Blood Diamond is one of those films that I’ve loved for years and have recently taken a renewed interest in for one reason: Danny Archer’s CAR-15. Before we get into the meat of it, I’d just like to point out that yes a lot of the inspiration to do the build came from following @3executiveoutcomes, and if you aren’t following him yet you absolutely should be.
You know in America it’s bling bling but out here it’s bling bang huh?Leo doing a shit South African accent
Background behind the build
Cloning isn’t really my thing, I dipped my toes into the cloner pool with my L119A2 and found that it was an endless pit of perfecting, and especially in the UKSF circles a petri dish for some of the worst cuntery in the community. Freestyle builds have always been the best in my eyes but with my carry handle upper I found myself in the perfect sweetspot between doing a clone, and actually enjoying it.
Since getting my PTW I’d been focussing on the modern uppers, and originally wanted to keep the carry handle as plain Jane as possible, but as usual the need to make it practical with white lights and optics got the better of me and so the tumble down the rabbit hole began, landing us here.
Over the past few months the setup has gone from a very loose take on a modern Gordy rifle, to an even looser Colt 727 and finally to what is now a relatively “accurate” Blood Diamond carbine.
The Blood Diamond Car-15
I landed on the Blood Diamond look as a result of it being all the features I wanted in a package that is not only pop-culture-cool as shit, but looks fucking great.
With the vanilla CAR-15 as a base, the first addition was the need for white light. I didn’t just want to do another Surefire Scout but I also didn’t want to fall down the rabbit hole of paying through the nose for an obscure light that would end up being restrictive. The option I landed on was a Surefire 6P. Retro builders will know that the SF 660 is the correct torch to use, but for me the 6P’s proliferation made it easier to build the setup I wanted without the dread of breaking a rare and collectible item.
Inside the 6P I replaced the original incandescent bulb with a white LED drop in, and on the back I added a Solarforce tape switch. This combination brings what is a pretty outdated torch into the 21st century, and the changeable bulbs means that there is scope to use an IR drop in for NVG use.
Getting the 6P onto the gun was one of the pivotal moments in nailing this CAR-15 down as a truly Blood Diamond inspired build. As silly as that sounds it was the method of cutting down a universal barrel mount and applying it in between the “legs” of an AR15 front sight which first led me to the Executive Outcomes build, and on to looking a bit more closely at Danny Archer’s rifle in the film. This is a seriously low profile system that holds the torch in the low 45° position, and when combined with the “correct” Weaver 1″ ring, the 6P sits snugly next to the CAR-15 handguards.
While the optic itself is actually my most recent acquisition for the build, it is replacing a reproduction of itself and as such the concept had been there for quite some time. Using an Aimpoint M2 was another aspect of the build that dragged me away from leaning towards a Gothic Serpent 723 (727 because A1 uppers for Systema PTWs are all but non-existent), and pushed me towards the BD carbine.
Originally I had planned to go down the Aimpoint 5000 road, but as with the Surefire 660 I was hesitant to fork out for a rare optic that I would then want to take extra special care of, especially as I was planning to spray paint the build. Instead I slapped a cheap as shit M2 replica on a cheap as shit carry handle rail and was very happy with the results. More recently I picked up a legit M2 to take it’s place.
For years I looked at carry handle mounted optics and thought “that looks crap and uncomfortable”, preferring the solid cheek weld you get from flat top mounted, traditional height optics. After playing around with the high mounted M2 though I found that once the “chin weld” technique felt a bit more natural, the actual aiming experience became a lot more comfortable. This heads up position puts a lot less stress on the neck, and if like me you are guilty of riding your stock too high in the shoulder you’ll find that problem reduced by mounting the optic up high.
Mounting your optic high on a carry handle also makes passively aiming through NV as easy as aiming with the naked eye, so much so in fact that it has now come back in fashion to get your optic as high as you can using either the Unity Tactical or Midwest Industries 2.24″ mounts.
Crazy how in the 90s we had high mounted optics and low pro light mounts, just to move away and then come back to similar solutions.@tan_rifle
Barrel and Moderator
The final piece of the Blood Diamond CAR-15 puzzle was getting the barrel and moderator right. The simple part of this was getting a new 10.5″ barrel from Z-Parts to replace the Systema one I sent away on permanent loan along with my second carry handle upper. While it feels like a bit of a step back to replace a steel barrel with aluminium the focus on actually liking this gun won out, and so I went for the lighter and more pleasant to carry option.
The decision to use a 10.5 came less from wanting to replicate the film and more from a preference towards shorter guns. In real life barrel length matters, but in airsoft and especially in PTWs this is not the same. You will get far more out of a short barrel and high power setup than you will out of a low power, 24″ barrel. With this in mind having anything over 10″ becomes something of a waste, and while it might look good I still wanted this to be a gun I’d actually enjoy using.
Hanging on the front of the gun is a G&P CAR-15/607 moderator, which in real life essentially acts as a blast diffuser (see again the similarities between 1960’s technology and it’s modern equivalent in the Surefire Warden). For my purposes on an airsoft gun this is a totally aesthetic addition, but seeing as all my other preferences had landed me this close to Danny Archer’s carbine I thought fuck it and decided to push it over the line.
The moderator is actually the part of the build I’m the least happy with as it looks to me to be a little bit off spec from the original film rifle, so going forward my plan is actually to have a go at fabricating one for myself. This obviously has the potential to go horribly wrong so for the time being the G&P is good enough.
Lower and Stock
The bottom half of my PTW is about as “incorrect” for a Blood Diamond CAR-15 as you can get, and wasn’t changed at all from the setup I use with my other uppers. The most visually important part is of course the stock, and as luck would have it the traditional CAR-15/C8 stock is my favourite for all applications thanks to its short butt plate (AGAIN, old stock with short butt is good for use with armour, just like the modern Magpul SL-K).
Everything else on the lower is heathenous however. Magpul MOE grip, trigger guard and ASAP plate are all as period incorrect as it gets but again here’s the crucial part; I care more about actually liking the gun than it being clone correct. For me the A2 grip is uncomfortable, straight trigger guards get in the way and I’m too lazy to take the ASAP off, although I did take a dremel to the sling ring as I don’t use it and it rattling was annoying as fuck.
Using the blood diamond rifle
In truth I haven’t had the opportunity to put the rifle to a great deal of “serious” use, but where I have I really struggle to justify using any of the modern setups. As this is a toy gun, weight never really becomes a major factor in the equation but even so the extra material of the carry handle doesn’t matter when compared to the massive savings in an aluminium barrel and plastic handguards. What you are left with is a lightweight, slickish AR15 setup that can be fully rigged for night time use with ease.
The only thing I can’t have on this upper than I can on my dedicated “night gun” upper is an IR laser, but with the Aimpoint M2 having specific NV modes and being so easy to aim through the need isn’t really there. That combined with the inevitable “spot” that an IR torch would give you would probably make using the Blood Diamond CAR-15 as easy to use blacked out, as it does in the day.
Honestly, this is my favourite rifle. It’s quirky, simple and carries all the ergonomic hallmarks of a modern gucci AR15 without half of the expense or fuckery that comes with today’s firearms industry. If you’ve got access to a carry handle upper for your airsoft gun of choice then I’d advise putting the time and effort into it.
Just as a final word, this is not a real gun. If you are reading this and thinking “this guy’s a fucking moron I’m not taking that old piece of shit to war” then A) I’m surprised you made it this far without realising it’s airsoft and B) this is cool as a hobby piece. If you’re building a duty rifle then go with the modern stuff, if you’re looking to build a cool gun to flex on Instagram then take a look at the Executive Outcomes BD carbine FAQ, where you’ll find all the parts you’ll need to make a real one.
Thanks for sitting through my write up of my Blood Diamond CAR-15. It’s not often I do an airsoft specific piece and so for all the live fire readers I hope you at least found some visual entertainment. If you’ve got any questions about this build, or anything else, fire them over to my Instagram @thegeardocrow. Cheers cunts.
Piss off huh.Danny Archer