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    Don't Shoot Animals With Your Airsoft Gun

    A topic that is rarely discussed in airsoft circles is the use of airsoft guns in shooting animals. Whilst safety manuals in airsoft gun packages come with warnings of not aiming airsoft guns at humans and animals, still, there are people who just shoot animals just for kicks, or for the misguided notion that injuring stray animals is good practice.

    This topic came up in a Facebook Group of Philippine-based airsoft players, where a member posted a screen grab of another posting of one airsoft player on Facebook about his shooting of stray cats that were after the leftover food of his pet dogs:

    Many animal lovers were aghast by this callous posting and it is being spread around local animal rights advocate circles as well. We wonder though if the local airsoft community would take action against this behaviour, since it will reflect on the community as a whole. We wanted to get in touch with the person to get his side of the story but it looks like he has deleted his Facebook account after realising he has incriminated himself. Unfortunately for him people have downloaded the screenshots of his post, personal details, and are sharing these via social media.

    It just does not make sense to shoot animals with airsoft guns to injure just to scare them away, or worse, for fun. Doing so would put one in violation of animal cruelty laws. In the case of the Philippines, they have their Republic Act No. 8485 or the"Animal Welfare Act of 1998":

    "It shall be unlawful for any person to torture any animal, to neglect to provide adequate care, sustenance or shelter, or maltreat any animal or to subject any dog or horse to dogfights or horsefights, kill or cause or procure to be tortured or deprived of adequate care, sustenance or shelter, or maltreat or use the same in research or experiments not expressly authorized by the Committee on Animal Welfare."

    This act deems that, except for some specific instances, the"killing of any animal other than cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, poultry, rabbits, carabaos and horses is likewise hereby declared unlawful…"

    This law was amended with Republic Act  No. 10631 in 2013 with the penalties increased:

    SEC. 4. Section 8 of Republic Act No. 8485 which shall now become Section 9 is hereby amended to read as follows:

    “SEC. 9. Any person who subjects any animal to cruelty, maltreatment or neglect shall, upon conviction by final judgment, be punished by imprisonment and/ or fine, as indicated in the following graduated scale:

    “(1) Imprisonment of one (1) year and six (6) months and one (1) day to two (2) years and/or a fine not exceeding One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) if the animal subjected to cruelty, maltreatment or neglect dies;

    “(2) Imprisonment of one (1) year and one (1) day to one (1) year and six (6) months and/or a fine not exceeding Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) if the animal subjected to cruelty, maltreatment or neglect survives but is severely injured with loss of its natural faculty to survive on its own and needing human intervention to sustain its life; and

    “(3) Imprisonment of six (6) months to one (1) year and/or a fine not exceeding Thirty thousand pesos (P30,000.00) for subjecting any animal to cruelty, maltreatment or neglect but without causing its death or incapacitating it to survive on its own.

    “If the violation is committed by a juridical person, the officer responsible thereof shall serve the imprisonment. If the violation is committed by an alien, he or she shall be immediately deported after the service of sentence without any further proceeding.

    “The foregoing penalties shall also apply for any other violation of this Act, depending upon the effect or result of the act or omission as defined in the immediately preceding sections.

    “However, regardless of the resulting condition to the animal/s, the penalty of two (2) years and one (1) day to three (3) years and/or a fine not exceeding Two hundred fifty thousand pesos (P250,000.00) shall be imposed if the offense is committed by any of the following: (1) a syndicate; (2) an offender who makes business out of cruelty to an animal; (3) a public officer or employee; or (4) where at least three (3) animals are involved.

    “In any of the foregoing situations, the offender shall suffer subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and the inability to pay the fine.”

    These provisions should make any airsoft players in the Philippines to think twice about shooting animals, even if they are stray ones. Such problems with stray animals, even if valid that they might pose dangers to the community, should be left to be dealt with by local authorities and organisations equipped with dealing and taking care of such animals, including unwanted pets.  Using your airsoft gun can also put you in danger since alarming neighbours with your realistic looking firearm replica would send armed police to your door.

    Many countries around the world also have their animal welfare laws that have even more severe penalties than what the Philippines has.  Thus, it is best for all airsoft players to look up their local laws on animal rights, welfare, and penalties on animal cruelty.

    For airsoft businesses, be they airsoft retailers or airsoft game facilities, should put up easily read information to admonish their customers never to aim and even shoot their airsoft guns at animals. Airsoft teams, forums, and groups on social media networks are encouraged to include in their rules that shooting animals is frowned upon and not tolerated.

    Airsoft guns are best used for airsoft games, not for the maltreatment of animals.

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    Invictus Games 2014 London

    If there is something that would highlight the obstacles and difficulties that wounded veterans face and shows their determination to overcome the odds in just one place, it should be the Invictus Games. This event that was started by Prince Harry who sees the power of sport to help them physically and mentally, held the successful inaugural games in London last year. Over 400 wounded warriors from different nations battled it out for glory and to support each other.

    There is no Invictus Games for this year in order for the selected city to be given enough time to prepare as host for the games and there was no lack of cities who vied for being selected to be as host for the next games. For the year 2016 the City of Orlando, Florida has been selected as host for the Invictus Games 2016 as announced by Prince Harry last 14 July 2015:

    According to news release by the Invictus Games Foundation, the decision to select Orlando was not a hard one… "The Invictus Games Foundation awarded the 2016 Games to Orlando as the city’s outstanding sporting facilities and great tourist infrastructure make it an ideal host city for both competitors and spectators. Orlando also has a large veterans population and is home to the Orlando VA Medical Centre, which serves over 90,000 veterans."

    Again, over 400 competitors from 14 nations will be vying for medals in different sporting disciplines such as archery, track and field, cycling, indoor rowing, sitting volleyball, swimming, triathlon, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis. It will be a test of discipline, determination, will, and spirit which for each and every competitor will be more than twice the effort compared to the athletes who do not suffer from disabilities brought by injuries from the battlefield.

    For airsoft players to show their support for wounded veterans, especially in the state of Florida, is to step forward and become volunteers for the games, once the call is made. They can organise trips for their airsoft teams to go to the games, which will be on the 8th to the 12th of May 2016. They can cheer the players, regardless of country they represent, help in ticket sales. Airsoft retailers can also buy tickets and raffle them off to their customers.

    There are lots of ways to support the event, and one of the best ways to show your appreciation to their service is to be there to show support. Cheer, clap, and cry with them as they put super human strength to achieve sporting glory even with their disabilities. They may have been injured, but they remain unbowed and unconquered.

    You can visit the Invictus Games Orland 2016 at their website or on Facebook to learn more how to support.

    Photo source:Invictus Games via Facebook

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    Dell Latitude 12 Rugged Tablet

    Battlefield computers are getting smaller and tougher without compromising their performance. With the increase in portability with the introduction of rugged tablets, computers can now be easily carried to the field --- the outdoors, the airsoft milsim AO, or to an actual war zone. The new Dell Latitude 12 Rugged Tablet promises to be all that.

    With an 11.6-inch screen with outdoor-readable HD display, Dell says that Dell Latitude 12 Rugged Tablet can perform reliably in the harshest conditions. This is not thinnest and lightest of tablets in the commercial market, but that's what is to be expected for tablets designed to go with the soldiers in the field. With all the Milspec standards they are to meet, it is not surprising that this table is thicker and heavier than what we are usually used to in tablet computers.

    I am bit disappointed with the use of Intel Core M Processor which was chosen for battery life concerns rather than raw processing power. The tablet can take in up to 512GB in SSD storage and 8GB RAM. The touch screen can be used even with gloves on and with Windows 8.1 which is optimized for touch computing, many desktop applications can be run with it, save for the most intensive applications. For cooling things down and avoid overheating, it has Quad-Cool thermal management. With such internal specifications, the table is rated to run to up 12 hours with two fully-charged 2-cell batteries.

    In terms of ruggedness, it is rated IP-65 for dust and water resistance, and MIL-STD-810G which means it meets the US Department of Defense testing standards such as temperatures, vibrations, humidity, etc. It can be used in extreme temperatures from -20°F (-29°C) to 145°F (63°C) and drops from over four feet.

    Dell sees the Latitude 12 Rugged Tablet to be used by first responders, military, industrial companies, and for those whose work takes them the outdoors and rugged terrain. That also means that it can be used for airsoft events, especially Milsim events.

    The Dell Latitude 12 Rugged Tablet is expected to be released by the end of July with prices ranging from $1,600 to $2,000. It may sound expensive, but when compared to the Dell Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme notebook which will set you back by $3,649, then it is an affordable rugged computer. It has optional accessories such as keyboard cover and docking accessories for desktop  or vehicle use. At least you now have a tough tablet that you can use to play Angry Birds during breaks, or watch porn inside your tent while attending a milsim event.

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    Gunfire Report Expo Softair 2015

    Dedicated airsoft expositions are rare far and wide. If you see airsoft exhibits, they usually mixed with bigger firearms, outdoor, and tactical gear expos such as the SHOT Show and IWA Outdoor Classics. Pure airsoft expos are smaller and intimate in scale which also suffer from not being sustained long term.  But still we welcome efforts for airsoft expos as they are the more public faces of airsoft as the public can visit airsoft stalls, try them out, mingle with airsoft players, and overall, have a positive understanding on what airsoft is all about.

    Łukasz Bonczol of Gunfire, one of the sponsors and exhibitors during the Expo Softair 2015 that was held in Palermo, Italy last 13-14 June 2015, wrote to us some of the impressions he had of the event that was hosted by Airsoft City.  Previously, the big event for the airsoft and firearms industry in Italy was the EXA Expo series, but it seemed to have not hold an event this year. According to him:

    While the main Italian airsoft exhibition, the EXA fair, seems to be dead, the Palermo show is a bold initiative to revitalize the Italian airsoft community and bring together representatives of shops, teams and players. But it is more than that, since the big emphasis was on bringing newcomers to the hobby and promoting airsoft in Sicily. Long before the show, billboards have been posted all around the city and there was a live coverage on local radio. Of course, I was there as a part of Gunfire team with our booth.

    The weather was really hot (just take a look at the attached screenshot with green gas), so was the atmosphere among the participants. This of course are just the beginnings, and from the official statement below I can tell, that the organizers have already set date for next year’s event. I keep my fingers crossed for it.

    Looking at the photos and watching the video, there was a sure big presence from the non-airsofting public around Palermo curious on what airsoft is all about. There were shooting ranges and even a 3-gun course given that Airsoft City is 7000 sqm airsoft facility (4000sqm was dedicated for the exhibitors). Gunfire had a big booth with airsoft players and the public milling around to find out what they had on display. There will be even bigger efforts for the organisers to hold an even bigger event for next year. Airsoft retailers and manufacturers interested in supporting or as exhibitors can contact them for next year's details.

    The numbers of the Expo Softair 2015, even if it's inaugural event, is already impressive for a pure airsoft expo:

    • Exhibitors: 26
    • Origin of visitors: 77% Sicily, 23% rest of Italy
    • Number of visitors: 1680
    • Exhibitors space in Sqm: 4000
    • Games and shows are in Sqm: 1500
    • BBs fired during the exhibition: 200.000
    • Number of staff members: 18

    Whilst it's mainly an Italian affair, there are efforts to make it truly an international Airsoft Expo and they want to invite airsoft businesses and players from around Europe and the world to participate next year.

    According to the organisers, the Expo SoftAir 2016 will be a three day affair with dates set for the 27th, 28th, and 29th of May 2016. The expo will be open from 1600H to 0000H Friday and Saturday and  from 1000H to 2000H on Sunday. Live music and other night events will be held on Friday and Saturday.

    Visit the Expo Softair website to learn more. More photos of the Expo at the Popular Airsoft Facebook Page.

    Videos and images courtesy of Gunfire.

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    FIM-92 Stinger MANPAD

    In what would have been a big scoop by those who want to accuse the United States of supplying weapons to Ukraine, LNR Today, the news site that supports the Russian-backed separatists, posted a video of the rebels discovering crates of FIM-92 Stinger MANPADS (Man Portable Air Defense System) at the Luhansk International Airport. But upon further scrutiny of the discovered Stingers, sharp eyes online found these to be fakes and copied from the Stinger designs used in the Battlefield 3 FPS video game.

    A cache of weapons, including American MREs (Meals Ready To Eat) were found in the basement of a building. They also found wooden crates that when dusted off, had U.S. Army markings, and when opened revealed the Stinger Missiles. Probably the most popular shoulder fired Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM), the Stinger was used to shoot down Soviet aircraft by Mujahideens during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan In the 1980s.

    But bloggers were quick to point out that the Stingers were fakes as the markings on the wooden cases which show the unhyphenated word "Re Usable" whilst the real the Stinger Missile cases are hyphenated. Furthermore, Stinger Missiles are transported in metal cases not wooden crates. Click here for more of the mistakes found on the "discovered" Stingers such as poor reproduction of the weapon and even more wrong markings/spellings.

    Further in the video, where they opened the wooden crates, many were wondering about the markings on the Stingers which read "Tracking Rainer" (denoting it to be a training module) whilst on the real Stinger, it will read "Tracking Trainer." One Russian video game blog, Anton Logvinov, pointed out that the "Tracking Rainer" markings can be found on the 3D-rendered Stinger Missile for the Battlefield 3 video game. He believes that the Stingers in the LNR Today video are fake explaining that DICE, the game developer of EA's Battlefield 3, intentionally misspelled the "Trainer" as "Rainer" to avoid copyright issues as they did not have the license the use the weapon for the game. For airsoft players, that's a familiar story with regards to licensing of markings on airsoft guns.

    This led to some sectors accusing the Russian-backed rebels of fabricating evidence that the U.S. supplies weapons to Ukraine. Comments at other websites such as Kotaku mention that Cosplayers can do a better reproduction than those who did these fake BF3 stingers.

    The U.S. officially supplies Ukraine with non-lethal aid, and denying that they are supplying arms needed by the Ukrainian military. Meanwhile, Russia vehemently denies that they supply the separatists with weaponry and personnel.

    While there is a ceasefire is in place under the Minsk agreement that was signed in February 2015 with the both sides agreeing to pull back weaponry, both sides accuse each other of violating the ceasefire. There are occasions of artillery exchanges that have been reported by the international media.

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    DJI Inspire One

    There is a growing concern amongst authorities for the increasing numbers of drones for flying in the air in the United Kingdom. Whilst companies will need to get registered at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to use their drones for commercial purposes but individual hobbyists do not need to get a licence and that's where the problem starts.

    There are restrictions that those who are licensed to use their drones that are they are very much aware of,  but with more drones up in the air by those who are not even aware of the dangers they pose to others. The Guardian reported incidents wherein drones were almost flying near the paths of passenger planes at Heathrow, one of the world's busiest airports. Other airports in the UK (and around the world) report of such incidents, and if reckless drone owners just continue with such,  it will just be a matter of time that a drone may just get sucked into a plane's jet engine and cause a catastrophic failure.

    To address this problem and educate drone owners, the CAA announced a "Drone Awareness Day" and a"Drone Code". The Drone Code is simple enough:

    • Make sure you can see your drone at all times and don't fly higher than 400 feet
    • Always keep your drone away from aircraft, helicopters, airports and airfields
    • Use your common sense and fly safely; you could be prosecuted if you don't.

    For Drones that have on board cameras must not fly:

    • Within 50 metres of people, vehicles, buildings or structures
    • Over congested areas or large gatherings such as concerts and sports events

    They also released a short video guide for a more visual understanding of the code:

    For those who have camera drones that they use for airsoft events, it is best for them to learn about the Code since it's not always that they use the drones solely for airsoft events. Sometimes they use this for aerial photography such as at the beach and perhaps other activities where there is a large public gathering. Recklessly using a drone can force authorities to confiscate the drone or be admonished by the police. But if it endangers an aircraft, the owner might just get jail time.

    Even if abroad, it is best to check local laws on using drones for hobby purposes as some countries may require a licence for hobbyists and even more restrictions as to where to fly these. Nothing wrong in knowing more about such rules and regulations or else one might end up in the slammer for ignorance of such.

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    Enhanced Night Vision Goggle III

    In what is an improvement on hip firing techniques with the use of technology, the U.S. Army has announced that they have are working on a new Thermal Scope and ENVG with Wireless Connection that will communicate with each other. The scope will be allow the soldier to see the target as seen through the rifle via the ENVG even with the weapon not needing raised to eye level. This allows shooting from the hip accurately.

    The benefit will be even quicker reaction times from soldiers when they need to shoot at the enemy who is about to fire at them. Since they can fire from the hip accurately with the new system, the time to react gets reduced and danger eliminated quickly.

    In a news release by the U.S. Army, the new equipment promises and enhanced image of the battlefield and soldiers can fire without necessarily using traditional firing positions:

    The Enhanced Night Vision Goggle III, or ENVG III, is worn on a helmet in the same way earlier models were worn. The device can be wirelessly linked to the Family of Weapon Sights - Individual, or FWS-I, which can be mounted on the M4 carbine, M16A4 rifle, M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, M136 AT4 rifle, or M141 Bunker Defeat Munition, Col. Michael Sloane said.

    Because the FWS-I wirelessly transmits a video signal of the weapon sight to the ENVG III, a Soldier will be able to accurately fire his weapon without having to bring the weapon up to eye level. Soldiers will be able to point the weapon around a corner, acquire a target wirelessly though the FWS-I, and fire - all while remaining in defilade.

    An outcome of this technology combination is a capability called "Rapid Target Acquisition". New techniques, maneuvers and tactics will be developed using the FWS-I and ENVG III by  Maneuver Center of Excellence, or MCOE at Fort Benning in the State of Georgia, and the Army Training and Doctrine Command located in Fort Eustis, Virginia.

    The U.S. Army plans to equip 18 Soldiers per platoon with the FWS-I and 24 Soldiers per platoon with the ENVG III units to be fielded beginning in 2017 and FWS-I units beginning in 2019.

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    PerriQuest Laser Defense Eyewear

    In recent years, there has been a growing number of incidents where pilots getting "laser attacked". Especially on approach to an airport the pilots report of green lasers used to dazzle them from the ground.  This causes pilots unable to see clearly for several minutes and there are fears of long term eye damage. It is just fortunate that there has not been any report of a plane crash that was caused by laser dazzling.

    Lasers though have their users, many in fact. In the military, they are used as range finders, designators and of course as aiming devices. Lasers dazzlers are also used in military checkpoints in Iraq where they are found to be effective at making drivers stop their vehicles when the dazzlers are directed at them. Laser dazzlers are used to cause to temporary blindness and does not violate the 1995 United Nations Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons as the protocol is a ban laser dazzlers that can cause permanent blindness.

    (Photo Credit: Air Force Research Laboratory)

    Such incidents are not limited to plane pilots. There are also incidents of  soldiers blinded and hospitalised by laser "friendly" fire that were caused by the misuse of the Green Laser Dazzlers in Iraq and one soldier has been said to have lost vision in one eye. Green lasers are more dangerous than red lasers where in some cases some of the commercially available green lasers emit ten times more infrared than red lasers. The human eye may not detect the IR and does may not look away reflexively and will get damage especially when the IR light is generated at wavelength of 808nm.

    (Photo: Green Laser Escalation of Force (GLEF). Credit: U.S. Army)

    Thus, in airsoft games, there are house rules not to aim laser devices to the head area of the opposing player to avoid such injuries. We'd rather recommend using just their weaponlights and actually do not encourage using laser for aiming nowadays since there are illuminated reticles in sights and iron sights can also have luminous paint for better target acquisition in low light conditions.

    Looks like a solution to this problem will be made available soon commercially. PerriQuest Defense Research Enterprises announce that they are now taking pre-orders for their PerriQuest Laser Defense Eyewear. Primarily designed for pilots, police and transportation workers, these protective eyewear are stylish enough and easy to use. According to the press release from the company, the eyewear has the following attributes:

    • Blocks all three laser colors. Current technologies block green, red, or blue – not all three;
    • Does not compromise the wearer's ability to perceive and distinguish color. Other products distort all perceived color in order to block laser light;
    • Provides full coverage. Glasses available today often provide protection only from direct attacks or attacks from "twelve o'clock."
    • PerriQuest's technology protects the wearer from attacks at wide angles;
    • Comfortable and wearable. Many technologies on the market today are intended for laboratory use and are not comfortable, hindering compliance;
    • Deployable. PerriQuest's solution is ready for immediate use.

    Going over the details at the PerriQuest's website, it is just a let down on its impact protection as it does not indicate if it meets the ANSI Z87.1 – 2010 or MIL-PRF-31013 which are standards for ballistic eyewear. For those who do tactical activities soldiers, police, practical shooters, and airsoft players, they will still have to wait until Perriquest can release a ballistic eyewear version.

    But if you are pilot or someone whose job is to be driving on the road and aware of that such laser hazards are a big threat to eyes, life, and livelihood, then you might want to pre-order a pair. They have two model: PerriQuest Night which is designed for maximum visual acquity and night vision; and PerriQuest Day which has more sun protection and UV-blocking during daytime use. For long haul airline pilots, they may need to get both pairs as they travel in different time zones where they will encounter night time and day time conditions.

    Now, PerriQuest may need to work fast for the ballistic version so it can be used by the military and airsoft players. For us airsoft players, we should be aware that the risk for our eyes are not only the airsoft BBs, but also the laser devices that may just aimed at our eyes by careless airsoft players. This type of eyewear protection, provided that it also has ballistic protection, is just what we need on the field  to be doubly sure that our eyes are protected.

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    Fallout 4 Pip-Boy Edition

    For fans of Fallout 4 who have missed out on placing their pre-orders for the Fallout 4 Pip-Boy Edition, they are in for a big disappointment. When the pre-order went up, the special edition just got sold out quickly and there is a big demand for this edition. The problem for Bethesda, the developer for the video game, is that the manufacturers are already swamped with the orders and are working at full capacity. If they take more orders  they might not make it to the 10 November 2015 release.

    The RobCo Pip-Boy (Personal Information Processor-Boy) is the famous wrist worn computer that has been used in the previous releases of Fallout and will still be a mainstay for Fallout 4. It is used for battle management, inventory, as well as player statistics. Revealed during E3 2015 that special edition of the game package will come with the Pip-Boy, many fans of the game immediately went out to place their pre-orders, putting pressure on the various game sellers that they have advised their customers who missed out on the pre-orders not to expect another batch to be put on pre-order.

    The real-world Pip-Boy is design to actually work with smartphone as it is a plastic housing that can accommodate the iPhone 4, 4s, 5, 5s, and 6 and also the Samsung Galaxy S5 and S6. There are phone inserts that will allow these smartphones to be fitted inside the housing and there are plans to release more foam inserts for other popular handsets.

    The Pip-Boy will then need the companion app that can installed on iOS and Android devices where the functions of the Pip-Boy as seen in the video game will be seen as if real plus a few games to play too. Last June, Bethesda released their Fallout Shelter app that allows to build your shelter in the game.  It is a free app when you download and install it, but also will have in-app purchases.

    Fallout 4 starts with nuclear bombs being dropped that resulted in a nuclear holocaust in 2077 brought about by war over resources. The protagonist and his family sought shelter in Vault 111, only to wake up as the vault's sole survivor 200 years later.

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    Wired: Hacking a "Smart" Sniper Rifle

    When you put a computer with Wifi capabilities on a sniper rifle, anybody can become a marksman even even using a tablet or smartphone. But with such wireless network capability a device can always invite some uninvited guests sniffing around and some would be up to no good. That's what the story at is all about.

    Many of us by now know about the capabilities of the TrackingPoint Smart Rifle System (as a company though, that's another story). Its XactSystem technology would enable anyone to be a precision shooter with just a few instructions. The shooter selects the target by pressing a button on the rifle, starting the quick process of ballistic computation, and upon pulling the trigger, the rifle selects the moment to fire which is when it determines that it's lined-up with the target perfectly. The result is always astonishing.

    With its ShotView Streaming App, TrackingPoint can then be connected to mobile devices such as tablets, smartphones and even the Google Glass. This enables the shooter to hide and still be able to point and shoot the rifle with great accuracy.

    According to, two security researchers will be representing their research at the Black Hat security conference in about two weeks' time. Runa Sandvik and Michael Auger were able to develop a hacking exploit that can allow the attacker some control of the rifle. The attacker can connect to the rifle with Wifi and exploit the vulnerabilities of the software.

    Once the attacker gains access to the TrackingPoint remotely, he/she can then make the rifle miss the target, disable the scope or prevent the gun from firing. The only thing that the hacker can't do, and which will be a relief, is to pull the trigger as it has to be done manually. The hacker can totally disable the system, turning a very expensive smart rifle into a very expensive paperweight. The rifle owner will just have to go back to doing normal way of manual aiming and shooting.

    The researchers have been trying to contact the company but never got any response until they were connected by Wired. The TrackingPoint founder, John Mchale, says that they are working on patching up vulnerabilities and once they are ready, will be sending out the patch via USB sticks to their customers. Given the financial problems of the company, Sandvik and Auger decided not to release the full code of the exploit due to their concerns that the company doesn’t have enough manpower to work on securing TrackingPoint.

    Now would you be concerned also with the latest  in military hardware that rely on networking to fight effectively given this story? I would.

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    US Marine with M4

    It looks like that the U.S. Marine Corps will be able to finally say goodbye to the M16 rifle which has been in use by the Corps since the Vietnam War. According to the Marine Corps Times, USMC leaders have endorsed the switch to the M4 rifle as the universal weapon for the Marines over the M16 rifle.

    The news report states that with the endorsement of major commands of the switch such as the Marine Corps Combat Development Command; Combat Development and Integration; Plans, Policies and Operations; Marine Corps Systems Command; and Installations and Logistics, the final approval is just a matter of weeks, if not months.

    It is said the infantry marines would welcome the change as they find the M16A4 is too long for close quarter battles and the M4's compact size offers more flexibility, lower weight, can be used by smaller Marines, and works better with body armor. According to Ranger 365, the Marines had to short stock their M16 rifles for Close Quarters Combat when they took back Fallujah from the insurgents during Operation Phantom Fury in 2004.

    The decision would relegate the M16 to a support role and would also align the USMC with the US Army which already made the switch in 2009.  Once approval is given, the Marine Infantry can be quickly given the M4s by their unit armories as there are already 17,000 M4 rifles in the inventory ready to be used by those who still don't have an M4 issued to them. Those who are using M4 rifles in the USMC as of the moment are the officers, vehicle operators, and squad leaders. A Marine Fire Team comes equipped with the M27 IAR which can also perform the role as a DMR.

    Another rifle up for retirement from the USMC is M40A5 Sniper Rifle which is the latest iteration in the line of M40 sniper rifles used by the Marine Corps based on the Remington M700 Sniper Rifle which has seen action with the Marines since the 1960s. In a story on the Washington Post, one of the rifles they are looking into as replacement is the Mk.21 Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR), or more known as the Remington Modular Sniper Rifle (MSR) which many airsoft players are familiar with due to the Ares Airsoft Remington MSR MS388 spring-powered sniper rifle.

    MK.21 PSR/Remington MSR

    The Mk.21 PSR, which is now in use with special operations units, is a versatile shooting platform as it can be used with the .338 Lapua, .338 Norma Magnum, .300 Winchester Magnum, and 7.62x51. The M40A5 with .308 caliber can shoot to range of 1,000 yards. With the Mk.21 PSR and .338 Lapua, the Marine Sniper can shoot up to 1,600 yards.

    Another contender is  again, a Remington M700-based sniper rifle which was adopted by the U.S. Army 2011 to replace the M24. The U.S. Army's M2010 ESR (Enhanced Sniper Rifle) uses the .300 Winchester Magnum with a range of 1,300 yards. If you are wondering why the USMC has not upgraded to a sniper rifle with a more accurate ammo and longer range, you can read it in another story at Washington Post.

    The USMC will lose a bit in range and velocity with the M4 replacing the M16A4, but this will be mitigated by the use of the M27 IAR. A new Sniper Rifle either in the form of the Mk.21 PSR or the M2010 will give it the range and accuracy it needs in the field.

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    U.S. Marines with MREs

    In a recent report at the website, scientists at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, or NSRDEC are looking into nanocomposites for cheaper, lighter and environment friendly food packaging that can be used in the next generation soldier rations. Once they adopt the use of high-barrier and non-foil nanocomposites, these might be used in future Meals Ready To Eat (MRE) packaging.

    Not only will it be for military use, it can also be used by NASA to use for deep space exploration.

    Nanocomposites can help keep food fresh and even fight food stench in certain delicacies that taste good, but do have inherent bad smell. Due to their lighter qualities, these help reduce the weight in load that soldiers need to carry into battle, doing the job better than using foil. Furthermore, they reduce the amount of food waste as...

    The high-barrier, non-foil material will decrease the permeation of oxygen and water molecules through packaging materials, thus better preserving food freshness and better ensuring safety. The packaging will comply with the meal, ready to eat, or MRE, requirement of maintaining a three-year shelf life. The packaging will maintain up to a five-year shelf life for space applications.

    If the nanocomposites provide the better food packaging material, the researchers can then work in developing different approaches in sterilisation of the food as it is important that the way is prepared before packaging will also affect the shelf life of the food that the soldiers will carry I the field:

    Dr. Jo Ann Ratto, team leader, AMET, NSRDEC CFD, said that the implementation of a non-foil structure into food packaging will provide the ability to consider novel sterilization methods, such as microwave-assisted thermal sterilization, or MATS, and pressure-assisted thermal sterilization, or PATS.

    MATS and PATS are desirable alternatives to retort sterilization as these methods reduce the time needed to raise the product temperature to that required for the thermal lethality of target bacteria. A shorter process time can improve food quality and nutrient retention, which is one reason these methods are so attractive for both the U.S. military and NASA.

    The commercial sector are also looking into nanocomposites for their food packaging and industrial use, due to promises of lower cost, longer shelf-life, and lower wastage that can help in their production costs.

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    Females in U.S. Army Ranger School

    Last weekend, two female officers invited to go through U.S. Army Ranger School, started going through the final phase of the grueling two-month Ranger School. In the final phase, only the swamps at Camp Rudder in Florida stand in the way for them in becoming the first female graduates of the program according to the Army Times.

    There were two women officers and 125 men who made it to the 20-day Mountain Phase. One woman and 60 men are said to be "recycled" meaning that they are given the chance to take a second attempt of the Mountain Phase which will take place next weekend, the 8th of August 2015.

    The three women started the Mountain Phase last 11 July after three tries with the first phase, called the Darby Phase.  A total of 19 women and 381 male soldiers started Ranger School last April 20 where they first underwent the Ranger Assessment Phase (RAP) week where 9 women passed to go through the first phase.

    The Swamp Phase is a 17-day phase, where the students of the Ranger School will undergo waterborne operations, small boat movements and stream crossings with a focus of developing their leadership qualities and small-unit tactics.

    All students who pass the third and final phase will graduate from the course and earn the coveted Ranger Tab. Those who passed this class will be seen graduating from Ranger School on the 21st of August at Fort Benning.

    In a report at the Washington Post, the female soldiers are attending the Ranger School as part of the Pentagon's ongoing assessment of integrating women in combat roles.  This is a follow-through of the decision by the Pentagon in 2013 to open up all the jobs in the military to women by next year. Certain roles will exempted if the research will show that it is not feasible that women can perform the functions and responsibilities required.

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    Ytec 3D Pip-Boy 3000 Mark IV

    Last week, bad news came to those who were not able to place their pre-orders for the Fallout 4 Pip-Boy Edition, Bethesda are not taking more orders on top the batch they received when they opened their pre-orders. With the demand high for the Pip-Boys, the manufacturers already have too much to work on and will affect production and delivery dates if they accept more.

    But if you are determined to own one Pip-Boy, then why not build your own? With the wonders of 3D printing, you might just make a better Pip-Boy than the mass manufactured one that will come out in November 2015.

    Dutch Mechanical Engineer Yvo de Haas, has posted on his 3D Printing Blog, Ytec 3D, the design and instructions on building the Pip-Boy 3000 Mark IV. He referenced his design with the trailer and teasers that were presented during the last E3 2015. That also means that his Pip-Boy 3000 Mark IV is designed to hold smartphones since it is a big wrist-worn phone case with the phone's touch screen acting as the screen of the device. Even with such references, he was able to nail down the design, tape deck, buttons and all.

    His 3D design has three versions as he finds that the 100% or 1:1 scale of the Pip-Boy won't be able to accommodate the smartphone and he recommends the 108% or 115% build. He also plans to make a really accurate build without the need to use a smartphone for a screen, and he's looking into the Raspberry Pi make it, which is more for the serious tinkerer and could rally those in the Rasberry Pi community to help build it.

    You can download for free and follow the instructions of the Ytec 3D Pip-Boy here. Haas would appreciate if you would donate so he can make more free 3D designs that you can use. If you're able to build your own Pip-Boy 3000 Mark IV, then it should go with your Fallout Airsoft Mask, if you already have one.

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    Nerf N-Strike Elite Event June 2012, Kmart, Sears, Walmart and California-based ACTA have reached an agreement with New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman to halt illegal sales of realistic-looking toy guns in the state. All those named in the deal also agreed to pay collectively a fine of over US$300,000.

    Walmart was hit with the biggest fine, US$225,000 since it had violated a deal in 2003 for selling realistic-looking toy guns in the State.

    According to the Attorney General, 6,429 of the realistic-looking toy guns were sold in New York by the five retailers from 2012 to 2014. While the big box retailers have removed such toy guns from their shelves in their stores located throughout the state, they still sold these products to residents in  the state via their online stores. is also directed to stop its third party sellers using its platform to stop selling such toy guns to New York residents.

    In the highlights of the press statement released by the Attorney General's office, their investigation from 2012 to 2014 revealed the following:

    • The five retailers and their third-party sellers sold 6,429 prohibited toy guns to New York consumers.
    • Third-party sales through Amazon made up the bulk of the sales, totaling 5,017 prohibited toy guns sold in New York.
    • ACTA sold 895 imitation weapons to New York consumers, including 171 that were shipped to New York City. The company operates websites including,, and, and also as a third-party seller on
    • Walmart sold 149 prohibited toy guns to New York consumers, including 20 shipped to New York City.
    • sold 145 imitation weapons to New York consumers, including 59 shipped to New York City.
    • Kmart, a subsidiary of Sears Holdings Corp., sold 211 realistic-looking toy guns in stores across New York, from Buffalo to Long Island; and 91 via Nine of those toys were shipped into New York City.
    • Sears operates a third-party sales marketplace at where third-party sellers made 12 prohibited sales, including three into New York City.

    Federal Law requires that toy guns should have a non-removable bright colored tip while the City of New York goes even further requiring that toy guns must be brightly colored and also have a visible log to distinguish them from a real firearm. In the deal, all the companies will have to sell their toy guns following the requirements of New York City to all residents in the state.

    Since 1993, 63 shooting incidents involving toy guns or imitation firearms occurred in New York state, 8 of these incidents were fatal.

    For information on New York State and New York City laws on airsoft guns and realistic-looking guns, the best resource for airsoft players will be

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    DJI Phantom 3 Standard

    The DJI Phantom 3 Series just got  a new brother aimed at novice camera drone fliers --- the DJI Phantom 3 Standard. The Phantom 3 Standard is also cheaper at US$799 compared to the US$999 Advanced and US$1,250 Professional versions. But with that price means that certain features have been stripped off but also in place are beginner-friendly features to make the flying experience pleasant for those new to drones.

    What are missing in the DJI Phantom 3 Standard are the GLOSNASS connectivity when flying outdoors, Lightbridge video downlink, ultrasonic sensors, and no downward facing camera. Though it does come with its own camera, 3-axis gimbal for stabilisation, and able to transmit video to the controller on the ground.

    The camera is more than good enough as it can capture 2.7k footage at 30 frames per second, 12 megapixel photos, and stabilised with the 3-axis gimbal so one can take a steady and smooth video even if the drone banks and turns. With the Wifi connectivity, it can stream the video up to 1km which is half the range of both its older Phantom 3 siblings. However, the Phantom 3 Advanced only shoots up 1080p HD video.

    The controller is a bit of a letdown as it does not have clamp that can fit a tablet to have a bigger screen to use when flying the drone. But the clamp can handle some of the bigger smartphones which should be enough to view the what drone sees.  With the DJI GO App, the owner gets an  automatic video editor for an instant movie that is ready to be shared to friends and social media. It also comes with a live map and radar to track the drone as it flies and gives full flight telemetry that includes current speed, altitude, and distance. It also has flight logs to record and remember the best moments.

    As for battery life, the Phantom 3 Standard can fly up to 25 minutes on a full charge and with the patented DJI Intelligent Flight Battery, information on how long the drone can continue to fly is transmitted and displayed on the Go App.

    In the future, there will be firmware updates to enhance the capabilities of the Phantom 3 standard. This includes Point of Interest, Follow Me, Waypoints, and Intelligent Operation Controls. If you don't need the features of both the Phantom 3 Advanced and Professional and your budget is up to US$800, you should do fine and still be able to do more with the Phantom 3 Standard.

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    Dutch Soldiers In Exercise Allied Spirit 2015

    It looks like there is a big ammo shortage in the Dutch Army that soldiers during training have to resort to shouting "Bang! Bang!" to imitate gunfire. Most of the ammo have been devoted to missions overseas where the Dutch armed forces are involved such as peacekeeping missions.

    According to a report from RTL News, "The shortage of ammo has been around for some years now, but now the situation is so dire  that there is frustration amongst staff." This report was based on an email that was leaked from the Dutch Defence Ministry, which states that the shortage has been so acute that some necessary training exercises have been cancelled.

    Even the soldier's union, the Vakbond voor Defensiepersoneel (VBM), say that the lack of ammo is having an impact on the troops' morale. "Even if you don't have bullets to use, you still have to train with your weapon, " Jean Debie, the Chairperson of the VBM told RTL News. "That means, as a soldier, you say ‘Bang, Bang!’ This is obviously disastrous for the morale of the military. You do not want to do this to a professional."

    Retired Major-General Harm de Jonge was also quoted that soldiers should be refining their shooting skills on a daily basis. But with no practive using bullets for months, the shooting skills of the soldiers were no longer relevant. He also stated that with that lapse, they have only have a few months to rebuild confidence in the weapon and that the loss confidence is extremely serious.

    The Ministry of Defence acknowledged to RTL News that the problem is real saying that supplies are tight due to high consumption of ammo in overseas missions, long delivery times due to lower ammo availability from manufacturers, and the long procurement process. Once additional funding available with the 2015 Defence budget, the stockpile will be replenished. The Dutch government actually increased the defence budget for 2015, which is €8 billion up from €7.6 billion in 2014 and promised an annual increased spending in real terms of €100 million according to the European Leadership Network.

    Well, perhaps the Dutch Defence Ministry would like to have with the Dutch Airsoft Association (NABV) for some ammo supplies and airsoft rifles. At least airsoft BBs is in abundance in Europe given the heavy presence of airsoft companies in the continent. Furthermore, soldiers still get to play with realistic looking firearms. Perhaps the Defence Ministry might want to include in its budget an allocation for airsoft rifles and supplies as a backup for training in case the ammo shortage continues.

    Photos: Dutch Soldiers in Exercise Allied Spirit I at Hohenfels, Germany, last January 2015.  Taken by Visual Information Specialist Markus Rauchenberger, U.S. Army.

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    Thales F90/ADF EF88

    The next evolution in the F88 Austeyr assault rifle used by the Australian Defence Force Service, the Thales F90, is set to be introduced for use by the Service. In a press release from Thales, the Australian Department of Defence has agreed to a contract for Thales to produce rifles, grenade launchers, spare parts and accessories worth A$100 million. All of these will be produced at Thales’s facility in Lithgow, New South Wales.

    Also known as the EF88 or Enhanced F88 Assault Rifle, it is the next design evolution of the F88 Assault Rifle that is a licensed copy of the Australian Steyr AUG Bullpup Rifle. The F88 has been in use by the Australian and New Zealand Defence forces since the late 1980s. It still retains its similarity with the Steyr AUG but with design changes made by Thales to meet the new requirements of the Australian Defence Force Service. The ADF shall be using the EF88 name designation for the rifle.

    The F90/EF88 has an improved buttstock, polymer housing and is the one of the lightest assault rifles in the market at 3.25kg. It also has a non-removable barrel and two versions will be released, the standard 20-inch barrel and the 16-inch carbine. It also has a Picatinny top rail, and bottom rail near the front-end, replacing the integrated foregrip, and a third rail on the right side.  The Steyr AUG is known for its generous trigger guard but for the EF88, it has been redesigned to accommodate an Underbarrel 40mm Grenade Launcher. It will also be equipped with a daysight, and a foregrip.

    There are other variants of the F90 such as the longer F90M which probably will be used as for DMR and the F90M(G) means that it also comes with 40mm Grenade Launcher. There is also a 14-inch. CQB version. Thales are looking into the export market for the F90 variants as there are many armed forces around the world that use the Steyr AUG that may just need an upgrade.

    Thales will start delivering the F90/F88 in two weeks' time with the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment being the initial recipients and this will be over a 6-year period. The numbers mentioned in the contract are deliveries of 30,000 F90/EF88 rifles and 2,500 40mm Grenade Launchers.

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    Airsoft Gun with Weathered Look

    Let's  start the week with something Darkhorse of One Grunt's Opinion posting that airsoft players can talk about --- the custom weathered look on airsoft guns. I am amazed at efforts of airsoft players to give their airsoft guns a weathered look just to look the part, even with brand new airsoft guns that just got taken out of the box.

    Personally, I prefer just letting time, wear and wear due to use do that since it will be more of a natural way of getting that weathered look. But I am also fascinated by those who take time and effort to do such custom job that are actually look good, even if they were made to look very much worn and "vintage", so to speak.

    Do you think it's absurd or applaud those who do it to be creative? We'll let Darkhorse set the mood for this topic:

    So here's a good discussion point.

    What do you think of the weathered paint job look where guys make a paint job on their rifle look old and aged by the weather?

    Is it good, is it awesome, is it stupid, does it kill the resale value, is it a must to be accurate for an impression, or is it just guys trying to look the part too much?
    You tell me.

    I think it's pointless but it is also an art for guys that enjoy it. So have fun doing it if you like the look and bravo to those skilled at it. It's not easy to do it well and takes talent. I just rather slap paint on and just let nature run its course. But that's just me.

    I will say this, I randomly pulled this pic from a Google search (shown above) and don't know who to credit. So don't get butt hurt if it's yours or if you know who's it is just give credit in the comments.

    To have your say on this, click here to go to the One Grunt's Opinion on Facebook.

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    Rambo First Blood: Part 2 (with arrow tip modified with foam tip)

    In airsoft, we have rules on types of "weapons to use". Apart from airsoft guns, pyro grenades, sound grenades, mortars, foam rockets, powder landmines, and claymores, we allow the use of rubber knives for the "knife/silent kill". Now, there is something that just came up our radar which I suppose a good number of airsoft and paintball players are getting familiar with: Archery Tag.

    Yep, it's bow and arrow baby! Just imagine yourself as John Rambo in an airsoft game, going for medium to long range silent kills with Archery tag. For airsoft players who also are into Archery, then Archery Tag will be something they will welcome with open arms. After all, they can use their archery skills to actually hunt down the "OPFOR" in an airsoft game.

    Archery Tag is basically a young sport, introduced in 2011 by John Jackson, the founder of DeerSpace, Instinct Archery, and Global Archery Products, Inc. when he was working on a new archery product and decided to put a foam tip for the arrows to make them safe to use. Archery Tag is also a registered trademark of Global Archery Products with the Archery Tag's "Non-lethal Arrow" also patented.

    For those who are not familiar with Archery Tag, it is a growing sport, slowly spreading out in the U.S.. the U.K. and other parts of the world. The aim of this sport is simple: tag the opposing team with your foam-tipped arrow just like how you do it in dodgeball, paintball, nerf, and airsoft (we just call it "hit" in airsoft, but it is the same). But strictly speaking, this is what Global Archery Products say how the game is played:

    Two teams, consisting of 5 players each playing opposite one another, are separated by a “safe zone." Each team also has what we call a “5-Spot Knockout Target.”  There are two objectives:  1) to tag the opponents, and 2) to knock out the five discs of the opposing team’s target. You eliminate a player by tagging him or her with an arrow, or by catching his or her arrow. The 5-Spot Targets work to save a “life” of one of the players.  A “tagged” player can be called back into the game when a target spot is knocked out or when a teammate catches an arrow.

    Whilst that's how Archery Tag is played according to the company, still, no one's stopping you to add a variety of games to Archery tag. You can make your own game scenarios to make it more fun just like we do in airsoft.

    Since it's a safe projectile to use, why not use it in airsoft too as part of the weaponry that can be used by airsoft players? Thus, for those who want to be sneaky in making their hits, they can resort to Archery Tag when the opportunity arises (or as always say, they want to be Rambo). I actually find it cool and here is a video of it being used in an airsoft game:

    But don't you go out and try to find Archery Tag equipment from your nearest sports or archery store. The Archery Tag and equipment is controlled by Global Archery Products and you have to be a licensee to have access to the equipment and host events. That means you can only play Archery Tag at game sites that have taken a licence from Global Archery Products. For airsoft and paintball site operators, which are usually one and the same, will need to get a licence so they hold Archery Tag games/events and equip their customers with the products. 

    That's the problem with Archery Tag, we don't know if it will grow into a real global sport as envisioned by its owners given that they have total control over every aspect of Archery Tag unlike other sports where various manufacturers and vendors compete to offer better equipment and sponsor teams. Perhaps, if they will license the manufacture of Archery Tag products to interested companies and just allow anyone to put their own enhancements of Archery Tag games, then it may just happen. Just like any other sport  that  has become global, everyone who has interest in growing the sport gets involved, not just the progenitors.

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