The Billet, Skirmish Thoughts

Quick few thoughts on mine and Passive Shooter‘s trip out to Ambush Adventures Billet site; I’ll be talking more about what I used that was new and what I found out about tomorrow.

For those who haven’t been or seen me talk about this site previously, it is a small area no doubt, but it’s good overall and the guy who does any fixing up of my electric RIFs lives only about 10 minutes away so I can kill 2 birds with 1 stone and there’s few things in life I find more satisfying than that.

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A bog standard old style AR AEG can reach at least half of the way across either the width or length of the actual area that’s used in play. However the buildings within are made up of many, many split up rooms and corridors so this is no great issue, there’s lots of usable gaming area to battle over. There were a tad under 20 players per side today at a guess, which honestly worked about spot on. No walking around for ages wondering where everybody is, but also, unlike many other close-up type sites I’ve attended, I didn’t spend most of the day stuck in the same half dozen cramped, impassible bottle neck corridors and doorways.

I’m not personally a huge fan of every game type they run, but then basically everyone else was so I’d say that’s entirely on me. I’ve also been a good few times before and at this point the physical site isn’t massively interesting to me, it’s also entirely on one level, but again they have regulars who play all the time and you can never under-estimate a skirmish site that avoids the issue of constant choke points. They also run ‘No Bang’ days, which may be a sneaky joke at my lack of tinder matches, but on the regular days it’s a very .209/9mm grenade heavy site. That has its’ ups and downs without doubt, but personally on balance I’d rather have everyone actually have to shoot each other vs certain people who come loaded up with multi-shot grenades just chucking them around every single corner. Or play against lots people who just throw a pyro any time there’s any sort of a stalemate. I get the flip side of the coin too, but with a fairly small player count the stalemates are kept very minimal.

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There’s no driving down a bumpy dirt road to get to the parking, there’s generally ample space for cars too. A walk on is £30 and crucially a lunch comes with that and it was a bloody good one, joint best I’ve had at an airsoft game myself. Actual fruit and veg mixed in there, enough food in total for a full lunch meal then a snack in the afternoon and a bottle of water for all the idiots who think coffee and Monster are the go-to beverages for a day running about with kit on. At this point after playing for about 11-12 years, the food, safe zone and the attitudes of people in attendance are very much the key aspects of playing this game for me. As with any site I’ve seen the odd mildly-iffy player attitude, but it’s very minimal frankly. The marshals are experienced and do a solid job and considering how short the distances are where people are getting shot the number of ‘disagreements’ were essentially zero.

If you’re curious what I’ll say about the gear tomorrow; quick preview, I managed to make 2 items fail pretty impressively, both from kit companies most folks would consider top of the food-chain. Just in playing about 4-5 hours of airsoft.

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SHOT Focus – Outdoor Research

Outdoor Research had a much bigger booth this year at SHOT, with a wide range of the layering system that was mentioned during 2017’s show now on display. In order to even attempt to post fine details on every item I’d be here for about 3 weeks just writing this post, so I’m going to give a really simple break down of what all the new names mean because I’ve had to research the entire line-up myself before writing this. PCU level naming conventions would have come in very handy here, but as you can see, are not included on any of the signage.

Apologies for the picture being below my usual par, this was day 1 and I’d spent that day running around the high-end tac gear part of the show with my head on fire. That and the lighting in the sands is dim, yellow in tone and generally very poor for photography, I’ll be trying to use flash more next year that’s for certain. Perhaps a professional wouldn’t have the same issues as me, but I’m a complete amateur with the most basic, budget line DSLR Canon have ever made.

If you’re not familiar with PCU and you didn’t read the article all about the system that I linked over from ITS Tactical a few months back, you SERIOUSLY need to go and do that now, then come back to this post. Because if you don’t, you’ll be lost. But without further ado lets begin the stroll through this little forest of clothing wonders.

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Muzzle Brake – The Muzzle Brake shirt and trousers are OR’s Level 9 jungle/humid temperate uniform made from the GORE-TEX® ProductsKatana fabric that Arc also use in their hot weather clothing items. It’s supposed to dry twice as fast as NYCO with the same overall resilience at 20% less weight. The cut is very complex and technical and you’ll not have seen much information about these uniforms floating around out there. I’ve only seen stock of them at Tactical Distributors and one other online store, they cost almost $400 per pair of trousers and most folks don’t look outside their ArC’rye bubble to consider brands like OR, Beyond and.. Patagonia *spit*. Not in the commercial market at least.

I’m not sure what the blouse/pant protectors are exactly apart from the upper item being in a vest format. A thin nylon shell along the lines of a wind stopper perhaps, but I won’t speculate further. If I get hold of anyone at OR I’ll post an update with further details.

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Combat shirt – Not part of the Muzzle brake line in terms of nomenclature, but certainly part of the line with regards physical construction. Using the same Katana fabric as is visible in the close-up shot. The torso is a Polartecbrand fabric which is good news because Polartec are very popular for combat shirt torsos and for good reason. I couldn’t find this combat shirt online anywhere except for, as per usual, over at Soldier Systems Daily who do have a little bit more information for those interested.

Obsidian jacket and trousers – Softshells, PCU Level 5. Using what I gather is the same Tweave Crye and Arc use for their All-Weather and Combat lines of L5 garments respectively. Nothing revolutionary in terms of the fabric there but thus far nobody has released a better all-around softshell material to my knowledge.

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Colossus parka – Finally a name that’s clear and fairly obvious as to what it represents. This is your outer insulation layer for staying static/bloody cold weather. PCU Level 7, uses the infamous PrimaLoft Gold which is widely renowned as one of the absolute kings of insulation material and a cut above the other Primaloft fills.

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Infiltrator – PCU Level 6, the mac daddy, the waterproof Gore-Tex apparel. I can only presume ‘Infiltrator’ as the fabric hopefully doesn’t swish against itself the way my old issued DPM GTX set did. This set is made of a Gore military fabric with (again) Gore stretch panels that are also fully waterproof. Yes, you read that bit right, it’s been around a while now but almost nobody is using the stuff. It’s not just very slightly stretchy either, I had a feel for myself and there’s a huge amount of elasticity in the stretchable parts of the jacket. So much so I don’t think a garment entirely made out of this material would actually be a good idea.

The most exciting part for me is the potential in the lower half, even though GTX trousers are probably one of the least used issued layering items as most folks would prefer wet legs over trying to fight to get those things on; then you just know you’ll never get a chance to stop and take them off when you really need to. I’ve not seen where the stretch panels are actually integrated on the Infiltrator trouser either, hopefully at least in the groin and lower back area as per most of the cut of popular combat pants on the market.

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Tradecraft – I’d say the equivalent of the main-stay that has historically been the Arc’teryx Atom line. Uses the same Primaloft Gold as the Colossus parka, but with roughly half the weight/thickness to fit in to PCU Level 3. I’m strongly drawn to the jacket in MAS Grey as an everyday item since it doesn’t have the wind-permeable side panels of my Arc Atom LT hoody. Arc do offer their Atom AR of course which lacks the side panels and the Tradecraft is only a couple of dozen grams lighter at a very similar price point, but the Arc logo and branding (in my eye) gets more and more pretentious the more I look at it. I don’t mind subdued and colour matching versions but the whited-in skeletons I am not a fan of these days.

The OR Foundation and Barrow layers are also being made to provide options at Levels 1 and 2, then there’s the Prevail jacket for level 4. Rounding out pretty much the entire PCU system now available from OR from levels 1 to 9.

I’ve pictured the glove line as well just because OR produce so many and are particularly well known for the FR hand protection. I’ve personally only owned the Ironsight models however which were pretty good overall and fairly close to the FDT Alphas, which is no mean feat in itself.

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Yours, Says, Replica

Getting there on the footage from Shoot Las Vegas (inbetween writing maaaaany e-mails and messages).

First round of fiddy cal I ever fired. I dearly wish the camera could’ve picked up the pressure wave both myself and my buddy holding the camera there felt, even worse for him than for me being directly behind the gun. It may have only been semi-enclosed at the firing position but that was enough to feel like you were getting slapped in the head from both sides at the same time upon firing each shot. Beast of a muzzle brake, less felt recoil than a full power WW2 era 30 cal round with a bare muzzle.

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Getting there on the footage from Shoot Las Vegas (inbetween writing maaaaany e-mails and messages).First round of fiddy cal I ever fired. I dearly wish the camera could've picked up the pressure wave both myself and my buddy holding the camera there felt, even worse for him than for me being directly behind the gun. It may have only been semi-enclosed at the firing position but that was enough to feel like you were getting slapped in the head from both sides at the same time upon firing each shot. Beast of a muzzle brake, less felt recoil than a full power WW2 era 30 cal round with a bare muzzle.

Posted by The Full 9 on Thursday, February 8, 2018

No-Pew Tuesday

My inbox has been a bit explode-y since SHOT and the many many clips I have from Shoot Las Vegas are taking a long old time to edit for the various outlets I’m going to post them on, so I’m afraid that YouTube video is getting pushed back to next Tuesday. Sorry folks, I think you’ll find the wait is worth it in the end though, nice little montage coming to the channel.

In the mean time, quick one for my fellow England-based plastic fake-war combatants, myself and Passive Shooter will be at Ambush Adventures ‘The Billet’ site this Sunday, so if you happen to be going or live close enough to come please get involved and come see how comedically terrible of an airsoft player I really am.

The Most British Gun

Imagine a Venn diagram, the type with the linking circles. There’s 2 circles, one with avid Battlefield 1 players in, the other containing avid fans of Forgotten Weapons. Right in the middle there’s a teeeeny tiny inter-section of folks who will maybe care about this news.

As seen here in my screen cap of LevelCap‘s video uploaded yesterday, the 1915 Howell rifle is coming to BF1 in the next DLC. What is it? Only one of THE weirdest and most interesting firearms ever to have ever existed. It’s an SMLE, with what I suppose would qualify as a long stroke gas piston just slap-dashed on to the side to open, cycle and close the normal bolt handle that the shooter would usually operate with their hand. I very strongly encourage you to check out Ian’s video to see this gun working:

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SHOT Loot Crate

It’s #MoraleMondays so I’d better post the SHOT merch eh? Here comes one beast of a list. Thanks to..

1947, LLC – Managing partners of Brand & Oppenheimer Co., Inc. Aimpoint AB Heckler & Koch GLOCK Primary Arms, LLC Holosun Shield SnugpakG&G Armament FirstSpear ITS Tactical Magpul Industries Corp. MultiCamHot Shots Calendar ZRO Delta Battle Arms Development DRIFIRE Gentex Corporation Midwest Industries, Inc. CMMG Mechanix Wear House GamersAero Precision Outdoor Research Samson Manufacturing Femme Fatale Airsoft KRISS USA Lantac USA Blue Force Gear, Inc. Troy IndustriesKnight’s Armament Company Ho-Tac Tactical TNVC, Inc Geissele Automatics, LLC Soldier Systems Daily SLR Rifleworks Raptor Tactical PetzlMilSpecMonkey Velocity Systems/Mayflower R&C Tactical Outfitters Aztec Training Services Hill People Gear RapDom Tactical Redwolf AirsoftWounded Warrior Project Victorinox Weapons Grade Waifus KWA Performance Industries, Inc. Polenar Tactical and 20 more I’m unable to tag because there’s a facebook limit.

Swag is cool and all, but more importantly thanks to the above for taking your time talking to me in a show that is consistently insanely busy, shaking hands and swapping business cards. There’s a whole lot of very good people and businesses represented within that list.

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SHOT Focus – Spiritus Systems Plate Carriers

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Since we’re on a Tubes-related roll, the natural next move is to discuss the Spiritus Systems​ plate carriers. All 3 variants were on show at the MTEK​ booth for what was the first time I’m aware of. Irony is of course they revealed the super slick No-Vis variant well over a year ago and I completely missed it, as did probably many others, but then they didn’t have tactically styled offerings at that point. I’d imagine the main fabric construction may have changed since that time as well, just a guess though.

NV-119The NV-119 It is a lightweight, concealable and minimalist plate carrier. Every feature was carefully thought…

Posted by Spiritus Systems on Sunday, September 25, 2016

Looking around I’ve not actually seen a write-up on these so far, but either way let’s break down the 3 versions.

No-Vis:-

Like the original NV-119 completely slick variant and I do mean completely slick. The cummerbund even Velcros on at the sides instead of on the front of the front plate bag to truly minimise the profile when the PC is hidden under clothing. Better than the LVS? Certainly could be a contender, but that’s for much cooler dudes than me to decide.

As you can see in the picture there is a slot sized for a radio or a couple of mags in the usual place at the edge of the front plate bag (both sides behind the cummerbund), but that’s about it. The stock cummerbund is just plain elastic for the minimum profile and to keep the plates tight to the body. I’d imagine the Bank Robber style will also be an option, maybe even the full on PALS compatible side panels given the famed Spiritus modularity.

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Low-Vis:-

Taking one step up, the next thing one would want after plates will of course be some small load carriage capacity, generally at the front around the abdomen area. Primarily for magazines of ammunition, but if you were to opt for mounting the Micro Fight Mk3 the possibilities are pretty much endless and of course there’s no shortage of compatible placards on the market at this point. Apologies for missing pictures of this model as I clearly got too chatty at the booth, but you can see it here – https://tinyurl.com/yc8osvnp

At this mid level you gain the ability to attach either the Micro Fight or other VelSys spec placards using 1″ buckles, or alternatively the new Spiritus placards. These can be seen on the Tactical carrier being worn by the mannequin. They work much like Crye AVS placards in that there are tails of fabric covered in velcro coming off the top edge which are secured inside the front of the front plate bag. However unlike Crye armour that velcro goes up in to the chest area vs looping back down behind the placard. Consequently the weight is supported higher up and with the way hook and loop works you should gain a little more strength of attachment, as well as absolutely minimising any small potential for the mounted equipment to sag forwards. The webbing loops that allow for attaching 1″ QR buckles can be hidden away behind a horizontal cut in the fabric, just like the JPC 2.0.

I don’t have a picture of the back of the Low-Vis either unfortunately and I can’t fine one online, but you do gain a small loop field on there (colour matched of course) and potentially there are slots for the Spiritus/Direct Action Resource Center LLC​ Rescue Handle, though apologies again I can’t recall if that is the vase. No facility for zip on back panels and no PALS compatibility on the rear either.

High-Vis/Tactical:-

Far as I cold gather naming convention on this model hasn’t quite been finalised, but once the line releases in the next couple of months (hopefully) I’m sure we’ll find out. Zane who’s the Co-Founder and CEO of Spiritus was kind enough to talk me through primarily this entry in the line-up, since it has by far the most features to talk about.

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I’ve covered the placard mounting already and that option of course is exhibited at this top level carrier, but let’s talk fabrics at this juncture. The Spiritus PCs are not just 500D cordura, they do use 500D however it is laminated to/backed with a fabric that’s very new within the tactical gear market. I’m afraid I don’t know what it’s called, what exactly it’s made of or any real in-depth specifics. What I do know is it’s more like a plastic whereas hypalon is a type of rubber, meaning it’s much better for laminated applications and laser cutting vs hypalon. It will melt and bond with the cordura whereas Hypalon will not. I’ve only ever seen this fabric in black, which is why companies laminate it to 500D cordura, which is of course available in dozens of colours and camo patterns. The biggest selling point probably has to be the strength though. The mil-spec standard bar-tack on traditional PALS will, according to Zane, by design break away at around 250-300lbs. Spiritus have apparently tested the load bearing through slots cut in this fabric and the force applied needs to be more like 650-700lbs before a break occurs.

Now, personally I reckon I’ve seen this new wonder fabric already on the latest models form C2R-Fast​ and you can see those pictures with some other info in my DSEI coverage from mid 2017. Whether it’s the exact same stuff I cannot comment for certain but the properties described certainly line up, that much I can say. I’m also not 100% as to whether the same fabric will be used on all variants, but it would likely be a safe bet.

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As for cummerbunds the aforementioned slick elastic and Bank Robber styles should would with the Hi-Vis PC and there is of course a full skeletonised type available for mounting any PALS pouches the end user would like. It’s somewhat stiffened horizontally on the inside (presumably with plastic) and as is shown comes in at least 2 variants; standard hook and loop closure or (!) FirstSpear​ Tubes. That feature alone made this rig go from outstanding to bloody excellent in my personal estimation. Also note the webbing loops to attach the male Tube portion tuck away inside the front plate bag as you can see there on the mannequin. The cord used on the Tubes isn’t quite the standard, it’s a textured type that I’ve only seen previously on dinghies and windsurfing kit, so the grip in adverse conditions ought to be more than adequate.

Also note on the front of the PC there are circular holes for bungee to attach PTTs or route comms and hydro directly astride the (naturally) colour matched loop field on the chest. What the diagonal cuts just barely visible behind the placard are intended for I don’t yet know, but hopefully Spiritus will be able to answer that down the line. The insides of each plate bag appear to be tweave much like the insides of a JPC, but again that’s just an educated guess on my part based on handling a few different fabrics over the years. Back panels again I’m afraid I’ve little information on right now, the zip specs are apparently proprietary which is a shame, so hopefully there will be one panel just for hydro then a couple of options for hydro/breaching tool + GP space and mag pouches or some type of grenade pouches. All the usual configurations that different end users will be looking for.

I’ve got no info on pricing at this time, the mentions I’ve seen to availability talk about a release around end of Q1 and the rigs on display certainly don’t look incomplete or in any way like prototypes. The much earlier NV-119 I linked near the start of the article was apparently priced very cheaply indeed, but given the fabrics used here and the stitching quality I’d not be at all surprised at $300-350+ for the Hi-Vis/Tactical variant. That’s as a package with a cummerbund anyway, I also fully expect Spiritus to list these on the site with all the actual plate bags, cummerbunds, placard and back panels all broken down completely separately and no doubt there will be other small accessories coming along with the release.

SHOT Focus – Raine Tactical Tubes Bridger

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Given my fairly long history of talking about FirstSpear gear, from the point they were initially revealed as a company back around 2001/11 (put out my first video on the Strandhogg in 2012) right up to now. So the first item I’ll be specifically highlighting from SHOT was at the Raine Inc./ITS Tactical booth.

First off, who are Raine? Largely they OEM manufacture for other folks. Cutting the fabrics, doing all the sewing and the myriad other processes that go in to actually making an item of tactical soft goods. Prime example is that they make most of the nylon gear that is sold through the ITS online store like the infamous trauma kit pouches. Nothing ITS sell is anything short of top spec so clearly Raine do a very good job.

http://www.raineinc.com/catalog/index.php

So what exactly is this new widget related to FirstSpear gear? I saw it first, as per usual, when Soldier Systems Daily posted to share Raine’s Kickstarter for what I believe they are currently calling their (Tubes) Bridger, though that name may well be changing. It’s been in development for quite some time and in a way I’m surprised this is the first attempt at bringing such a device or component to the market.

https://www.kickstarter.com/…/molle-cover-for-tubestm-cumme…

The FS Tubes are fantastic in myriad ways and certainly for the manner in which I setup my gear for recreational use I’ve never had any complaints with them at all. On split-front chest rigs I’ve also never seen any critique of them, as the Tube will take up the same space that a zip would, or even less space than 1″ QR buckles mounted horizontally across the front of the torso. However, some people out there using plate/armour carriers have requirements or desires to mount pouches in the areas where the Tubes delete roughly 2 PALS columns on the cummerbund. The original version of the FS cummerbund did leave a gap in soft armour coverage with no way to attach any equipment either inside or outside of the Tube, but the latest overlap variant addresses both the armour gap and mounting surface internally; external mounting however remains impossible. This is the niche Raine are aiming to fill.

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There’s a 3 sided aluminium thick-wire frame which is the foundation of the Bridger, the 2 sides which lay horizontally are curved to stay in keeping with the curvature of the cummerbund going around the body. The frame allows the cordura wrapping to essentially float the PALS compatible surface over the top of the Tube. I think there may then be another separate nylon piece made of grosgrain which is then finally secured and cinched in to place using a pair of thick zip ties, though despite spending a long time examining the setup Bridgers at the booth I’m still not 100% crystal on every detail. That said I have pledged via the Kickstarter, so I’ll have my own shortly after the first batch goes out, at which point I’ll get all the details fully nailed down and a blog post or video published to explain everything.

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If anyone’s thinking ‘Zip ties?? That’s ghetto’ please rest assured that good quality, thickly moulded zip ties are more than adequate in strength for use on PPE. Anyone who’s used them will know just how tough they are and how well they’ll cut in to a hand when under tension. Basically every military aircraft in service right now makes extensive use of hundreds of cable ties to secure essential wiring looms and various other things that frankly, aren’t worth thinking about. This is also version 1.0, one of the questions I made sure to ask was regards future revisions and upgrades and this is quite literally a perfect example case of the potential for design improvements down the line, when commonly available OTS items like the cable ties can be replaced with bespoke polymer parts by manufacturers like ITW as production numbers ramp up.

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I’ve included pictures of the Bridgers mounted both on FS PCs and on a new chest rig Raine Tac are also planning to release. Whether this system will work on FirstSpear’s own chest rigs that use Tube closure I don’t yet know, but I’ll be checking using my own gear to that find out.

I’m presuming that appropriate cordage and heat shrink is included with each Bridger in order for the end user to extend the release tab on their Tubes such that they remain usable. When trying the gear out at Raine’s booth I found the force required to open the Tube is very slightly increased, but not by much and I have no concerns as to function under stress or in an emergency. I think there may be very small potential for getting hold of the cord to be slightly more difficult, but realistically only if it were tucked between pouches of sufficient bulk.

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The laser cut slots are apparently loop backed to maintain compatibility with 6/12 pockets, though the cordura is wrapped and stitched so tightly around the aluminium frame I was unable to ascertain that for myself during the show. How easy mounting 6/12 pockets will be given that the cordura wrap is permanently stitched in place I’m not sure, since the user will not have access to the rear face of the cordura as they would with the vast majority of FirstSpear platforms. I’m confident the tabs can be routed through then simply pressed down from the other side through the cordura, given how thin the Bridger is, but again that’s something else to test and check for myself. I’ll also be double checking that pouches can be mounted to the slots on the cummerbund through which the metal frame is inserted.

Overall I’m just very pleased to see this product coming to market despite it not necessarily fitting my personal needs as I’m greatly looking forward to trying it out regardless. I think a lot of other folks out there be they Military, Police or otherwise will also be happy by this design and the added mounting space in a crucial area that is afforded by using it. There’s no denying it adds a little bulk and weight to the carrier and there are potential design improvements, but these are still incredibly early days.

ATAC Global Range 2018

As I have all 3 years at SHOT I attended the FirstSpear range day on the Monday, which was excellent as usual. It’s small but the guns available to shoot are always top notch, as are the gear manufacturers displaying at the venue. This year I also travelled all the way from the location (that wasn’t too far from the California state line) through Vegas and up to Nellis Air Force base to the North-East of town to check out the ATAC Global range day. It is a larger affair it must be said, however only active military, LE, emergency responders and certain other people who are integral in the firearms industry can attend.

Although not within the confines of the base itself, the ranges used by ATAC are part of the land that is owned by the USAF station, so sadly no pictures or video were allowed without a media badge and I don’t think I would’ve had the credentials for that, so I paid about $25 for a normal ticket and used my MOD 90 in conjunction when showing up in my Uber. I’d only been made aware of the fact this range day was even in existence when speaking to somebody back in 2016 when first attending SHOT, though I have to apologise to them if they’re reading as I can’t recall who it was now.

Without any imagery I’ll do my best to give some brief description of what I was able to shoot, as there were quite a few interesting weapons and systems on show.

First off Aimpoint AB had a stand and you were given 3 mags of 10 frangible rounds to go through the stand, first shooting a LaRue Tactical AR-15 with the latest CompM5 dot, then using a magnifier, but then things got REALLY interesting with the Aimpoint ‘Concealed Engagement Unit’ which is something I posted about during DSEI.

https://www.aimpoint.com/product/aimpoint-ceu/

The shooter holds their rifle perpendicular to the body, with the stock on the outside of the firing hand elbow, even though one would naturally expect to press the butt pad against the inside of the bicep. Holding the weapon around waist or chest height you then look down through the CEU and will see a smaller version of a regular sight picture, looking through the accompanying red dot sight. Firing at steel targets at 20-50m was quite honestly the strangest shooting experience I’ve ever had and somewhat scary in a way because the FOV through the optic is rather narrow. I didn’t have a wall to shoot around, so I had to really keep my wits about me in terms of not losing the steel targets through the sight and then potentially rotating too far in searching for them, only to end up pointing a ready firearm somewhere I shouldn’t. I took my time however and with the very light recoil of the AR hitting the targets was far easier than expected.

Next up was the B&T stand and this was my first time shooting anything they make. Starting with the USW – Universal Service Weapon:

https://www.bt-ag.ch/…/bt-universal-service-weapon–usw-a1-…

The USW is certainly one of the best ideas in the realm of firearms for police I’ve seen in a while. It’s pretty much a Sphinx Pistol, which itself now comes under the KRISS USA banner. The USW however has a very different frame, with a hollow area at the rear to both mount the unique Aimpoint NANO in a fixed manner and also fully encapsulate the moving slide such that the shooter cannot get whacked in the nose.

The stock is thin and not super rigid with a small contact area for the shoulder, though it weighs almost nothing being plastic and does an impressively good job for how slim it is. The overall package is probably less than 2″ longer than a normal service or duty sized pistol, only very slightly bulkier and heavier but the the effectiveness at range is superb. I could easily hit targets presented (slightly smaller than the average torso) out to around 50-60m with reasonable speed even though the area for the support hand to grip is minimal since there’s no foregrip. With the stock folded you’ve got a gun that holsters pretty normally and shoots just like a normal handgun, except the red dot doesn’t cycle and sight picture is easily maintained. By flipping out the stock I’d say you instantly gain the equivalent of years of training and many thousands of rounds in shooting practice by simply adding that point of contact and taking almost all muzzle rise out of the weapon.

Following the USW was a few rounds out of the APC:

https://www.bt-ag.ch/…/bt-apc9a…/bt-smg-apc9-cal-9-x-19-mm-2

Being a compact 9mm carbine there’s not a lot I can really say. You pick it up and certainly feel the construction quality, the recoil is of course barely there even with the plastic lower. It’s a straight blowback, however it fires from the closed bolt, which is certainly the better choice these days. Austrian national SWAT use the APC as their primary weapon in sub-gun form according to B&T’s site. Far as I know this is one of B&Ts more recent designs and it certainly feels more practical compared to the tiny little MP9.

Next up Leupold Optics were showing off their Mark 5 scope on an Accuracy International Ltd .338 AXMC rifle.

http://www.accuracyinternational.com/ax-rifle-systems/

At a guess the target was a circle around 14″ + or -, range of around 500-600m given the heat haze visible. This was my first time ever behind a bolt-action rifle with a magnified optic shooting at any distance at all (previously only rented similar rifles indoors at BF Vegas), also essentially my first time shooting .338LM, but I connected a couple of times at least with 5 rounds so frankly I was happy. There were long queues at every shooting station as you might imagine, so it wasn’t a case of taking a minute/as long as necessary to line up each and every shot.

Then Overwatch Precision let me put a few rounds through one of their modified Glocks and this was my cherry time shooting a mounted Trijicon Electro Optics RMR.

http://overwatchprecision.com/

It’s certainly harder than the USW or ALG 6-Second but it’s also easier and just nicer all around vs irons, that much is certain.

Next station was a cool combination of an American Built Arms Company556 bolt action rifle with an Oakwood Controls computer system.

https://www.abarms.com/MOD-X-Rifle-Remington-…/abamxr308.htm

Far as I could tell the target was just normal wood/paper, but via some sort of magical setup of microphones at the base of the target, the laptop screen next to the gun was showing exactly where the holes were being made, as if I’d walked down there myself to check. Very, very cool and probably a tool that enthusiast long-range shooters will be getting in to more and more in the coming years.

Following this I came across the Lewis Machine & Tool Company (LMT)stand and they had simply too many rifles to choose from:

https://lmtdefense.com/firearms/mrp

I saw a magazine that said .224 Valkyrie and since that’s the new hotness that was my choice. I was handed a fairly long barreled AR-15, around 22″ and unfortunately they hadn’t got it quite zero’d, so I had no idea where the rounds were going in relation to the reticule, just had to fire and see how the recoil felt. Couldn’t deny there was a little bit more of a snap than normal 556, but .224 is touted as the short action version of 6.5 Creedmoor and that cartridge has gained enormous traction over .308 in the long range precision shooting community. The Valkyrie cartridge also has a vaguely similar appearance to .338LM with a fat, stubby case and seemingly disproportionately narrow bullet, so there’s a distinctly stout charge behind that .22 calibre and the long bullet to increase contact surface with the barrel.

Barrett had their ‘240 Lightweight’ out and given how much time I spend elbow deep in GPMGs I had to take the time to wait in line and fire that.

https://barrett.net/firearms/240lw/

Despite the somewhat skeletal look, the recoil seemed slightly less than the FN MAG variants I’m used to. The stock actually adjusts, there’s a handguard for firing when not prone which is far better than holding the folded bi-pod and somehow no rivets on the receiver, which I can tell you is the biggest critical failing point on old MAGs.

Lastly (before someone sadly blew a whistle and shut everything down) I found the GLOCK 19x, which feels like a fairly mild shooting Glock, but is still a Glock. There was another really cool target system at this stage with pop up paper targets presenting at roughly 5, 7 and 10m. At the end of the string of fire one of the guys at the stand had a display on his tablets showing exactly when and where you’d place your shots. The time was tight with only maybe 2-3 seconds per exposure but again being a total novice pistol shooter I managed to get 1 or 2 centre/inner ring hits on each one in decent timings.

Annoyingly I was right next to the H&K stands when the cease-fire whistle went at dead on half 4 and those guys had the 417A2, MG4 and MG5 and a whole bunch of other really sweet guns out. Alas.