Reviewing 2020

For most players, there’s probably very little to write about this year. Certainly when I sat down to write this, I was just going to write the title and one sentence :

“Airsoft in 2020 was shit”

And then leave it at that. But, looking back through my notebooks and at the ever evolving kit in my gun cupboard, it’s actually been pretty good. Yeah, I’ve only had three game days and only one with a bolt action rifle, which was in the summer and more a chance to test a couple of rigs and some new buckings than anything serious. There were three months in the UK where we were confined to our houses and I can’t even remember what I did during that time (beer and gaming mostly).

Big shout out then to Skirmshop, Longbow BB, OTARShop, Gunsmithy and Sniperzeroalpha for their support this year, and who have given me the opportunity to test products out and give some feedback. The most important thing for all of us right now is to keep supporting our specialist sniper stores and manufacturers, because we need them to keep us supplied and at the top of our game. We need them as they need us. There are also some really great individuals who are getting to grips with 3D printing, which is improving all the time and I love that these guys are seeing different ways of making parts and solving problems.

I’d also like to mention Stalker Airsoft, who started an online blog to highlight their products earlier this year and I contributed a couple of articles to help them get started, hopefully it will kick on from there. Although centred on Skirmshop, Stalker are doing some really cool stuff and are worth keeping an eye on in 2021. Especially the VSR stuff.

Without having games to play, rather than just sit and wait for it to restart, I’ve been using the time to really analyse performance(s), think about kit and camouflage, and work on the tactical side, such as the Tactics Guide back in April. It’s been interesting sitting and looking through notes from games and looking at what worked, and finding solutions for what didn’t, and getting it all written up. Rarely these days do you see anything of how to be a good sniper; things largely centre on buying kit to improve play instead and it’s been good to go back to basics, because getting the basics right makes much more of a difference than an expensive gun, but it takes time to learn and practice. The Tactics Guide took longer I think than any other article to put together and to get right, and should fill in a lot of gaps that are missing elsewhere.

It’s hopefully a lot more useful than watching repetitive headcam videos of bb’s hitting people, which some people offer up as “content” lol; if I wanted to watch that I’d go to a cqb site and at least have the joy of pulling the trigger. Sadly in 2020, the desperate attention seeking of some YouTube snipers has continued to cast a shadow over the sniper community, and has led to sites restricting ghillie suits, increasing minimum engagement distances and general distrust of snipers, to the point of absurdity – one site now counts any shot near a sniper to count as a hit. Apparently if someone slings plastic in your general direction, perhaps hitting a bush a few metres away, you are expected to take the hit to increase the chances of other players taking you out. I don’t mind at all if these players want to film themselves, show off their techniques and hiding places because that just puts themselves at a disadvantage. Share your secrets, fools. But it is an issue if it affects the rest of us and it would be great to see the community wise up and rally against the negative behaviour.

Thankfully, outside of that minority, I’ve had the opportunity to speak to so many fantastic players this year, which has more than compensated for not being allowed outside. Some have kept me sane and/or busy throughout the year, some I’ve been gaming with to break up long periods of inactivity. Some are doing really good stuff and have fascinating projects on the go. It’s great to see that knowledge being shared too, and that’s certainly something we want to do with the Sniperworks group in 2021. It has been a little quiet without games on, and it’s understandable that there is less interest given the circumstances. We did some live shows during the first lockdown in the UK, all of which stay up in the group if you want to watch back, and had some great guests on, including a fascinating (and lengthy) evening with Le Covert Sartorialist, where I think we all learned a lot more about how camouflage works, and why leaf suits don’t. We’re looking to do some more after Christmas, covering a range of topics and including some Q&A time to help people with problems, which should be fun, now that I’ve got a much improved Internet connection. Facebook sniper groups in years gone by had an attitude of “snipers vs everyone else” and we supported each other rather than arguing, and that’s the ultimate goal of Sniperworks. Every player has something to give and we want to hear it, to build into the best resource we can get for snipers.

The Sniperworks team itself will be looking to put some weekend events on too here in the UK as soon as Covid allows. Our weekend events are a great opportunity to meet up with other snipers, trade ideas and learn things outside of normal airsoft events. And they’re pretty cheap too – not being a business or association, it’s just site fees because we’re not looking to make any profit here. It’s purely for the love of doing it.

I hope there’s been some useful information on the blog this year regardless of the lack of game time for so many of us. In the first few months, testing permitting, I’ll be sharing a new and more effective style of sniper loadout, which I’ve touched on in a couple of articles earlier this year already, as well as any new products out that are worth the investment.

Aside from wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, I hope that you all keep yourselves safe and make sure you come out of all this in one piece, ready to take on whatever the hpa-drum-mag-fed-burst-firing-high-speed-build-dmr bastards develop next.

Stip

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