At time of writing, it’s mid March 2020. The world is gripped by the COVID-19 virus. Cases here in the UK are climbing rapidly. I’ll offer a little insight into my non-sniper life. My day job is retail (sports, specifically), and although we’ve seen trade drop, there are still people ignoring the advice to stay at home and limit the spread of the virus, by simply continuing as normal. But these are far from normal times, whether you believe the virus is dangerous to yourself or not, there are far wider implications not just on people, but our whole way of life. It’s frustrating as hell.
I walk home from work every night, which takes about 30 mins, partly because I like the exercise and partly because I don’t drive, because I like the exercise. Its cold at the moment and I’m really glad to have my Helikon Patriot fleece on, because I’ve got to look tacticool at all times and it’s just that good. The past five nights after work I’ve called into the large supermarket between work, and my house. We’ve had a couple of weeks of people stockpiling and panic buying and the shelves are empty. Five nights now I’ve gone home empty handed. Hopefully it’s temporary of course. There’s an uneasy atmosphere everywhere. People are told to keep a distance between themselves and are wary of anyone with a cough, while the government tries to come up with some sort of plan. I don’t like shopping at the best of times, but right now I really want to avoid people altogether – my family’s health is priority. But needs must.
Not something I’ve reviewed yet actually. I don’t use it for airsoft, except for cold days in the safezone. And it is hijacking the post a bit but worth a mention. The Helikon Patriot fleece jacket (link here). Top kit all year round and lots of clever carry capacity. And velcro for your patches.
I come in, have whatever food is left for tea, and after discussing the days developments with my wife, I go for a bath with a glass of alcohol and sit for an hour with some music and a candle on, and the lights off (during the outbreak, this is my current ambient music of choice. May seem a little odd, but most of my family is Australian and its quite relaxing).
This is usually the hour I have each day to think about airsoft related stuff, especially sniper stuff, but it’s easy to become distracted by what’s going on in the world at the moment. Gatherings are banned, sport is banned, schools have just closed, and of course airsoft is affected. Raw War, where we host Sniperworks, is now closed. Across the UK, most sites are following suit with a few still trying to encourage players out. We don’t know how long this will last. Indications are anywhere between a month, and 18 months. That’s a long time without playing.
I’m hopeful that it’ll be in the 3-6 month bracket. I don’t really do much else outside of work. I need airsoft.
So what are we all going to do while the world is in lockdown? And indeed, if any of us are placed into quarantine at home? I’m lucky on an evening to have absolutely loads of players to sit and chat to, from all over Europe and a few beyond. Social interaction is going to be key if you’re locked in the house, so do keep in touch with as many people as possible. And thankfully it sounds like it’s acceptable to go out for a walk, which I’m planning to do daily just to get outside a little bit. It’s still going to be a long wait.
Being an airsoft sniper however means there’s always stuff to do away from the field, probably moreso than we have on the field. Tonight in the bath, I’ve decided to ditch any hope of getting back onto the field until the autumn, and planning to come back better than ever. Every piece of kit redesigned from the ground up, based off all the guides I’ve written and ideas I’ve jotted down in Tuesday Thinkings. Without events and skirmishes, there’s now no rush to put something together to “try out”; I do a lot of trial and error and often it’s a case of putting it together the night before, just to see if it’s any good or not. Although site testing helps, I’ve got time to sit and really think about every step.
The rifle will be getting a good sort out too and a few new internal upgrades. The fps was really bad last time out using the modify x range bucking (not a fault with the bucking, just the wrong barrel for it) so it needs looked at to make sure it was a bucking issue and something else isn’t broken. There are probably a few parts starting to show some wear and tear too. Hopefully in all this isolation there’ll be some interesting new designs and ideas for internal parts.
I’ve recently upgraded from a simple Motorola radio to a dual frequency Baofeng (with a bigger antenna that fits any kit and gives much better reach – see this review), which allows me to operate on two different channels. This is for bigger events where I might want a channel with my section, and then be able to listen in to the command network to help get a clearer picture of the whole battlefield – a sniper needs to know who is where, doing what, and where the enemy might be, so we can adjust our position to best effect. Trouble is, I have absolutely no idea how to program channels at the moment so that’s another thing to spend some time on. There’s always things to do, I guess we’re just going to have to adapt and do more from our workbenches.
If you read this in time, Skirmshop.nl are doing 10% off with the discount code “corona” (nice one guys…) until the end of March. I imagine there’ll be other retailers doing deals too to keep business flowing, so now is an ideal time to get rifles and kit sorted while we wait. Longbow.co.uk are doing daily draws to win double what you ordered. It’s a good time to get stuff ordered while there are discounts around, and it helps the retailers that we all need for when this virus clears up. Look to your local shops first before buying the cheap tat off wish.com, and do your research first to avoid buying crates of stuff off wish unnecessarily.
It’ll be a different world once we get out of the other side of this. Maybe people will appreciate the little things more. Maybe we will learn to live more locally, without travelling great distances and polluting as we go. I would hope people learn to be more self sufficient, being able to do more for themselves in a time where others can’t. That’s a good thing.
In the meantime, as bad as it gets, keep looking for the good stuff. Learn new things. Just keep busy and make sure you’re using the Internet for positive social interaction. And go for a walk every day at least to exercise and change your environment a bit. Most importantly, stay safe and stay away from people! It’s not a game and it’s not some fake news on social media.
Good luck to everyone, and see you on the other side hopefully.
Additional – Yes, of course I’m packed and ready to bug out if I need to!