Words: Rich Norman

I started this blog in May 2013. The very first iterative blaster build I featured that same month, was my Block II M4A1.

How did it start? With a lot of encouragement and support from friends on Gray Fox’s much missed private forum and the purchase – via the now defunct Midway UK – of a Daniel Defense M4A1 RIS II.

Even back then, the RIS II was not an easy rail to source.

But when has easy ever been a part of the TRH blaster build lexicon? Sometimes we get lucky, sure; but if we don’t make the appropriate sacrifices, there’s a nagging feeling and the seemingly OK simulacrum of the difficult to source or expensive part has to go; to be replaced by what we should have bought in the first place.

Buy nice or buy twice is a hard lesson to learn. And we all know what it means to do without, so that we can afford what the heart really wants…along with being lucky enough to have very understanding significant others. Holidays, nice meals out and loft extensions – all these things are for grown ups.

After the RIS II, I think the next item I bought for the Block II project was a Yankee Hill Machine front BUIS – imported from the USA, in the days when you could still deal direct with Brownells USA. The YHM was a really old skool chunk of steel, which had been seen in a few early Block II pics but was never heard of again. Fuck it – legit is legit!

There’s an amusing story connected with this BUIS, the highlight of which included some very reasonable firearms police officers popping around my house for a chat…

The point is, anyone who reads my blog will know that my builds never usher onto the public stage fully formed. Readers get to see all my mistakes and shit ideas and the part when I finally get things right and become bored – then start again. That’s what a hobby is for, right?

My Block II M4A1 went through a number of further permutations, at one point channelling the spirit of Jeff Gurwitch’s Competition-to-Combat Crossover articles as a rattle-canned CQBR:

Latterly I’ve documented its evolution as an AFSOC-inspired Block 1.5 M4A1:

And my next project will be no different.

It begins like this:

Just two items, one of which – the Magpul RSA – I’ve owned twice before. The first time I blogged about it here, in 2014.

These are small but important parts, for a build I’m really excited about; which will take shape over the course of this year and probably well into the next.

Eventually, this will lead to the complete aesthetic overhaul of my AFSOC M4A1. However, inside it will still be the same, original Systema PTW I bought from Tackleberry in 2010.

More, soon.

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