will be disappointed to find out that those five paragraphs neglect to actually tell you how to put together a TFB helmet setup. The bulk of the section is devoted to the history and various models of the MICH – which wasn’t actually used by UKSF who instead used the Gentex TBH-II available at the time (not to be confused with its modern iteration). Often however replica MICH 2000s are used as TBH-II stand ins, since they are near identical. The varied paint jobs of TFB lids, the helmet covers they sometimes used, and the distinctive ‘choc-block’ counter weights are not mentioned, while the similarly ubiquitous and identifiable PVS-21 mounts also get scant mention.

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We next encounter another paragraph on the history of DCU and CCU – because the first obviously left us wanting more.

Then we’re onto the RAV. We’re informed a Flyye RAV has been used since real Paraclete RAVs cost £300-400. The price of RAVs fluctuates a lot, dependant on availability, and it has been between about £400 to as little as £70 at various points in the last few years – and while they might be listed on ebay for substantial prices, I very much doubt they sell for that. The Flyye RAV is apparently £205 from Military 1st – I would be surprised however if you couldn’t get a real Paraclete RAV on the forums or ebay for around £200 with abit of patience.

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It is also worth noting a fact which wasn’t completely made plain that while the Flyye effort isn’t a terrible replica, it has notable differences. Most obviously it is olive green rather than Smoke Green, like the Paraclete original. Additionally the Velcro on top isn’t properly interfaced with the shoulder elements, and the zip is green rather than black. It would certainly pay to go for a real RAV, considering the sizable cost of the replica – advising otherwise appears to benefit no one but Military 1st.

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Then onto pouches, which for the kit should be primarily Blackhawk Industries molle pouches in Olive Drab – instead the article advises using Flyye patches in OG (they say Smoke Green is more accurate – but here they seem to have got mixed up with the RAV). Given the cost of the Flyye pouches, I am certain real Blackhawk is now very much cheaper on the second hand market. This section should have advised that, and cautioned against the Blackhawk versions using speed clips, but instead it again went for an easy option which benefits a sponsor. The example RAV also features a rather strange pouch setup which would make shouldering a rifle problematic, and is unlike anything I have seen in reference pictures. This feature really should have looked at the real products, common setups, differences between the RAV and RMV to help readers avoid common mistakes.

They correctly identify that the Serpa adaptor they show is the wrong type, but note, quite rightly, the real thing here is hard to source and commands a pretty substantial price.

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Finally things are rounded out with another paragraph giving a brief history of ACU – because why not. A last box listing products used suggests 99% were available from Military 1st, which mathematically is not nearly the case. The accompanying L119A1 feature which follows will be reviewed in a follow up article.

For clarity I am not suggesting Military 1st  directly influenced the writing or content of the article (I like the company and order from them semi regularly), I believe that to be the responsibility of AI.  It just seems the magazine took the easy option in putting forward information that benefits a sponsor over the reader.

Reference Criticisms

Task Force Black is one for the few eras in UKSF history about which a substantial amount is known publicly. The book Task Force Black by Mark Urban details a great deal of what went on at the time, and the number of leaked pictures from the era is sizable. Therefore lack of reference material should be little impediment to a TFB impression, indeed the article features sixteen real reference pictures supporting it. Unfortunately of the sixteen photos accompanying the article, two are of Delta Force, two are of SFSG, two are of airsofters and one is of SEALs.

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This immediately misleads readers, and given the huge amount of reference material the issue can’t be availability. I can only assume lack of research.

Copy Error, Paste Error

One of the increasingly irksome things about Airsoft International is that the magazine is increasingly dominated by advertisements – and most insidiously, advertisements masquerading as articles. This would be more forgivable if the guides and information that aren’t directly related to selling the products of sponsors were of good quality and original.

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This is sadly not the case – the aforementioned MARSOC article in a previous issue contained a few prominent lines on the front of an article which were roundly mocked. This incongruous historical flourish may have been dismissed as simply as an unfortunate attempt at supporting context, but it suggested two things: Firstly a staggering lack of historical knowledge or ability to fact check before putting something into a magazine – Secondly a seeming lack of comprehension of how BC/AD dates work.

Everyone has an off day though, surely as photos of the lines juxtaposed with images of ancient Greek or Roman armour were circulated in the comments sections of Facebook posts the editor might just write off that little mistake and move on.

Alas not – the next month it has been copied and pasted, word for word, entirely uncorrected, into a prominent position in one of this month’s articles.

This seems to be outright disrespectful of the readership – recycling content a mere month after it first made an appearance, while getting it wrong. The intent of any publication should be to inform and entertain readers – not just fill space between ads.

Summary

Certainly I would encourage AI in the future, when putting together similar articles, to try and explore the possibility of having them compiled by someone who has at least a basic knowledge of the subject matter.

I would also say that while they obviously need to mention sponsors etc for commercial reasons, doing so in what is purportedly an article, not an advertisement, is misleading. This is especially the problem when the items they suggest be bought from said sponsor are often not correct, and nor in several cased are they cheaper than the correct option.

The magazine is slick, well presented and has a reputation in the community, but that is very fragile and a number of advert filled volumes replete with staggering amounts of filler and misinformation have knocked it – certainly it takes a lot more time to build a reputation than lose one.

If you follow the magazine’s guide, you will probably produce an Impression which is recognisably UKSF form the Task Force Black era. The major criticism though is that while recognisable, it will be some way off an accurate impression, and it won’t really save any money to counterbalance this inaccuracy. You may as well do it for the same cost and have the end product looking better and more accurate.

E27: UKSF Impression Group featured on The Reptile House Blog

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 […]

via E27: UKSF Impression Group — The Reptile House Blog

Angry Gun L119A2 Rails in use…

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.

1

Andy’s L119A2 on a GHK base.

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.

3

Gaz’s L119A2 with CQB and Carbine uppers, also using a GHK base.

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.

4

James C’s L119A2 on a Marui NGRS base.

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.

5

James M’s L119A2 is also on a GHK Base.

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.

6

Mike’s L119A2 on a Systema PTW base.

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.

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*

My write up on Exercise Final Encore on The Reptile House Blog…

The Concept HTIS Exercise Final Encore was not an ‘Op’ in the same vein as most milsim events. It was alternatively conceptualised as a training event. In some ways it was inspired by the recent real public counter terror drills for military and blue-light services; most notable of these, London’s Operation Strong Tower and Greater […]

via “Barely Airsoft” – Final Encore Realsim Report, by Jay — The Reptile House