It’s so, so hard to build a decent, coherent civilian styled PTW.

With mil builds you sort of get a map. Interpret the mil map effectively and invest in as much RS as your budget will allow and you will be onto a winner.

Now, getting an accurate, navigable mil map isn’t quite as easy as it might seem. When I started my SOF build project, I realised the sheer scale of the task. Hunting down pics of SOF in the wild and sifting through for trends is a massive task. Establishing which ‘experts’ to trust and which existing builds to reference is almost as painstaking. Nothing that a healthy bit of obsessiveness and good advice can’t handle but nonetheless, it’s not just a waft of Krylon and a bit of cash.

And that’s the next thing. It’s always assumed that builds heavy on RS are simply a product of bored minds and disposable incomes.

The mil map which you’ve judiciously surveyed and documented does not buy the notoriously difficult to source parts for you. It doesn’t even tell you where to buy the notoriously difficult to source parts. It certainly does not tell you which sacrifices to make in order to be able to afford the notoriously difficult to source parts.

If the mil map did all those things, where would the challenge be? Well, for me, the biggest challenge is building a civilian style PTW that both mil and civ aficionados agree is on the money.

And if building a mil style PTW is as treacherous as traditional rock climbing, building a civilian style PTW is like a free-solo ascent. No ropes, no harnesses, no guides, no protection. In short, it’s likely to go horribly wrong.

I’m not talking about replicating a Stickman build 100% (awesome though they invariably are). I’m not talking about assembling a shopping list of ‘cool guy’ parts which are all singularly awesome, but which represent less than the sum of the individual parts when built. I’m talking about taste, dedication, no compromise and the delivery of a very personal vision.

There is no formula, no map for free-soloing your way to a well done civilian style PTW. But there are some inspirational examples out there. I was going to end by saying, “Go out and find them.” But I thought I’d showcase a recent upper which my friend Lyle free-soloed to completion.

This just works.


Tackleberry pixie dust and angel breath
Noveske NSR 9″
Systema PTW OEM barrel 10.5″*
Diamondhead BUIS
Madbull PWS comp*
Sun Devil upper receiver
ADM absolute co-witness mount
Aimpoint Comp ML2
NSR KeyMod rail panels
Surefire X300 Ultra


Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos