I don’t normally cqb, but this is usually the biggest event on my calendar – Stirling Airsoft’s weekender at a FIBUA village in Catterick. With England on a 5 year losing streak, we desperately need a win. I’ll be joining the Norvern Monkeys squad as a sniper (obviously), but decided to take an m4 as well in case the wind picks up – a couple of years ago, I ended up running pistol only after stormy weather rendered the rifle useless. For this article, having just finished packing, I thought I’d go through my big game kit and talk about what I pack and why.
First up, England camo rules are Multicam or desert camo. I have a fair bit of Multicam (related) stuff so that’s the first decision sorted, and I’ll be leaving the ghillie at home so I can be identified by both sides. The game is around 28hrs, and is fast paced with hourly objectives in various locations throughout the site. It’s hard work and the loadout needs to be light, comfortable but packing enough firepower to secure each objective. There are no medics, if you’re hit it’s back to respawn and potentially up to 20mins out of the game, although this means I can keep ammo and snacks in the respawn area and keep topped up when I’m there.
Here’s my respawn bag. It’s one of the cheap 38l molle assault packs from Military1st.co.uk in Kryptek Mandrake, and I usually use it to carry webbing and ghillies to and from skirmishes. With a couple of pouches attached, it has plenty of room and is pretty decent quality for the price. It’ll take clothing, wash kit and sleeping bag as well as anything that doesn’t fit in my two rifle bags.
I usually run a FAST helmet for cqb, but this time I’m swapping for an Emerson Multicam fleece hat to reduce bulk, although the helmet will come along just in case. I run a shemagh for my neck and a pair of unbranded green gloves because my mechanix need replacing. I was told that I couldn’t wear my usual green Czech army bandana because of the colour, so I’m taking a Multicam one instead. Got to be looking good on the field. On top of the makeshift bandana is my eye pro, a simple pair of clear Bolle shooting glasses. No tint, because I like to see as clearly as possible, and they let air circulate through to prevent fogging. Also pictured is my Ztac bowman headset, for the left hand side so I can get on the gun properly. Personally I prefer comms in one ear only so I can still hear other noises with the other. Radio is a Motorola TLKR. Does the job.
Not pictured, I run a OneTigris mesh mask in Multicam because I like my face, and a pair of Bolle X1000 goggles in case I need full seal eye pro.
Belt order or sub load, depending on what you call it. British Army issue battle belt. Comfortable, maybe a little on the bulky side but it holds everything securely. This carries, from left to right :
– Triple 5.56 mag pouch. Made by Highlander, I’ve had a couple of these for many years and they’re fantastic. Holds mags securely even without the bungee.
– Attached is a British Army grenade pouch with an Alpha Tec Hex BFG. This has six shots loaded and has never failed. Why settle for a single shot reusable grenade?
– Viper medium utility pouch. Extremely good quality pouch despite the low price. Viper have been doing some great kit lately and I don’t understand people spending more on similar stuff purely because of the branding. It’s a pouch, it holds stuff. On this event, it’ll be spare batteries, spare pyro and things I don’t need to get to immediately.
– Viper adjustable holster with mk23. OK, it’s not as good as the Warrior adjustable holster but that won’t take the mk23. Also, a pistol lanyard because I don’t fully trust the holster.
The chest rig. Best bit of non-sniper webbing I’ve ever had. I prefer chest rigs because they’re lower profile, more breathable and carry just the right amount of kit without giving you tons of space to overload it. This is the Condor MCR4 ops chest rig. It doesn’t come with the built-in m4 pouches (yeah I wish I had now) or indeed any other pouches, but it’s a useful blank canvas to build what you need. This rig will carry everything I need to keep up the fight if I want to drop the belt and run lighter.
There are two mags in the top which slot into a handy velcro map pocket, but it’s a bit loud and awkward to get into for most stuff, so that’s all I ever use it for. Left to right on the rig :
– Glowstick. Ermmm, I thought it was used while I was packing and snapped it before realising it wasn’t. Fits in the spare molle loop. No other reason. I don’t fit anything bulky on the right hand side so it doesn’t affect shouldering the weapon.
– Another British Army issue grenade pouch. Thermobaric this time.
– Cheap triple 5.56 mag pouch again to take it up to 8 Mags and 1040 rounds of automatic goodness. This one is a budget Multicam version to match the rig.
– Warrior double pistol mag pouch x2. Warrior quality, which is really good, but used for vsr sniper mags, which they retain really well.
– Viper medium utility pouch. Again. Because I really like them. This one will hold mk5 thunderflash grenades and spare vsr mags, as well as a backup mk23 mag.
The rest of my load bearing. The arm panel is one of the most useful bits of kit for any big milsim style event. Knowing where you are and where you need to be makes a massive difference. I prefer it on the arm instead of the other webbing because it’s easier to see, and I have more space on my arm. This is the Warrior version. It has a velcro panel on the top for morale patches, to keep your morale up. Probably.
The dump pouch is another Viper piece, leg mounted, which is handy for when you’re making yourself look stupid trying to slot mags back into their pouches in the middle of a firefight. Most of the time it’s empty, but it’s good to have one. Like the arm panel, I wasn’t using my leg for anything else.
The good stuff. This is my cqb machine. It doesn’t come out very often…
This originally was a G&P M7a1 (hah! It’s not actually an M4! Technically anyway). The externals are stunning, featuring a VLTOR upper receiver, Troy Arms lower with Troy Arms 9″ battle rail and Troy Arms flip up iron sights. It’s since had a few additions, like the CTR style stock, and reflex sight which I like because you can still see what’s going on around you, instead of focusing down a scope. Sounds odd for a sniper but trust me. Internally, it’s had a full rebuild with ASG parts after dropping power, and has a guarder clear bucking along with a couple of DIY mods. Sling is a basic single point bungee, and I’ll be taking a silencer along with it.
The VSR of course will be coming along. I’m not taking the camo off, although it’s not a great advantage in a built up area.
A couple of other bits. Batteries obviously, and gas if you need it. Always use good ammo in all your guns to prevent them breaking apart in your barrel, and reduce fliers. Don’t pick up the ones off the Internet that are £5 for 10,000 just because you like hosing people. Look after your kit and keep weapons running smoothly.
Anyone who has me on instagram or Facebook knows I use Longbow bb’s all the time, simply because they’re the best available, end of. I’m running two of their weights; 0.43 for the rifle and 0.36 for the pistol. The m4 will be running 0.28, and I usually use ASG blasters or Nuprol RZR. I was one of the ones who suffered Nuprols early ammo, which was awful, but the new ones work fine.
Other bits worth taking are a small toolkit in case the worst happens (not a full one – if something really bad happens, you don’t want to be doing that level of tech work in the dirt, save it until you get home), zip ties and tape. Because there’s ALWAYS someone who needs something taping up. And a small pocket knife to cut it with. Don’t be a dick and bring a massive jungle knife.
Finally, hydro tabs for your water bottle. Partly for flavour, but also keeps you much better hydrated. The energy gels are handy little boosts when you need them and don’t take up much space. Pick them up from your local Sports Direct. Lastly, a protein bar. Mainly because my boss recommended it and she’s a really big fan of the site and wanted a mention.
Well, I’m pretty much done so it’s just a case of waiting now. It’s December 2nd/3rd and I might try and do some live streams from the event if I get chance. Hopefully we can deliver a good result this time.