I’ll start from the very beginning…
For this update about my L119A2 build’s metamorphosis it’s an even longer, more convoluted story. It starts with the notion of ‘jungle configuration’.
Put simply, this means stripping an L119A2 of the peripherals which make it instantly recognisable as a military rifle. As unproductive as that sounds, it’s key to a stage in my blaster’s progression.
And think about it; is a fully kitted-out replica always appropriate? It could be argued that at pure woodland sites, you really don’t need all those lights and lazorz.
Exploring Jungle Configuration
Currently, there aren’t a huge number of public UKSF jungle pics which feature the L119A2.
Those I know of are presented below, with links to the articles from which they originate.
If you click through to nothing else, do read the Taranis Blog article. That’s what originally piqued my interest in jungle configuration. It also acted as a primer and I learned all I could from it with repeated readings.
Judging by pics like these it can be inferred that there is no definitive L119A2 jungle configuration. However, a review of the available material seems to suggest use of fewer optics, lights and laser aiming devices across the piece. Note also that the L85 depicted also follows this trend.
Read any military history with a section on the jungle and you can bet that it will become clear that it is a non-permissive environment for many things – electronics and optical lenses included. These items are of limited use in constant heat and high humidity and if that doesn’t affect them, there’s every chance they’ll be rendered inoperable by jungle mud and detritus (this is said to be one of the reasons closed-top mag pouches are used).
So, if left in situ, optics, lights and laser aiming devices simply add unnecessary weight to a firearm. By the same measure, they also present a snagging hazard on foliage. Similarly, we don’t see suppressors in these L119A2 pics.
So that’s what can be removed from the rifle, but what about additions?
Conspicuously present in some jungle pics are BUIS. For the L119A2, these appear to be of a specific, seemingly impossible to source Colt Canada type which are apparently shipped with the rifle.
This is something I’d love to add to my own rifle. Indeed, some L119A2 enthusiasts have adopted Magpul MBUS Pros in their place; this rationale based on modern SFSG (part of UKSF) L119A1s, which sometimes exhibit a rear BUIS of this type.
Here’s Dean’s awesome GHK with MBUS Pros:
Also sometimes seen added in the wild is a cheap and cheerful tally counter – which I am told is used for micro-navigation (e.g. step counting).
A Touch of Old Skool – Fab Defense MWG
Now, much as I like the look of the fully kitted out L119A2, I thought I’d try it out in more of jungle configuration – I even bought a step counter!
However, parted from the very accessories which make it instantly recognisable as a military replica, it needed more character.
So, I added a rather ugly (but very useful) FAB Defense MWG (magwell grip). It went straight onto the HAO L119A2 lower without modification and is absolutely rock solid.
The combination of MWG and a foregrip (such as an AFG) has been seen in a few L119A2 reference pics; and there’s at least one public example – from Exercise Winchester Accord:
perr_mike also runs the MWG with a foregrip and I can’t say I wasn’t a tiny bit influenced by his build:
Read about Mike’s HAO L119A2 here.
The MWG serves as a great mag funnel, with which to guide home and properly seat a mag. As its name suggests it’s also useful for those who, under certain circumstances (e.g. tight spots), like to grip the mag well. The benefits of the MWG here are ergonomics and the provision of a bulwark against the user’s grip interfering with the mag.
Enter Tackleberried HAO L119A2 V1.4.1
Anyway, getting nearer to the point of the article…
I kept the MWG in situ when I changed my L119A2 from jungle configuration to how it normally looks. I kind of liked it.
The MWG is sort of retro and unfashionable, but having kit which mixes eras appeals to me; especially when it’s a legit anachronism. The old skool of MWG and Magpul ACS – juxtaposed with the nu skool of BCM grip and Sig Romeo 4T optic – could only possibly exist on a UKSF blaster.
A few other subtle changes, which ended up as configuration V1.4.1:
The Big Rethink – Tackleberried HAO L119A2 V2.0
By version 1.4 of the build, I’d changed lights from the Surefire M600DF to Inforce WMLx Gen 2 White/IR. I’d also changed from the original GG&G vertical grip to the BCM Gunfighter Vertical Grip Picatinny.
However, I’ve now decided to change a couple of other significant components and therefore – along with those original substantive tweaks – I’ve ended up with a version 2.0.
Aside from dropping the MWG as I didn’t think it suited the new aesthetic, these are the changes:
1. From Magpul ACS to Magpul CTR Stock
While I’m a big fan of the ACS, I decided in V2.0 to go back to the Magpul CTR; the ‘factory config’ L119A2 stock. True, I’m forgoing the awesome cheek weld of the ACS.
Nevertheless, it just so happens that the ergonomic sweet spot of stock extension is more achievable with the CTR. I realised that for me this outweighs all other considerations.
2. From Sig Sauer Romeo 4T to Aimpoint Micro T2
There’s never been a doubt in my mind that the T2 looks better on an L119A2 than the 4T; probably because the T2 is more ubiquitous in reference pics.
The big draw of the 4T for me was the reticule. I have an astigmatism which causes a simple red dot to change shape. I can never perceive the dot as a circle, and also suffering from dry eyes the dot tends to grow a tail and resemble a comet after too much staring.
That said, a red dot for me isn’t unusable. The dot’s concentricity is just an annoyance and eye drops (as suggested some time ago, pro bono, by Tactical Optician) help with dry eyes.
3. From HAO FH556-216A Flash Hider to Bruno’s 3D Printed FA556SA Can
Much as I admire the HAO 216A flash hider for being the only one on the market right now which exhibits a 1:1 form factor, I want to run suppressed without the additional weight.
Bruno’s cans weigh less than alternatives and are even lighter than HAO’s hider. They are 3D printed from plastic and very much pass the all important squint test.
So, I get a net weight loss and my L119A2’s report moderated with one cheap and cheerful solution. Admittedly the can I’m using was gratis, but these things only cost about €25EU direct from Bruno.
That said, I’m eager to see what Airsoft Artisan and HAO come up with in terms of suppressors; representing as they do two other price points.
Build Parts List
- RS Aimpoint Micro T2 with 39mm spacer and LRP mount
- 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 CTR stock
- RS Magpul MS3 sling
- RS Magpul RSA
- RS Magpul ASAP
- RS Pmags converted by Tackleberry
- RS Manta momentary switch rail panel
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