Indoor Deserts

Loadout shot from Sunday 26th March, first game I’ve played at my favourite site since before I went to afghan.

The gear ‘testing’ (as far as I can test stuff in airsoft at least) continues. With the exception of my eye/ear pro and gloves basically everything I had on me was going through its’ first usage.

Head pro – ESS (Eye Safety Systems) Turbofans, 3M Peltor Communication Solutions Comtacs and Mr. Colion Noir (@MrColionNoir) #thepewpewlifeFlexfit

Upper – Rasputin item G3 Combat shirt copy in PenCott Camouflage Sandstorm (future video – cryes on a budget?)

PC – Dead Coyote Tactical Nylon front, straps and placard with FirstSpear retro-fit cummerbund, deluxe shoulder pads and AAC back, TYR Tactical, LLC zip-on hydro panel, old af High Speed Gear TACOs in OD (rest is RG), Tactical Tailor GP, Source Tactical Gear bladder and ITW Grimlock.

Sling – Heavily butchered FS 2-pt with Blue Force Gear, Inc. Uber loops to create a 1-pt that works extremely well with the Evo

Gloves – SKD Tactical Gen 1 PIGs

Lower – PLATATAC Tac Dax Mk3 with D3O Trust HP Internal knee pads

Belt – FS AGB with Slimline AGB sleeve, pre hypalon BFG TenSpeed double pistol, HSGI TACO LT, Platatac BB pouch for Concept Tactical TRMR, pretty fuckin salty Warrior Assault Systems dump pouch, G-Code Holsters RTi belt mount and Off The Grid Concepts LLC Light bearing OWB holster

Feet – Old gen Salomon XA Pro 3D Mid GTX

Primary – Team ASG Scorpion with INFORCE Gen 2 WML

Secondary – Stark Arms, LLC M&P with SureFire, LLC X300U and stippling by good friend Ko-Tac

As mentioned, almost all gear and guns were getting their first run out, which isn’t uncommon for me at the rate I get new stuff and the trouble I usually run in to with actually getting to games. That said, I enjoy learning what all this stuff can and can’t actually do when you put it on and run around and actually get a sweat on putting yourself in to lots of shooting positions and moving through rooms. Gives me plenty of points to discuss when I make videos or write about these products and hopefully give you good folks more information to make good informed decisions.

Jungle Fever

This is a pretty long reach, but if anyone has a good meory of the AK-101 used in game by the MEC faction in Battlefield 2 back in the day, you may just recall the funky taped mags and throw-spin-catch reload animation that happened every other time you reloaded those guns.

Now people don’t ‘jungle mag’ any more because it just makes way more sense to use a proper mag clamp or even tape the mags in the same orientation with some sort of spacer material inbetween, but quirky stuff like this does amuse me I must admit.

Being such an old and outmoded practice I figured I’d try it on a super modern gun like the Team ASG replica of the Česká zbrojovka a.s. (CZ) Firearms Scorption Evo3 A1 9mm.

Definitely a bad idea in the real world where going prone would be hard and you’d probably end up with dirt getting in the inverted mag, yet apparently it was done a lot in Vietnam by US conventional and special forces using the 20 round magazines that were commonly available at the time for their AR-15 rifles and carbines.

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.

Woodland Weekend Loadout

Loadout from the weekend, first woodland game I’ve played in many years. Pointless-PERSEC just because my mask was all janky af.

Load bearing kit has all been used before and I knew it all worked, the clothing was stuff I’m giving a run out prior to reviewing. I picked up a shit ton of camo stuff in 2016 and a large portion of it is totally unnecessary and reviewing it wouldn’t benefit anyone, but the items I used at the weekend I picked up knowing I wouldn’t keep but I feel they had the best chance of hitting the optimum point on the graph of cost vs effectiveness. I see a lot of folks wasting money on inferior clothing from brands that happen to have better marketing strategies so I’m keen to highlight some slightly less common/popular options that can give people the absolute best for their cash without going overboard and then spending too much.

Head pro – ESS (Eye Safety Systems) Turbofans with rental mask lower half, 3M Peltor Communication Solutions Comtac XPs and FirstSpear US Woodland flexfit cap

Combat shirt – TRU-SPEC NYCO 1/4 Zip

Gloves – BLACKHAWK! Hellstorm, US Aviator style

PC – FS and Dead Coyote Tactical Nylon mix with FS and Blue Force Gear, Inc. pouches. Source Tactical Gear hydration, Haley Strategic Partners MP2 inserts and Whiskey Two-Four hypalon zip-pulls

Trousers – Leo Köhler GmbH & Co. KG Explorers in A-Tacs Camo-iX

Belt – Tyr Tactical Gunfighter-E with BFG Double TenSpeed pistol, High Speed Gear rifle TACO, Tyr universal rifle, FS dumper, G-Code Holsters RTi mount and SERPA

Boots – Old ass Oakley SI 8″ Assault which now have literally zero grip on hard surfaces and have not held up well to just sitting in a locker, 50/50 on getting rid

Sling – BFG and Magpul Industries Corp. mix

Patches (most important) – Snake Hound Machine, MilSpecMonkey and Gear Whores Anonymous

Primary – PTS ACR AEG w/ folding stock, 11.5″ barrel, AAC 51T flash hider, ‘real size’ handguard, Magpul MVG, Mission First Tactical rear BUIS, some cheap clone 4x ACOG that I don’t have to worry about taking BB hits

Secondary – Tokyo Marui P226E2 with absolutely nothing done to mess with it

Airsoft Site – X-Site’s Lane End

I was pretty lucky with the weather on Sunday over at Xsite Airsoft Limited​, just cool enough to run around without over heating but also not freeze when stationary. As expected the staff there run some good games and ran them well. The format hasn’t changed much at all over the years since I last played at their Lane End site, but it all works. The actual setup they have is honestly one of the best in the game in my opinion, what you get for your money is unrivalled (at least in southern England). The site’s been running at least 12+ years now and the lunch they provide within the price is quite genuinely impressive, very nice food and there’s an incredibly well stocked snack shop if you want to buy more. In all seriousness, given the remote location and the fact it’s all run out of ISOs I don’t know how they manage to supply such a wide selection of nice stuff.

A lot of the staff have been there for many, many years and do a good job of the safety and game briefings and generally running things throughout the day. It’s just simple, relaxed and enjoyable. As with most sites you’ve got the old regulars all the way down to about 11 years old and the games work for everyone.

It’s not the biggest place by any stretch but it’s so hilly in a lot of the areas that’s not a problem. There’s a lot of paintball gunk on the structures and I was a little disappointed to see how some of the wooden buildings and barricades had really fallen in to disrepair since I last played, but some other areas had also been repaired with new fences and boards etc so it’s not like the place isn’t being looked after at all.

Good crowd in attendance, didn’t see any arguments or shouting, just a really good bunch overall who were there to play the game and have fun with it. Always a pleasure to hang out and chat to decent people like that.

Loadout picture/description and some gear discussion will go up tomorrow.

VFC KAC SR-16 AR-15 AEG

A few years ago when Magpul were all the rage and those DVDs were all everyone was talking about, there was a very strong trend within airsoft towards buying the likes of CTR stocks and MIAD grips for replica guns.  Either the real thing, or the PTS replicas for most folks outside of the US.

During that time period, the ‘pinnacle’ that got you the most likes on discussion forums (Instagram was not a thing yet) was to have a black KAC rifle replica outfitted with a real Magpul Industries CTR, a PTS MIAD and other Magpul bits on the Picatinny rail – All in FDE.  It got a bit repetitive so I decided to try and find an FDE coloured KAC AR replica, then put some black Magpul parts on it.  At the time (late noughties) VFC were turning out these copies of Knights rifles with fully realistic trademarks at a serious rate and they were a common sight because they had ambi selectors before basically any other AR replica in airsoft.  Looking back now I’m pretty certain they were being naughty with said trademarks, but I was entirely ignorant of those sorts of issues at the time.

Luckily I found this SBR style sewing machine for sale 2nd hand but unused at an appealing price over on the ArniesAirsoft forums.  I already had the stock and pistol grip in FDE so I slapped those on, added a terrible knock-off T-1 clone, some Magpul ladder covers and an XTM hand stop, as well as a SureFire X600 and SR-07 tail switch; finished with an old PTS Gen2 style AEG PMAG.

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This looked realistic to an offering from Knights Armament, but it wasn’t what I wanted to build, the rail was too fat and heavier than more modern options and there were a few other niggles.  So change work began.  Compared to the Krytacs and the like you can buy today, the internals are supremely basic and while the RIF functioned fine when I first got it, the gearbox developed a habit of getting its’ piston stuck to the rear for no reason, so the whole thing went off to LC’s Engineering Outpost.

My buddy Jim over there did a bang up job of making the internals cycle as they should as well as re-tightening the QD sockets integral to the lower receiver, which had somehow worked themselves half way out.  I also asked him to remove the quad 1913 rail, which proved to be a pretty epic task for an airsoft gun.  The KAC URX 2 design comprises 2 levels of threading inside the rear portion of the rail; the lower quadrant is removable via the screws at the sides, but the main body comprising the other 3 rails is actually screwed on to the upper receiver as one whole unit, no separate barrel nut like other companies which you mount to the gun and then affix the main portion of the handguard to.  To make things trickier, there’s then another separate nut which slides over the barrel and nestles inside the base of the rail.  This had been (I found out when collecting the gun) doused in what was near enough super glue and torqued to insanity levels.  A custom tool was made, which broke, so it was remade much tougher, then that one broke, but the 3rd iteration of the peg spanner that was all steel using threaded spigots did eventually remove the inner nut.  I then myself mounted the upper receiver in a vice at home and used a combination of a strap spanner, plenty of heat and a lot of shouting to break the tension/glue and unscrew the main body of the forend.

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I had the black MOE stock and pistol grip already here so they went on and the cheap T-1 is just an ornament for pictures; I stopped mounting any BUIS for airsoft usage long ago because it’s extra expense (and a little more weight) for something I’ve never used and wouldn’t ever actually need.  Also, given that the supplied dual-QD sling plate at the rear of the lower was made entirely redundant by the two integral sockets, I moved over to a standard AEG plate that only features 1 QD point directly facing the firer.  Overall a massively better design since it allows a sling with QD swivels to function like a Magpul ASAP when transitioning shoulders.  Switching to shoot around the different sides of any given cover/barricade is quick, easy and snag free.

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Having purchased some fairly pricey AR-15 forends from the US in the past I really wanted to see how something cheaper might compare, so I went for the ALG Defense EMR V1 to replace the VFC URX copy.  In retrospect I should’ve gone with the EMR V2 (in Black) because the V2 incorporates a small section of pic rail right where you’d usually mount your front BUIS.  On this gun the Magpul plastic M-LOK section I attached sits right over the fake gas block and the screws on the rail segment end up contacting the block if properly tightened; this is the ‘I didn’t see it coming’ issue that happens literally every time I change up a gun because I’m always using new things from different brands to try and gain as wide a field of knowledge as I possibly can to facilitate sharing out said knowledge.  However this was my very first M-LOK forend and the great thing about ELG is all their rails use the same barrel nut, so when I get around to changing to a V2 it’ll only be a case of undoing the visible allen bolts.  The other huge bonus is their pricing; being a sister company to Geissele Automatics the quality is superb and their rails do not feel cheap vs the Geissele SMRs.  I can only presume ALG works on something close to a no-profit business model and they’re just turning over money for their most part, because their entire EMR line is priced more cheaply than the likes of Madbull’s airsoft-only rail systems and a lot of the offerings from PTS, yet all the ALG tubes are made from extruded 6061-T6 aluminium with a 2″ 7075-T6 barrel nut that fits inside the tube immaculately creating a zero wobble lock-up that genuinely feels solid as a rock on your upper receiver.  The anodising is very shiny, at least on ALG’s ‘DDC’ option, but it’s also as smooth as silk.

The Magpul polymer rail section weighs almost nothing and in spite of the interference issue I’ve got it mounted quite satisfactorily.  The Inforce WML does sit rather higher than anyone would like and I’d imagine Magpul could make their M-LOK compatible 1913 segments slimmer if they wanted to, but I’d also imagine they were tested on hundreds of different accessories and mounts and the extra clearance was a deliberate piece of design work to ensure fitment across the board.

While I’d not recommend the Inforce over a Surefire light for duty or defensive usage due to the more fragile plastic body, the WML is comparatively quite cheap and extremely easy to mount and use, a good option for sporting applications and still somewhat rugged.  There’s no option for remote switches so you simply clamp on the integral mount (which is much lower profile than the standard Scout mount) and you’re away, no routing wires or buying extra accessories to mount a pressure pad or manage the cable.  When mounted as pictured you’ve got incredibly easy access to the angled pressure switch using your thumb regardless of which shoulder you might be shooting from at any given moment.

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Once I’ve changed the forend over to ALG’s V2 the M-LOK vs Gas block interference issue up front will be removed and the aesthetics will be pretty much there, I’ll just have to paint or swap out that nasty chrome washer behind the KAC Triple Tap Brake replica.  Not a gun I’ll pull out often because the internals are so basic and the trigger response on semi auto is a real dinosaur, but with the 11.5″ barrel and a rail that only weighs around 10 ounces including the mounting hardware it’s still a handy package that works with common magazines and generally does what I’d need it to do for ‘CQB’ or Indoor type games.

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Oh and the sticker is from 4 Guys Guns.  Their handy moustache decal packs come in multiple colours with 4 different styling options in each that allow the operator to quickly transition from their shooting stance to a comedic pose whenever the need should arise by simply turning the gun 90 degrees to the side and lifting their collapsible stock to their upper lip.

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.

DAS Update 2

As promised, better quality picture of the GBLS DAS I modified to accept the Fortis Manufacturing SWITCH 556 KeyMod forend; sent by the owner of the gun.

If I ever pick up a DAS and they don’t change the location of the hop adjustment, the QD Fortis rail would definitely be high on my list for fitment. Potentially there’s a whole other upper on the way as well for this specific gun which will likely get outfitted with yet another AR-15 handguard. I’ll report the news as it rolls in over on Facebook.

DAS Update

Update for those interested in the GBLS DAS. The upper I modified to accept AR-15 Rifle forends has now be reunited with (most of) the rest of the gun, my good mate that owns it sent over a real quick potato snap. First one of these guns I’m aware of to have a real freefloat handguard fitted.

The Fortis Manufacturing SWITCH is an ideal candidate given that it gives you easy access to the hop adjustment (located on the outside of the barrel near the ‘chamber’) as well as the modern ergonomics that one might expect from an extended, narrow diameter rail. Not forgetting KeyMod accessory mounting of course.

Pistol grip is the PTS EPG, VLTOR stock that’s currently being modified to accommodate and a Magpul Industries Corp. AFG2. I should be getting some better shots of this thing in a couple of weeks so if folks are interested I’ll post those up as well. To my mind this is by far the most interesting and innovative BB slinger to hit the market since the Marui NGRS line.

Once You Go

Really excellent little skirmish at Ambush Adventures ‘The Billet’ last night. Small site and some that was shut,but with only about 20 or so players it worked really nicely. Cold, dark, very close quarters.

Discoveries and gear lessons learned:
-First time out with the FirstSpear Asset shirt, Mk3 combats from PLATATAC and Gunfighter belt from TYR Tactical, LLC. I knew this was all quality gear going in and it was no doubt going to work well; I was not let down.

-Micro red dot from Primary Arms, LLC has brightness settings for every condition. (y)

-The Haley Strategic Partners MP2 inserts got their first proper usage and as I expected, they are superb all around. Solid retention yet still with an easy draw and so much easier to index and re-insert magazines with all your gear on compared to almost any other option on the market.

-Bone stock TM SCAR-L on a fresh new 7.4v LiPo cycles and shoots like a damn champ. Only lock-ups I had on the GB came from firing as fast as possible on semi and not fully pulling the trigger in the correct manner. Other than that, my trigger finger could not out-run the gun.

-The Stark Arms, LLC G17 Gen4 was not behaving at all. First time I’d tried to use it in a game, it functioned fine at home with no BBs, but the ammunition in the mags was seemingly preventing the slide cycling properly. Sometimes it would get stuck trying to move to the rear, sometimes the loading nozzle to stop behind the top round in the mag. Being in brand new condition with almost zero oil or grease and a fairly coarse finish on the slide, it clearly needs a lot of breaking in and lubrication. Or I’ll just use all-plastic TM guns when I’m outdoors in the winter, rather than metal slide guns.

-I have an INFORCE WML (standard version) with a switch between momentary and constant functions. Unfortunately the position for momentary is with the toggle switch facing towards the shooter meaning it gets bumped forward when your thumb goes for the pressure pad. At first this seemed to be causing the light to get stuck in a super low-level output mode that was entirely useless. But then I put in a fresh CR123 and the problem went away. The issue was incredibly intermittent during the game though, and the fact the light was switching down to a low output mode was confusing. I know now it was obviously an emergency low power setting, but when you’re so accustomed to electronics that simply die (or bleep or flash) when the battery is low/dead it does confuse things. I do bring spare batteries for everything electronic with me wherever I go, but as the voltage in the battery was obviously slightly ‘regenerating’ while not in use, the full power output would return inbetween attempts leaving me unaware that I simply needed a new power source. All that aside however, the output of the light is extremely impressive for something so small and feather light.