I wasn’t expecting to go very much beyond version 2.1 of my Tackleberried HAO L119A2 Systema PTW prior to painting it.
However, what was planned as a small change – under the bonnet – turned out to be highly consequential; becoming the catalyst for an accessories rethink.
The small change was a barrel swap. While the original steel HAO L119A2 barrel is a thing of beauty, like all steel barrels it makes the build extremely front heavy. That may be more realistic, but it’s a hell of a PITA lugging it around all day.
Indeed, it’s not just that the barrel is steel. The L119A2 barrel – unlike the slim M4A1 government profile barrel – has a much thicker ‘bull’ profile making it even heavier. This thickness is great for accuracy in the RS, but that doesn’t really translate in replica world; especially if you use said replica for airsoft skirmishing or any other airsoft-based event. The only real gain of steel barrels over aluminium ones is that they are stronger.
So, I put up with the weight while I waited for HAO to release its aluminium L119A2 barrel. Needless to say, they made a great job of it – replicating the form factor and markings of the RS. It also means I finally get to go back to a 14mm CCW thread – the standard for airsoft – which reintroduces a wider range of replica flash hiders.
It’s not that the replica Surefire FH-216A market is particularly broad. That said, there are now two replica L119A2 suppressors on the market (Angry Gun’s latter day Surefire FA556SA and Airsoft Artisan’s legacy version) which standardise on Angry Gun’s more than passable flash hider. I’m not rushing to buy one of these cans because I like the light weight and signature modulation of my Bruno 3D printed suppressor. But, I’m pleased to now have the option should I change my mind.
With the barrel swapped over by Tackleberry, I imagined I’d put my L119A2 away until it was time to use it. That wasn’t to be.
Changing the barrel radically altered how the gun handles. It’s not the first time I’ve swapped from steel to aluminium (and vice versa). Nevertheless, it is the first time I’ve been compelled to make changes to re-optimise the handling of a rifle.
It was something of a reset towards a more classic look.
1. From BCM Vertical Grip to Magpul AFG2
The first change was rolling back from a more modern BCM Vertical Grip to the venerable Magpul AFG2. To be fair, there’s not much between them in this configuration, but the AFG2 just pips the BCM for shoulder comfort.
2. Removal of tape switch
Both Inforce WMLx and replica LA5 are now controlled by thumb, doing away with pressure pad, Manta panels and cable.
3. From Magpul MOE SL-K to Magpul CTR
This was the toughest call to make and in the end it was based not on function, but on on the look when combined with the AFG2. I strongly suspect the MOE SL-K will see more use in game, as for me it’s the better stock – functionally.
I’m also using my Viking Tactics sling again – enhanced with a Ferro Concepts pull tab; although that doesn’t preclude use of any other sling, which will be decided on a case by case basis. There will be times when other slings will be more appropriate.
The next step will be paint, which I’m currently mulling over in terms of pattern and design.
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 AFG2
- RS Magpul ASAP
- RS Magpul RSA
- RS Pmags converted by Tackleberry
- RS VTAC Wide-padded Sling (Upgraded)
Articles About the Real L119A2
- The Comprehensive L119A2 Parts and Accessories List
- The Original L119A2 Overview
Manchester 2017 Incident
- Manchester incident video
- Manchester L119A2 with Old Gen FA556SA & Direct Mount Surefire M600
Newcastle 2018 Incident
- Details of the Newcastle L119A2s Part 1
- Details of the Newcastle L119A2s Part 2
- Newcastle L119A2 with Ferro Concepts The Slingster
Obi Wan Nairobi 2019 Kenya Incident
- Obi Wan Nairobi L119A2 parts breakdown
- Obi Wan Nairobi L119A2 Frank Proctor Way of the Gun (WOTG) Sling
- Obi Wan Nairobi L119A2 LaRue RISR
- Obi Wan Nairobi L119A2 Surefire RM45L M620 Scout Mount
- Obi Wan Nairobi L119A2 Sig Sauer Romeo 4T
Specific Parts Articles
- L119A2 with Magpul QDM and ASAP QD
- L119A2 with Magpul MS3 Sling
- L119A2 with Magpul ACS Stock Part 1
- L119A2 with Magpul ACS Stock in use Part 2
Colt Canada Parts
- Real Steel L119A2 Colt Canada parts
S&S Precision Parts
- S&S Precision Sling Clip (Old Gen)
- Inforce WMLx
- Surefire FA556SA Suppressor
- GG&G Aimpoint T1 Mount
- GG&G AR15 Vertical Fore-grip
General L119A2 Articles
- Egypt video showing potential LA5 replacement by Rheinmetall
- Belize ‘Jungle Set-up’ L119A2 parts breakdown here
- 15.7″ L119A2 upper in use here
- L119A2 IUR pic breakdown
- L119A2 Alternative IUR pic breakdown
- LVAW-style MCX and L119A2