The Other Six12

Little clip from SHOT Show​ I dug up from my phone the other day showing the formerly-Crye Six12 bullpup revolver shotgun.

There’s a very fancy website for this gun up now that’s worth a look to get an idea of the number of different stock/mounting options that have been planned and prototyped for this thing.

M-LOK Domination

Soldier Systems Daily has really been smashing out the news this week, including:

-USMC’ further adoption of the M27 IAR (HK416) and moving said rifle in to a DMR role with 1-6x adjustable mag optics.

-US Army purchasing more semi-auto 762 NATO rifles to add to combat teams as an interim measure to counter long range 7.62x54R threats (eg SVD and PKM).

-US SOCOM beginning to officially investigate 6.Xmm intermediate cartridges via in-depth testing and analysis. Strong potential for wider adoption if successful I’d wager.

I’d specifically like to draw attention to this post right now:

http://soldiersystems.net/…/details-on-the-ussocom-sponsor…/

As the article mentions, the sample of KeyMod and M-LOK rails tested was fairly small, but the testing went in to great depth and the trends were clearly observable.

We all knew M-LOK was going to win, I know that was my feeling pretty much as soon as Magpul Industries Corp. unveiled their system and I looked through the open source spec sheet. Apart from anything the ability to machine it far more cheaply was a massive boon. I haven’t bought a KeyMod handguard for a couple of years now and while I’m not going to rush to replace the ones I have because they’re more than good enough for sporting usage, I’m also not planning to spend a single penny more on KeyMod unless I really need some specific mount for a rail I already own.

The new H&K rifle the US Army is scheduled to be adopting next year to replace the SR-25 will have a Geissele Automatics, LLC M-LOK rail, that will mark the first large(ish) scale military issuing of M-LOK that I know of. From then on I think it’s going to snowball.

Silencers in Games

Don’t know about the rest of you but this is a perfect intersection of my interests. SilencerCo also needs to give their editing guy a pay rise.

The ironic thing is silencers in games have generally decreased damage, velocity or accuracy as a way to provide balance because you can’t really account for the added length or the quicker rate of accumulation of carbon. What they perhaps should actually do is make aiming down sight a tad slower to represent the weight/balance change and, more importantly, increase recoil (especially in FA) which would actually be realistic in most cases. In self-loading firearms, most silencers cause more gas to cycle back in to the system and hence cause the bolt carrier to slam backwards faster and harder on every shot.

I don’t think emulating the effect of hot, noxious gasses being blasted in to the firer’s face would be a good idea in games because it would just annoy players and increasing rate of fire would often be more of an advantage, but possibly just making some guns unable to accept sound suppressors (as is generally realistic) would make sense. Many common military self-loading weapons that are depicted in games simply aren’t built in such a way that they’ll still cycle rounds reliably when massively over-gassed. Not in their issued configurations anyway, you’re often talking armourer level work to change gas parts in some way to allow reliable silencer use.

NB – If ‘Silencer’ triggers you because you believe you’re a god of firearms knowledge and you’re sure you just read something wrong on the internet, please do more research on the origins of devices that muffle the report of firearms.

Guns’r’Bad M’kay?

So.. YouTube.

I’m guessing if you read this, you follow a fair few gun/shooting related channels. I don’t subscribe to a whole lot of them, probably less than a dozen in total and a lot of them rarely post because they’re run by 1 dude just for the fun of it.

Now the basic headline story here is that the Wall Street Journal highlighted the fact that because YouTube puts ads before/around every video, various companies were having their products ‘associated’ with ISIS and neo-nazis etc etc, so some huge brands pulled hundreds of millions in revenue from YouTube, not far off a billion USD. It would seem this caused YT to have a big rethink about how and where ads are placed and in the process of implementing an even more mysterious, unexplained algorithm for monetisation, gun channels have done very badly indeed (even worse than they were doing before vs the so-called ‘family friendly’ generic content).

All the big channels I subscribe to have uploaded in the past few days talking about this and a lot of them are asking for more support via the likes of patreon since they’ll now be making either zero money from ads, or very little. This also affects airsofters since if a channel primarily promotes/discusses airsoft guns, they fall in to the same bracket as real guns as far as YT’s rules go.

This could definitely hurt viewers in terms of a loss of content to watch, but whether any big channels completely disappear or change dramatically remains to be seen. My personal perspective is that, to an extent, some people have been unthinkingly riding the gravy train on YouTube and social media in general for a long time now and were really, really naive to think it would last forever. Basing essentially your entire livelihood around that sort of thing was never a smart move, it was always too fragile a platform if you’re in the realm of anything that looks like a gun.

Despite the view/sub numbers clearly showing that, globally, people want to see firearms and airsoft, a vocal minority of people (probably largely in the US) will never stop squealing about how a bolt action bb gun is definitely 1 small step away from being converted to an automatic high-capacity assault weapon ideal for mass shootings.

Personally I made so little off YouTube that losing (for example) 50% of that money means nothing to me, it’s a miniscule percentage of what I earn in my actual job. I’ll carry on uploading gear reviews, the occasional shooting video and the occasional airsoft video as and when I’m able to, want to, and feel it makes sense. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how this affects the sphere of ‘gun guys’ on social media and around the internet as a whole.

HK History

Another example of how my time on the internet works.

I’ve been eyeing up the new TM iteration of the 416 and trying to decide which rail I might fit to it if I purchased one. I googled for any other commercial offerings that might be outside the usual which lead me to a review on The Firearm Blog talking about the Strike Industries options in that realm. Within that article was a link to this PDF which if you’re a gun geek like me you’re going to love:

http://static.hkpro.com/straightgrain/docs/TheHKDecades.pdf

If you’re not much interested in the history of HK then scroll down to the pictures at the bottom (I think Larry Vickers is in there?). There’s some really cool shots of stuff like a 762×39 G3 variant, the very first test versions of the 416, versions of the infamous caseless G11 rifle and lots more.

Here’s a couple of examples of early generations of the XM8 rifle for example that you’ve quite likely never seen before:

Very Personal Clothing

One for anybody interested in British issue kit/PCS and MTP in general.

I’ve very briefly mentioned the latest aircrew FR clothing in the past, the only place I’ve seen it so far was on the aviators I worked alongside in afghan last year and the total number of items from this uniform system that are actually in existence is a minuscule number compared to the amount of standard issue PCS that’s out there in circulation now.  I’m unsure exactly how many generations of aircrew specific FR apparel the military has been through since the initial roll out of MTP. I know that initially (as with the non-FR uniforms) there was a simple CS95 cut in the MTP camouflage material, at least 1 intermediate step with a unique new cut and now the ‘FACS’ (Future aircrew clothing system) items seem to have been pretty much standardised across the board.

Fast Jet and Multi engine crews retain the classic green overall for the most part, but as you might expect given the role in theatre, rotary wing crew (both drivers and ticket punchers) have the greatest expectancy of potentially having to get out of their birds in a place they’re not supposed to and their clothing, weapons and equipment shares much more in common with ground troops/crew.

The only information I could find in the public domain regards this kit is in the following 2 briefing items. First is a regular publication regards air safety and general aircrew matters (advise skipping to page 44 if you’re not a pilot), second is a Powerpoint brief that’s slightly older detailing flame resistance tests carried out on different FR MTP uniforms and the process behind how the clothing has evolved over time.

http://www.raf.mod.uk/…/DE32825E_5056_A318_A8EED74823B0BF4E…

http://www.safeeurope.co.uk/…/02-m-trudgill-development-of-…

The latest iteration of the FR MTP UBACS isn’t illustrated in the above unfortunately and I don’t have any pictures available, but it’s an interesting item. Having a fully-patterned torso area and full-colour loop fields on each arm, as opposed to the PYCO blanking plates on the standard general issue uniform shirts. The loop may well be normal multicam, but all examples I saw were very heavily faded; presumably a result of the combination of boil washes used by the local contractors, high frequency of washing, small number of items issued per person, the strength of the sun in theatre and lack of dye-fastness.

The trousers from this system are by far the most advanced being issued to anyone in the conventional British forces that I’m aware of. They’re extremely reminiscent of the Platatac Tac Dax Mk3 trousers, which themselves are derived from the current generation of Patagonia L9 combats that certain USSOF guys are issued.

The Patagonias have stretch on the knees like Crye combats, but instead of sewing a NYCO knee pad pocket on top of it, there’s 2 layers of the stretch fabric which accept a proprietary knee pad, foam inside, plastic piece clips on outside through holes in the outer layer of fabric. The Tac Dax and the FACS trousers do a similar thing but use the D3O Trust HP Internal knee pads. All of the above also feature stretch panels at the back just below the belt line as well as either a stretch panel or extra fabric in the groin to help lessen the chances of that splitting. The MTP stretch material has an odd horizontal ribbing to it that I’ve not seen elsewhere.

Unlike the US DoD, the UK MoD has not deemed that barely anyone other than aircrew (and a few other vehicle crewmen) is worthy of getting FR clothing, even for deployment to operational theatres. You get a TON of other kit for deployment and when I went away with my bucket and spade I got the most up to date kitting for a ‘Dismounted Close Combat’ role minus the Virtus body armour and new helmet, i.e. the stuff an infantryman would’ve gotten a couple of years ago. Not because I was actually in such a role (I’d be bloody useless) it was just decided that everyone going should get all that kit, training was also far longer and more in-depth than it was during the Herrick days and everyone deployed with both a rifle with a 4x sight and a 9mm sidearm. My guess for the reasoning behind this is simply the nature of the drastically reduced footprint of international military personnel that are in country now vs the time proper to the 2014 draw down, combined with the fact that top brass and the government have “no appetite for risk” (direct quote there).

Given the high percentage of burn casualties sustained by ISAF forces in Afghanistan over the course of the large scale operations there, I find it pretty strange that wider adoption of a flame resistant uniform for everyone deploying is yet to occur. Even if features like stretch panels and integrated knee pads aren’t included for personnel not generally expecting to engage in close combat, just using a fabric with a no melt/no drip capability would be an enormous step forward. From what I can gather via my own research (military labels do not detail fabric contents of a garment) all standard PCS MTP fabric contains a very high % content of polyester, even more than most commercial PYCO blend offerings. They do include an insect repellent from the factory and there’s some sort of ballistic protective fabric in the UBACS neck which is nice; there’s also no shortage of coverage against various ballistic threats with the Mk4 Osprey and groin protector. However, when your entire lower body and your arms and shoulders have a nice layer of polyester melted to them, the best body armour in the world won’t save you from the burns and subsequent massive shock sustained.

The even more darkly comedic part of the debate for me is the fact that a lot of people in the service either don’t or won’t believe or accept this is an issue, as if somehow it’s only crew who might need the protection. Personally I scrounged up a set of the intermediate cut aircrew issue FR uniforms in a close-enough size while I was deployed by saving it from a whole load of older/outsized kit that was being disposed of. But I’m still left with no option but to cross my fingers and hope the likes of the infantry and other personnel who risk being exposed to blast/flame hazard while transiting around current and future combat zones will actually be issued a uniform along the lines of the ones that our American allies utilise:

H&K Numbers

HK have made a SCAR-L/ACR combo that’s slightly bettererer; feature wise anyway, obviously can’t comment on build quality and reliability yet.

-Non reciprocating charging handle (unlike the SCAR)
-Quick change barrels like the ACR
-Selector goes to safe all the time (unlike the AR-15)
-Folding collapsing stock, light, full ambi, takes 30rnd STANAGs but they’re showing their own metal mags like it’s 2004… alllll the same shit you see on all these cookie cutter modern assault rifles.

Doesn’t even seem to have a wiki page right now that’s how new this, but the first place I saw it was Larry Vickers‘ page.

No doubt short stroke gas piston. The BUIS look pretty anorexic, bolt catch/release button is a straight ACR rip-off basically, metal part of the charging handle looks the same as well to my eye. The German military is looking to replace the G36 right now, this will probably be it I reckon. HK and the German government are too well intertwined at this point, but as with anything, we’ll see.

Some nice Leo Köhler GmbH & Co. KG multicam shirts on display, presumably issue variants since the commercial one I have here does not feature rank epaulettes on the shoulders (obviously, this is 2017 not 1917).

Who Needs Living Space Anyway?

I’d imagine some folks will have noticed I’ve slowed down a lot with the gear posts the past 2 months or so, certainly by comparison to the frequency I had been working to.  I’ve still been buying my usual unnecessary gear because I have a problem, but that buying (and subsequently trying to learn about and understand) is very much the part of the hobby that I’ve always been most interested in.  I started doing all the social media stuff because it seemed very much wasteful to not at least attempt to try and share what I learn along the way with other folks who, like myself, might be keen to educate themselves about this equipment for whatever reason.  However, my job is my priority and though some small elements of my hobby can fit in to my work (kit wise), airsoft is generally about recreating the actual gunfighting portion of the military and the reality is gunfighting is not my main role; there are other people much better trained and qualified than me who go out and do that.  My job is to maintain, issue and generally deal with certain systems and bits of kit that allow those fighters to go and do their jobs, so the actual gear I need (and is suited) for doing me is rather different to all the super cool stuff that SF guys use and which is so popular amongst hobbyists.

I’ve mentioned this before, but the ‘dull’ reality that Hollywood and games and airsoft don’t show you is that keeping yourself warm/cool, dry, generally comfortable, free from illness and minor injuries, fed and hydrated are the key things in an operational area.  You can’t do anything else effectively without that solid foundation.  Doing all that stuff in your own comfy home is a piece of cake of course, but it in less plush circumstances is more tricky and the closer you get to the front line, the harder it becomes.  Again, in my role I’ll be in places most of the time where doing that stuff is comparatively easy.  I’ll have access to showers, laundry facilities, all the food and water I need and opportunities for rest in an area that’s an awful lot more secure than the open countryside.  That said, some service people still manage to fail in their basic task of keeping their body’s working even at home sometimes, let alone in slightly more austere conditions.

Kitting for deployments these days is based on many years of many people’s experiences up to this point, along with a government and military that is extremely risk-adverse with no desire to suffer any more losses after the casualties sustained since 2001 and the deluge of media that has accompanied them all.  Now, the kit people like me receive is still not of the highest quality compared to the stuff SF have and the stuff airsofters lust after, but it’s kit designed to keep you safe from a lot of things most folks don’t tend to think about; then facilitate combat for self defence if necessary.

IMG_2301

I won’t go in to a ton of detail on everything here, since the picture is just intended to illustrate the sheer volume of equipment that is given out to folks deploying in 2016.  That’s my entire bed covered and though it’s not really visible, almost the entire area is 2-4 layers deep in clothing and other bits and pieces (you can see how deeply buried the bottom box of Haix is).  This doesn’t even include various bulky items of cold weather kit I’d previously been issued for my time down the Falklands along with all the other layering and uniform that is basic issue to everybody for the UK.  Not to mention certain items I’ve purchased myself and of course my issued L85, G17, holster, magazines for the rifle and pistol, weapon cleaning kit and pistol belt line.  Oh and all my tons of paperwork, some gym kit, 1-2 bits of civvies, my laptop, wash kit, more socks and underwear etc etc etc….

The MSM Boss Beaver pack pictured of course isn’t issued, but it was just standing in for the 50L MTP daysack I was provided with after the picture was taken.  I’ve been using the Boss on a daily basis since it arrived and I just really bloody love the thing.  How exactly I’ll use it while away I’m not 100% on just now, but I look forward to continuing my testing and evaluation of it regardless.

So yes, if you come to this site and follow the accompanying FB and IG accounts for the super tacticool stuff then I’m not sure when that regular service will resume, but rest assured I’ve no lack of material to post in that department.  My head simply has not had the luxury of being in that ‘zone’ of late.