Nah don’t worry, I’m not retiring. I’ve got an event coming up in December and I thought it might interest some people to go through the kit even if it doesn’t feature a bolt action rifle. Because all airsofters love kit discussion.
Stirling Airsoft’s England vs Scotland 2018 at Catterick. I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of the England setup for this event for a few years now and I love it. It’s a fast paced, relentless battle against very tough opposition, though day and night, in a mock village used by the British Army for FIBUA training. In previous years, I’ve done this weekender as a sniper (obviously), but decided this time to leave my VSR at home, which has raised a few eyebrows so I’ll explain why.
This event awards points to teams who hold specified numbered buildings on the hour, every hour, with a few side objectives going on at the same time. In the past, I’ve had a good time getting into positions with a sniper rifle and picking off opportune targets as one would in any other event. In terms of the overall team effort though, picking off random targets when they present themselves may make for good scope cam footage, but to score points, there needs to be focused effort and weight of fire to push the other team out of target buildings, and then again to defend them. With a single shot bolt action, there isn’t the weight of fire required to get the job done either on the attacking or defending phases, never mind the difficulty of navigating tight spaces with a long gun. I’ve mentioned in previous blogs that some events present different challenges to the sniper, and I think in a limited numbers game (60 per team), where firepower must be maximised in a very close urban environment maybe doest lend itself to sniping at all. So, for the sake of the team, I’m picking up some other weapons for this one…
Let’s start with the fun stuff. This is my non-sniper collection, for team days when I’m feeling more sociable.
Yup. I’m a big fan of that great staple of airsoft; the venerable M4. Initially, when I first started airsoft, I went with the HK416 (bottom) which was very much in fashion. It was only after choosing it that I realised the M4 had very cheap, plentiful and easily available upgrade parts. Regardless of how you feel about looks, it makes this a really versatile an easy to work with platform. Because also I didn’t want to have to change mag pouches on webbing and rigs, I’ve stuck with the platform since. I guess it’s the VSR of the AEG world.
Being that two (guns) is one, and one is none (owing to technical problems that always crop up when you need them least), I’ll be taking two rifles to the event. The classic M15 in the centre isn’t feeling very well at the moment so that meant I didn’t have a choice anyway so here’s a rundown on my M7A1 and HK416.
An M4 in all but name, I splashed out on this to be my “pro” gun, a quality workhorse for big events. Although quality externals, the internals were only putting bb’s out about 30m, so it needed rebuilt on the inside. Trademarks all over have stopped me painting this gun, so I went to town with the externals instead for added cool. The reflex red dot I’ve found much better than scopes because you can see what’s going on around you without getting tunnel vision down a scope. Ideal for keeping your head up and alert to your surroundings.
Internals – Added Asg piston, cylinder and cylinder head. Prowin hop unit and G&G green rubber sorted the range and accuracy out.
Externals – Troy Arms 9″ Battle Rail, Troy Arms lower receiver, VLTOR upper receiver, Troy Arms flip up iron sights, CTR stock, silencer, foregrip, torch with adjustable mount and red filter, riser mount with reflex red dot sight, peq box, QD sling mount, Magpul rubber rail covers. Beautiful. Yet functional.
Basically an HK416, his was actually my first ever airsoft gun. Unfortunately, it had a wire savaged by an over eager member of site staff, and lay unused for a year before my less technically proficient self attempted to DMR it and ended up asking way too much of the internals, which promptly caught fire and left this a wreck of a gun, which has since sat in a box in parts for years. Thanks to Dirty Dog’s in-house tech extraordinaire Alan H, the wiring was repaired and the receiver was returned to functional only a couple of weeks prior to this article. I’ve added a new hop setup and spent time stripping about 8 layers of paint (I love krylon a lot), then refitted it externally using spare parts from my bits box. Officially it’s the secondary, but it has a serious kick to it and the lack of bulk might prove useful. Before and after pics.
Internals – Stock but rebuilt by one hell of a tech. Blowback removed to increase power. ZCI 6.02 inner barrel with Maple Leaf Macaron hop rubber, Prowin hop unit.
Externals – King Arms red dot replica acog, Battlelink style stock, new pistol grip and a stubby foregrip. M4 flash hider.
For this event, England (I’m English by the way) are the multicam or desert team. I’ve got a full multicam setup and being the 25th anniversary of the events in the film Black Hawk Down, which I’m a huge fan of, I’ll be switching my shirt out for a US tricolor desert replica. I’m a big fan of Teesar clothing. I’ve got a pair of their multicam pants which are excellent quality for the price, and feature knee pockets for neoprene pads which I prefer to the horrible clacky plastic knee pads. Also, the shirt is Teesar’s ACU cut version, which has a much better cut than the old BDU shirt, plenty of velcro space on the arm pockets for all those patvhes and has the mandarin style collar which I think just looks better.
Underneath, I’ll be wearing ski thermals which I picked up from Sports Direct because it’s winter and snow is forecast. Even without snow, it gets bitterly cold when the sun goes down. Completing the clothing side will be my favourite desert shemagh, Mechanix gloves and a multicam bandana from Viper. If it gets cold or I get shot in the head a lot, I’ll be carrying a Condor fleece watch cap in a leg pocket. I get pretty much all of my kit from http://www.military1st.co.uk, who have kept me equipped with almost everything I’ve needed since day one. Excellent customer service and have managed to get stuff out to me in the past when I’ve needed it in a hurry, so a big shout out to the guys there.
This will be a first outing for a new pair of brown Viper Covert Tactical boots, which are at the lower end of the price range and most players will tell you not to go cheap on boots. But I’ve always worn cheap boots for hiking and airsoft, and my day job for the last 15 years has been in sportswear, including a stint working with Nike, and a good insole and pair of socks (which are what your feet are actually in contact with) go a long way to improvingthe comfort of your footwear. This loadout is warm, comfortable, but not waterproof. I’ll be honest, I’ve been out in horrendous weather while airsofting but never suffered in rain. Willing to sacrifice that for weight, cost and noise reduction.
A few years ago, I bought a Condor chest rig for a summer event because I was sweating to death in a big vest or plate carrier. It’s basically a molle panel with internal pockets for maps and stuff. This means I can swap out pouches and reconfigure it, but it’s pretty settled these days. I like how chest rigs limit the space for kit so you can’t overpack it, and have to really think about what you really need. I run 3x STANAG mag pouches for my M4, 4x Warrior pistol mag pouches which also take VSR mags, a medium Viper utility pouch which is actually one of the best utility pouches I’ve ever come across, and a radio pouch. This is the basic kit I need to fight.
I run a British Army issue battle belt as well which has another Viper medium utility for extra ammo and smokes, a triple mag pouch on my weak (left) side for more mags, two issue grenade pouches which house my Alphatec Hex multi use grenade and a smoke, and spare molle loops for mk5 thunderflash style stick grenades. So you’ll notice there I have pretty much the same pouches on my belt as my chest rig. This means I can run one or the other and still fit the same kit in if I choose to change the loadout in game. For most games I rely purely on the chest rig, but with this game being more intense and with a need to defend positions, I can double my carrying capacity for more ammo, grenades, and smokes in case I get stuck without being able to resupply. During the night, fighting is lessened and it becomes a game of stealth, so I drop back down to the chest rig only for easier and quieter movement; I won’t need smokes in the dark. In addition, I have a large Viper drop leg dump pouch purely to drop mags into in a firefight, to sort out afterwards. I find leg mounted is more stable than having one of the flappy traditional dump pouches that just bounces off your legs all day. The last bit of load carrying, in a sense, is a Warrior arm panel. This contains the map, taskings and has a very small zip compartment. Keeps everything dry and handy. I’ve added a red LED keyring for reading in the dark. Always use red light so you don’t give your position away too easily. And it’s just enough light to read by.
There’s always a bit more. I’m taking a FAST style helmet along, in case anything gets really heavy, or more likely, that the doorways are designed for small people and I bang my head off things. I’m adding a British Army issue hydration pack to my back too just so the whole loadout doesn’t feel front heavy. It’s actually not going to be filled or used, it’s a bit of cover for my back and just for looks as much as anything.
Respawn is in the safe zone; I’ll have a deployment bag there for food, drink, tools and electrical tape (always take some rolls). And that’s my kit, or at least the more interesting parts of it. Let me know what you think in the comments, and on Saturday 1st/Sunday 2nd December 2018 I’ll try and post up pics and possibly live feeds on my Instagram @stipwarne during the event.
#airsoft #stipsniper #norvernmonkeys #stirlingairsoft