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 ehobbyasia.com 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:
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.

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.

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.