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I'm looking to make a recreation of Gary Gordon's load out preferably as accurate as possible. I know only the basics (his base rifle but not any attachments he might have had, the DCU's and helmet, I also know the vest but that is the extent om my knowledge.) and have done a fair bit of research, but I don't want to anymore. Any (constructive) contribution will be greatly appreciated. 

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NonEx, Gary Gordon was a Delta who died in Black Hawk Down incident in Mogadishu. Got a Posthumous Medla of Honour for it.
wardaddy, there's an old, long thread where people were indeed doing the research on what kit was used there and by whom.


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Check out Garand Thumb on Youtube..he did a homage to the rifle he was using and built a real-steel copy of the rifle. I believe he also did a small bit on the equipment they were using at the time. It's listed as "Black Hawk Down M14".


Edited by Wingman
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Thank you sandstorm, Ill be sure to check out that old thread. And thank you Wingman, that's my favorite garandthumb video. unfortunately he doesn't go into great detail on anything other than the helmet, which I already know the set up of. And as for NonEx, you should look up Randy Shughart and Gary Gordon, you could also just watch Blackhwak Down, which i recommend. that movies awesome.

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By no means am I an expert on the Gothic Serpent ("Black Hawk Down") operation, but I'll chime in with what I recall and you can go from there.

Gordon, like most of the rest of Delta, was armed with an M723 carbine. Shugart, the other Delta sniper, was, quite famously, armed with an M14.

The M723 was a 14.5" carbine with a "C7" style upper receiver - basically fixed carry handle upper with an A1 style sight, but with the addition of a brass deflector. The barrels on these were either the standard what we call today "M4 profile" barrel with the cut-outs for the grenade launcher OR the slimmer "pencil" style barrel. In general, early M723s had the pencil barrel and later purchased ones came with the "M4 profile" although, again, because these pre-date the M4 they weren't called "M4 style" barrels at the time.

The optic used by Delta during Gothic Serpent was the Aimpoint 5000 although Delta had been using the Aimpoint 2000 during the Gulf War "scud hunting" campaign and so the Aimpoint 2000 may also be correct. The light used was a Surefire 660 typically with an attached IR filter. These are sort of hard to find, but a Surefire 6P is similar and, I believe, was used by Delta at a later date.

For night shooting, rifles were equipped with an AIM-1/D IR laser device. These are difficult to find and expensive although a few have been seen on eBay recently going for north of $500 - typically shipping from Turkey, oddly enough.

Famously, Gordon had a long over-barrel suppressor on his rifle (see picture below). These type of suppressors were produced later by OPS Inc and had a few different model names ("1st Model", "3rd Model" etc). The one used by Shugart was, in my understanding, custom built prior to when OPS Inc became an actual company and started to commercially produce suppressors, so it doesn't have a specific designation. That said, a few companies make "OPS" style suppressors including JBU, G&P and VFC. The VFC one can be purchased through VFC's website and is of decent quality. These suppressors actually slide over the standard 14.5" barrel and so even though they look long, only a portion of the total length is working to provide sound suppression.

The 723s used what we call today "CAR-15" style stocks. Virtually all models of these made today are plastic, but the early versions were actually all metal. 723s stocks were, from the factory, two position - either all the way in or all the way out. Delta armorers would drill the buffer tubes on the rifles to add a 3rd position that fit to the shooter's preference when they were wearing body armor.

One thing to remember about these fancy, special forces type carbines is that they were COTS ("Commercial Off-the-Shelf") purchases from Colt. So while we sometimes refer to these guns as "M653", "M723", "M727", "M733" etc, they were not type designated by the U.S. military like the official M16A1, M16A2 and the later M4. The numbers ("653," "723" etc) usually came from Colt's catalogue - Colt usually referred to them as "RO723" or "RO727." In general, when orders came in from special units, Colt frequently just tossed whatever parts they had on hand onto the rifles - so even though a rifle might be a "723" it might have a pencil barrel or an "M4" barrel. So within a series of rifles ("723") you had small variations. Colt's "RO733" (famous from the movie "HEAT" as the M733 used by Val Kilmer) were sometimes produced with A1 style sights and sometimes with A2 style sights - again, minor variations between rifles that had the same designation.

Something else to note about the U.S. troops in Mogadishu is that some of Rangers from the 75th who were present were equipped with COTS M727 carbines (A2 style sights). So NOT all photos of guys with carbines in Mogadishu are of Delta. If they guy has a 723 (A1 style sights) he's MOST LIKELY Delta, whereas if he has A2 style sights, he's a Ranger. 

Phew, that's a long post. I'll rap up here and suggest you check out these FB groups for additional info:




And if you're into using real steel parts in airsoft, take a look at my M723 retro HPA rifle build group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2332026353530975

Former Delta operator Larry Vicker sat down with Ian from Forgotten Weapons to discuss the M723 that he carried.

EDIT: ONE LAST THING! Due to the popularity of the Black Hawk Down (2001) movie, there are A LOT of guides/threads out there for this particular impression. Unfortunately, though the movie is pretty rad, the gear used wasn't always correct and so you frequently find guides that basically just reference the film. A ton of Blackhawk brand gear was used in the film, but, obviously wasn't in use during the actual events of 1993. The optics used on the Delta rifles in the film, the COMPM4 Aimpoint, also isn't correct. So you kinda gotta be careful about what guides you're using and see if they have reference pictures from the actual event itself.


Delta operators in Mogadishu.


Another photo of Delta guys in The Mog.


The above image is not from Mogadishu, but gives you a good look at the carbines. The rifle on the left is a 723 with pencil barrel, the middle rifle is a 723 with the cuts for the grenade launcher on the barrel (i.e. "M4 profile" barrel) and the rifle on the right is a 653 (notice the lack of a brass deflector) with what looks to me like an "M4 profile" barrel.





"Another tax-payer funded Delta safari!" - Here's a Delta operator with an M723 (notice the A1 sights and brass deflector). He's got an M203 and a Surefire 660 with filter mounted. You can also see, mostly obscured by the rifle, an AIM-1D mounted on the rifle's left side. He's wearing TG Faust body armor and has a chest rig mounted over it. AWS makes a replica of this style chest rig called the "Strike chest rig"


Gordon is pictured center with no helmet. Note the OPS Inc suppressor on his rifle.



My custom built M723 with the VFC Ops 3rd Model suppressor. It doesn't actually fit my barrel very well - it should be flush with the front sight post.



Ranger John Belman. Notice that he's carrying an M727 - you can tell because the rifle has the A2 style rear sight.



Another photo of Rangers with M727s. Also notice the difference in the body armor. Rangers used both the "Ranger Body Armor" RBA, the woodland body armor in the center and the black T.G. Faust body armor. Based on photos, it appears that Delta used primarily the T.G. Faust armor.

Edited by Gigueand
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One of the key takeaways from that video is that the rifle they built used an Allen Engineering AEM5 suppressor on a 11.5" barrel. A LOT of people trying to replicate the Gordon carbine use this method because the overbarrel OPS suppressors for 14.5" are no longer commercially available. So, just keep in mind that Gordon's actual rifle was a 723 with a 14.5" barrel, not a 733 with a 11.5" barrel. The optic they use, the COMPM2 Aimpoint, is also incorrect for the event, although they were used in the movie. 

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Curious OP but are you looking to build more of the movie rifle or what was accurate to the time? Because those are pretty different, and being that it is a custom rifle built in the time before rail-mounted accessories were a thing, if you want it truly accurate, some of those parts will be very hard to find now.

I've built Gordon's rifle before (sold it unfortunately), but most of the parts used for the build are hard to find/out of production.

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Guigeand, excellent post.

OP, I suggest that you take your time and sift through this thread: http://www.france-airsoft.fr/forum/index.php?showtopic=101482&st=15960

I cannot tell you exactly what page 8sorry, it's over 800 pages long9, but there's a guy who even has original hardcore gear, like period correct NVGs and radios.

IMO, that level of detail is overkill. Most of the stuff is unobtainable nowadays.

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