PROUD TO SUPPORT PILGRIM BANDITS CHARITY
ISSUE 132 -DECEMBER 2021 ISSN 2634-9515
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CONTENTS 8 ARMOURY: CLPD BCM GBBR Over the past few months we’ve been extremely privileged to have had almost unparalleled access to the BCM-licenced MCMR from VFC in both AEG and GBB form - and it’s really wowed a number of the AA crew! But what happens when our good friend and master airsoft-smith Clarence Lai gets his hands on one?
PROUD TO SUPPORT PILGRIM BANDITS CHARITY
ISSUE 132 -DECEMBER 2021 ISSN 2634-9515
Editorial Director: Bill Thomas Graphic Design: Calibre Publishing Ad Design: Deadshot Design Publisher: Calibre Publishing
16 ARMOURY: VORSK 3.8 HI CAPAS As nights draw in and winter approaches it may seem that for some airsoft is about to go into hibernation, but turning the negatives into 100% positives this means that our indoor gaming and rangetime comes very much to the fore! Thanks to the hardcharging team at VORSK there are also some new pistols that seem purpose-made for this about to land… enter the VORSK 3.8s!
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22 ARMOURY: EMG NOVESKE PCC With so many superb AR-pistol and PCC-style AEGs on the market now it’s sometimes hard to decide between them, so when a model appears that screams “unique” it’s definitely going to be worth a look! This month Bill gets down to the range with the very latest Noveske-licenced model from EMG, the SPACE INVADER!
FIND US ON…
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58 TECH: CUSTOM AK BUILD This month we’re delighted to be joined again by one of our USbased “legionnaires” as Dan takes us deep into the technical and arcane arts of creating a very special custom Kalashnikov, an AEG that any self-respecting modern OPFORist would be delighted to run!
Contents DECEMBER 2021
30 TECH: SHADOW FOAM Prior to our Red Cell Game/Test Day during the summer, we were let into a little secret that we shared with you at the time… the launch of Shadow Foam custom inserts for the Nuprol range of gun cases, and now Jimmy has had a chace to put this fully to the test!
68 ACTION AIR: PAMG Back in Issue 129 Jon started his journey into Action Air, the world of competitive airsoft and Practical Magic! Jon and Bill extend their thoughts and experience to look at the kit you might need for Practical Airsoft MutliGun (PAMG) in a simple form.
32 KIT&GEAR: ONETIGRIS We’ve worked with and looked at OneTigris products before and were very pleased with the quality that we saw in them. A while back now, and following his VX Buckle Up review, Jon took delivery of a package from OneTigris, with a brief note from the Oracle stating “What do you think?”
72 RELOADED: VFC 1911 In Issue 120 Bill took a look at the VFC 1911 Tactical Custom and absolutely loved it! However now that the pistol is just on a year old and has had some hard range and in-game his initial assessment has proved completely correct… it’s one heck of a pistol!
38 TOD: THREADS AND TREADS In this month’s instalment of his ongoing series, Jon takes a step back in time to look at the development of clothing systems, and brings it bang up to date to how you can prepare yourself to excel even in the harshest conditions you may encounter!
77 ACTION AIR: DAA LYNX BELT With Stewbacca passing the year and a half mark in competition shooting, he figured it was time to invest in improved and specialised support gear to try and improve his user experience of the gun and his practice drills and live stages during training and competitions.
42 THE CAGE: BELT SETUP UPDATE Sometimes the old adage that “you can spot the veteran airsofter with just an old AK and belt kit” is truer than you might think! This month Bill got together with the AA Legion to revisit their Belt Setups and found a few of the team have moved forwards during “lockdown”!
78 KIT&GEAR: MAROMX UPDATE We’ve been evaluating the unique MAROMX day and night camera to see if it will really work in an airsoft environment! We’ve talked about it technically and as a standalone piece if tech, but what really happens when you put it into the hands of a MilSim player? Jase tells all…
46 RED CELL: GBBR The Cell pulled together some of the best AR and AK GBBR, and with members torn between their existing AEGs and the “realism” lure of the GBBR it’s time to dive on in and find out what they thought; is the “gas life” what they always wanted, or simply a cloud of noxious vapour?
82 FEATURE: M4 HISTORY It is by far the most common, and most popular, AEG in airsoft, it’s also one of the most widely criticised. So this month, as much to slake HIS own curiosity, FRENCHIE delves into the history of the M4, why it has lasted as long as it has, and why it’s proving difficult to replace.
56 TECH: IMMERSIVE AIRSOFT Last Month James showed us his first concept work for a simple “Shoot House”, a project that will be ongoing next year! In the meantime he’s been “recruited” to provide some very special effects for another MilSim event, one that will tax his skills to the limit…
84 SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP The first frost of this winter has hit us, and temperatures are most definitely heading on down. As promised this month we’re going to take a moment to look at some of the new (and our favourite) cold weather system gear to hit the market… it’s time to get our (hopefully!) snow-game on!
64 EVENT: OP VARUNA 2 Airsoft Action has a number of highlyvalued “Legonnaires” in place in their own countries and communities, and this time our good friend Miguel Olivera brings us news of a game that took place at the end of October in Portugal, OP VARUNA 2!
90 LAST POST “Talking shop” earlier this month, the subject of the many differing types of industry involved in airsoft came into the conversation. Which prompted frenchie to ask what industry does airsoft actually belong to, or is it an “industry” all of its own?
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AA EXCLUSIVE! CLPD BCM GBBR
AA EXCLUSIVE! CLPD BCM GBBR
OVER THE PAST FEW MONTHS WE’VE BEEN EXTREMELY PRIVILEGED TO HAVE HAD ALMOST UNPARALLELED ACCESS TO THE BCM-LICENCED MCMR FROM VFC IN BOTH AEG AND GBB FORM - AND IT’S REALLY WOWED A NUMBER OF THE AA CREW! BUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN OUR GOOD FRIEND AND MASTER AIRSOFT-SMITH, CLARENCE LAI, GETS HIS HANDS ON ONE? IN THIS AIRSOFT ACTION EXCLUSIVE, OUR “MAN IN TAIWAN”, STEWBACCA, MET UP WITH CLARENCE TO FIND OUT!
AA EXCLUSIVE! CLPD BCM GBBR
aving recently passed his six month milestone of being in country, and after having seen him a few times since our initial meet up for my interview article back in our ten year anniversary issue (Airsoft Action October, No. 130) Clarence Lai has wasted no time in getting involved in the local community and has already brought to market an ever growing raft of small upgrade components for gas pistols and rifles, both internal and external, functional and cosmetic. Now he’s venturing into supplying turnkey package deal solutions with his limited edition (with only 199 units in total to be made available worldwide) CLPD BCM MCMR GBBR, which I headed over to pick up from the man himself a few weeks back and the first feature included was most helpful in that regard, a very nice carry case that’s stiffened fabric with a soft liner panel that also doubles as a hook and loop ready attachment point, with repositionable fastening straps and a double STANAG / AR magazine holder panel included to help keep everything in its place. This was an ideal arrangement for getting it home on late night public transport without raising too many eyebrows; luckily most musical instrument cases these days are of similar construction so it’s easier to be a bit greyman, without having to get your Tommy Gun into a violin case! Upon arriving home I eagerly began opening up all the goodies and taking a look at what’s included beside the sturdy and stealthy carrying solution. The CLPD BCM includes additional upgrade accessories straight from VFC’s officially licensed BCM AIR line, with a stub front vertical grip and required MLok fasteners and allen key in one small bag, as well as a BCM AIR quick detach rear receiver plate that can
be substituted in place of the standard multiple sling loop plate already fitted. Personally I didn’t bother taking the time to fit this as I don’t own any QD slings and wasn’t intending on skirmishing or intending on beating on this rifle too much either, what with it being limited edition, and having to be returned without my typical level of testing; this is, as such, a “first look” and impressions article, rather than my usual all out review, it should be noted. Nonetheless, I continued with the assembly and testing of the MLok vertical grip as well as fitting of the included BCM Warfighter charging handle, which is supplied separately in the box; do be careful when assembling this, as it’s difficult to retract the bolt carrier group to cock the hammer when there isn’t a charging handle present. Using a plastic or wooden tool to lever it back from beneath through the magazine well is probably your best bet to avoid damage to the rifle, or yourself … he says, having had the bolt bite his finger when trying the same approach through the ejection port! Also be aware that due to the bronze style genuine Cerakote finish being applied, the receiver fit and that of the retention pins might be a little tighter than usual, and again you might need to make use of relatively soft tools to help press them in and out the first few times without scouring them; by the time I had to return the gun, this was less of a problem though, I imagine it’s just a short wearing in period required to bring things into line. With the receivers apart I could get the charging handle fitted and also take a look inside; the CLPD BCM includes the A-Plus Studios lightened bolt carrier group and upgraded buffer weight and spring, along with their CNC hop unit and upgraded inner barrel
“WITH A FEW GAS POWERED DRY FIRES WITHOUT BBS LOADED THE RECOIL IMPULSE WAS IMMEDIATELY APPRECIABLE, VERY CRISP AND CONSISTENT, WITH A NICE CADENCE AND NONE OF THE TYPICAL ‘SPROING’ SOUND THANKS TO THE CUSTOM BUFFER AND THE GENERAL FIT AND FINISH.” 10
AA EXCLUSIVE! CLPD BCM GBBR
and hop bucking. You may or may not be aware of A-Plus; being based here in Taiwan they are highly regarded locally as some of the best custom hopup and internals providers, and I know the guys at Archwick used the same set up in their GHK based L119A2 offering, so they must be worth taking a look at, if you’re in the market for high end internals for a GBBR. With everything back together I retrieved the standard VFC AR magazine (which is one of their latest versions and boasts great gas capacity and efficiency, as well as a solid and easy to handle construction, with a lighter than usual grey finish and reinforced upper insert where the feed lips and gas valves are installed) and I’m very much a fan of the new arrangement on VFC’s rifle and pistol gas magazines, especially given that it protects the gas inlet port from dirt or damage, and removes the need to fuss with the base plate on the likes of their Glocks which makes them ideal for competition or defensive shooting practices, although I have to get used to the change as I’m so ingrained in pumping the gas in the butt plate after all these years!
CYCLING AND CONTROLS
The first few tentative dry cycles of the bolt certainly felt positive compared to the likes of my WE Tech HK416 and T91 the buffer weight and spring rate seemed to offer a lot more resistance, around one and a half times as much, having measured their respective pull weights, and I imagine the tolerances on the VFC internals is somewhat tighter in general. The whole thing felt stiffer at first, but ran very smoothly versus my past experiences of my own AR GBBRs, a very positive forward movement and no appreciable bolt bounce or other shenanigans to be found. With a few gas powered dry fires without BBs loaded the recoil impulse was immediately appreciable, very crisp and consistent, with a nice cadence and none of the typical ‘sproing’ sound thanks to the custom buffer and the general fit and finish. The controls as well are very positive and pleasant; the BCM Warfighter charging handle has an extended left side locking arm that allows for very positive grip and retraction making initial cycling of the action much easier than some of the standard smaller T-Handles I’m used to. This eliminates the need to cant the gun or reach over to grip both sides, thus making it easier to charge it or remedy any malfunctions with it still in the shoulder, certainly a nice feature from my experience in skirmishing and occasional competitive rifle dabblings. The fire selector as well is extremely positive and www.airsoftaction.net
AA EXCLUSIVE! CLPD BCM GBBR
pleasant to use, giving very definite clicks upon arriving at each position, and being so highly sprung that it can run away from your thumb and put itself in place if you move it slowly; definitely a nice fit and finish feature; having compared it to my teammate Andrew’s brand new standard BCM the internals seem to be of a different format which allow the safety to be engaged with the hammer down, whereas the standard BCM MCMR GBBR is more like a typical AR platform in that the safety can only be engaged with the hammer cocked. I also found that using his version the recoil is much more stout and the action arguably louder, perhaps the result of the standard bolt carrier not having the lightening cutouts, and the latest version internals perhaps including a harder hitting gas valve striker, the CLPD APlus version feels smoother but softer shooting, while the standard BCM really kicks more heavily if you’re interested in a heavier hitter in the shoulder. Similarly the bolt release paddle isn’t going to go anywhere unless you want it to; entirely too often I’ve been bitten by bolt carriers when trying to remedy issues with other AR models, or had them go home on empty chambers due to the inertia of reloading letting them off early, or just looking at them funny in the reload cycle and them deciding to let loose early… not a problem here, you really have to positively press or slap the paddle in to get that satisfying bolt clack as it chambers the next round after your reload, all of the ASMR funtimes. All of this talk and we haven’t even gotten to one of the best features yet, the trigger. Having dealt all too often with creepy, sloppy triggers in myriad other rifle, SMG, or pistol platforms, this is definitely somewhere it’s been done right; the trigger is as short and crisp in its break as a real one, and probably a high end one at that, with a very clean and audible reset that made it very easy to do double taps on steel targets when I dabbled in a little range shenanigans with it during one of my usual Action Air sessions at SPPT… and the other guys who handled it and let off a few BBs were equally impressed, and they’re no slouches having also skirmished and done rifle competition for a good while too alongside the pistol work we undertake together.
At the skirmish I gave it its final fielding at I was letting loose with short strings of rounds reliably all day and managed to plant a very nice double tap to an opponent’s chest over a wall in the final round just before getting eliminated myself. It really was a joy to shoot and more importantly to carry! Compared to a quad picatinny rail HK416 setup, the MLOK is leaps and bounds ahead in terms of lightweight and general comfort in handling, so top marks from me! The internals augment the shooting experience given by the general handling characteristics nicely, with a very repeatable shot placement thanks no doubt to the consistency of the bolt carrier, gas system and the hop unit and barrel; with a little initial practice I was repeatedly hitting the small circular plates of my STAGE ETS system (see the previous issue Airsoft Action No. 131 Nov 2021 for a full review of that) from the other end of the range. I didn’t bother adjusting the hop up at this point due to the limited inside range available, but did appreciate the fully adjustable iron sights that allowed me to zero it nicely and run it well even without an optic fitted, doing a few short drill stages between reloading the long magazine I had with it. So far, so good! I put about five magazine loads through it that session to zero the iron sights using 0.3g BLS BBs at around 10-15 metres at SPPT’s usual training space, and decided to call it a night and get back to the pistol work, and stretch the legs of the CLPD BCM on the outdoor range at Taiwan CQB Club Linkou. This should also be helped along by the inclusion of Clarence’s own internal magic in the guise of his adjustable floating valve unit in the gas nozzle which allows tuning of the muzzle power output up to as much as a claimed limit of 490 FPS (obviously depending on local site or legal power limits) but this will no doubt allow greater flexibility and consistency in performance to be attained wherever the user is based. A week or so later I was outside on the Linkou range putting the gun up against outdoor conditions on small steel plates and again found it fairly consistent aside from the inevitable wind issues
“ALL IN ALL, THE CLPD BCM IS A VERY AESTHETICALLY PLEASING AND ENJOYABLE HANDLING SETUP, WHILE I’M NOT THE BIGGEST FANBOY OF AR PLATFORMS IN GENERAL I CAN DEFINITELY APPRECIATE THE APPEAL AND QUALITY OF THE BCM OFFERINGS AND VFC, A-PLUS AND CLARENCE HAVE DONE A GREAT JOB BRINGING A GROWING RANGE OF HIGH QUALITY, HIGH PERFORMANCE OFFERINGS TO THE END USER.” 12
AA EXCLUSIVE! CLPD BCM GBBR
causing some fliers; we HAD just been through a pretty intense typhoon in all fairness! Nonetheless the CLPD BCM fared well and after some tweaking of the A-Plus hop unit I was getting good shot placement out to around 25 metres looking through the ACOG optic I’d slapped on top for this outing; the full length Picatinny rail atop the receiver is good for that. The only downside beyond the initial fitment issues I encountered reared its head at this point; the standard VFC BCM GBBR makes use of their innovative new ‘guide hop’ or ‘gas tube hop’ feature, which allows you to adjust the hop unit setting from the front end of their latest pistol and rifle series without having to open anything up. However this feature is unfortunately lost with the use of the custom A-Plus hop and inner barrel setup, although it’s not all terrible news, as it is better designed than the likes of other AR hop units I have had to dismantle a few times lately to clean. The A-Plus at least features an adjustment grub screw which is below the chamber instead of above it, which is much better thought out and allows you to far more easily adjust it with an allen key using the space where the bolt carrier would be once you have it opened up and the charging handle and carrier out of the way. Adjusting it with the whole thing assembled and the working parts locked to the rear is possible with a custom-bent allen key, but you don’t get the same range of motion that way, and it can be a ballache to get the tool in place. So, with a few tweaks left and right and test shots between, I finally had the hop unit set where I wanted it to nicely lift my 0.3g BLS BBs and managed to get
them all hitting fairly close to my crosshairs by the end of the session. I’d be very happy to get behind one of these again in future and do a more exhaustive test and see how the hop unit properly beds in and the internals fare over the longer term. All in all, the CLPD BCM is a very aesthetically pleasing and enjoyable handling setup, while I’m not the biggest fanboy of AR platforms in general, only having two of my own due to Heckler & Koch and Taiwanese service rifle reasons, and preferring oddball setups most of the time, I can definitely appreciate the appeal and quality of the BCM offerings and VFC, A-Plus and Clarence have done a great job bringing a growing range of high quality, high performance offerings to the end user; if it was me, I doubt I’d hesitate to drop the money on one of these!I can certainly see it making you happy whether you’re hanging it on your wall for visual appreciation, your plate carrier for skirmishing, or fielding it for competitive shooting on paper and poppers. And as a final arm twist, if I haven’t already convinced you, you also get the neat John Wick themed dog patch from Morale Patch Shop, run by everyone’s favourite in-country gent from Tennessee included free with the package deal! Many thanks to Clarence for letting me get hands on with his new offering, I’m also looking forward to more of his new products, in particular those for my competition KJW CZ Shadow 2; he’s already fronted me a whole gamut of replacement internal springs and I’m just awaiting some of his more structural components to return my race gun to top condition! AA www.airsoftaction.net
SMALL AND FIERCE
VORSK 3.8 HI CAPAS
AS NIGHTS DRAW IN AND WINTER APPROACHES IT MAY SEEM THAT FOR SOME AIRSOFT IS ABOUT TO GO INTO HIBERNATION, BUT TURNING THE NEGATIVES INTO 100% POSITIVES THIS MEANS THAT OUR INDOOR GAMING AND RANGETIME COMES VERY MUCH TO THE FORE! THANKS TO THE HARDCHARGING TEAM AT VORSK THERE ARE ALSO SOME NEW PISTOLS THAT SEEM PURPOSE-MADE FOR THIS ABOUT TO LAND… ENTER THE VORSK 3.8S!
armoury VORSK 3.8 HI CAPAS
ovember is always a strange old month, the clocks have changed and the greyness of autumn heading into winter can be a depressing time for many. It has been said however, that “Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons” and with our woodland sites changing it is certainly a dramatic time! The vibrant greens of summer are behind us now, and leaves are turning to gold and rust-red and falling in heaps (much to the joy of the sniper fraternity!), and for the feint-hearted airsofter it’s time to head indoors and take up residence behind the keyboard… There is a breed of airsofter though that heeds not the change of the seasons, one that will venture forth to their local site come rain, ice, or drifting snow, and indeed playing during a hard winter can often bring some of the greatest gaming rewards to the prepared player! This, of course is also true when you play in more extreme weather conditions anywhere around the globe, but for me the onset of winter means changing out gear and being ready for whatever the elements can throw at me… and I do love a physical challenge that just adds to airsoft. For many though, November is a time where their gameplay and visit to sites slows somewhat; the weather means that many that are ill-equipped will stay home, and the thought of Christmas just around the corner means that our “airsoft spend” in generally curtailed until a New Year dawns. For many small airsoft retailers November is a really hard month, so if you have a few bucks to spare then pop in to see them, even if it’s to buy a bag of BBs as they WILL appreciate your custom, and it’s your custom that keeps them going and keeps them open for business… which of course benefits YOU in the long run! November is also generally a quieter time in relation to new AEG and GBB releases from the manufacturers. This year into next is going to be somewhat different again as I’m hearing that a number of airsoft manufacturers will not be attending SHOT or IWA as usual in 2022, although I’m hopeful that we’ll see some cool new directions at MOA (and we’ll report on this via Stewbacca of course!). New models that would usually be held back for release at the shows will therefore be filtering through from now on, and for once November is proving already to be pretty darn exciting. The first of the new releases have come from none other than my old mates at VORSK, and by the time you read this their new “3.8” compact Hi Capas should be landing, and heading straight out to retailers! These are models that I knew were in the pipeline, but again have been sworn to secrecy about until now, and I’m excited as I believe that the new 3.8 Hi Capa Pro and 3.8 “Vengeance” models may well be the3 very VORSKs that I have been waiting for!
armoury VORSK 3.8 HI CAPAS
Ernst Schumacher, statistician and economist, once said “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction”, and although this quote alludes to a totally different sphere it is also true when it comes to the creation of pistols! Sometimes the design ethos of the handgun market appears to be all about “going large”, with increased size and load counts, but the VORSK Team have moved in the opposite direction to enhance their Hi Capa offering and provide what, in my opinion, are some of the most awesome and usable hand-cannons out there! I do love a short, compact pistol, and although by their very nature the two new VORSKs will not be super-compact, the decreased barrel length and slight reduction in overall weight means that the sheer bulk of carrying an effective secondary will be reduced… and any weight and size saving when you’re carrying a full set of “battle rattle” has to be a good thing! Ultimately both pistols are based on existing platforms that I already love, namely the full-size Hi Capas and Vengeance pistols, and I already know that the performance of these is exemplary; both Jon and I have spoken at length on the existing pistols, and both of us have a VORSK pistol in our PAMG loadouts for good reason. For me though the addition of a shorter, lighter pistol to this “pool” means that I can have a dedicated sidearm specifically for uber-close-in encounters, one that is easily manipulated and moved swiftly, but that is in operation one that I have “muscle memory” for. This will also cross over to more general CQB/CQC scenarios where you need something small, light and agile to carry as a backup for your primary; why lug around a dirty great DEagle when you can have a super-compact Hi Capa? I honestly believe that the new 3.8 VORSK models are pretty much the perfect CQB handgun.
THE WORD OF VORSK
So, with all this in mind, let’s have a closer look at what the new 3.8 models will bring to the party, and getting together with Ross and Tom they gave me a little more information on both new pistol variants.
VORSK 3.8” HI-CAPA
• PRO – 3.8” Hi-Capa • Reduced Weight Slide – Slide Cut-Outs and Etch Styling • Moulded, Stipple Textured VORSK Grip • Flared Magwell and Extended Magazine Baseplate • 12mm (CW) to 14mm (CCW) Barrel Thread Adaptor • 6.03 mm Inner Barrel • Fluted Outer Barrel • Fibreoptic Sights (BDS Option Available) • Hi-Capa – Large Gas Reservoir – Excellent Gas Efficiency Since their launch, the VORSK Hi-Capa models have grown in popularity due to their excellent shot performance and gas efficiency. This high gas efficiency, the result of a large gas reservoir combined with their distinctive weight reduced slides, has been improved further by the introduction of a shortened slide. When the slide is reduced in length, the compact ‘PRO’ designation, a further weight reduction occurs but also the slides travel distance is shortened. This combination gives the VORSK Hi-Capa PRO a faster cycle rate, snappy trigger action and a solid felt Blow-Back. The forward Picatinny Accessory Rail is there for mounting taclites and LAMs, making the “PRO” perfect for close-quarter, indoor environments. VORSK Hi-Capas come fitted with a 12mm (CW) / 14mm (CCW) thread adaptor hidden under a cover making the VORSK Hi-Capa ready for a series of Barrel Attachments. The 6.03mm inner barrel is threaded, making it ready for the barrel extending VORSK AGENCY suppressor. Electronic Dot Sight or Fibre Sights options are available in a series of colours.
armoury VORSK 3.8 HI CAPAS
“WHY LUG AROUND A DIRTY GREAT DEAGLE WHEN YOU CAN HAVE A SUPER-COMPACT HI CAPA? I HONESTLY BELIEVE THAT THE NEW 3.8 VORSK MODELS ARE PRETTY MUCH THE PERFECT CQB HANDGUN.”
VORSK VENGEANCE COMPACT
• COMPACT – 3.8” Hi-Capa Model • Floating BDS Option • 12 mm (CW) to 14 mm (CCW) Thread Adaptor FLASH HIDER • Rail Cut-Outs and Etch Lines • Functioning Beaver Tail Safety • Fluted Outer Barrel • Fibre Iron Sights • Flared Magwell • Extended Magazine Base Plate • Scaled Polymer VORSK Grip The CS VENGEANCE was VORSKs first Hi-Capa variant to come through their Custom Shop range,
and what a Hi-Capa it is; both Jon and I love it! Based on a popular race-platform design, VORSK have furthered this design by introducing a floating BDS option. Add to this a distinct range of colours including a Metallic Red (JON!!!), and a Dark Earth/ Tan variant, the CS VENGEANCE is another racker of a pistol! The 3.8 CS VENGEANCE features an adjustable rear iron-sight, an extended magazine base plate and the inclusion of the floating BDS option, just like its 5.1 big brother. The slide markings are a new pattern though, with some forward cut-outs revealing the fluted outer barrel within. A common feature of VORSK Hi-Capas is the inclusion of a Flash-Hider that
armoury VORSK 3.8 HI CAPAS
“SOMETIMES THE DESIGN ETHOS OF THE HANDGUN MARKET APPEARS TO BE ALL ABOUT “GOING LARGE”, WITH INCREASED SIZE AND LOAD COUNTS, BUT THE VORSK TEAM HAVE MOVED IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION TO ENHANCE THEIR HI CAPA OFFERING AND PROVIDE WHAT, IN MY OPINION, ARE SOME OF THE MOST AWESOME AND USABLE HAND-CANNONS OUT THERE!”
armoury VORSK 3.8 HI CAPAS
neatly covers a 12 mm (CW) to 14 mm (CCW) thread adaptor, making VORSK Hi-Capas “attachment ready”, especially with the real-estate provided by the Picatinny under barrel. As an added bonus the 3.8 CS VENGEANCE will arrive in a magnetically sealed box with Velcro patch holders and a Manual sleeve, allowing the box to be used for display and storage at home, along with safe and secure transit.
As any of you that follow Airsoft Action will know, I have a particularly close relationship with the VORSK Team as I’ve worked with them since the brand came into being, and in relation to the two new 3.8 pistols this means that I’ve been able to access a preproduction sample of each to see if they have what it takes. Although both pistols tested are largely complete, they do lack some of the finishing of the production models that we as players will receive soon. Although both test pistols are fully functional, and therefore “test ready”, certain elements such as the fluted/threaded outer barrels are absent, but as these elements add to the finished models and don’t really affect basic shooting operation I’m going to look past this, as I hope you will when it comes to these two exciting models! I’m pleased to say though that all the months of concept work, design, and development, has resulted in VORSK pistols combining direct input from shooters around the globe with the experience of the best factories in the business to create a family of pistols that are equally at home on the skirmish field as on the range, and the new 3.8 models fit into that “family” like they were always meant to be there! Starting with the Hi Capa PRO, my steels were a’clangin’ at 10 metres for quite some time! Although there is some cool down (as you would expect), the pistol keeps on shooting, and with the shorter barrel seems distinctly more “punchy”. I have tried a few of walk-downs on the woodland range, firing on the move and the 3.8 keep things on target nicely, especially given the as-standard fibre-optic sights. Mag changes are also a breeze as the extended floorplate on the mag and the flared magwell really help to push things along efficiently and smoothly. Design-wise the PRO is very much a VORSK, with those distinctive cutaways to the slide, and a nicely pre-tippled grip which fills the hand and gives a very positive sensation during target transitions. All in all it’s a VERY tidy package.
VORSK have obviously wanted to make a firm statement of intent when it comes to what they are able to achieve with the Custom Shop Program, and the net result of this was the original 5.1 CS VENGEANCE; the 3.8 model moves on from what has come before and makes the most of Mark’s modern yet elegant look. With this pistol they’ve kept things completely streamlined yet downscaled; as I said of the longer 5.1 “this is a pistol fundamentally designed to be shot, to be used rather than just carried in a holster”. Even though the design is obviously at variance with the lines of a “classic 1911” in terms of both the frame and slide, the grip angle and operation is both familiar and comfortable; it’s as if Mark has taken that classic “rake” and feature set and incorporated it into a new, stylish design that works well and looks great, and the 3.8 just makes the entire deal more compact and usable! Bottom line is that the 3.8 CS VENGEANCE pistol feels perfect in the hand to me, cycles smoothly, has a super recoil impulse, and the scaled polymer VORSK grip keeps it firmly in your hand. The flared magwell and extended magazine base plate once again help with swift changes when you run dry, and with the fibre-optic front blade and an adjustable rear sight (a red dot can of course be fitted) it’s massively easy to track from target to target if you’re shooting plates or centre mass. I won’t go into performance in detail here as I’ll reserve that for the production models when they arrive, but neither of the pre-production models failed to impress; to give you an idea though, they both chrono’d just shy of 0.83 Joule/300FPS using VORSK V6 gas and the new .20g VORSK Precision BBs, but this shouldn’t be looked at as anything other than an indication as both nozzles appeared non-standard. I fully expect the production models to be a little different, but I’ll be able to tell you more on this when the “stock” pistols arrive and have been thoroughly tested. And when do they arrive I hear you ask? Patience they say is a virtue, but not one that many airsofters, including me, share, so I’m pleased to tell you that both the PRO and the VENGEANCE 3.8s should be in store before November is out, but I’d advise you keep an eye on their social media pages for exact dates. When there’s not a lot to look forward to though, and the nights are drawing in, the release of these pistols to me is like Christmas has come early, and I’ll be ho-ho-ho-ing all the way through December thanks to VORSK! AA
armoury EMG NOVESKE PCC
NOT OF THIS WORLD! WITH SO MANY SUPERB AR-PISTOL AND PCC-STYLE AEGS ON THE MARKET NOW IT’S SOMETIMES HARD TO DECIDE BETWEEN THEM, SO WHEN A MODEL APPEARS THAT SCREAMS “UNIQUE” IT’S DEFINITELY GOING TO BE WORTH A LOOK! THIS MONTH BILL GETS DOWN TO THE RANGE WITH THE VERY LATEST NOVESKELICENCED MODEL FROM EMG, THE SPACE INVADER!
armoury EMG NOVESKE PCC
n 2019 APS was set the task by Evike Manufacturing Group (EMG) to make the first fully licensed complete “Noveske AEG”, the 13.7” Gen 4 Infidel, and I’m very pleased to say that after reviewing it and finding it just a bit special, I treated myself to one! I love this carbine and have been running one (yes, in Bazooka Green!) as part of my PAMG setup for a good while now, and it’s a super AEG that never fails to live up to the claims made when it first appeared!
I love the fact that EMG got things SO right with the Infidel, especially as it has real “legacy” in the firearms and shooting communities; Noveske Rifleworks was founded by the late, and sorely missed, John Noveske in 2001, and to this day Noveske, for me at least, evokes quality and precision. In the world of real firearms they offer complete rifles, rifle parts and accessories, and each single component is manufactured to exact specifications and thoroughly inspected to ensure the highest quality is being
armoury EMG NOVESKE PCC
offered. Every design follows the concept of making improvements where, and only where, necessary, keeping the design clean and uncomplicated while ensuring that precision engineering and attention to detail create a winning combination that cannot be beaten. Now this is all somewhat ancient history, and I’ve written about my personal love for “things Noveske” on many occasions in the past. Times have moved on; Noveske Rifleworks has of course now released their Generation 4 series of rifles, carbines, PDWs, and PCCs that are available in 300 Blackout, 5.56mm, and of course with their “pistols”, 9mm. With barrel lengths of 7.94 inch, 8.5 inch, 10.5 inch, and 16 inch (and more!), and all offered with M-Lok or Keymod free-floating front ends, the choice in their
range is mind-blowing! Finish options include Bazooka Green (yeah baby,YEAH!), Sniper Grey, and Black. Features, depending upon the particular model, include Geissele triggers and charging handles, KX3, KX5, and Cherry Bomb muzzle brakes, Norgon Ambidextrous magazine releases and 60 degree STS selector switches, Q PDW style stocks, Magpul MBUS Pro Folding Sights and other top quality features. With Noveske Gen4 it’s like 24
someone opened the best gun-part-toybox ever and said “go for it”! Specifically when it comes to the real-deal Space Invader the parts list is exemplary; using a new Gen4 machined billet upper receiver set with a Gen3.5 ambidextrous lower receiver, the “pistol” accepts Colt style 9mm magazines and utilises a AR-style magazine release in conjunction with a paddle release. The barrel is an 8.5” stainless steel with 1:12” twist and uses an integrated 3-lug suppressor adapter.
Additional features are a Noveske 9mm ramped bolt, Noveske Airborne charging handle, Geissele Super MCX SSA trigger, ambidextrous safety selectors, NHR M-Lok free float handguard and Q PDW stock. If though you are a gun bunny like me then you will already know the Noveske brand, and when it comes to airsoft, you will also already know that many of the key Gen4 models are now replicated in airsoft form by EMG under licence.
KEEPING IT REAL
The fully licensed replicas from EMG have all the trademarks from the original (ie real) Noveske rifles, carbines and PCCs, which can be clearly seen on the
armoury EMG NOVESKE PCC
receivers and rails. The receiver setups (the Space Invader of course has a dedicated “9mm” lower) mimic the real Gen4s perfectly in relation to fire selector, mag release and bolt release. The foreends again replicate the Noveske NSR/NHR M-Lok Rail Systems and these are also trademarked, whilst the ergonomic Alpha pistol grip is designed exclusively for EMG with their own trademark on it. In the case of the Space Invader you also get an NHR-style rail and an integral 3-lug suppressor attachment; the HK-pattern 3-lug is an industry standard for quick installation and removal of a suppressor, and there are numerous adaptors out there to make this work with your can of choice which is a very cool touch. When it comes to the receivers and front end, all metal parts are CNC creations, with every joint completely seamless and beautifully finished like the real firearm, and the Space Invader of course has a dedicated “9mm” lower which incorporates both a standard AR mag-release and a paddle. The selector is ambi, and very positive, and the EMG-branded Q PDW-style stock actually has enough length of pull as to be comfortable even with my ape-arms! Flip-up sights are included in the package, and are pleasingly made of alloy rather than plastic, and the 210 BB stick mag is even branded “Noveske” too. All in all it’s a very attractive, and sublimely finished little package! Inside the Gen4 Space Invader AEG is the latest eSilver Edge SDU 2.0 programmable gearbox made by APS; simply by pressing down the button underneath the gear box, you can switch fire selector modes and no external programmer or trigger jiggling are needed, so it’s easy to program anytime and anywhere! When APS set out to develop the Silver Edge gearbox, they wanted to bring to market an ultra-smooth, low amperage draw (the gearbox only pulls 11amps at iro 380 FPS!), ultrareliable system with huge upgrade potential. The newest version of the Silver Edge gearbox, named eSilver Edge, takes everything that made the so-so original functional but a little problematic at times, and improves greatly upon it. The newly developed advanced S.D.U (Super Dynamic Unit) chipset monitors the amperage draw from shot to shot and will cut power to the gearbox if the current spikes too high and before damage can be done to your AEG. To improve trigger performance, the eSilverEdge gearbox features a micro switch trigger which works together with the S.D.U. chipset for near instantaneous trigger response. When combined with a short stroked trigger, you can achieve an incredible semi-auto rate of fire! Additionally, the gearbox shell itself has been greatly reinforced to withstand the stress of up to an M190 spring. Great thought and detail has www.airsoftaction.net
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armoury EMG NOVESKE PCC
gone into this gearbox to make it more durable, more efficient, and at the same time remain compatible with the great majority of TM spec upgrade parts.
DOWN AND DIRTY, TAKE 2!
Having said much the same about the full-length Noveske carbine, externally the Space Invader, just like the Infidel, ticks all my “Noveske Love” boxes. Internally there’s a LOT of stuff going on to increase both performance and longevity; it’s a totally neat package that looks awesome, but how does it fare when you start hammering that trigger? First up, let’s look at the power, and the model I received for testing chrono’d with super consistency at 0.99 Joule/328fps using .20g RZR BBs. Next up was to play with the different selector modes, and it proved incredibly easy to cycle through the modes by pressing and holding the button underneath the gearbox which is easily accessed from the magwell. You see a red LED light, hold the button until you see it’s blinked twice, and then release the button to accept the changes; you simply repeat this step to continue through the modes. Then you just double click the button or unplug the battery to reset the ECU back to its factory settings (Mode 1). • Mode 1 (Default) Safe/Semi/Auto • Mode 2 Safe/Semi/3-Round Burst • Mode 3 Safe/2-Round Burst/Auto • Mode 4 Safe/3-Round Burst/Auto • Mode 5 Safe/3-Round Burst/9-Round Burst Mode 5 is a bit of a beast, but I do like to retain semi, and of course if you’re intending to use the Space Invader for CQB-play then this will be a necessity; for me Mode 2 is therefore the one to go for. With this set I loaded up the 210BB winder (the mags are dedicated but Hi-Caps and 48BB Mid/Lo’s are available) with .25g RZRs and put some BBs down the 30m range. The trigger is nicely crisp, as just a nudge sends BBs downrange happily; on semi you really can get shots away super-fast, and the three round burst function works brilliantly, just as it does on my Infidel! The flip-up sights that come as standard are more than adequate, and indeed are sturdily made of alloy, so the Noveske is ready to roll straight from the box just by adding a battery and some BBs, and the
battery compartment is actually big enough to get a small stick 11.1 LiPo in! At 30m unsupported it was easy to get hits on a torso-sized target with each BB flying straight and true. As usual I also tried the Space Invader on the 10m “short range” and it performed superbly in rapid, target-to-target transitions, again in reality down to the responsiveness of the superb trigger. I’ve really struggled, being a big guy, getting to grips with the whole “PCC” thing, especially where the models have that short-pull PDW-style stock, but thankfully once again the genius of Noveske Rifleworks (and EMG of course!) shines through on the Space Invader; finally I believe I’ve found a PCC that even gorilla-armed hulkers like me will find comfortable and positive to use! With a price tag iro £320 here in the UK it’s a little more expensive than some, but it really gives a tremendous amount of quality and performance for the money. It looks great (especially in Bazooka Green!), is short and supersweet, and shoots like a laser, so as far as I can see EMG have got this 100% right… again! My thanks go to www.iwholesales.co.uk for supplying the test sample, and you’ll find the EMG “Noveske” models on their regularly updated website, and with all their retail partners throughout the UK and Europe. I also noticed that www.taiwangun. com and www.evike.com have these little beauties in stock, so you can get your Noveske on wherever in the world you may be… You’re welcome, you can thank me later! AA
“I’VE REALLY STRUGGLED, BEING A BIG GUY, GETTING TO GRIPS WITH THE WHOLE “PCC” THING, ESPECIALLY WHERE THE MODELS HAVE THAT SHORT-PULL PDW-STYLE STOCK, BUT THANKFULLY ONCE AGAIN THE GENIUS OF NOVESKE RIFLEWORKS (AND EMG OF COURSE!) SHINES THROUGH ON THE SPACE INVADER.”
L119A2 CUSTOM BUILD
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IN THE SHADOWS SHADOW FOAM
IF YOU FOLLOW THE AA WEBSITE NEWS OR OUR SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDS YOU’LL KNOW THAT WE HAD A FABULOUS TIME WHEN WE VISITED AIRSOFT ANONYMOUS PRIOR TO OUR RED CELL GAME/TEST DAY DURING THE SUMMER, AND WHILE WE WERE THERE JENNI LET US INTO A LITTLE SECRET THAT WE SHARED WITH YOU AT THE TIME… THE LAUNCH OF SHADOW FOAM CUSTOM INSERTS FOR THE NUPROL RANGE OF GUN CASES, AND NOW JIMMY HAS HAD A CHACE TO PUT THIS FULLY TO THE TEST!
s airsofters and owners of replica guns we have a responsibility to conceal them and keep them safe when transporting them. There are many ways to carry such items; I’ve seen many different ways players carry their gear/RIFs everything from black sacks to expensive hard cases. There is no set way to carry RIFs but concealment and safety are paramount; we may know they are only toys but to the uneducated member of the public these are real and can easily cause alarm, and this isn’t really what we want. Everybody has their preferred method of carrying; I personally use both bags and hard cases depending on where I’m going. If I’m travelling to a game day I like to use the hard case for many reasons but if I’m off to the local airsoft shop or a Red Cell meeting I will use a soft bag as chances are I won’t be carrying as much gear. On this occasion I shall be focusing on the hard case and specifically Nuprols excellent hard case which is a very popular model I must say. I had never used a hard case prior to getting a Nuprol case so for
me it was quite the novelty to be able to arrange my gear in the clever pick and pluck foam having it all neatly laid out and looking professional but, yes, there is a “but”. The pick and pluck foam once picked sadly didn’t endure the test of time before it started to fall apart, leaving my gear free to rattle around. I discovered the wave foam, which I found to be more effective, and this has lasted a lot longer and is still going strong three years later. But now there is a new product on the market, I say new, it’s new to airsoft. I remember many years ago being offered some of this by the Snap-On sales guy as it hails from the tool industry which is designed for use in toolboxes and quite frankly the price of it was shocking! However, the lovely people from Airsoft Anonymous, Jenni and Kirk, who I had the pleasure of meeting a few months back at their shop, were kind enough to send me some Shadow Foam which has been manufactured purely for the Nuprol hardcases which is a great idea!
“THERE IS NO SET WAY TO CARRY RIFS BUT CONCEALMENT AND SAFETY ARE PARAMOUNT; WE MAY KNOW THEY ARE ONLY TOYS BUT TO THE UNEDUCATED MEMBER OF THE PUBLIC THESE ARE REAL AND CAN EASILY CAUSE ALARM, AND THIS ISN’T REALLY WHAT WE WANT.” 30
TECHNICAL SHADOW FOAM
WHAT IT SAYS ON THE CAN
What’s Shadow Foam I hear you say? Shadow Foam is a multi-layered polyethylene foam that makes organisation as simple as cut and peel. Use any sharp knife to cut around your item, then peel back layers for depth. Shadow Foam is water and common chemical resistant, so if there are any spills, just wipe them off with no problems. It is available in seven colour variations with either a colour top, or colour base, and enhanced with a UV stabiliser to ensure the colour never fades. You can get the foam In THREE sizes medium, large and extra-large. When I heard they were going to be sending some our way I was quite excited as I had seen a few videos of the process and once finished it looked really neat and tidy; seeing some of the work Jenni and Kirk have done I think they have it nailed, so if you are looking for the Shadow Foam and are wanting it done right then I suggest getting in contact with Airsoft Anonymous. I spoke with Jenni on messenger who was more than happy to give me any help and tips on how to get the perfect fit for all my wares, so rest assured if you are going to tackle it yourself help is at hand. Upon opening the packaging I found two pieces of the shadow foam, one piece for the bottom of the case and one slightly thinner piece for the top section, along with an envelope which contained a nice sticker, a scalpel, a packet of fresh blades and a brief rundown/instructions, so the only thing you will need is a ruler some free time and a compulsory tipple of your choice.
FITTING RIGHT IN
The next task is to choose exactly what you are going
to fit into your case; for me it was a difficult choice as I have some much to choose from so I picked my favourite two RIFs which are my UMG45 Elite and my Hi Capa Gold Match Custom along with all the attachments and magazines. The best method is not to dive straight in and start hacking away, but to lay your gear out on top of the foam and arrange it in such a way that you are happy with it. Then take a picture so you can refer to at along the way it just makes it easier. Once you happy with the layout then you can start cutting, but be mindful, the blades are razor sharp. The beauty of the scalpel is it is a very thin tool which allows you to follow the shapes of everything very closely and with precision. Don’t rush this part after all you want it to look neat. Make an initial cut trying to keep the blade cutting at the same depth so that when you come to pull out the sections you have cut it comes out easier and you don’t ruin the layers. You can always cut more if you haven’t gone deep enough so don’t panic if you didn’t cut deep enough on you first pass. Then it is just a case of cracking on with the rest of your gear until it’s complete. You can be a creative as you like and done properly you can fit a fair amount of items in one case. For reference check out the Airsoft Anonymous Facebook page where you can see some of the work they have done and there are also some great little vids showing the process. Here’s a final thought though! If like me you own a small arsenal then you may want to invest in a couple if not three of the kits because once it’s cut it is tailored specifically to that platform so may not fit your others RIFs... or you can just cut down on your personal arsenal… said no airsofter… ever! AA
KIT & GEAR ONETIGRIS CARRIER SYSTEMS
TACTICOOL LOAD STYLIN’ ! WE’VE WORKED WITH AND LOOKED AT ONETIGRIS PRODUCTS BEFORE AND WERE VERY PLEASED WITH THE QUALITY THAT WE SAW IN THEM. A WHILE BACK NOW, AND FOLLOWING HIS VX BUCKLE UP REVIEW, JON TOOK DELIVERY OF A PACKAGE FROM ONETIGRIS, WITH A BRIEF NOTE FROM THE ORACLE STATING “WHAT DO YOU THINK?”
neTigris are huge in the States and Asia, however here in Europe and more specifically the UK, they aren’t so well known. Scratch that, they are well known but not for human kit, oh no, but for Molle Harnesses for our beloved doggos (and kitties). It may just be that an Alsatian or a Bengal Cat looking Tacticool is more likely to go viral than an airsofter in a plate carrier but that’s a shame. It’s a shame because the OneTigris Tactical range is actually very, very good as we shall see. Inside the box it was cold and dark (this has been added as folks have asked what a product was like inside the box as opposed to, “out of the box”). Anyway, the shipment contained a few items; the OneTigris Low Profile Tactical Vest, OneTigris Camo Vulture Chest Rig 2.0 and the Tactical Waist Belt 17 all in black. All nicely packaged in OneTigris logo’d ziplock bags that suggest you reuse them. If you
gotta ship gear in plastic bags, may as well make them durable enough to be reusable, right?
LOW PROFILE TACTICAL VEST
I started with the Low Profile Tactical Vest. Poking and prodding at it (as I do) I noticed that its materials were quite rigid and stiff. I like this, I like to be able to plonk it on a surface and have it stand up, rather than collapse or flop about. That’s a positive “tick” from me before I’d really started. The vest weighs in at 1200g/2.16lb mainly due to the 500D Nylon material construction and the included “rigid as Everest”, EVA foam dummy plate inserts. It measures in at 275mm/10.8” wide and 330mm/13” tall to the top of the plate; there are adjustable hook and loop shoulder straps which aren’t padded but are comfortable enough on the shoulders and neck. The front is pretty much covered with
“ONETIGRIS SUGGESTS THAT YOU USE PLACARD 01/02/03 CONFIGURATIONS WITH THE TACTICAL VEST. I FEEL THAT AS THIS IS A LOW PROFILE OFFERING, IT RUINS THE “LOOK AND FEEL” OF THE SYSTEM ADDING THE PLACARDS AS IT SHOUTS “LO-PROFILE, LO-DRAG” TO ME.”
KIT & GEAR ONETIGRIS CARRIER SYSTEMS
hook and loop panels. At the top there is a 150mm/6”x150mm/6” pocket that is closed by a YKK zipper. That’s a big pocket, a really big pocket and it’s concealed well within the plate cavity. On the front of the pocket is a 150mm/6”x78mm/3” hook and loop panel for I.D and morale patches. Either side of this panel are two vertical Molle loops that are designed to clip the OneTigris placards to. Speaking of placards, OneTigris suggests that you use Placard 01/02/03 configurations with the Tactical Vest. Personally I feel that as this is a Low Profile offering, it ruins the “look and feel” of the system adding the placards as it shouts “lo-profile, lo-drag” to me. It is also unnecessary as the front has a hook and loop closed pouch, which you can fit mag inserts
into to that will hold up to four 5.56 mags or three 7.62 mags but more importantly, the elasticated cummerbunds hold up to eight 5.56/7.62 mags and/ or comms kit. The cummerbunds are large and well fitting with just the right amount of stretch so not to hinder or restrict movement and retain user comfort. They attach at the front and rear by large hook and loop panels. The vest fits standard SAPI Medium Plates in the front and rear. The inside of the carrier is lightly padded with a wicking and vented type of material, so if you were to run plates, I would consider the padded inserts for the body side for extra comfort. The back face has a large 275mm/10.8”x89mm/3.5” hook and loop panel at the top and a large hook and loop flap at the bottom measuring 254mm/10”x89mm/3.5” that hides the rear cummerbund mountings. The construction and design of the vest is good too. I found two loose ends on the outside of the system, one on the left vertical Molle loop and one on the right shoulder strap. That’s incredible considering the price point. Internally (I turned it inside out - Yes I do that when I review something) it’s just the same. Obviously it’s not as pretty because that’s where it finishes and ties off but I can’t fault it. It’s actually quite beautiful to look at and you have to admire the skill of the machinist that put it together. I’ve messed around with this in different configurations and found it to be more comfortable with 5.56 magazines due to the additional “lockdown timber” (How long can we keep using that excuse?) but that’s not to say it’s uncomfortable or impractical with the 7.62 variety. Overall, it’s a very well-constructed low profile setup that can be comfortably worn under or over a jacket. I like it.
CAMO VULTURE CHEST RIG 2.0
I like a chest rig; I’ve run expensive branded gear and I’ve run more budget friendly gear, the one thing they all have in common is their super low profile, high on your chest, micro design. The OneTigris Camo Vulture Chest Rig 2.0 isn’t a micro rig, or really a chest rig as such, it’s more of a lightweight,
“I’VE MESSED AROUND WITH THIS IN DIFFERENT CONFIGURATIONS AND FOUND IT TO BE MORE COMFORTABLE WITH 5.56 MAGAZINES DUE TO THE ADDITIONAL “LOCKDOWN TIMBER” (HOW LONG CAN WE KEEP USING THAT EXCUSE?) BUT THAT’S NOT TO SAY IT’S UNCOMFORTABLE OR IMPRACTICAL WITH THE 7.62 VARIETY.”
KIT & GEAR ONETIGRIS CARRIER SYSTEMS
adaptable carry system. It sports an ”H-Harness” design which means that it’s adjustable for any body shape or size. It’s again made of 500D Nylon and weighs in at a super lightweight 580g/20.46oz. You can honestly forget that it’s on you when you’re wearing it. As previously mentioned it’s an H-Harness design which means that the “load” or placard part of the system sits low on your body, somewhere mid abdomen. This enables you to carry a day sack or bergan with ease and without restriction. The Vulture Chest Rig 2.0 has a large, detachable Molle panel that measures 265mm/10.4”x145mm/5.7” and has a hook and loop panel the same width and 75mm/3” deep for I/D or morale patches and sits where your chest is. As stated it is removable because the designers at OneTigris made the right decision to include UTXDuraflex buckles which can be completely removed from the harness system by pulling on a toggle, unclipping the bar and sliding it out of the Molle, but it’s not an easy thing to do so you can be confident that it won’t accidentally or randomly fall off during a game or when moving around. It’s attached at the base to the top of the placard via hook and loop. The straps themselves are a little over 50mm/2” wide and feature horizontal molle loops for attaching a tourniquet or comms too. As this is a lightweight rig, they aren’t padded. Across the shoulders at the back, there is a cross piece which is approx 260mm/10.2”x 50mm/2” and features a loop strip, again for I.D or morale patches. Running diagonally down from these are 25mm/1” strips of Nylon webbing with Duraflex buckle and clasps that attach to the placard. Both buckles are adjustable to allow for correct sizing and
fit to the wearer. It’s worth a note here that all strap ends are fitted with a hook and loop tidy so that you don’t have loose ends flapping about. At the bottom rear of the placard is another 25mm/1” webbing strap with adjustable Duraflex buckles at each end to form a waist band. The placard is of sewn construction and features 4 hook and loop closure pistol mag pouches and a reasonable size “dangler”. I don’t think that’s right as it’s more like a medic/ admin pouch. The pouch is 150mm/6”x127mm/5”x38mm/1.5” and is opened by two YKK Zippers. Inside the pouch there is a shallow pocket that’s suitable for a multitool or medium bandage, on the front of this there are 4 elasticated loops. You could fit a small bandage in one and other small med kit items or a small torch in the others. In reality though, you’ll get your keys, wallet and mobile in. My Huawei P30Pro just fit inside along its width but the other items were no issue. On the face of the “dangler” are two Molle strips and a hook and loop panel for I.D or morale patches. Behind these are a large pouch that has a hook and loop closure and is designed to carry four 5.56 mags with the inserts provided. You might get three 7.62 mags in there but you need to purchase separate inserts to secure them. The rear face of the placard has a large tear off, rubberised mesh panel that is attached via hook and loop. Removing this, the buckles and webbing straps, allows you to attach it to other systems such as the Low Profile Tactical Vest or the OneTigris Griffin Vest (COUGH! Yes please OneTigris. COUGH!). As with the Low Profile Tactical Vest, the Camo (not sure why that’s part of the name) Vulture Chest Rig 2.0 is incredibly well built. I only found one frayed thread and that’s because I am looking
KIT & GEAR ONETIGRIS CARRIER SYSTEMS
for a fault. This thing is built exceptionally well. While this style of chest rig isn’t to my taste, I cannot fault it in its construction, design or use case. It’s a proper solution to a problem without unnecessary bells and whistles.
and stitching has gone into putting several strong, durable components together in a very small space. It’s not a mess by any stretch of the imagination, this thing is built to last, it’s just not as polished as the other two items.
TACTICAL WAIST BELT 17
They’ve some odd names for their products at OneTigris but as the old Hammerite advert says “It does what it says on the tin!” The Tactical Waist Belt 17 is just that, although I would call it a Shooters Belt. Made from 1000D Nylon, this is a tough belt designed to repel water and dirt ingress, hold your gear firmly and allow you to move freely. It’s available in three sizes: Small 78cm-95cm/30.7”-37.4” and weighs 340g/12oz, Medium 88cm-105cm/34.6”-41.3” and weighs 370g/13oz and Large 98cm-115cm/38.6”-45.3” and weighs 410g/14.4oz. It’s a two part system, consisting of an inner and outer belt. The 38mm/1.5” inner fits nicely under jean or combat pant waist belt loops and is loop faced. There is a hook panel on the front inner which allows you to close and secure it to you. It can be used as a standalone duty belt when you don’t need the hefty outer part. The outer is a much more rigid and stable 50mm/2” wide component that features two full length rows of 12mm/1/2” webbing. This Molle webbing allows you to attach holsters, pouches and other accessories securely to the belt. On the inside is a full length hook strip that attaches securely to the duty belts loop outer. At the front of the outer are two hook and loop adjustment straps that allow you to get the perfect fit. It’s a bit of a faff but in all honesty it’s a one-time annoyance because once it’s done, it’s done (unless we have another lockdown and more timber is added). The closure is a reassuringly chunky UTX-Duraflex Cop-Lok Buckle. The buckle has a little button that you have to press on the front, (while pinching the buckle and pulling the clasp) so that it doesn’t accidentally come undone. Some may say that’s overkill, especially as it’s “stuck” to your waist via the hook and loop retention system of the duty belt that’s looped through your pants… and they’d be right, it is overkill but I love it. It feels super secure and gives you confidence in it. I’ve worn this at a few games now and I have to say I really like it. It’s a bit rough around the edges, the finishing isn’t as clinical as the Low Profile Vest or the Vulture Chest Rig 2.0 but it’s a heavy duty bit of kit that will last you a very long time. A lot of work
I like these items a lot and that surprised me. I don’t know why, but I had some preconceived idea that this kit would be more entry level and not the quality items that I received, especially when I looked at the very reasonable pricing (admittedly it was U.S $). OneTigris has either got the best QC department of any company ever or their design and manufacturing teams are exceptional. If all their items are like this (and I have since looked at a few other items elsewhere recently *spoiler alert*, they were), OneTigris is a force to be reckoned with among the mid-tier producers. In fact, with a few design tweaks here and there, they wouldn’t be midtier, they’d be top tier with their eyes on elite. I look forward to seeing more retailers stocking OneTigris products in the UK because quite simply, they should. Oh, I should mention here, because it is relevant, OneTigris don’t just make tactical gear for humans and animals, they produce outdoor/camping gear. They have some very good and well respected ultralightweight, waterproof and durable (essential for UK weather) Tents, Tarps, Cot Beds, packable Chairs and more, all of which would be ideal for those who like good kit for milsim events. Go check out their website at www.onetigris.com (Just a note for the internet, please keep posting pics of Kitties and Doggos in OneTigris Vests and Doggles, they’re awesome - Jon.) AA
OUTDOOR TACTICAL OUTDOOR DEVELOPMENT
THREADS AND TREADS IN THIS MONTH’S INSTALMENT OF HIS ONGOING SERIES IN RELATION TO NOT ONLY SURVIVING THE GAME DAY ENVIRONMENT, BUT ACTUALLY THRIVING IN IT, JON TAKES A STEP BACK IN TIME TO LOOK AT THE DEVELOPMENT OF CLOTHING SYSTEMS, AND BRINGS IT BANG UP TO DATE TO HOW YOU CAN PREPARE YOURSELF TO EXCEL EVEN IN THE HARSHEST CONDITIONS YOU MAY ENCOUNTER!
ast month I looked at why failing to prepare is potentially preparing to fail. We spoke about preparation from booking a game day, preparing your weapon systems, and clothing. In this issue I would like to take you all on a journey into understanding the importance of and some of the technology and development involved in the clothing we wear. I’ll try to avoid going to “James May” on the subject but you’ll have to humour me as it’s quite important and the science works. So, what are we wearing and I guess more importantly, why are we wearing it? It looks “Ally”, right? Well sure it does and that is cool but there’s a whole lot more to it. Our modern clothing, specifically the Military and Law Enforcement, has had billions of dollars of research and development poured into it. It’s lightweight, strong, warm, waterproof and in some cases can stop bullets. This clothing is practical. This clothing is incredible but it hasn’t always been like that. Military, Law Enforcement and Outdoor clothing has come a long way in the last 100 years! In WW1 a British Soldiers webbing (1908 pattern)
alone could weigh up to 70 lbs or 32 kg, that’s before you add the weight of the heavy woollen uniforms, leather, boots and their weapons. The uniform around the turn of the century and through two World Wars was heavy, cumbersome and by today’s standards, ineffective. A soldier would have been slow, easily fatigued and although the British Army were one of the
first military forces to adopt drab or coloured to the environment clothing, a soldier was easy to spot in the open. Add the weight of a good downpour and the mud that would have stuck to these woollen pieces, it must have been hellish for them.
“IN WW1 A BRITISH SOLDIERS WEBBING (1908 PATTERN) ALONE COULD WEIGH UP TO 70 LBS OR 32 KG, THAT’S BEFORE YOU ADD THE WEIGHT OF THE HEAVY WOOLLEN UNIFORMS, LEATHER, BOOTS AND THEIR WEAPONS. THE UNIFORM AROUND THE TURN OF THE CENTURY AND THROUGH TWO WORLD WARS WAS HEAVY, CUMBERSOME AND BY TODAY’S STANDARDS, INEFFECTIVE” 38
OUTDOOR TACTICAL OUTDOOR DEVELOPMENT
As time passed, warfare changed and so did the clothing and systems used. With the invention of new materials to meet new styles of warfighting and new, challenging environments, fresh possibilities could be realised and advances made; materials evolved from wool to tech fibres, designs changed in the style of the clothing allowing for better fit, greater comfort, and higher levels of performance. Skip forward to the present day, think about the kit you may have today and compare it to the soldier of yesteryear. Quite the difference isn’t it? My question to you, dear reader, is this. Do you know how to correctly dress yourself? I don’t mean whether you put your socks on before or after your trousers, nor do I mean can you match camo patterns correctly. No, what I am keen to know is if you are prepared and can dress according to the situation and react to a change in environment. As children we are taught to wrap up snuggly, warm during cold weather and wear little when it’s hot out but is it quite so simple? Well, yes and no. When cold we want to wrap up warm, that much is correct but thick woolly jumpers and heavy wax jackets, scarves and hats aren’t the solution. Today’s current thinking is based on layers, thin layers. I say current thinking,
it was suggested as far back as 1912 by Charlotte Gibbs in her book titled Household Textiles that “...several layers of lightweight material are better than one thick layer…”.
ENTER THE M-43
This thinking was taken further in the 1940’s when the Quartermaster Corps of the US Army introduced the M-43 Uniform. This uniform included a woollen vest (mmmm, scratchy), a long sleeve flannel shirt and a sweater. It was also issued with the M-43 Jacket. It’s the iconic tightly woven cotton jacket with large
chest and hip pockets in Olive Drab, that we associate with US Soldiers from WW2 and into the Vietnam era. Each piece of the M-43 was designed to work in conjunction with each separate item of clothing. If it were freezing you would wear the vest, flannel shirt, sweater and jacket together, if it were hot you would just wear the jacket. Field testing had proven that the system worked so the Quartermaster Corps decided to develop the system with a research and development program. Gorges Doroit, a Harvard Business School Professor took over the Harvard Fatigue Lab and began testing the effectiveness of the M-43 system. In 1946, he addressed congress and told them that “The greatest enemy, besides what we normally call the enemy, is nature”. He was obviously referring to the elements and inclement weather conditions soldiers faced in the theatre of war. With this knowledge in hand, the US Military and Doroit build various 16’ x 32’ chambers with a two person treadmill. One had a snow machine, another heating elements and another had heat and humidity. Each mimicked a theatre of war and soldiers performed tasks, with sensors of their skin that measured and recorded their temperatures. This research proved that the M-43 system kept soldiers warm down to temperatures as low as 0 degrees Fahrenheit or -17 degrees Celsius. It also proved that the tight weave stopped icy wind blasts from penetrating the jacket and helped to prevent rain www.airsoftaction.net
OUTDOOR TACTICAL OUTDOOR DEVELOPMENT
from getting in. In 1958 the US Military developed the Layering Education Curriculum which taught soldiers how to use and adjust the layering system in relation to the conditions. Today modern military labs still use updated versions of Doroits’ chambers for their research and the M-43 system has been somewhat updated with modern materials and designs. It is now known as the Extended Climate Warfighter Clothing System or G3 ECWCS. The G3 ECWCS system comprises seven levels (layers) with each level being its own component part of the system.
comprises Soft Shell Jacket and Trousers. 5. Level 6 is the Extreme Cold Weather Jacket and trousers, designed to be worn over other layers to provide a waterproof barrier. 6. Level 7 is the Extreme Cold Parka and Trousers. These are highly insulated soft shell garments meant for static operations.
IT’S ALL ABOUT LAYERS!
Even ECWCS technology has moved on now with developments by Army Ranger Captain Rick Elder, who created the Protective Combat Uniform that can go from completely soaking wet in sub-zero temperatures, to completely dry in under 30 minutes using only a soldier’s body heat generated by exercise. The pattern here is obvious, it’s layers, but what does that mean to you and what are the real world examples that you may have already or can easily get hold of? 1. Level 1 and 2 - Base layers are everywhere and you probably have some thermal Long Johns or gym gear such as Under Armour tops short or
1. Levels 1 and 2 are light and medium base layers, designed to be worn in direct contact with the skin to wick moisture and in conjunction with other levels. 2. Level 3 is a High Loft Fleece Jacket that is the primary layer of insulation. 3. Level 4 is a Wind Jacket and is the first “Shell Layer”. This jacket provides protection from winds and sand. It is also designed to be worn under body armour. 4. Level 5 is the second of the shell layers and
“ECWCS TECHNOLOGY HAS MOVED ON NOW WITH DEVELOPMENTS BY ARMY RANGER CAPTAIN RICK ELDER, WHO CREATED THE PROTECTIVE COMBAT UNIFORM THAT CAN GO FROM COMPLETELY SOAKING WET IN SUB-ZERO TEMPERATURES, TO COMPLETELY DRY IN UNDER 30 MINUTES USING ONLY A SOLDIER’S BODY HEAT GENERATED BY EXERCISE”
OUTDOOR TACTICAL OUTDOOR DEVELOPMENT
long sleeved and leggings (yes, leggings for you fellas too). Not only does this offer up a layer of insulation it also quickly wicks sweat away from the body, which keeps body temperature up. Level 3 - A Fleece, simple as that. Viper Tactical, Pentagon, Clawgear and most outdoor performance brands all do excellent fleeces at varying price points. Level 4 - A windbreaker Jacket, Helikon-Tex makes a fantastic windbreaker called the Windrunner. I have one, it is epic, it stops the wind blowing through you and taking the heat away, the only downside is that it offers next to no water repellency. Level 5 - Soft shell jacket and trousers - Most of you own a soft shell, imagine putting a t-shirt, a fleece and a soft shell jacket on. You would be getting fairly toasty, right? Viper Tactical, Helikon-Tex, Pentagon, Clawgear, Carinthia and many, many more brands make outstanding Softshell gear. Level 6 - The real hardcore waterproof layer - I have a super simple answer for you - surplus Gore Tex. MilTec offers a waterproof suit in a choice of camo patterns as do 5.11, all available at Military 1st. If you have the money, and have
a use for this level of gear on a reular basis then you can also look at UF PRO, Tasmanian Tiger and Carinthia 6. Level 7 - Fleeced Trousers and Fleeced Softshell Jacket for dry but cold situations. Snugpak and Carinthia would be your go to manufacturers here. As you can seem these layers are fairly selfexplanatory and you work your way up and down the scale depending on the conditions. In good old Blighty we are very unlikely to face -20 celsius so Level 7 is unlikely to be required but we definitely use Level 6 on a regular basis. You gotta keep your feet warm and dry too. A good pair of boots are essential, and oh boy there are opinions on boots. Gore Tex or Leather, Patrol or Sneaker, Full or Half, Zipped or not, it goes on and on… Do you want a summer pair and a winter pair or are you and all seasons kinda person? With that in mind I’m going to offer some advice and not point you at brands... Try the boots on. Walk around in them. What is super comfortable to me, might be hell for you. When trying them on, wear your thickest socks or those that you would be wearing on a gameday. Wear the boots around the house for a few weeks to break them in, blisters mid-game (especially in a multi-day MilSim) are NOT fun. I mentioned socks there and as far as I’m concerned there is only one option, Merino Wool Socks. If you’ve been looking after your boots, they won’t be letting water in and you’ll have toasty warm and dry feet. (Don’t forget to carry a dry set or two in your daysack).
In a recent issue of Airsoft Actions’ “The Cage” we answered the question of headwear, I wear a cap, any old cap will do me, I’ve had brain buckets with nods on and other fanciness, I’ve had brain buckets bare, I just don’t like them. Obviously, it’s a sensible option to wear something that offers your head protection so we’d recommend a bump helmet from a safety standpoint. There are plenty of manufacturers out there, Nuprol, Viper, Emerson Gear all the way up to OpsCore and Team Wendy. So to recap todays musings, wear layers that you can add and remove, wear decent footwear, a helmet is a good idea and always use sunscreen! AA
THE CAGE BELT SETUP UPDATE
BELT SETUP UPDATE
WE ALL LOVE SOME GUCCI GEAR FOR AIRSOFT, BUT SOMETIMES THE OLD ADAGE THAT “YOU CAN SPOT THE VETERAN AIRSOFTER WITH JUST AN OLD AK AND BELT KIT” IS TRUER THAN YOU MIGHT THINK! THIS MONTH BILL GOT TOGETHER WITH THE AA LEGION TO REVISIT THEIR BELT SETUPS AND FOUND A FEW OF THE TEAM HAVE MOVED FORWARDS DURING “LOCKDOWN”!
n the past couple of years things have really moved on in relation to “Belt Kit”, with lower profile systems coming to the fore, and new technologies being embraced to ensure strength and durability whilst keeping the weight well and truly down. The “two piece shooters belt” seems to in vogue, and having now tried a few different models from a variety of manufacturers, I can understand why this is so. I’ve also noticed that more and more of my friends are embracing “Practical Pistol”, or in the case of the AA Legion “Airsoft Multigun” (or “PAMG”, as we’re calling it) rigs, and changing their belt setups to accommodate a new style of airsoft shooting, and you’ll see some other examples of this in this month’s issue! However, like many of you, the thought of investing in a completely new (and indeed quite expensive!) dedicated belt and pouches is a little galling to me as I already own a number of brilliant setups that suit me well, and of course for PMAG these will be just fine!
My first setup (Multicam), which is sold as a complete unit, is the Warrior Assault Systems (WAS) Low Profile MOLLE Belt (LPMB) DA MK 1, which offers a two stage low profile platform configured for the needs of the modern shooter. Stage One is a reinforced slimline belt that is covered in loop Velcro and is designed to be threaded through your trouser belt loops and acts in the same way that a traditional belt would. Stage Two of the system is made up of a low profile MOLLE belt covered in two rows of Mil Spec webbing; this belt has a row of hook Velcro on the inside which marries up to first belt, it is then secured by way of a removable belt and composite GT Cobra buckle. Although it’s marketed as a two piece system there are in fact three components to the system; the inner trouser belt, the outer belt with the GT Cobra, and then a MOLLE sleeve which covers that. Overall this means that you have a versatile and very strong system that will support the weight of multiple pouches and a holstered pistol. And talking about
“...THIS IS, IN MY MIND, WHERE WAS HAVE BEEN THINKING AHEAD AS THE SYSTEM COMES COMPLETE WITH A VARIETY OF THEIR EXCELLENT MODELS, INCLUDING A SINGLE PISTOL MAGAZINE POUCH, TWO RIFLE MAGAZINE POUCHES, A SLIMLINE FOLDABLE DUMP POUCH, IFAK FIRST AID POUCH, ONE SMALL HORIZONTAL POUCH, AND THEIR USEFUL UNIVERSAL PISTOL POUCH/HOLSTER (UPH). ”
THE CAGE BELT SETUP UPDATE
pouches this is, in my mind, where WAS have been thinking ahead as the system comes complete with a variety of their excellent models, including a Single Pistol Magazine Pouch, two Rifle Magazine pouches, a Slimline Foldable Dump Pouch, IFAK First Aid Pouch, one Small Horizontal Pouch, and their useful Universal Pistol Pouch/Holster (UPH). Although you can add and subtract from the pouches provided, I change out the “universal holster” for a platform-specific Kydex model from Taig at Kydex Customs with a QD belt clip, which makes changing out my holster when I’m testing different pistols on the range straightforward. This, I have to say, got me started on the two-piece belt, and since then I’ve also come to love the loprofile Mustang system from Direct Action; the inner belt works simply as a trouser belt and as a stabiliser for both the Mustang and Warhawk outer belts. As it attaches to the inner Velcro loop panels of those belts, it prevents ride-up during dynamic movement or when drawing a pistol from a holster. With this belt in place there’s no need to use suspenders or a drop leg panel in order to achieve a secure pistol draw. Made out of proprietary laminate and Velcro this is simply a flat, feather-light accessory to keep your pants up and your working equipment belt where you’d expect it to be. The ultra-thin profile of the trouser belt effectively eliminates “buckle over buckle” discomfort and can be worn all day long. I have two of these setups now, one in simple Adaptive Green for training and “competition”, and one in PenCott GreenZone for OPFOR use; both are set up identically with a safety tether, two primary magazine pouches, two secondary magazine pouches, a dump pouch, a TQ pouch and an IFAK (all the pouches are DA or Helkion-Tex, and the HTX Modular Individual Med Kit pouch is an absolute gem. Recently I’ve added to my personal belt collection the awesome Competition Multigun setup from Helikon-Tex as, like others on the team, I intend to embrace this as a new direction in my personal airsoft journey!
So, with this in mind I thought I’d check with the rest of The Legion to see what they’d been up to with their own rigs, and asked them “I’d like for you to talk about your own personal POUCH SETUP in detail;
what specific pouches do you run on your belt, and WHY do you run them?” and this is what they had to tell me! Rob: “My base belt in OD, Padded three row MOLLE Highspeed gear belt, Highspeed Gear Taco pouches, two left side front rifle/pistol combo, right front one rifle/pistol combo and a double rifle Taco. Left side back two Maxpedition roll dump pouches (one used for dump other for a one litre wide water bottle), back centre is a blow-out kit, right side slight back is Kydex Glock holster (space behind it is open) and on the front a HSG pistol Taco for a light. Ah yeah, I also use Y-suspenders on this setup and have belt keepers attached so I can attach this to my trousers and keep them up LOL. The Kydex holster is swapped for a second roll pouch for NVG or extra water when I wear my plates over this and/or chest rig (holster goes to cross draw on chest) and I use the same setup for both real steel and airsoft.” Jon: “Oh boy... Sore point here. I was having a convo with the Boss about this a couple of weeks ago (I’m convinced he’s deliberately poking at me!). So, I was saying that I 100% regretted selling my WAS Recon setup and my shooters belt. It was perfect for me. Universal holster, two pistol mag pouches, two STANAG Mag pouches, rip off IFAK and roll up dump pouch… “I’d spent so much time moving bits about that I’d got it perfectly dialled in. I absolutely loved it... Then I sold it all. Epic fail. Now I’m running the One Tigris two-part shooters belt with a paddle holster and one polymer pistol and STANAG pouch and a cheapo dump pouch. None of it matches and I can’t get it quite right just yet. Ideally I’ll have one tan, black and green set up. In all honesty I’ll probably end up ordering more WAS kit because it just works out of the box. The real selling point for me is the WAS Universal Holster. It’s such an adaptable bit of kit and holds most standard pistols super securely. It also comes with replacement parts that wear out, so you really can’t complain about it.” Chris: “Belt... Helikon Competition Modular Belt Sleeve, it’s nice and chunky, good padding and laser style MOLLE looping, coupled with the Helikon plastic buckle Cobra Belt as it keeps things nice and light. I then have two HSGI Taco pouches for rifle mags; like others here I’ve had an affinity with HSGI kit for
“I 100% REGRETTED SELLING MY WAS RECON SETUP AND MY SHOOTERS BELT. IT WAS PERFECT FOR ME. UNIVERSAL HOLSTER, TWO PISTOL MAG POUCHES, TWO STANAG MAG POUCHES, RIP OFF IFAK AND ROLL UP DUMP POUCH… I’D SPENT SO MUCH TIME MOVING BITS ABOUT THAT I’D GOT IT PERFECTLY DIALLED IN. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT... THEN I SOLD IT ALL. EPIC FAIL”
TAP/CLICK IMAGES FOR MORE INFORMATION
THE CAGE BELT SETUP UPDATE
years and years so these pouches were a no brainer for me, and damn nice looking. Double Pistol pouch by Mission Tailors, local UK chap who makes very affordable kit, and I quite like the ESS-Tac style of them. SORD dump pouch. Tasmanian Tiger Phone pouch, nice and padded, gives loads of protection for your phone if your screen is in towards your body. Eagle industries canteen pouch, holds any small to one qt size bottle nice and tight with no excess movement. Emdom utility/admin pouch, for keys, wallet or a speed loader; just a generally nice and useful pouch! Holster, Safariland 6004 for USP9 with Surefire lights; like HSGI I’ve been a fan of Safariland for years, they just work, and protect your sidearm for bashing against door frames or walls in CQB. To finish it off I use Platatac low profile suspenders in DPCU… because I love DPCU!” Miguel: “I keep most of my weight on my vest, so my belt setup is light. It’s a Viper Tactical Technical Harness with a holster, IFAK, drop pouch and medium utility pouch. I use it with both my Plate Carrier set and my Chest Rig.” Hana: “I like to use the belt system in CQB or during pistol training, and I added two pistol magazine pouches, two quick release AR magazine pouches, a dump pouch and one more medical pouch. I only really use the belt when there is training as it can provide greater flexibility to move. I don’t use the belt system and the vest at the same time because I’m short and small, so I don’t have enough space on my upper body to add a wider belt! For me it is one or the other.” Jimmy: “I never really bothered about a belt until last year, primarily because I didn’t really know what I wanted in a belt and never saw the point as I carried everything I needed on my PC, but it got to a point my PC was becoming bulky and restricted movement. At times I was carrying 12+1 AR magazines and three pistol mags plus pack, hydration and comms. I started looking into belts and honestly found myself down a rabbit hole not knowing what direction to go. To buy a complete belt setup wasn’t going to be cheap especially if you want something gucci and that is going to stand the test of time. “I stumbled across a bargain second hand WAS LPMB in Multicam and it had everything I felt I needed minus a holster so naturally I had to buy it, and I must admit I don’t regret buying it at all. Everything on it is WAS except the dump pouch which was a TMC but it’s a very close match to the WAS material. I run four AR quick pouches and two pistol quick pouches on my left hip, dump pouch in line with my kidney, medic pouch at the very rear, grenade pouch under my
right kidney and my WAS universal pistol holster over my right hip. I also use a harness to ensure the belt doesn’t slip down. The belt for me gave me means to still carry a large amount of equipment without really restricting my movement. There are so many different types of belt on the market so it can be difficult to choose; how do you know what is going to be right for you? Ask your mates that know and then try many before you buy!” Stewbacca: “I used to have WAS battle belts/PLB style belts in the UK to carry my pistol and holster, a dump pouch and pistol mag pouches and maybe even an AR mag pouch. “Playing mostly CQB or otherwise using GBBRs with limited magazine quantities in Taiwan I tend to have four pistol mag pouches on my plate carrier permanently for use with pistols, SMGs or PDWs which covers all but three of my guns; when using the T91/HK416/G36C I run triple STANAG HSGI Taco or similar pouches on my belt, any other time I have three pistol Tacos on it and a holster on the other side, just using the inner velcro belt of my Double Alpha Academy competition belts to hold it all on. I run very light loadouts here due to the short hit and out game formats and smaller game sites.” Dan: “I use a Ronin Tactics Shuto belt, but to be honest, I don’t really run anything on it at all the majority of the time. It’s simply there to provide a stable platform for my pistol so it will clear the vest. Since I’m basically a hobbit (5’ 6”), I can’t really mount any pouches on the belt line as they bump on the bottom of the vest; this is especially the case with vertically mounted magazine pouches. Honestly, a lot of the tactical gear industry isn’t really sized for us smaller guys and we struggle to find quality gear that fits well, often having to modify items in some cases. If I’m running a pistol solo, I’ll throw on a pair or three custom Kydex pistol magazine pouches on Blade-Tech Tek-Lok adapters, a Blue Force Gear Micro IFAK - and if using it for real steel, an Eleven 10 Kydex torniquet holder, also on a Tek-Lok adapter.” AA
RED CELL GAS BLOW BACK RIFLES
RED CELL GIVING IT THE GAS! “I’VE CRIED TEARS OF ANGER AND FRUSTRATION WHEN PARTS HAVE FAILED OR WHEN I’VE SIMPLY TRIED TO SET THE HOP, AND THE SHEER NUMBER OF INSTANT-VENT MAGAZINES I’VE HAD TO CONTEND WITH BEGGARS BELIEF!” 46
RED CELL GAS BLOW BACK RIFLES
IT’S BEEN A LONG TIME COMING, BUT FINALLY THE CELL HAVE MANAGED TO POOL THEIR RESOURCES AND PULL TOGETHER A GROUP OF WHAT THEY BELIEVE TO BE SOME OF THE BEST AR AND AK GBBRS OUT THERE AT THE MOMENT! WITH MEMBERS TORN BETWEEN THEIR EXISTING AEGS AND THE “REALISM” LURE OF THE GBBR IT’S TIME TO DIVE ON IN AND FIND OUT WHAT THEY THOUGHT; IS THE “GAS LIFE” WHAT THEY ALWAYS WANTED, OR SIMPLY A CLOUD OF NOXIOUS VAPOUR?
o, as usual I’ll head on off with some brief notes about our subject this month, gassers! Personally I love ‘em, and I’ve written extensively over the years about my love for gas-driven platforms! However, I will be the first to admit that in order to get the best from a gas carbine or rifle platform in the past you were truly devoting yourself to a style and form of airsoft play that meant you had to
have deep (and I mean dark and very deep!) pockets. When I first bought a gas AR many moons ago, a G&P WOC which was basically just a take on the alreadyelderly Western Arms system (“WOC” standing, I was led to believe at the time, for “Western (Arms) Official Custom), and although mine had some very cool steel internals it was a right b’stard to get running properly, and when it came to going full-auto… well, it didn’t! Time and tide though, as they say, moves on, and the enjoyment I got from that old G&P sold me on gas carbine and rifle platforms, and from that time on I’ve searched constantly for a platform that is both close in function to a real firearm and reliable to actually use in a game. It has been a long and often frustrating journey that has led me right back to those original Western Arms GBBRs, on past VIPERTECH, through KJW and KWA, and onto both WE and VFC, with a smattering of Umarex (I still love their MP5) and GHK along the way. I’ve cried tears of anger and frustration
when parts have failed (the original nozzle on the WE “SVD” seemed to be made of coke-bottle plastic… in fact it was more fragile than that!) or when I’ve simply tried to set the hop (who thought placing a tiny hex-screw OVER the barrel, inside the upper was any kind of good idea???), and the sheer number of instant-vent magazines I’ve had to contend with beggars belief! But, and it’s a BIG BUT, things have indeed moved on, and these days when I go to test a new GBB AR or AK they all seem to work! Numerous companies have continued to work on the fundamental driving force behind a GBBR, namely the gas itself, and as these have become more reliable and stable, so the performance of the platforms
themselves have improved. Add to this that the base technology has been improved when it comes to something as simple as a nozzle, seal, or hop unit, and things begin to settle. More and more if us own and use a GBBR, perhaps not in a skirmish setting, but certainly when it comes to a MilSim, and understand that just like a real firearm a “gasser” needs both love and regular maintenance to get the very best from it! We’ve also seen the inexorable rise of “6mm Training” in the professional users market, and as what are essentially airsoft platforms gain greater acceptance for training purposes we are likely to see even greater reliability and durability from our game tools! In my mind the future of the gas carbine and rifle in airsoft is looking healthy, and I hope that our overview here of some great airsoft platforms will give you something to ponder on; should you buy a GBBR? Ultimately that is your call, but now we’ve tested a few “head to head” at least you’ll have a bit of a “heads up” on what to look at, and for.
RANGETIME – GAS STYLE!
Bill: I’ll continue to kick this report off as I’ve shot every single model included here extensively, and in fact a number of them belong to me and sit happily www.airsoftaction.net
RED CELL GAS BLOW BACK RIFLES
VFC BCM MCMR Price: iro UK£600.00 Age: New Weight: 2142 g Length: 710/790 mm Magazine Capacity: 30 Cold Chrono: 1.28 Joule/372fps Hot Chrono: 1.2 Joule/368fps Taclite Compatibility: M-LOK Suppressor Compatibility: 14mm CCW Supplied By: uk.redwolfairsoft.com GHK URGI Price: iro UK£700.00 Age: New Weight: 2750g Length: 690/770mm Magazine Capacity: 30 Cold Chrono: 1.34 Joule/381fps Hot Chrono: 1.31 Joule/377fps Taclite Compatibility: M-LOK Suppressor Compatibility: 14mm CCW Supplied By: www.iwholesales.co.uk VFC SR16 Price: iro UK£360.00 Age: Two Years Weight: 2740g Length: 758/870 mm Magazine Capacity: 30 Cold Chrono: 1.24 Joule/367fps Hot Chrono: 1.18 Joule/358fps Taclite Compatibility: Picatinny Suppressor Compatibility:14mm CCW Supplied By: uk.redwolfairsoft.com WE M4A1 Price: iro UK£350.00 Age: Six Years Weight: 3050g Length: 768/850mm Magazine Capacity: 30 Cold Chrono: 1.16 Joule/354fps Hot Chrono: 1.13 Joule/349fps Taclite Compatibility: Picatinny Suppressor Compatibility:14mm CCW Supplied By: www.nuprol.com KWA LM4 Price: iro UK£450.00 Age: One Year Weight: 3260g Length: 730/815mm Magazine Capacity: 40 Cold Chrono: 1.17 Joule/356fps Hot Chrono: 1.04 Joule/336fps Taclite Compatibility: Picatinny Suppressor Compatibility: 14mm CCW Supplied By: store.kwausa.com VFC VR16 CQB II (MK18) Price: iro UK£365.00 Age: One Year Weight: 2500g Length: 696/777mm Magazine Capacity: 30 Cold Chrono: 1.01 Joule/330fps Hot Chrono: 0.92 Joule/315fps Taclite Compatibility: 14mm CCW Suppressor Compatibility: 14mm CCW Supplied By: uk.redwolfairsoft.com
RED CELL GAS BLOW BACK RIFLES
GOLDEN EAGLE MC6595M Price: iro UK£170.00 Age: New Weight: 2700g Length: 720/800 mm Magazine Capacity: 50 Cold Chrono: 0.48 Joule/228fps Hot Chrono: 0.43 Joule/216fps Taclite Compatibility: M-LOK Suppressor Compatibility:14mm CCW Supplied By: www.allagesairsoft.com S&T M4 KEYMOD 13” Price: iro UK£185.00 Age: New Weight: 2600g Length: 770/850 mm Magazine Capacity:50 Cold Chrono: 0.62 Joule/259fps Hot Chrono: 0.57 Joule/248fps Taclite Compatibility: KeyMod Suppressor Compatibility:14mm CCW Supplied By: www.nuprol.com WE AKPMC Price: iro UK£365.00 Age: Five Years Weight: 3200g Length: 890/960mm Magazine Capacity: 30 Cold Chrono: 1.22 Joule/363fps Hot Chrono: 1.18 Joule/358fps Taclite Compatibility: Dedicated Rail Sections Suppressor Compatibility:14mm CCW Supplied By: www.nuprol.com GHK AK105 Price: iro UK£325.00 Age: Two Years Weight: 3155g Length: 592/831mm Magazine Capacity: 40 Cold Chrono: 1.29 Joule/374fps Hot Chrono: 1.20 Joule/361fps Taclite Compatibility: No, but rail systems are available Suppressor Compatibility:14mm CCW Supplied By: www.wgcshop.com TOKYO MARUI AKM Price: iro UK£490.00 Age: New Weight: 3550g Length: 890mm Magazine Capacity: 35 Cold Chrono: 1.12 Joule/348fps Hot Chrono: 1.10 Joule/345fps Taclite Compatibility: No, but rail systems are available Suppressor Compatibility:14mm CCW Supplied By: www.allagesairsoft.com GHK AK74 Price: iro UK£350.00 Age: Two Years Weight: 3400g Length: 950mm Magazine Capacity: Cold Chrono: 1.06 Joule/339fps Hot Chrono: 0.99 Joule/328fps Taclite Compatibility: No, but rail systems are available Suppressor Compatibility:14mm CCW Supplied By: www.iwholesales.co.uk www.airsoftaction.net
RED CELL GAS BLOW BACK RIFLES
in my personal collection! That said I’ll leave the comments on individual platforms to the members of Red Cell and simply set the scene. We really wanted to get true parity between the test models so they were all tested on the same day in a stable environment on the basement range at our local shop, All Ages Airsoft. The temperature was 17C/62F, and all the models were treated with MAGLUBE and had their barrels pulledthrough prior to shooting. Testing was carried out on NP 2.0 “Green Bottle” gas, using .20g RZR BBs. With all this established I’ll now hand over to The Cell… James: First impressions gas blow back rifles, as an AEG-user under normal circumstances the test was an interesting day to get to play with a large selection of GBBRs, and the selection available didn’t disappoint. As an AK fan the selection certainly did their job, good solid rifles, all with a quality finish, and the action of all under full auto gave (especially the TM AKM!) the perfect “AK Chatter”. Chronos came in at acceptable and safe levelss and all the AKs happily emptied a mag downrange consistently and on target; the TM is certainly on my personal “to get” list. For me the KWA LM4 was one of the more stand out models , very well put together , looks great and has an awesome recoil from the heavy bolt action; this again happily dumped all rounds downrange with a nice tight grouping on target. The only one small issue picked up was a bit of movement on the plastic mag joint which was probably down to the pin system used to open it up for servicing. The S&T M4 is at the more budget end of the selection , and came in at 259fps on the chrono, although it fired consistently and on target. For me the lack of recoil and a slow chugg on full auto was disappointing; it does the job but does not stand out from other models. I also noted a fair amount of movement between the upper and lower receiver which gives it away as not so well engineered. On the other hand the VFC MK18 is a rock- solid build CQB-er, great to look at, great to shoot! I was closely torn between this and the KWA , the LM4 just pulling ahead with recoil but the VFC stands up
well with consistency, grouping and reload, and chrono’d in at a close-quarter-friendly 290fps. The WE M4A1 was the veteran of the pack having seen six or seven years of service, but has stood up well against the rigors of usage and could easily passed for a much younger gun; credit to Bill’s gun maintenance routine on this, obviously! Chronoing in at 349fps it still has guts and nice tight tolerances between parts; there was a bit more gas venting from the bolt area, but this was probably its only age give away. That said, it shot well downrange and has certainly proved a good purchase. Jon: Okay, kicking off with the VFC SR16, this has a nice recoil, responsive trigger, little play anywhere, was accurate on test range, and felt quite light. The KWA LM4 in turn had a hard recoil, excellent trigger play next to no wall, and a really solid feeling (it has a bit of heft!). The new VFC BCM has a subtle recoil, shoots like a darn like a laser, is gas efficient, trigger is tight with next to no wall, and it just feels great in hand. Onto something that looks a million bucks too, the GHK URGI; this looks super impressive with the Geissele and charging handle, but felt sloppy and not as refined as the others, and in fairness had a couple of double feeds in testing, along with a loose-feeling trigger with a squishy wall. Onto the “old campaigner”, and you can’t knock the WEM4A1 as it still has an excellent trigger response felt almost “hair”) and is accurate, mobile, and a great weight. In contrast the S&T feels good, looks good but was disappointing; sloppy trigger, lacklustre recoil, awful gas efficiency and the worst mags to load. Okay if you NEED a budget gas gun but not in the same league as the others. Sticking to a budget the GE also feels good, looks good but is again as above, disappointing, with a sloppy trigger, lacklustre recoil, awful gas efficiency and the same poor performance when it came to mags to load.
“FOR ME THE KWA LM4 WAS ONE OF THE MORE STAND OUT MODELS, VERY WELL PUT TOGETHER, LOOKS GREAT AND HAS AN AWESOME RECOIL FROM THE HEAVY BOLT ACTION; THIS AGAIN HAPPILY DUMPED ALL ROUNDS DOWNRANGE WITH A NICE TIGHT GROUPING ON TARGET.” 50
RED CELL GAS BLOW BACK RIFLES
Onto the AKs, and the TM AK47M is The Grail, literally. A gorgeous, superbly polished piece of engineering, that looks great and shoots superbly; the trigger is exceptional, and it has fab gas efficiency. The issue is it’s not “agricultural” enough. It’s too refined. The GHKs however are much more clacky, much more agricultural, not as refined as the AKM and nowhere near as good in finish, but they do have an excellent trigger, excellent recoil, and an overall excellent feel. Jimmy: It’s no secret that I’m not a gas fan, but for the purpose of research I put aside my feelings as it isn’t all about me! My opinion however is that GBBR is for the more experienced player looking to immerse themselves further and seek more realism in airsoft. GBBR’s are best suited for the more level-headed player as opposed to those that just love spamming on triggers and shooting anything that moves, and don’t really care to preserve ammo. I would say that a gasser is a bit more refined, a bit like a suede smoking jacket. The one thing I do like about GBBRs is just how solid the majority of them are and how weighty they can be over an AEG. Recoil effect is another thing that differs largely over an AEG; if you are wanting recoil then a gasser is you’re best choice by far if you can put up with the twang of recoil springs. There are several manufacturers making recoil AEG but honestly most are quite anaemic and I’m not fussed for recoil. Some GBBR recoil effects could quite easily be comparable to something shooting a 22LR round but that’s about as much as it will get. I’m trying really hard to be positive honestly! Magazine capacity forces you to be more conservative which could put you at a disadvantage when up against an AEG . On our last range day Bill (the guv) presented us with a healthy selection of rifles for us to test as you can see from the list, and I was keen to test both the new BCM and the LM4D. All of the test subjects performed
on the day and all giving different results and churning up different opinions, but I’m going to focus mainly on the VFC BCM and the KWA LM4D as for me these were the best of
the bunch, both sporting very solid construction and offering high performance with satisfaction to boot I was impressed by these two. The VFC is an exquisite piece of kit and it proves exactly what VFC can really do; I feel VFC along with BCM (Bravo Company Manufacturing) have made one of the highest quality GBBR’s that I have ever seen and let’s be fair, when a company like VFC team up with veteran marines you expect it to be good and yes they delivered! It feels a bit lighter than most but maintains a heavy presence. Adorned with BCM licensing it shows they are proud or their new platforms and the attention to detail here would make it difficult to differentiate between airsoft and the real deal. I really like the 11.5” handguard as it’s slim and offers up a lot of room for your M-Lok attachments as well as the BCM marked covers which is a nice touch. Performance of the rifle was pretty flawless during testing and BB after BB kept hitting the same sweet spot of a 2” spinner with a clout and a very satisfying recoil effect. It’s also very gas efficient with little or no wasted gas which could easily see another reload while maintaining power and velocity; I’ve seen gassers lose fps with every trigger pull due to gas depletion but the BCM held up well over the chrono. Admittedly we didn’t have much range as we were indoors but it was reliable and very consistent right up to the last shot fired. There is one gripe I had with the rifle and while it’s a very small gripe it just puzzled me as to why it was done; out of all the furniture they could have fitted it’s a shame they used the pistol grip they have (okay, it’s close to the real deal, but…) as it would have looked so much better with a PTS MOEstyle grip or something along those lines! Of course this didn’t affect its performance, it’s just my personal thought. The 30BB mag is a typical gas mag so it’s never going to be a quick reload that’s for sure but it’s the same across the board in all honesty. The KWA is truly a bit of a beast, and it feels like a beast the second you
handle it! weight to it
It has a heavy and I believe it to be
“ONTO THE AKS, AND THE TM AK47M IS THE GRAIL, LITERALLY. A GORGEOUS, SUPERBLY POLISHED PIECE OF ENGINEERING, THAT LOOKS GREAT AND SHOOTS SUPERBLY; THE TRIGGER IS EXCEPTIONAL, AND IT HAS FAB GAS EFFICIENCY. THE ISSUE IS IT’S NOT “AGRICULTURAL” ENOUGH. IT’S TOO REFINED.” www.airsoftaction.net
RED CELL GAS BLOW BACK RIFLES
around 3kg and it is an excellent replica; something KWA pride themselves on is the quality and detail The LM4D brings to airsoft some new features on GBBR technology, and the new hop up design has made life easier, as does that of the VFC in fairness, for the user. The new advanced gas system makes it very efficient indeed and it didn’t suffer with cold fatigue which can plague some gas platforms. Accuracy was spot on shooting the same 2” spinner with precision, although I had a few misses but that’s down to me not being used to gas rifles. Velocity was very respectable and stated consistently around 336fps on green gas but I tested it on some of the new Vorsk gas, the 220psi gas, which I suppose would be equivalent to black gas and the power went up to nearly 370fps. We were given a CO2 magazine to test but sadly the 12g canisters wouldn’t fit so couldn’t test that. This also used a 30rd mag but I noticed a small amount of play on the top section which is polymer and it looked to be coming away from the body of the magazine. I believe it to be fatigue of the polymer being held by the pin allowing it to move ever so slightly, although it didn’t hamper performance one bit. This rifle has a very healthy recoil to it and it’s felt throughout the whole gun. After all of the testing I can’t say that I’m looking to buy any gas platforms as I am an AEG lover through and through, but should that decision ever arise rest assured these would be the two that I would be considering hands down! Chris: I have a love/hate with GBBR’s; I love the idea of them but hate how they operate in the UK weather. Yes we have hot summers that help with reliability, but I’d like to be able to use them all year round. I don’t feel like we can with enough reliability unless you go with a HPA build, and trailing hoses are not my bag. From the rifles tested all felt fairly mediocre, samey but they ran, some sloppy and one, Golden Eagle, is definitely one to avoid for the time being, with a poor fit and very weak action and more gas being expended out of the ejection port than down the barrel. I was hoping it would give the bigger brands a bit of a run for their money but sadly that was not the case. Only one truly stood out for me, the new BCM by VFC. Not only is the hop design a breath of fresh
air for those on the fly adjustments, but the recoil was sharp even on low power green gas pointing to good gas efficiency with very little expelled from the ejection port on cycling even when the mag was cooler. The trigger was crisp and positive; the build quality of the receiver was also superb, nice with good, tight fitting parts. Range was limited due to where we were testing so it would be Interesting at some stage to take this outside and give it a proper run. Bill W-R: So having always wanting a good gasser I was very happy to get to test out a few during our Red Cell meet. Now for those of you that run them you will know three things: • Someone invent a decent speed loader for those magazines! • If only the manufacturers could standardise the magazines. The cost per unit would then be a tad more sensible. • Just like real steel, maintenance and lube is king! Now the platforms! WE A1; now this is a six or seven year old pew belonging to Bill, and although an older model it is like a fine vintage wine, very well balanced with positive action on the bolt and fire selector. The recoil was one of the best on test. In fact I almost got away with hiding it under my jacket to take it home! For the KWA a big plus point on this is the ambidextrous fire selector. Good positive recoil. It did have a slight rattle from the magazine during the firing cycle however, but it just pips the WE due to the fire selector. The Golden Eagle, what can I say? It all felt very vague. In full auto it cycles well but feels like it just needs to be refined a little more. S&T was one of the cheapest on test and sorry, it shows as it’s very basic, and underperformed against all the others. I own a long barrel version which has been converted to a DMR, and have to say that the worst point is the hop adjustment as it’s at the receiver end of the barrel. Cleverly they cover it up with the barrel nut and hand guard meaning you have to strip down the whole front end of the gun to adjust the hop! More positively again, the BCM is a good solid all round gun with one great innovative idea, the external hop adjustment on the gas tube. So finally the one I really wanted to have a go with. The TM AKM. Top quality as you would expect with
“THE VFC IS AN EXQUISITE PIECE OF KIT AND IT PROVES EXACTLY WHAT VFC CAN REALLY DO; I FEEL VFC ALONG WITH BCM (BRAVO COMPANY MANUFACTURING) HAVE MADE ONE OF THE HIGHEST QUALITY GBBR’S THAT I HAVE EVER SEEN AND LET’S BE FAIR, WHEN A COMPANY LIKE VFC TEAM UP WITH VETERAN MARINES YOU EXPECT IT TO BE GOOD AND YES THEY DELIVERED!” 52
RED CELL GAS BLOW BACK RIFLES
copious amounts of their famous pixie dust sprinkled both inside and outside; however I returned it a very disappointed man. They say you should never meet your hero’s or idols, and with this GBBR it is true. Yes it is a very polished and precise gas AK. This is the thing though ...it is an AK. The real steel built in factories across mother Russia and China makes it an industrial weapon, rugged and utilitarian. This however, to give an automotive analogy, is more Audi than Lada and is sadly the lesser for it. Boycie: I was rather impressed with the LM4D when I reviewed it earlier this year. Now it’s had around 5000 BBs through it and a couple of strip downs and polish a couple of surfaces, it feels better than it did when I first got my hands on it. One thing I find is occasionally it will fire two to three shots “automatic” when the selector is set to Semi and I’m still trying to ID the cause. KWA don’t do a CO2
magazine yet but I was able to get some “PMAG” style ones via Evike. When allied to a standard “factory spec” bolt the LM4D is capable of delivering 500+ fps which for UK laws is a well on the naughty side for an auto capable rifle, the UK limit being 375 fps on a .20 or 1.33j. I would like to see the ability to fit RS selector levers as this would allow, for the UK market, the LM4D to be used “locked to semi” and under the legal limit. Stewbacca: Although I wasn’t able (for very obvious reasons!) able to attend the test day, as regular readers will be aware
I’ve already reviewed my WE Tech HK416D GBBR back in AA issue 125, but I’ve also had the WE Tech T91 (Taiwan’s national service rifle; a blend of AR15 receiver and bolt with an AR18 short stroke piston system in real steel) which I’ve been working up another review for, and as a regular user of gas platforms Bill asked me to “add my bit” to the report. My experiences of both are that for the money they’ve got quite a lot of life in them, and are cheap and easy to maintain and repair where parts are available; WE are at least known for being pretty good in terms of spares availability. Both exhibit the typical Armalite “sproing” from the buffer during firing, and tend to have quite a gentle cadence to their action, even in rapid strings or on the odd occasion I use full auto functionality. The bolt carriers and fire control groups are probably the main failure point thus far in terms of wear and misfeeds, with the plastic nozzles eventually burring along their guide rails when moving within the metal carriers and requiring increased lubrication, replacement retraction springs, and just leading to increased malfunctions or misfeeds that I’ve experienced. Aside from that they’re fairly accurate once the hop rubbers bed in and a real hoot to get behind on open ground or CQB! Compared to the VFC BCM and GHK/Archwick ARs I’ve spent time testing thus far there’s a definite difference in recoil impulse, build quality and smoothness of operation though. The VFC and GHK offerings clearly have more robust buffer systems and tighter internal tolerances as the working parts don’t seem to move around off their axis as much during firing, giving a much cleaner recoil impulse and smoother cycling in general, so I want to spend more time behind both of their offerings in future to draw longer term comparisons. The main takeaway for me has always been; once you’ve had blowback, you’ll never go back! AA
BLACK / BROWN / TITANIUM / SRP: £49.95
FEATURE IMMERSIVE AIRSOFT
IMMERSIVE AIRSOFT: SYSTEM UPDATE
LAST MONTH JAMES SHOWED US HIS FIRST CONCEPT WORK FOR A WHOLE NEW WAY TO LOOK AT A SIMPLE “SHOOT HOUSE” AND THIS IS A PROJECT THAT WILL BE ONGOING NEXT YEAR! IN THE MEANTIME HE’S BEEN “RECRUITED” TO PROVIDE SOME VERY SPECIAL EFFECTS FOR ANOTHER MILSIM EVENT, ONE THAT WILL TAX HIS SKILLS TO THE LIMIT…
FEATURE IMMERSIVE AIRSOFT
ll change again this month... With an invite to attend another site and MilSim event early next year and new builds required to field for it, I was sold, so planning for another 24hr game begins! The launcher would once more be required this time in an anti-missile role and three new builds will be added for the event. With dates for meetings with event organisers and site visits planned and ongoing I thought it best to send my time upgrading and improving the existing rocket launcher and its control systems to help eliminate any issues we ran into on it first live test before starting on the new projects. The first place to start would be the launch control panel. In its first form it consisted of a small metal panel with three group-launch switches, with an external box for the 240-12v transformer to power it. Each switch would power four of the launchers twelve rocket tubes launching four pods simultaneously. This was originally planned 1) for cost savings and 2) to reduce the amount of cable required from control point to the launcher itself. When it came to launching on the day I found that any minor fault between any of the four tubes would lead to failure of one or more rockets in that set, with then no other way to launch the failed rockets without resetting the firing lines. So the first job was to scrap this panel and install a larger panel with twelve switches one for every tube in the launcher to stop this cascade failure; every tube can now be fired individually and any fault will only affect one tube. The larger panel also has room to move the transformer power supply inside, giving it better protection from the elements. To help prevent a mass of cables to the launcher four muiltcore cables are sleeved together to make one protected cable to link the units together. On the back of the launcher itself the connection box for the incoming firing lines has been updated with more terminals that now run to each separate pod. The last change is the rockets themselves; this time I will be using single-use pyrotechnic rockets to allow for a large report at the end and will be ignited between matches. As this time it’s planned that the launcher will be much closer to the centre of the of the action an emplacement is planned around it, with
a single blast protected entry point. To signal to players weather it is safe to enter or if firing is about to occur I have made a simple red / green traffic light to be set on a stand by this entrance to be operated from the control point. With the launcher updated ready for use, the site layout is planned for next month, so I will begin the first of the new builds. There’s a LOT more to come with this project, and much work to be done, but the end result should create something a bit special for the players involved! The “Kill House” is on the back burner for now, but I’ll also return to this in the future when more immediate projects are completed! AA
“IN ITS FIRST FORM IT CONSISTED OF A SMALL METAL PANEL WITH THREE GROUPLAUNCH SWITCHES, WITH AN EXTERNAL BOX FOR THE 240-12V TRANSFORMER TO POWER IT. EACH SWITCH WOULD POWER FOUR OF THE LAUNCHERS TWELVE ROCKET TUBES LAUNCHING FOUR PODS SIMULTANEOUSLY.”
TECHNICAL CUSTOM AK BUILD
PHOTO TAKEN UNDER STUDIO CONDITIONS
AK D R ET M I N G
hroughout my years playing Airsoft, I have had a long love affair with the AK series AEG rifle. A Real Sword Type 56-1 was the second rifle I purchased after my Tokyo Marui Type 89. After that would follow the standard Type 56, then the 56-2 and well over a dozen variations and brands of AK thereof. I admit I had a brief moment where I felt the temptation from the dark side and dabbled with some M4 style rifles, but now have returned home from my journey to Mordor, having cast most of my M4’s into the fires of Mount Doom and I am enjoying the comforts of my beloved AK’s again! Few Airsoft rifles manage to capture the solidity and break-down-a-door feel of a rifle as the AK series do: 3.34kg of cold stamped steel simply feels unlike anything else out there. The aesthetics and operating controls of an AK are divisive to some, albeit practical in its simple no-frills brutalist design tinged with a flair of the apocalyptic; this is a rifle that would feel at home in the wilds of a Mad Max-esque universe. You could throw it off a cliff or run it over with a truck (and some have) and it would still keep on ticking. While I have more traditional AK setups in my inventory, my current preference is to enjoy some of the modernized enhancements made for the platform. Owing to that, I’ve selected the (unfortunately named) LCT LCK104 as the foundation for my “dream AK build.”
The AK-100 series rifles were introduced in 1994 by the Izhmash factories in Izhevsk, Russia as a series of modernized rifles intended for both domestic use and export sales. They are most notably recognized by the presence of glass-filled polyamide folding stocks and black handguards which are prominently featured on their most popular models: the AK-105 chambered in 5.45x39mm and using 74 style magazines, followed by its cousin the AK-104, which is chambered in the venerable 7.62x39mm cartridge and using 47 style
TECHNICAL CUSTOM AK BUILD
THIS MONTH WE’RE DELIGHTED TO BE JOINED AGAIN BY ONE OF OUR US-BASED “LEGIONNAIRES” AS DAN TAKES US DEEP INTO THE TECHNICAL AND ARCANE ARTS OF CREATING A VERY SPECIAL CUSTOM KALASHNIKOV, AN AEG THAT ANY SELF-RESPECTING MODERN OPFORIST WOULD BE DELIGHTED TO RUN!
magazines. Incidentally, this brings us to why the LCT replica is misnamed; owing that it is based off the AK-105 design which sports 5.45x39mm 74 style magazines. One might consider these rifles somewhat analogous to the M4 carbine in design and purpose, as they are approximate in length and weight and often configured with modern sighting devices, rail systems, white lights and IR lasers and/or illuminators. The AK-105 features a 314mm (12.4 in) long barrel and is 824mm (32.4 in) with stock extended, or 586mm (23.1 in) with stock folded. Both the AK-105 and the 104 have been seen in extensive use with Russian Special Forces groups, such as the well-known Spetsgruppa “A” and the Special Rapid Response Unit (SOBR) among others. The AK-105 appears to be the most prolific version in evidence, with some much smaller numbers of the 104 version being used for the 7.62x39mm’s favorable anti-barrier characteristics as well as being an excellent cartridge for suppression out of shorter barrels.
LCT’s confused nomenclature aside the AK-105 is a solid beast of a rifle, clocking in at 3.34 kg (7.73 lbs) of nicely blued stamped and cast steel fittings with not a wobble or creak apparent. Purists will note some minor discrepancy with regard to the accuracy
of the receiver markings as compared to the real rifle, but this is a minor point of contention and does not affect the function or utility of the gun. Bottom line: if you want a quality built AK-105 series rifle, this is one of the best, if not top, choices out there. While LCT’s stock internals are honestly pretty decent and the rifle is very skirmishable out of the box, I generally work under the premise that most guns are simply bodies for me to pour some upgrades and tuning into. Here I have elected to leverage some of the latest airsoft innovations with the tried and true to fashion my dream AK build. You will note throughout this build that I use some of the stock LCT components. This is because they are either the best part for the job, or it makes little sense to replace it (the point of diminishing returns). Hence, I have kept the stock gearbox shell; Version 3 shells almost never break. I’ve also kept the stock 9mm bearings as I’ve rarely seen those fail and bearings offer a slight edge in efficiency over bushings. Similarly, the air nozzle, tappet plate, cylinder and hop up chamber are kept stock too. These are all good quality components that work very well and it would just be needlessly burning money replacing them.
POWERING THE BEAST
The “powerplant” of this gun is based off the relatively new Warhead brushless motor. The version
TECHNICAL CUSTOM AK BUILD
used in this gun is the standard torque, which is listed as running at 30,000 RPM with an 11.1v. In my humble
opinion, these are the very best motors available to airsofters today and the Warhead in particular neatly edges out competitor brushless designs in nearly every aspect. I’m no stranger to slaving away for ‘efficiency builds’, but honestly the Warheads have shockingly low amp draw. Even with deliberately setting out to build some otherwise stressful builds by previous standards, the amp draw on these motors simply cannot be matched by anything in the traditional Neodymium or much older Ferrite range. Incidentally, this also makes it a prime candidate for rifles that might be constrained by small battery space. Leveraging the low amp draw of the brushless motor means you can safely get away with using smaller batteries without fear of damaging them or exceeding their safety ratings. In the case of this build, I am drawing a mere 10.2 amps in semi-auto and 9 amps in full auto with a peak draw of 27.4 amps, which is well within the comfort zone of the 11.1v 1200mah 25c LiPo’s I am using under the dust cover. Housing the motor is one of LCT’s replacement CNC motor cages. It’s been my experience that it’s not a matter of “if” the stock motor cage will break, but only “when.” The CNC cages are substantially stronger than the relatively brittle cast material used on the stock cages and are also not as prone to stripping the threads for the grip screw. So in my book, this is simply a good preventative measure to avoid some frustrating occurrences. For gears, I have elected to stick with the tried and true SHS 13.65:1’s which have been short-stroked
threeteeth. Some might argue that a dream build should at least host Siegetek gears, and perhaps rightly so. But this is not a point of cost so much as a point of preference; I simply prefer the auditory sound of SHS’s over Siegetek’s, the latter of which are (due to design) mechanically noisier. The 13.65:1’s are also my current preferred ratio to pair with the Warhead standard torque as it still offers excellent trigger response but still possesses an above-average ROF. With this combination I’m hitting around 25 RPS with an averaged firing response time of 24 ms (0.024 seconds). To put trigger response into perspective, one can compare it to “lock time” in real firearms. Lock time refers to the time interval from when the trigger is pulled until the firing pin strikes the primer. The speed of lock time varies considerably over the different designs of action. For example, the milspec AR15 and HK416 triggers have a lock time around 10 ms (0.01 seconds). Naturally this build is also hosting a Gate TITAN Advanced. This is an electronic trigger unit that replaces the mechanical switch, cutoff lever and wiring with a device that uses optical sensors to record sector gear and trigger movement. The TITAN offers a plethora of features, from fire control customization,
“LEVERAGING THE LOW AMP DRAW OF THE BRUSHLESS MOTOR MEANS YOU CAN SAFELY GET AWAY WITH USING SMALLER BATTERIES WITHOUT FEAR OF DAMAGING THEM OR EXCEEDING THEIR SAFETY RATINGS. IN THE CASE OF THIS BUILD, I AM DRAWING A MERE 10.2 AMPS IN SEMI-AUTO AND 9 AMPS IN FULL AUTO WITH A PEAK DRAW OF 27.4 AMPS, WHICH IS WELL WITHIN THE COMFORT ZONE OF THE 11.1V 1200MAH 25C LIPO’S I AM USING UNDER THE DUST COVER.” 60
TECHNICAL CUSTOM AK BUILD
pre-cocking, active brake, and more. It’s a point of debate as to which is the coolest feature of the TITAN, but my vote is for the adjustable trigger sensitivity. On a stock AEG AK that uses a Ver. 3 gearbox and mechanical trigger switch, the trigger pull is quite long, substantially so even compared to a stock M4 AEG. With the TITAN, the end user can set the firing point at any part of the trigger pull; from practically nothing to all the way to the rear. Ideally one also pairs the TITAN with an adjustable trigger offering an overtravel stop to take full advantage of this feature. Unlike an M4 AEG, however, there does not really exist an aftermarket trigger for the AK that allows you to set the desired amount of overtravel. Overtravel is defined by the amount of “dead space” after the firing point to where you cannot physically pull the trigger any farther. By eliminating dead space and reducing the length of pull, you can operate the trigger much faster, “flutter” it, if you will. This is especially ideal for users who prefer to shoot primarily in the semi-auto mode. In order to achieve overtravel adjustment, I’ve modified my stock LCT trigger to have an adjustable set screw. I’ve traditionally always gone with externally adjustable modifications to the wide outer flange of the trigger, but this can be problematic due to gearbox tolerances and lack of supporting material to bump the screw up against. Since I generally do not readjust the length of pull once I hit the desired sweet spot, this time around I’ve modified the inside of the trigger for the set screw. A dab of threadlocker ensures it will not wander out under vibration. The finished result is a trigger pull that measures 6.35mm (1/4 in) from resting to full pull. The rest of the gearbox hosts the usual dead-reliable compression
upgrades I’ve used for years now. The stock LCT piston has been replaced with the unbeatable CYMA full metal rack piston which has been AOE corrected and the rack epoxied in place. A Lonex ported POM piston head rides on the front, with a 70d hardness AirPad providing shock absorption and assisting in the AOE corrective aspects off the back of the cylinder head. Lastly, the cylinder head itself is a Guarder stainless steel double o-ring version. It was not actually necessary to replace the stock LCT cylinder head as it’s made from aluminum and very durable. But I had the Guarder already prepped with an installed AirPad sitting around looking for a new home, so it wound up in the build out of convenience. So that’s my one concession for “unnecessary parts replaced for no reason.” A Guarder SP120 spring powers the piston, which delivers just shy of 1.45 Joule/396 FPS with a very consistent 0.5 – 1 FPS variance between shots. I’ve used Guarder springs in nearly every build for well over a decade plus now and they’ve proven to be extremely durable and long-lived while outputting consistent energy. As previously mentioned, the air nozzle is the stock LCT nozzle, which has an o-ring and seals well with most buckings. I’ve always found using the stock LCT nozzle works the best and any time you can remove nozzle length issues from the equation and avoid tolerance stacking is a good thing. The hop up chamber is also stock LCT. Again, these just plain work and provide trouble free operation unlike many aftermarket chambers I have trialed over the years. AK’s are also intrinsically accurate designs, owing in large part to the design of the hop up chamber and stabilizing method by which it is attached to the outer barrel. Suffice it to say, it’s a very rigid assembly. Finally, getting to the end of our internal upgrades I divert from stock usage of parts by upgrading the inner barrel with a Lambda One 6.01 SUS304 cold forged stainless steel barrel and R-Hop installation. I’ve modified the hop up arm to host an M-Nub, which is a small square of semi-firm material from 3M that provides full length even pressure against the R-Hop contact patch. The bucking used is a black Modify Baton. When coupled with heavyweight BB’s in the www.airsoftaction.net
TECHNICAL CUSTOM AK BUILD
nature of .28g to .36g, this allows me to seriously leverage the range and accuracy advantage of this system to my benefit.
Not content with just letting it lie, I’ve also done a number of changes to the external side of the AEG. Most notably among these is the addition of the rail system, which is made by TWI and is a replica of the Zenitco B-10U lower handguard with the B-19N top handguard. I opted for the shorter handguard setup as opposed to the more common B-30 style as it only adds 155g (5.5oz) to the weight of the gun. A real Zentico B-22 mount is affixed to the B-10U and is sporting a Holosun HS403R red dot sight. This is a fairly close approximation to an Aimpoint T2 in design footprint, but built with better quality than the usual Airsoft replicas of the T2. It features a crisp 2 MOA dot with 12 brightness settings, with the lowest settings being night vision compatible. Speaking of this, one of the reasons I selected the B-22 mount over the more common B-33 railed dust cover is because it puts the red dot up high enough to allow for using night vision over the top of the receiver for passive aiming. Off the front end is a replica of the 24mm DTK2 muzzle brake by Zenimei. On the real rifle, this muzzle brake is extremely effective at reducing recoil to almost negligible levels. I’ve skewed a little ways from traditionalism by using a Tango Down stubby vertical foregrip instead of one of the usual Zenitco variants. This is just personal preference and for indexing familiarity. It also makes a nice barricade stop too. At the back of the rifle, I’m running the PTS US Palm AK Battlegrip; again, this is just personal preference as that’s what I run on my real rifles. An LCT replica of the Zenitco PT-1 stock finishes off the furniture changes. The PT-1 is adjustable for length of pull, cheek riser height and even the position of the buttpad can be changed too. It still allows for being folded and locked in the folded position much like the original polymer stock did. Finishing it all off is a 2-point Blue Force Gear VCAS sling in FDE, which is my favored sling design. The finished build weighs in at 3.9kg (8.5 lbs) as configured and with magazine, pushing a crisp 25 RPS at 396 FPS and shoots absolute lasers with everything from .28g’s to heavyweight .36g’s. So is it finished? Does it meet all the criteria for the “dream AK build”? I would like to think so, but know that this is a bit self-deceiving as nothing is truly ever finished in Airsoft. But for now, it’s hitting all the right boxes for me! AA
EXTERNALS • LCT LCK104 • Zenimei DTK-2 • Raptors TWI B-10U / B-19N handguard set • Zenitco B-22 • Holosun HS403R • Tango Down stubby vertical foregrip • PTS US Palm AK Battlegrip • LCT Z-Series PT-1 Stock INTERNALS • Lambda One 6.01 SUS304 cold forged stainless steel barrel • R-Hop w/M-Nub • Modify Baton Ryusoku bucking • LCT hop up chamber • LCT air nozzle • LCT tappet plate • Guarder stainless steel double o-ring cylinder head • LCT cylinder • 70D AirPad • Lonex POM piston head • CYMA FMR piston • Guarder SP120 spring • Gate TITAN Advanced • Modified LCT trigger • SHS 13.65:1 gears, SS 3t • LCT 9mm bearings • LCT anti-reversal latch • Warhead standard torque brushless motor • LCT CNC motor cage • Box cleaned and relubed with SuperLube www.airsoftaction.net
EVENT OP VARUNA 2 - PORTUGAL
OPERATION VARUNA 2 PORTUGAL 64
EVENT OPOPVARUNA VARUNA2 2- PORTUGAL - PORTUGAL2
AS AIRSOFT OPENS UP FULLY AGAIN AROUND THE GLOBE AT LAST WE ARE ABLE TO START THE ROLLOUT OF THE “INTERNATIONAL” COVERAGE WE’D HOPED TO START BRINGING YOU LAST YEAR! AIRSOFT ACTION HAS A NUMBER OF HIGHLY-VALUED “LEGONNAIRES” IN PLACE IN THEIR OWN COUNTRIES AND COMMUNITIES, AND THIS TIME OUR GOOD FRIEND MIGUEL OLIVERA BRINGS US NEWS OF A GAME THAT TOOK PLACE AT THE END OF OCTOBER IN PORTUGAL, OP VARUNA 2!
t the end of October my team organized an event called OP VARUNA 2, the next instalment of a scenario we created 10 years ago now! The event follows a story of the conflict for resources on a different planet (planet Varuna), where there are no laws and mercenary companies are contracted to protect and control the most important areas. During the game, the players had to search and fight for the control of several “mines” that were scattered out across the field; a controlled mine would yield resources from time to time that had to be delivered to their faction commander to be used. There were also several one-time missions that could be bought in a market or handed out by the organization. Now let’s go a bit deeper into the game mechanics; in the field, there were three types of mine that would yield three different types of resources (in a total of TEN mines). With these resources at hand the faction commander could spend them in a technology tree that gave them access to several game mechanics, like the ability to deploy field medics, the use of transport to droop troops in specific locations, access to a map that showed the locations of the mines and who controls them, and several others.
“THERE WERE THREE TYPES OF MINE THAT WOULD YIELD THREE DIFFERENT TYPES OF RESOURCES (IN A TOTAL OF TEN MINES). WITH THESE RESOURCES AT HAND THE FACTION COMMANDER COULD SPEND THEM IN A TECHNOLOGY TREE THAT GAVE THEM ACCESS TO SEVERAL GAME MECHANICS.” www.airsoftaction.net
EVENT OP VARUNA 2 - PORTUGAL
We created several “tiers” of technology that the commanders had to go through before reaching the end game technology and in each “tier” they would choose one that could help their faction or hinder the enemy. We also created an internal economy; the factions could buy or sell resources in a market and have access to one-time missions, and the market prices would also vary according to the quantity of minerals in stock.
So, let’s talk about the event itself. The players started arriving at 0700 and were promptly directed to their parking locations; there we also placed the check-in booth where the players would give their name, receive the armband of their faction and pick up any patch order made. We had players coming from a lot of places, some close, some far, and a few even spent the night before in the field. Since we like to follow a schedule, we constantly reminded the players of the time remaining until the briefing; we know that everyone likes to hang around and talk, which leads
to delays in many games. At 0845 the briefing started, and I began by talking about safety procedures, dangerous points in the field, and the limits of the game area, followed by the game rules and mechanics. At 0910 the players were in their starting position (two starting mines for each faction) and the game began.
From now on I’ll use the names of the factions, the Blue team as StarWolf Industries, the Red team as Basilisk Enterprise, the organization as Omega Space Corp, and a small OpFor group as Trojan Vanguard. The StarWolf team started off better, they were able to find more mines early on and gambled on buying missions from the start with their initial money. In the meantime, the Basilisk faction struggled to find even some mines close to their starting point! The game progressed and with the resources from their starting points both teams reached the first technology, which allowed them to extract the second type of mineral, but at this time the StarWolf faction also completed a mission, and that gave them a small boost. Around 1100 the Basilisk faction was toe-to-toe with their rivals, after completing some missions and taking advantage of a couple of mistakes from some enemy players that benefited them. At this time both groups were able to mine all the resource types and also researched the first tier of technology; the only difference was that the StarWolf faction had access to medics (an optional technology). As we reached the two-thirds point of the game both factions were pretty close,
although StarWolf always had more money due to completing more missions and selling more minerals. The Trojan Vanguard groups kept on doing errands for the organization, like defending undiscovered mines and protecting mission sites, always giving the two main factions more conflict and something to be aware of.
EVENT OPOPVARUNA VARUNA2 2- PORTUGAL - PORTUGAL2
As we reached the end of the game we prepared the last technology, called “EMP Blast”, a device created by a team member with its own programming. After recognizing a “key” that the player received when developing the last “tier”, a program would start running, with different sounds, warnings, and counting
down for 15 minutes. We organized everything so that both factions had access to the mission at the same time and both departed to the mission location with only two minutes of difference. Of course, our goal was to have the area of the last mission as one big conflict! The Basilisk faction was the first to arrive at the scene, but with few numbers, since the bulk of their force diverged from the mission area and was slow to support those protecting the now active objective. There was no time for a breathing space since the StarWolf troops started a pincer attack against the objective, trying to remove the now installed Basilisk key and inserting their own. But airsofters being airsofters, not many of them focused against the troops that were guarding the objective and engaged enemies that were somewhere else, even as the device started making louder sounds, warning them of the countdown reaching the end. With respawns disabled and few troops in the field the Basilisk team was able to hold the objective until the end, even with the StarWolf faction pressing them hard.
Game time over, it was time for the BBQ and giveaways! At the start of the last mission, some members of the organization started cooking the meat and getting the drinks ready, so as players returned from their cars (after dropping off their guns and gear) they were greeted with steak, pork chops, and of course cold beer and soft drinks. In the meantime, we placed the Specna Arms tent close to the BBQ area to start the giveaways. In the end the feedback from players was great and a lot of them left with some sort of goodie. We want to thank everyone present at the game; even with the threat of rain the players showed a strong will to show up. We also want to give a huge THANK YOU to the brands who sponsored the event, Gunfire, Viper Tactical, and Specna Arms; with their support we handed out a lot of gear and made a lot of players happy! And big AA Legion thanks go to Miguel for bringing us
what we hope will be the first of many game and event reports from Portugal, (do check out the team Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/GhostOpsPortugal/) and we look forward to him joining us in person one day when we can all get our game on together! The AA Legion continues to grow, so if you have a story from your own community, wherever it may be in the great, wide world of airsoft then drop Bill a mail (email@example.com) or contact us via our social media… we’d LOVE to hear and share your story! AA
“WE ORGANIZED EVERYTHING SO THAT BOTH FACTIONS HAD ACCESS TO THE MISSION AT THE SAME TIME AND BOTH DEPARTED TO THE MISSION LOCATION WITH ONLY TWO MINUTES OF DIFFERENCE. OF COURSE, OUR GOAL WAS TO HAVE THE AREA OF THE LAST MISSION AS ONE BIG CONFLICT!” www.airsoftaction.net
ACTION AIR AIRSOFT MULTIGUN
...GEARING UP FOR THE WIN!
ACTION AIR AIRSOFT MULTIGUN
BACK IN ISSUE 129 JON STARTED HIS JOURNEY INTO ACTION AIR, THE WORLD OF COMPETITIVE AIRSOFT AND PRACTICAL MAGIC! THIS STEP, ON WHAT WAS ALWAYS GOING TO BE A LONG ROAD, GOT HIM THINKING ABOUT PRACTICAL SHOOTING AS A MORE GENERAL ALTERNATIVE WEEKEND OPTION TO A SKIRMISH OR MILSIM, AND SO THIS TIME HE AND BILL EXTEND THEIR THOUGHTS AND EXPERIENCE TO LOOK AT THE KIT YOU MIGHT NEED FOR PRACTICAL AIRSOFT MULTIGUN (PAMG) IN A SIMPLE FORM!
s I continue to take my first fledgling steps into the world of true “Action Air” competitive shooting, after many years of discussion and rumination I finally started to get the ball rolling and began to pen the rules and regulations required for a simplified anyone-can-
have-a-go practical multi-gun airsoft discipline; the airsoft world is ultimately an inclusive one, and I thought it would be fun to create something for everyone, be they Action Air Star or simple Sunday skirmisher, that could be both enjoyable and rewarding. Taking heavily from IPSC rulings, with www.airsoftaction.net
ACTION AIR AIRSOFT MULTIGUN
safety being at the forefront, I got to work. To date the skeleton and much of the flesh are ready and in place; testing of courses of fire will begin shortly with a view to running sessions in 2022. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what kit in detail and start to look at the airsoft platforms that will be required for you to be able to participate in a PAMG competition.
CLOTHING AND GEAR
Through PAMG we want to encourage individuals from all walks of life to join in and you don’t necessarily have to be an airsofter to compete. You might be interested in other shooting disciplines and are looking at expanding your skill set or a complete novice having never even fired a gun before. To this end, PAMG has a few guidelines around kit, gear and weapon systems. The first thing to get out of the way when it comes to clothing, footwear, and gear is ditch the camo! Indeed IPSC, IPAS, and indeed PSP strictly forbid camo for competitions and I can understand why; why would you need head to toe “MultiCryTigerCam” when you’re in a place where you actually want to be seen? That said many shooters that I know do look very seriously at the tactical brands for their clothing as these garments are designed with the dynamic movement needed to excel in comfort in mind. So, we’d urge you not to use camo gear at a PAMG match, but to look at block colour alternatives; we aren’t shooting at each other so we don’t need to be hidden! Serving, Veteran or Law Enforcement are welcome to wear uniform if they wish but again, this is a not encouraged. Body armour or Plate Carriers aren’t required either for the same reasons. You will need to carry spare magazines so the use of a good belt kit and/or ultralight chest rig will more than suffice. Red Cell recently spoke about belt systems and this month they’ve got into some specifics on their belt setups, their preferences and manufacturers, so there’s some inspiration to be had here. As a bare bones set-up, a PAMG belt setup will include: • a pistol holster • a rifle magazine pouch • two pistol magazine pouches • shotgun shell holder As for clothing, whatever you are comfortable in is essential! A pair of jeans or tacticool pants, a well-fitting top so that it doesn’t snag when you draw a pistol on the course of fire, and of course eye protection! Bill is often to be found getting his
“rangetime” in, and also knows a bit (okay, A LOT!) about technical clothing and gear, so I’ll let him expand on this. A good part of my working life revolves around being down at my test range looking at airsoft replicas and putting them through their paces. On average I test fire many different airsoft models each and every week, whatever the weather. I’m also on the range in my spare time as well, working on and training with my own RIFs, and that can be in terms of skirmishing “skills and drills” or in relation to shooting disciplines in general. I am by no means a competition shooter but I do enjoy the challenges of a well thought out course of fire, and like many of you out there I’m lucky to have a good bunch of friends to shoot with on a regular basis. Therefore the idea of a safe, yet more relaxed form of competition sits well with me. Some of the crew have reached the point of buying in specialist practical shooting rigs instead of relying on what we generally use to play airsoft, but I tend to use what I already have as, a) I already own it, and b) I‘m comfortable and (hopefully!) efficient in using it! Jon’s PAMG concept means that players can be involved in the competition side of things using whatever RIFs and gear they already own, keeping the costs down; in time I’m sure some would make the full jump to “practical” which could bring some new blood into that side of things from a wider pool. I looked at what kit I normally use for a game and for the clothing I use at the range though, as they are a little different from one another. I also looked at videos online again, especially the one that has done the rounds of Keanu “Wick” three gun training at Taran Tactical. He wears simple jeans, a t-shirt, and a ballcap. That’s it, nothing fancy there. Kit-wise he has a pistol belt, holster, and pouches for his carbine magazines and shotgun shells. Simple, to the point. I already run a number of belts from Direct Action and Helikon-Tex with a very similar setup so that was a no-brainer; in fact the minimalist Competition Multigun belt setup from Helikon-Tex seems pretty much tailor-made for PAMG, and it works brilliantly in game in conjunction with their Competition Multigun Chest Rig or a plate carrier. My favoured holsters are Kydex models made by our good mate Taig at Kydex Customs, and pistols fit perfectly, are well retained and easy to clear. The holsters are model-specific, but Taigs “easy on-off” fittings make changing them out a breeze. I usually wear a mixture of tactical and outdoor
ACTION AIR AIRSOFT MULTIGUN
performance brands when I head to the range as I find those give a nice balance between comfort, protection from the elements, and durability. The outdoor gear is also designed with dynamic movement in mind, so I find what’s good for climbing and mountaineering is also good shooting attire. Usually I’ll revert to a polo style shirt, but recently I’ve been using Helikon-Tex Shirts, and what can look better than a plaid shirt? The HelikonTex Flannel Shirts are what! Based on their classic MBDU shirt, and made of lightweight, yet durable fabric the MBDU Flannel Short provides proper antibacterial properties even during prolonged use, while the UPF50 index provides UV protection. Side VersaStretch panels guarantee freedom of movement during dynamic activities, and zippered pockets with YKK zippers on the chest and shoulders will accommodate all your essentials! The Greyman Shirt though is probably my favourite as it gives not only a smart look, but also low profile features. It’s a neat, classic style with buttoned chest pockets, buttoned front and as well as buttoned sleeves, but for your essential EDC items the shirt has a hidden, internal zippered pocket, and another hidden, yet useful feature is a swatch of special cloth for cleaning glasses which is integrated into one of the shirts sides. All of these make the Greyman Shirt a perfect choice either for rangewear or for everyday use. Although hopefully during the summer months I won’t be needing a fully-fledged hardshell I do want something that can be worn over a microfleece to add an additional layer against wind chill, and ideally I look for garments that are lightweight and have a minimal pack size. The Windrunner Windshirt, also from Helikon-Tex and one of my favourite bits of gear, is an ideal carry item because of its minimum weight and size. In relation to trousers I have to admit that a solid pair of jeans is all you really need, but sometimes though you want to go a little more “hardcore” and once again that’s where my trusted plain green UF PRO Striker pants come out. I won’t go into detail on these as I’ve spoken about them before, but suffice to say that they are designed and made to perform, and the stretch panels work perfectly to give a great range of dynamic movement. I also like the fact that they have the integrated but removable kneepads; these are invaluable when the ground is rocky or gritty. Footwear is really a matter of personal choice, but depending on the weather it will either be my Salomon Speedcross runners or in the winter my Gore-Tex-lined Merrells.
HARDWARE AND AIRSOFT PLATFORMS
As a final word this time, when it comes to the “hardware” (ie the shooty things!) that you’ll need then PAMG is divided into two categories. OPEN – Any RIF that has been modified in ANY way including optics. PRODUCTION – Completely unmodified and using iron sights only (with the exception of the Long Gun). Now that we know that, what do you need? Pistol – Whatever you like as long as it’s SEMIAUTO ONLY, just remember that it has to fit into a category, so my Vorsk Vengeance with its RMR means that it falls into the “Open” category, My Army Armament R17 is factory standard, so it would sit in “Production”. • Carbine or Rifle – Any carbine or rifle that is capable of firing in SEMI-AUTO mode. PAMG is about accuracy and speed so “Full Auto” is NOT required. If you’ve upgraded the hop, nub, barrel or any other modification it fits in “Open”, if it’s untouched it sits in “Production”. I run a Nuprol Recon Alpha, with a tight bore barrel, upgraded rubber and nub and an Aimpoint clone optic. • Shotgun – This can be gas or spring powered. It must be a “shell” fed type as you will be required to “reload”. I run a “Magpul” styled CYMA spring shotgun. • Precision Rifle (aka “Long Gun” – This can be either a Bolt Action Rifle or a Semi-Automatic Rifle. Having an optic here doesn’t affect your class. I run an A&K SR-25 as my Long Gun with a Nuprol Optic. Taking these categories into account, you don’t have to spend a fortune on these platforms and fortunately, most of you already have most of the kit! In the next instalment of PAMG we’ll look in detail at a few of the setups the crew has been putting together, and I think you’ll be surprised just how easy it is to create a MultiGun setup of your own! AA
RELOADED VFC 1911
VFC 1911 SWAT OR NOT?
BACK IN ISSUE 120 BILL TOOK A CLOSE LOOK AT THE THEN-NEW VFC 1911 TACTICAL CUSTOM AND ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT FOR MANY, MANY REASONS! HOWEVER NOW THAT THE PISTOL IS JUST ON A YEAR OLD, AND HAS HAD SOME HARD RANGE AND IN-GAME HIS INITIAL ASSESSMENT HAS PROVED COMPLETELY CORRECT… IT’S ONE HECK OF A PISTOL!
s I said right from the get-go, for any selfrespecting gun bunny the name of Kimber is one that they’ll know intimately; it’s acknowleged that Kimber Manufacturing creates some of the very best 1911 pistols out there, and virtually every critical component is manufactured inside the Kimber factory. LAPD SWAT chose Kimber, along with the United States Marines assigned to Special Operations Command (the MARSOC pistol, known as the Kimber ICQB (Interim Close Quarter Battle) MEU SOC), The U.S.A. Shooting Rapid Fire Pistol Team, and most recently, LAPD Special Investigation Section (SIS), and they all chose Kimber for the same reasons apparently, those of quality, dependability and accuracy. Kimber have pretty much been a success story right from the introduction of the first models back in 1995. In the trials for LAPD SWAT the Kimber Custom II single-stack .45 1911 (5” Government Model) defeated all comers, and became the standard issue sidearm for LAPD SWAT operators; each LAPD SWAT Kimber Custom II came with a reliability upgrade, match-grade barrel and trigger group, fulllength guide rod, Meprolight tritium night sights, a
checkered front strap, front and rear slide serrations (I remember reading at the time this was so the pistol could be cocked against the body or police car door if the officer was injured in one arm), and a matt-black oxide finish. Each pistol also displayed “LAPD SWAT” markings on the right side of the slide, and special serial numbers exclusive to the team. With the release from VegaForceCompany (VFC) in the form of their “1911 Tactical Custom” though I believe we’ll be seeing some happy replica collectors, especially given the popularity of the movie “SWAT” and the more recent TV show of the same name, and the replica is a lovely handgun in its own right, both to own and shoot with! Again, as I said when I first got the pistol in my hands the VFC 1911 Tactical Custom is a striking looking pistol! It aimed to break a few moulds in both looks and performance, and it has proved to do both very well indeed. The pistol is beautifully finished in every respect, living up to the “Kimber” feel. I haven’t gone to the extent of having trades put onto this replica, and in fairness I probably won’t given my personal feelings on hokey markings, but that’s not to say that the pistol is missing anything in overall finish
“KIMBER HAVE PRETTY MUCH BEEN A SUCCESS STORY RIGHT FROM THE INTRODUCTION OF THE FIRST MODELS BACK IN 1995. IN TRIALS THE KIMBER CUSTOM II SINGLE-STACK .45 1911 (5” GOVERNMENT MODEL) DEFEATED ALL COMERS, AND BECAME THE STANDARD ISSUE SIDEARM FOR LAPD SWAT OPERATORS.” 72
RELOADED VFC 1911
because of this. VFC have done a top job in replicating the mattblack oxide finish (Kimber use their own finishing known as KimPro on many of their specialist pistols) of the real thing, and all the components like the trigger, hammer, and outer barrel are finished silver. The pistol features both the checkered front strap, along with those all-important front and rear slide serrations, and clearly white-spot-marked front and rear sights that are easy to use. To date this finish
has stood up to the rigors of multiple draws and reholsters, and even with a Kydex, there is little to no evidence of wear anywhere! As per my initial “as new” review, in use this 1911 is all about smooth cycling, and all the positive ergonomics you would come to associate with the 1911 platform. With the new hop up design that allows you use the guide rod for adjustments, the GuideHop, you can incrementally and exactly adjust the hop on the go if necessary, allowing a full range of adjustment without removing the complete slide; all you need to do is hold the slide to the rear and turn the guide rod itself to increase or decrease the hop with series of “clicks” that you can both feel and hear, then release the slide forward to keep shooting! The 20BB magazine is extremely gas efficient, and I’ve found that many single-stack 1911 magazines in my collection work in the pistol (almost!) as well as the VFC original. The power output on green gas as quoted by VFC is iro 0.83 Joule/300fps for the 1911, and they’ve got this pretty right; I tested and re-tested (as well as giving the 1911 regular run-outs on the range) using NP 2.0 gas and .20g RZRs and have continued to get between 299 and 302fps which is pretty tight! Accuracy on the 10m Short Range has improved as the 1911 has bedded in, and I’m now hitting that “headspace” more times than not, so regular centre-
mass shot-placement really shouldn’t be an issue at normal pistol ranges! The “1911 Tactical Custom” has proved to be a quality gas-driven handgun that cycles hard and fast, and is able to put BBs on target time and again, and in a super-cost-effective way; it looks great, and it shoots even better! Whether you buy this pistol because you just want a cool 1911 replica for your collection, or you buy it to have a reliable, accurate secondary you’ll
find it to be a trusted partner you can rely on when you really need it, just like those SWAT guys! My sincere thanks go to my good friend Ray at www. vegaforce.com for sending me this lovely pistol, and to Danny at uk.redwolfairsoft. com for facilitating delivery; check out either link for more information on the 1911 Tactical Custom, along with many other great models from VFC. AA
ACTION AIR DAA LYNX COMPETITION BELT
THE LYNX EFFECT
WITH STEWBACCA PASSING THE YEAR AND A HALF MARK IN COMPETITION SHOOTING AS PART OF THE SETUP PROJECT PRACTICAL TEAM (SPPT) IN HIS CONTINUING ADVENTURES IN IPSC ACTION AIR, HE’S ALREADY BEEN THROUGH A MYRIAD OF DIFFERENT PISTOLS OPTIONS (SEE HIS ‘SO YOU WANNA SHOOT ACTION AIR’ ARTICLE IN JULY 2021’S AIRSOFT ACTION ISSUE NO. 127 FOR A DETAILED BREAKDOWN OF THAT EPIC AND EXPENSIVE JOURNEY!) AND HAVING SETTLED AS A RESULT ON USING THE KJ WORKS CZ SHADOW 2 GBB PISTOL FOR THE LONGER TERM, HE FIGURED IT WAS TIME TO INVEST IN IMPROVED AND SPECIALISED SUPPORT GEAR TO TRY AND IMPROVE HIS USER EXPERIENCE OF THE GUN AND HIS PRACTICE DRILLS AND LIVE STAGES DURING TRAINING AND COMPETITIONS.
’d invested in the more conventional original Double Alpha Academy two- piece competition belt back when I first dabbled in Action Air before moving to Taipei; when I acquired my TTI Glock 34 Combat Master along with specialised 9mm plastic magazine carriers, and the specific authentic Safariland 6379 ALS retention holster, I used this setup from the beginning of my time with SPPT in Taipei. This consists of the now fairly typical semi-rigid thin inner hook and loop belt which is used to thread through the belt loops of your shorts or trousers and support the much heavier and thicker rigid outer belt that carries your holster and magazine pouches;this has the corresponding hook and loop on its inner face which allows it to be rapidly and positively affixed to the inner belt, providing a very convenient and stable solution which for the vast majority of serious competitors is their first and last stop. This has served me, and other competitors in my team and others in the area, very well thus far and allows you to quickly and conveniently get your rig
set up in the appropriate way when you first use it, as well as put it on and take it off without having to alter it at all between sessions or to disassemble or reassemble anything between each shoot. You can easily remove your pistol and magazines, collapse or remove your holster, detach the outer belt, roll it up inside itself to some extent, and then throw it in your locker or bag with much less fuss than the likes of my skirmish setup where I usually have to individually mount and arrange pistol or rifle magazines and holsters to suit each setup. I haven’t resorted to preassembled PLB/Battle belt setups as yet in Taiwan due to my shifting needs for each skirmish. However, Double Alpha Academy are not ones for resting on their laurels, and are once again pushing their product innovation and the industry in general forwards; enter their new ‘Lynx’ Belt!The name is undoubtedly a play on the fact it is assembled from individual links with pins that only allow it to flex in one axis, and thus remain more rigid in the other axes. This new design of outer belt attaches in the
“DOUBLE ALPHA ACADEMY ARE NOT ONES FOR RESTING ON THEIR LAURELS, AND ARE ONCE AGAIN PUSHING THEIR PRODUCT INNOVATION AND THE INDUSTRY IN GENERAL FORWARDS; ENTER THEIR NEW ‘LYNX’ BELT!
ACTION AIR DAA LYNX COMPETITION BELT
same manner as their more conventional offerings to the same type of semi-rigid inner hook and loop belt threaded through your garments.
A CHANGE OF ETHOS
The shift in design ethos allows for a much more rigid platform to mount your competition holster and magazine carriers on to, as well as preventing to a large extent the discomfort many (myself certainly included) that can result from a long day of wearing the older setups during a major competition. The older belts tend to rub on the hips a little due to their construction, and there is also the tendency for competitors to pull them in tight to ensure their stability during running and other movements required to get your sights on targets in different presentations. This tendency to perhaps overtighten the outer or even inner belts is eliminated with the DAA Lynx belt, due to the number of unitised plastic links and thus it’s fit and sizing is fixed; once assembled and determined using DAA’s handy website calculator
and belt builder allows you to insert your waist measurements and choose from an array of colours of links to enable a truly customised solution to the shooter and their aesthetic, whether they wish to match their team uniform or colours, or their national flag or team aesthetic. Being a Brit living in Taiwan, luckily both important national flags to me overlap in their red/white/blue colouration, so I split my selection somewhat equally to allow me to represent the 12
white sunrays of Taiwan’s national flag on the blue and red backgrounds, while also paying homage to my original homeland as well. With the correct number of links in your preferred colours added to your shopping cart, the standard bag of sixty attachment pins (more than the majority of shooters will ever need, with some spare) and an appropriate punch tool also included, the standard inner velcro belt of the suitable size range is also added to your purchase, all making the shopping experience easy. www.airsoftaction.net
ACTION AIR DAA LYNX COMPETITION BELT
While I was at it I also invested in the latest DAA Alpha-X competition holster with the appropriate specialised CZ Shadow 2 insert block included, to try and improve my draw speed and holstering/ unholstering in comparison to my use of other older adjustable options which can never compete with a specialised individually fitted solution specific to each pistol model. All of this arrived a few weeks later along with the large order that others in my team helped arrange; there are at least three of us in SPPT who have purchased the DAA Lynx belt, and I’ve also seen a number of other local competitors in the likes of team Spring Rain and TFAS make the switch to the shiny new setup, all with their own added personal flair of colours and arrangements matching their team setups and custom gun aesthetics, so even just locally they’re clearly catching on. A number of real steel shooters I follow on Instagram are also moving over to these; evidently DAA’s product design and marketing videos are winning over real steel and Action Air competitors in equal measure!
FORGET THE HYPE TRAIN!
It’s not just hype though, the product genuinely delivers on its promises and my teammates and I are fast falling in love with ours after the initial investment in both time and money ordering, assembling and
arranging the attachments on our setups. The assembly procedure itself is relatively simple and painless, albeit a bit monotonous, especially if like me, you have a lot of links to assemble! Patty on team Spring Rain clearly had to order a lot fewer links for her much more slender waist, although she did have to squeeze into hers too, judging from her video. Similarly Rex on my team had to wait for additional links to be sent through from DAA in Denmark as they forgot to add the appropriate amount; he has had similar issues with them in the past but once again their customer service team really went above and beyond to correct the problem with courier shipped components at their cost. This does also have a direct financial implication in terms of...portlier, or ‘wider hipped’… shooters such as myself having to purchase a larger number of the individual inch or so wide links! At least it’s a case of buy once, cry once with the purchase and assembly, perhaps if I manage to sweat off some of my ‘winter weight’ (there is no winter in Taiwan, there is just too much delicious food and beer!) I can remove a few links in future. The buckle system itself is the final component to install on either end of your Lynx assembly, with a male and female unit that latch onto each other to ensure the main outer belt stays in place well, although it’s quite rigid even without this final
ACTION AIR DAA LYNX COMPETITION BELT
measure, and the hook and loop system is actually moulded onto the inside face of each individual link. This is a great innovation and something the product design engineer in me can appreciate for its simplicity and effectiveness. The other advantage of the rigid link assembly is the more positive attachment surface provided for holster or magazine carrier systems, which can span one or more links to suit your setup and are provided with a more rigid base which allows for less movement than a traditional fabric belt, as well as preventing things from moving around the belt itself and allowing you to leave things in the appropriate places without fear of things wandering between sessions and messing up your ‘muscle memory’ or familiarity with where everything sits. Having the buckle now moved to the front also makes it much easier to affix and remove the outer belt; placing your holster in the appropriate index point and then wrapping and following the rest of the belt around the other side and closing the front buckle (the inherent rigidity of the link system also makes it easier to ensure you properly align with outer belt directly along the inner belt without it sagging or flopping around and forcing you to rush the thing on as I have experience with the older fabric belt setups) the entire system just seems to work a lot more effectively and comfortably whether putting it on, taking it off, or during its use - I’m sold!
somewhat telegraphs ‘hey, I am a shooter, and no doubt have a gun in this bag’ which may have varied mileage for you depending on the permissiveness of your local society. In Taiwan it doesn’t seem to be as big a deal, but nonetheless, grey-man is good. The collapsible nature of the Lynx setup allows you to easily wrap it in on itself, or as I do, just fold it into flat sections with my five magazine carriers providing the outermost, longer rigid section that I then fold the holster carrying side and excess sections in upon. This is extremely convenient and simple to use, and very compact by comparison to the older designs of belt. Now our main concern seems to be just what to do with all the excess space left in our backpacks or lockers now that we have such compact shooting rigs in use! I’m definitely a convert, the initial investment might seem a bit steep for some, but in real terms it isn’t that much more of a stretch than their older belt system, and the modularity of it allows for teams to choose a common colour scheme or bulk buy links and apportion them accordingly to each shooter, rather than everyone having to faff about with single set sized belts. Likewise the stockists and supply chain can benefit a great deal from not having to deal with those bulkier older belt solutions so the Double Alpha Academy Lynx Belt is well worth the investment in my mind. AA
A DREAM TO STORE AND CARRY TOO!
One of the biggest benefits, and main drives behind the design according to DAA’s marketing videos, is also the collapsible nature of the linked design; the traditional reinforced fabric outer belts tend to present a problem with how much you can wind them in on themselves given their size and composition, and will always tend to want to spring back open anyway, making them a bit of a nightmare to deal with in terms of bagging and carrying them! Many in my team and the wider Action Air or real steel community evidently resort to just slinging them on the top of their backpacks with a suitable karabiner or other affixing method, not ideal in terms of protecting your expensive rig, magazine carriers and holster, and not ideal if you’re moving around in public spaces as it
“I’M DEFINITELY A CONVERT, THE INITIAL INVESTMENT MIGHT SEEM A BIT STEEP FOR SOME, BUT IN REAL TERMS IT ISN’T THAT MUCH MORE OF A STRETCH THAN THEIR OLDER BELT SYSTEM, AND THE MODULARITY OF IT ALLOWS FOR TEAMS TO CHOOSE A COMMON COLOUR SCHEME OR BULK BUY LINKS AND APPORTION THEM ACCORDINGLY TO EACH SHOOTER, RATHER THAN EVERYONE HAVING TO FAFF ABOUT WITH SINGLE SET SIZED BELTS” www.airsoftaction.net
KIT & GEAR MAROMX FIELD TEST
NIGHT TO DAY... ELITE STYLE!
OVER THE PAST FEW MONTHS WE’VE BEEN EVALUATING THE UNIQUE MAROMX DAY AND NIGHT CAMERA TO SEE IF IT WILL REALLY WORK IN AN AIRSOFT ENVIRONMENT! WE’VE TALKED ABOUT IT TECHNICALLY AND AS A STANDALONE PIECE IF TECH, BUT WHAT REALLY HAPPENS WHEN YOU PUT IT INTO THE HANDS OF A MILSIM PLAYER? JASE TELLS ALL…
laced in my hand is a box from the beloved leader, Bill (only marginally despotic…), who says to yours truly “I want you to take this on your MilSim in September and give it a good run out”. ”Sure thing, no problem” I reply… In the box is a MaromX Elite camera. Now I’m not shy when it comes to using an action cam as I have made a number of home movies for my family and friends on my GoPro, but this little adventure should have me out on a MlSim battlefield giving the
MaromX a solid field test. Jump to a wet and windy October evening and there I am, in the local woodland with my best buddy Andy. Out in the cold, wet and windy mercy of the woods and above the roar of the tree’s blowing in the wind I hear a very disgruntled “Remind me why on god’s earth why are we out here again?” Yes that’s right reader, Calamity Jase had struck again, due to me putting my back out in late August, I could not get to my MilSim event to test the MaromX. So with
“THAT’S RIGHT READER, CALAMITY JASE HAD STRUCK AGAIN, DUE TO ME PUTTING MY BACK OUT IN LATE AUGUST, I COULD NOT GET TO MY MILSIM EVENT TO TEST THE MAROMX. SO WITH A PROMISE AND DEADLINE TO KEEP I FIND MYSELF IN WHAT I WOULD SAY WERE SOME GREAT TEST CONDITIONS.”
KIT & GEAR MAROMX FIELD TEST
a promise and deadline to keep I find myself in what I would say were some great test conditions. What I had planned for this test would have me using the MaromX camera and my personal NVG to see how the camera could be used at a MilSim to capture footage for the player or to gather intel for the event itself. Now AA’s own Jon had informed us back in issue 130 when he had been testing a pre-production camera that “The Elite camera captures razorsharp 1440p QHD video and 5MP snapshots under daylight to total darkness utilizing its built-in infrared illumination.” So I was going to be very interested to see what the footage came out when downloaded to my Mac. Another very cool feature that MaromX tell us is that “When night falls or while entering dark structures, the ambient illumination sensor automatically changes the shooting mode to night vision”
IN THE FIELD
So, with the Elite in hand and the Great British weather pouring down onto us, this test should show me that the camera’s IP rating should be good enough to keep the camera rolling for three hours of the night if needed on task, along with the claimed nine hour of day time battery life, although I couldn’t test this to its full potential but I was sure that my Viper Tactical Jacket I was wearing would be up to keeping me dry!
As I paced back over to the large oak tree Andy was taking shelter under, I offered him the camera and asked him to head off into the darkness and take up a position for me to try and find him. In an ideal scenario the camera would be either attached to a RIF or helmet, as in the box there are these fittings. The camera had been set to manual mode and the IR Illuminator had been switched off so we could test a few settings. After about 5 minutes I set off to find Andy. I donned my lip and pulled down my
NV and switched it on, go time. The rain had now started to subside and the cloud was becoming patchy with some amazing stars peeking out from behind. If you have never seen a starry sky through NVG’s you’re missing out, it really is a sight to behold! So after about five minutes or so, I could not find my subject and shout out for him to put on the camera’s IR Illuminator and with the click of a button, Andy’s location was given away, a small section of woodland was lit up like a Christmas tree, just as I had expected but this was all part of my test. All in all we had stayed out for an hour, running through a few functions before finally calling it a day. As we wandered back to the car discussing our feelings and findings of the camera, we used the camera’s bright white dual LED light to help us on our walk.
RISK V FUNCTION
So to our findings the next day; with the footage all loaded up onto my Mac we sat and watched back all that we had filmed. As Jon mentioned in his write up in issue 130, the camera does have good quality in the daylight and we agree that the auto IR function is very good at detecting when it has entered a dark location and implementing its IR light, within a second at least which I think is impressive, very much like an autogating NVG. The night time footage with the IR www.airsoftaction.net
KIT & GEAR MAROMX FIELD TEST
light on is again, impressive with good clarity right down to things like facial features. With these things in mind, I think that this camera might have a place at a MilSim event but as I’m sure some of you are coming to the conclusion as I did before I set out on the test, this might not be the right bit of kit to be using at certain times in an event. Let me explain my theory and why I turned off the auto-IR feature when out on my test. Without prejudice, most that frequent the MilSim scene will have their own NVGs (or rent some) and the point to this is so the player can obtain as much concealment to the night as humanly possible (i.e. no white light) and rolling about with your squad with the Elite camera’s IR Illuminator on will NOT score you any brownie points when trying to move covertly, trust me, I’ve been there. The case in point here was when Andy popped
on the Elite’s IR when I asked him, lighting up his position like that proverbial Christmas tree. So filming those sexy night-time manoeuvers might just not be possible (because at night and without the IR on you won’t be seeing much at all unfortunately) or unless you get to a stage where you can use the camera to its full potential, like when the fire fight kicks off, at this point I think you might be able to get some great footage as it might not matter if you’re running the Elite with the IR on. I have seen on youtube the camera used well in a CQB environment and this is where the airsoft community might find the MaromX Elite fits in well. I have enjoyed my time so far with the camera and like it’s performance, and do actually look forward to getting out onto my local indoor CQB site in November to give it another test, so for now, I’ll leave it there… AA
“THE CAMERA DOES HAVE GOOD QUALITY IN THE DAYLIGHT AND WE AGREE THAT THE AUTO IR FUNCTION IS VERY GOOD AT DETECTING WHEN IT HAS ENTERED A DARK LOCATION AND IMPLEMENTING ITS IR LIGHT, WITHIN A SECOND AT LEAST WHICH I THINK IS IMPRESSIVE, VERY MUCH LIKE AN AUTOGATING NVG.” www.airsoftaction.net
FEATURE M4 - GENESIS & HISTORY
M4 HISTORY IT IS BY FAR THE MOST COMMON, AND MOST POPULAR, AEG IN AIRSOFT, IT’S ALSO ONE OF THE MOST WIDELY CRITICISED. SO THIS MONTH, AS MUCH TO SLAKE HIS OWN CURIOSITY, FRENCHIE DELVES INTO THE HISTORY OF THE M4, WHY IT HAS LASTED AS LONG AS IT HAS, AND WHY IT’S PROVING DIFFICULT TO REPLACE.
very manufacturer will have a host of these in their line up and you can spend from ‘not much’ right up to ‘small car’ sorts of money on them. I am of course referring to the ubiquitous M4 carbine. I have been as guilty as any gun snob of slagging them off but the truth is that they are still one of the easiest long arms to carry and use despite the design being decades old. Even the US Army has the same problem; despite several trials over the years they have failed to find an alternative which offered a significant improvement over their current issue weapon.
The genesis of what would become the M4 rests firmly with the original M16 rifle. Early attempts to produce a carbine resulted in the CAR-15 series of rifles which sported a 10 inch barrel - half that of the rifle. This made for a very compact weapon but did nothing for accuracy and resulted in massive muzzle flash as the barrel was too short to permit all the power to burn within it. This latter problem was addressed by fitting increasingly large flash hiders, epitomised by the suppressor-like muzzle device found on the XM177-e2. The name, CAR-15, (Colt Automatic Rifle 15) was an ultimately futile attempt by Colt to associate themselves with the AR series of rifles they produced for the US Army rather than the original manufacturer, Armalite. The term CAR-15 however did become synonymous with all the shortened M16 rifles produced prior to the development of the M4, so you will see the term applied to a number of weapons, some of which were used for decades by various branches of the US military. 82
It wasn’t until 1982 that the US Government requested that Colt design a carbine based on the M16a1. This resulted in the XM4, with the Picatinny Arsenal producing 40 prototypes. Originally this was a joint program between the US Marines and Army, however the Army withdrew their funding leaving the Marines to request 892 units in 1987 and designating it “Carbine, 5.56mm. M4”. The Army didn’t show any interest in the carbine until after the 1991 Gulf War when it placed orders with Colt for M4 carbines and M4A1 variants for their special forces. The Army’s experience in Somalia in 1993 seems to have prompted greater interest in the shorter rifle as Rangers complained that their M16A2 rifles proved unwieldy in urban warfare. By 2005 the M4 had, by and large, replaced the M16 series in the hands of forward-deployed troops. Despite championing the carbine at first, the Marine Corps would not officially replace its full-length rifles with carbines until 2015.
The original M4 had a two-piece receiver, with the fixed carry handle of the earlier M16A1 variants and with a safe-semi-three-round burst trigger group. Experience had shown that some improvements were required and in 1991 the M4A1 variant was introduced. This featured the now familiar removable carry handle, a heavier barrel profile and a safe - semi - full auto trigger group. It was found that the S1F group gave a more consistent trigger pull than the earlier burst variant, thus improving accuracy. The heavier barrel increased barrel life and allowed the use of additional ammunition types which exhibited higher chamber pressures. Although these changes had in
FEATURE M4 - GENESIS & HISTORY
large part been driven by the demands of the various Special
Forces groups within the US Military, by 2011 a program was underway to upgrade some 300,000 M4 carbines to the M4A1 specification. Since 1994, the M4 carbine has undergone some 90 modifications to address issues and to improve functionality, resulting in the weapon currently fielded by all branches of the US military. Unlike it’s progenitor, the M16, the M4 hasn’t had to face the early problems which blighted the roll out of the longer rifle. This resulted in a carbine which has a reputation for reliability and flexibility and which has received exceptionally high ratings in the 2006 report compiled by the Centre for Naval Analyses which was based on feedback from over 2000 personnel who had used the weapon in theatre. Reliability, accuracy and the ability to easily resolve stoppages featured highly amongst users, nearly all of whom were satisfied that the weapon was one upon which they could rely. Of course, this doesn’t stop the onward march of progress and many voices both within and without the military have proposed improvements or replacements for the current carbine. One consistent feature of these suggestions is the move to a gas piston system to replace the ‘sort of’ direct impingement system designed by Gene Stoner for the original Armalites. In theory, a gas piston system, as used in the HK 416 family, has a number of advantages but the Army’s testing also identified a number of potential problems, some of which would make the resolution of stoppages difficult or impossible for troops in the field as they required the services of an armourer. As currently fielded, most stoppages can be dealt with quickly by the user without recourse to special equipment. I’ll return to this issue of ‘improvements’ at the end of this article. Airsofters are very familiar with the seemingly
infinite variety of M4 carbines available; in military use there are fewer varieties but there is no question that the M4A1 is a singularly flexible platform which can be deployed in anything from a fully tricked out form by Special Forces, or as a far simpler weapon for basic infantry use. It is this flexibility I suspect which has made it difficult for the US military to replace it, although they regularly look at alternatives to their current carbine. This brings me back to the question of improvements. Over decades of service, the vast majority of problems, niggles and preferences have been resolved on the M4 platform. This has resulted in a weapon which is sufficiently accurate, robust and flexible to continue to meet the Army’s needs. Since replacing a weapon system is an expensive undertaking, doing so has to show beyond doubt that there are significant improvements to be had - and at present those improvements simply aren’t there. There are many theoretical issues with the current M4A1 weapons, but the fact remains that the troops who carry it seem happy with it and it’s performance. A change to the standard ammunition does not necessarily mean a change to the standard rifle, and even such mooted changes as the 6.5mm or 6.8mm rounds can be handled by rebarreling existing weapon stocks. Rifles such as the H&K 416 may well find favour with Navy SEALs, but that doesn’t mean that they offer significant advantages to the average Marine or infantryman over their current kit. The US Military finds itself equipped with an effective, reliable and generally well-liked weapon which has repeatedly proven itself in conflicts around the world. It is unlikely that we will see a replacement for it until there is an overwhelming argument for doing so. The AR-15 series of rifles have been plagued by a myth of unreliability which has its origins in Vietnam. I have written before about why these arose, and none of them have anything to do with the gun itself, rather they were the direct result of appalling (some might argue criminal) decisions made by the US Army at the time of its introduction. In some respects the M4A1 is the ultimate realisation of Stoner’s vision and although we tend to still see it as a new-boy when compared to the AK, the fact is that it is a better, more flexible and more reliable all round weapon than it’s venerable rival and still holds its own against most if not all currently fielded military rifles. Even I have to stop being a Soviet-favouring snob sometime and simply recognise that the M4A1 is still a great rifle!.AA www.airsoftaction.net
KIT & GEAR SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP
SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP!!
THAT’S IT THEN, THE FIRST FROST OF THIS WINTER HAS HIT US, AND TEMPERATURES ARE MOST DEFINITELY HEADING ON DOWN. AS PROMISED THIS MONTH WE’RE GOING TO TAKE A MOMENT TO LOOK AT SOME OF THE NEW (AND OUR FAVOURITE) COLD WEATHER SYSTEM GEAR TO HIT THE MARKET… IT’S TIME TO GET OUR (HOPEFULLY!) SNOW-GAME ON!
s we’ve said many times, getting the right clothing setup can mean the difference between a long, hard days play and an early trip home due to becoming mildly hypothermic (or worse!). You may think that this is a rare occurrence, but believe us when we say it’s more commonplace than you might think. Many airsofters, even seasoned ones that we know will spend many hundreds of pounds on their airsoft guns and tactical gear but very little on their clothing. We’ve heard the excuse “I don’t have the money for expensive winter gear” all too often, but what it really comes down to is a lack of forethought and preparation. Setting yourself up with a system which will allow you to hit the field year round is actually not as expensive as you might think. If you budget for just a single piece of kit each month you’ll be surprised how quickly your system builds! First off though what do we mean by a “system”? Quite simply put a clothing “system” is a selection of garments that will work as standalone pieces in their own right, but that can be combined effectively to give you a set of gear that works all year round. This “system” will normally consist of: • Base Layer – Your base layers are the items of clothing that are worn directly next to the skin.
They come in different weights and thicknesses of fabric for summer and winter use, although a mid-weight set will work for different seasons. The fabric properties will be mainly to do with moisture management as they will actively “wick” moisture away from you skin, keeping you dry and comfortable. • Mid Layer – The mid layer is all about levels of insulation, allowing you to regulate your body core temperature. Mid layers can be fleece or “lofted” insulation; it’s best to avoid down jackets and vests in the UK as we’re often dealing with wet cold rather than dry “snow” cold. If down gets wet it stays wet and actually draws heat from your body trying to dry itself so it’s better to look at synthetic fills. • Shell Layer – Exactly as it sounds; your shell layer forms the outer barrier against the elements. This layer will be of a waterproof and windproof fabric and these days may be either “hard” or “soft” shell; hard shells are normally fully waterproof with taped seams but many tend to be noisy due to the face fabrics used. Soft shells may or may not have taped seams and whilst they are sometimes not fully waterproof, they will be highly water resistant;
“A CLOTHING “SYSTEM” IS A SELECTION OF GARMENTS THAT WILL WORK AS STANDALONE PIECES IN THEIR OWN RIGHT, BUT THAT CAN BE COMBINED EFFECTIVELY TO GIVE YOU A SET OF GEAR THAT WORKS ALL YEAR ROUND. ”
KIT & GEAR SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP
they also tend to be made of softer, quieter fabrics. By understanding what you are buying and why the choice becomes straightforward. What you are aiming to do is create a set of gear that will actively work together. The base layer draws moisture away from the skin and lets it transport through the insulating mid layer. The shell layer allows moisture inside the system to escape whilst keeping wind and rain out. By juggling with these layers you can be comfortable in any climatic situation.
First up then is a good set of base layers, and these days you can find what you need pretty easily, as next-to-the-skin clothing has become accepted by the mainstream, and you can actually find some cracking gear in the middle of your local supermarket for not much money! That said if you want to stick to “tacticool” performance gear then you’ll be able to find some great kit from the likes of VIPER and Helikon-Tex! Helikon-Tex offer a multitude of base layers; the Level 1 lightweight underwear consists of a light undershirt and leggings and was designed for use in mild climates to provide light insulation when worn next to skin. However it can be use also in colder climates as a base layer or in conjunction with other levels for added insulation and to aid in the transfer of moisture. Level 2 midweight underwear consists of a heavier shirt and leggings and was designed for use in harsher climates to provide more insulation. Both levels are made of super fabrics that are extremely comfortable next to the skin, and if you REALLY feel the cold then they even do a Level 3! Not only have VIPER developed new gear but they’ve obviously had a very close look at how clothing trends have developed in the tactical world, and the latest designs reflect a thorough understanding both of the “light is right tactical athlete” approach, and this can be seen in their MESH-TECH T and MESH-TECH ARMOUR
TOP. Both these garments are made from highperformance polyester material and provide longlasting comfort and durability even during the most extreme workout. Lightweight and quick-drying, these shirts features flatlock seams for reduced friction, and raglan sleeves for improved range of motion. Thanks to their moisture wicking properties these all-purpose shirts will keep the torso cool and dry throughout the day, and will definitely add comfort as the first element of your clothing setup.
Sticking with VIPER they have been quietly busy during the “lockdown” period and have a few new items worthy of note that have crept into their range with little fanfare! The STORM and ARMOUR Hoodies are both made from a new VIPER fabric which looks like it will wear well, basically a 300gms polyester bonded Ribtech fleece with a polyester brushed lining. The Armour Hoodie is a great choice for those who are looking for a versatile sweatshirt, and it works really great when worn on its own or as a under layer when the weather is less forgiving. The hood can be adjusted using drawstring and the front pocket is a handy storage. To keep you warm and cosy the hoodie is lined with 300gms polyester bonded Ribtech fleece. The adjustable elasticated cuffs with thumbholes will help with temperature control. You can create a personalised look using heat treated hook and loop patches on both shoulders. The STORM hoody is a different beast, with the addition of polyester peached contrast fabric in key wear areas. With a full zip this has a far more “technical” fit than the ARMOUR, and is the perfect midwww.airsoftaction.net
ULTIMA JACKET BLACK / DARK COYOTE / GREEN / SRP: £89.95
KIT & GEAR SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP
layer garment for wearing beneath a shell jacket when the weather turns really bad! One of our absolute favourites when it comes to fleece mid-layers is not a new piece, but rather something that is 100% fully tried and tested! When you layer up externally over your base layer HelikonTex offer a fabulous selection of performance fleece products in various weights so you can custom tailor your gear to your own performance level or task. We REALLY like their Alpha grid fleeces. This 100% polyester fleece is warm, comfortable and lightweight and a part of Helikon’s Urban Tactical line. It features a high collar with chin guard and a strong full-front YKK zipper, which can be fastened to the neck. It also has one zip chest pocket with a comms port inside, two lower zip pockets and an elastic drawstring with cord locks on both sides sewn into the waistband.
Shell (ie waterproof and windproof) gear is something that we can go on and on about from a technical perspective, but the bottom line is that ultimately you just want something waterproof and breathable that will work with your other gear, and to be honest if you’re after something in MTP or Multicam then your best, and cheapest bet is to visit your local army surplus store! That said, if you really want what is, in our opinion, the best right now and money is no object, then look no further than UF PRO’s Monsoon Smallpac Wet Weather System! The team at UF PRO work on the premise that their garments provide the interface between the wearer and the environment in which they are worn, and that cut, materials, workmanship and even colour can make a huge difference.
With their superb, cutting edge Monsoon XT waterproof shell jacket and pant they show that they mean business from the very outset. This is a fully specified and featured 3 Layer GORE-TEX jacket that offers the user full protection from even the worst of the elements, be it rain, sleet, or snow. In terms of features the jacket is ergonomic and minimalist, although it’s chock-full of features. The jacket also benefits from some of UF PROs own “in house” innovations as it incorporates their excellent HOOD/ HARNESS system for precise fit around the head, letting the hood move perfectly wherever you look. The complementary Monsoon XT pants have been thoroughly tested for overall reliability, and their functional and comfortable rain protection qualities even in extremely bad weather conditions. The pants are made out of a lightweight and waterproof 3 Layer GORE-TEX fabric with full reinforcement in all severe stress areas, such as the waist and the instep to provide a better resistance against abrasion. The pants are also fully specified with long length side zips that allow them to be put on and taken off without removing boots. So, we hope that this gives you an idea of what you can be looking for not only to survive during fullwinter games, but also to thrive! No matter what your budget there is something out there for you that will allow you to confound old Ma Nature and keep on chucking those BBs! We look forward to seeing you out there, and as always if you have pictures of you and your team playing DESPITE the weather, then fire ‘em on over as we’d be delighted to pop them up on our social media pages! AA
“THIS IS A FULLY SPECIFIED AND FEATURED 3 LAYER GORE-TEX JACKET THAT OFFERS THE USER FULL PROTECTION FROM EVEN THE WORST OF THE ELEMENTS, BE IT RAIN, SLEET, OR SNOW. IN TERMS OF FEATURES THE JACKET IS ERGONOMIC AND MINIMALIST, ALTHOUGH IT’S CHOCK-FULL OF FEATURES. ”
last post WHAT KIND OF INDUSTRY IS AIRSOFT?
WHAT KIND OF INDUSTRY IS AIRSOFT
“TALKING SHOP” EARLIER THIS MONTH, THE SUBJECT OF THE MANY DIFFERING TYPES OF INDUSTRY INVOLVED IN AIRSOFT CAME INTO THE CONVERSATION. WHICH PROMPTED FRENCHIE TO ASK WHAT INDUSTRY DOES AIRSOFT ACTUALLY BELONG TO, OR IS IT AN “INDUSTRY” ALL OF ITS OWN?
ndustry - “the companies and activities involved in the process of producing goods for sale, especially in a factory or special area” (Cambridge Dictionary) I have always thought of industry as relating to the production of finished goods from raw materials, a process that adds value, however the term has acquired broader use especially as a number of western economies moved away from traditional manufacturing industry and towards service industries. The term can therefore be equally applied to a group of enterprises all operating within the same sector or category; the financial industry, the film industry.
So, is airsoft, specifically airsoft in the UK, an industry? In the broadest sense of the term, yes, of course it is. There are a conglomeration of sites and suppliers all providing goods and services to a common customer base, the players. What kind of an industry it is, how big, how serious and how interested in growth it is are different questions. I was recently chatting with someone who has been intimately involved with airsoft for the last decade when the subject came up. At first they described
it not as an industry but as a pastime, and when I suggested that cottage industry might be a more fitting description they replied “yes, but without the roof”. It’s fair to say that there was a certain amount of frustration behind those remarks! I understand where they were coming from; at best airsoft is a loose alliance of connected interests serving a common customer base. It is unregulated other than by law and is largely unrepresented. I say largely because only the retail sector has any form of viable representation and that exists only because of the Violent Crime Reduction Bill (now Act) from back in 2006 which posed an existential threat. As far as I can see UKARA does nothing else other than facilitate the database which was required following the granting of the exemption to the Act. I’m not ignoring or denigrating the various player’s organisations, but again, unless there is a threat that everyone can agree on, they don’t appear to do very much. It also strikes me that there is no concerted effort to expand the industry. You’ll never see posters (real or virtual) saying “Come Airsofting! It’s FUN!” I understand that players are probably the industry’s best advertisement in that they often introduce their
“THERE ARE A CONGLOMERATION OF SITES AND SUPPLIERS ALL PROVIDING GOODS AND SERVICES TO A COMMON CUSTOMER BASE, THE PLAYERS. WHAT KIND OF AN INDUSTRY IT IS, HOW BIG, HOW SERIOUS AND HOW INTERESTED IN GROWTH IT IS ARE DIFFERENT QUESTIONS.”
LAST POST WHAT KIND OF INDUSTRY IS AIRSOFT?
friends to the sport but it remains quite closed as a result. There is almost no public profile, indeed we are probably guilty of making a virtue of keeping our heads firmly below the parapet unless forced to face opposing fire - usually from glory-seeking politicians looking to be seen to do something Airsoft is therefore limiting itself as far as growth is concerned, which is not something you see outside of the Swiss luxury watch market or supercars! While I am well-versed in the potential pitfalls of promoting a sport that involves guns and uniforms, that alone is insufficient reason not to attempt something. Hence my reference in the conversation that started this piece to ‘cottage industry’ - something that is limited and seems happy to remain so. That’s not a bad thing in and of itself but it does explain why airsoft is full of semi-enterprises; the bedroom sellers, the one-manbands and has only a handful of truly ‘professional’ businesses. Such advertising as is done, and it is quite limited really, speaks directly to those already involved, selling new gear, innovative products and the like. This is all done within the few specific publications that exist and there is no effort, individually or collectively, to show airsoft to a wider audience. Given the difficulties airsoft has experienced along with the rest of us over the past two years, this might give you cause to raise an eyebrow. Something else you see little of is diversification within the retail side of airsoft. This suggests to me either a lack of imagination or, more likely, that most retailers have reached a sense of equilibrium where income is and remains sufficient to keep the business viable. This may also be because many of those commercially involved within airsoft are not wholly reliant upon it for their living. It is quite common to find that sites, and even shops, are run by people who have come to airsoft with a profession or trade already behind them and still have fingers in those pies. It is possible that this engenders a situation where even some of the bigger players are not as invested in airsoft as might someone who relied upon it entirely to earn their living. Please don’t take that as a criticism of anyone, these days having fingers in pies is a very sensible strategy; I am just trying to understand why in some respects airsoft collectively doesn’t push itself as much as it might.
If you assume that airsoft’s key demographic is 20 24 year old males, there are currently over 5,000,000 people in the uk in that range. If we assume a roughly 50/50 gender split, that is around 2.5 million potential customers. As far as I know, the number of active airsofters has not changed significantly for some time, being around 10-15 thousand. There is therefore a large pool of people who might potentially be attracted to airsoft, if the will was there to reach them. Perhaps there is an underlying problem which prevents this: infrastructure. There are few sites in the UK which are wholly professional, and to grow the industry that number would have to increase substantially, and that requires investment. Airsofters on the whole tolerate a certain lack of facilities on site; toilets are the one area that springs to mind as this is a real challenge where a site is situated away from utilities. Power is normally dependent upon a generator… There is a certain rough-and-ready nature to many sites which is accepted, even enjoyed, by regulars, but which might make the whole experience less than attractive to new entrants, especially if they are being sold the pastime without much prior experience. Being told to ‘s*** behind that big tree way over there’ is not necessarily the selling point some might imagine! Maybe that’s the real reason for the overall attitude of airsoft as an industry in the UK. As it stands, it can support itself - more or less. To grow requires that it also improves, in particular the gaming experience, and that requires money, probably far more than many site owners would wish to commit, even if they have it in the first place. Accordingly airsoft serves a rather self-selecting customer group who are happy to tolerate a level of service and facilities which would very probably not appeal to everyone. Lacking the funds or the will to change that, it has found a level where all concerned are sufficiently satisfied and feel no need to push the status quo. To use a well-worn phrase, “it is what it is”. Maybe that is actually part of its charm, ok, maybe not ‘charm’, but attraction after all - soldiering isn’t meant to be a comfortable profession, and some level of roughing it when simulating battle is actually desirable. So, to answer my own question, “what kind of industry is airsoft?” I think ‘peculiar’ covers it well! AA
“THERE IS A CERTAIN ROUGH-AND-READY NATURE TO MANY SITES WHICH IS ACCEPTED, EVEN ENJOYED, BY REGULARS, BUT WHICH MIGHT MAKE THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE LESS THAN ATTRACTIVE TO NEW ENTRANTS... BEING TOLD TO ‘S*** BEHIND THAT BIG TREE WAY OVER THERE’ IS NOT NECESSARILY THE SELLING POINT SOME MIGHT IMAGINE!” www.airsoftaction.net
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