As long as I have been into airsofting, I have wondered what kind of equipment should I get and what I should attempt to ‘represent’ with the said kit. I started, after a pause for a few years, actively airsofting again in 2007-2008 and collected a fairly good representation of a 1968 Vietnam War US 101st Abn Infantry soldier. Sadly this kit has now been sold, mostly, but Vietnam has and always will be close to my heart. Maybe someday this kit will be built up again but currently I have no desire to do so. I am now aiming on a more modern kit which will get me through most events that I usually attend, whether they are short events or overnight or weekend long for that matter.
About a year ago I started to build up an interest towards British Army kit. I’ve always loved DPM as it works well in Finland and is cheap as well (talking about the jackets and pants here). I wanted something ‘special’, not necessarily in the term of special forces but something that no one in my area where I skirmish at has thought about. Well I already had a closet full of MTP, DDPM and DPM, so I thought about expanding on that onto the more UKSF side of things. I started to find pictures and information about UKSF and I found a photo of two SBS operators sitting with a CIA agent in Afghanistan, I think around 2000-2002 (correct me if I’m wrong). That image sparked the idea of a SBS kit set in that era, but not based on that particular picture but on a set of pictures, from which I would get the ideas around which I would build my own representation. I noticed that the kit they used, apart from the weapons and vests, was mostly from the civilian market and fairly easy to acquire through Ebay. I also thought about a more ‘direct action’ kind of kit, set around Task Force Black, but that is more of a eternity project as sourcing some essential kit for that set is proving difficult, both googling vice and for my wallet as well. But it will probably get there eventually.
I would like to point out, though this particular post is about the L119A1 and not the kit itself, that I build my ‘impressions’ around a series of pictures most of the time. I do not attempt to make a accurate representation and therefore I might not the a re-enactor or ‘geardo’ as some people would argue. This is airsoft for me and it will stay that way. The kit will pass as accurate enough for events that so require (at least I like to think so) but may not be 100% spot on. I use stuff that works for me but at the same time I do my best to build it around the stuff that the real operators would most likely have in hand.
Since I had most of the kit needed, I started to think about the tools of the trade. It seemed that the only plausible option would be the L119A1 SFW used by UKSF. Now bear with me through the following, as I am not an expert with the real firearm. If there are any errors here, I apologize. The L119A1 is built according to the Canadian Diemaco C8, which is nowadays owned by Colt, rebranding it as Colt Canada. It is a ‘copy’ of the infamous M4 model which is used by, most notably, the US Military. The L119A1 variation is not to be mistaken for an M4 however, as it differs from the latter quite a bit. I am concentrating on the aesthetic aspects of the weapon, or AEG in this matter as we are talking about airsoft, and not the internal aspects. Gearboxes are a different thing altogether and real weapons are for someone else to write about. If I miss something here that should be mentioned, I will add it in later on. I will use my own build as a reference when possible and all the pictures I use here are my own.
The stock in the L119A1 is of the old CAR-15 variation, with a rubber stock pad. To get the most authentic one, you will need to source a real deal stock pad, if you can find one. Mine is a Guarder (I think) that is close enough for me.
The pistol grip is also thicker.
The outer barrel is also thicker in places than the M4 model one. The silenced versions which have the shorter barrel also are different in length when compared with the Mk18 MOD 0.
The front sight is also reinforced, meaning that there is no gap where the barrel is visible. There is no bayonet slug either, which enables the silencer to be placed closer to the front sight. There are some replicas of this around, but many have used milliput and what-not to modify an original M4 front sight to the accurate model. Unfortunately mine is just an old M4 sight, with the gap ‘hidden’ with some paracord, which allows me to use different slings in my AEG.
The L119A1 also features a different kind of carry handle sight. It resembles the old M16A1 model but has a rail attachment possibility. No replicas have been made to my knowledge, so sourcing a real one is the way to go. The sling attachment is also different from the usual styles seen in the M4 models. The one in the L119A1 has a dual sided narrow pathway to accommodate the L85 sling (at least to my knowledge). Whether you use a sling or not, all weapons seem to have this sling plate. Close replicas are apparently made of these, but getting the right one means, again, to get the real deal. Fitting a real deal one on an AEG will require modification.
The trademarks on the receiver also differ from the M4 models. According to my research, there are receivers that were marked as C8 (original test models?), plain receivers (made in a hurry when mass production began with the war) and also ones with L119A1 markings on them. Apparently an airsoft manufacturer called Dragon Red made the L119A1 style receivers at some time but I have not been able to find these in stock anywhere. Red Wolf Airsoft had some Prime CNC machined L119A1 lower receivers in their webshop for the Systema PTW but these were out of stock as well
Availability of parts
Because the L119A1 is not available for purchase as a complete package, unless you buy it private, you need to source all the parts yourself and built it from the receiver onwards. As a base model, you may want to get an AEG that has some of the correct parts already. Either the right kind of stock, receiver (blank works, for me at least) or one with RIS rails. My approach was neither. I bought a G&G M4 because of the gearbox. I have had very good experiences with G&G and most of my weapons are of that brand. I will not go into detail about my gearbox as that is not the meaning of this post.
My receiver is currently a DBoys M4 one without any markings. As said before, there have been some L119A1 receivers with correct marking on the market but I have not yet found one. Until I do, this receiver I have now will suffice. The receiver is otherwise ‘ok’ but the top and bottom don’t feel solid enough to me and they wobble a bit. Nothing a little electrical tape wont fix though.
My stock is a G&P 5-position CAR-15 stock which I bought from Red Wold Airsoft. The buffer tube in the stock is made in a way which enables a LiPo battery to be fitted inside. I also run a mosfet and a 7.4v 20c 1200 mAh LiPo fits perfectly inside the stock. I have removed my fuse box, as it was getting a bit too tight with it. You can also use a front wired gun if you prefer to use a battery box (PEQ-15 and PEQ-2 are correct). I do not prefer these and if I do get one of those boxes, it will function as it should and not be a prop.
The stock also needs a rubber stock pad, or recoil pad. This seems to be present in just about all the weapons I have seen. Two different models have been used and sourcing a real one is a pain. I use a Guarder Rubber Stock Pad and it is close enough for me.
The pistol grip is a G&P Storm Grip. Guarder makes one as well and it is called Guarder Stowaway Grip. I chose the G&P one because of availability, since the Guarder one was out of stock at the time. My hands are not big but I still like the larger grip when compared to the slimmer M4 version. My grip required some light filing and dremelling to fit into the DBoys receiver, but nothing major. Other than that, it works well.
When buying RIS for your L119A1, make sure you get the correct ones. There are two types, RIS and RAS. The major difference seems to be that the RIS rails used in the L119A1 are numbered T-L-B-R 1-13 while the incorrect (for the L119A1) RAS are numbered 14-28. Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is according to my research. You can also fit a real deal KAC RIS into your AEG with some slight modifications, I have heard. Also remember to get some of the rail covers. My RIS is by DBoys and rail covers are ACM. They work for me,
The outter barrel on my L119A1 is a Pro-Arms L1191 Aluminum Outer Barrel, which I bought from ehobbyasia. the barrel comes in two parts, the shorter ‘CQB’ model and the extension. The full length of the barrel is 15.8 inches and the M4 model barrel is 14.5 inches. I recommend getting the correct barrel for your L119A1 as it does make a difference. The barrel I mentioned here also allows you to convert your AEG into the CQB variant if you source a replica of the Surefire 556 Silencer. Remember to get the 6 inch version as that is the only correct one. For flash hiders, you can use a regular bird cage style one but also ‘vortex’ and Surefire 556 flash hiders have been seen in use. Mine is a 556 replica with some minor quirks that make it funny looking, but it can be modded to look better. I paid around 20 euros for mine from ebay.
Scopes and red dots. These have caused some debate in some forums as what is in use and what is not. For sure, at least ACOG with 4x zoom is used. The model without the fiber cable at the top is the correct one. TA01NSN is said to be a correct one, either with a docter sight or without, with some side covers for the top docter. 55x style sights have also been said to have been seen in use. I have not confirmed this.
To conclude this section I would like to stress again that this is just my view of the weapon. I might have taken some ‘artistic liberty’ when putting it all together but hey, for me it’s airsoft! I never go for 100% authenticity but use what works for me with the parts that I have available and can buy with not much stress for me wallet at the time. In the end, my L119A1 might turn out to be different than it is now but only time will tell how it will look in the end. You can’t have everything at once and the purpose of this post was to show off mine and not to be a definitive guide to L119A1’s.
Getting the parts
Here are the parts and places I bought mine from. They could be and most likely are available from elsewhere as well and for that reason I listed their names accurately ehere so you can either google them or ask your local airsoft retailer whether they are available. No links directly to the parts either. Use the search on the websites.
G&P M4A1 5 Position Sliding Buttstock (Black)
From Redwolf Airsoft (http://redwolfairsoft.com)
Guarder Recoil Rubber Butt Pad
G&P Storm Pistol Grip with Heat Sink End Set for M4/M16 AEG (Black)
Pro-Arms L119A1 Aluminum Outer Barrel for Marui M4/M16 Series AEG
From ehobbyasia (http://ehobbyasia.com)
Surefire 556 Flashider
From ebay (http://ebay.com), it was listed as ‘Army Force SF Type 2 Steel Flash Hider (14mm CCW) AF-FL0007’
Dboys RIS (I had this, bought it locally as a second hand item)