As much as I like the look of V1.0 of my Tackleberried HAO L119A2 Systema PTW, I felt that further optimisation was worth looking at; not least because I was compelled to grip the light, when supporting the front end in C-clamp mode (thumb over bore).
It’s not an uncommon practice, as you can see from the Obi Wan Nairobi pic below, but I wasn’t 100% positive towards it.
So, I did what I often do when I need to make a configuration decision – I go through my reference material. This is partly to get ideas and partly to make sure that whatever I decide on is at least loosely canonical. Only this time I think I spotted something I hadn’t seen before.
Is that a hand stop of some description?
The image is a screenshot from the Thrudark video entitled ‘ Operator’ and it is thought to depict a Poole-based cool guy. I paid close attention to the video and took a series of screenshots. The object was immutably present, regardless of the transitional backdrop.
Now, I can’t positively ID the item I spotted. I don’t even know if it is a hand stop. Regardless, it got the cogs turning. After trawling through a long list of candidates from the usual suspects like Magpul and FAB Defense – and then a plethora of companies I’d not even heard of – I became interested in trying the BCM Kinesthetic Angled Grip (KAG) 1913 Picatinny Rail Version. At this point it’s worth stating that there have been multiple independent reports of BCM gear in use with SBS.
So, having used puny old skool handstops – but never one of this kind – I ordered the KAG from Tactical Kit.
Readers would be forgiven at this point for thinking I’m setting the scene, ready to announce a paradigm shift in my blaster’s ergonomics; inevitability gushing about this life changing, funky hand stop thing.
However, it’s something of an anticlimax.
The KAG didn’t impart the Goldilocks ergonomics I was looking for (my support shoulder still knows it’s doing something it’s not really designed to do) but it is significantly different to the GG&G vertical grip from my original setup (V1.0). So, worth a go if you’re not entirely satisfied with your current ergonomics.
The full reconfiguration I adopted next – V1.1 – developed from the grip I counted on least: the reference pic ubiquitous Magpul AFG2.
To make this form factor work, I reverted from my RM45 to the classic Surefire thumbscrew mount – which comes bundled with the M600DF – and located it up front on the left side picatinny segment. This meant I could use the AFG2 and manipulate the M600’s clicky tail cap with the thumb of my support hand.
I also changed the Element LA5’s cable admin subtly – introducing an additional Manta item (a Cross Clip) to both redirect the wire and take out some slack.
Ergonomically it all worked out, but I felt I could do better.
Spurred on by a conversation with L119A2 guru Matt (@theotherguy1999), I decided to research both red dot and PEQ placement to see how I could move things around.
After watching this Larry Vickers video, I took my optic back a notch so that it was roughly centred over the ejector port cover.
As for my LA5 I thought I was stuck with its forward location, until I found this excellent Jeff Gurwitch article:
“Mounting an IR Laser on Your M-4 Carbine: You’re Probably Doing It Wrong”
I originally discovered the author’s writing while he was penning the seminal, four part Combat Crossover series for Defense Review. I often reread those articles.
So, imagine my delight in finding an article by the same author, which challenges what appear to be common misconceptions about PEQ placement; and – as a consequence – engenders greater placement options and therefore a better chance of ergonomic optimisation.
Needless to say, aside from moving my optic, I also moved my LA5 – locating it just in front of the optic.
Indeed, I could have relied solely upon reference pics to justify the relocation:
However, it’s always gratifying to know some of the real reasons behind configuration decisions, rather than guessing or making assumptions using incomplete information.
Moving the LA5 meant a fundamental change in pressure pad position – now moved forward of the LA5, rather than to the rear.
Next, I moved the Magpul RSA to the 6 O’clock rail – aft of the AFG2 – and it works surprisingly well in this position. Pulling from the bottom I was expecting it to tip the gun outwards, but it kind of folds it in towards me.
The next piece of the puzzle was my adoption of the Inforce WMLx Gen 2 white/IR (in black, naturally). This was largely a consequence of more discussions with Matt; and – again – sourced from Tactical Kit. I could have made further use of the Surefire M600DF, but I rather like that for EDC if I’m honest.
Notwithstanding, the look, legitness and ergonomics of the WMLx spoke to me. The first person I know who’s used one on their L119A2 replica is perr_mike – one of the godfathers of the UKSF impression scene. John D had also given it the thumbs up – in terms of function and intuitiveness – and though I’m loath to tell him he’s right, he’s right!
In fact, quite a few people I rate say good things about the WML series, including L119A2 guru Andy J who was an early adopter. I have no problem agreeing when he’s right.
So that’s Tackleberried HAO L119A2 Systema PTW V1.2 – but it’s not the end…
With the WMLx installed (changing the ergonomics significantly) I wanted to try the LA5 up front again.
So, V1.3 came out like this. Getting warmer…
However, where I ended up – V1.4 – utilises the BCM GUNFIGHTER Vertical Grip Mod 3 – Picatinny; something which I’d discarded in favour of the GG&G vertical grip in V1.0 of the build.
I’ve tried the BCM grip canted both ways; angled back works best for me in this setup.
And just look at the way the curve of the L119A2’s front Picatinny segment blends smoothly into the WMLx body.
I’m happy with the way everything looks and functions right now.
So, if I’ve underlined anything in this article I hope it’s the benefits of having a quiver of peripherals to choose from. Because even if you only aim to change one thing, it’s nearly always possible to optimise further by trying different combinations of items that may have been rejected in previous iterations.
Build Parts List
- Vertical Grip Mod 3-Picatinny
- RS Colt Canada trigger guard
- RS Colt Canada six position receiver extension
- RS Colt Canada receiver extension nut
- RS Colt Canada ambi charging handle assembly
- RS Colt Canada ambi mag catch assembly
- RS Colt Canada ejector port cover assembly
- Element LA5 w/Jay Taranis‘ UKSF spec label kit
- RS Magpul MOE K2 grip
- RS Magpul ACS stock
- RS Magpul MS3 sling
- RS Magpul RSA
- RS Magpul ASAP
- RS Pmags converted by Tackleberry
- RS Manta momentary switch rail panel
- RS Manta cross clip
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