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.

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 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.

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:

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:

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.

Shorter LVOA

Got a Krytac LVOA-S in from Socom Tactical Airsoft the other day after finally getting around to selling the ridiculously-proportioned LVOA-C. Really outstanding customer service from Socom, they’ll definitely be making it in to my bookmarks, which I have to say is a rare thing for any company, doubly so in airsoft.

I’ve probably bemoaned the state of the AEG market as far as ARs go before now, but fuck it I’m going to do it again. I was pretty excited when Krytac first came on to the scene given the quality of internals they were talking about providing, but personally I can’t stand the aesthetics of the vast majority of their line up, which is annoying when they have such top end gearboxes and come with MOSFETs, without getting in to TM Next-Gen territory as far as pricing goes.

Very recently we’ve started to see ‘EMG’ showing off prototypes and early releases of some proper AEG replicas of rifles that really exist on the US civilian market, but a year or 2 ago that wasn’t the case, you had the Krytac LVOA, the G&P Salient Arms and that was about it (with 1 or 2 military style M4s around if you really dug deep). I picked the lesser of 2 evils and went with that original LVOA-C for the better quality of internals vs the G&P Salient. Than and I’ve seen a lot of evidence from various sources demonstrating Salient to be a company I wouldn’t even want to replicate in airsoft their business practices are that shocking.

The S (SBR) variant LVOA replica is still way heavier than I’d like and it should be, on account of the standard airsoft pot metal they’ve used in place of proper quality aluminium, but compared to the full rifle it’s infinitely more manageable and will be much better for skirmishing indoors. I don’t think the loss in barrel length will have any noticeable effect on range or accuracy, so having a much lighter gun that’s more easily aimed in tight spaces just makes sense.

I don’t like the really long trigger pull this thing has, doubly so because the gearbox cycles at a decent speed and I can’t actually take advantage of it, even though the trigger looks like something out of a fancy 3-gun competition rifle. Also the selectors are way too stiff and lack a really solid click in to each position. I can’t knock the assembly though, not an ounce of rattle to be found (with the usual exception of the stock and that’s going anyway). Even the receiver pins have allen screws like the upgrade ones Laylax sells for TM recoils.

I’ve got a fair few parts here already from B5 Systems, PTS and G&P waiting to convert this in to something far more reminiscent of the original early guns from WAR SPORT. I don’t think I can change the charging handle or bolt release to replicate the real thing since they’re proprietary parts that interact with the fake bolt piece, but I’ll still be able to get it looking a lot better than it does right now.