Aimpoint at DSEI

The new M5 was on display in conjunction with the T1 and 2, their larger models like the PRO, 3x and 6x magnifiers and the CEU (Concealed Engagement Unit).

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The new M5 is powered by common AAAs rather than the harder to find (especially in war torn nations) lithium button cells of the T1 and 2. I made sure to move a T-2 in to shot for size comparison, it’s basically just the battery housing that’s longer, though they’ve added some sacrificial lenses and with the screw cap on the AAA housing now being much smaller the o-rings are smaller and you have waterproof guarantee to a greater depth. I have to say even if I was looking at it as a commercial user, the tiny amount of peripheral vision you lose with the M5 would be worth it just to never have to worry about buying a specific battery to only use in one piece of kit.

The medium and heavy support weapon MPS3 red dot is something I’ve looked at but never in detail. The large silver lever allows the user to quickly switch between 3 different range/elevation zero settings by moving the entire mount base (like a SUSAT) rather than having to move the dot within the FOV through the optic. Far more rugged system suitable for substantially recoiling weapons. Also compatible with all the QD/Flip-to-Side mounted magnifiers to get the most out of those heavy, long range cartridges.

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MOE-Back Thursday – Illumination

Bit of a throwback for this one, but if you have any of the pre M-LOK Magpul Industries Corp. furniture laying around like I do, I recommend looking at these MOE Illumination Kits.

I don’t think it gained as much traction as it deserved because it wasn’t ‘gucci’ compared to the quad rails that used to be all the rage around the same time period, but I think the MOE slots (which were universally interchangeable in sizing) were a superb system. As long as you weren’t trying to mount a laser that needed a zero, it took a little chopping and cutting sometimes but you could create a super light, slick and all over smooth setup for the forend of your rifle. Light mounts, pressure switches, sling mounts, foregrips, rails for anything else, all catered to and all meshed together in a genuinely organic fashion.

The joins between a VFG and the handguard for example were/are infinitely smoother and more comfortable than anything you’d get with 20mm picatinny. Yes you had to screw things on and it’s not as quick as M-LOK, but if you did a little digging you could find manufacturers making parts to suit basically any configuration you wanted, especially once the system had matured a bit and Impact Weapons Components [Official Fan Page] got in on the game.

If you still have any of the old MOE handguards, the PTS replicas thereof, or any model of the PTS ACR/Masada airsoft rifle and you want to get a nice light mount setup going on, this kit is excellent. Comes with 2 different pic rail pieces that can mount any popular weapon light with built in clamps for picatinny, remote pressure switch clamps for current and old (very old) styles of SureFire, LLC tail switches, as well as alcohol pads for surface prep and seriously strong ahesives to get those rubber pads 100% secured.

I’m a huge fan of the SureFire switch when setup as pictured there on my AEG ACR forend. It barely sits more than 3-4mm proud of the surface, integrates nigh-on seamlessly and the overall ergonomics of actually manipulating that switch are just an absolute dream.

The tricky part about actually finishing some of my recent airsoft builds is the little details. The larger parts that really change up the weight, feel and aesthetic are comparatively easier to decide on and get hold of, but it took more hunting around for the smaller touches that make something genuinely different (at least to the eye of the keen observer). Manufacturers by and large tend to ship out rifles with all sorts of different stocks, grips and forends but usually it’s fictional stuff, and even if the small items like the trigger and selector aren’t just the plain old USGI designs then again it’s usually not a pattern that really exists on a firearm and I’m not personally a fan of that look.

The other aspect is that airsoft brands copy firearm products more than people realise, it’s not as common now but historically it happened a lot and they just never put the original name to the item to save themselves legal hassle. So again tracking down that replica part takes a lot of trawling and you have to have the prerequisite knowledge. A couple of stores I like for these small parts and accessories are ehobbyasia.com in Hong Kong and Dave’s Custom Airsoft LTD here in the UK. At the time of writing eHobby actually carry some quality gear like G-Code Holsters and a lot of other items that US stores won’t let you export as an individual because of the pointlessly over-reaching arse covering exercise that is elements of ITAR, so that’s handy.

One thing I’ll say is I strongly recommend avoiding APS like the plague. I’d always gotten the impression just from the look of their stuff online and the pricing that the quality would be pretty dire and my suspicions were thoroughly confirmed. I figured hey it’s an anti-rotation link for an AEG, purely cosmetic item so why not? Now I may have a biased view because of my work, but the metal on these things is in my opinion the living embodiment of that old trope when they say something is “made of cheese”. The no-name ACM charging handles also took work on the dremel to fit my particular RIFs but I almost prefer that in a way, it’s a lot more satisfying when they eventually fit and work. That said, if higher quality alternatives were common and stocked widely I’d opt for them. They generally aren’t however because that market is fairly dead these days in the realm of AEGs.

Skulls Everywhere

Thanks to MilSpecMonkey for letting me take a look at their new grey-to-end-all-greys on a pretty sweet Raw Hoodie, I’m hoping the colour might expand to some other gear because I’m a fan already I have to say. It’s not the first coyote/RG/grey style colour mix on an apparel piece it has to be said, but it’s nicely done and well researched. I don’t think any brands will move away from the bluer ‘Wolf’ shade now they’ve sunk money in to getting all the fabrics made; not soon anyway. But I know MSM has shown this new colour to FirstSpear and FS aren’t afraid of trying new things, so fingers crossed.

Also featuring Bravo Company USA, ITS Tactical, G-Code Holsters,Centurion Arms and Crye (duh).

Aero Bubbles

As promised, issues I ran in to trying to alter the Krytac (and one shot of some of the markings with my macro lens just because I had it out).

I’m not saying I’m perfect or the very most skilled technician in the world, is there a chance this stuff could’ve been avoided? Yeah maybe, but when I do jobs I do them properly and both broken parts failed extremely easily, far more quickly than anything else I’ve worked on. Is the receiver issue unique to Krytac? No there’s barely any airsoft ARs out there which use decently graded aluminium, Systema receivers are the same ‘alloy’ and we all know the price difference there. Hopefully these shots do a good job of showcasing what these parts are actually made of once you get inside them (for those who’ve never seen a receiver break).

Krytac referred me to Shield Airsoft with regards getting a new lower, I’ve contacted them but no reply thus far, so “we’ll see” on that one.

I’ve pretty much decided that as cool as it is to replicate the War Sport rifle so closely, it’s pretty much impossible to get this AEG 100% correct so I might as well improve the weight distribution and handling by changing the rail out. Plain black, with M-LOK and the WS bungees threaded in as a homage to the original.

Either something like this to maintain that scooped front end look:
https://tinyurl.com/m7fsjum

Or I’ll just go with whatever is the lightest most fancy looking M-LOK freefloat tube I can get my hands on. This V Seven Weapons has been on my list for a while:
https://tinyurl.com/n8ef9jn

Battle Arms Development and Faxon Firearms also have some really cool options recently released but these really light tubes are so damn popular and manufactured in fairly small batches that it’s not easy to find them in stock. The great thing about a rear-wired AEG and modern LiPos in the buffer tube means that once I’ve re-threaded the upper to firearm spec the world’s my oyster in terms of rail selection.

Minty Fresh

For those who prefer the gear stuff, trust me I’ve still got a TON of that to post. But I’ve not paid any attention to my fake guns for a good year+ now so they’re getting some well overdue work and updates. I fit firearms parts wherever I can and it’s legal so if you’re interested in customising shooters, you might like these posts as well. There’s a bit of something for everyone really.

So.. I’ve done this that many times before I really thought I’d not have any trouble changing up the Krytac LVOA to better resemble the earlier models that War Sport manufactured. That was naive of me.

Making the pick’n’mix B5 Systems stock wasn’t too bad, the spring pin in the latch on the black stock was pretty darn stubborn, but once I’d gotten it properly cranked in to the vice it came out ok. The end result fits basically perfectly on the Krytac buffer tube. Said buffer tube also came off without drama so I can switch out the awful factory sling plate for something much better. Going from the USGI magazine catch to the ambi type was also luckily smooth and trouble free. That’s where the good times end.

To change the selectors obviously the gearbox has to come out, meaning the pistol grip has to come off (itself being changed in the process). This process fell at the first hurdle because the two tiny crossheads holding on the motor base plate were honestly the cheapest, weakest metal I’ve encountered. I just about managed to get one out, but despite using a perfectly fitting driver and applying a ton of pressure to prevent any slippage, the other head is totally destroyed. Why they needed to be so tight in the first place I’ve no idea.

In a more expected area, I’m now lacking one of the ears on the lower that holds the spring pin for the rear of the trigger guard – snapped clean off. I supported the area as one should when changing trigger guards but the spring pin was an insanely tight fit and seemingly the force required to move it was too much. How this company is putting “Aluminium alloy receivers” as an advantageous bullet point in their product descriptions I don’t know. It is normal for airsoft ARs, but the inside of these receivers looks like heavily sintered metal, it’s closer to an Aero bar inside than proper metal (I’ll be posting pictures don’t worry).

Off to Homebase tomorrow for cutting accessories to put a flat head slot in to the ruined screw head and some sort of epoxy to carefully rebuild the trigger guard attachment. I can’t imagine that Krytac sells just the lowers and even if they did they will no doubt be totally disproportionately priced compared to the full gun. It’ll be annoying having that crack line in the lower, but luckily the metal is so rough and bobbly inside whatever glue I use should bind pretty well.

I also had the gun on the scales last night. Weighs just over half a kilo less than some of my TM recoil M4s, yet because such a huge proportion of the weight is held in the fat-ass rail, when aimed it manages to actually feel substantially heavier than my Maruis. After going through so much time, effort and money to replicate some tiny details of the real War Sport guns I’m very much on the fence about changing to any aftermarket rail. However there are so many super light ones out there using carbon fibre and super skeletonised 6065, it’s hard not to want to change things up and say to hell with replicating anything.

Back End Blues

Good service from Eagle6 Airsoft.

One of my TM EBB/Recoil guns has been lacking a sling plate on the back of the lower receiver for some time and the threads on the buffer tube were starting to look a little tired. Extremely specific parts like this are far from common compared to generic AR-15 AEG parts and having them available here in the UK is pretty handy indeed. Props to E6 on quick shipping and having such a good range of stock available.

Just remember when doing a job like this on any recoiling gun, proper tools to ensure you get things properly tightened are key. I also use blue loctite on all my gas and electric blowback replicas any time I install anything that’s held in place with screws. It works well on real rifles and it’s not expensive to get on eBay so adding a dab on your threads is far preferable to having your gun shake apart and break or shed parts.

MOE-SL on TM

Modified some Magpul Industries Corp. MOE-SL Mid length handguards the other day.

Needed a new forend for one on my Tokyo Marui ‘SOCOM’ M4s (NGRS with the front wiring) and simple plastic handguards definitely fit the bill.  Plenty of space inside and easy to open up for access. The metal heat shield needed removing from these however in order to create enough space for a battery, which turned out to be no easy task. The rivets used to hold in the shield were both extremely tight and made of seriously tough stuff; yet at the same time loose enough that when I tried to drill them out, they simply span.  Holding the tails on the back face while drilling was a difficult job even for 2 people.  I tried a Dremel bit with embedded diamond dust, however the rivet metal just ground off the diamond and cut in to the metal of the dremel bit in a matter of seconds.

Got there eventually with a combination of drilling followed by a hefty hammer and punch. Cleaned up the holes by drilling out the scuffed up portions with a larger diameter drill bit and scraping out any flash left over.  With a fake mid-length gas system on a 12.5″ Dytac barrel using a standard delta ring and standard circular handguard cap behind a low-pro gas block, the fit is absolutely solid. Not nearly as gucci looking as a freefloat rail system, but this setup is light and enables a solid direct connection between the LiPo and the workings of the gun, as well as permitting usage of basically any stock.

MOE Money Less Problems

Are you still loving these titles?  Bet you are.

 

Despite being basically obsolete in the firearms world at the time I bought it, this MOE Scout mount from Magpul Industries Corp. has worked well for me. The MOE slots were the obvious precursor to the powerhouse that has become the M-LOK mounting solution. Though they weren’t nearly as slick of a system as M-LOK overall (having to bolt things on old school stylee) they received a good bit of support from Magpul in terms of compatible accessories over the course of their life span. If you’ve still got any old MOE handguards or an ACR, whether it’s PTS or Magpul Industries, you can buy some really affordable little adapter pieces that do allow you bolt new M-LOK accessories to those older platforms.

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Now as far as my RIF collection is concerned my PTS ACR that’s been internally re-worked by LCs Engineering Outpost is probably my most trusted workhorse, or at the least it’s the rifle best suited to extended type games. I’ve kept a plastic handguard up front to minimise weight and fit the ergonomics to my personal taste, but of course the MOE slots aren’t quite as easy to work with compared to picatinny when it comes to building a light/switching setup to cover all conditions.

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I’d perhaps advocate for a metal mount when it comes to a combat or duty weapon, but honestly I don’t think a small piece of aluminium is actually guaranteed to be much stronger than this reinforced structure of Magpul’s proprietary plastic blend. The MOE scout mount incorporates the holes for SureFire, LLC Scout series lights, as well as the after market bodies for those lights sold by Arisaka and Haley Strategic Partners. They also cut in a picatinny slot so simple bolt on lights such as the INFORCE WML can go right on there and if I recall correctly rings were available to snap on a handheld, so you’re really covered from every conceivable angle.

https://flic.kr/p/QrtY4A

Given the extremely low cost, almost non-existent weight and solid mounting, I think it’s truly an outstanding option. If you’re in the market now, the newer M-LOK equivalents that are currently produced have basically all the same qualities.