Skulls Everywhere

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

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

Aero Bubbles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Minty Fresh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back End Blues

Good service from Eagle6 Airsoft.

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

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

MOE-SL on TM

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

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

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

MOE Money Less Problems

Are you still loving these titles?  Bet you are.

 

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

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

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

https://flic.kr/p/QrtY4A

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

Mount Up

One real slick (like, seriously) M-LOK Scout mount by Arisaka defence. Having the option of 3 different mounting heights can definitely be a life saver when you’re trying to fit all your accessories as close as possible right up the front of your rail, especially when you take in to account the variances of circumference that different forends are built to.

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I wouldn’t claim the machine work is perfect, but only because absolute perfection is impossible; this thing is as close as you’re likely to get. The surface feels like glass and every edge and corner has been done incredibly well. It’s light, feels extremely robust and is very well priced considering what you can pay for an aluminium Scout series light mount.

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Arisaka offer a literal cornucopia of products related to illumination systems, all built to the spec necessary to work with the best SureFire, LLC lights in the business. If you want to build that ‘perfect’ setup of electronics at the front end of your handguard, it’s well worth checking them out.

That’s One Fine Front End

On one hand, I almost feel bad for getting this for myself and having to use it on a mere airsoft gun.  On the other hand.. you only live once.

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I’m not going to tell you exactly what type of aluminium (emphasis on the second i there Americans) this thing is made of, because if you’re going to buy one of these for a real firearm that has serious defensive usage you’ll need to look that up at a retailer and compare it to other options on the market based on what your specific needs are.  Sufficed to say, there is nothing but quality on display here.

I’ll be honest from the start, I’ve got basically zero knowledge when it comes to CNC machine operation or extruding metals, so I can’t comment on those aspects of the manufacture of this freefloat AR-15 handguard.  Hell, it isn’t even that perfect if you were to judge it by a lot of common criteria.  It’s not as light per unit of length as the original BCM KMR or some offerings from the likes of SLR Rifleworks.  It’s not going to be as military-tough as a Knights or Daniel Defens(c)e quad rail.  It’s certainly not nearly as economical as a Midwest Industries M-LOK tube. I mean, hell, I don’t even like the barrel nut or attachment method, it’s pretty damn old school by modern standards and requires more work than should really be necessary to get the rail properly timed.

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But yes, you’ve guessed it, I’ve been negative at the start because I actually really bloody love this thing; how predictable eh?  I started following EraThr3–pronounced era-three for those understandably unsure–fairly early on in their existence.  They’re a company born from the ideas of a small group of folks who are just unobtainably cool in all the classical senses.  Folks who were already doing very well in high-up positions at other well known AR manufacturing companies.  I had the distinct pleasure of bumping in to a few of them at SHOT earlier this year and was frankly annoyed that not only are they as cool as they are, they’re really bloody nice people to go with it.

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You can see the Noveske legacy in the mounting system employed on this M-LOK rail, as well as the overall cross-section and the bolts used for attachment of the tube to the barrel nut.  Whether Noveske is the OEM for these I’m not sure (it would seem to make sense in a lot of ways) but personally, I’m not too fussed either way.

It would perhaps have been nice if the weight of the included proprietary barrel nut could have been shaved a little, because when you hold this thing it’s got a distinct pendulum tendency to it; the tube itself really is feather-light.  That said, if there’s somewhere you want the weight it’s in the back, as far away from the muzzle as possible.  I also cannot say enough good things about the machine work that’s been done on this forend, every single surface and, more importantly, every edge and corner, is just beautifully transitioned in to a smooth curve.  In a lot of places the edges are so narrow it seems impossible for them to not be sharp, yet they somehow they just aren’t.

The combination of Cerakote on top of anodisation is really quite something to behold.  A deep matte black that’s just somehow a higher quality of black than any other AR accessory I’ve purchased in the past.  Plus, it is of course, perfect throughout and just generally beautiful if I’m being really honest with you.  Most other quality AR handguards are only anodised, because if you get a good anodised finished that’s more than enough to do the job.  But this offering not having that high-sheen finish of raw anodising, or the rather rougher feel of some other coatings, is a very premium-feeling change from the norm.

It’s also my experience that the very best companies in the gun/gear world make their instruction inserts fun, entertaining and informative all at the same time.

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I’ve got a fairly rare and high-quality AEG receiver set that’s scheduled to be built from the ground up in to the best CQB replica I can possibly create and that’s where this handguard will end up; that’s the current plan at least.  I’m saddened that I’ve got so many other projects to finish before I get to that point because I really want to get a few choice M-LOK accessories on to this thing and try it out (after taking some more nice photos), but the wait will be worth it.

For The Night Is Dark

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I’m a little late to the party with the Haley Strategic Partners edition of the Inforce WML (Weapon Mounted Light), but to my mind this version is still very much a top contender amongst the Inforce line up.

Inforce have released their WMLx since the HSP version hit the market and the ‘x’ boasts 500 lumens vs the 200 this model produces, but a lot of people who’ve got far more experience using lights than I have (often in some pretty unpleasant situations) will tell you that the lumen war going on right now with tac light manufacturers is getting a tad out of hand.  This is especially so when you start talking about using lights inside buildings and at closer ranges, which is probably what you’re preparing for when buying a weapon mounted light.  A good friend of mine who’s taken more shooting courses than I’ve had hot dinners (to include many low light courses) says he specifically prefers the old SureFire X300 pistol light with it’s lower output for actual pistol/CQB usage vs the new X300u.  Unfortunately companies seem to really be pushing these big lumen counts and in some situations are entirely dropping the ‘dimmer’ models from their product line, leaving the consumer with fewer options.

Luckily however the HSP variant WML doesn’t seem to be going anywhere and it’s got a lot going for it.  The WML design itself represents absolute, beautiful simplicity in a weapon light and the version from Haley Strategic takes that concept even further to make the very simplest system you’ll likely find on the market right now.  If you’re not a super ninja with a million hours of weapons training under your belt, then when the going gets tough you want simplicity in your equipment, that’s for damn sure.  Manipulating anything, be it on your gear or on your weapon, gets far harder when you need to do it fast and under the slightest duress and that applies even to nice, safe sporting situations.  I’ve no idea exactly how much worse it gets when somebody wishes to do you harm, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be orders of magnitude.

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In terms of function, the HSP WML has one button that does one thing; that is it.  No alternate modes, zero extra switches and levers; nothing.  You press the nicely angled rubber switch on the back and hold it to keep the light shining, as soon as you let go, it stops illuminating things.  My personal experience has been that anything other than momentary activation on a weapon light is not only an unnecessary hassle, but rarely useful and most it’s probably not something you need to be fucking about with when ‘the time’ comes.

The attachment system is just as simple as the operation; 1 small screw to loosen to allow the spring-loaded clamp to open, press on said clamp, place the body on your picatinny and at that point you could just go ahead and use the light, but obviously it makes sense to tighten the screw.  The WML runs on a single CR123 and the all-plastic body is light as a feather; all up mass with the battery is a mere 3 ounces.  The battery is accessed by unscrewing the head, which can be partially removed to lock out the light from functioning.  This thread also features an O-ring so the entire unit is actually waterproof down to 20m.  The other lock out is the swinging gate on the back, which isn’t perfect because it’s certainly not impossible to press the switch with the gate raised, but it is at least very low profile and folds completely out of the way when not in use.  I’ve not tried to remove it from any of my WMLs but it certainly looks possible and personally I’d rather just grip my rifle so that my thumb isn’t rested on the switch, eliminating any chance of a negligent light discharge.

Durability:  I have actually dropped a similar model of WML straight on it’s head on to concrete and the slotted plastic bezel piece around the head did split, but the light remained entirely functional.  The light took all the brunt of the impact since the GBB carbine kit in question was dangling from a 1-point (lesson learned, gear is fallible, your hands should not be), but said ‘weapon’ was very light and the drop distance was short, so I can’t comment on how this light would hold up to a more forceful hit.  It did fairly well though, especially considering the pricing on these.  On that point, the elephant in the room; yes, to my mind the SF Scouts are without doubt the more ‘professional’ option and with those you have a true myriad of choices in terms of heads, bodies, mounts, tail caps and switching options if you go down the SureFire route.  You’ll also get a fair bit more durability with the anodised aluminum bodies, heads and tails, but then you’re paying probably 3 times the price just for entry and if you then pick up a gucci mount from HSP/DD/Gear Sector/Arisaka as well as an extra fancy remote switch (which is the base line for a lot of folks) you’re easily getting to $500 with many other options there to go far higher; I’m sure I could configure a $1k+ light setup without trying too hard at all.  The WML on the other hand is one piece, I’m not aware of any other options for the head or mounting and the switching physically cannot be changed.  It’s incredibly light and supremely streamlined, you take it out of the box, clamp it on your rifle and go.

Compared to the original/Gen 1 WML I have, which featured a really awful switch system with high/low/strobe modes all on the one switch depending on how you pressed, the HSP edition from Inforce really embraces the simplicity of this platform and runs with it to the logical end zone.  At the time of writing, it is available for $123 in Coyote Brown (pictured) and Black from the Haley Strategic webstore.  So if you absolutely need your weapon light to be guaranteed to survive any possible situation, then yes, you should stick with the safe-bet in SureFire.  But for any other applications, be they sporting or otherwise, consider the Inforce offering because it’s a really impressive piece at the numbers they retail.