It’s Christmas eve as I write this, although unfortunately I’ve nothing airsoft related under the tree. Instead, most of the guys at sniperworks are looking forward to the new year and new projects. It’s a good time for reflecting on the year we’ve had, with a few sites closed over the festive period, and there’s some intense discussion over what we thought worked well, what didn’t, and what’s new on the market that we can make use of.
There’s a lot of thought about leaf suits between a couple of players, myself included. Generally, I don’t think they’re the best option overall in terms of pattern, which is repeated too much. All are a repeat pattern all over which isn’t the best for breaking up the human form, although the outline is blurred by all those leaves. Those leaves, to analyse further, are all uniform in size and shape, and unfortunately on most suits are arranged in rows. Now, I get that most of us will start gluing a lot of stuff on to disguise it further, and some suits are actually brilliantly put together, but the thinking is that we can apply those techniques of adding camouflage to other bases in different ways to create something less uniform.
Second on the list, the load bearing. The harness style setup I usually run is fine, but still a little bulky for quick skirmish games. During those, I can get by fine carrying just a couple of vsr mags. Longer games, you need resupply (food, water, ammo), which I think could go on the back because its not something you need fast access to – if you’re thinking about stopping for a snack, it’s a conscious decision to find somewhere quiet to do it and the rig could be taken off and accessed during some kind of down time. There’s a lot of fancy rigs on show on social media but they’re maybe a bit too much for what we need.
Thirdly, the rifle. There’s a couple of things that have caught my eye in the last month or so. Chiefly, my sniper buddy Jordan’s vsr. Jordan had a break from the game while buckets upgrades and parts were developed and sold, each claiming to be a great improvement over previous models. Now, Jordan’s vsr is from an older period in airsoft sniping. It has a lot of parts that used to be the standard. And yet, it performs as well as any I’ve seen. It’s very well put together; he’s a great gun tech. But it shows that all the expensive new parts we drool over actually add very little to our rifles.
“Nothing at all has changed in performance. We have heavier pistons so we can use lighter springs” – Jordan
Pretty much spot on. We pay more for shinier parts, which are better marketed, but we’re not much further forward in terms of performance.
That led to another conversation in Raw War’s Facebook group from a guy who was looking to take up sniping, and wondering what rifle to get on a budget for starters. The usual recommendations cropped up – Cyma CM701, Ares Striker, A&K M24, Marui VSR. I was tagged in it and offered my thoughts, and one was on the subject of MED, in a hastily written comment whilst on lunch at work.
The site at Raw War is fantastic, vast and varied. But generally most engagements with the rifle were under 50m. The problem being, some vegetation is just too dense to be able to hit a straight line shot further than that. It also means that your targets can appear out of nowhere without warning. The MED at the site is a lengthy 30m, which means you’ve got a very narrow 20m “range” to attack targets in, give or take. That’s pretty restrictive, so it’s been on my mind for a while to build a sub-350 fps rifle, so that it removes the MED and means you can engage under the 30, all the way to 50-60 depending on the hop setup. That’s a much better setup for dense woodland. Yes, you lose the extreme range advantage in open areas but they’re reliant on static targets for the extra bb flight time.
Kind of hoping to get sub-350 rifles into fashion rather than aeg sidearms for the close up stuff.
On the tech front, we’ve not really advanced too far in the last few years and I guess inventing new upgrades will slow in the 2020, unless somebody has an amazing new idea. Maybe we’re at the limits of what is possible physically with our weapons.
In a conversation I was having on the subject, I pointed out that with aeg users, they might typically push their ranges up to about 50-60m and then be satisfied with it; they accept that the limit is reached but then it’s a challenge to improve the efficiency of the rest of their kit – the way the load bearing is set up, how quickly they can perform mag changes, different grips etc. Perhaps as snipers we refuse to accept we’ve reached our limit, because many of us see it as our main advantage on the field, and it isn’t. We’re stealth players. Ambushes, quick and quiet movements, sneaky kills that nobody sees coming. It’s not like being an artillery unit and expecting to simply launch bb’s across the field until we hit something, it’s a lot more ninja than that.
Some ideas there for the new year then. In the meantime, feel free to join in the discussion on the Sniperworks Facebook group.