Mk18 Mod 1?
The correct name is M4A1 CQB/R Block II. With the leverage of several SOCOM units behind it, this blaster has quickly gained popularity amongst reenactors from all around the world.
In the early 2000s, SOCOM needed a shorter version of the M4A1. Over time, two big upgrade Blocks were issued. The first with a KAC RIS, the second with a Daniel Defense RIS II. And the latter is where some of the confusion over Block II nomenclature comes from, because Daniel Defense inexplicably chose to call its CQB/R RIS II, the “Mk18”.
My interest in this rifle started three years ago, when I learned about NSW reenactment and decided to build a kit myself. After some time, I knew that I would either have to do it right or not do it at all; I wouldn’t be satisfied with anything less.
There are tons of small details that need to be taken into account and, even though 99% won’t notice the difference, I needed to do it for myself. One example: the Eotechs used by SOCOM are not the 553 or EXPS, instead the SU-231 and SU-231A are issued.
Over time all the attachments have been replaced from the first iteration of my build. The only things that remain are the receiver set and paint job.
In most cases, artificial weathering looks wrong and I prefer natural wear any day. I thought about painting the complete blaster several times, but love the two-tone look too much.
One of the first things I acquired was the Daniel Defense RIS II.
At that point all repros had a horrible colour, especially the popular Madbull rail. So, I had to get the real deal. The holosight actually isn’t real, but a heavily modded clone that looks pretty close.
I’ve found better ways to spend the extra bucks for a real SU231 so far.
Another thing that required a lot of thought was the LA5. Due to the law, we are not allowed to own real ones here in Germany. So I bought an Element LA5, modified it with the limited Hans kit, KimK parts and real blue screws. I then coloured the whole box as close to the real one as possible.
A detail I love is the Bowers LLC Griptastic Suppressor cover. From the moment I saw a picture of SEALs using it in Afghanistan in 2012, I knew I had to have one.
As already mentioned, German laws cause some problems. Receivers need to have some special (ugly) markings and only government agencies are allowed to engrave them.
Finding a lower with Colt markings – and with the government markings not being too noticeable – was pretty hard. I’ve tried to cover them with a Matrix QR sticker now.
Also, all target illuminating devices are forbidden. So I had to get the internals of the M3x and LA5 destroyed before importing them to Germany.
I definitely need to replace the remaining repros with real parts at some point and that will happen sooner or later. But for me, personally, a good kit doesn’t need to consist of real items only – it’s rather about the mindset and the attention and love of details.
I am thinking about updating the build in the future.
That would require me to replace the SU-231 (Eotech 553) with an SU-231A, the M3x with an WMX200 and the KAC NT4 with an Surefire SOCOM556-RC.
But we will see about that. Anyways, it has been quite a journey so far and I am sure that even more stuff will come in the future!
Big thanks to Latro for getting in touch with the blog and delivering a great piece of writing, plus some awesome pics. It’s also really interesting to read about the limitations imposed by German law and how creative solutions to those obstacles develop. Thanks again!