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.

Not Even With A Barge Pole

A classic example of why there’s only a couple of boot brands I’ll buy these days.

These Oakley SI Assaults were alllll the rage about 7 years ago because everyone thought they looked cool and cool guys on Internet forums who went to Magpul Dynamics classes were buying them.  But as you can see, even though this pair cost plenty, is only about 6 years old and has spent 99% of their lives in a cool, dark, dry place; one rubber outsole has degraded massively more than the other for absolutely no discernable reason.

I’ve talked about how bad the old Oakley Factory Pilot carbon knuckles gloves are/were in other posts, along with the one pair of Oakley shades I picked up to try out (at a heavy discount).  This is a prime example of a company that built a name for itself, then sold out to a conglomerate, moved manufacture to somewhere with cheap labour, dropped quality massively and now hands on its’ old name by a thread and in future will only make sales to people more concerned about fashion and brand names than they are quality.

Always take internet hype with a pinch of salt. Also realise the difference between hype and actual reviews done by people who know a bit about gear.

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.

Attend ALL The Expos

When SHOT just isn’t enough tactical expo per year…

I’ve no idea on the photography/videography rules at this one, but if things work out it could well be a pretty rich gold mine for content.

Now, for those unfamiliar, SHOT show is aimed at shops, small mil/LE units and individuals. DSEI is aimed at huge contracting companies and nation states. At SHOT a business buys a few crates of rifles or an ISO full of tac gear and NVGs. At DSEI the governments of the world look at equipping entire armies with armoured vehicles, AT weapons and fleets of UAVs etc.

You can read more and get a bit of a flavour for it on the website:

http://www.dsei.co.uk/

I’d always known the current serving military could attend the event in London but up to now I’d presumed it was limited to higher ranks and people in the acquisition sectors.

As it stands I’ll be going on works’ time and dime, which means I may only get one day to walk around. It’s a 4 day event however just like SHOt so I’m going to do my best to get at least 2 days in to walk the floor, capture media and glean what information I can from companies producing interesting products.

PenCott’s Urban Entry

Soldier Systems Daily posted up these previews of some ur-tactical.com apparel in a new PenCott Camouflage offering that I’ve been expecting to show up for a while now.

ATACS have LE, and Multicam have Black. Krpytek have Typhon but they also have Raid, Banshee and Altitude they just don’t want to actually get them printed on to rolls of useful, general purpose fabrics (I’ve asked people at Kryptek if they’ll ever get around to it but alas nothing).

Anyway, I was somewhat worried PenCott might fall down the ‘black with a twist’ trap which is pointless in my opinion, you might as well just wear plain black. Luckily however this pattern looks to be a mixture of khaki shades, browns and greys in tones that actually make some real sense in urban environments. Not a million miles off the grey shades Mil-Spec Monkey has been developing.

Sadly very few companies offer well made, well thought-out apparel in PenCott patterns right now. GreenZone is easy enough to find but if you want some high quality Badlands there’s very little to choose from, and if you want Sandstorm you almost might as well forget it. UR-Tac are good at churning out a LOT of different camo options using quality materials though, almost all fully fledged NYCO. I don’t have any of their stuff in the collection these days but I’ve owned plenty over the years and when you want a combat cut uniform and/or a trouser that takes Crye pads in a pattern that other people don’t make there’s always a strong chance these guys will be making it.

If I’ve Said It Once

Quick tips for those attending IWA this weekend (trigger warning btw):

-You don’t actually need velcro on your sleeves to survive in an urban environment.
-Softshells are nice and all but you don’t actually need to wear one 24/7 when you’re indoors in an urban environment.
-You don’t actually need desert boots to be comfortable walking around in an urban environment.
-You don’t actually need a coyote brown backpack dripping in PALS loops and loop field to carry your stuff in an urban environment.
-You don’t have to wear mechanix, OD/CB Helikon trousers and a 5.11 cap to survive in an urban environment.

Pretty much everyone has their airsoft fashion phase, I get it, I’ve been there. But I’d recommend moving past it as quickly as possible, keep the tactical colours and velcro for when you’re on the range or playing games, it’s all fine and dandy in that environment. You will look back at the pictures years from now and think “damn, wish I’d changed up my style sooner”.

I don’t know of anything from Crye that’s not tactical looking, but Arc, Patagonia, OR, Beyond, Tas Tiger, 5.11, Plat-A-Tac, LBX, etc etc all have tactical clothing lines as well as non-tactical ones. Check out brands like Kuhl and get on to either GO Outdoors or Tactical Distributors and take the time to look around at the options for functional, technical apparel that’ll give you the fit, comfort and quality of construction you’re looking for without the 0perat0r bullshit.

If anyone’s about to lose their mind in the comments box:
I’m not saying this to bash people for wearing what they want to wear, I’m saying it so you 1. Don’t look like an idiot to people who’ve really been there and done that 2. Don’t attract the wrong sort of attention in public. The super obvious tacticool stuff is bad enough but even worse if you’re rocking anything with camouflage then people will likely assume you’re in/ex forces and that’s not what you want. If you don’t understand why – You need to read more.