Skirmish Report – West Midlands Airsoft

First airsoft game since the summer yesterday, I’ve stepped away from the game itself to a certain extent but when opportunities come up to play at sites that look good and with a good bunch of people there’s no denying it’s a good bit of exercise, gets you practicing manipulation skills that are cross-applicable and generally out of the house away from the screens for a bit. Plus of course for me it’s about seeing whether this kit actually work.

First off thanks to Femme Fatale Airsoft for hosting me, we’ve got a collaborative type of video coming up focused on a subject I’ve been meaning to showcase on video for literally years but couldn’t get done without access to somewhere (like an airsoft site) in which it was possible to run around with RIFs.

Second I’d have to give a pretty solid thumbs up to the High Command site in Birmingham run by West Midlands Airsoft. If you like to emphasise the C in CQB type gameplay it’s definitely an indoor location you’ll want to to add to your shortlist. Dark enough to add some nuance to the possible tactics and equipment without making you feel the need to strap on too much money in NVGs. It was a quiet day player number wise which is generally a bonus for compact indoor sites anyway. Did get a little too quiet towards the end after some folks had to go, but that’s no fault of the site. Overall I’d have to say some of the friendliest and most honest players I’ve encountered in the past ~13 years of playing, extremely good sportsmanship on display. Well furnished safe zone, well equipped shop. The lunch was one of the few areas I’d say could be improved compared to some I’ve had, but then equally plenty of sites don’t provide anything and I’m really nit picking at this point. Personally I was more than happy with all the other aspects of the site that actually matter, very good bunch of staff/marshalls.

I’ll be losing possession of the Urban-Track BDU set quite soon sadly, however again a really huge and genuine thank you to Kit Badger for the loan, all around one of the soundest blokes on the planet. If you’re here because you like the way I look at kit you need to be following him for sure because he actually goes outdoors a lot and has his own firearms.

This game was the first time I’d worn a standard BDU set in longer than I can really remember. If the floors weren’t so smooth I know I’d have really missed having integrated knee pads and having to tuck in a shirt with pockets down low on the abdomen is just awful, not to mention no arm velcro. That all pales in comparison of course to the magical powers imbued by wearing a camo pattern this cool. On a serious note though, of course a basic uniform like this actually works more than perfectly well for myriad purposes. You can easily strap on some standard knee pads, sew on loop and unpick pockets on shirts (if desired) for hardly any cost.

First time for the The Redback Company Timmy hat in game as well as the Noisefighters Ear cups, theFirstSpear LLC Multi-mag with speed reload kit, ALG Defense V2 EMR and mounting the Spiritus Systems Micro Fight as a PC placard. The cap performed spot on as expected and there were Magflash rounds getting thrown around in BFGs so the improved seal of the Noisefighters on the Peltors was 100% welcome. I find I’ve no need for the extra front pouch on a chest rig when PC mounted for what I carry in a game, which is why my custom placard is only a single cell, but in fairness that pouch adds minimal bulk to the front of the rig and one thing I’m continually surprised by is how much I’ve grown to like the Spiritus elastic triple 556 insert. I still like plastic alternatives if they’re properly mounted, but the Spiritus elastic is performing incredibly well and I’m not left with even the slightest feeling as if I’m equipped with an inferior competitor. The elastic actually has sound levels and low profile very much on its’ side vs the KYWI/MP2.

Second time out with the SKD Tactical Deltas which I don’t think will be beaten any time soon in the realm of a tactical glove when it comes to comfort and most crucially dexterity, not to mention the touch screen compatibility. The MBAV cut Strandhogg with the Tubes is still superb of course and the G-Code Holsters SOC rig and ESS (Eye Safety Systems)Turbofans never let me down.

11.5″ BCM x Geissele AR AEG

If you missed part 1 of this 2-part little showcase be sure to take a look over the earlier entry via the link below, as it details the base gun that was used to build the one I’ll outline here, as well as the ‘sister’ to this build:

14.5″ Airsoft BCM-KMR Build

The 11.5″ barrel is without a doubt the more practical option when put up against the 14.5.  In an electric airsoft gun there’s no significant difference in range, accuracy or muzzle energy with a slightly shortened barrel, however the weight is decreased and ability to manoeuvre in tight spaces goes up significantly.  If I am going out to engage in fake wars I far prefer indoor and close-up sites and I’ve found myself in areas barely wider than my shoulders before now, places where a 14.5″ M4 style setup was actually far from ideal.  The smaller rifle is just handier and more manageable in essentially every conceivable situation.

This specific RIF has been through 2 iterations with me, the second being a smaller change in terms of numbers of parts, but still significant in terms of adjustments in handling.  Originally I wanted to replicate a real BCM upper and thought that the wide ranging versatility of a quad rail would be a good call if I ever purchased an IR laser, so I picked up a Centurion Arms C4 10″.  This was before the release of the MCMR line of handguards of course and even though the C4 is nice and light for a quad I realised it was a bad choice as soon as I got it in my hands.  I’ve written a piece that is both a review of the C4 and my thoughts on the obsolescence of quad rails that I’d strongly encourage you to check out if you’ve missed it previously as some learning most certainly took place on my part.  Doubly recommended if you’re contemplating which type of handguard to buy for your next AR build (firearm, airsoft or otherwise):

Centurion C4 (A Quad Rail? Srsly??)

From factory configuration, the stock and pistol grip were changed over from basic, black PTS MOE gear to a BCM Gunfighter (non-SOPMOD) and Dytac replica of the BCM Mod 3 respectively, the Dytac motor housing fortunately being a pretty close facsimile for the proper BCM grey colouring.  The SureFire brake replica was substituted for a King Arms replica of a BCM Compensator in the process; replica on account of the proprietary threading on AEG barrels and illegality of fitting some real muzzle devices to airsoft guns in the UK.

I also had a Gunfighter Mod 3 vert grip fitted to the C4 alongside a Magpul QD Paraclip adapter, which of course pairs up with the PTS ASAP sling plate that VFC/Avalon mounted to the lower receiver at the factory.

As mentioned above and outlined in the review of the C4 however, the quad rail simply isn’t in line with what I want these days and when I saw the Geissele MK14 first at DSEi 2016 it became clear my first Geissele rail purchase was on the horizon.  I’d handled one of their earlier products prior to M-LOK which no doubt many folks will remember, and they were popular forends (especially on the 416), but they weren’t particularly light and they were egregiously bulky, so even given the extremely strong reputation for quality I never took the plunge.  The Marks 14, 15, 16 and 17 from Geissele are still a little heavier and wider on average than you would tend to see on a civilian AR but then again they’re all very much leaning towards the military and LE side of the market.  The barrel nuts are longer then industry norms to better counter leverage forces and there’s just more aluminium than usual in every area.  Particularly around the mounting screws as you probably will have noticed upon first looking at the pictures.

The anti-rotational nature of the QD sockets on the MK14 prevents the Magpul adapter being mounted at the desired angle so I went for the ever reliable RSA instead.  At the moment there’s an Arisaka Scout body sandwiched between SureFire head and tail all attached to an Arisaka inline M-LOK mount that will soon be swapped over to their Offset mount in order to bring everything closer together.  The SureFire SR07 is, to my mind, peerless as far as remote switches go.  Instant access to momentary light from either shoulder when mounted at the 12 o/clock, with the constant-on switch requiring only a small movement of the thumb to manipulate.

The Type 2 M-LOK covers from Magpul are ironically in place to protect against cold rather than heat.  An airsoft gun generates no heat when fired of course, but a bare or thinly-gloved hand will be sapped of warmth very quickly during the winter when in tight contact with an aluminium handguard.  It also never hurts to protect your M-LOK slots on a rail that costs hundreds by adding some plastic covers that cost about $12.

Actually fitting the MK14 to an AEG is something I’ll leave for the review of the forend itself, but sufficed to say it required a mill and some very careful work along with diligent hunting of some replacement screws in the correct spec.  All that said, aside from the internals of the gun (which I find deathly boring in electric RIFs) or optics/lasers, there’s nothing left that I’ll be changing at this point.  I consider the primary ergonomic/interfacing parts of any rifle to be the handguard and pistol grip and both of those are as good as I can get them.  The controls are all basic AR fare but that’s all pretty good out of the box on even the most basic military type M16.

Overall a pretty lightweight configuration that’s nice and short with more than enough pic rail and M-LOK space for a full suite of NV-compatible modern accessories (if desired).  Nothing outside the box here really, no carbon fibre or ambi-everything or short stroke gas system – but then the Mk18 also has none of that stuff and people go loopy for those things for some reason or another.

In SBR or Braced pistol format I think the real firearm equivalent (if also built on a BCM) would make a superb carbine for any defensive purpose or in police usage.  Maybe not the absolute ideal for hunting or competition, but absolutely capable of being used in both to a moderate level at least.

14.5″ Airsoft BCM-KMR Build

One of my VFC/Avalon AR-15 type AEGs, from factory condition to present day.

I originally picked up a pair of these VFC guns (which were some of the first under the Avalon brand name) back in summer 2013.  At the time I’d noticed a distinct trend amongst manufacturers of AR-15 style AEGs to move from realistic markings, such as Colt, over to fictional ‘trades’.  As it it turned out my gut was right and shortly after I purchased these 2 it came to a point where you almost couldn’t buy airsoft ARs with any realistic or licensed trademarks, certainly not from any decent quality brands that I was actually interested in.  As of 2018 things have swung somewhat the other way of course and the total lack of realistic AR replicas has caused something of a resurgence of interest in non-fiction replicas, though the market is most definitely not back where it was 6 or so years ago.

In their stock format these RIFs featured steel Surefire type muzzle brakes, mid-length faux gas systems with USGI type A-frame gas blocks, a full set of PTS MOE furniture to include handguard, pistol grip, trigger guard and stock, full BCM markings on the uppers and lowers, anti-rotation pins, Battle Arms style selectors, Gunfighter charging handles, PTS ASAP plates and BCM style rear BUIS.  They also have a very odd feature in the gearbox for adjusting FPS whereby you adjust a grub screw that deliberately bleeds air from the cylinder as the piston compresses, though personally I find the internals of electric airsoft guns entirely uninteresting and I’ve not changed them much at all from stock.  Otherwise they are functionally very much run of the mill mid-teens electric guns.

The biggest change to the gun that I kept at 14.5″ barrel length (the other being changed to 11.5″) was the original Bravo Company Manufacturing KeyMod Rail.  These were the days when the skinny freefloat tube was really climbing to a position of market dominance and cleaning up quad pic rails.  However the older style tubes with threaded holes for accessory mounting, such as those made popular by Troy and Midwest, were now being killed off by the rise of KeyMod.

My KMR however is not the currently-offered Alpha which is of an all aluminium construction, it is the original type (i.e. no Alpha suffix) which is constructed of an aluminium-magnesium blend with a surface coating applied using a plasma deposition process.  Quad pic rails were still fairly commonly seen floating around in both the civilian and military spheres at the time when these were released and 13″+ quads obviously are not lightweight; overkill in all regards essentially.  By comparison, weighing in at a mere 7.7oz with mounting hardware, the night-and-day handling changes experienced by purchasers of original alloy KMRs did an awful lot to help boost Bravo Company up in to the top tiers of manufacturers who specialise in ARs and AR accessories.

Since I had what was at the time the per-inch lightest AR forend on the market now attached to the RIF, I also opted for what was the lightest stock on the market, that being the Mission First Tac Battlelink Minimalist.  The WarSport (now ZRO Delta) rail bungees were all the rage at that point as well and in fairness they can still have application if you’ve got an awful lot of cables hanging around your handguard.

The Magpul Industries RSA added to the 12 o/clock pic rail compliments the ASAP plate to facilitate swapping slings from single point over to 2 point configuration.  The heavy and utterly pointless steel muzzle brake was removed in favour of a PTS/Griffin Armament flash hider that weighed probably 1/3 that of the SureFire replica.  The last integral changes merely involved exchanging the PTS MOE pistol grip and trigger guard over to corresponding items in FDE.  Also seen mounted in this image are an earlier model of Inforce WML and Primary Arms Micro red dot.

Further down the line, having decided that since the core parts of the build were all BCM, I came to the conclusion I might as well go all-BCM.  This wasn’t too tricky to accomplish since the main parts were already in place.  By swapping the MFT Stock for the Gunfighter Mod 0 and the PTS MOE pistol grip for a Dytac replica Gunfighter Mod 3, the build was pretty much done.  Credit to DLCustoms for fitting of the pistol grip, because the more vertical angle is something that’s hard to achieve given the way Version 2 Airsoft Gearboxes are setup to mount their motors at USGI A2 pistol grip angles.

Fortunately King Arms had (years earlier) made a batch of airsoft copies of the BCM Gunfighter Mod 0 and Mod 1 compensators, though they were entirely unmarked and did not mention BCM in their product names so most people would have been very much unaware of where the designs had originated.  By a stroke of luck I happened to find examples of both still in stock long after production had finished while randomly perusing one evening, so they were swiftly acquired.  The (as it turned out unnecessary) rail bungee was replaced with BCM KeyMod panels and a KAG that the Haley Strategic store had on fire sale for about $9 some time ago.

As uncool as it probably is by today’s standard, I’ve kept the Mil-Spec Monkey/US Night Vision magwell slap on the gun purely since the Death Mechanic logo holds such a firm place in my heart.

The 14.5″ barrel is without doubt not necessary in airsoft since a 10.5″ will give basically the same accuracy and muzzle velocity and KeyMod has very much lost the war against M-LOK, however I enjoy the US-civilian build aesthetic a great deal and if the compensator were hypothetically pinned and welded this gun would not fall under the SBR rules.  There’s a temptation to switch over to something M-LOK such as the new MCMR line from Bravo Company, but these non-Alpha KMRs almost never come up for sale these days since production was switched over to the Alpha model some years ago.  Also, since the 12 o/clock pic rail can satisfy any accessory attachment desires I may have and the forend is so feather-light, it just makes more sense to hold on to the magnesium alloy handguard at this point.  Overall, an extremely light and ergonomic rifle that fairly closely replicates a very popular semi-auto AR-15 from the US civilian market.

Outpost Post-Game Analysis (July 18)

A very rare occasion of me actually appearing in the site photographer’s album post-bbwar.  60-70% of the time I’ll scour the pictures from a game day I’ve attended and if I have had my soul taken at all it’ll be a quarter of my back through a door way, or something along those lines.  An enjoyable little skirmish at Xsite Airsoft Limited’s ‘Outpost’ site, enhanced by playing alongside my buddies Femme Fatale Airsoft and the lads from Project Cerberus.  The game that airsoft is can take a lot of forms for different folks and as long as they bear in mind it is always just a game then I fully support all of them.  But for myself, I really get the most enjoyment from a mixture of a modicum of sprinting around in a crazy fashion, hopefully confirming that my gear facilitates carriage of equipment comfortably alongside allowing smooth access to mags etc, but crucially the social element has to be there too.  The entire game is built on the interactions between human beings and since I don’t get off base as often as I’d like or perhaps should, just being out of the military environment for a while is really a pleasant break – even though the average air force camp is the least military of military settings.

The game in question was a couple of weeks back which wasn’t far off the peak of the heatwave the British Isles are currently in the midst of.  I’d say tipping in to 33 degrees or so, maybe even slightly more in the direct sun being such a clear day.  This was actually the first occasion I think ever in my time playing airsoft that I deliberately forwent carrying a sidearm or indeed any gear at all on my belt line and opted for just a primary with the bare minimum of load carriage (taking in to account I use mid-caps and usually don’t fully load them).

Starting from the top, the good old (long discontinued sadly) Grey Ghost cap combined with the Turbofans/plastic lower performed really quite well given the conditions.  I could’ve gone with a mesh cap of course but I’d actually been extremely stupid and gotten my forehead sunburnt a few days before, so I had to completely cover that up.  I even had factor 50 on my face under the hat just to be sure.  First time I’d been so careless as to get that burnt in about a decade, so definitely a strong kick up the rear end in that regard.

Tried out one of the Patagonia Level 9 Next-to-Skin shirts for the first time since I fancied having the full multicam pattern to complement the chest rig.  To be frank it’s just what you’d expect of a modern combat shirt that’s designed to be a bit of an all-rounder with no-melt/no-drip.  Not bad in the heat but somewhat slow drying in the torso compared to other fabrics that aren’t concerned with FR.  As I expected the pattern started fading slightly in the torso as soon as I washed it that evening, even with a careful hand wash which is a gentle of a wash as one can perform on clothing.

The chest rig was part Spiritus Systems and part Ferro Concepts with a couple of GP pouches in the mix.  Again the first time I’ve not had a dump pouch on in many years so most of the time I was just dropping mags, reloading, firing, then picking back up and re-stowing the mag back in to the chassis during a lull.  Given the nature of the site and the game that was an option for me, but reload with retention would of course still have been possible, it’s just not always quite 100% ideal with the elastic inserts.  Realistically the time difference with a kydex insert would not be anything significant and I’d probably still choose to drop empty mags in the given context, since the option was there.  Either way having such a compact chest rig was most definitely to my benefit and a few other people were seriously sweating inside their plate carriers.  I didn’t have hydration on me which seems dubious in the context, but the games were pretty short and personally I was absolutely fine come the end of the day through just drinking plenty of water during breaks and occasionally snacking on a bag of McCoys salt & vinegar.  At least one guy fell down (literally) but he was in all black clothing with a black PC and I’m pretty sure a black helmet, maybe drinking coffee and/or red bull between games too, quite possibly not enough water.

Also wore some Roman Kurmaz workmanship for the first time in the form of my G3 combat trousers made from the Hyperstealth/US4CES Mexican Marine fabric, though sadly hidden in the image.  Discovered you really have to wear those things in the intended manner (high waisted) once you’re sweating because if they’re not a baggy fit they will cling and be inhibitive when it comes to climbing up stuff.  Not that this is the trousers’ fault; I spent a couple of months in the states earlier this year eating a lot of pizza and when I did go to the gym I did quite a bit of leg work.  It does give me an interesting frame of reference to see how the Gen4s end up performing by comparison in hot weather, being made entirely of stretch fabric as they are.  Quality of stitching wise the report is very favourable on Roman’s work as the sticking of the fabric to me meant that the stretch segments in the design were definitely being put under strain and absolutely none of the sewing showed any hint of giving way in a post-wash visual scan later that evening.

The SKD Tactical PIG Deltas did exactly what I wanted in a glove as expected, similar story for the Under Armour boxer shorts and Darn Tough Vermont Socks.  I used a couple of wire pull Enola Gaye pyros for the first time as well which was a real luxury compared to striker lit pyro (thanks to Kelly for those).

Stock Tokyo Marui SOCOM AR with old PTS/Magpul Industries Corp. furniture and mags just worked of course.  Nothing to say about that that you won’t know already if you know anything about the platform.  The FPS is somewhat low so to BB takes a little bit to get to where it’s going, but I love the faux bolt-lock feature and since the ROF is also pretty low short bursts are very easy to pull off consistently.  Not the absolute best indoor gun when you’re set to semi, but then it and my batteries are all many years old at this point and my bar of comparative standards is also set very high.

Space Cowboy

Yesterday evening’s game – Zed Adventures – Airsoft: the Mall, Reading. Gear used/lessons learned.

-Ops-Core FAST Carbon, O-C Counter-weight pouch, FirstSpear cover, Wilcox Industries Corp. L4G24 & J-Arm, PVS-14 with Butler Creek flip caps and Tac Optician protective transparencies from AM Tactical – AMTAC. ESS (Eye Safety Systems) Turbofan goggles, 3M PELTOR Comtac 2s and the OneTigris mesh mask with straps taken from a different mask to clip in at the corner of the arc rails.
-Arc’teryx LEAF Assault AR shirt, Crye Precision G3 Combat pants, SKD Tactical PIG Alpha Gen1 gloves.
-FirstSpear/Dead Coyote Tactical Nylon mash up plate carrier, FS and Tactical Tailor GP pouches with a DCTN placard and Haley Strategic Partners MP2 inserts.
-FS AGB with Slimline sleeve, High Speed Gear pistol TACOs, Grey GhostAccomodator rifle mag and flashbang pouches, FS/CSM Tactical Gear dump pouch, G-Code Holsters RTi belt mount with SOC holster.
PTS ACR AEG with the folding-collapsible stock and ‘real size’ handguard.SureFire, LLC M300V with SR-07 and Magpul Industries Corp. MOE Illumination kit mount plus Princeton Tec switch rail. Magpul MS1 amalgamation sling.
Tokyo Marui P226E2 with Streamlight, Inc. TLR-1.

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One of the first things I did was download 2 of the 5 lead weights from the O-C counter weight, I may even try it out with 3 weights removed or simply replacing the metal with batteries of an equivalent mass. For a single tube NV setup, the full complement of weights is definitely excessive to obtain proper balance and having less pressure bearing down on the head overall is certainly a plus. That said, using the counter weights compared to my previous time out with the PVS when I didn’t have them allowed for less cranking down on the occ-dial, which helps significantly in terms of comfort. I’ve still got to arc rail mount some electronic hearing protection (vs running the stock head band inside) and swap the padding to the 4D tac option; all very much an on-going process. Since I tend to just run my usual plastic mask + cap setup there’s less impetus to get on with sorting out the helmet.

First use of the Tigris mask, it looks weird going over the top of the ear pro admittedly but I’d thoroughly recommend it for helmet mounting. No cheek weld issues as with older all-mesh masks and given the large volume air flow I may well have to try and figure out if I can mount one of these to some goggles as a potential upgrade to the ‘Sansei’ plastic lower halves.

It was extremely humid inside the old Friars Walk shopping centre to say the least and though it doesn’t wick very efficiently (as expected for non synthetics) the torso of the Assault AR remained fairly comfortable even when soaked and the underarm mesh certainly seemed to help, along with the spacer mesh inside my PC. Since I didn’t get home and unpack until nearly 1am the washing was left until today, but again the mesh seems to have done well in terms of not breeding bacteria and stench, though I did take a thorough shower immediately before leaving for the game This would require further testing at a longer game in higher temperatures.

The padded section of the padded MS1 varant is longer than the pad on the BFG Vickers slings I’ve built on in the past, which left the weapon sitting far lower than ideal in the 1 point mode. This is exacerbated by the piece of 550 I have on the sling point of the ACR, but I’ll have to either do more chopping/sewing on this sling configuration or perhaps look at trying the HSP sling instead.

PTS Delivery and Why I Like What They Do

One last company to thank for sending some swag to perk up the morale here in my armoury – PTS​. They’ve also been kind enough to provide a couple of little bits for me to feature here down the line; the Griffin Armament M4SD-K mock silencer and their hammer comp, as well as the Battle Arms Development​ licensed 45 degree throw ambi selectors which will be going in my next KWA LM4 build (short barrel in grey for CQB games and this selector will complement that setup perfectly).

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I had a dig through my e-mails to check order confirmations and I’ve been buying PTS stuff myself since at least 2010, if not a fair bit earlier. I’ve made numerous purchases throughout that time and had very, very few issues at all, certainly no major ones. That in itself can be a rarity when it comes to airsoft manufacturers and their lax approach to tolerances and material selection. Compared to the vast majority of airsoft-centric brands, their consistency is way up there and the quality is very high indeed, though the prices are still extremely competitive and certainly don’t exclude those who aren’t spending thousands on meticulous PTW/Inokatsu builds and the like. Yet they use proper Dupont nylon for their plastic parts, easily rivalling a fair few producers of firearms accessories and it’s a similar story with anything that’s metal. All things taken to account, I’m more than happy to accept things for review because I can be confident it’s going to be well made and not a waste of my time.

I’ll admit I do miss the days when they had the Magpul license because I prefer my own replicas to use all parts that look like real ones, so despite the practicality of their new EP series I’ve not purchased any myself just because of the styling. The licenses they hold for all sorts of muzzle devices, handguards and other parts however are put to very good use and if I can’t use a real firearm part on a build (either through legality or interfacing) I’ll go PTS an awful lot of the time.

CoD – Future Bullshit Guns

Pro Airsoft Supplies messaged me and said “hey, we’re bringing in all these S.R.U GBB kits for WE Airsoft, would you like to try the G5, SCAR-L or AK?” and I’d already seen the amazing absurdity of the AK kit, so naturally I picked that one because all work and no play makes jack a dull boy.

This thing is as terrible ergonomically as it is brilliant aesthetically.

If the weather ever holds out long enough to get some video I’ll be posting one just briefly going over the kit some time in the next week or two; and if not video then another blog post.

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PataWrongia More Like…

Gear I was trying out for the first time yesterday at Ambush Adventures The Billet site:

-Custom Blue Force Gear, Inc./Magpul Industries Corp. 1-to-2 point sling:
I’ve been using setups like this that I’ve made myself for years, but yesterday was the first time using it with QDs instead of Paraclips. The rotation-limited QD sockets that the MS4 adaptor and ALG rail have built in are good once you get things set the way you like, but you can’t realistically see where the segments and dividers are within the socket (without taking undue time clipping in) and sometimes you end up having to go back and mess with the attachment. Regular QD sling swivels are also a pain to manipulate compared to clips or hooks, which is why Magpul and BFG make their own versions with better control mechanisms.

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-Crye G3 All-Weather Combat Shirt:
Thicker in the torso than the regular G3 shirt, giving just that little bit more insulation and still a decent drying time. Unfortunately the wind will still go right through the torso and it definitely was doing that yesterday in a biting fashion, but the unlined softshell on the sleeves and yoke cuts out any wind and still breathes very well indeed.

SKD Tactical/Patrol Incident Gear [PIG GEAR] FDT Deltas:
I’ll be replacing at least a couple of pairs of my Alphas with these, if not most of them. All the same brilliant fitment and dexterity without the bloody annoying velcro tab to get them on and off every time where the hook part of the 2nd glove you put on always ends up eating some small part of the 1st glove. The Pig silicone letters peel off very easily but that’s always been the way with small grip additions like that on glove palms and fingers; be better if they knocked a few $ off the price and just never put those adornments on in the first place.

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– ALG Defense EMR V2 M-LOK Handguard:
A true pleasure to get to grips with. There’s not a massive different between this tube and the V1 I changed over from, but the small piece of pic rail at 12 o/clock up front is exactly what I want personally with no other wastage. It’s slim, extremely light and with just enough texturing in the geometry and anodising to not make things too smooth and slippery. You can’t beat 95%+ Geissele Automatics, LLC quality at a fraction of the price. I may add some covers/panels of some type just to decrease heat transfer slightly in winter, or possibly a cordura wrap as metallic rails act like a perfect heat sink, but that sort of thing entirely depends on your glove choice and circulation in the hands.

Grey Ghost Accomodator rifle mag pouch:
With an AEG mag, the function is perfect. Just enough grip to hold the ammo source, but no resistance to drawing it. I’ll need to try it again with a GBB rifle mag (they weight the same as a real one loaded) to see how it really retains something that has the necessary mass to carry momentum under movement however.

Patagonia PCU Level 9 Combat pants:
Big fat meh on these. They look cool and different to the G3s yes, but they’re not better in any way from what I’m seeing so far; certainly not when compared to NCs with the buttons. The normal front pockets are too shallow, the front thigh pockets seem too small in general as well. The main thigh cargo pockets are too far around the back of the leg and by far the worst feature is the fly. The button arrangement overall makes taking a piss a nightmare mission that would genuinely need SEAL training to complete. It’s hardly impossible to do a button fly that works either, other trousers have them, but the Pata arrangement is a fail. The L9s are just a step down from the NC or G3 in most ways. Not the worst trouser ever by any means and they’re not a million miles behind the Cryes, they’re just straight up not as good, so there’s no reason to recommend them for the vast majority of folks. Doubly so when Crye combats are far easier to find.

What folks want to know most I’m sure is what failed. Frankly these days I’m a bit disappointed if nothing goes wrong at all because then there’s nothing I can change and improve. I’ll say this beforehand however – I neither baby my kit nor do I deliberately trash it. I own enough now that if something falls apart I’m not going to be stuck and without kit to use, but on the other hand I’m not about stepping in to any recreational activity purely to ruin stuff I’ve purchased.

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The Patagonia knee pads were frankly unsurprising in their fragility and lacklustre performance. As with anything this is just a sample size of 1, however given the thin and brittle type of plastic that’s been used for the external caps I was pretty much expecting something to go wrong from the start. Bearing in mind I didn’t crash my knees in to any sharp edges to cause the split, this was the first outing for these pads and I only took a knee maybe 7 or 8 times during the day. A day of casual airsoft – not war fighting. As mentioned the plastic is just brittle, it doesn’t flex and cracks were simply bound to propagate. I liked the padding of the internal components of the pads, they’re a bit small compared to Crye but do a decent job. The other issue of course is the press/pop studs, which I knew weren’t nearly tough enough as soon as I took them out of the packaging. Move to a kneeling position too fast and guess what happens? At least 1 will disengage. Easy enough to take the time to remedy that in an airsoft game, not when you’re taking actual fire and have bigger concerns than protecting the stretch panels on your trousers from abrasion. The newer iterations I have on the way (which I’d presume are current issue) do have a positive locking system instead of the press studs.

What really disappointed me was the G-Code Holsters RTI rotating belt mount, which as you can see decided to shed 2 screws and would’ve shed 3 if the body of the holster hadn’t actually retained the 3rd. Those 3 sets of chicago screws worked themselves incredibly loose somehow, the other 2 were also loose but not to the point of the outer screws falling out (yet). I only drew and re-holstered maybe a dozen times and I’d rather expect draws and holstering actions to be the movements this gear should be designed to hold up to the best. Is this a parts or materials issue? Nope, it’s assembly. I’ve got lots of G-Code products here and this is the only one to have an issue anything like this. Clearly that bloke on the assembly shop floor was having a bad day; either that or the torque specs he was working to were far too low. Or the torque tool got a hard knock and was producing vastly different numbers to its’ setting. Either way those 2 screws of the 5 are gone forever now, I was lucky to catch the third right as I was packing up to leave.

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Highly fortunately I’ve got a bunch of spare G-Code nuts and bolts in a small organiser unit here that’s designed for DIY use and is full of similar ‘just in case’ bits and pieces. Wouldn’t want to be the guy on deployment or between shifts who was relying on this thing to mount his holster, especially if he’s only armed with a pistol in the first place. If they don’t respond to this post G-Code will be informed directly of this issue so they can double check their assembly processes. They’ve responded quickly in the past when I brought up a very minor issue with a slightly corroded piece of non-essential hardware. I’ll update here with my findings, but having talked about this item recently and sung its’ praises based on the other one I have (that has performed very well), I’m hardly thrilled by this turn of events. The toolbox and loctite will be used shortly to return the mount to full working order with the addition of spare screws, I’m just glad my holster and pistol didn’t even up clattering on to concrete.

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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GBLS Competitor

I had other sutff I was planning on posting, but for you airsofters (or AR shooters who want a safe trainer that’s super cheap to feed) this is something PRETTY DAMN interesting from American Airsoft Factory via Booligan Airsoft and Shooting Sports.

Amongst the line-up of high end electric guns out there, this one has by far piqued my interest the most, both as a potential purchase and in general with the design. Highly recommend checking out the AAF website because they have some extremely smart product options and a lot of open and honest technical data on the guns that’s rare to see.