Obi Wan Nairobi’s L119A2 is arguably the most tricked out, distinctive and influential UKSF blaster to date.
Indeed, such is its impact that clones and riffs on the theme are highly pervasive at the time of writing (eight months after the event).
Looking at the bigger picture, however, I think Obi Wan’s build suggests something quite different: optimisation through trial and error.
With so many non-standard items in use, this L119A2 could well be the work of someone who enjoys experimenting; both keenly interested in gear and finding an ergonomic formulation which suits them best.
Indeed, for some it underlines the doctrine that a replica blaster is best personalised rather than cloned. I wrote an article recently about Blaster Build Doctrines, which explored the varied methods used to progress credible replicas.
From what I’ve observed in the UKSF impression scene, there is no single blaster build doctrine which has majority approval. As such there are competing narratives which give rise to lively (sometimes fractious) debate. What’s ‘legit’ and what isn’t ‘legit’ is purely positional and it’s one of the aspects which interests me greatly.
There are still a great many questions to be answered about Obi Wan’s optic choice. Was the Romeo 4T being trialled? Was it a personal purchase or freebie? Is there another explanation for what was an unprecedented appearance? To date there are no categorical, evidence based answers to these questions and we can only speculate.
With all that said, I wanted to write the story of how Obi Wan’s optic was identified from my point of view.
It wasn’t straightforward as it initially strayed into the realms of confirmation bias – this article being Part 3 of a series about that. You can read Part 2 here.
The Optic Question
Early on in the Nairobi analysis (read detailed breakdowns of the L119A2 here and the loadout here), it was proposed that the optic in question was an Aimpoint Micro T2. This was a safe bet, because of the form factor depicted and because UKSF had been seen with that optic (two of them, to be exact), in December 2018 in Newcastle UK.
That said, no one believably ID’d Obi Wan’s optic mount. I remember @theotherguy1999 and I going back and forth with candidate mount assessments, without making much progress.
This should have rang alarm bells.
It was the morning of the following day when I read a direct message from Joe Jensen of STAS, suggesting that Obi Wan’s optic was not in fact a T2, but one made by Sig Sauer.
Joe’s assessment was based on higher resolution pics, which had emerged overnight in the media. That was the eureka moment and I will not forget Joe’s pivotal involvement any time soon.
It was also the moment I realised that unconsciously, confirmation bias had settled the group mind on initially thinking the optic was a T2.
The next step was to ID which model Sig, again by consensus. It didn’t take long for the network of fellow UKSF impression geeks to figure out it was most likely a Romeo 4T.
The T of 4T stands for ‘Tactical’ – a military grade optic utilising a 7075 housing, and which is IPX-8 rated.
This made sense, because it was known at that time that Sig had made great strides into the UKSF supply chain; UKSF already in receipt of the LVAW (Low Visibility Assault Weapon) and Rattler – both of which are Sig MCX derivatives.
The 4T comes in black and FDE, so the next job was to confirm which colour unit Obi Wan was using.
On balance, it looked to to be the FDE model – which was the unanimous choice amongst those I discussed it with. The optic exhibited a uniform colour in multiple pics from multiple angles. Obi Wan’s L119A2, in comparison, was coated in at least three shades of paint, including a scrim pattern. None of this was present on the optic. In fact, it looked freshly dropped in.
That said, I had noticed what looked like a black edge in one of the pics. Was it simply grime, or was it a point of wear? If the latter, perhaps an indication that contrary to the consensus the optic was painted tan and its black base colour was showing through. Additionally, the optic’s FDE didn’t look like the tan ano I assumed it should be – which also raised questions. I’ve learned not to ignore such niggles.
I went ahead and ordered FDE anyway, feeling 90% certain that was in use.
There’s often a significant difference between looking at reference pics and having the item under analysis firmly in hand.
This phenomenon struck me most recently with the Frank Proctor designed Way of the Gun (WOTG) Sling – also used by Obi Wan Nairobi. I wrote an article about it. I observed this phenomenon, too, back when I received my Sig Sauer Romeo 4T optic.
Indeed, it wasn’t until I received my 4T that I was able to 100% satisfy myself that Obi Wan was indeed using the FDE model.
Ironically it is absolutely the case that the FDE 4T is painted. But, it’s some kind of Cerakote style finish. So it was right to say that it isn’t tanodized. It could even exhibit black ano underneath the ceramic paint – mine isn’t well used enough yet to discriminate.
In addition to this revelation, once I saw the laser etched windage and elevation makings on my 4T – which I was previously unaware of – I was able to match them to the white blurs I could make out in the reference pics.
Note that Obi Wan’s L119A2 has been masked of paint in crucial areas; e.g., over the fire control markings. If the 4T in question was a black optic which had been Kryoned, I’d expect to see a black border around the white windage markings. A back border was not present.
Absolute Co-witness or Lower Third?
Having the 4T in hand also allowed me to confirm that Obi Wan is running his Romeo 4T with the bundled lower third spacer installed, as can be seen in this pic:
This isn’t a Sig Sauer Romeo 4T review article. That will come at a later date; although I have been using the optic and it is impressive.
For me it combines many of the advantages of the EOTech reticule (my review of the EOTech EXPS 3-0 here) with the light weight and minimalist form factor of an Aimpoint Micro.
For someone with an astigmatism like me, a reticule wins hands down over a dot. If I stare past a dot long enough, it becomes a comet – growing a tail which obscures my sight picture. This doesn’t happen with a reticule and the 4T’s instance is crisp and clean. However, if the user does prefer a dot the setting can be switched.
Where to buy?
More articles about the real steel UKSF L119A2:
- The Comprehensive UKSF (SAS/SBS) L119A2 Parts and Accessories List
- The original L119A2 primer, here
- GG&G AR15 vertical fore-grip in use here
- Magpul QDM and ASAP QD in use here – part 1
- Magpul QDM and ASAP QD in use here – part 2
- 15.7″ L119A2 upper in use here
- Surefire FA556SA Suppressor here
- GG&G Aimpoint T1 mount in use here
- Magpul MS3 sling in use here
- Magpul ACS stock in use here – part 1
- Magpul ACS stock in use here – part 2
- Colt Canada parts – as used on the L119A2 – here
- Manta Very Low Profile Rail Covers here
- S&S Precision Sling Clip – Old Gen – here
- Inforce WML-type lights in use here
- UKSF Manchester UK incident video here
- UKSF Manchester UK incident L119A2 here
- UKSF Newcastle UK incident part 1 – here
- UKSF Newcastle UK incident part 2 – here
- UKSF Nairobi Kenya incident L119A2 parts breakdown here
- UKSF Nairobi Kenya incident Proctor Way of the Gun Sling here
- UKSF Nairobi Kenya incident LaRue RISR here
- UKSF Nairobi Kenya incident Surefire RM45L M620 Scout mount here
- UKSF Belize ‘Jungle Set-up’ L119A2 parts breakdown here