ISSUE 121 - JANUARY 2021 - FREE
PROUD TO SUPPORT PILGRIM BANDITS CHARITY
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ISSUE 121 - JANUARY 2021 - FREE
ARMOURY: VFC MK18 MOD1 PROUD TO SUPPORT PILGRIM BANDITS CHARITY
ARMOURY: BOLT PDW
Editor: Nigel Streeter Graphic Design: Calibre Publishing Ad Design: Deadshot Design Publisher: Nigel Streeter
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KIT & GEAR: WINTER WARMERS
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34 FEATURE: DSI MCX BUILD
SHOW REPORT: MOA 2020
64 FEATURE: THE FUTURE OF AIRSOFT SITES
TECH REPORT: VFC MEETS LEVIATHAN
72 THE CAGE: ALL I WANT FOR...
JANUARY 2021 8 ARMOURY: VFC MK18 MOD1 GBBR Bill is a lover of shorter AR carbines and a fan of gas blowback models, so he was keen to check out the latest MK18 MOD1 GBBR from VegaForceCompany (VFC). Thanks to Redwolf UK, he was finally able to get “hands on”! 14 ARMOURY: BOLT AIRSOFT B4 PDW B.R.S.S. As Red Cell are setting up to look at a whole bunch of “PDW-style” AEGs next month, Bill has been out on the range preparing things and has been somewhat taken with the latest model to come from BOLT Airsoft in Taiwan! 20 ARMOURY: UMAREX KWA HK45 GBB Having first seen this pistol in Spain, it wasn’t until AA Legionnaire, Stewbacca, arrived in Taiwan that he eventually added one to his armoury. 24 KIT & GEAR: LOFTED GARMENTS Every winter we like to have a look at what’s new from our old friends at Snugpak by including an article on why you should look to invest in some serious “lofted”, or insulated protection. Continuing his look at “good gear to go”, our in-house technical clothing “guru”, Bill, takes a look at both new gear and that which has been thoroughly tried and tested! 30 SHOW REPORT: MOA 2020 Airsoft Action’s Legionnaire in Taiwan, Stewbacca, heads to the annual Military, Outdoor and Airsoft exhibition, where he checked out the new releases from Vega Force Company, among others. 34 FEATURE: DSI MCX BUILD We’re very proud that amongst the team at Airsoft Action ALL of our contributors are actively engaged in the world of airsoft, either as a player or within the industry proper! John “Boycie” Turrell brings us a report of an extremely detailed custom build he was involved in to create a very special - and very specific - AEG! 38 SURVIVAL: IFAK Real life military personnel carry individual first aid kits and, as more airsofters are doing the same, survival expert, Paul Yelland, looks at what items should be included for airsoft. 42 RED CELL: OTHER GBB PISTOLS Although many of the Red cell members live quite close to one another, the recent full lockdown in the UK meant that they were unable to meet in person, so Bill looked to “adapt and overcome” in order to create this month’s test report in order to bring you the results of the test on “other GBBS”! 50 KIT & GEAR: PTS UNITY When it comes down to licensed airsoft products from the firearms and parts industry, PTS Syndicate is always a company worth looking out for! Chris from the Airsoft & Milsim New Blog brings us news of the very latest additions to the expansive PTS Syndicate range. 52 ACTION AIR: TAIWAN After a short break our Legionnaire in Taiwan, “Stewbacca”, once again pits his talents against
Contents JANUARY 2021
other local shooters - and this time he didn’t have to travel far! 56 RELOADED: SIG AIR M17 This month in RELOADED Boycie sets his sights on a GBB pistol model that continues to take on greater significanace in its “real world” form, the M17! 58 KIT & GEAR: 5.11 ALL MISSIONS PC Airsoft Action Legionnaire and “Man Down Under”, Ioan “Iggy” Roberts, reports from Australia where he turns his attention to his latest plate carrier acquisition. 60 TECH REPORT: VFC MEETS JEFFTRON It’s all very well reporting on new technologies as they appear but, of course, as airsofters we want to know how these can be applied to enhance the performance of our AEGs and GBBs to give us the edge “in game”, don’t we? This month, in his first report for Airsoft Action, Red Cell shooter Jimmy Davison tells all about using the JEFFTRON LEVIATHAN in a recent build! 64 FEATURE: THE FUTURE OF AIRSOFT The Global Pandemic has made many of us stop and think about what we really love when it comes to our personal “airsoft experience”. Here in the UK, Bill got together with a local “Site Op” to give a vision of one possible future… 68 ARMOURY: CYMA NAM AR SERIES As a keen collector of Vietnam War era gear and living history enthusiast, as well as airsoft, player Bill is constantly looking out for new period AEGs and GBBs that are ideal for that conflict and he’s been waiting to get hands-on the new models from CYMA that fit right in! 72 THE CAGE: ALL I WANT FOR… 2020 has been a year that most of us would like to forget for many reasons, but the fact is that even during the most challenging of times airsofters around the globe have adapted to overcome, getting their game on whenever, and wherever, it was safe to do so! Bill reflects on the past year, and checks in with the AA team to find out what they’d really, REALLY like for Christmas! 78 FEATURE: THE MP7A1 As promised at the end of Frenchie’s piece on the Glock 18c AEP last month, this month he’s turning his attention to the Marui MP7A1. 82 RETAIL ROUNDUP Christmas is on the horizon, and we don’t know about you but we are very much looking forward to it this year! Of course it’s that time when your nearest and dearest that wish to humour your airsoft addiction will be asking you for little gift ideas, so this time we’ve kept things sensible(ish!) for all those little stocking fillers! 86 LAST POST: THAT WAS THEN… Frenchie says: “If I have understood the vagaries of editorial timing, Christmas should be upon us and this should be an appropriate point to wish all of you a Happy New Year! If I’m a month late… Oops, belated Happy New Year!”
ULTIMA JACKET BLACK / DARK COYOTE / GREEN / SRP: Â£89.95
VFC MK18 MOD1 GBBR
LAST MONTH BILL TOOK A LOOK AT AN ALL-NEW “MK18” AEG AND AS A LOVER OF SHORTER AR CARBINES, FOUND IT VERY MUCH TO HIS LIKING! AS HE’S ALSO A FAN OF GAS BLOWBACK MODELS HE WAS KEEN TO GET HIS HANDS ON THE LATEST MK18 MOD1 GBBR FROM VEGAFORCECOMPANY (VFC) AND, THANKS TO REDWOLF UK, HE WAS FINALLY ABLE TO GET “HANDS ON”! 8
armoury VFC MK18 MOD1 GBBR
kay, this may surprise some of you that know me personally and know of my love for the OPFOR role when it comes to airsoft games but, like many of you, there is a small part of me that still revels in the “OPR8R” cool side of things! Although now I’m a bit older I find that the OPFOR role suits me better, there’s still a big old pile of Multicam and AOR1 gear in my personal locker for those moments that I feel the need to be all righteous! I also have a quiet love for Short Barrelled Rifles, or SBRs and although I own a number of full-length ARs, for skirmish days a CQB-length AR, most usually my L119A1 or HK416 D10RS, is still a solid option to run out with when I’m not practising with one of my AKs. I’m a great believer in becoming familiar with the intricacies of different “platforms” and rolling over the use of AEGs means that none of my beauties are taking undue strain over time. Because of this I have AEGs that are 10-plus years old and thanks to regular maintenance and professional servicing, are still running “stock” with only hop-rubbers changed for a little performance “nudge”. However, there’s another side to my airsoft which is “training”, a subject that we’re currently having a good chat about in the Airsoft Action Contributors group; in fact there will no doubt be an article on this in the New Year as this topic has really opened up a very interesting topic of debate! What do I mean by “training” and is this directly applicable to “Sunday Skirmish Games”? The answer is both “yes” and “no”. As I usually shoot “real” on a weekly basis, albeit “paper punching” at my local club and also work as Editor on PMCI, the sister publication to AA, I’m usually on a range somewhere quite regularly, so my firearms safety and proficiency needs to be on point at all times. Although 2020 has been somewhat different, it’s not unusual for me during a normal year to attend courses in the UK, in Eastern Europe and in the USA. I also shoot with the PMCI USA guys when I get chance, so I need to be able to hold my own amongst them (okay, I like to “fly the flag” a bit when I can too!). In strict airsoft game terms I’m not that interested in “team training”, although I know that many of you enjoy this immensely, however, I am ALWAYS
interested in learning new skills that will make me more effective. I’m always happy to learn a new skill or drill that makes me more efficient in my manipulation, or enhances my accuracy! As an “old guy”, it’s training on my skills and drills that often keeps me in the game when you young ‘uns are hareing about… Whilst we are not training for any given scenario as the “pros” do, or indeed as a part of some kind of twisted “evil agenda training regime”, training is completely valid to make you a better, safer, more accurate and effective shooter. This to me matters as much in airsoft as it does in “real steel”. So why do I train mostly with a GBBR and not an AEG, you may ask? It’s a personal thing really, as I enjoy the operation of a full-travel-bolt gas AR or AK and to me it gets as close to training with a real firearm as is possible. As, at the last time of looking, I am still a resident of Her Majesty’s fine land that means that even as a club shooter I am restricted in the firearm models that are available to me, so the “gasser” becomes even more important. I believe the salient thing here is replication of operation; we’re never going to get the same complete action as a real firearm even with the very best “gasser” and certainly nothing approaching muzzle signature and true felt recoil. There’s also no real problem to deal with in respect of heat mitigation during handling either. I look for how the “replica” works and if it performs in close enough a manner to real as to make training with it worthwhile. What I look for is not a replica to play airsoft with per se (more on this later!), but one that will let me run the majority of my manipulation sequences so I don’t look a complete and utter useless twat when I shoot with my friends in the USA and Eastern Europe! If all I need to deal with when I shoot “real” is mainly muzzle and recoil management, then it’s a bonus.
VFC FOR THE WIN!
Again (as many of you will know), my personal choice of “trainer” is the VFC SR-16. In truth, the VFC SR-16 GBB hasn’t been designed and made for the mass market, it’s been designed and made for those that truly want a platform that operates exactly like the real thing but that fires safe and simple 6mm BBs,
“…THE VFC SR-16 GBB HASN’T BEEN DESIGNED AND MADE FOR THE MASS MARKET, IT’S BEEN DESIGNED AND MADE FOR THOSE THAT TRULY WANT A PLATFORM THAT OPERATES EXACTLY LIKE THE REAL THING BUT THAT FIRES SAFE AND SIMPLE 6MM BBS, NOT LIVE 5.56!”
armoury VFC MK18 MOD1 GBBR
not live 5.56! Yes, it’s been designed for the MilSim player but also for those that want to test themselves to the limit in any game or on the range, with reallike operation and real-world magazine capacities… Basically it’s been designed for people like me! But having thoroughly enjoyed finding a MK18 AEG that is both reliable and well-priced, in the form of the Specna Arms model I looked at last month, my attention soon returned to GBBRs and I remembered that VFC had a new “MK18” model in their range! A quick call to Danny at RedWolf UK saw one shipped down to me in the usual RedWolf-efficient way and I was soon out on the short range giving it some beans! The VFC MK18 MOD 1 GBBR is patterned after the MK18 MOD 1 used by many “operators”, most famously by USSOCOM and, as I discussed last time, it has come out of the Naval SOPMOD programme. In a nutshell, just as the Special Purpose Receiver morphed into the Special Purpose Rifle and was type-classified as Mk 12 Mod 0/1, the complete CQBR-length carbine has been type-classified as the Mk 18 Mod 0, or the Mk 18 Mod 1 with a sightless gas block and fulllength accessory rail kit. The gas airsoft version from VFC replicates the “real” very well indeed and although it lacks the “trades” of a fully licenced model it’s obviously a MK18, right down to that super “SF Bronze” 245mm rail system on the sharp end (which interestingly IS trademarked and may give a clue as to where the Taiwanese manufacturer may be casting their effective licencing efforts in the future), I certainly hope so! Made of high-quality alloys and steel components throughout, the VFC MK18 is exceptionally well made - but I expect that from VFC. The gun is extremely solid, weighing in at 2,319g feels great in hand, all the parts fit together beautifully and the only things I would change on this carbine are the CRANE stock and the A2 pistol grip. Thankfully virtually any aftermarket parts will fit, so the choice of “furniture” can be totally down to you, the final setup as you like it. Essentially the VFC is as close to the real deal as you’ll find in airsoft form and everything is nailed down to look and feel exactly as it would on the real thing, including the operating system. Internally the gun runs the latest VFC GBBR system which makes it extremely efficient and the internal construction also ensures added durability as well, providing a recoil impulse is solid and consistent, which makes the shooting experience fun and immersive. Like my SR16, it has a full-travel “bolt carrier group (BCG)” and once again this replicates exactly the operation of the 10
military carbine so your drills need to be 100% the same. For instance, the VFC magazines only hold 30 BBs so your reloads need to be on point. In relation to magazines, the grey STANAG style provided is also the latest version from VFC, with no visible valve on the base, which adds to the “real feel” overall. This version is even more reliable and will go through more BBs with less cooldown if you do decide to go crazy in full auto and this is a “gasser” where you can actually do that without the whole deal venting! The steel magazine housing also adds good weight, a realistic feel and “wear and tear” will add a real worn look in time. In addition to absolutely first-rate build quality and superb
components, the MK18 also offers realistic takedown; by splitting the receivers you can remove the BCG for cleaning and maintenance, again, just like the real thing.
I’m pleased to tell you that in operation the MK18 is, if anything, even better than my SR-16! As I’m in “C-Virus Lockdown”, I
armoury VFC MK18 MOD1 GBBR
initially tested the carbine on my 10m short range at home, to chrono and evaluate and in terms of power I got a consistent 1.07 Joule/341fps on a .20g RZR BB using green gas. With .30g RZR BBs the accuracy was stunning at that range, ringing the steels with each and every BB. I did take an “afternoon stroll”
up to my woodland range eventually though and ran some drills using a mix of the STANAG and VFC V-Mags, plus the excellent BUISs that come fitted as standard and once I had the hop set just so, was again punching out the sandbags at 30m with a dead-flat BB trajectory to target. This carbine has some serious legs to it! If you’re going to use it in a CQB environment, accuracy is NOT going to be an issue once you have it set up right! So, this is a REALLY fine carbine and another great addition to the VFC product range and one that is undoubtedly going to delight the MilSim crowd… but is it usable as a regular “skirmish tool”? Again, I’d have to say both “no” and (a qualified) “yes”. In terms of holding its own against a field of Hi-cap-fullauto AEG players I believe that you may struggle but only down to the sheer weight of fire you’ll be facing. If you’re good enough to get in close to give some double taps with a support gun giving you some covering fire though, then you’re going to be living on “Planet OPR8R” - and there is no better feeling than that in my opinion! Bottom line, I guess, is would I buy a VFC MK18 GBBR myself as I already own the SR-16 GBBR? Yup, you better believe I would!! The MK18 is “of its time and place” and quite apart from that, it’s a darn fine airsoft gun! Although my days of hard-charging “Zero Dark Thirty” style play may be on the decline, I still love an AR with a “soul” and the MK18 has a very big soul. Add to this that it’s also a fine training tool, it’s reliable and accurate and you have a package that’s sure to delight you every time you pick it up - and that’s a more-than-good enough reason to own one! My thanks again go to my good friend Ray at VFC (https://www.vegaforce.com) for being part of this article and also to the guys at http://uk.redwolfairsoft. com for supplying the MK18 for T&E. AA
“IN ADDITION TO ABSOLUTELY FIRST-RATE BUILD QUALITY AND SUPERB COMPONENTS, THE MK18 ALSO OFFERS REALISTIC TAKE-DOWN; BY SPLITTING THE RECEIVERS YOU CAN REMOVE THE BCG FOR CLEANING AND MAINTENANCE, AGAIN, JUST LIKE THE REAL THING.” www.airsoftaction.net
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armoury BOLT AIRSOFT B4 PDW
AS RED CELL ARE SETTING UP TO LOOK AT A WHOLE BUNCH OF “PDW-STYLE” AEGS NEXT MONTH, BILL HAS BEEN OUT ON THE RANGE PREPARING THINGS AND HAS BEEN SOMEWHAT TAKEN WITH THE LATEST MODEL TO COME FROM BOLT AIRSOFT IN TAIWAN! FEATURING THEIR BRSS RECOIL SYSTEM IN A TIDY AR PACKAGE, THE B4 PDW B.R.S.S. AEG TICKS ALL THE BOXES…
have to admit that being a big guy, 6’2 and with long old arms, I have somewhat of a “love/hate” relationship with the current crop of Personal Defence Weapons, or PDW models that seem to have become dominated by the minimalist sliding stock design. I accept that, in terms of engineering, the sliding stock design in its now myriad forms is a thing of beauty but as I have what is known as a “positive ape index” (which means my arm span from fingertip to fingertip is greater than my height), really short, small carbines and SMGs like the old MP5 PDW are usually uncomfortable for me to wield. I have said many times that I love an “SBR” and, indeed, own a number of models of that style with 10-inch barrels, however, all of them have a “traditional” buffer tube and sliding stock. Most usually, these days I use a 14.5-inch carbine or an even longer-barrelled “.308” style rifle, as these feel most comfortable with my “ape arms”!
However, I do appreciate that for physically smaller players than I, the PDW style can be a godsend and that in a CQB environment this style also comes into its own in a major way! I know a number of players who totally rock their PDWs and of course, with effective airsoft ranges being somewhat more balanced than those in the real world, having a big old rifle gives you no added advantage, other than that of personal comfort in terms of manipulation. When it comes to “tight spaces” though, this is where the PDW style of AEG really sings, as ultimately
armoury BOLT AIRSOFT B4 PDW
this is exactly what they were designed for in their “real steel” form! The term “PDW” actually fully describes the military role the weapon was conceived for, that of a compact yet effective (in terms of both performance and accuracy) platform that can be easily and discreetly carried by rear echelon personnel, not as combat troops expected to regularly engage the enemy, but as support elements who may need to defend themselves in an actively hostile environment. In this situation it’s all about an effective platform that is easy to use and deploy, but which provides sufficient firepower to suppress an enemy until the cavalry can arrive! Although originally
designed for a military role, due to their compact nature, light weight, ease of operation and control and their close-range effectiveness, PDWs are also now popular with special forces, tactical police units and, more recently, PMCs and bodyguards. In airsoft form, where our engagement distances are necessarily “danger close”, an SBR or PDW seems to me to be the perfect choice for an AEG for the very same reasons that it’s used in earnest, however, the
current crop of “skeleton stock” variants leaves me personally a little cold for a couple of major reasons. First up there’s the physical size thing that I mentioned earlier; they’re just TOO darn short for an old ape like me! As I’m also all about properly aimed shots, I also find that most of the current PDW stocks don’t allow me to get a proper cheek-weld when lining up iron sights. Again, I’m not a huge fan of optics on something that’s designed to be small, compact and deployable from concealment… But the biggy for me - and again it’s a personal thing I guess - is that I like to be able to fit a battery at the start of a gameday or Op and have it last the duration of the event and the fact is, that many sliding stock PDWs have an absolutely TINY battery compartment! That’s not so much of a problem if you’re running short, fast games at a CQB site where you can simply change out batteries in downtime between games but if you’re playing the part of a “CP Detail” in a longer Op (where the PDW SHOULD be ideal), a small, limited-life battery is not what you want! Over the years I’ve tried to find different
solutions to this problem but as with optics, I don’t like a PEQ-box on a PDW for obvious reasons; I want it small, pared to the bone effective for a specific role - and that’s why the BOLT B4 PDW is one of the models that sings to me.
Okay, so I will admit to being a big fan of BOLT, as their AEGs are designed with the Bolt Recoil Shock System, or BRSS, at the very heart of things. This is the core around which other things revolve! The BRSS is “Stage One” of any BOLT AEG design and with my old mate Tomy Lee’s knowledge, the development team at BOLT Airsoft have created a powerful recoil system which uses an outstanding design, utilising kinetic energy produced by the piston’s movement, transferred to a recoil weight in the stock tube which www.airsoftaction.net
armoury BOLT AIRSOFT B4 PDW
subsequently generates a recoil simulation …and that is awesome! This gives you a great recoil “feel” without having to resort to a full-travel-bolt gas system, which although are becoming more reliable still don’t quite give you the usability of an AEG. All BOLT BRSS models feature a reinforced piston which actuates a recoil mechanism in the back end, giving you a nice “felt nudge” in the shoulder every time things cycle. Trust me, this is WAY different to an EBB system (which I also dislike to be honest due to the way most interact directly with the piston), as the BRSS gives you the feeling of some real “felt recoil” whilst keeping you in the game, as BOLT AEGs can still use HiCap magazines like any
other AEG, if that’s your thing! So, a good recoil system endears the B4 PDW to me from the get-go but what else makes this a standout model for me? Well, the B4 is (as usual) made of really great quality materials and components with a high-grade alloy receiver set, PDW-style sliding stock, buffer tube, BUIS, outer barrel and suppressor. It also features some really nice polymer furniture on the front end that looks decidedly like it came from a company 16
whose name begins with a stylised “M”, a lo-drag polymer stock plate and a nifty minimalised pistol grip; the magazine is also an attractive 140BB polymer design, although 300 BB Hi-Caps are also available. So far, so samey but it’s the polymer furniture that not only looks great but also hides what, in my opinion, makes the B4 work so well as an all-dayfieldable AEG. Like many older AR AEG models BOLT have stuck to the tried and tested formula of frontwiring the B4 and using a split foregrip to create a usable (and indeed sizeable) battery compartment, which pleases me greatly! Not only that but, of course, the battery being at the front balances out the 2,600g weight of the AEG nicely and lets the weight in the rear get to work… At a time when everyone seems to want to rear-wire small AEGs, so that they can be fitted with uber-slimline M-LOK or KeyMod rails, this is one area where actually frontwiring works! Like that “M-design” forestock you can still add accessory rails to the B4 if you desire but again to me this needs to be kept “clean”, other than perhaps mounting a taclite for low-light environments.
KICK IT BABY!
Another tick for me that shows Tomy’s understanding of real firearm platforms, is the additional plate that sits between the skeleton-stock “arms”; this
armoury BOLT AIRSOFT B4 PDW
can be perfectly positioned so that you can grab a tight cheek-weld and really get down on your irons! “Irons” are provided as part of the B4 “package” and to be honest these are the only thing that I’d change out on the AEG as new (although personally I’d probably lose the faux-suppressor too… what is that red ring about Tomy?), as I’d prefer some lowerto-the-bore, more slimline lo-profile flip-up sights to keep things from catching if you’re carrying the AEG “concealed” under a jacket, but that’s an extremely minor gripe in an otherwise flawless PDW. Okay, well-made, neat and compact but what of performance? Knowing that the internals are the latest iteration of the tried and tested BRSS and that I’ve had a fair amount of experience with BOLT AEGs, I was confident that out-of-the-box performance would be impressive and indeed it was! Using .20g RZR BBs the B4 registered a properly consistent chrono reading of 0.96J/323fps which is absolutely perfect for me. I did try the BOLT with a number of different brand AR magazines, lo, mid, and hi-cap (it looks awesome and properly “CP” with shorty P-MAGS!) and it seemed perfectly happy to eat the fodder they provided. With the 140 BB mid provided topped off with .25 RZRs, it was time to set the hop and get some BBs downrange! Like all ARs the B4 has the fire selector above and to the left of the pistol grip and with semi engaged the BOLT cranked off BBs with a sweet jolt in the shoulder, sending them straight downrange to target at 30m. Cranking up to full-auto didn’t faze it at all and on an N-Power 11.1v 30C 1450 mAh Lipo stick, the B4 spat out BBs pleasingly, accuracy was still bang on and if anything, the thump in the shoulder seemed to intensify! As you’ve probably fathomed by now, once again I really like what BOLT have created. BOLT Airsoft have made, to me at least, one of the nicest, most usable “PDWs” out there, not only benefitting from their outstanding recoil system but also through value for money along with quality of parts and construction. If you love your PDW but want something that will see you happily through the longest of Ops, then the B4 PDW could well be the one you’re looking for; it certainly is for me! Sincere thanks got to the guys at NUPROL (www. nuprol.com) who distribute the BOLT brand in the UK
as always for providing the test rifle. Red cell will be hitting the PDWs next month, so check out then how the BOLT B4 performs against the competition! AA
“BOLT AIRSOFT HAVE MADE, TO ME AT LEAST, ONE OF THE NICEST, MOST USABLE “PDWS” OUT THERE, NOT ONLY BENEFITTING FROM THEIR OUTSTANDING RECOIL SYSTEM BUT ALSO THROUGH VALUE FOR MONEY ALONG WITH QUALITY OF PARTS AND CONSTRUCTION.” www.airsoftaction.net
armoury UMAREX KWA HECKLER & KOCH HK45
BEWARE THE MAN WITH ONE GUN!! HAVING FIRST SEEN THIS PISTOL IN SPAIN, IT WASN’T UNTIL AA LEGIONNAIRE, STEWBACCA, ARRIVED IN TAIWAN THAT HE EVENTUALLY ADDED ONE TO HIS ARMOURY - BUT WAS IT EVERYTHING HE HOPED IT WOULD BE?
was introduced to this beast of a handgun in Barcelona a few years ago, while I was visiting “Handsome” Dave from my old Uni team, who had been living and working there since not long after we graduated. We were at his local CQB site, “Banana Airsoft” and their original shop, northeast of the city centre, when we got our first glance and hands on with the KWA HK45. I was immediately impressed with the feel of it in my hand and the loud report and heavy recoil, even with a lighter weight aluminium top slide. Dave went on to buy one and during later visits I had the chance to handle it further and appreciate his purpose-built, foam-lined carry case and multitude of magazines he had for his. My mind was thus made up and with my move east to Taiwan already decided upon, now I had my first airsoft purchase in mind as well! And so it was, that one of the first things I did when I received my ARC (Alien Residency Card - my working visa/ proof of ID for living in Taiwan long term), was head to KUI Airsoft in Zhubei and purchase one of these …the first gun on my “wish list”. I used the HK45 GBB exclusively for the first four months or
so of gaming in Taiwan whilst I saved up money and decided what to supplement it with. I first went to Action Bunker Taipei back in early September 2017 and used their rental package, just to tide me over and get used to the place and playing style - as well as operating in a largely foreign language environment - before committing to buying my own gear and getting stuck in good and proper. By the next visit I had my KWA H&K HK45 GBB and two magazines to add to the mix, along with all my own plate carrier and personal protection etc.. For a bit of a clarification, KWA is the domestically manufactured Taiwanese derivation of Japanese made KSC equipment, so KWA/KSC are essentially identical (from what I have gathered), besides which country they are manufactured in. I do wonder, however, if the product streams are separate, or distributed differently, or otherwise have varied quality control. Much as I love the HK45 for its heft, aesthetics, recoil and loud report, mine has not been as flawless as the experiences “Handsome” Dave outlined in his own review. In particular, having done some research into issues with them since I started having problems,
“FOR A BIT OF A CLARIFICATION, KWA IS THE DOMESTICALLY MANUFACTURED TAIWANESE DERIVATION OF JAPANESE MADE KSC EQUIPMENT, SO KWA/KSC ARE ESSENTIALLY IDENTICAL (FROM WHAT I HAVE GATHERED), BESIDES WHICH COUNTRY THEY ARE MANUFACTURED IN.” 20
armoury UMAREX KWA HECKLER & KOCH HK45
US owners certainly seem to be having the same problems, so whether they are getting Taiwanesemade versions, or the whole product line just has a fault (which seems to be a mixed bag of working perfectly, or having “bad day” type guns), I’m not entirely sure. I have, at this point, had mine for three years and the last year or so mine has not seen any action as such - being stripped down and in pieces since last Christmas awaiting parts and my own repairs. At least by now I literally know the HK45 - and the USP Compact which uses effectively the same internals in a slightly different guise or smaller external package - inside out! Since moving to Taipei I’ve been able to order spare parts direct through KIC Airsoft, instead of KUI Airsoft insisting on sending guns back to their respective local factories for any smithing or remedial work. I’m more than capable of dealing with problems and repairs myself after messing around with GBBs for nearly two decades!
The main initial issue I had appears to be the ammunition feeding protrusion just beneath the gas
feed nozzle. Apparently, the magazine springs are a little too powerful in terms of the force they exert on the BBs and this, in turn, causes long-term wear on the feeding protrusion, which has to push them from the feed lips and run them up the loading ramp, prior to the gas nozzle above it seating behind the round as the slide moves fully into battery ready for firing. This problem manifested itself within the first few months of me playing; before Christmas 2017 I had to send it back to KWA’s facility for refurbishment, with the culprit being damage to this protrusion just beneath the gas nozzle. The symptoms were basically being constant jams and failures to properly feed or return to battery; multiple rounds would be dislodged, one might be chambered properly while another would fling around inside the closing chamber space, getting mashed against the bolt face or insides of the top slide. Essentially the airsoft equivalent of a “stovepipe” jam, although from an additionally misfed round rather than an already spent case but, either way, the upshot is the same - a round in the chamber with another obstructing the action. Basically, the loading protrusion tends to wear down, deform, or eventually outright break off in the
“ESSENTIALLY THE AIRSOFT EQUIVALENT OF A “STOVEPIPE” JAM, ALTHOUGH FROM AN ADDITIONALLY MISFED ROUND RATHER THAN AN ALREADY SPENT CASE BUT, EITHER WAY, THE UPSHOT IS THE SAME - A ROUND IN THE CHAMBER WITH ANOTHER OBSTRUCTING THE ACTION.” www.airsoftaction.net
armoury UMAREX KWA HECKLER & KOCH HK45
first case, to the point where it isn’t pushing the BBs out of the magazine early enough to get them in front of the gas nozzle by the time it reaches its resting/ closed position. Most… Vexing…! It annoyed me most because, at the time, the HK45 was my first and only airsoft gun so it meant I couldn’t use my own equipment and had to bother my teammates, who
very kindly lent me their spare guns for games whilst I resolved the issue and built my collection up. Essentially, this is the most expensive gun I have bought in Taiwan and turned out to be the most annoying and unreliable to begin with despite that. I was very impressed with its performance at first and, admittedly, being my only gun for the first three or four months of intensive gameplay using four magazines and only having the pistol for all my games, did mean it likely took a lot of punishment early on - but even since having it fixed twice it has continued to cause me a lot of issues. Another issue I have noticed over the longer-term, is that the magazines seem to wear through valves quite quickly. In the early months I had two of them serviced and then the other two started to exhibit leaking issues, or a general failure to hold gas long enough during a game day to feed and fire all rounds in each magazine. This may have become more pronounced as I began to use it more as a sidearm, or last resort, when using my MP7 or G36C GBBRs as primary guns, meaning that the HK45 and its magazines were holstered and sat dormant for a lot of the time. Then, when I finally did want to use it, the gas supply tended to be unreliable and highly frustrating! As a result of all these woes, it has basically been relegated to a last resort for me, as I cannot depend on it to function properly enough to be a primary gun, or even a loan gun to newbie friends who 22
won’t know how to resolve malfunctions as easily as my experience allows me to. It is aesthetically and functionally an awesome and enjoyable pistol to use but, at the same time, it’s become an absolute pain in the rear for maintenance and reliability - a very stark contrast to Handsome Dave’s experience of his working flawlessly with 5 magazines over many years …hence my pondering as to whether there is a quality or supply stream variation between KWA/KSC units. The only other issue I have had personally, besides the reliability and maintenance, is that I was dropping magazines inexplicably in firefights for a while. I even started “cupping” the bottom of the magazine with my supporting hand to prevent it dropping to the floor. Most of mine have dents in the bottom corners now and I’ve had to replace a couple of the bumpers as a result - again, no doubt worsening the gas retention and reservoir integrity issues. At first I imagined this was due to a weak magazine release spring allowing the recoil impulse to actuate the release during firing. This may have been some cause of the issue but after the second servicing it came back with a fresh release spring installed. However, in the end I managed to work out that the problem is largely anthropometric; my fingers are so long that when I pulled the trigger completely my trigger finger actuated the opposite side magazine release because the lever itself has a larger contoured operating surface compared to the other H&K guns using a similar release style! So now I have to ensure my supporting hand thumb gets in the way of my firing hand’s trigger finger-tip to prevent this or adjust my trigger press to mitigate. Despite this, the “magazine dropping issue” seems to persist and, at present, I am still awaiting a fresh release paddle to replace the clearly worn previous one. The magazine faces themselves seem to wear down as well, which likely contributes to their looser fit and ease of dislodging of the retaining forks of the paddle from under the protrusions on the fronts of the magazines themselves.
With all of that negativity out of the way, I do have to say that the Umarex KWA HK45 is an excellent GBB pistol, despite the issues I have had with mine. Do bear in mind the sheer abuse most of my equipment undergoes due to the frequency with which I play and the local environment and related heat pushing up the pressures it experiences. The HK45 is, nonetheless, a very enjoyable gun to use when it functions optimally and once I managed to source a machined sight mount and affix a Docter
armoury UMAREX KWA HECKLER & KOCH HK45
red dot sight to the top slide, I began making single shot eliminations, or achieving seemingly difficult shots across the arena and receiving incredulous remarks or questions of exactly what I had done to the gun to facilitate this. Using 0.28g BLS ammunition and having a lot of practise with pistols, was my answer, although a large portion of the credit should surely reside with the consistency of the action and hop unit of the HK45 itself. Occasionally leaky or unreliable magazines aside (and my own inadvertent dropping of them onto the concrete due to my long fingers or the sheer recoil impulse actuating the magazine release), there are no doubt far worse purchases you could make - especially if you are intending, as most players would, to use it purely as a sidearm, rather than your primary weapon as I had to for months of intensive gaming. If I were to be faced with making the same purchase again, I would likely get a KWA USP45 as the magazine release is smaller, like that of my KWA USP Compact which I have never experienced the same issues with (and I owned one of those back in the UK as well). Hopefully I can get mine repaired and bring it
back into my frontline gear circulation once the fresh magazine release finally arrives. If nothing else, having to totally dismantle and repair mine taught me a great deal about the internal operating mechanism, which I made a reassembly video of for my own YouTube channel (as there seemed to be little in the way of information for putting the complicated double action - single action – de-cocking system back together). In closing, I’d probably re-iterate that the majority of my experiences of the HK45 were extremely positive and the reliability issues are most likely an artefact of the sheer use and abuse I put all my equipment through, and thus more of an outlier than most people’s likely or actual experience. I have seen many fellow players in Taiwan sporting these on their hips and not heard the same complaints from them thus far, and the KWA HK45 is an exceptionally well-made and comfortable to handle, loud, heavy recoiling and accurate pistol, which adds to its fun factor. I made use of mine with the Docter sight fitted for my first foray into AIPSC in Taiwan and it performed flawlessly that day, despite my misgivings of using it skirmishes. AA
“I BEGAN MAKING SINGLE SHOT ELIMINATIONS, OR ACHIEVING SEEMINGLY DIFFICULT SHOTS ACROSS THE ARENA AND RECEIVING INCREDULOUS REMARKS OR QUESTIONS OF EXACTLY WHAT I HAD DONE TO THE GUN TO FACILITATE THIS.” www.airsoftaction.net
KIT & GEAR LOFTED GARMENTS
INSULATED GEAR FOR THE WINTER WIN
EVERY WINTER WE LIKE TO HAVE A LOOK AT WHAT’S NEW FROM OUR OLD FRIENDS AT SNUGPAK BY INCLUDING AN ARTICLE ON WHY YOU SHOULD LOOK TO INVEST IN SOME SERIOUS “LOFTED”, OR INSULATED PROTECTION. CONTINUING HIS LOOK AT “GOOD GEAR TO GO”, OUR IN-HOUSE TECHNICAL CLOTHING “GURU”, BILL, TAKES A LOOK AT BOTH NEW GEAR AND THAT WHICH HAS BEEN THOROUGHLY TRIED AND TESTED!
’m here writing this article this year on the first “official” day of winter - and what do you know? The north wind has suddenly made its presence felt and where I live we’ve had the first proper frost of the new season, with the possibility of snow showers in the offing! It is most definitely time to break out the insulated jacket for downtime and range testing days and I truly believe that this is a crucial piece of “safe zone” gear that every airsofter should own - for two main reasons which I’ll recap here again. Firstly, after a hard morning’s play you’re going to
have built up a head of steam but when you’re on an outdoor/woodland site with no heated safe zone (in many cases you’ll be operating from the back of the car right now), it’s very, very easy to chill down quickly when you stop to bomb-up or for lunch. This leads all too quickly discomfort and on a cold, wet or snowy winters day I’ve seen many guys leave at lunchtime as they’ve become too chilled to continue. Secondly, in the UK it’s often not the cold, fluffy and pretty white stuff falling from the sky that we need to contend with but sleet and icy rain, so you’ll totally get why I
“…SYNTHETICS RETAIN A HIGH PERCENTAGE OF THEIR INSULATIVE PROPERTIES EVEN WHEN WET, WHEREAS WHEN DOWN GETS WET IT WILL STAY WET AND WILL ACTUALLY TRY TO USE YOUR OWN CORE BODY HEAT TO DRY ITSELF, RESULTING IN YOU BEING EVEN COLDER!”
KIT & GEAR LOFTED GARMENTS
find an insulated jacket that doesn’t suffer too much in the wet to be and indispensable bit of kit! I know that I keep on about a correct and effective layering system in your gear, but in the winter months you really need to push up the insulation levels of your mid-layer so it’s seriously worth considering some form of lightweight lofted garment. Once upon a time, everyone would have been saying “get a down jacket” and, in certain conditions, I’d thoroughly agree with that. These days though, I pretty much always go for a synthetic fill rather than down, as synthetics retain a high percentage of their insulative properties even when wet, whereas when down gets wet it will stay wet and will actually try to use your own core body heat to dry itself, resulting in you being even colder! Another benefit of a synthetic fill is that you can compress it (and leave it compressed for extended periods of time) without causing any damage to its structure (although you need to dry it out at home if you pack it away wet!). Most jackets will come with a compression or stuff sac which can be used to minimise its size, making it easier to store and carry with you. Remember, hypothermia can, ultimately, be a killer and even in its mildest form can lead to you having not just a bad day, but a bad time full stop! If you really don’t want to be “that guy” who causes a problem for everyone due to lack of forethought and preparation, then please read on. I know, I really do, that you could easily look at this and say that an insulated jacket is “just another piece of kit to buy, another expensive item of clothing that won’t get used that much” but in fact, once you own such a garment I think you’ll be shocked by actually how much you do use it!
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
All the “big names” out there will offer one, if not more, insulated jackets in their clothing range and depending on your left-over-after-the-latest-AEG-buymoney, then shopping around will get you something in your price range. Although camouflage insulated jackets are available, think about where you’ll be wearing it. If you buy a simple block colour rather than a camo, then you’re also going to end up with something you can wear every day, which makes it even better value for money.
Most good outdoor pursuits stores will now have in stock a wide selection of both down and synthetic insulated jackets and some of them are offering some great gear from the top mountaineering companies as always. I’ve noticed that there are some seriously good bargains to be had from the likes of Black Diamond, RAB, Mountain Equipment, Patagonia, and The North Face and all of them this year seem to be available in black or some really cool grey and green tones. Do be wary of buying “names” though, as there (sadly) is still a degree of “paying for that” depending on where you actually make your purchase. Good models to look for are those that are referred to as “belay jackets”, as those are purpose designed to stuff down into your pack for use when you need them most, i.e. when you stop being active and become more static. Plus their designs are (more often than not) more technically cut to fit lower over the small of the back and abdomen, whereas many of the more “fashion cut” jackets are waistline cut. I still have a very old belay pullover filled with Primaloft, from my time working with Lowe Alpine many years ago, and it’s a classic! Of course, there are now many “tactical” brands that will sell you an insulated jacket and those are usually jazzed up with a lot of arm-velcro and different features from the “civvy versions”, but I’ll still go back to my old faves, Snugpak, when it comes to insulated gear for military and tactical use. They’ve built on the success of their best known insulated jacket, the Softie (a UK Forces “favourite” and if what one of my friends tells me is right, the USMC too!), to bring some great models to their clothing collection. The latest generation of insulated jackets are British made in the company’s factory in West Yorkshire and are manufactured using its exclusive Softie Premier synthetic insulation.
SJ FOR THE WIN!
The Snugpak SJ Range is their go-to model for tactical all-weather jackets, designed to give you the perfect outer shell whatever conditions you’re facing throughout the year. All four jackets in the range benefit from Snugpak’s hi-tech Paratex Micro outer and Paratex Light inner, keeping any moisture away from your skin, so you stay warm, comfortable and dry, and the Softie Premier filling has excellent
“GOOD MODELS TO LOOK FOR ARE THOSE THAT ARE REFERRED TO AS “BELAY JACKETS”, AS THOSE ARE PURPOSE DESIGNED TO STUFF DOWN INTO YOUR PACK FOR USE WHEN YOU NEED THEM MOST, I.E. WHEN YOU STOP BEING ACTIVE AND BECOME MORE STATIC.”
KIT & GEAR LOFTED GARMENTS
insulating properties, trapping heat and maximising comfort. The warmest jacket in the collection is the SJ12 (UK£184.95). This Snugpak design is tailored to fit the contours of your body, with a waterresistant main zip and a high neck design that keeps out the draughts. The Softie Jacket 12 is designed for the winter months with a permanent, adjustable, insulated hood for extra warmth around the head, neck and face. You’ll be comfortable right down to -15°C. It comes in Blue, Red, Olive, Military Black and Multicam camouflage colours and the jacket also features Velcro patches on the arm for military use. The SJ12 also has the extended body and longer back I mentioned earlier. The other models in the SJ range offer permutations on the same theme but I’ve noticed that there are a couple of new models in this season’s Snugpak range that are worthy of comment, namely the ARROWHEAD and the TAC3. The Arrowhead offers a Comfort Rating of 0°C/32°F but a Low Rating of -5°C/23°F and is based on the classic and international best-selling Sleeka Elite jacket. The new and improved Arrowhead is the result of 26
Snugpak’s continued design and development for military personnel and professionals and combines a water-repellent Paratex outer material and exclusive Softie insulation to create a warm, breathable, windproof and lightweight jacket. The technical fit offers enhanced thermal performance, freedom of movement and includes a Softie insulated detachable zip-off hood for added protection and warmth. Worn as a cold-weather mid-layer or outer layer, the Arrowhead is an extremely versatile piece of insulation. The TAC3 is a slightly simpler affair, an intermediate-weight insulated hooded jacket, manufactured in the UK with Swiss-made Softie Insulation, lined with a luxurious brushed “Thermal Suede” lining for extra comfort. The TAC3 is easily compressible for stowing, with quick re-loft and the wind resistant robust outer fabric is treated with Durable Water Repellent to keep showers and spindrift at bay. With a Comfort Rating of 0°C/32°F and a Low Rating of -5°C/23°F, at just 660g/23oz (size Medium) this is an ideal jacket to tuck away in your pack “just in case”. Both the TAC3 and Arrowhead are available in sizes XS to XXL and in both plain block colours and Multicam.
One of the things with sites, ranges and training areas is that you do spend a fair amount of time in a cold, static position; you might be attending the safety briefing first thing in the morning or breaking for lunch, but it’s a rarity to find a heated outdoor airsoft site isn’t it? For ages I’ve always had an original Snugpak “Softie” jacket in the back of the car for just such times, for when you want a bit of instant warmth but a couple of years back I upgraded to the Military Mountain Leader Smock, or MML6. Developed by Snugpak with input from professional navigators, mountain leaders, climbing instructors,
KIT & GEAR LOFTED GARMENTS
meteorological staff, and military personnel, the functional MML6 has been created to support the user in a diverse range of operational environments, especially when exposed to extreme cold weather and this is, by far, my favourite bit of kit that Snugpak have ever made! As a part of Snugpak’s “VENTURE” range, the MML6 Softie Smock is a “flagship” garment. It’s a tri-layer construction and uses both Paratex Micro as a face fabric, and an internal Softie Premier fill, encapsulated with a Paratex Light lining. Designed to provide excellent thermal protection against the cold, the MML6 is rated -5C to -10C; it also provides a high degree of wind protection. The MML6 Softie Smock is lighter than normal expedition style jackets and uses water resistant YKK zips, making it ideal when size and weight need to be kept to an absolute minimum. It is ideally worn with a variety of base layers, such as the Snugpak 2nd Skinz Coolmax base layer, to move moisture away from the skin, keeping you dry and regulating core temperature in extremes of cold. The quick drying, Paratex Micro 100% nylon material has a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish. Water repellency can be maintained with a cool tumble dry after washing and periodic re-treatment with suitable after care products. The MML6 Softie Smock will keep you dry in a short, light shower, giving you time to find a safe place to stop and put on more effective waterproof layers, although I have combined it beneath a waterproof shell if it’s REALLY cold and wet! The MML6 Softie Smock can easily be worn under waterproof membrane hard shells in severe weather, still allowing easy access to your essential equipment.
Whilst not exactly cheap at UK£189.95 the MML6 Softie Smock should be viewed as a long term investment, especially if you act as a RO or site marshal as well as being a player; whilst players can easily head back inside to warm up a marshal/RO needs to be out on site at all times that gameplay is in progress. The MML6 easily lets you do this so in my mind is an invaluable addition to your “tactical wardrobe”.
Some of you that have headed off to super-cold areas have asked me in the past about what to wear to keep your legs as toasty as your upper body and, again, there’s a couple of words of advice for you here! Although it’s true that insulated trousers and bibs exist for extreme cold-weather environments (Snugpak make the Sleeka Salopettes for this exact reason), I believe that you’d be hard-pressed to find these conditions even on the most exposed of airsoft sites and gamedays! I do in fact own a pair of Snugpak Sleeka Salopettes with a full leg zip and have used these in earnest during the winter in the alps. However, for most game days I simply use a second, “one-size-up-from-usual” pair of GEN II VIPER Elite trousers, with either Snugpak 2nd Skinz Coolmax or Powerstretch leggings underneath. Remember here that although you do need to keep yourself comfortable, it’s your body core and extremities that will cause you problems from heat-loss most and some solid activity will usually keep your legs and arms warm enough without too much additional insulation! Whatever your budget may be though, do make sure that in your “gear locker” you have at least one insulated jacket! There’s some great, well-priced models out there these days, and at least one has your name on it! It may not be a garment that is going to see all-year- round use but you’ll thank me the next time those around you have teeth a-chattering and you’re all snuggled up in your lovely new jacket, complaining about overheating! AA
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EVENT MOA 2020 - TAIWAN
MILITARY OUTDOOR & AIRSOFT SHOW 2020
AIRSOFT ACTION’S LEGIONNAIRE IN TAIWAN, STEWBACCA, HEADS TO THE ANNUAL MILITARY, OUTDOOR AND AIRSOFT EXHIBITION, WHERE HE CHECKED OUT THE NEW RELEASES FROM VEGA FORCE COMPANY, AMONG OTHERS.
ith 2020 coming to a close and the end of what has been a pretty awful year for basically everyone in sight, the light at the end of the tunnel was the Military, Outdoor and Airsoft 2020 exhibition, held once again at the Taipei World Trade Centre in Xinyi district, right in the shadow of Taipei 101. With the ongoing COVID crisis basically cancelling most of this - and apparently already some of next year’s - events in terms of gun shows in general - Shot Show in the US and IWA in Germany - MOA2020 has pretty much ended up being the only show in town. Having rushed myself last year with work and other commitments the year before, I decided to make a full weekend of it and book time off work to ensure I could cover the event thoroughly and spend more time talking to manufacturers about their products. Possibly as a result of the previous cancellations of IWA, a lot of Taiwanese domestic manufacturers have resorted to individual press releases or their own social media to raise awareness of the products they had intended to showcase at the biggest international event of the year. Furthermore, having talked to some of my contacts in the industry, it seems that many of their facilities are already extremely busy churning out product to keep up with demand - with the likes of the real steel ammunition shortages in the US market and the sudden spike in shooters resorting to airsoft guns for maintaining dry fire practice at home (in lieu of the usual range work they can no longer accomplish), as well as hobbyists being stuck at home all over the world and taking the opportunity to spend whatever excess money they have on acquiring new releases and components for fixing up their equipment ready for the return to the fields. All of this activity and demand is excellent news for the businesses at least, although it meant that MOA2020 was much smaller than it was originally 30
intended to be, with many of the best known local manufacturers deciding not to attend and focus on production and product development. With a greatly reduced attendance of other international businesses and media, it’s somewhat understandable that there is less exposure available for their investment of time and resources into attending the show but, as always, Airsoft Action was there! Thus, the show itself was only a third of the floorspace that QRF magazine’s Eric Chu had originally booked (and announced) following the previous show last year - and just prior to the whole fallout of the pandemic causing all the issues! Obviously, it was somewhat of a disappointment for all but I’d just like to echo many people’s sentiments in extending my sincere thanks to Eric and the QRF team, as well as the attendees and industry in general, for supporting the show and bringing us something to look forward to (and report upon) despite the more muted hype and footprint.
WHAT WAS ON OFFER
Vega Force Company - VFC - obviously dominated the show, not just in terms of their attendance and footprint on the floor but also in terms of the scale of the news they had to share with regard to their 2021 planned releases and what they are working on in the longer term with regards to collaborative efforts. BCM LICENSE One of the biggest bombshells dropped, was VFC finally acquiring the much coveted authorisation from Bravo Company USA (BCM), a leading name in the US real steel shooting community and manufacturing circle, regularly featured collaborating with the likes of Larry Vickers and other well-known shooters. With BCM wholeheartedly endorsing VFC’s products and efforts, they have enabled them to replicate
EVENT MOA 2020 - TAIWAN
their ever-growing range of Armalite platform guns, beginning with the MCMR GBBR. With various length front handguards and barrels to suit and with the Avalon system based AEGs hot on their heels, there is plenty to look forward to for those who want legitimate airsoft clone versions of BCM’s flagship models, whether you run your gear from a gas can or a battery. On top of the initial release models that Ray Chang, VFC’s marketing manager, had to share with us, there will also be a fast-growing plethora of licensed BCM components, with all the trademarks and features authentically replicated: Vertical stub grips, handstops, flash hiders, butt stocks, sights, pistol grips, steel bolt carrier groups - the list is extensive and will be evergrowing in lock-step with whatever BCM’s real steel lines comprise in the future. Despite this huge news, there was yet more to talk about - having walked the floor and gotten the majority of my photography and product background information done on the opening Friday the 27th of November, I took the opportunity to join Ray on the VFC booth’s livestream desk in the last hour of the show for my own internet debut in conference with Bill back in the UK as everyone was shaking themselves out of bed back in the UK to share in all the goodies being announced. H&K PSG-1 GGBR Following on from the upcoming BCM range was something which caused a furore just ahead of the show’s opening, with photos from the show setup on the Thursday circulating on local Facebook media and immediately blowing up across other enthusiasts elsewhere… The surprise advent of the Heckler & Koch PSG-1 precision marksman’s rifle - but in GBBR format! It builds off VFC’s existing G3 line, in terms of magazine compatibility and using the same system but presented in the immediately recognisable outline
with the long heavy barrel and adjustable butt stock and wood effect pistol grip, including adjustable trigger pad and palm rest. Although it should be noted that the scopes will not be included in initial sales, so users will have to source their own or await the third-party market meeting their needs. Another heavy hitting GBBR is their improved and strengthened KAC M110K1 DMR platform, which addresses a lot of the issues voiced by players in respect of the sheer recoil impulse and worries over long term wear and tear. LAR/FAL However, the star of the show for many was handed to me in the form of the LAR (Light Automatic Rifle), or FAL in Belgian parlance; “The right arm of the free world” as many know it. An utterly ingrained outline in the minds of many, with its very long barrel and slim smooth handguards as well as its dark polymer drop stock and pistol grip, with everything else being
full steel - in the DX premium format at least, with an economy model also being available to ensure that such a sought after and long-awaited platform (since its teasing announcement and presence at last year’s MOA inside a sealed glass case) remains available to as many enthusiasts as possible. The external appearance and handling are as close to the real ones I’ve held before as you’re going to get! I got the chance to try one out on VFC’s range, which made use of Gunpower Inc’s target system TV screen setup that you can shoot with BBs. The recoil and sound of the LAR are outstanding and I’m sure it’s going to be an immediate hit with those who favour short shorts or cold wars, myself, Ray and Bill no doubt being first in line! MK48 LMG Also joining their AEG line-up are the surprisingly lightweight Mk48 LMG, which sports not only an www.airsoftaction.net
EVENT MOA 2020 - TAIWAN
industry beating 5,500 round capacity box magazine but also has a 1,000 round internal ammunition storage system before you even touch any external supply, giving you an utterly dominating presence on the field - but in a package that is so lightweight you can literally single hand carry and operate it (or no doubt dual wield them if you wanted to). Also on show was their latest addition to the Avalon based Armalite line up, the SPR, which replicates the KAC DMR platform with a more traditional quad rail handguard and cover panels. PISTOLS Ray and I closed with a look at their latest offering for GBB pistol fans, the M1911 Ultra Carry, a compact format .45 which surprisingly fits even my big bear paws very nicely, in a similar fashion to my HK USP Compact, but with the heft and aesthetics of the iconic 1911 platform and finished excellently with a chrome barrel and textured side grips. Again, this stimulated a lot of interest with friends sending me requests for more details while I was still at the show. Everyone who knows me knows I’m more of a polymer wonder nine lover but this nonetheless screamed nice aesthetic, build quality and handling to me.
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
Up next I spent a lot of time on Archwick Airsoft’s stand. They had actually had a presence at the previous MOA 2019 show (having reviewed my photos) but at the time I hadn’t heard much about them and my personal gear and interest hasn’t really focused on sniper rifles or anything other than GBBs so much in the past years. Nonetheless, this year their acclaim and the community’s interest in them have increased massively, particularly due to their collaboration with various Western licensing, manufacturing and distribution partners such as ASG, Cybergun and EMG, as well as authorisation from real steel manufacturers such as Accuracy International
and Colt to manufacture legitimate replicas of their weapons systems. The centrepiece of the show (and what piqued most overseas interest, especially in the UKSF impression and loadout community), was their Colt Canada L119A2 GBBR, the weapon of choice for the world renowned UK Special Air Service (SAS), with all the appropriate markings and trimmings. Formed with a genuine monolithic upper and built off well proven and regarded GHK internal components for the action, it’s bound to have all the wannabe “Christian Craighead” guys picking one up to go with the gear loadout he recently released on Instagram, from his infamous solo interdiction in the Nairobi terror event. Archwick have also been working on expanding their range of bolt action sniper rifles, not only with their replica Accuracy International Mk13 Mod7 but now with the advent of their SXX300 integrally suppressed urban marksmanship platform. Building on their experience and a wealth of customer feedback from their earlier releases, the AW SXX series provides dual feed magazine systems, with a bridge system that allows more realistic magazines to be inserted in the same location as the real steel equivalent. This then pushes rounds through the bridging tube to the feeding location that the VSR style internal magazines actually operate, thus it allows ease of use with more standard VSR compatible internal magazines. It also allows realism enthusiasts to operate the platform with the ammunition feeding bridge and proprietary magazines being available, while the whole platform is also available in two barrel length configurations and is easily stripped down for compact transport, which will appeal to those who use public transport to get to games. Further to the long gun offerings, AW have their UCK folding stock gas pistol chassis, looking to capitalise on the trend towards enhanced capability sidearms with the likes of the USW, MP17 and CAA Roni kits. In this case they made a system which especially accommodates the Glock 18C pistol, which most systems cannot incorporate due to the selector lever on the rear of the slide causing fitting issues. AW’s solution is an extended side cut, which would admittedly perhaps be a concern in terms of strength for real steel use, but should nonetheless be of interest to those who cannot find a suitable platform to put their G18C GBB pistols in. With an additional folding charging handle being attached and a thumb drive stock release button both on the right side of the body allowing for ease of operation, and an integral optics mounting rail on the top of the rear cowling, it presents a useful force multiplier solution,
EVENT MOA 2020 - TAIWAN
which can be easily holstered and rapidly deployed for action. I look forward to visiting and talking with Archwick more in the near future, to bring you a more in depth look at what they are doing and where they came from historically.
THE BEST OF THE REST
Star Rainbow Company - SRC Airsoft - also had a large stand and were showcasing a variety of their product range. They tend to focus on CO2-powered alternatives to many of the competitors’ platforms, the likes of Pistol Calibre Carbines or gas pistols. This year they are apparently looking to fill the void in the WW2 market with their CO2 powered MP40 SMG. Moving on to the smaller, or more independent, manufacturers around the show, my friends from Penghu Armaments Factory, based on the PengHu islands to the West of Taiwan, effectively managed to scare the hell out of domestic airport security by bringing their latest heavy weapons to the show… Twin-mounted Browning M2HB heavy machine guns running off HPA systems, as well as the original Mk19 double internal barrel grenade launcher from last year’s show! They also have further grenade launchers in development, with 6-cylinder rotary launcher prototype parts on show, as well as a Mk19 shellfeeding launcher mock-up of a “work in progress” system that will allow belt-feeding and launching of grenades with powder or other payloads in the near future; an ideal setup for big MilSim games and site organisers. Our friends from Northeast Airsoft, who featured in my “The Men Behind the STEN” back in Airsoft Action’s September Issue No. 117, were also on site and had a stall showcasing the growing range of their STEN GBB SMGs, with their latest MkV offering that
I saw being finalised and got to handle during my previous visit to their facility. They are still working on their GBB Uzi replica but, unfortunately, did not have their work in progress on display, with many showing an interest in seeing it brought to market as soon as they can. In terms of the “community”, aside from the obvious plethora of teammates, players and contacts from the companies not exhibiting which I got chance to catch up with and talk shop, I spent some time on the Friday with Jonathan of Airsoftology, helping him film his Archwick Airsoft video and talking with them over their offerings along with him. Max Chiang and the IDPA Taiwan team, who featured in my article in the December No.120 issue, were also on site, collaborating with VFC to present an enclosed shooting stage for people to try their hand at IDPA, with results being tabulated for a competition over the whole weekend and working on increasing interest and participation. With the majority of the newer releases covered, I spent some time wandering around the smaller stalls of local manufacturers and catching up with people and, as it happened, I bumped into one of our team’s friends from Taichung who reminded me of the massive meetup of Taiwan based Filipino players happening at Hill Fox Airsoft in Southwest Taichung on the Sunday. I decided to join some of my teammates to cover that event and make another article about their charity efforts to raise money for victims of Typhoon Ulysses back in their Philippines homelands, so I tied off at the close of the second day of MOA and returned home to prepare my equipment. I’d once again like to extend my thanks to Eric Chu and the QRF team for making the show happen despite all the adversity of this year, as well as Ray Chang and VFC for inviting me to help out with the Airsoft Action livestream covering their latest releases. I look forward to visiting their Pentagon Centre a few MRT stops away from my place in West Taipei, to do a more in-depth feature piece on their company history and plans in the near future. AA
feature DSI MCX BUILD
WE’RE VERY PROUD THAT AMONGST THE TEAM AT AIRSOFT ACTION ALL OF OUR CONTRIBUTORS ARE ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN THE WORLD OF AIRSOFT, EITHER AS A PLAYER OR WITHIN THE INDUSTRY PROPER! THIS MONTH JOHN “BOYCIE” TURRELL BRINGS IN A REPORT OF AN EXTREMELY DETAILED CUSTOM BUILD HE WAS INVOLVED IN TO CREATE A VERY SPECIAL - AND VERY SPECIFIC - AEG!
CUSTOM BUILD 34
feature DSI MCX BUILD
any years ago, I met “Nick” at the Tier 1 events we both attended and we’ve kept in touch ever since. One night we were chatting about the new ProForce SIG SAUER® MCX and he said that he would like to have one to match his Dutch Dienst Speciale Interventies (Special Intervention Service), or DSI loadout. Nick said “…as a DSI reenactor I wanted to have a proper replica of the MCX that is used by the DSI. As soon as I heard that SIG SAUER would make an airsoft version of the Virtus MCX, I contacted John. I asked him if he would help me make a 1 on 1 replica, because I knew John is the man who could achieve what I wanted.” After I was shown a few pictures I said: “That
would be a good project.” and he said… “Will you build it for me please?” “Nick” started airsoft back in 2004 with a team called “Blackwater CRG”, based around the (then) popular Private Military Contractors (PMC) style of loadout. Later he was also a founding member of the Dutch airsoft team “Nassau03”, which re-enacted Dutch Special Forces in airsoft MilSims in the UK, France, Belgium and Sweden. “Nick” said “Personally, the TIER1 MilSims (lead by a group of retired and serving Royal Marine Commandos) held in the UK were the best ones we attended.” However, around 2017/18 the MilSim games were not giving “Nick” the fun he wanted from airsoft, so he decided to reenact loadouts of the DSI. www.airsoftaction.net
feature DSI MCX BUILD
The DSI is an elite tactical group of the Netherlands National Police Corps, with a strength of approximately 450 personnel that act on terror related and high impact crimes. They draw operators from both the Netherlands Police and Military, combining into the four units within DSI. “Arrest Team” operators are primarily utilized for the arrest of armed suspects and other highrisk situations. Part of their role is to deploy in unmarked vehicles and provide surveillance of potential terrorist threats. The BSB (Brigade Speciale Beveiligingsopdrachten) of the Dutch Military Police also deploy on this type of tasking. The “Intervention Dept” is a mixed group drawn from the Marine Corps, Commandos with Arrest Team officers from the National Police Corps and the BSB. This department is tasked with the most diverse situations and has to switch between the arrest team type role, into “intervention” which can include hostage rescue etc. Within the Intervention Dept, when the commander of the unit changes and the position is held by a Police Officer, a Marine takes over command and vice versa. “Expertise and Operational Support” provide a multitude of operational support roles, from negotiators and drone operators to snipers. “M Squadron” is a part of the Netherlands Marine Corps and while not formally a part of the DSI, it falls under the control of the DSI on joint operations.
In the planning of the build I needed to find out a number of things, like the accessories which are shown in the reference picture I was working from but the one thing that stood out, was that the rifle and foregrip were of a different colour to the “standard” SIG Black. After some research I found that the rifles were painted with “Elite Concrete” cerakote. This was sourced by Mark at High Calibre Coatings, in Suffolk, UK and it would be to him the parts would go to be coated. The first part to source was the rail, as this is slightly longer (by 75mm or 3”) than the rail that came on the ProForce rifle. The rail also needed to be “suppressor compliant”, which means it is substantially different in shape to accommodate a suppressor inside the rail. This particular rail is only available from SIG SAUER®. Next would be the suppressor. This was an easy part 36
to find as I made a small number of mock suppressors that resemble the one seen on the DSI rifle, under the JTac Custom Ltd banner. Initially the standard 170mm unit was used while the longer 235mm unit is in the process of being made. The outer barrel on the ProForce is the 11.5” version and for the DSI build we needed the “SF” spec 6.75” barrel version, which is made by Virtus Training Systems Ltd. As a temporary measure the 6.75” barrel was replaced with an 8.5” outer barrel to give the suppressor the appropriate amount showing outside of the foregrip. The standard sliding stock would need to be replaced with a “hinged knuckle” type adaptor, which would allow the fitment of a standard “M4” type stock tube and Magpul CTR stock. The “knuckle” was a part which was only available from SIG SAUER®, “Nick” supplied the stock. Something that Nick asked if was possible, was if the rifle could be rear wired. With the “knuckle” and RS buffer tube, this was going to be a challenge but was achieved. The only drawback is that it wouldn’t be possible to hinge the stock quickly. It can be done carefully for carriage in a bag or similar but in order to lock the stock into the “normal” position, it’s necessary to do this slowly while cautiously applying some tension on the battery connector so that the wires don’t get caught in the knuckle and cause a short. Sight unit: The sight that was selected and supplied by “Nick” for this build, was the SIG® Romeo 4T in black. This is an awesome red dot unit which automatically turns on when you move the rifle and will switch off when the rifle has laid still for an amount of time. It also has a light gathering capability, which means the battery duration on this unit is fantastic at around 100,000 hours! This will be backed up by the Juliet 4 magnifier on a Wilcox flip mount. Magazines selected for this would be the VFC “USGI” style metal mags. This will mirror the same look as the operators in DSI use.
The time-consuming part of the build will be the stripping of the rifle and then the wait for cerakote. The turn round for this is expected to be 10-14 days but could be quicker. Whilst the receiver and rail were away, we turned our attention to the internals. “Nick” didn’t ask for any changes but while it was apart, we swapped the hop rubber out for a Maple Leaf 50
feature DSI MCX BUILD
degree, ideal because Nick prefers to run semi only, at approximately 330fps. To go with the replaced hop rubber, Nick decided he’d like to fit a longer inner barrel and for this we decided on the Poseidon inner barrel, to run close to the end of the suppressor, stopping just short of the muzzle of the suppressor by about 15mm. Also, whilst the body parts were away being cerakoted, the wiring of the gearbox was changed to rear wired. This also would present a challenge of how to get the wiring into the real steel buffer tube.
After the body parts and foregrip returned from their trip to the cerakoter, we gathered all of the parts together and began to test fit parts, like the outer barrel. This was a bit tighter fit than the factory one, so we decided to skim 0.5mm from the outer diameter of the “chamber” to ensure a smooth fit. One of the more unique parts that Nick wanted to be fitted was the sling point, which would attach via a pair of QD style studs. The studs wouldn’t fit initially as the replica has a half-blocked hole for the QD points. This was going to need to be cleared to allow the studs to go deep enough into the hole in order to be able to lock into place. The next step was to laser mark the logos and text that appear on the DSI’s MCX. This took some time to work out the sizes of the text and the DSI badge. Now that the logos etc. were on the receiver and foregrip the full reassembly could get under way. This was the end result of all the work put in. Just as we were to start the build process the Covid-19 lockdown was enforced in both The Netherlands and also the UK. This would bring about certain delays as we had to wait for people to be able to work in order to carry out jobs that were sub-contracted out. Whilst this was a disadvantage in respect of the time it would take to complete the build, it did give us the time to make sure each step was completed to the best level possible. Nick said “John kept me posted throughout the whole process and, needless to say, I am very happy with the result. It’s an almost 100% perfect replica of the DSI MCX!” Our thanks go to Gerard Van Oosbree, at Dutch Defence Press (www.dutchdefencepress.com) and Sander Blommensteijn, aka twotwosixphotorgraphy, for images used in this report. AA www.airsoftaction.net
SURVIVAL IFAK - INDIVIDUAL FIRST AID KITS
INDIVIDUAL FIRST AID KITS REAL LIFE MILITARY PERSONNEL CARRY INDIVIDUAL FIRST AID KITS AND, AS MORE AIRSOFTERS ARE DOING THE SAME, SURVIVAL EXPERT, PAUL YELLAND, LOOKS AT WHAT ITEMS SHOULD BE INCLUDED FOR AIRSOFT.
irst aid kits are becoming quite a common item to but practicing skills beyond your scope of training is carry in Airsoft. Also known as IFAK’s (Individual dangerous. First Aid Kits) there seems to be a trend to model Another issue that I have picked up on is training. these kits on those carried by the real-life military. But The level of first aid training required for Airsoft is what is acceptable to carry and where should the line very different from that of a military medic or Close be drawn? I am going to look at what items are really Protection Officer/PMC who are actually working in a needed in an IFAK for Airsoft - and what should be left hostile environment. at home! A basic first aid course such as the one day I read with horror on one popular Airsoft forum, Emergency First Aid at Work or the full First Aid at about an individual who Work qualification is carries a well-packed more than suitable IFAK including a chest to prepare anybody “DRESSING UP AND PRETENDING decompression needle! involved in airsoft TO BE SPECIAL FORCES IS ONE The qualifications of the for the types of person who was making injuries or medical THING BUT PLAYING AT BEING A this claim to carry out a emergencies that PARAMEDIC IS AN EXTREMELY chest decompression are could be encountered probably questionable on the skirmish field. DANGEROUS GAME INDEED.” and it worries me that Instead of focusing there are potentially on the basic levels of untrained individuals who are running around with first aid training, people seem to be drawn to the items such as these needles under the illusion that they “glory courses” and I have recently seen an advert are some kind of Combat Medic in a war zone. for some kind of “Special Forces” combat medic The other item that tends be carried by players course. Worryingly, there was a high level of interest are Arterial Tourniquets. CAT and SOF-T are two of being shown by people in attending this course the more common makes and yes, in the event of which claimed that it would introduce people to the a catastrophic haemorrhage AND with the correct skills of a combat medic. But going back to the issue training, tourniquets can be life-saving. But there of decompressing a chest – really? Dressing up and seems to be players who are turning up to skirmishes pretending to be Special Forces is one thing but playing with these items and willing to use them without any at being a Paramedic is an extremely dangerous game training at all. Looking the part for Mil-sim is one thing indeed! 38
SURVIVAL IFAK - INDIVIDUAL FIRST AID KITS
WHAT TO CARRY
So, what do Airsofters really need to be carrying in their IFAK’s? Firstly, the kit contents should reflect the level of medical training and qualifications held by the individual. For most, this is going to be a standard first aid kit and should contain basic items to deal with various wounds of different severities including bleeds, burns, bone and joint injuries, blisters, small splinters and eye injuries. The kit should also include any personal medications such as Asthma inhalers, cardiac and diabetic drugs plus auto-injectors for those that suffer from anaphylactic reactions. A team medic might choose to carry a larger kit with extra items to enable them to deal with more than one injury during an event, but the idea of the IFAK is to self-treat (or at least have the kit readily available for someone else to use) and in the case of the military, to address any life threatening injuries.
• Disposable gloves • CPR face shield • Large first aid dressings or military type • Sterile eye pads • Adhesive dressings (Assorted sizes) • Gauze swabs • Non-adhesive dressings • Triangular bandage
• Support bandage (also useful for holding dressings in place) • Tuff-cut scissors • Tweezers • Wound cleansing wipes • Micropore tape • Foil blanket • Prescribed medications
COMMON TYPES OF INJURY
It is impossible to predict what accidents are going to happen, but the most common injuries can be prepared for. Slips, trips and falls seem to be an obvious one to start with, resulting in sprains, strains and broken bones. Cuts and grazes of varying degrees in severity are common and although most are minor, it is not beyond the realms of possibility to sustain a serious wound that does bleed profusely. Falls from heights (it does not need to be from very high) could lead to some kind of injury of the back / spinal column. Bangs to the head can cause head wounds or more serious head injuries and using pyrotechnics can cause burns.
FIRST AID PROVISION FOR SITES
Airsoft sites should have first aid provision in place with a well-stocked first aid kit and suitably trained staff – depending on the sites risk assessment. Some might argue that players do not need to carry an IFAK because of these arrangements, however on larger sites it can take several minutes for a site first aider / marshal to reach a casualty with the site first aid kit. If a player has sustained a serious laceration, for example from a piece of broken glass or sharp piece of metal and they are bleeding heavily, by the time a site first aider with a first aid kit can reach the scene, the casualty could already have lost a large amount of blood. If IFAK’s are being carried by players, they can treat themselves or their team-mates by applying dressings to control any bleeding while waiting for the site staff to arrive. Of course, this is just one extreme example, but others can include suspected fractures, breathing problems or cardiac conditions. Just one point that I would like to make – if there is a serious injury onsite during a skirmish, the game will be stopped and if the casualty cannot be moved due to the severity of the injury, the ambulance crew will need the site marshals to take them to the casualties location. The crew will not appreciate being shot at by airsoft guns, so any visions that players might have about treating their team-mates serious injuries whilst still ‘under fire’ are pure delusion and fantasy.
The purpose of this article is to act as a reality check when looking at what is acceptable practice for first aid provision within Airsoft. In my following articles I am going to be covering various first aid topics, but these articles are no substitute for real life professional training. Check out my website www.airsoftmedic.com for more first aid advice and courses. AA
RED CELL ‘OTHER’ GBB PISTOLS RANGE DAY
‘OTHER’ GBB PISTOLS RANGE DAY
ALTHOUGH MANY OF THE RED CELL MEMBERS LIVE QUITE CLOSE TO ONE ANOTHER, THE RECENT FULL LOCKDOWN IN THE UK MEANT THAT THEY WERE UNABLE TO MEET IN PERSON, SO BILL LOOKED TO “ADAPT AND OVERCOME” IN ORDER TO CREATE THIS MONTH’S TEST REPORT AND BRING YOU THE RESULTS OF THE TEST ON “OTHER” GBB PISTOLS!
won’t tell you that the whole C-Virus thing isn’t a challenge for us, and not just in relation to Red Cell testing! However, at Airsoft Action we’re all about solutions and not problems so we’ve endeavoured to keep everything “business as usual”, and by the ever-increasing number of you reading not only the “monthly”, but also our daily website posts, we can see that this has been of benefit to you even if at times we’ve scratched our heads a little in how best to achieve things, even though we’ve had frankly stupendous support from our friends and partners involved in the manufacture and distribution of AEGs and GBBs! And this is really telling when it comes to any of us getting together at the moment; with sites closing up now until the new year, and indeed some indoor sites that haven’t opened their doors since spring staying shut, “getting our game on” has never proved so challenging! Even though the Red Cell group is largely made up of friends who shoot and play together, even we have had to make a call on whether or not we should gather, and as November was “full lockdown” in the UK we were unable to do so as planned. However, the group is nothing but resilient, so after a quick back and forth in our “group chat” online we decided (it’s a bit of a “Chinese parliament”!) that although we couldn’t meet in person, we could still create an article for this month even in isolation! Luckily the AA Test Pool holds a number of review samples back for further evaluation and longer-term testing so I was able to drop off models to members of the group that hadn’t tried them; Jase and James got some 226 models, Bill W-R and Jimmy had G&Gs, 42
whilst Chris and I looked after models we already owned from ASG and TM. Luckily the entire group had already tried the new ProForce M17, but as Boycie was doing a fuller review of this in “RELOADED” this month we included it here for fairness, as everyone had enjoyed shooting it at our last meet in October. So, things are a little different this month, but I believe the information you’ll find here is perhaps even more personal and heartfelt than that to date. Some of the models were completely new to the testers, whilst others of us have shot the majority over time. We haven’t picked the models to comment on individually as we feel they are “the best”, but because they are all great GBB pistols that are 100% worth owning; where a model is owned by a member of the group we have said so to maintain complete transparency in the testing process. As usual all the models were tested using NP 2.0 “Green Bottle” gas and RZR .20g BBs; these were provided to all the testers to maintain parity in testing. As I write this at the beginning of December, sadly some of us are looking forward to a continued lockdown due to the C-Virus as we’re about to enter “T3”, which is largely the same as the last few weeks in reality. I’ve already postponed our “PDW Shoot Day” that was set for 6th December, but we are hopeful that after the review mid-month we will be able to get together again, not just to shoot and test, but to enjoy each other’s company in person rather than virtually. Of course I’ll be dishing out Christmas presents to the group in the form of our new red-plaid combat shirt “away strip” courtesy of www.invadergear.com,
RED CELL ‘OTHER’ GBB PISTOLS RANGE DAY
along with some new team patches! Wherever you are all of the Red Cell crew wish you a very happy airsoft Christmas, and we’ll be back in 2021 to rock things along with our take on PDW AEGs! With all the stats in the bag, it’s time to hand over now to the Red Cell crew themselves to give you an idea of the pistol models they had to test!
RED CELL REPORTS
Jimmy: This month I have been given the G&G GTP9; I didn’t know much about this model, and haven’t had a real look at it before. I have to look at this solely as an airsoft pistol and not a replica for the fact that it isn’t a “replica”, so I have nothing to compare it to from the real world of pistols! That said, from my point of view it is very familiar and carries some characteristics of some other brands. For instance, if hypothetically speaking H&K, CZ and Glock had a love triangle this would be the result! I feel it has an identity crisis, but this is a complete design and 100% from the amazing designers of G&G. The first time I saw this pistol I may have given it a bit of a hard time followed with some bad press, I won’t lie; I hated the bones of it, the look of it, and the feel of it but here’s where it gets interesting… Oh, excuse me, I’ve just heard the oven ping and I must go and remove my humble pie, so please do forgive me for talking with my mouth full! Before I took the GTP9 to the range I sat and had a good long look at this thing both inside and out, and one thing that you notice and can’t get away from is the fact this pistol is dripping with brand marks. The G&G logo is plastered all around it someone really wanted people to know who made it. They have branded it in places which quite frankly don’t need to be branded! Places where it’s not going to be seen unless stripped which tells me G&G are very proud of this one! Before any shooting commenced I wanted to chrono test it and the first 10 shots out of the box were quite impressive on the power output; using RZR 0.20g BBs the power was better than a lot of other pistols I’ve tested with a high fps of 302 and a low fps of 294. I proceeded to the range and released a whole magazine with 15 at a slow pace and the remaining 8 rapid fire and it happily emptied all of them with equal power. With a slight adjustment to the hop up I had the BBs shooting nice and straight and hitting centre mass on the target every time at a distance of 10 metres. I managed to get through 3 magazines before having to regas, as on the 4th mag the slide wasn’t travelling far enough back to reset for a follow up shot. After putting 100 BBs down range I went back to the chrono and found that the fps
had dropped slightly, highest fps 290 and the lowest fps was 284 so if we look at the earlier readings to the recent readings we are looking at an average of around the 290 mark. Performance wise it performed much better than I had imagined it would and I actually expected it to fall flat on its face; hmm, I’ll take another slice of that pie then please… at this rate I don’t think there’s going to be any pie left to share! So now that we have covered all of the good stuff let’s take a look at the little niggles I have. The trigger is very Glock-like, but it has a fair amount of take up with a massive 12mm before anything happens, then it has a reset of about 6mm. It’s not a heavy pull but it’s not what I’m used to. The magazine itself isn’t a problem and can accommodate 27 BBs at a push, the problem is in the loading. It is quite stiff on the feed lips and the mag follower has to be pulled fully down and locked in place in order to make loading somewhat easier, and should you forget to unlock it (like I did several times) it will render it useless especially when you need it most but to be honest that’s more a user error than a mag problem. I’m sure that after a fashion you will remember to unlock it without giving it a thought. I must admit I have been proven wrong, and yes, I did have to eat the whole humble pie. Out of everything regarding the GTP9 I could only really find them 3 little niggles which are from a personal www.airsoftaction.net
RED CELL ‘OTHER’ GBB PISTOLS RANGE DAY
Model: G&G GTP-9 Price: iro £110.00 Age: Seven Months Weight: 755g Length: 21.6cm Magazine Capacity: 27 BBs Cold Chrono: 0.95J/320fps
Hot Chrono: 0.75J/284fps Holster Compatibility: Y Taclite Compatibility: Good Suppressor Compatibility: 12mm CCW Supplied By: www.nuprol.com
Model: G&G Piranha MK1 Price: iro £150.00 Age: New Weight: 670g Length: 195mm Magazine Capacity: 25 BBs Cold Chrono: 0.72J/280fps
Hot Chrono: 0.53J/240fps Holster Compatibility: Good Taclite Compatibility: Good Suppressor Compatibility: Adapter Required Supplied By: www.nuprol.com
Model: ASG Shadow SP-01 Price: iro £110.00 Age: 3 Years Weight: 1079g Length: 225mm Magazine Capacity: 26 BBs Cold Chrono: 0.77J/288fps
Hot Chrono: 0.72J/280fps Holster Compatibility: Good Taclite Compatibility: Good Suppressor Compatibility: N/A Supplied By: www. actionsportgames.com
Model: ASG CZ75 Classic Price: iro £125.00 Age: 4 Years Weight: 980g Length: 206mm Magazine Capacity: 24 BBs Cold Chrono: 0.89J/310fps
Hot Chrono: 0.80J/295fps Holster Compatibility: Good Taclite Compatibility: N/A Suppressor Compatibility: N/A Supplied By: www. actionsportgames.com
Model: Raven R226 Price: iro £100.00 Age: New Weight: 845g Length: 190mm Magazine Capacity: 20 BBs Cold Chrono: 0.78J/290fps
Hot Chrono: 0.72J/280fps Holster Compatibility: Good Taclite Compatibility: Good Suppressor Compatibility: Good Supplied By: www.rvnairsoft. com
Model: Raven R226 RDS Price: iro £140.00 Age: New Weight: 845g Length: 190mm Magazine Capacity: 20 BBs Cold Chrono: 0.78J/290fps
Hot Chrono: 0.72 J/280fps Holster Compatibility: Good Taclite Compatibility: Good Suppressor Compatibility: Good Supplied By: www.rvnairsoft. com
RED CELL ‘OTHER’ GBB PISTOLS RANGE DAY
Model: WE MK25 Price: iro £130.00 Age: 5+ Years Weight: 100g Length: 195mm Magazine Capacity: 24 BBs Cold Chrono: 0.80J/295fps
Hot Chrono: 0.78 J/290fps Holster Compatibility: Good Taclite Compatibility: Good Suppressor Compatibility: Adapter Required Supplied By: www.weairsoft. com
Model: KJW P226 Price: iro £110.00 Age: 5+ Years Weight: 1127g Length: 188mm Magazine Capacity: 24 BBs Cold Chrono: 0.80J/295fps
Hot Chrono: 0.72 J/280fps Holster Compatibility: Good Taclite Compatibility: Good Suppressor Compatibility: N/A Supplied By: Nige.
Model: Sig ProForce M17 Price: iro £160.00 Age: New Weight: 769g Length: 203mm Magazine Capacity: 28 BBs Cold Chrono: 0.95J/320fps
Hot Chrono: 0.86 J/305fps Holster Compatibility: Good Taclite Compatibility: Good Suppressor Compatibility: N/A Supplied By: www.fire-support. co.uk
Model: Tokyo Marui USP 9mm Price: iro £150.00 Age: 3 Years Weight: 720g Length: 195mm Magazine Capacity: 25 BBs Cold Chrono: 0.75J/285fps
Hot Chrono: 0.72 J/280fps Holster Compatibility: Good Taclite Compatibility: Good Suppressor Compatibility: N/A Supplied By: www.tsairsoft.com
perspective, so it’s a win for G&G at the end of the day. Would I go out and buy one? I shall leave you wondering about that… Bill (No, the other one!): The GTP9 is very light and quick trigger response, and it’s. Gas efficient with multiple mags of BB’s per gas fill. It has an ergonomic design for the grip and very cleaver hop adjuster tool built into the base of the grip to adjust the hop down the barrel externally. The magazine has a nice lock down feature allowing the spring to be locked down and fully retracted allowing easier BB loading. There’s a solid feel to this pistol, with a clean cyclic action of the slide, and a great balance. It comes in a great presentation box with speed loader and metal badge with model name and serial number embossed into it. Ambidextrous-use-friendly, this pistol was a cold weather performer with its ceramic whirl valve to
break up any icy deposits at the nozzle. Another little slick trick is the ambidextrous magazine release built into the bottom of the trigger well. The Piranha though is an interesting split slide design with only the rear third and thin sides sliding back. Trigger response is a little slower but slightly more positive feel compared to GTP-9. There’s a nice little bullet key to adjust the hop but I feel this could be easily lost on the field; in my opinion, the GTP-9 “in grip” solution is a better idea. The valve on the magazine is a different design and felt a lot cleaner and more positive when filling with minimal overspray. With two full-power magazines of BBs on one fill of gas, this pistol is very gas efficient, and the kick from the split slide is very impressive, and is a novel look for a slide on a GBB pistol. It will be interesting to compare this against the mk2. It would be nice if www.airsoftaction.net
RED CELL ‘OTHER’ GBB PISTOLS RANGE DAY
the grip had interchangeable backstraps to adjust for bigger or smaller hands. As with the GTP9, being able to adjust the hop on the fly is a very handy and time saving idea. Just FYI I did have a small mishap with the magazine release; this was easily rectified, but it’s certainly an area to keep an eye on when you’re maintaining this pistol! Chris: Being a Child of the 90s, Rainbow 6 was a huge influence on my interest in firearms. Seeing the USP on the front cover cemented it in my mind as a must have pistol. I have owned 1911s, Glocks and SIGs but the USP was always my first love in terms of pistols. When Tokyo Marui released their USP in late 2017, I had to have one! While the debate on owning a Tokyo Marui product, and the “elitist” stigma attached to them (which is worth discussion in an article all of its own!) will go on, ignoring the perceived elitism, I can say that this pistol is solid and reliable. Although made from ABS plastic, the USP is solid with no creaking loose parts and no rattling. Everything fits together perfectly and the quality control on TMs part is evident in the quality of materials used. This quality build, as you would expect, results in a solid dependable pistol that is consistent and reliable. The slide is fully trademarked (which is also a discussion for another article in of itself with EU legislation) and although made from ABS plastic, the fit and finish is perfect and feels great.
The ABS lower receiver quality is made to very similar quality to the real steel HK pistols polymer lower. The grip has a spiked texture front and back which is not painful on an ungloved hand and a reasonable grip for your hands on each side. The trigger is a double action, when slide is cocked the trigger moves back into position 2 and has a 4mm take up to the wall with a nice solid break, reset is 46
4mm with an audible click and you’re ready to fire again. The safety is found on the upper left side of the frame and right-handed shooters will have no issue activating it by pushing up with your thumb, pushing down will de-cock the pistol. The mag releace is also positive, but can be a bit fiddly to get used to. With practice using your trigger finger or thumb to press it becomes nice and easy. How does it shoot? Using NP 1.0 Blue gas it’s certainly no slouch, and thanks to being made from ABS there is very little cool down so the blowback consistent for the entire magazine. You can use green gas but personally I tend to use it in colder months only. Range and accuracy are as you can expect with a Marui gun, perfectly acceptable for a pistol. Accessories and upgrades, Conclusion, Fun, fast, reliable, light but still stable with nostalgic styling. If you fancy something different or are a fan of the USP I would certainly suggest you give this reasonably priced offering from Marui a go. Jase: So lockdown kicked in again and out went out Red Cell meeting which was really gutting as I LOVE a P226! So when Bill phoned me and said that he had Sig care package for me, well, it made my day! The pistol’s design was started in 1980 and finished in 1983, when it was put to tender in the American ‘Joint Service Small Arms Program’, and for a pistol that has been around for as long as I have, I think its aged very well indeed. So in my care package from ‘The Wolf’ there was a KJ Works, WE Mk25, and the new Raven 226. Coupled with my own custom TM 226, I had four pistols to play with! The KJW 226 was one of the first ever airsoft pistols that I had the pleasure of playing with and fell in love with it and its decocking lever. Now this was Nige’s personal pistol and was a good few years old and had a good few rounds through it. The first thing you notice with this particular pistol is its glossy finish which I have to say I am not a fan of, it’s just too shiny. The FPS was 295 on a pretty chilly British afternoon. As I started to send plastic death down range I didn’t get more than 5 shots in and the mag vented from the top and bottom which meant it was due a good service. From this little lesson we learn that, yes lads, we need to keep on top of our toys maintenance and mags with enough gas in them to keep the seals in good working order. With this gun’s test over, I knew its history well enough that it fired well and had good efficiency when it was in full working order. From the KJW I moved over to Bill’s WE 226 which was a homage to Seal Team 6. It had the best paint work of the four guns I tested, as it just looked silky smooth with that slight element of ‘Reaper’ to it. It
RED CELL ‘OTHER’ GBB PISTOLS RANGE DAY
went through the chrono at 295fps and I managed two mags out of one fill of Nuprols finest green vintage. With this guns special S.T.6 grips they still felt pretty “plastic” to the bare palm. Of all the 226’s on test with me, this one had the tightest fitting slide by miles, it literally had no wobble to it. When it came to hitting the steel it made light work of the task, it was a pretty solid out of the box. Perfection. Then I moved onto my little beauty. This silver gem is my very own TM based, Guarder framed Mike Cripps special. When I ordered it from Mike he had stopped making anything other than Hi Capa race guns but agreed to build me this custom 226 some 7 or 8 years ago now. It took time to build as we had to source a base alloy frame from Guarder as they were like hens teeth. Once in my workshop I was tasked with hand polishing it to a good shine before I sent it back to Mike for final assembly where he fitted a Laylax barrel and bucking and mag seals. So when I Chrono’d the gun at 295fps I wasn’t surprised, solid numbers for a chilly day and I managed two mags out of one refill but the gun became sluggish at the end of the 2nd mag. In the hand it’s amazing as its covered in one of Hogues finest soft rubber grips that where brought over from the States by my mate Mr Li. These where not straightforward to fit and needed my boy Ian ‘Smudger’ to help me shoe horn them into place but they have stood the test of time all this time on. As for range, this will hit a steel head at 35m (if I’ve got my game on point). So then I picked up the last and newest 226,the tan Raven “R”. Like all of the replica’s I handled, this was a very good tribute to the mighty 226. I was really enjoying the colour and matt appearance. In the hand this gun was a treat to handle, the grips where softer than the other two but not quite as good as the Hogues. However, as I put the tan beauty through the chrono it was registering pretty low, not what I was expecting, 245fps. Right I thought, I like this little pistol, I can’t let this continue. Off to my lockdown workshop or as I like to call it, the kitchen table! As I stripped it down under the bright kitchen light, I could see the glimmer of an overly greased 226; the sticky stuff was everywhere - and I mean everywhere. As I went to town cleaning it up I took a peek down the barrel… caked in the stuff. So apart came the hop and bucking and they got a good talking-to by the dish soap and hot water and the barrel de-greased. Once all back together she chrono’d at 275fps and was hitting the steal at 30m, my work was done. I can’t comment on how the grease had got everywhere but I’d question production as all the Raven pistols we have reviewed in all of our previous articles had been
spot on out of the box. Not a massive issue as I always rebuild my own hops in guns I purchase new, but for all of you out there who don’t do your own DIY, just be mindful to check over new purchases for things like this. James: So thanks to National Lockdown this month we had no meeting, but luckily Mr Bill was kind enough to send me a new in the box Raven R226 with BDS for my first impressions. So straight to it, the model I received came in “battleship grey” with black accents and certainly looks good! It’s also well put together with no wobbles to be found. It comes pretty heavily greased from the factory, so a bit of decreasing was required before taking it to the range on a cold November morning. Cold chrono came in at 292fps and 282fps at the end of many rounds down range. So what’s it like to shoot? Well, the recoil action is big! But it still happily empties a fully loaded mag every time on green gas in cold weather, although there was a fair amount of gas venting to the rear of the slide at the start of each freshly gassed mag; considering the cold temperature and the fact that it’s brand new and needs a bit of bedding in, overall it’s very impressive. It has a nice weight in hand and very comfortable pistol grip, and comes with 20mm rail upfront, a RDS and hi-vis ironsights; all in all, a very nice package! Bill: I’ve been lucky that I’ve shot each and every one of the pistol models featured here and indeed own many of them myself! After James and Jase reported back to me I did take up the “grease issue” with the guys at RAVEN, and this is something they have assured me they will be looking into now we’ve brought it to their attention. In fairness to them though it’s a perennial problem as shipping “metalwork” in environmentally unregulated steel containers is a REAL problem when it comes to possible corrosion in transit… too little and you end up with rusty guns being delivered, and that we most certainly don’t want! It’s a problem I’ve seen with other manufacturers over the years, and it’s a real balancing act to get the balance right to be fair! It’s why I’ve learned from my time with real firearms that when you get a new model it is probably going to need degreasing, and I do this with my RIFs as a matter of course… note to self, check on greasing levels with ALL new models in the future; as Jase rightly said, I’m comfortable with this process, but some of you may not be! Okay, what did I look at myself month then? A couple of “old campaigners” is the answer in the form of two ASG CZ-licenced models, the SP-01 Shadow and my beloved classic CZ75! www.airsoftaction.net
RED CELL ‘OTHER’ GBB PISTOLS RANGE DAY
The SP-01; externally this is a large but pleasing handgun. I wear a regular size Large glove, and although slim, the grip of the CZ filled my hand well with some positive checkering, great ergonomics and of course the extended beavertail. The SP-01 is full metal so it’s also a nice weight in the hand, 1110g as opposed to the 1088g of the real thing, but of course there is a little extra weight in the airsoft gas magazine. It feels substantial and solid throughout. The finish of the CZ replicas offered by ASG has always been spot on, and the SP-01 is no exception to this, and if anything it’s actually even nicer than its predecessors finished as it is in a deep, matte black which accurately mimics the polycoat finish of the real thing. Like the original CZ75 the breech block and barrel of the SP-01 are finished in silver, as is the trigger. The sights as standard are excellent too with a simple notch to the rear and a very, very tidy red fibre optic at the business end! In use the ASG SP01 is equally flawless. The action is very crisp indeed, the slide easily moved to the rear thanks to some deep serrations on either side of it. When cocked the safety clicks into place firmly and solidly. The pistol comes with a gas magazine with extended floorplate as standard which is swift and easy to load, and this snaps into place with a reassuring “clack”. Overall this is a really satisfying airsoft pistol and is worthy of a place in anyone’s armoury. It looks and feels great, shoots consistently and extremely accurately, and cycles perfectly on both green gas and CO2. The CZ75 from ASG shows that their system of licencing works perfectly as you’d be hard pressed to distinguish the replica from the real thing! All the dimensions are pretty spot on with the replica coming in at 206.3mm long as opposed to the 206mm of the current 75B; in terms of weight the real thing tips the scales at 1000g and the replica when loaded with its full complement of 24, .20g BBs is pretty darn close at 984.8g. The ergonomics of the replica also mimic those of the real thing and this is a pistol that really does sit very comfortably in the hand. The angle of the pistol grip (which is slightly longer than the Hi-Power and 1911) is nigh on perfect, and the chequered plastic grips feature the embossed CZ logo. The controls are all quite similar to those of the Hi-Power and the 1911 as well so if you own one of those models the 75 will feel pretty instinctive; the magazine release sits to the rear of the elegantly curved trigger guard on the left-hand side, with the safety catch to the rear above. The safety is set only when the pistol has been cocked which means that you can safely carry it in “Condition 1”. The overall finish of the replica is absolutely excellent with the 48
body and slide being full metal in a rich matt black. The trigger, outer barrel and “breech” are all finished with a silver “stainless” effect which makes the whole thing look very attractive. The trademarks, CZ logo and “MODEL 75 CAL.9 PARA” are all very cleanly achieved on the left of the slide and the only real giveaway that this is a replica is a tiny ASG logo. Loaded up with .20g RZR BBs and NP 2.0 gas the CZ75 sends BBs downrange with astonishing accuracy giving excellent groupings at 10 metres; the sights are a simple front blade/rear notch affair although you can upgrade these to “dot” sights should you wish. The pistol does have an adjustable hop-up which is accessed by removing the slide, and this is very well explained in the full colour instruction manual supplied with the pistol. Overall this is still one of my favourite airsoft handguns, and fully lives up, even in 6mm BB form, to the claim of being one of “the best combat handguns ever”! As always, our thanks go to Red Cell partners NUPROL (www.nuprol.com), VIPER (www.viperkit. co.uk), Attack Sense Smart Targets (www.attacksense. com) and Invader Gear (www.invadergear.com).
BLACK / BROWN / TITANIUM / SRP: Â£49.95
KIT & GEAR PTS UNITY
In association with
PTS UNITY TACTICAL FAST MICRO MOUNT
WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO LICENSED AIRSOFT PRODUCTS FROM THE FIREARMS AND PARTS INDUSTRY, PTS SYNDICATE IS ALWAYS A COMPANY WORTH LOOKING OUT FOR! IN THE FIRST OF WHAT WE HOPE WILL PROVE TO BE MANY COLLABORATIONS “ON PAGE”, CHRIS FROM THE AIRSOFT & MILSIM NEW BLOG BRINGS US NEWS OF THE VERY LATEST ADDITIONS TO THE EXPANSIVE PTS SYNDICATE RANGE.
he latest new additions to the UNITY Tactical licensed product family are the FAST Micro Mount and Micro Riser that some of you have been waiting for to come out. In this review, we´ll focus on the Micro Mount first.
Unity Tactical FAST™ is a series of optic mounts that provide end users with a quicker sight picture than standard height mounts. A 2.26” optical centerline height provides faster/easier reticle acquisition while wearing electronic earpro/communications headsets, night vision goggles and gas masks and allows for more rapid visual processing of the battlefield by promoting a heads-up posture. A heads-up posture also helps users maintain a neutral spine position which is more comfortable while wearing helmets, plate carriers, and other heavy gear.
The PTS FAST Micro Mount is built from 6000 series Aluminum Alloy (black anodized). The Micro Mount is compatible with the Aimpoint® Micro (H1, H2, T1, T2, CompM5) series and other optics with the Aimpoint® Micro footprint such as those found on many Sig Sauer®, Holosun®, Primary Arms®, and 50
Vortex Optics® platforms. As you would expect from a licensed product, the UNITY Tactical trademark can be found on the right side of the mount. One small detail is missing regarding to the “real deal”. Right under the UNITY name – the PAT PEND| CAGE 81C38 number. Except for this, every other marking is where it should be to give this replica an authentic look. Of course, there´s a reminder at the bottom that this product is made for “Airsoft Use Only” for those thinking to grab a cheap deal on the real deal. The Micro Mount features built-in standard height back up iron sights (BUIS) that keep your airsoft gun uncluttered without reducing capability. Those of you that run smaller gun platforms, such as PDW/SMGs, know that rail space can become a critical thing when mounting lasers, light/switches and sling attachment points to it. If your gun offers enough rail space, you´re good to go with your preferred BUIS or you make a fusion of both. How does this work? The front sight post can be removed so that the rear BUIS aperture from the Micro Mount can be used with a traditional front sight, creating a more conventional sight radius. As seen here on my setup, I run it with standard old school CQB BUIS. I actually use the back sight too. Looks cool to me - I like it but it also works well. The Micro Mount comes with a standard rail-
KIT & GEAR PTS UNITY
grabber clamp mount for fixation but is already designed to readily accept a drop-in American Defense Manufacturing QD Auto-Lock™ Lever. This mounting option is sold separately but not from PTS. It´s available from the UNITY Tactical website or straight at American Defense MFG if you want to upgrade it for about $35.
The Micro Mount works pretty well for me as I can tell it for now. Got to use it for about three weeks with my Holosun HS403B mounted on top of it. Installation was very easy using a hex key. It sits tight and strong on top, no wobble at all. Good workmanship right here. Actually, that´s what I expected from it. A bit more time in the field will tell how it really performs then. Let´s hope that the Corona Lockdown will end soon to get this field time rolling… As mentioned at the beginning, this mount provides a quicker sight picture than standard height mounts on the market. Due to this, you have a more “natural aiming” position while shooting and moving towards your target. During the training sessions I did with it so far, I really can feel a benefit out of this. Also, the more neutral spine position which is a result of it is comfortable. If you run NODS and want to use your optic to aim (instead of IR Lasers) or maybe both, this never felt more comfortable than with the FAST Micro Mount. As you can see in the pictures, the natural aiming position stays the same and so the line of view is in accord. Picking up targets during goon time becomes a much quicker thing that way. Very much appreciated from my point of view.
What´s more to say about it? For $60 bucks, which is less than the half of the price from the real deal, you get a very well made licensed replica for airsoft use. If you feel yourself in the need to improve your shooting/aiming device, the PTS UNITY Tactical Micro Mount is your go to option I would recommend. Stay tuned on our site as we take a look at the second release from UNITY/PTS, the “Micro Riser” very soon too. Our sincere thank go to Chris for providing this review for Airsoft Action and you can keep up to date with all the great news and other reviews available from Chris and his team by keeping an eye on www. airsoft-milsim-news.com. AA
FEATURE ACTION AIR - TAIWAN
AFTER A SHORT BREAK OUR LEGIONNAIRE IN TAIWAN, “STEWBACCA”, ONCE AGAIN PITS HIS TALENTS AGAINST OTHER LOCAL SHOOTERS - AND THIS TIME HE DIDN’T HAVE TO TRAVEL FAR!
OF ACTION AIR
aving first started training in Action Air back in early February 2020 with Setup Project Practical Team in Western Taipei, followed by qualifying for my competition licence towards the tail end of March and finally competing for my first time at the Taichung Shootfest in April, the next few months went by in a similar blur for me. Not only was I juggling other airsoft-related activities such as speedsoft competition and related concerns and general skirmishing as well, I was also managed to squeeze in moving home yet again! This time though, much closer to SPPT’s training place and my preferred airsoft shop in Taipei at least! October the 25th soon crept up on us all - I’d managed at least keep up regular weekly training sessions with the team and marked my 45th practise just before the recent competition. Chris Leung and James Zhou, who operate the shooting centre SPPT that call “home”, decided to host a Level 1 event, which was especially important given the dearth of them throughout the earlier months of the year due to everyone’s concerns over COVID transmission.
ON HOME TURF
Thus, my most recent foray into competitive shooting
with airsoft guns came to pass on home turf only two MRT stops from the new home with Ms. Stewbacca. This meant we didn’t all have to get up at silly o’clock in the morning to get there, which was an immediate advantage in terms of being well-rested and having a relaxed arrival. Given the limited indoor - and upstairs - space we train in, the organisers decided to split the competitors into two groups, cycling the majority of Taipei Focus Action Shooters (TFAS), who have the larger team, as well as some of the Spring Rain (SR) and SPPT players who were running Open Division equipment first, then the rest of us in Production and Standard Divisions afterwards (while the first group grabbed lunch). Following my earlier experiences and the use of my WE M17 for my first competition, I had since decided to go down the route of using the CZ Shadow series of GBB pistols from KJ Works. Despite my teammate’s continued attempts to turn me to the HiCapa M1911 style dark side, I managed to stay true to my European roots! Having tried out the CZ SP01 Shadow left with me by the Umbrella Corp guys of Hong Kong on their last visit to Taiwan, I had gotten used to the odd manual of arms required to use it in Production Division (load a round, remove magazine, lower hammer in a
“THE MAJORITY OF THE TARGETS WERE TO THE LEFT END BEHIND VARIOUS OBSCURING COVER PANELS, FORCING YOU TO MOVE THE LENGTH OF THE STAGE TO GET EYES - AND MUZZLE - ON THEM ALL CLEARLY, WHILE ONE OF THE PAPER TARGETS WAS ACTUALLY ON A SLIDING RAIL, RELEASED BY THE DOWNING OF ONE OF THE POPPERS.” 52
FEATURE ACTION AIR - TAIWAN
controlled manner then reinsert the magazine and fire the first shot double action) - although I had managed to put a lot of wear on the original Shadow 1. So, for a birthday present to myself, I splashed out for the CZ Shadow 2 purely for competition purposes and gotten used to the handling and shooting.
competitors present and my resultant scoring of 84/85 pts - with 9 of us competing in Production Division overall. Stage 2 was my last of the morning session - hence shot third in order - and was an interesting setup none of us could really have prepared for…
When the competition day rolled around, the prelunch sessions consisted of three short stages setup alongside each other down the length of the room, with access to the starting points flanked by official’s desks in each case (for dealing with the appropriate paperwork for each stage and competitor). Stage 1 was the largest of the three and involved running sideways between fault lines, with a course of fire comprising 6 mini IPSC paper targets (2 of which had “no-shoots” obscuring them), 5 mini poppers and the ending plate. This was to be started in “Condition 2” and had a minimum round count of 18, with 85 points available.
The majority of the targets were to the left end behind various obscuring cover panels, forcing you to move the length of the stage to get eyes - and muzzle - on them all clearly, while one of the paper targets was actually on a sliding rail, released by the downing of one of the poppers. A further cluster of targets was obscured at the right end, behind a blind that needed to be pulled and held open with a toggle on a rope, forcing you to single-hand shoot the three paper targets in this area - one of which was the sliding one where it came to rest and the other two were the ones with no-shoots obscuring them. This is where I spent the most time ensuring I got the accuracy in and avoided penalties. I shot this stage second in order and managed a reasonable level of accuracy, with 15 “Alphas” and 3 “Charlies” in just over 18 seconds, which I was much happier with given the level of
The stage was basically stationary/shooting from a narrow fault box, with a sliding door set up on rails, with only two narrow vertical firing slots available for use. We had to start with the door in the central position on its rails, in Condition One, with a minimum round count of 13, for 65 points and comprising a course of fire of 4 mini IPSC paper targets, 4 mini poppers and the ending. The only other considerations being 2 no-shoot papers right in front of the centre of the door (to obscure the firing slots in the central position) and a final stipulation being your gun was not allowed to hit the outside of the aiming holes in the door, which many of us seemed to slow our pace to ensure compliance with. This was easily my slowest stage of the morning and overall when you consider the lower round count. Despite planning the stage, I still found myself searching for targets too much through the narrow shooting slots. I seemed to be one of the few people using the higher one (being the tall gangly type that I am), with most of the others squatting low or doing some stretchy gymnastics to shoot through the lower port. My diligence paid off at least, with an entirely cleanly shot 13 “Alphas” for a full score of 65 points, albeit I had to do a few make up shots to get hits on paper as I kept plinking rounds off the obscuring www.airsoftaction.net
FEATURE ACTION AIR - TAIWAN
cover on one of the left targets which cost me a few seconds and taking my time all the way up to 22.39s. As a result I also managed to relive my first competition by finishing the stage on my final round - with the slide locking back to applause at my further jammy-ness! Stage 3 was the one I shot first in order for the morning trio and comprised a narrow stage beginning in Condition 3, with two vertical regions in the front panel covers to shoot through, obscured extensively by a patchwork of paper targets which were used to force you to shoot from odd positions, or through a “ladder” of gaps at each of the two firing points.
When I’d finished the course of fire - consisting of 4 mini paper targets, 3 mini poppers and the ending plate - I’d managed all Alphas, aside from one target that I’d put 2 shots through the Charlie zone and a make-up shot in the Alpha, with one target having a very close couple of Alphas I was quite happy with. Overall, this gained me 58 of the available 60 points.
PREPARATION & PLANNING
With the first phase dealt with, our second group broke for lunch and the organisers began the reconfiguration of the arena for the fourth and final, medium length stage after lunch, which took up the entire competition space. We had an extended lunch for a few hours while the rearrangement was underway and the first group of shooters cycled through the final stage prior to our return - plenty of time to rest and replay things in our heads and compare notes between our group, as well as prepare
ourselves for the final stage. The “Boss Fight” final stage was fairly involved, with three individual “fingers”, or tracks, projecting forwards off the access path between fault lines crossing the whole rear from left to right. Each of these fingers had a fairly small window in the barricades to shoot through, providing a limited view of each zone of the whole stage and the shooter had to begin part way along the middle finger. This section had a “jail cell” style barricade of vertical bars which could be shot through to hit some of the poppers on the right if desired, as well as a flap over the main shooting window, which had to be held open in order to shoot single-handed to get the central region of paper and poppers. With the ending plate only being visible from the central and left side bays, the shooter had to plan in which order to address the right hand bay, as it couldn’t be tackled last, not realistically. Being a medium length course and taking up the same space as the previous three combined, it was obviously going to be more involved and include some longer shots to test accuracy - with a total of 10 mini IPSC paper targets, 3 of which had no shoot obstructions and 9 steel poppers shared out across the three bays. Naturally it took quite some time to arrive at an efficient route through the targets and shooting bays, so the queue for stage planning was long and we all got around 3 runs in prior to shooting it live. Suffice to say, the majority of competitors followed a similar path to myself, shooting and moving ahead down the middle bay from the start buzzer before doubling back and taking on the isolated right hand side bay before running clear to the opposite side and finishing up on the left bay and taking the ending plate out from there. I was more than happy with my performance in this round, given the mess I made of the complicated last stage in Taichung back in April and forgetting my plan. I really felt like I nailed this one a lot better and seemed to be higher up the pack as a result of my performance on it, given how close a race the other stages had been - or how slow I had been on them while striving for accuracy (as usual). When I finally showed clear, holstered and stepped back I felt pretty spent given the intensity of the planning, stage, running, reloading and attempts to shoot it as clean as I could, all of which with the eyes of everyone else on you and my GoPro atop my head too. I felt much better all told though and with
“THE “BOSS FIGHT” FINAL STAGE WAS FAIRLY INVOLVED, WITH THREE INDIVIDUAL “FINGERS”, OR TRACKS, PROJECTING FORWARDS OFF THE ACCESS PATH BETWEEN FAULT LINES CROSSING THE WHOLE REAR FROM LEFT TO RIGHT. ” 54
FEATURE ACTION AIR - TAIWAN
my newer gun and gear set up, as well as being a lot more practised with it and stage planning this time round, I had a much better overall outcome, which was evidently reflected in the results too. Despite the no-shoots being used over mostly the more distant targets, I still managed to come away with a reasonable time of 28:54 and only got 6 Charlies (mostly on the longer, obscured targets behind no-shoots that I was being overly cautious of keeping clean - no innocent bystanders please!), with 24 Alphas and no other news to speak of. My reloading and aiming had felt more fluid and some of my double taps had been pretty snappy, albeit sacrificing a little accuracy in some cases. But, I felt far improved and arguably less nervous, or at least flustered, as I had been at my first competition due to the final stage failures. The writing’s on the wall… or at least the scores! Following the breakdown of the final stage and a bit of stop, everyone gathered to find out their individual overall stage times and scores, which had been tabulated and printed out and stuck on the wall, while the Divisional winners and runners up were being finalized, ready for announcement. In the end I’d accrued 345 of the possible 360 points and taken a total of 85.14 seconds across all four stages, with 63 Alphas, and just 10 Charlies, so I was very happy with my individual shooting. I felt I could maybe have pushed myself to be a little faster but as I - and the IPSC motto - always say, “Diligentia” comes before “Celeras”. At least this has given me a solid baseline of skills to build on - and get faster at employing in future shoots!
With the final scores tabulated, the winners and runners up for each of the three divisions were
announced and trophies presented. Open division was taken by Jia Yu Liu, with Jia Hua Zheng taking second place and Bo Xian Hou in third, out of a total of 15 competitors. Standard division was won out by Yu Qi Tsai, second place being taken by Ding Xuan Ah and Jiao Pin Du in third, out of a total of 14 competitors. Finally, Production division was a very close call between first and second place, with “Patty” Pei Shan Huang just gaining an edge over second place Yu Xi Liu and Yao Zhong Li taking third place. My fifth place score was around 16% behind Patty’s and 5% behind third place, out of the total of eight competitors who seemed quite well matched in speed and abilities from what I saw of our rounds.
From my first competition in April and placing 5th out of 6 shooters in the Production division (plus having an absolute mare of a last round), I’d risen to 5th out of 8 shooters and acquitting myself far better this time round, without any of the obvious “I just made a hash of that didn’t I?” moments. I certainly felt more like I belonged there this time round, having trained hard alongside the team for longer and getting to know the ropes and more of the community in general. It’s been a continuing pleasure to get involved with Action Air in Taiwan, among all my other shooting-related activities since getting here. Now we’re working towards our next competition, which should (hopefully) be in December and I’ve recently purchased the STAGE electronic mobile app-driven target system (from TMC in Taipei) to start measuring my speed and progress, which is already helping in my training since the competition. Hopefully I can continue to.... #GoFasterTryNotToSuckQuiteSoMuch! AA www.airsoftaction.net
SIG AIR PROFORCE M17
SIG AIR PROFORCE M17
THIS MONTH IN RELOADED BOYCIE SETS HIS SIGHTS ON A GBB PISTOL MODEL THAT CONTINUES TO TAKE ON GREATER SIGNIFICANACE IN ITS “REAL WORLD” FORM, THE M17!
ince my first purchase of a 9mm Glock 17 - serial number BSX397 - in the early 1990s you may say that I am a dyed in the wool Glock fan. Well, yes that would be fair to say, particularly as I am a left handed shooter and the Glock was so uncomplicated to use. My experience with real firearms goes back to 1981 and over that time I have owned and used a huge number of live fire pistols. One that I could never get on well with was the SIG P226 which I always felt had a lot of metal high up and this gave me a recoil action which I didn’t really gel with. When Bill asked me to review the ProForce SIG AIR M17, I knew my prejudice from the P226 would be at the forefront of my mind. The first words out of my mouth when I handled the M17 for the first time at Red Cell test day were, to use the language of Father Ted, “Feck me Dougal, that’s a beauty!” The feel of the grip in my hand was immediately very comfortable and the safety catch and slide release, both of which are ambidextrous, were really easy to operate. The safety catch is small enough to be unobtrusive but big enough to allow positive operation, even with gloves on. Another really good feature is that the M17 uses a striker fire method which means there is no external hammer to snag on kit or be a potential extra conduit for dirt and water to get in to the workings of the pistol. Unlike the P226, the M17 is a single action only
pistol, this means that you must ‘rack the slide’ in order to cock the hammer, whereas the P226 is a double action first shot when you pull the trigger the hammer moves to the cocked position before falling and firing the round. The profile of the slide, while being quite angular, is really appealing, and atop the slide sits a really clear set of white dot sights. The rear of the slide has a Micro Red Dot Sight (MRDS) ready mount which is covered by a really nice plate which incorporates the rear sights. This plate and set is able to be replaced by the SIG M17 adaptor plate which will allow the fitting of a chosen MRDS. This is particularly good as it means that a professional Law Enforcement or Military shooter can replicate their service weapon with this 6mm version for low cost and much safer training, with everything other than an empty case leaving the slide after a round is fired. In the real world the SIG M17 can use both the 17rd magazine which sits flush with the base of the pistol grip, or the 21 round extended magazine. A big advantage of being a left handed shooter (yes there are some!) is that to operate the magazine release I use my trigger finger. This is something that I have been very familiar with for nearly 40 years and is a big safety point that I like. I have tried to use pistols with either an ambidextrous or swappable magazine release but I just can’t get on with it. In a situation where potentially you may need to use someone else’s
“IN A RECENT POST TO THE WEBSITE WE SHARED THAT SIG HAVE ACHIEVED TWO SIGNIFICANT MILESTONES IN THE MHS PROGRAM: THE DELIVERY OF THE 200,000TH MHS PISTOL MANUFACTURED AT THE SIG SAUER FACILITY IN NEWINGTON, NEW HAMPSHIRE AND THE FIRST MONTH TO HAVE MHS PISTOLS SIMULTANEOUSLY DELIVERED TO ALL BRANCHES OF THE U.S. MILITARY!” 56
RELOADED SIG AIR PROFORCE M17
pistol, especially in a moment of high stress, I am not having to think about how to use the mag release. The grip of the pistol has a very comfortable recess where your thumb sits and this is replicated on both sides. On the front of the trigger guard is a really positive grooved section for those who prefer to place a finger on it as they hold the pistol in a firing grip. Further forward on the frame of the pistol is a section of pitcatinny rail which will enable the fitting of a large number of accessories such as tac lights or lasers. To “field strip” the M17 it follows exactly the same action as on the live fire version.
Ensure the magazine is not fitted and clear the pistol before checking the chamber for a round. Pull the slide back until the scallop in the slide, by the rear of the front slide serrations, lines up and enables you to turn the take down lever. The slide then is removed from the front of the frame. One of the most useful and neat things I found on the ProForce M17 is that to alter the hop up of the 6mm, lock the slide back and turn the ‘recoil rod’ to achieve a really positive adjustment. This saves all the hassle that some other pistols have in that you have to either take the slide off to adjust the hop or use a specific key, inserted into the faux chamber to enable the adjustment. The trigger has quite a heavy pull when you compare it to most 6mm pistols but this again is to give the same feel as is present on the real firearm. There isn’t a long pull to operate the trigger to fire the pistol and there is a really positive reset when firing a string of shots. One thing I think that would be really good for SIG to produce would be a boxed set of the P320-M17 like you can get with the real firearm. This would include one flush fit magazine which comes with the ProForce P320-M18 and two of the extended magazines. It is really clear that SIG have had a lot of input and worked very closely with VFC who OEM this replica to produce a really fantastic training tool. On to the test range and using NP 2.0 Green Gas
and RZR .20g BBs I loaded the magazine and readied the pistol. The first thing I did was to fire a magazine full off BBs through the chrono at a “deliberate” rate of fire, keeping the pace of one, release, two, release, three, release until the magazine was empty. I’d definitely say that green gas is the best option in the warmer months and for indoor use NP 3.0 could be used if you wish (at your own risk) over winter months when the ambient temperature is lower Now to have some “time on target”; using the Virtus Training Systems Aluminium target set at a range of approx. 7m and spaced approx. 500mm apart it was easy to move the pistol and hit each target without missing one from a low ready start. So to round things up, this is an all-round great 6mm pistol. From someone who loves their Glock (VFC licensed) and other similar platforms, the M17 has really turned my head, so much so that I actually asked to buy the one we had for test. If I were back shooting live pistols on a regular basis then I would be seriously considering the purchase of the 9mm P320 M17 to use for competition. I’ll never totally give up my like of the Glock platform but the M17 I can see being a regular feature in my holster for training and skirmishing use. My thanks to Frank at Fire Support for the loan of the pistol for the test, and please do check out all they have to offer by visiting www.fire-support.co.uk. AA
KIT & GEAR 5.11 ALL MISSIONS PLATE CARRIER
STAYING ON MISSION
ALTHOUGH REGULAR CONTRIBUTOR IGGY IS NOW RESIDENT IN AUSTRALIA, HE’S STILL VERY MUCH INVOLVED IN AIRSOFT AND THE CHALLENGES THAT OUR “6MM BROTHERS AND SISTERS” ARE FACING THERE. OF COURSE, HE’S STILL VERY MUCH FOCUSED ON GREAT KIT AND WILL CONTINUE TO BRING US NEWS AND REVIEWS AS PART OF THE GROWING INTERNATIONAL “AA LEGION”! THIS TIME HE TURNS HIS ATTENTION TO HIS LATEST PLATE CARRIER ACQUISITION…
recently bought the 5.11 All Missions Plate Carrier and had the opportunity to use it in skirmishes, both indoors and outdoors. In addition to the plate carrier I opted to have two 5kg training plates, to add to the realism and get the true feel of the product, as it was designed to be. Also, so long as you had weighted plates, in certain MilSim events they award an extra “medic hit”, which means you can carry two bandages over other players that only have the one, so you can stay in game longer …if you can get someone to put your bandage on you after a hit! The 5.11 All Missions range of products are modular. With regards to the plate carrier this becomes truly clear as you explore it. The front and rear panel that feature the new hex grid design come away using hook loops and the entire back part of the panel is Velcro. Around either side the two hex grid cummerbunds are followed by two stretchy cummerbunds underneath, that revel the strap as a last option of connecting the front and rear of the plate carrier around your body. This means you can use the plate carrier as a heavyduty assault vest with MOLLE pouches attached at all angles thanks to the hex grid design, allowing you to customise your plate carrier to suit the way you operate best with it. The front hex grid also features a “Kangaroo pocket” which has a Velcro strip along the inside of 58
KIT & GEAR 5.11 ALL MISSIONS PLATE CARRIER
it, designed for the quick release mag holder that’s included with the purchase. This holds three STANAG (M4 style) magazines. The Hex grids are available as a single aftermarket item; allowing you to buy others and build them to suit different loadouts, making it super easy to change from mission to mission, depending on the task. With all hex grid parts removed the plate carrier looks more like the 5.11 Tac-Tec version, only without MOLLE on the lower half of the outer front and rear plate panels. This still means you can attach Velcrobacked pouches should you require them. That said, the plate carrier has another Kangaroo pouch here, so using the quick release mag holder mentioned above, you can carry magazines easily - just in a slightly more low-profile loadout. This option is still available at the lowest profile option too, once you remove the two stretchy cummerbunds, meaning all you have is the front and rear plate sections held around your waist by a single strap and clip. The padded sleeves that feature hydration tube guides for a water bladder along the outside edge of the the shoulder can be removed from the shoulder straps themselves, making the whole thing into a very low-profile plate carrier. Inside there are two thick pads on the front and back, adding that element of comfort but also providing a channel of airflow to avoid you overheating under the plate carrier. The plates I got in addition to the carrier are non-ballistic and are for training only. They give the feel of the real thing and certainly the weight, which means that it is a great option for exercise too, adding 10kg to any exercise. If I am exercising with the plate carrier, I use it in the lowest profile option, that way it doesn’t get in the way of any exercise but still makes me work harder. The plates themselves are held in place by Velcro straps, seating them perfectly over your vital organs. There is an additional Velcro seal at the base of the plate pocket sealing them in place. In-game I have only used it in full loadout. I also added two MOLLE pouches on the front, both at 45-degree angles. Initially I had them at opposite 45-degree angles until a friend advised me to put them both on the right side as I am predominantly right handed, therefore I would change magazine with my left hand and it would allow both magazine pouches to be easily accessed from the left. The design (as stated in the name of this plate carrier) is geared to all your needs, ready for all missions. It comes in two colours, black and kangaroo (a darker version of tan). Overall, I am happy with it. It is very
accommodating and allows me to customise my plate carrier more than ever before. The quality of 5.11 is always very high and this latest plate carrier maintains it; I even have a new item for exercising with, which is an additional bonus I did not envisage. It is comfortable and even after wearing it for some time it still is not an issue. It is pricey but for the fact it’s modular, allowing you to do more than any other plate carriers, makes it worth it. AA
TECH TALK UMAREX VFC MEETS JEFFTRON LEVIATHAN
UMAREX VFC MEETS JEFFTRON LEVIATHAN IT’S ALL VERY WELL REPORTING ON NEW PRODUCTS AND NEW TECHNOLOGIES TO HIT THE MARKET AS THEY APPEAR BUT, OF COURSE, AS AIRSOFTERS WE WANT TO KNOW HOW THESE CAN BE APPLIED TO ENHANCE THE PERFORMANCE OF OUR AEGS AND GBBS TO GIVE US THE EDGE “IN GAME”, DON’T WE? THIS MONTH, IN HIS FIRST REPORT FOR AIRSOFT ACTION, RED CELL SHOOTER JIMMY DAVISON TELLS ALL ABOUT USING THE JEFFTRON LEVIATHAN IN A RECENT BUILD!
o, back at the start of October, one eve before the now-regular adventures of Red Cell, myself, Marcus Ravera (All Ages Airsoft) and John “Boycie” Turrell met up just for a general chinwag about all and anything airsoft and part of that chinwag brought up the subject of the Jefftron Leviathans. John mentioned he had a nice VFC HK416 which could use a little revamping… Marcus and I were then tasked with the job of fitting said Leviathan and naturally we accepted that challenge. A few weeks passed and one morning a parcel had arrived at the shop; excited was I! Having never had my hands on the VFC 416 before, I was very eager to have a look at it and my initial opinion was that of great quality. One solid piece of kit which is something you expect from Umarex/VFC - no rattles or wobbles and it felt very realistic. Aesthetically stunning I must say and I couldn’t wait to get it down on the range and see just how well it operated. To my dismay, we discovered a slight problem with the
trigger system and as soon as a battery was fitted (sadly a common thing with some of the Gen1 416s as it happened to Bill’s too, so something to watch out for as they age!), as it went full auto with no input from the trigger. Oh well… What does that really matter, as its having a major upgrade anyway. This is where Marcus takes over with the build…
TIDY WORKBENCH, TIDY MIND… OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT!
First things first, it’s time to tidy Marcus’ bench and get this wagon rolling… after a coffee of course! Initial takedown of the rifle was very easy, up until we reached the mag release and I invented a few new words at that point (as did Marcus)! The mag catch is unlike any I’m used to seeing, as it had the tiniest of grub screws that went through the release button. After managing to find an allen key which was almost hair-like, we managed to remove it and the rest of the strip was straight forward, with no more surprises. I love the fact it has a quick-change spring as, from
“INITIAL TAKEDOWN OF THE RIFLE WAS VERY EASY, UP UNTIL WE REACHED THE MAG RELEASE AND I INVENTED A FEW NEW WORDS AT THAT POINT (AS DID MARCUS)! THE MAG CATCH IS UNLIKE ANY I’M USED TO SEEING, AS IT HAD THE TINIEST OF GRUB SCREWS THAT WENT THROUGH THE RELEASE BUTTON.” 60
TECH TALK UMAREX VFC MEETS JEFFTRON LEVIATHAN
a tech point of view, it makes splitting the gearbox so much nicer and the possibility of a deadly spring leaving the back of the box at MACH 3 is completely removed from the equation! Trust me, it CAN happen and it is THAT fast! Now inside the gearbox, we were presented with some high quality components; itâ€™s just a shame there was a problem with the Mosfet. Theyâ€™re an electronic component and these things happen. It was nice to see that there was some quality anodised parts, a lovely red anodised cylinder which was very solid, vented piston head which was CNC ally, cylinder head CNC anodised, double O-ring gave a good seal, nozzle which had an O-ring and again is made from CNC ally. The gears I was impressed with, as you could easily see these were machined to a very high standard and a nice little touch with the stamping; they were shimmed very well from the factory which
shows time and effort has been put in rather than just thrown together. We had to add 0.1mm shim to both the sector gear and bevel gear, which is exactly the same as what I had to do to another VFC gearbox the day previously. The quality of the casing in which all this lovliness was housed was just as high in quality; no cheap material was used on its construction. So out with every part and bag up parts we no longer needed. The trigger (Jefftron supply a nice flat anodised CNC trigger), the old curved one, is no longer needed, along with all of the wiring, the trigger shuttle and contact and the cut off lever all went into a little bag forever to be forgotten. The beauty of the Leviathan means you no longer require these actual mechanical parts. Before fitting the new Leviathan there were a couple of minor (but crucial) alterations we had to perform. There are a few little tabs that sit on the left-hand casing that keep wires where they are supposed to be once closed together but, due to the
added signal wire that is needed, these tabs are made redundant purely to allow more space and prevent any crimping of these new wires. The slot for the trigger to sit in needs expanding by about 2 thousandths, in order for the trigger to operate smoothly. The main circuit board itself is held in by small screw and
orientation of the board is crucial so the contact between the cam lobe of the sector gear and the microswitch can be made fully, which acts as the cut of lever, or COL (as some of you might refer to it). Once this was established, it was then a case of routing the wires and making them so as not to interfere with the motor head (Jefftron recommend a www.airsoftaction.net
STRETCH PANTS BLACK / DARK COYOTE / GREEN / SRP: Â£69.95
TECH TALK UMAREX VFC MEETS JEFFTRON LEVIATHAN
small dab of superglue to keep the wires from getting in the way). The wiring is a tad stiff at first but soon becomes easier to manipulate into place. I love the fact Jefftron have prewired these, making fitting so much easier. At this stage we fitted the trigger and the sector and connected the Leviathan to a battery and synched it with the app. The beauty of this system is that all you need to do is connect via Bluetooth then check the operation of the micro switches, this also allows to adjust the pull of the trigger via a tiny grub screw. You can either have it full travel or down to a hair trigger with less than 1mm of travel, which I favour on my own builds. Once we had established these parameters it was just a case of fitting the remaining parts back in and closing the gearbox back up, although not before replacing the piston head and cylinder head O-rings and inhibiting a little lubrication in strategic places. Using the Airtech studios gearbox tools (which might I add are a genius design!) we closed the two halves up and they slid together effortlessly. Everything was buttoned up and reassembled and then it was time for the chronograph and some range testing.
On first chrono it was pushing a .20g BB at an average of 1.33J/380fps. “Great!” we thought, but unfortunately, being a full auto and the UK laws being somewhat less, Marcus had to go back to the bench and lose a little power from the spring. Good job it has a quick-change spring, something I believe every AEG should have and be a standard for airsoft manufacturers. Spring power dropped, Marcus had it consistently sitting at 1.07 Joule/340fps. Perfect! Having thoroughly tested it out now, I can honestly
say THE 416 IS working like a dream! Trigger response is fantastic, plus, due to the fact we have brought trigger travel down to within 1mm, follow-up shots are almost instantaneous and we have turned this AEG into something that can be made very personal to the shooter. Every airsofter loves a little personal touch, for example a choice of scope/optics, torches, stocks, PEQs and the like, the list is endless right down to the colour of the gun, so why shouldn’t we be able to personalise how the thing operates too? The Leviathan is one of those new products which I believe every airsofter should have and I would like to see manufacturers making a system like this a standard across the board and do away with the old-style contact system (which, let’s be fair, although works it is a bit behind the times!). We are seeing more and more brands installing this type of electronic coolness but only on certain models. It should become as common as a zipper on a jacket or laces on shoes! Hands down, this is the best upgrade I have fitted, or used, on an AEG to date! After having put a few hundred rounds through the 416, the Jefftron hasn’t shown any abnormal signs, we’ve had no error codes (another thing I love about the Leviathans is the error log), everything was operating perfectly. Mosfet temperature was low, amps were low on both semi and full auto, motor start up is giving between 4045 amps, average semi-auto is 23 amps and average full-auto is 17 amps. Using a just a 7.6v battery we have a respectable 13rps, with a reaction time of 63 milliseconds - so it’s pretty fast too! Overall, we feel that fitting a Jefftron Leviathan will give you a massive advantage during gameplay, giving you the edge over your opposition and, on that note, I can do no more than recommend it fully to you! For more information, visit www.jefftron.net. AA
“WE ARE SEEING MORE AND MORE BRANDS INSTALLING THIS TYPE OF ELECTRONIC COOLNESS BUT ONLY ON CERTAIN MODELS. IT SHOULD BECOME AS COMMON AS A ZIPPER ON A JACKET OR LACES ON SHOES!”
feature THE FUTURE OF AIRSOFT
A BRAVE NEW...
THE GLOBAL PANDEMIC HAS MADE MANY OF US STOP AND THINK ABOUT WHAT WE REALLY LOVE WHEN IT COMES TO OUR PERSONAL “AIRSOFT EXPERIENCE” AND, FOR MANY FORE-SIGHTED SITE OPERATORS, THE ENFORCED “OPERATIONAL PAUSE” HAS ALLOWED THEM TO TAKE STOCK OF WHAT THEY OFFER THE PLAYER - AND WHAT THEY CAN (IN SOME CASES QUITE LITERALLY!) BUILD ON TO OFFER AN EVEN BETTER GAMEDAY EXPERIENCE FOR THEIR PLAYER BASE! HERE IN THE UK, BILL GOT TOGETHER WITH A LOCAL “SITE OP” TO GIVE A VISION OF ONE POSSIBLE FUTURE…
while back now, at the butt-end of 2018, I had the opportunity to actually get out with my friends to just go and play airsoft on a cold, crisp winter morning and I had the chance to visit a local site I’d not played before, Imperium Airsoft. It wasn’t a day for reporting or thinking about an article, just a rare weekend where I had no other airsoft commitments and just wanted to get out and get my game on with my mates for once! Suffice to say, I had an awesome day and saw some guys that were really starting to get their site rolling in a meaningful way, and I’ve been keeping tabs on their development ever since with a view to getting back one day to see how things had moved on. Sadly, the good old C-Virus put a stop to that and although friends have returned to Imperium and, indeed, the site has been active as safety guidelines have allowed, I’ve been unable to return yet. However, I have spoken on and off to Site Operator Jim and watched with interest how the regular numbers at Imperium have grown steadily. I’ve also had reports back from friends, both out and out skirmishers and dedicated, hard-core-henry MilSimmers, that they’ve played the site and come away more than happy, which to be honest says great things about a site and its management/marshalling team! Normally it’s a fact that skirmishers love a site and MilSimmers hate it - or vice versa - but in this case, Jim and his team somehow manage to keep everyone happy. With this in mind I asked him how he manages to do this, set up some interview questions 64
about what the future holds and this is what he had to tell me! AA: Hi Jim! What is your ethos towards creating a great site environment for players? How important is the site itself physically, how do the site staff influence things, what facilities do you believe should be in the safe zone, and what is the importance of a good site shop? Jim: “First and foremost in our mind is that we exist for the player and we want to create a great experience for them at every opportunity, every touch point, from the moment they make contact with us online or by phone, to that greeting and check-in at the gate and then throughout the day; the briefing, the scenario or skirmishes, the team and how we interact and engage with players and each other is incredibly important. We have an amazing team of guys and girls on the payroll, who love what they do and keep the good energy flowing up till endex and beyond, always keeping it positive, fun and friendly but with a professional edge. “The site itself is very important, having the right combination of wasteland, privacy and a landlord as a partner means we can do things that no other site would be able to. Having vast variants of terrain is a massive bonus; we have roads, tracks, paths, fields, woods, valleys, bush, sand, chokepoints, concrete structures and interesting undulating terrain with some of the most gorgeous views over the Swale which make you want to stop and stare. This is all before we talk about our built HESCO structures, Iso’s,
feature THE FUTURE OF AIRSOFT
static or dynamic military vehicles. “A good safe zone should have a tea station, ample secure nearby parking, no hills and of course clean, flushing toilets and washing facilities. Add plenty of player cover with benching for kit, and battery charging, for those who don’t wish to work from cars. A great firing range and delicious hot food is also important (thanks Dominos!), plus a solid supply of the essentials like pyro, bbs, and gas. We are lucky enough to have the mobile battlefield supply station that is Platoon Stores (https://platoonstores.co.uk), with a fantastic selection of almost everything on site at every gameday. Having these things are very important, especially for the new player who isn’t as well organised or familiar with the realities of airsoft, compared to the veteran, old-school airsofter. The new generation doesn’t know what they need until they need it, hence the requirement for caring, and a well-stocked site shop and all the rest of it. Whereas, if you’ve been playing 10+ years you’ll be used to having near to no facilities at a typical site - but that doesn’t mean players don’t appreciate them. Our Safe Zone has come on leaps and bounds in the last year with all these things, although we will make it far better once we get past this phase of the pandemic.” AA: What do you feel physical development of the site brings to the game in terms of structures and physical props? Jim: “The experience on the site must remain as immersive as possible. We are against building anything that doesn’t feel natural or in scenario to the player, so you won’t find a pallet at Imperium being used for cover! You will find yourself behind a large earthen berm, which feel’s right and natural (but chances are we put it there with a 14 ton excavator). The
extensive sand-filled HESCO, the ISO containers, the static Military vehicles, such as our Lynx Helicopter, Saracen and Saxon APCs all add to this Battleground environment, without ever making it feel like a “manufactured” arena.” AA: You do make great use of vehicles and mobile props from what I’ve seen. What do you feel this adds to the player experience? Jim: “Imperium have a taskforce of Military vehicles! Our 5 Ton, MG42-wielding UI1300L Unimog, a 15 Ton Saurer Infantry fighting Vehicle, with its Oerlikon 20mm Cannon (gas firing!), a 12 Ton Saurer APC (the sports tank!), two Steyr-Puch Pinzgauers, 10 man Tactical Off-Road Vehicles, A WOLF G-Wagon and couple of Pickups acting as technicals. Due to the size of the site, the terrain and the amount of roads we have, along with our team’s shared passion for Military Vehicles and Off-Roading, this was naturally going to be our USP. Imperium players get a massive kick from being dropped into battle by APC, Truck or Pickup. It brings so much excitement and immersion to airsoft that just takes the whole thing to the next level. Sitting in a bunker and feeling the ground tremor as a tank rumbles by is an amazing feeling and creates awesome memories for players, memories that are unique to Imperium Airsoft.”
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#Journey to Perfection
feature THE FUTURE OF AIRSOFT
AA: Scenario-driven games, I know you like this format. How do you feel this adds to the game day? Jim: “We run a “ladder system” of events, these are: Skirmish, Ground War, BattleSim and Milsim. Skirmish is what you’d expect, ideal for new players or people who just to want to get stuck in, shorter sub 1-hour games with breaks between. We still make use of our vehicles but tend to play certain areas of the site, it’s intense and action orientated. Next is Ground War, this is typically full site conquest or roll back, often with dynamic events and missions that need to happen in addition to the main objective. In Ground War we introduce ammo limits and restrict full-auto fire to 2-second bursts for assault, 4-second burst on true support weapons and we also loosely organise players into callsigns and provide radios so they can work together to achieve objectives. They get massive freedom of movement so can play “their way”. We also make extensive use of vehicles during Ground War events and we only stop once, for an hour at lunch. With BattleSim, it’s the next step from Ground War and we run 6, 8 and 12-hour events, much more organised on the callsigns, lots of taskings, lots of role play, plenty of surprises and lots of Mechanised Vehicular Action. “We’ve run some great events this with our friends from SEO Milsim and a fantastic volunteer crew leading each team. MilSim is something we are yet to do, the last planned one was cancelled due to lockdown but this is going to be 24 hours, Saturday 10am till Sunday 10am. Even the MilSims and BattleSims have internal difficulty ladders. For example, newer players/people who want to have less structure and more fun, would be on a team like Civ pop or local gang - just there to cause trouble and have a laugh! Then another team would be a slightly more organised Opposing force/Cartel with straightforward but serious taskings and such, then you get the very organised, immersive Special Forces/ Task Force teams for the guys that want to go that way! All teams have roleplay elements at their heart and its tongue in cheek, fun, with no big egos!” AA: What should a really good site be offering the player for their “game day buck”, in addition to the above? Jim: “The best things in life are free, right? So, you don’t need tanks and trucks to run a great day of airsoft - although it does really help - but you do need your site team to be player-centric; players should feel
welcome and valued at any site they visit. As a team we always make an effort to learn people’s names, talk to them, find out a bit about them and help them any way we can. We are also very lucky to have the amazing Darwin Hamilton, of Atdarzphotography, on our team, taking some amazing shots of all the action at Imperium! You may not have a “Darwin” but sites should be taking photos and providing them to their players as a value add!” AA: Do you have plans for the future to extend what you offer even further? Jim: “As demand increases we will likely run more events, possibly evenings during the week for outdoor CQB and a firing range but we are very keen to launch our “Tank and Truck Driving Experience”, where you can come and drive our machines at Imperium as a private driving experience! As this grows, it will mean more toys for the airsofters to enjoy as well when we reinvest, so do checkout www.tanksntrucks.com” Many thanks to Jim for answering my questions and putting up with my pestering! The challenges we’ve all been faced with when it comes to airsoft this year really have put a lot of things in perspective for me and from what I’ve heard, seen first-hand and what Jim has told me, it seems to me that the best sites are really stepping up now to give us, the players, a better and more immersive gameday experience than ever before! I have run games large and small and even run a site myself, so I know how much commitment and dedication it takes to make a truly memorable day, not just once but time after time, after time. I believe that it is important for all players to realise just HOW MUCH effort (and no little money!) goes into creating “the best day”, one that pleases all and sets the tone for the future. And if what Jim has described IS the future of what we can expect from our gamedays next year and beyond, then I’m as excited as you are to take get back out and you can rest assured that I’ll be returning to Imperium Airsoft just as soon as they reopen! Additional thanks go to Darwin Atdarzairsoft (official site photographer at Imperium) for allowing us to use some of his superb images in support of this article. Please keep an eye on https://imperiumairsoft. com for information on upcoming games and events and take a moment to check out their social media pages to see what they’ve been up to recently in preparation for 2021! AA
CYMA “NAM AR” SERIES CYMA 009 “NAM AR” SERIES
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
AS A KEEN COLLECTOR OF VIETNAM WAR ERA GEAR AND LIVING HISTORY ENTHUSIAST AS WELL AS AIRSOFT PLAYER BILL IS CONSTANTLY LOOKING OUT FOR NEW PERIOD AEGS AND GBBS THAT ARE IDEAL FOR THAT CONFLICT, AND HE’S BEEN WAITING TO GET HANDS-ON THE NEW MODELS FROM CYMA THAT FIT RIGHT IN!
ike most of you reading this, I grew up after the Vietnam War had ended. Although I am a child of 1964, I have no personal recollections of the “American War” from the time but certainly, as I grew older I learnt more, largely due to having an American former-USAF Major as my “modern history” teacher (he also taught us about the intricacies of American Football, bless him!) but also thanks to the plethora of coverage both in movies and even in comic books (who remembers the cartoon strip “Fighting Mann”???). That has led me, throughout my adult life, to learning more and more about this particular conflict, building up both an extensive library of books written by those who served there (both sides, not just the USA), along with an ever-expanding collection of equipment and uniforms, some real and some repro. Although I haven’t been active for a while, I have been involved with Vietnam War Living History Groups (namely www.modernforces.com), whilst my time living in the USA turned me into the “mule” of one group, leading to me scouring every militaria and “Army/Navy” within miles to source original kit to bring it back to them in the UK! I was also an active member of the original international Vietnam Airsoft (VNAS) group and played a small part in creating VNAS-UK (in fact I still have the banner!), attending “Namsoft” games around the UK and even running a few myself. You may remember me as “Wild Bill” from those 68
groups and games but if you weren’t there man, you wouldn’t know! After a harsh introduction into the fact that “Namsoft” was every bit as detail-stringent as living history (thanks Ken Cho if you’re reading this for setting me on the right track!), my appreciation
Living History image Eyepro Not Required
armoury CYMA 009 “NAM AR” SERIES
of the efforts made by players to “get it right” has continued to grow over the years. And, of course, there’s one specific area of this that as airsofters we ALL love and that’s the firearms used “in country”! Again, over the years various “M16s and XMs” of varying quality and historical accuracy have come and gone, although I do still own my original Classic Army “XM” that was cut down to “E1” (more on that later!) length. Some have been complete “frankenguns” put together for spare parts with real period furniture, whilst others have been off the shelf models that have served their purpose and seen some action; suffice to say that my US “Nam Armoury” is quite… extensive! Airsoft replicas of “Nam” period rifles and carbines has become better and better and with the current drive in technology (in relation to internals), they actually perform excellently too these days! Externals have also improved, with any Vietnam reenactors that I know owning AEGs and GBBs because they are “just right” and you’ll see many of them at shows like War & Peace or Military Odyssey. Although I’ve owned many “M16s” most of my living history impressions have been centred on MACV-SOG, MIKE Forces and the LRRPs (along with the occasional bit of Stoner-wielding SEAL action!), so the full length M16 has never really been my preferred model as most of those units carried the XM177 Carbine, or the “CAR-15” as most vets refer to it. That said, most of the Vietnam airsoft players I know revel in the role of the lowly “grunt” where “Mr. Colt’s Best Girl” is most definitely their favourite choice of replica. What I received from Taiwangun though, piqued my interest as I also have impressions based on the “Advisers” from the early days of the Vietnam War. When they told me they had a new CYMA “Nam” era M16 of course I was interested, but
what arrived was highly unexpected and very exciting. Out of the plain box came the rifle and when I looked closely it was not just any old M16 but a pretty nicely achieved early war Colt Model 603/XM16E1, featuring CYMA’s latest internals!
During the late 1950s and early 1960s the way the USA fought wars was changing, moving from massed “force on force” set pieces to “manoeuvre warfare”, with far more deployments taking place on a smaller scale. Troops became mechanised and air mobile and the rifle they used needed to reflect this. It needed to be smaller and lighter in weight than the ungainly and heavy M14s, L1A1s, and G3s in use at the time by the US and other armies worldwide. Engagement distances, especially in the jungles South East Asia, were decreasing so the need for a high power 7.62mm was lessened; enter the M16 and “5.56mm”! Although the “airsoft M16” has been covered exhaustively I am a sucker for the more interesting models. The Colt Model 603/XM16E1 was the first attempt at providing an improved M-16 for the US Army, with production running from early 1964 until it became the Colt Model 603/M16A1 in early 1967. The XME1 was the first model to incorporate the “forward assist” feature and also featured the “Partial Fence” reinforced lower receiver for the first time, and because it was a “going from one place to another” model, it also featured a real mash-up of components during its production cycle. After use with advisory and “special” units, the U.S. Army began to issue the XM16E1 in 1965, with most of them going to the newly raised and experimental Airmobile Divisions and the 1st Air Cavalry Division in particular. After many trials and tribulations the Army finally standardised an upgrade of the XM16E1 (as the M16A1) in 1967 and the Model 603/M16A1 remained the primary infantry rifle of U.S. forces in Vietnam until the end of direct U.S. ground involvement. It also became the standard service rifle for all U.S. military ground forces after it fully replaced the M14 service rifle in 1970.
TICKING ALL THE BOXES
There really is a LOT of history behind the M16 and for any airsofter having an early model in the collection really does encompass many eras and conflicts. Yes, of course it can be used for Vietnam themed games but it also would be pretty correct for Cold War and Falkland War Scenarios, as the M16 was used heavily by UK Special Forces and the Royal Marines during www.airsoftaction.net
armoury CYMA 009 “NAM AR” SERIES
those “on/off” conflicts (again, I’ll come back to that later!). It’s really the attention to detail, even the tiniest of things, that really makes the humble CYMA stand out from the crowd though. I’ve seen many manufacturers have a crack at an “M16VN” only to be let down by silly things, like using the wrong pistol grip or handguard slip ring. Although such things will only be noticed by a true “stitch bitch”, once you see, you just can’t un-see! The Colt Model 603 had some pretty unique features, which many believe were only added at a later date when the rifle finally became the M16/ A1. Firstly, the lower receiver of the 603 had what is known as “a partial fence”, in that it carried only an additional reinforcing feature above the magazine release. The upper receiver had only just received the forward assist, in the case of the early models a more rounded shape. The flash hider was originally still of the three-prong style, but during the life of the 603 models could also be found with the “birdcage”, and the slip ring was flat rather than the conical shape we see today. The butt pad was a simple rubber affair, although the distinctive triangular handguard was already in place. The CYMA, rather surprisingly and somewhat pleasingly, follows this entire feature set down to the smallest detail; it truly is a work of art and no little research has gone into getting everything completely right. The replica 603 is fully made of good quality alloy, with only the pistol grip, butt, and handguard being made of a very nice matt black plastic. The metal parts, rather than just being a shoddily painted black, are a deep black and grey mix. There are absolutely no trademarks so it’s a blank canvas for the re-enactor! Internally things are no less impressive. The hop-up adjustment is exactly where you would expect it to be, behind the fake bolt which is accessed by pulling back the charging handle; this benefits from the now-common “hold back” function that means the cover stays to the rear until you hit the bolt release which can be fun in game! The hop is a solid metal unit and once set stays steadfastly in place. The rifle also benefits from CYMA’s new “E-EDITION” configuration, that can handle higher-strength springs and also ensures a super-snappy trigger response. This
has been achieved thanks to the new, more durable gearbox parts such as a V2 gearbox with quick spring change system, a steel gear set with 8mm steel bushings and bearing spring guide, married up neatly to a high torque neodymium motor and processor unit with built-in MOSFET system! This really is an impressive rifle, not just for the money (as it’s a steal in my opinion) and even on a 7.4V though it really does crack away; bear in mind that most Vietnam themed airsoft games will have strict ammo limits and you’re going to want to stick on semi-auto anyway. The trigger is crisp and responsive. The metal 160 BB magazine is the short type first issued with the real 603 and feeds absolutely flawlessly and once loaded, snaps into place with no wobble. I loaded the magazine up with a full complement of my usual RZR 2.0g test BBs and got to work. The BBs through the chrono gave me a perfectly acceptable mean of 1.06 Joule/339fps (once again I’d asked Taiwangun to deliver as close to 350fps as possible and once again they delivered!). Setting targets out to 50 metres I was able to get reasonable groupings on semi-auto, with things opening out marginally when I switched the selector up to full. My thought is that with a bit of fettling you could really have a very, very accurate rifle on your hands here, although it’s good to go straight out of the box.
SHORT(ER) AND SWEET(ER)!
Now, as much as I love this take on the venerable M16 rifle, CYMA have actually created a series with the same internal components and in said series you also have the XM177E1 and E2 carbine variants to choose from! This of course interests me greatly (given my specific historical interests) and both are as unique as the 603! The Colt Model 609 (along with the Model 610 for the USAF, known simply as the XM177/ GAU-5A) was the first Colt carbine to see wide scale production and adoption by the US military with the designation XM177E1. This model was produced from late 1966 through until early 1967 and proved somewhat problematical due to the 10-inch barrel having a negative bearing on reliability, along with causing accuracy issues, even with the distinctive 4.5-inch moderator.
“THE CYMA, RATHER SURPRISINGLY AND SOMEWHAT PLEASINGLY, FOLLOWS THIS ENTIRE FEATURE SET DOWN TO THE SMALLEST DETAIL; IT TRULY IS A WORK OF ART AND NO LITTLE RESEARCH HAS GONE INTO GETTING EVERYTHING COMPLETELY RIGHT.” 70
armoury CYMA 009 “NAM AR” SERIES
The XM177E2 was basically the same carbine with a 11.5-inch barrel and this, the Colt Model 629,
was fielded by the US Military during the Vietnam conflict, most extensively by Special Operations Forces including the “recon teams” of MACV-SOG and the USN SEALs. The E2 had a number of changes and improvements made to it, which included lengthening the barrel and making changes the moderator to make it more effective, along with giving underslung grenade launcher compatibility. Both the CYMA “XMs” are also things of beauty and if you look closely you’ll find small details, like the change in handguard slip ring, that make them sing to me! But there’s a final model in the line-up that I find REALLY interesting, even more so in a way than the “Nam” models …and that’s the CM.009D. This is an unusual carbine in that it looks nothing more than an XM with a longer barrel but if you’re a gun-bunny like me, then it’s going to jump out as the Model 653/4! This was the final “all A1 Component” model in the Colt 600 Series and the second carbine model created with the now almost-standard 14.5inch barrel. This model was almost exclusively used by USSF, the Rangers and USN SEALs, although there are couple of instances where it can be seen in use by UK Forces too! Over the years in various uniform reference books for the Falklands War, there’s a picture of a splendid chap called Hugh McManners, author of the book “Falklands Commando” and who was among the first of the British Special Forces to land on the Falkland Islands …and he’s carrying what is usually referred to as a “Colt Commando” but is, to the best of my knowledge, a Model 653/4. The British Forces, such as the Royal Marines liked the “M16” series (in reality more likely to be Colt export models such as the 711
and 715), as did the SAS from their time in the jungles of Borneo, so it would make sense that McManners, as a member of 148 (Meiktila) Commando Forward Observation Battery and who I believe was predominantly a forward controller for both the SAS and SBS in the Falklands, would have carried a lighter carbine version from the same family! In a nutshell these are all (with the smallest amount of work like changing the oversized handguards on the XMs and getting some cool “trades” engraved) close to Living History standard replicas in terms of look, feel and finish and the “M16” certainly works perfectly as a “fighting AEG”. You get everything that CYMA have always been great at, with the added bonus of the very latest internals that until now they’ve only offered in their more modern “tacticool ARs”. The CYMA CM.009C MOSFET EDITION “M16” Model 603 has a retail price of just £163.63 at Taiwangun (at the time of writing) and this is fabulous value for money! Although I bought the “M16” for myself in the first place, I think there may be a CM.009E/XM177E1 coming to me too when I can afford one and possibly even one of those CM.009D/Model 653/4 as well to go into my “Falklands Collection”… a man can never have too many “collections”, right? For more information on CYMA .009 models head over to www.taiwangun.com. AA
THE CAGE XMAS STOCKING
ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS!
2020 HAS BEEN A YEAR THAT MOST OF US WOULD LIKE TO FORGET FOR MANY REASONS BUT THE FACT IS THAT, EVEN DURING THE MOST CHALLENGING OF TIMES, AIRSOFTERS AROUND THE GLOBE HAVE ADAPTED TO OVERCOME, GETTING THEIR GAME ON WHENEVER - AND WHEREVER - IT WAS SAFE TO DO SO! BILL REFLECTS ON THE PAST YEAR AND CHECKS IN WITH THE AA TEAM TO FIND OUT WHAT THEY’D REALLY, REALLY LIKE FOR CHRISTMAS!
o, 2020 has been a bust for airsoft… or has it? I’d be the first to admit that we’ve faced challenges during 2020 that have been pretty much above and beyond virtually anything we’ve faced before! Yes, there have been legal issues surrounding ownership of ROFs that put the very future of our beloved game in to question in the past, and those will always be with us given the seeming “gutter press” agenda to make anything even vaguely “gun-shaped” the domain of potential evil-doers! But the C-Virus (as I mentally see it!) has placed a HUGE challenge before us, threatening our ability to gather and play airsoft, and putting manufacturers, retailers, and site operators under immense pressure financially! Shows have been cancelled, games have been postponed, shops have been shut physically, and even sites have been “mothballed” putting safety most well and truly first. But has this ever threatened airsoft as a whole? I don’t believe it has, as the global airsoft community in many ways seems stronger than ever before! The good manufacturers have taken the “slower tempo” to really make inroads into new technological developments, and to ensure that new models arrive with us almost weekly! And with these new models,
rather than the usual “scrum and glut” we see of them at SHOT and IWA, instead they have been released at regular intervals, allowing both we as evaluators and you as players to check each and every one out in detail as they arrive. Sites have adapted too, with more focus on both player safety and satisfaction! The good sites have taken their enforced downtime to reassess and, if necessary rebuild! Time has been taken for site maintenance and improvement, and the exemplary sites have invested further to make life easier for their players in terms of booking, services, and facilities! Whilst keeping player safety to the forefront numerous site opreators I’ve spoken to have told me that the new “quality and safety” measures that they have put in place during the pandemic will stay, to a degree, in place when things ease so thyat players get a better experience for their “gameday buck”. What of “the community”, that fragile thing that we speak of so much? In truth I’ve seen more than ever players in online groups actively reach out and support their fellows, giving advice freely and honestly, sharing ideas, and generally reaching out to those that are having a tough time. Much of the toxicity of the past seems to have been placed well and truly on the
THE CAGE XMAS STOCKING
back-burner, making airsoft discussion online a far richer thing than before, and my personal wish is that when that toxicity tries to return, we should as a true community make it clear that this is unacceptable. And what of the future? In my mind it is only a matter of time before airsoft recommences fully, and that we’re all out, together as friends and “teamies”, enjoying our game once again! You’ll see from Stewbaca’s report on MOA that things have already started moving forward again, and although there is no SHOT in January, and no IWA in March, from what I see, along with discussions I’ve already had with manufacturers and those in the industry proper, the airsoft scene for 2021 is already looking MEGA!
ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS…
So, with great things to look forward to, this time I got together with the “regulars” to ask them “if money were no object, what airsoft goodness would you like to see under your Christmas tree? And realistically what do you think you’ll see airsoft-wise under your Christmas Tree?” and this is what they told me… Jimmy: I’ve asked Santa for a TM416 Delta with all the trimmings as a money no object prezzie. Realisitcally, I wouldnt mind some Magpul furniture for my Specna, now that would be nice! In fact it’ll probably be socks and slippers, oh and maybe some pants! Callum W: A proper functioning airsoft SMLE… Bren gun… Lewis gun… (we see a pattern here!) Boycie: Money no object, ERG LMT .308, basically the L129A1 with the 6x ACOG scope. Realistically the rail I need to complete the Banshee build… Scott: Browning M2… For vehicle mounting mostly, having to scratch build them in a pain! Björn: The best would be automatically activated gentlemanly behaviour for ALL players on the field... maybe automatic identification of hits and the lock gun system could help! Stewbacca: GBBR FAL/G3, maybe that Luger and/ or PPQM2 GBB I’ve been eyeing up. But that’s not out of the realms of my means or possibilities I suppose, things are perhaps too accessible here in Taiwan! My wishlist is actually shrinking, probably because I keep accumulating guns I have less space for, and more earache from MsStewbacca about... Phased pulsed plasma rifle in the 40kW range though? Bill W-R: Money no object, Specna MK18, ICS CXP ARK, Ares L85A3 and a full 5.11 UBACS loadout in big boy size. What am I likely to get? UK army issue deployment bag and some candy canes! Hana: A decree on the licensing of “soft-bomb”
guns in China! Christopher J W: TM M27 recoil, range of TM MP5 recoils, a collection of blasters and laser guns for all my SciFi project games and some robot horses that we can use for the 6th Cavalry! Stef: Tokyo Marui Mk46! Jon: Probably a fully tricked out DMR (quick change spring, full hop work, MOSFET, 100m accuracy etc), a WAS RPC in Ranger Green (with AK and STANAG pouches) and some new waterproof versions of the Under Amour boots as they’re easily the most comfy boots on the planet. Stu H: Money no object ? Getting hold of my old Romak AK again; CA Body and guts, but real wooden grips and folding stock! Or the mythical ERG Masada! Realistically ? Nowt… Jase: Money no object, a real LBT 6094 with accessories. What’s really going to be under the tree? Nothing, lol!
And to conclude this year, I’ve included a couple more “heartfelt pleas” that really sum things up! Bill W-R: Imagine this…. UBACS only available in sizes small and medium, that latest Gucci 5.11 or Halikon load out not available in a 32” leg? Everyday 1st world problem. No, because for the average airsofter in the UK and the majority of the world, as long as you don’t wear bigger than an XL then your choice of what to wear is almost endless, from army surplus to OPFOR, all tastes are well covered. However, get to the larger sizes and you are now looking at a whole new ball game. Now before anyone says anything, yes I am of larger build and so far this year I have lost 20kg, however this still doesn’t allow me to squeeze into a decent DPM or Multicam top with Velcro on the arms to hang my favorite patches or call sign. So what is the problem? 5.11 do sizes in the USA up to 6XL; however they see fit to not allow them for sale here in old blighty. “The Fat Airsofters Association” has over two thousand members, so the market is there and how many players are possibly dissuaded from playing our sport because they can’t look like everyone else on the field. As an industry I would say they are missing a (pardon the pun) growing market in supplying larger players who don’t want to rely on substandard products from overseas retailers on your favorite auction sites or app. Now I am not saying that we are ridiculed for our size as the community is way above that in my personal experience, but oh how I wish I could throw on some tacticool ripstop trousers, a www.airsoftaction.net
Airsoft & MilSim News Blog @AMNBOďŹƒcial Airsoft & MilSim News Blog @airsoftmilsimnewsblog
If you have any old kit or gear tucked away in a cupboard, garage or shed that you have thought about sticking on eBay, or a forum to get rid of it, then why not donate it to the Pilgrim Bandits instead and Tez will make sure any money raised from its sale will go towards helping even more people â€“ and you can be sure of the undying gratitude and thanks of those who it helps to live again. Please contact Tez on either his mobile: 07748 800 981 or email: email@example.com
THE CAGE XMAS STOCKING OPTICS
UBACS and a decent plate carrier and look like my team mate next to me in some properly recognizable camouflage pattern. So here is the challenge I set to all the manufacturers and retailers out there. Open your wares to the bacon buttie loving brethren! The market is there, we know it is and some of you already have the products available in other regions, so come on share the love for the larger player at let us get tacticool too. Steve T: This is gonna seem super obvious and a bit like a beauty pageant model asking for world peace, but the only thing I wish for this Christmas is for COVID to be nothing more than a memory! I miss playing, I miss my squad, and I miss my friends. I really hope that we can all get an effective
vaccine and get back to what we love doing the most - shooting each other! Wishing you all health, wealth and happiness (Oh - and I’ll take a Wolverine MTW since you’re asking...). So that’s it for another year, but rest assured that everyone involved in Airsoft Action is already hard at work for the next Issue, and are ready for a whole new year of airsoft fun in 2021! Like Steve, we have ALL missed being next to our friends both at home and abroad, and all of us are looking forward to a year of airsoft where we can once again live, learn, and grow! Wherever you are, the entire Airsoft Action crew wish you the very best for 2021, and a very Happy Christmas! AA www.airsoftaction.net
feature THE MP7A1
SMALL BUT PERFECTLY FORMED! AS PROMISED AT THE END OF FRENCHIE’S PIECE ON THE GLOCK 18C AEP LAST MONTH, THIS MONTH HE’S TURNING HIS ATTENTION TO THE MARUI MP7A1.
hile some question the point of the AEP pistols, the Personal Defence Weapons (PDW) make a more persuasive case for their existence. It is true that there is now a choice of gas blowback MP7s to choose from, they are prone to all the potential drawbacks of their ilk, cost, pricey magazines, and sometime fickle operation. I know that there are many of you out there who love them, and I get it, but if you’re a player who is looking for simpler and more dependable version of the MP7, the Marui is almost certainly the best choice.
The MP7, originally the HK PDW, was developed to meet the same NATO requirement as the FN P90 – a weapon for second-line troops whose normal duties didn’t require them to carry a rifle. The requirement also sought new ammunition capable of penetrating standard soft body armour, something that existing 9mm-based weapons increasingly struggled with. H&K developed a 4.6x30mm round, unique in that both variants were penetrators designed, and indeed capable of defeating soft armour at 200 metres. Fiocchi and VBR of Belgium produce ball ammunition in 4.6mm with VBR producing a two-part controlled fragmentation round for the weapon. Due to the wide use of polymers in construction, the MP7 series can be used as pistols or as submachine guns with the collapsible stock providing increased stability. H&K claim that the 4.6mm round is virtually recoilless. 78
The compact nature of the weapon and its ability to defeat body armour have seen its deployment well beyond second echelon and police roles with it becoming a useful tool in the arsenal of many of the world’s special forces.
THE AIRSOFT VERSION
Right, back to the airsoft version and I’ll pop this in here simply to get it dealt with – while Chinese factories have produced perfectly acceptable clones of pretty much everything, I have yet to handle or work on a clone of the PDWs which is worth the investment. Why they seem to be problematic I don’t know, but every example I have handled, fired, or worked on was prone to issues from poor electrics to inadequate range. So, while I have nothing against Chinese guns in general, with these I would say the original is still best. Like the Automatic Electric Pistol (AEP) range, the heart of the MP7A1 is its miniaturised gearbox. These are a perfect example of Marui’s technical excellence, and they are also really small! As with the pistols, there are a whole raft of upgrades available, and companies who specialise in supplying and fitting these upgrades. Unlike the pistols, I do get the desire to improve performance in the MP7A: as a PDW it is more desirable that it should perform more like a full-AEG so it can be used as a primary weapon – after all the real thing can be depending on situation and circumstance. Technically this is challenging because of the size, or lack of size of the components, and I
feature THE MP7A1
have yet to meet one that can match the 350 fps-plus of most AEGs. That however could simply be because I haven’t met the right MP7 yet, and I have an admiration for those that can upgrade those tiny gearboxes and get them running reliably at higher fps. In stock trim, output is similar to the AEPs, but slightly better – muzzle velocity is stated to be 240fps and combined with a Marui hop unit, this should give decent, if unspectacular range. The issue with both the compact AEGS and the AEPs is not some much one of absolute range, it’s more to do with how long it takes the BB to get where you want it to be. As mentioned last month, if your intended target sees you shooting at them, they have a reasonable chance of being able to dodge the fire with no suspicion of cheating required! On the other hand, if your play style leans towards the sneaky and subtle, these are excellent weapons being compact and fairly quiet. They also have the advantage of not delivering outrageous welts – an advantage if that’s something that matters to you I suppose! As with the AEP these rely on relatively small batteries and I have seen a few modifications to allow the use of LiPo packs or external battery options to improve in-game life. Magazines are generally low to mid capacity – Marui do manufacture wind up hi-caps, as do the Chinese clone makers but I always found these to feed less reliably than the lower capacity alternatives. If you forego upgrades, other than possibly improving battery life, the MP7A1 is a bit like my beloved TM shotguns – an airsoft gun that will absolutely do the job but requires that you do some work to get the best from it. You will need to get closer to your target than with your tricked-out AR15 variant, you cannot easily become the equivalent of a squad automatic weapon and dump lots of ammo to cover advances or retreats, these are guns that demand greater subtlety. Given their compact size they do make great CQB guns, an environment where range is usually a lesser concern and where slapping a decent red-dot onto the top rail can pay dividends as even with a rather simple stock, the MP7 points well and comes onto target quickly.
Like most of Marui’s guns (and the real thing) it is made largely of ABS plastic but it’s a solid little beast that shouldn’t cause any undue issues. With AEPs and the compact AEGs I habitually hacked the supplied charger off and soldered a connector onto the wires to allow the use of a decent charger. I found this improved the levels of charge and protected the batteries – certainly with the pistols I never felt the need to source alternative power sources. Were I running the MP7A1 I might fit a compact dummy LAM unit to hold an external battery, in part just to make it a little easier and quicker to change batteries in game, as removing the front end to do so is less convenient than the “slide off, battery in” method pioneered with the AEPs. While I have a huge soft spot for the FN P90 (frankly I have a huge soft spot for anything FN develops) there is no escaping the fact that the MP7 series is far more compact and easier to carry. You can’t, sensibly, holster a P90 whereas that’s a definite possibility with the H&K weapon. With its magazinein-grip layout the MP7A1 is an intuitive gun to use and the control layout will be instantly familiar to nearly all airsofters – less thinking more shooting! Would I personally run one as a primary weapon? I honestly don’t know – just because I could doesn’t necessarily mean I would, and I have used Marui’s Tactical launchers with their dubious range extensively in the past. As an alternative to a sidearm it’s a more flexible option – yes AEPs are selective fire – but stocks and red-dots make a significant difference to the probability of hitting what you’re aiming at and that is an advantage that’s worth something. The larger ammo capacity of the MP7, combined with the ‘properly’ sized magazines (compared to the Glock AEP with its stick mags) makes it overall an easier weapon to use and if I found myself having to rely on a secondary I would much rather it was one of these than a pistol. AA
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VIKTOS OPERATUS XP DENIM JEANS LO-VIS ENOUGH TO BE YOUR BEST DAILY JEAN. TACTICAL ENOUGH TO CARRY A FULL EDC LOAD-OUT.
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SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP!!
CHRISTMAS IS ON THE HORIZON, AND WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU BUT WE ARE VERY MUCH LOOKING FORWARD TO IT THIS YEAR! OF COURSE IT’S THAT TIME WHEN YOUR NEAREST AND DEAREST THAT WISH TO HUMOUR YOUR AIRSOFT ADDICTION WILL BE ASKING YOU FOR LITTLE GIFT IDEAS, SO THIS TIME WE’VE KEPT THINGS SENSIBLE(ISH!) FOR ALL THOSE LITTLE STOCKING FILLERS!
ead torches are an invaluable tool; being able to go “hands free” whilst maintaining a stable light source means that you can go about your tasks after dark just as easily as in daylight
Whilst there are many brands available on the market one has always stood out, and that is Petzl. The TACTIKKA +RGB is a compact head torch ideal for both recreational and professional users, offering a choice of white or red/green/blue lighting to preserve night vision. It’s designed for activities where stealth is a key factor. The TACTIKKA +RGB head torch offers versatile lighting; proximity or focused lighting for movement, BOOST mode for temporary access to maximum brightness (160 lumens) and three lighting modes (red, green or blue). It also features CONSTANT LIGHTING technology to ensure constant brightness over time, and a mixed beam (wide, focused or red). This is how it is described on their website: • CONSTANT LIGHTING: brightness does not decrease gradually as the batteries are drained • Several lighting modes suitable for different situations, from proximity lighting to rapid movement • BOOST mode for temporary access to maximum brightness • Red light combining visual comfort and stealth, red strobe light • Automatically switches to reserve mode when
batteries are running low and then to red lighting when the batteries are nearly empty • Compatible with Ni-MH or lithium batteries for greater burn time Easy to use: • push-button is easy to use, even with gloves • washable headband, designed for dynamic activities (secure and absorbent) Specifications • Weight: 85g • Technology: CONSTANT LIGHTING • Beam pattern: mixed • Energy: 3 AAA/LR03 batteries (included) • Battery compatibility: rechargeable Ni-MH and lithium • Certification(s): CE • Watertightness: IP X4 (weather resistant) At only 88g with the batteries fitted, and with a comfortable, broad headband, the TACTIKKA +RGB can be worn for extended periods of time; the headband also offers sufficient adjustment for it to be worn with most helmets. The torch itself can be angled downwards to bring the beam into exactly the position you need it to be, and angling downwards also gives easy access to the battery compartment. The broad, well-sized function control button, which allows you to easily cycle between lighting modes, is big enough to use even with gloves on.Whilst the TACTIKKA +RGB is not the smallest head torch on the market it’s easily stowable, and durable enough to put up with some serious abuse.
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We’ve been using the latest version for a good while now, and the run time is exemplary. The TACTIKKA +RGB comes in camo, desert tan, and black. After using Petzl head torches for many years we have great
confidence in what the brand builds, and thus far the TACTIKKA +RGB has proved that they continue to drive the technology forward. This product comes with our complete recommendation!
Sticking with light sources, protecting your taclite from BB strikes can mean the difference between going home happy and holding your head in your hands when you pack up your beloved pistol light with a shattered lens! Our friends at Kydex Customs (www. kydexcustomsuk.com) have a solution for you in the form of a Replacement Torch Perspex Lens! Priced at
multiple colours and patterns, and designed as a lowprofile medium sized waist pack, the Toke features a 5” wide belt strap equipped with genuine Duraflex quick release buckle, sturdy Wisport zippers and side webbing loops for optional attachments. Additionally, there’s a zipper secured front pocket and large loop patch for hook-and-loop customisation with tags, IDs or morale patches, and glove friendly paracord zipper pulls for easy and quick access to all pockets. Made of durable 500D Cordura Nylon material, this highly practical waist pack is perfect for all those little iems like car keys or your phone when you’re on site! Again available in lots of colours aand patterns, if you eed a bit more space for your EDC items, then the HELIKON BUSHCRAFT SATCHEL could be just what you need! At 17 litres this useful bit of kit is made of durable Nylon Cordura fabric, and has been designed
just UK£2.99 these replacement lenses are held in stock in two sizes to fit Surefire X300, X300U and X300V lights as well as Nuprol NX200 and NX300 lights, some of the more common weapon lights on the market, and they’re made from shock resistant clear perspex; the price is for a single replacement lens. If you have a model of light they don’t offer a replacement for then please reach out to them and they can have one custom made just for you!
If you’ve not checked it out, our friends at www. military1st.co.uk have an entire section devoted to gift ideas, and a couple of them grabbed our attention as items we would certaiinly use ourselves! The WISPORT TOKE WAIST PACK is available in
for active outdoor users as well as tactical users. It features two spacious compartments fitted with genuine garaged YKK zippers with glove friendly pulls, concealed slots for attaching tactical gear of your choice and detachable shoulder strap. With multiple MOLLE panels on the sides and bottom of the bag the www.airsoftaction.net
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Bushcraft Satchel is a must have carry item! Whenever you are airsofting, or indeed undertaking any physical activity, keeping yourself hydrated should be your priority, and not only when the temperatures are rising! The KLEAN KANTEEN WIDE MOUTH 800ML BOTTLE is fully compatible with most backcountry water filters and UV sterilisation devices. These high-quality liquid carriers are made of extremely durable 18/8 food-grade stainless steel and were designed to be the healthy alternative to polycarbonate and lined aluminium bottles. Thanks to its sturdy steel construction Wide Mouth bottles are environmentally friendly, toxin-free and don’t retain or impart flavours. Additionally, these durable bottles can easily be sterilised in boiling water, so no matter what you put into them, it’s always easy to keep your drinks fresh, crisp and clean tasting. And don’t think for a moment that insulated flasks are just for old people (like Bill!), as the KLEAN KANTEEN TKWIDE 591ML INSULATED BOTTLE with its double-walled vacuum insulated construction keeps contents hot for up to 17 hours and cold for up to 58 hours. Field rated, environmentally friendly and toxinfree, these sturdy steel construction bottles are highly durable, leakproof, long-lasting and don’t retain or impart flavours. TKWide Insulated Bottles can be used as a mug, a thermos or a bottle, and thanks to the wide opening and slim design they are easy to drink from, easily accommodate ice cubes and cleaning brushes, and are fully compatible with most backcountry water filters and standard size cup holders.
Now if you want something specifically for airsoft then 84
let’s face it, gas for your GBBs is always going to be welcome, and the guys at www.airsoftzone.com sent us an early Xmas gift in the form of their latest NIMROD gas! This comes in four performance levels ideally for all makes and models of GBB, and indeed different environmental conditions! The specifications are: LIGHT PERFORMANCE BLUE GAS • Best choice for hot summer days or guns with plastic slide / without recoil. • Pressure: 0.8 Mpa / 116 Psi / 8 Bar • Operating range: +15 - +40°C STANDARD PERFORMANCE GREEN GAS • Great all-round gas for spring, summer and autumn use, suitable for a wide range of airsoft replicas. • Pressure: 1.0 Mpa / 145 Psi / 10 Bar • Operating range: +15 - +35°C PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE RED GAS • Powerful Airsoft Gas for year-round use, including the winter season. Suitable for a wide range of airsoft pistols and rifles. • The gas is not suitable for pistols and rifles with plastic slides. • Pressure: 1.2 Mpa / 174 Psi / 12 Bar • Operating range: +5 - +30°C EXTREME PERFORMANCE BLACK GAS • Extremely strong performance gas. Suitable for winter use and with high-quality full metal airsoft guns. • The gas is not suitable for pistols and rifles with plastic slides and “Japanese weapons”. For high minus temperatures, we recommend nonblowback pistols. • Pressure: 1.4 Mpa / 203 Psi / 14 Bar • Operating range: -15 - +20°C We’ve been checking these new gasses out in our own gassers, and thus far they’ve proved to be
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effective in all our GBBs and GBBRs, with both the Blue and Red performing well in VFC and WE full travel bolt carbine models! You can check out more information by visiting https://nimrodtactical.com
Protection is another vital part of airsoft for all these days, and when Bill was visisting his local airsoft store (All Ages Airsoft) he came across a neat modular full face solution in the form of the Big Foot MULTIDIMENSIONAL SPLIT MASK. Big Foot have made some unique and interesting mask designs in the past, but finally it seems they’ve hit their sweet spot with this latest modular design. Available in multiple colours (even Multicam for the col perators out there!), and resembling an OpsCore mandible more than a little, the hard plastic lower mask can be worn on it’s own with goggles or ballistic-rated glasses thaanks to a padded and elasticated headband, or attached direct to the ARC rails of a suitable FAST style helmet. There is a model that also comes with goggles built-in, but it’s best worn, in our opinion, attached to your bone dome with your usual eyepro beneath. The mask comes with additional inner padding as standard, but again this can be left out for improved airflow when attached to
the helmet. We like this mask because a) it’s REALLY well-priced, and b) it offers great levels of protection for your lower face and nose whilst still allowing you to run a comms headset comfortably under your helmet as usual! Well, that’s a wrap for out pre-Christmas look at useful airsoft gear, but whatever you get under your tree we hope you’ll enjoy it to the full! AA
last post THAT WAS THEN...
THAT WAS THEN.. THIS IS NOW...
FRENCHIE SAYS: “IF I HAVE UNDERSTOOD THE VAGARIES OF EDITORIAL TIMING, CHRISTMAS SHOULD BE UPON US AND THIS SHOULD BE AN APPROPRIATE POINT TO WISH ALL OF YOU A HAPPY NEW YEAR! IF I’M A MONTH LATE, OOPS, BELATED HAPPY NEW YEAR!”
anuary. The month named after Janus, the twofaced Roman God. Janus is two-faced not in the sense that you can’t trust him further than you can throw him (all Gods are a bit slippery, let’s face it) but rather he looks forwards and backwards simultaneously. He is therefore the God of transitions, which rather obviously is why the first month of each year is named after him. As a January baby it is therefore appropriate that I take this opportunity to do a bit of both myself, looking back at 2020 and forwards into 2021. No-one will need reminding that 2020 was the year of the pandemic, where we all learned more about epidemiology than we ever needed, became familiar with the wrong sort of positivity and for many of us it was a year that saw us confined to our homes more than at any other time in our lives. It was also a year that saw staggering levels of additional deaths across the globe, and while it’s easy to joke about it, it doesn’t pay to be glib. Although my crystal ball has been playing up lately, I feel confident in predicting that the first quarter of 2021 will not see a miraculous change for most of us. Yes there are vaccines on the way but the logistics of distributing and delivering them are utterly mindboggling. Even if you aim for 70% inoculation you are still contemplating some 4.9 Billion people
worldwide. That’s more than read Airsoft Action every month…. So, while we will all probably be on the receiving end of needles at some point, it might take a while. That means that the sort of restrictions we have all become used to are most probably going to continue for some months to come. For some of us that’ll mean no airsofting at all, for others it may be limited but possible with care. Here in the UK it’s been a mixed bag with full lockdowns stopping the sport in its tracks, followed by partial lockdowns where you could spend fruitless hours trying to work out of games could be played or not, which were in turn followed by various tiers and further lockdowns which made it possible or impossible to participate. It’s been a bit like Schrodinger’s Airsoft – simultaneously capable of being played and of not being played.
“ALTHOUGH MY CRYSTAL BALL HAS BEEN PLAYING UP LATELY, I FEEL CONFIDENT IN PREDICTING THAT THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2021 WILL NOT SEE A MIRACULOUS CHANGE FOR MOST OF US. ”
LAST POST THAT WAS THEN...
Hopefully for everyone involved, 2021 will be less restrictive, allowing retailers and site owners to make some progress on returning to normality. I know of some sites near me who have been closed, poised to open, forced to not reopen by a change in policy and who have finally had to throw in the towel either because they simply can’t continue to carry the burden or because their landlords have decided in the face of uncertainty to do something else with their property. Add to this the massive upheaval in the jobs market with major companies closing completely and you have to assume that there is simply less money trundling its way around the system and reaching retailers, techs and all the others who rely on a cut from a less than infinite pie to make a living. However, if you want to know what’s actually going on, ask someone who is in the thick of it. I had a socially distanced chat with Scott Allan of Landwarrior and what he told me rather bore out what I suspected about 2020. Apparently, it started well, took a bit of a breather as lock-down was announced and then picked up as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (aka ‘furlough’) kicked in. That seems to have given airsofters the confidence to continue spending even though the playing situation was far from clear. The move to the tiered system seems to have dealt the industry a major blow as players were unsure what they could or couldn’t do and site operators were left in a similar conundrum. Even getting definitive advice could be time consuming and frustrating. Given restrictions on travel things much have been not only confusing but a bit grim to be honest if you were trying to run a site which attracts players from all over. I saw similar behaviour during the banking crisis of 2008 – there was a period of steady, possibly even increasing sales and then as the enormity of what was going down became all too obvious, the retail side of the business nose-dived as players started to fear for their livelihoods. It looks like the airsoft industry has seen something similar although sales over the year have largely held up. There were specific instances of pain however - site insurance went through the roof as insurers calculated new risks and if you’re being cynical, probably thought that Covid was a good excuse to slip some tasty increases in. What?! Me? Cynical? Err, yes actually. This cost increase, combined with only
half of a normal year’s operation and the loss of all corporate business has had a marked negative effect on everyone’s feelgood factor and bottom line. Hopefully 2021 will see a progressive loosening of restrictions and therefore easier operating conditions both where events and retail operations are concerned. I’m personally worried that as a country we haven’t yet seen the last of the economic pain, and of course the pandemic has been a wonderful excuse for the UK government to stop mentioning Brexit every hour, even as it looms ahead of us. Given the lack of any meaningful agreement with the EU at the time of writing we can only guess at the possible knock-on effect to the industry next year. I fear that the pain will come in the form of greater economic instability and there are no sectors who really benefit from uncertainty. If I may stray close to home, Nige’s decision to finally take Airsoft Action wholly digital and to scrap the cover price has revitalised the magazine. It’s not that we weren’t all keen enough, but there are things you can do digitally that you simply cannot do in print, and as a contributor, getting my head around this has been liberating. Even simple things such as inserting hyperlinks is, in the context of my writing here, a wonderful novelty. The fact that so many players across the planet were at times heavily restricted in their movements makes me proud that as long as they have a phone, they can keep up with news, reviews, and opinions. I sincerely hope we entertained and informed last year and can build on that this year. So, please forgive what is, honestly, not the most optimistic view of the near future and receding past and I draw small comfort from the fact that if we have all learned anything this year it is that the world you woke up to on Monday morning can look radically different by the time you reach Friday afternoon! Would it be too much to ask that 2021 might bring positive rather than negative change? AA
HERE’S TO A BRIGHTER 2021!
“HOPEFULLY 2021 WILL SEE A PROGRESSIVE LOOSENING OF RESTRICTIONS AND THEREFORE EASIER OPERATING CONDITIONS BOTH WHERE EVENTS AND RETAIL OPERATIONS ARE CONCERNED.”
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