In addition to the bigger articles, I’ve decided to mix up the blog format a bit with a fortnightly round up from the world of airsoft snipers, to keep up with what’s hot and what’s not, good information from conversations I’ve had with players across the globe, and any good questions I’ve had from social media. Anything I’m doing in depth of course will lead to proper articles and guides still.
First up this week, I was going to begin with Novritsch’s new Mk23, the SSX-23, which is being discussed everywhere. I was going to say how it’s nothing new or innovative, he’s just (belatedly – remember he’s been a glock user for years) picked up on the fact that the mk23 sells well so he’s reinvented the wheel but with his name on it. But then something happened.
Snake the Sniper. Legend of the game. One of my favourite guys in airsoft, with his expert advice and superb sense of humour, has decided he’s had enough. Not completely, he will still be doing big events, but no longer enjoying weekly skirmishes. Why?
Negativity, primarily. The toxic community online, where everyone seems to hate snipers (especially other snipers – work that one out). Changes to the game, which I think a lot of older players will recognise. Increases in cheating and arguing at game days. It’s not a pretty picture at the moment, but Snake is right. And I’ve seen it impacting on a lot of players in the last twelve months, with a few leaving airsoft as a result.
As I’ve touched on before, airsoft has changed in the last couple of years and I think it comes down to two things. YouTube, and a need to win. I do occasionally set up cameras myself, but I don’t have a YouTube channel. I think that unfortunately too many people now are seeking fame and attention through YouTube and Sniper videos do seem to be popular, although personally I don’t see any attraction in watching bb’s hit people on scope cameras; there’s just no value in it whatsoever. Nothing to learn, nothing to gain from wasting valuable time watching it except to support another player. Much better to spend time developing yourself. Unfortunately, to get popular on YouTube now you need to become a dickhead in your videos, and try and show other dickheads on them. Basically, these “personalities” are doing their best to ruin other players’ game days by trying to cause arguments and highlight cheating in return for views, which has the knock on effect of causing problems across the community and worse, encourages copycat behaviour.
The need to win, especially while being on film, wasn’t there when I first started playing. The idea of going to a site was to be part of the experience. To play wargames and, win or lose, come out of it at the end of the day having had a good time. Now, there are some extremely good players out there who have skills that really make a difference and I have all the respect in the world for those who have served and bring that experience to the table, as well as those who have simply taken the time to master what they do on the Airsoft field. At the opposite end of the scale however we have those who are either new, lazy, or both, and simply believe that by buying better kit, or more kit, or spending a fortune on upgrades, they will win.
This is where we see arguments over hit taking, the fundamental cornerstone of our hobby. Either from those who believe their new Marui recoil 416 with super upgrade kit will hit absolutely everything up to ranges they think are possible, or those who can’t be seen to be hit because they’re too good. And totally invisible with their new Crye Precision Multicam pants. Worse still, those who decide to film it to show all their Instagram followers just how cool they are at the weekend.
If airsoft is to continue, we all have a responsibility as a community to discourage bad play, and try and help those who clearly would benefit from a little tutoring, without being condescending about it. Go back to it being a game of tactics, not equipment. And these YouTube channels either need shut down or called out, without getting caught up in arguments. Do remember that negative comments feed the algorithms as much as likes and positive comments – no such thing as bad publicity. I’ve unsubscribed from all but a handful of airsoft sniper channels now, and the ones left are the ones who actually have good information on them. Again, support yourself, not others. Working together makes us all better. It’s like a climate change moment for airsoft – it was always an honour game but that honour is rapidly slipping away.
Moving on, I had a query from mossy114 via Instagram this week regarding getting an HPA VSR. While I have all the love in the world for the VSR, I don’t fully understand the need to HPA a sniper rifle. I know it’s gaining a lot of popularity with non-snipers, who like the extra kick in their m4, but I think the advantages are lost on bolt actions. There’s no extra range or accuracy gain, that’s the hop side of things, and the need to be attached to the air tank as well as a need for refills make it a disadvantage to players who participate in full weekend games. I’ll be doing an article on weekend kit during the autumn (it’s summer holidays atm so family comes first). Light is right.
I’ve always preferred a quiet rifle to having extra range, which is why my VSR is under 450fps, has extra barrel length and I spend forever looking at ways to dampen it. To that end, I recently acquired a Swiss Arms GOOB silencer, which is an over the barrel solution. Although being massive in length, the barrel slots in halfway through the silencer and screws into place, which makes it look very cool but that wasn’t the (only) reason I got it. It has a lot more width than the one I had and I want to see how much of an effect it has on noise. In theory it’s a bigger volume, but I’ll see how it goes.
That’s it vs my old silencer…
And on the gun. The camo tape replaced my realtree tape for a Black Hawk Down milsim, it doesn’t usually look this plain, and in the end it didn’t make the trip. I’ll be doing a new camo job in September with some new crafting materials, and there’ll be a feature on that.
Suppression brings me nicely to what to use to fill your suppressor and http://www.sniperparts.nl, a new shop ran by a good guy with some neat solutions in the pipeline and definitely one to add to your favourites folder. There have been a lot of players switching to Scotchbrite (that horrible stuff on kitchen sponges), myself included, but it’s crappy material to work with and thankfully Dolph at sniperparts.nl offers it pre-cut to the size you need. It’s denser and absorbs sound a lot better than normal foam, and these sets are perfect, well worth it.
Lastly, amid a whole raft of new camouflage ideas for the autumn/winter/spring, I’ve been looking closely at base camo with my regular Sniper Buddy Aiden. As exciting as all these new camo patterns are, you’re still stuck with the problem that even within an airsoft site, you might have several different environments. Colour is key, but a few of the newer patterns are composed of fairly similar looking colours, and multicam especially is very recognisable as a pattern – we can all close our eyes and picture roughly what it looks like. I do like DPM and US woodland for the way they split shapes up with sharply contrasting colours, like tan, green and black, rather than the more harmoniously blended patterns of today. Ask yourself this – does nature actually blend and merge shapes and colours? Does it do fades? At the moment, I think both myself and Aiden are asking a lot of questions rather than finding solutions, and it’s generating a lot of further ideas which is great, and I’d like to share these each week to help get others thinking more too.
Questions = thinking = solutions.
Last thing for this week, for those not already familiar, is to share the new Sniper Mechanic blog. Dan has had a rather excellent revamp on his site and it’s as silky smooth as it is useful. I’m a big fan of Sniper Mechanic, he does great stuff for the community and certainly worth supporting. We’re definitely a minority within airsoft so the guys that do stuff to help us need our help back. And just to reiterate, I’m not a sponsored player. I do have a discount code for http://www.skirmshop.co.uk which is “Stip5”, but it’s not for commission or anything like that. I’m happy to support anyone who does good for our part of the airsoft community and happy to recommend good kit, regardless of where it comes from. I know some players are obsessive fanboys but really we should all be striving to get the best bits available regardless of any allegiances or brand loyalty. So if I’m advertising anything on here, it’s because it’s worth having.
The shit stuff goes in the bin.