Words: Rich Norman
I’ve often talked in the blog about the adoption of aftermarket accessories in the wild, as if all operators are trying hard to optimise their rifles in an independent, free-thinking way.
I strongly suspect the truth of the matter is a bit more like everyday life. Some will make do with what they’ve got.
Perhaps an example of this is UKSF’s continued use the GG&G Aimpoint T1 mount.
I wrote an article in the ‘In The Wild’ series about the mount, here.
The GG&G is a solid mount, well made and nicely finished. It makes the perfect addition to a clone correct L119A2, because it has been observed in use.
At its foundation, it’s a cantilever mount. Cantilever mounts are used to position the optic forward of the receiver, without attaching them to the rail – which is a doctrinal faux pas for many.
During the L119A1 era, the mount would have been quite useful; the L119A1 utilised a KAC RAS which left a gap between rail and the receiver, over the delta ring. Therefore, the furthest forward an optic could be placed was at the edge of the receiver.
The L119A2 on the other hand, is a bit more futuristic. It has a continuous top rail in the form of a monolithic upper receiver. So, a cantilever mount is redundant on this platform, because you can mount an optic as far forward as you like.
Evidently, the GG&G is still in use with UKSF in the A2 era – even though there are lighter alternatives which occupy a smaller footprint. This is probably due to inertia. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Getting back to the use of more progressive accessories, there will be leaders and followers in the wild. Same as in any sector of society.
What reminded me of this was a quote I grabbed from a forum by esteemed observer of aftermarket accessories in the wild, Jeff Gurwitch.
Here he comments on the kit selection behaviours he identified in USSOF:
…when it comes to gear a lot of guys are only exposed to what they see their buddies running. A good example of this, I saw war belts being used for the first time on a team in 2010. A guy on my team got one, we all tried it and within a week we all went out and got them on the team.
Same thing with rifle accessories, one guy goes out and gets something it works well it will catch on within the unit.
And that’s basically how fashion works.
But there’s more:
Last year’s article [Part 2 of a trilogy which documented the use of civilian aftermarket AR15 accessories in the wild] I know I was getting bashed from some saying, “Why would soldiers pick rails that have not been dropped tested and stuff?”
Frankly most Operators couldn’t care less about stuff like that.