Anyone who knows me (or sees me on the field) will tell you that I’m pretty big on externals. I love tinkering with things like rails, stocks, optics, illumination, lasers, etc. Not everything gives me an in-game advantage (if anything, some of it is just effectively dead weight) but boy, does it look cool.
After the break, a quick look at what is quickly becoming one of my favorite AEGs, both externally and internally – my LCT AK 104. Specifically, the front end.
When I picked up the LCT AK in a trade from Jester, it already came with the front gas tube rail, as well as a lower handguard rail. I removed the lower handguard because I preferred the clean look of the stock lower handguard, but kept the railed gas tube because, well, you can’t stick stuff onto an AEG without rails. There was some play between the lower handguard and the gas tube rail, but a few plastic shims solved that problem and now it’s solid as a rock.
For most of my AEGs, the front end has to have three things: illumination tool, front sling mount, and an optic. Details on each of these below:
- Element Surefire M300 Scout Light in an ACM HSP Thorntail Mount: Mounting a flashlight on the front rails was a bit of a challenge, since most flashlight mounts obscure the low-set iron sights and any optics you may toss on there. Eventually I found that the HSP Thorntail (or at least, its replica) was exactly what I was looking for – it was both low set and thus didn’t obscure my line of sight with my optics, and it put the light out in front of the gun in an ideal position for thumb stud activation. Awesome.
The Element M300 was a light I’d had kicking around for awhile. The light is decently bright and has two brightness settings. Unfortunately, the only way to switch between the brightness levels is to click it on and off, meaning that you probably won’t always be sure whether you’ll be getting a high or low beam when you click it on. Otherwise, it’s a decent light and the M300 length is perfect for this carbine length gun.
- ACM Magpul RSA: I’ve always been a fan of front sling points, particularly since I primarily run a one point sling (Magpul MS3) for ease of maneuverability. Thus, having the front sling point is important since it lets me switch to a two point configuration when I’m between games or walking to/from respawn, and thus take some of the pressure off my tired shoulders.
While the AK does come with a front sling point, it’s very small and can’t be used with the MS3’s sling without use of a keyring or something. I’m a huge fan of the Magpul RSA and that’s what I went for here, although I did use an ACM clone that I’m not a fan of. I bought two of these at the same time from Airsoftdepot.ca and one has already stripped the threading, rendering it useless. I’m hoping this doesn’t follow suit, although if I keep it on there and don’t mess with it too much it should be okay.
An added benefit of the RSA placement is that it provides a convenient thumb shelf for my supporting hand, and keeps my thumb perfectly in line with the M300 for activation of the thumb stud.
- ACM Aimpoint T-1: My ACM Aimpoint T-1 clone was far and away the only optic I ever considered for this gun, given its small rail footprint and weight/size. This particular ACM T-1 has been with me for at least a year or so and is still going strong, although the highest brightness setting doesn’t quite work 100% of the time anymore. Regardless, it’s a solid optic and still holds zero pretty well. It has seen its fair share of dings and scratches, but still performs reliably.
Altogether I’m extremely happy with my current setup for my AK, and don’t see myself changing anything on it (at least externally) any time soon. It provides all the front-end tools I need, and manages to look super cool while doing so. I never fail to get a couple of compliments and jealous stares whenever I bring it out to the field… and one particular player who shall remain nameless tends to fondle it lovingly whenever he can.
I think that’s the sign of a good looking gun.