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    Airsoft Meetup IWA Outdoor Classics 2017 RedWolf Accepting Award

    Well, not all were presentations as there was an awarding ceremony too. For those who missed or curious about the Airsoft Meetup at the IWA Outdoor Classics 2017, here are all the videos of the presentations and the awarding ceremony of the 7th Airsoft Players Choice Awards.

    I’m pretty sure that you have seen on YouTube the videos taken by various airsoft magazine, blog, YouTube channel, and news website where these same companies have done their presentations at their booths. But at the Airsoft Meetup they usually elaborate more, without the distraction and in more intimate setting that they reveal information that are not usually said amidst the noise of a busy exhibit floor. Thus, for any serious airsoft company that wants what it wants to say spread out with clearer information and to a much larger audience outside of the IWA Outdoor Classics, then the Airsoft Meetup is the place to do it as they have most, if not all, the airsoft media in one room.

    We thank the companies who have been supporting the Airsoft Meetup over the years such as RedWolf Airsoft, Airsoft Innovations, Gunfire, and the airsoft media who have decided to become partners to help out such as Airsoft.nu. Without them, the Airsoft Meetup would not happen.

    For this year, we get presentations from Airsoftdb.com, RedWolf Airsoft, Gunfire, Airsoft Innovations, and DM Diffusion. A shorter list this year but was made up with the special moments in the awarding ceremony of the 7th Airsoft Players’ Choice Awards, where we to welcome new Hall of Famers, as well as the posthumous award to Mark Rasmussen, the heartfelt acceptance by Airsoft Action Magazine, and the beaming pride of the Laylax representatives in finally accepting their award in person.

    Enjoy the weekend watching Airsoft Meetup videos below:


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    ARDEC RAMBO 3D-Printed Grenade Launcher

    Last March 1, 2017, Mr. Seung kook “Sunny” Burns and Mr. James Zunino, wrote on the United States Army Acquisition Support Center (USASASC) website, about the details of  the Rapid Additively Manufactured Ballistics Ordnance or RAMBO, which was the result of six months of collaboration by the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), the U.S. Army Manufacturing Technology (ManTech) Program and America Makes, the national accelerator for additive manufacturing and 3D printing.

    For its long name, RAMBO can be basically a 3D Printed Grenade Launcher. Taking advantage of the rapid prototyping as well as 3D printing being readily available to product parts, the research looked into developing weapons using additive manufacturing (AM), if it is a mature enough to use in making complete weapons systems.

    Similar to the M203 grenade launcher, the RAMBO is comprised of 50 parts, with most of these can produced using a 3D Printer, with the exception of springs and fasteners. The barrel and receiver were produced with aluminum using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) process that uses high powered lasers that heat up powders below melting point, wielding them layer by layer until the desired object has been finished. The launcher barrel 3D printed vertically with the rifling while the trigger and firing pin were printed using 4340 alloy steel.

    It took 70 hours to make RAMBO, which probably is not enough time in a real frontline situation where everything is demanded to be delivered immediately. Old fashioned or high-tech logistic work could probably put an M203 into the hands of a soldier faster than with 3D printing at the pace RAMBO was made.

    What the purpose of the project is not about replacing the standard issue grenade launcher, but to test the maturity of AM if it can help weapons developers prototype weapons designs faster. In this case AM does help in the doing the prototyping work in a matter of days rather than months according to the authors of the research. With the RAMBO, the researchers conducted a live fire test at the Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey last October and were able to fire 15 shots with no signs of degradation and the muzzle velocity just within 5% of the standard issue launcher.

    Well, it’s another development in 3D printing where we see that products get developed faster. Even in airsoft, 3D printing is becoming a valuable tool to design and create products for the airsoft market. What worries authorities about unregulated use of 3D printing in weapons development could lead to untraceable weapons and being able to create a 3D-printed grenade launcher adds to a more destructive element to it.

     

    All photos here are U.S. Army photos by Sunny Burns, ARDEC.


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    Slughaus Bullet 02

    The makers of Bullet, the World’s Smallest LED Flashlight that was introduced last year, are back again on Kickstarter to raise funds for the second version, Bullet 02. They promise it to be lighter, smaller and virtually indestructible. What’s more? It is inspired by the 40 S&W round.

    You might wonder why the need for a teenie-weenie flashlight when you can use your smartphone’s flashlight app to be able to see in the dark or you may already have an EDC flashlight for those who are always ready. Who knows? You may never know that you will need a backup flashlight in case you want to conserve your phone’s battery or your flashlight is low on battery juice. Apart from that, it’s cute as hell and small enough that you can just carry it with you attached to your keychain all the time. Or just attach it anything you carry with you for the day, it’ll be there and ready when you need it.

    According to its makers, Slughaus, it is the best, most resistant everyday carry tiny LED flashlight available. It is waterproof so no worrying about it not working under the rain and claimed to be indestructible that they had it run over by an SUV to show you that it is that durable. Its case is made of aerospace-grade aluminium and given a sleek anodized treatment.

    With three LR41 Button Cell batteries as power source, it produces 20 lumens of light. The brightness may not be the same as your really bright 500-Lumen Surefire flashlight, but then you may not have the flashlight with you all the time whilst the Bullet 02 can be carried everywhere, anytime.

    Just make sure to take it out of your bag and show it in the open when going through security checks such as airports. That will take lesser time for security to question you seeing it is a very cute flashlight rather than live ammo.

    With 39 days to go, Bullet 02 has already raised over US$150,000 which is already more than US$10,000 funding goal they were targeting. For the minimum of US$10, you get a Bullet 02 flashlight and as you increase your funding pledge, you get more Bullet 02s, especially if you decide to gift your mates with this flashlight.

    The Bullet 02 has an estimated delivery of November 2017.


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    UKAPU Stronger Together

    The public are currently being warned to watch out for suspicious activity via a new campaign and hotline, ACT (Action Counters Terrorism). It's fair to say that the British public is more wary about firearms than ever before, and things are only getting worse.

    Of course UKAPU is fully supportive of Government counter terrorism initatives, and we advise UKAPU members to take on board the advice in the campaign.

    But as an airsoft player the likely risk you face is not from terrorism but from a member of the public calling the hotline about your legitimate airsoft related activities.

    There are precautions you can take to reduce the likelihood of this happening, such as:

    • Buy gun cases and slips, don't carry an airsoft replica to a game loose in the car or in the original box.
    • Keep airsoft replicas away from windows when storing or maintaining in your home.
    • Let friendly neighbours know about your hobby (especially if you use them to 'plink' in the garden- which is perfectly legal).
    • Wear civilian clothing to and from games
    • Try to only attend games at professionaly run sites, good sites will have liaised with local police.
    • Don't share airsoft replica photos on public social media unless you make the viewers aware that it is airsoft.
    • When carrying replicas by rail, coach, air or ferry, call ahead to let them know.
    • Do read up on the relevant laws- when questioned, make sure you can explain how and why you are allowed to purchase and use replicas.

    Please like and share - you may already 'get it', but there's many players out there who don't know how much trouble an airsoft replica can cause. Every time someone screws up it moves us closer to a UK airsoft 'ban'. Many players don't realise the Secretary of State can repeal the airsoft specific defence overnight with the stroke of a pen, and the government have made it known that they will do that if airsoft is causing trouble.

     

    Matt Furey-King
    Chair UKAPU


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    The Matrix

    More of Neo, Trinity and Morpheus? It’s not exactly indicated as entertainment websites in the interwebs are abuzz with news that Warner Bros are to reboot the The Matrix. One of the greatest science fiction films, The Matrix introduced “Bullet Time” and made the use of wire fu for martial arts stunts mainstream in Hollywood. Perhaps the most influential movie released in the 1990s, its influence is seen in movies and video games.

    According to Hollywood Reporter, Joel Silver, the producer of the original The Matrix trilogy, is said to have broached the idea to Warner Bros of having another The Matrix film. But for Warner Bros they are still wary of having him have influence in the movie due to a strained relationship with The Wachowskis who wrote and directed the original The Matrix and without them, fans of the trilogy might not receive news of another The Matrix film with excitement.

    The Matrix is about human beings used as power source by sentient machines, and are stored in pods whilst the reality they perceive to be living in is a simulated reality called “The Matrix” created by the machines in order to keep them subdued. Neo, a computer hacker, learns the truth and finds other people who have freed themselves from the “The Matrix” and he leads the rebellion with the support of Morpheus and Trinity who brought him out of “The Matrix” believing he is “The One”.

    It is said that there is potential interest to have Michael B. Jordan to be the lead actor for the film, but it is still too early as there is much to be prepared for before the project really takes form.

    The Wachowskis are said to be not involved in this project though the studio bosses want to talk to them first for their approval. Keanu Reeves is also interested in the new project provided that he gets to work with The Wachowskis.

    The question is, what will Warner Bros get with a reboot of The Matrix, which they known has a cult following? Will they be looking into the formula being followed by Walt Disney when they bought the Star Wars franchise, ensuring that they get more than their money’s worth?  The Matrix actually expanded into comic books, animated series, and video games? But will it be as big as Star Wars?

    Fans might feel ambivalent about a new The Matrix film, especially without The Wachowskis. However, from the viewpoint of an airsoft player, The Matrix will be a film that will be mined for the weapons and costumes that they want to put together for that next airsoft impression of what is seen in popular culture.

    You can take the Blue Pill if you want no more of The Matrix, or the Red Pill to watch a new one. You have free will and it is your choice to make.


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    Paqsule

    I’m already sold to what this bag does. But if they make a tacticool version, I’ll be in love with the company behind this. Not yet on the market as it is raising funds on Kickstarer, Paqsule is a bag that can “deodorize, sanitize and kill bacteria, keeping your bag and everything inside smelling FRESH!”

    For athletes and airsoft players, they always need to deal with stinking clothes after a long day under the sun, rain, mud, and whatever elements that they play under. The answer usually is to have another bag to separate the dirty ones. But what if we get to have a bag that makes them sanitized so we don’t have to smell the stink before getting home and stuffing them into the washing machine?

    Paqsule is almost like a portable sanitizing machine that it uses UV (ultraviolet) and O3 (Activated Oxygen) to sanitize the contents of the bag with 15, 25 and 35 minute cleaning cycle options. By pressing the button on the bag or the mobile app (why need one, really?) the process starts with the UV-C light killing odor-causing bacteria and pathogens. The O3 helps in the process and after the O3 dissipates, the contents will become smelling fresh. The only thing that it does not do is remove any dirt or mud that cling to the clothes or shoes and these will require hand or machine washing to get them off.

    If you are always travelling and just have a limited set of clothes, the Paqsule should keep your clothes fresh while on the road. It is TSA compatible and looks like it meets the dimensions to be allowed as a handcarry luggage when flying.

    Sold already? Well, that’s not all. You can also pack in your laptop as well and there is a rechargeable battery that can also charge your mobile devices via a USB port.

    The Paqsule, when released, is not going to be cheap as the makers are looking into a retail price of US$349. But if you pledge at least US$229 on Kickstarter, then you get to reserve one Paqsule bag and be ahead by two months in owning one.

    Hopefully, they are already planning on a version that is designed like tactical carryall bag and we’ll all be happy.


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    Kalashnikov Patch

    Real steel makers, airsoft manufacturers, and video game publishers will have to pay more attention to what Kalashnikov Concern is saying these days as they are getting more serious in protecting their intellectual properties, such as its trademarks and brands worldwide. And why are they taking this approach? It makes good business sense. That’s how its competitors also do business --- ensure that their intellectual properties are theirs to use and license.

    The Kalashnikov rifles are some of the most copied rifles in the world, many licensed through agreements between the Soviet Union and allies during the Cold War, and many also unlicensed. Even in airsoft, the AK is the second most popular airsoft platform that is bought by airsoft players after the AR platform.

    Kalashnikov Concern is definitely moving into the airsoft business. Under its old name, Izhmash Concern, it announced five years ago that they will be developing rifles for airsoft, called “Strikeball” in Russia, though not much was heard after that until now. As reported here last week, the company has filed a trademark infringement case against the French airsoft company, Cybergun, in Russia early this month. It is also launched legal assaults on the Russian airsoft business, going after retailers that use the trademarks and or guns that are similar to the design of their real steel products.

    Why the increased vigor in going after the airsoft businesses? It is to pave the way for their full entry into the airsoft market. In an interview with TASS, Kalashnikov’s CEO Aleksey Krivoruchko laid out their plans:

    TASS: Will you begin to make strikeball weapons?

    Krivoruchko: This is a totally new business for us. As far as we understand, this segment will boom, so we will certainly make strikeball weapons. We have finalized the first samples already. Very soon we will present them to the federation of wargaming. We have plans for starting the production of strikeball weapons this year.

    As for the video gaming industry, in the same TASS report, Krivoruchko mentions that they are creating a partnership program:

    TASS: As follows from recent reports you are about to venture into the gaming industry market. What has Kalashnikov been doing to this end?

    Krivoruchko: As far as computer games are concerned, a partnership program is on today’s agenda. We are selecting partners to cooperate with. Protecting our copyrights in relation to our products used in different online games is another aspect of our activity. For instance, if in some games players can use the AK-12 assault rifle, we will seek a compromise with its developers regarding our copyrights.

    Photo: Weapon of Peace 2016 (Photo Credit: Kalashnikov Concern)

    While everyone may think that these actions are mainly for the Russian market, they are mistaken. In the same interview with TASS, Krivoruchko stresses the seriousness for Kalashnikov Concern to become a serious global player. Their products are already known worldwide and are sought after, even in the U.S., despite the sanctions put into place by the U.S. government. But first, they need to get their house in order and be serious in protecting their intellectual properties worldwide:

    TASS: Kalashnikov has had several trademarks registered in China. Are there any plans to do the same in other countries?

    Krivoruchko: Why, naturally. We have been taking measures to protect our brand and our trademarks in all markets, including China, Europe and the United States. The concern’s brand and trademarks must belong to us, and not some companies that have nothing to do with our products.

    So expect to be seeing more of Kalashnikov Concern being more active in the legal arena in the following months and years. For the airsoft industry, this is something that they should also monitor and consider their options once the company starts asserting control over the use of its trademarks and weapons designs through lawyers. They do have options such as taking a license from Kalashnikov Concern to manufacture their weapons for the airsoft market; co-develop products with the Russian company; or become an OEM such as the route done by KJ Works, VFC, and King Arms in Taiwan, and some airsoft manufacturers based in China for other airsoft and real steel companies.

    It would be interesting if Kalashnikov Concern will produce in-house the airsoft products they plan to release or perhaps buy or partner with another Russian company,  NPO-AEG, which already has a beachhead in the airsoft market worldwide producing airsoft guns based on Russian weapon designs.

     

    Top Photo:Kalashnikov patch (Photo Credit: Kalashnikov Concern)


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    European Parliament Strasbourg

    Last week the airsoft community in the EU made a collective sigh of relief. In a report by the European Airsoft Association (EAA), on the 14th of March 2017, 70% of the MEPs (Members of European Parliament) voted in favour of this proposal:

    “Directive 91/477/EEC is not applicable to other items, such as airsoft devices, which do not correspond to the definition of a firearm and are therefore not regulated by that Directive.”

    The Directive will then have to be submitted to the Council of Ministers where it will have to be formally adopted before it can implemented. 

    There is still a lot of work to be done and the recommendation of the EAA is that airsoft players in the European Union will need to get organised at the national level. Whilst this can be victory for airsoft, airsoft will still be subject to scrutiny in the future. Thus, there is no letting the guard down.

    The EAA lobbied for the airsoft exemption together with two other European airsoft companies, Action Sport Games and Cybergun, which have put out a joint status report as well (the screenshots below courtesy of Paul Wignell of Team ASG):

    More updates will be posted as we continue monitoring the status of the Firearms Directive.


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    U.S. Army JCB

    The U.S. Army is testing new jungle boots with Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs) based in Hawaii this month, according to the Army News Service which posted the story in early March 2017. This is actually surprisingly fast as the U.S. Army was directed by the Army General Mark A. Milley to work on new design of jungle boots for soldiers last September 2016.

    Before this, the Army has been trying out commercial jungle boots but with mixed results and PEO Soldier put together a plan to make it a reality. In October 2016, the Army put out a request for the industry to respond to, going over the requirements; and by December, a contract was awarded to two companies to produce 36,700 jungle combat boots which is enough to provide footwear to two BCTs in Hawaii.

    Nowadays, most soldiers are more familiar to the combat boots that are worn in the fields of Iraq and Afghanistan. But those boots are not appropriate for the jungle which are also hot but are wet environments. If feet are not properly protected in the jungle, soldiers will be prone to trench foot that if not treated properly, can lead to gangrene which may require amputation.

    For those old enough to remember what jungle combat boots look like, many will be familiar with the jungle boots that were used in Vietnam or the M1966 which has a green upper and black leather toe. The new jungle combat boots take inspiration from the M1966 but with the look that present soldiers are familiar with such as the same color scheme of the boots used in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unlike the M1966, this has shock absorbing features with the added midsole.

    The sole is puncture proof, which is a very important requirement for jungle boots as soldiers operating in a jungle boot may usually step on sharp objects which are either natural or man-made such as the hunting, such as punji sticks --- pointed bamboo sticks placed upright in the ground. It is even worse when operating in swampy areas, soldiers don’t get to see what is at the bottom of the murky water.

    Other features of the new jungle boots are the following: lower height to avoid snagging the heel in the vines that can twist the ankle are cause tripping; more drainage holes to quickly drain the boots of water when they get fully soaked; speed laces; and an internal lining for better breathability and quicker drying.

    The issuance of the new jungle combat boots will start this month with the first BCT then another BCT will be equipped by June. By the December 2017, the Army will then ask the soldiers of the BCTs how they find the new jungle boots. Further tweaking, if need be as based on the feedback, will be done before a final purchase description will be issued between April and June 2018. By 2019, the U.S. Army will then issue a contract for multiple vendors once they have the final version of the boots.

    Video below about the new jungle boots from Military.com:


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    Lawrence Fishburne as Morpheus in Matrix Reloaded

    Last week, entertainment websites began speculating what The Matrix reboot by Warner Bros is all about. Without The Wachowskis’ involvement in this project, many are wondering if this will be received well by the fans of the movie franchise. But perhaps for Warner Bros, it is about being able to have a project similar to what Disney has done to the Star Wars franchise, create a galaxy of films that either are spin-offs of the Star Wars main story or the continuation of the galactic saga that has captured the imagination of generations since it was first released in the late 1970s.

    It was mentioned in the reports last week that Michael B. Jordan might be the lead actor for the Matrix reboot though it is said to be not really a reboot, but an expansion of The Matrix franchise as reported by Scott Wrampler at the Birth.Movies.Death website. According to his sources, the supposedly new The Matrix project will be a prequel with Michael B. Jordan playing as the young Morpheus (played by Lawrence Fishburne in the original The Matrix trilogy), making you think that Warner Bros is taking a page from the Star Wars playbook.

    Photo: Michael B. Jordan appearing as part of the "Fantastic Four" at the San Diego Comic Con 2015. (Flickr photo by Gage Skidmore)

    It is an interesting project since Morpheus plays a pivotal role in The Matrix, as he mentored Neo to realise his potential, accept his fate as “The One” and become the central figure in the rebellion of those who escaped The Matrix against the sentient machines.  The prequel would probably be tackling the origins of Morpheus and how he managed to realise that The Matrix world was not real as it seems and be able to escape.

    Honestly though, if there needs to be a prequel of The Matrix, I would be more interested in the origins of The Matrix itself and how the machines created by humans eventually rebelled and subdued humanity, turning them into a source of energy. That in itself is a story worth of a trilogy of prequels to the original The Matrix story. With the use of artificial intelligence on the rise, robots and drones being created at a faster rate, there are valid concerns from certain sectors, especially in the scientific community that the accelerating pace might lead to the machines eventually replacing humanity to the point of plotting the extinction of their masters. Skynet, anyone?

    Now, back to The Matrix “Young Morpheus” prequel, Wrampler writes further that a Morpheus story has long been favoured by the powers-that-be at Warner Bros and that they have established a writers’ room to kick around ideas for new The Matrix films and the young Morpheus is one of the ideas.

    Still, there is no official announcement from Warner Bros, perhaps due to doing a more long term planning for The Matrix franchise rather than just focusing on the Morpheus prequel. Who knows? They might also be discussing another follow through prequel after Morpheus, and it will be about the origins of Trinity (played by Carrie-Ann Moss in the original trilogy).


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    ROI Dept. Of Justice & Equality Consultation Paper On Controls Of Realistic Imitation Firearms

    Airsoft players in the Republic of Ireland are being made aware of the recent efforts of the Department of Justice and Equality to conduct Public Consultations on Controls Governing Realistic Imitation Firearms.  This was announced last 20 March 2017 by Minister of State David Stanton, in a report by BreakingNews.ie, he said:

    “Realistic Imitation Firearms pose a threat to public safety when misused.

    “While I recognise that law abiding members of the public gain enjoyment from the responsible use of Realistic Imitation Firearms such as at authorised airsoft venues, I want to protect this lawful use by ensuring the right regulatory framework is in place.

    “Today I am inviting all interested parties to express their views on matters such as sale, purchase and marking of Realistic Imitation Firearms”.

    Is there a reason for Irish airsofters to be alarmed by this initiative? According to the Irish Airsoft Association posting on their Facebook Page, there is no cause to be worried for the meantime, and that players are advised to be civil, especially on social media, and focus on submitting their recommendations as a community for the Department to consider in the conduct of their consultations and policy formulation:

    Dear IAA members and Irish Airsoft Community,

    I would like to take this opportunity to inform you that the Irish Airsoft Association is aware of the current Public Consultations on Controls Governing Realistic Imitation Firearms.

    It is important for everyone to remain calm at this point and not resort to social media meltdowns. The closing date of this consultation isn’t until the 1st May, 2017, therefore there is no reason for anyone to panic, there is plenty of time to have a solid and unified submission sent in that recommends what is best for the future of the Irish airsoft industry, hobby and sport.

    This consultation is a discussion about how to address certain issues that An Garda Síochána have with the fact that there are no laws governing the sale, importation or purchase of realistic imitation firearms, thereby leading to a proliferation of their availability and increasing the possibility of misuse.

     Lines of communication have already been established between the relevant parties that will have the most influence in making submissions to the Minister of State. It is important for our members and the general airsoft community to have faith in those that have the best interest of our hobby/sport at heart and are in a position to make the best case for everyone.

    At this point, I would ask that no one individual take it upon themselves to make a submission, as what’s in the best interest of everyone is that we stand unified together.

    So, right now, the best thing for everyone to do is relax. Over the coming weeks I will keep you all updated on any developments that may be of interest to you or notify you all should your help be required.

    I hope this will ease everyone’s minds.

    Regards,
    Jim McCarthy
    Public Relations Officer
    Irish Airsoft Association

    We’ll continue to monitor this development and for those who are interested in the Consultation Paper, here is the official one as issued by the Department of Justice and Equality:


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    Hardlight VR Suit

    One of the in-things right now in the tech world apart from drones, wearable computing, and mobile devices is VR (Virtual Reality). Initially a crude technology in the 1990s that died due to cumbersome headsets, it is now back with a vengeance that started with Oculus, made more accessible with Google Cardboard, and now more companies are jumping into the VR market for different purposes, as VR offers a whole new world to explore.

    One area where VR is strong in is with gaming, as VR gaming gives you 360-degree immersive experience and makes it more interactive. You will duck, hide, get scared, and you will definitely move as you will perceive things to be real, even if you know they are not “real world” real.

    While others are building VR headsets, others are building VR accessories such as devices that give you haptic feedback. Haptic feedback gives you the “feel” when you get hit with something in the form of vibration and it is usually with the gaming controller that was started with the Sony Playstation “Dual Shock” controller in the late 1990s. Now, are there different types of game controllers that give you haptic feedback such as those designed to look like guns.

    Now, a company takes haptic feedback for gaming to another level. NullSpace VR, Inc. has already successfully raised funds on Kickstarter for its Hardlight VR Suit. This suit has 16 positional haptics sensors & vibration nodes, lightweight and comfortable to use. The sensors and vibration sensors target muscle groups in upper part of your body, and if you get shot, stabbed, punched, slashed, or hit by a shockwave, you will feel it. Unlike in airsoft where sometimes a BB hit cannot be felt due to a thick vest, this will VR suit will make you sure you will feel every hit.

    For the meantime, the Hardlight VR Suit works with PC-based VR games with over 10 game titles already developed with it and they have an SDK for other game developers to work with to make it backwards compatible. The suit’s tracking system also augments the tracking systems of existing VR headsets such as those from Oculus and HTC.

    To be able to own one, you can pledge at least US$399 which will give you an early bird VR Hardlight Suit which will be cheaper by 36% than the retail price when it gets available if the project is on track for a September 2017 release.

    The idea of a suit that gives haptic feedback in VR gaming is something that we can dream of for airsoft. Now, if somebody can come out with a project that can create a tactical vest that is filled with sensors to monitor BB hits and give haptic feedback to the player, then it might just minimize the concerns of cheating in airsoft games. I know it is wishful thinking, but who knows? Somebody might just jump at the opportunity to make one for airsoft.


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    Novawind M4 Carbine HPA Blowback Airsoft Gun

    It is rare to find airsoft projects at crowdfunding websites, maybe due to the fact that many of them do not get funded at all with reasons that  they are not thoroughly thought out or those who are at crowdfunding websites are more interested in other projects and airsoft is not on their radar.

    But now, a Polish group has an airsoft HPA blowback technology that they think can be game changer in airsoft, especially in the HPA-powered airsoft segment. Novawind are looking into raising US$35,000 to fund the production of their Novawind M4 Carbine HPA Blowback Rifle.

    Not exactly a unique offering as there are HPA-powered airsoft blowback rifles such as those from Daytona which are mainly built-to order airsoft guns whilst Novawind are offering a fully complete M4 HPA Blowback Rifle just like the Tippmann M4 Carbine Recoil HPA Blowback Rifle. That is, if they are able to raise the funds they require.

    Furthermore, apart from the blowback feature, it is a self contained airsoft HPA rifle where the air tank is in the stock, and comes with a precision inner barrel, aircraft-grade aluminium air tank, an LPA regulator, and 5 Mid/Low magazines for a price of US$750.00. Here is how they describe their project:

    To remove all the flaws, we have completed the stage of 3D prototyping. Our physical v1 replica was printed out using a very strong filament. The gun has a working bolt-catch; and a small air cylinder placed in the carbine stock (real life photos attached). Eventually, the entire product will be built from aircraft aluminum. As a result, we will achieve durability similar to real firearms. Thus, the replica aluminum body along with its external and internal elements will be virtually indestructible. At the same time, due to our HPA system specifications, the gun is reloaded exactly like a real weapon. The rifle has been designed based on M4 system. It is our original project made from scratch. In the near future, we plan to recreate other structures such as AK-47, G36 and the Polish assault rifle system called MSBS.

    We are aware that there are similar systems to ours, e.g. DAYTONA. All of these systems, although really good, have their very own lock/bolt and trigger systems. While our aim is to achieve the best representation of a real firearm, both in appearance and performance. And also, to reduce the cost of the solution used.

    With a proper optimization of the nozzle system mounted in the carbine stock, we were able to achieve a performance close to 500 bbs per fill.

    Our idea is not an insert/fix for other gas replicas, but an entire structure and a built-in system (HPA adapted) within.

    So far, they just have raised over U$100 as of this writing, though it is in the early phase of their crowdfunding efforts on Indiegogo and they still have a month left to go. Though we suggest that they release more videos about their product like how it works and how they are going to do mass production in case they raise the funds required. There will be questions from other airsoft players and individuals interested in the project, before they pledge their money to back it.

    If all goes according to plan, they will be releasing the first prototypes for those who are in a hurry to own one by August 2017, and the full production Novawind Official M4 HPA Blowback Rifle by November 2017.

    And if you are an airsoft investor looking for a new airsoft tech to plunk your money into, then perhaps Novawind might be it, especially with the airsoft HPA segment steadily growing.


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    Belgian Action Air Open 2017

    The First Belgian Open Level 3 Action Air took place last  March 11 and 12 2017 in Brussels. Organised by the different Belgian Action Air clubs, there were 66 shooters that participated in this Action Air Match.

    On Saturday, the 11th of March, all the shooters were present by 8 AM at the venue, which is the  A6Lawenforcement, in Brussels. At 9 AM René Hoeck and Bart Verwijst welcomed all the shooters, and gave the necessary instructions to all. The shooters were divided in 6 squads, and had to shoot 16 stages that day. The timing made that the squads had all the time enough between the changes from one zone to another to have a (free) coffee or tea, and a snack (croque monsieur, and hotdogs).

    As it was rather cold in the venue, some warm beverage and food was very welcome.

    During the morning, the first 8 stages were shot by all the squads. While everybody had their lunch break, René and Marc transformed the stages for the next 8. By 5 PM, the squads had finished going through the shooting stages for that day.

    On Sunday there were only 4 stages, 1 medium stage and 3 stages, to shoot.  The squads started at 11 AM. As the German team was not yet present at 11 o’clock, we started with the shooters who were present. Later the Germans arrived and had sad news. During the night all their gear was stolen out of the car. After learning that unfortunate incident, all the stages were shot and scored without problems.

    With the day done for the shooting portion, everybody came to the meeting room for the results.

    But before the results were announced, there was a raffle held with many prizes offered by the sponsors: A6LawEnforcement, Safariland and Airsoftshop Poperingen. Most of the shooters got a present to bring home.

     

    When the raffle was finished, came the results:

    Standard:

    1st: Samson Chan (HKG)
    2nd: Joeri De Haes (BEL)
    3rd: Paul Wyborn (GBR)

    Open:

    1st: Matthew Wyborn (GBR)
    2nd: Luc Majaron (BEL)
    3rd: Justin Cooper (GBR)

    Production:

    1st: Aryan Alipour (GBR)
    2nd: March Cauchies (BEL)
    3rd: Quentin De Potter (BEL)

    Open Lady:

    1st: Lani De Haes (BEL)
    2nd: Nadine Grandjean (BEL)

    Open Senior

    1st: Tim Wyborn (GBR)
    2nd: Bart Verwijst (BEL)
    3rd: Gino Fasseau (BEL)

    Open Super Senior:

    1st: Alphonse Defgnée (BEL)
    2nd: Paul Van Den Bosch (GBR)
    3rd: Stephen Birtwhistle (GBR)

    Standard Junior

    1st: Paul Wyborn (GBR)
    2nd: Thomas Coquelle (BEL)
    3rd: Alexandre Coquelle (BEL)

    Standard Senior:

    1st: Panos Pitrakou (GBR)
    2nd: Rene Hoeck (BEL)
    3rd: Antonio Rodriguez (BEL)

    We thank our sponsors : A6LawEnforcement, Airsoftshop, and Wapenhandel Hendrickx.

    Special thanks to all the shooters, and all those who assisted to pull off this event.

    More photos at the Popular Airsoft Facebook Page.


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    U.S. Army Research Laboratory "Third Arm"

    The U.S. Army’s research arms are busy looking into ways to improve the ability of soldiers to properly fight with more lethality. In recent years, they are looking into augmenting their warfighters with contraptions to enhance their load carrying capabilities without putting more stress on their bodies such as exoskeletons. Now, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is looking into that direction, but this time, of having a “Third Arm” that will help the soldier carry his/her weapon.

    Sounds like it’s in a direction of making soldiers look like Doctor Octopus? You bet it is.

    This exoskeleton is designed more for weapons carrying rather than load carrying that other research teams are looking into, and aims to shift the weight from the soldier’s arms to his/her torso. Now undergoing testing, it weighs less than 4lbs. which is light enough to be strapped to the soldier. In a report at the U.S. Army website, redirecting more of the weight to the body of the soldier will make it easier for a soldier to carry a more lethal weapon:

    "We're looking at a new way for the Soldier to interface with the weapon," said Zac Wingard, a mechanical engineer for the lab's Weapons and Materials Research Directorate. "It is not a product; it is simply a way to study how far we can push the ballistic performance of future weapons without increasing Soldier burden."

    "You wind up pushing that Soldier's combat load up beyond 120 pounds and they're already overburdened," he said last week at the Association of the United States Army's Global Force Symposium. "We [now] have Soldiers in their late teens and early 20s and they're getting broken sometimes in training before they see a day in combat.

    Photo: Zac Wingard of the ARL explains the "third arm" during the U.S. Army's Global Force Symposium in Alabama last March 14, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Sean Kimmons)

    While conducting the testing, soldiers wear electromyography sensors on their arms and upper body when carrying and firing M4 rifles to measure muscle activity if there are changes in fatigue when shooting as well as find out if there is improvement in accuracy when augmented with the “Third Arm”.

    They will also look into the possibility if the contraption will be more of hindrance rather than a more helpful device such as when if it is in the way of reaching for the magazine pouch or the first aid kit. Though one obvious benefit for having a “Third Arm” is that it allows the soldier to free up his/her arms when doing other tasks while still having the weapon around his/her body held by the device and probably allow him/her to shoot a weapon with heavier recoil.
    The ARL plans to test the contraption for other fighting techniques such as shooting on the move, close quarters combat, and shooting around corners.

    Another option especially when there is lack of cover when under fire is to use the third arm hold a ballistic shield, allowing the soldier to hold a rifle rather than a pistol.

    For now it is a proof of concept, and they hope to “ruggedize” the device so it will be able to handle more punishment and be ready for real world combat situations when a soldier will bump into walls, dive to the ground, shoot prone, and other rigorous activities that soldiers undertake.

    Who knows? If the “Third Arm” proves to be a potential exoskeleton for soldiers to use, why not add another arm to it to make it handle more weapons? Doctor Octopus would surely approve that.


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    Call of Duty 2

    It is definitely going back to its roots for the Call of Duty franchise if all the rumours swirling around this week prove to be true.  Different news sites point out to the video posted The Family of Gamers YouTube Channel last week show leaked images and logos showing “Call of Duty World: WWII”.

    In late February 2017, Activision have indicated that they are going to take back Call of Duty back to its roots, which many believe to be the World War II series. In recent years, the Call of Duty went to take on more futuristic themes, with the last being “Infinite Warfare” that was a let-down in terms of sales whilst its rival FPS title, Battlefield, went back in time to the Great War, releasing Battlefield 1 to great acclaim.

    Eurogamer has confirmed the story and indicate that their sources say that this year’s title will be called WWII.

    Honestly, I would have preferred that Activision and Sledgehammer Gamers, the lead developer for the COD title this year, explore the Great War (World War I) theme, even if EA and DICE took them by surprise. We are in 2017 and it is a hundred years since the First World War that brought to fore warfare on an industrial scale. It still needs to be further explored as there are lot of interesting battles from the war that can be brought to life in a video game. We’ll see the contrast between these two competitors on how the present their games based on historical events.

    It looks like Dave Thier, writing about the COD: WWII rumours on Forbes is also of the same thought, though he recommend also other areas that remain to be further explored:

    Battlefield 1 succeeded not just because of it’s [sic] down and dirty response to high-flying sci-fi, but due to the novel and largely unexplored setting of World War 1. World War 2 has no such novelty, even if it hasn't been such a popular setting in recent years. I'd rather have seen Activision pursue a similar idea without such well-trod territory: Vietnam has beckoned in the past, as have other historical conflicts.

    We’ll find out soon enough straight from the horse’s mouth. We expect Activision to make an announcement soon to confirm this or not as they have a marketing time frame to follow and they better start preparing for the release near the end of this year.


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    Tom Clancy's ShadowBreak

    A new Player versus Player (PvP) bearing Tom Clancy’s name will soon be available for iOS and Android Mobile devices later this year. Ubisoft announced that they are working on Tom Clancy’s ShadowBreak, bringing a first person shooter and real-time strategy, and if you are a fan of video games bearing Tom Clancy’s name such as Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, and The Division, then you probably will be anticipating this game.

    I’m not much of an FPS gamer on my mobile as my previous experience was not really that good but this probably might pull me back to the small screen. In ShadowBreak, the player assumes control of disavowed military operators called ShadowBreak to meet the threat of radical factions called Shadow Nations.

    The game is structured into 3-minute matches with players making their best to get the vantage positions and deploying their troops to pin down the enemy while their character gets into position to do some sharpshooting with their sniper rifle, defend the home base, and take out the enemy sniper. There is also a competitive player mode.

    To begin with, the player can have up to four units for a match and can customize their loadouts with weapons augmented through dropped reward crates that need to be retrieved. At the Ubisoft website, a blogpost indicates the game has been designed to be enjoyed by those who are not skilled in either first person shooter or real-time strategy games:

    “Our hope is that the balance between these two aspects is very tight,” says AJ Morales, ShadowBreak’s creative diretor. “If you’re a great marksman with an inferior troop loadout, you’re still going to have a strong avenue to victory. If you’re not as strong in your shooter prowess but have superior troops and strategy, you’ve still got a great shot at the win.”


    When it gets launched later this year, Ubisoft are planning to evolve the game such a new modes, arenas, units, weapons. For now, it is has been soft-launched in Canada (lucky Canadians) and Pocketgamer’s Jon Mundy has a hands-on preview of the game:


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    Soldier Drinking Rip It Energy Drink (U.S. Army Photo)

    Energy drinks power a lot of human bodies these days. When we need to be more productive or got to keep going in any activity, either we grab a cup a coffee to keep you going, or something much stronger in the form of an energy drink such as Red Bull, to give that much needed boost. Staying up late at night or staving off tiredness can be done with these magic drinks.

    But just like most things in life, too much of a good thing can be bad for you.

    If you intend to go on some extended airsoft events, which usually are non-stop 48 to 72 hour milsim events, you will definitely consider getting energy drinks to bring along with you to keep you awake and focused on the tasks at hand. Not bad if you take them moderately, but guzzling down can after can may not exactly be beneficial for you in the long run according reports.

    In a report posted by Sergeant Eddie Jackson at West Point’s Modern War Institute website, “energy drinks might cause more physiological damage to soldiers than actual combat.” Called “adrenal fatigue” this type of fatigue, writes Jackson:

    According to this concept, after high doses of caffeine consumption the body goes into a hibernation period. The body’s nervous system becomes overtaxed and the detox period takes longer than normal and may cause dizziness and headaches. Therefore, the platoon members’ bodies never get a chance to detox from the firefight earlier in the day. Their bodies are now on a constant roller-coaster of chemical highs and increasingly longer and deeper lows. Over the next couple of days, leaders in the platoon begin to notice changes in some soldiers’ behavior—increasing mood swings, violent outbursts, irritability, and hypertension. They attribute these behavioral changes to the intense firefight, but in reality, the soldiers are being harmed by their own hands with the help of energy drinks.

    Energy drinks are widely available to U.S. soldiers deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, with Rip It becoming the unofficial energy drink of the U.S. Military and contains around 100mg of caffeine in each can. Younger soldiers have deemed energy drinks as mission essential that almost half of the soldiers deployed drink at least a can a day with 14% drinking three or more according to a Walter Reed Army Institute study published in 2010.

    Too much caffeine or over 400mg of it can cause rapid heart rate, shakiness, trouble sleeping, and nervousness. That won’t make you an effective member of a fire team if you are jittery or too wired up.

    Now, if you go a milsim event and planning to bring energy drinks, here are some that you need to consider according to Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences'Human Performance Resource Center (HPRC):

    • Be aware of how much caffeine (from all sources) is in each can or bottle, and limit the number you drink each day.
    • Avoid caffeinated foods, beverages, and medications while using energy drinks. You may be consuming more caffeine than you realize.
    • Don’t mistake energy drinks for sports drinks. Unlike energy drinks, sports drinks are designed to fuel and hydrate you during long workouts.
    • Don’t mix energy drinks with alcohol. Energy drinks can mask the feeling of intoxication but still leave you impaired.
    • Find other ways to energize yourself. It’s best to get the sleep your body needs, but you can try other ways to stay alert, such as exercising or listening to upbeat music.

     

    Top Photo: U.S. Soldier drinking Rip It energy drink (U.S. Army photo by JB Jaso)


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    Damaged GoPro Action Camera

    It’s going to be good business for those who make protectors for the lenses of action cameras as airsoft players will need to protect their investments. A BB that homes in on action cameras to shatter their lenses is slowly making its way in the airsoft black market and a growing number of expensive action cameras such as those from GoPro, Sony, Drift Innovations, and Contour have fallen victim to this BB.

    This smart BB, called the “BBACam” (or “Bye Bye Action Cam”), was made by an airsoft player who grew tired of seeing airsoft players carrying too many action cameras to airsoft games.

    “My eyes see red whenever I see those airsoft players with their action cameras,” said by the inventor, who declined to be identified when he reached out to us. “Just look at them --- a camera on the helmet, two cameras on their airsoft guns, heck! The only place on their bodies that they have not placed a camera is up their asses.”

    “One is actually fine by me. But three? [expletives deleted] That’s just too much! I think they care more about getting views for their YouTube Channels than about the game itself,” he adds in frustration.

    How does the “BBACam” work? According to the inventor, they have sensors in them that are programmable before they are loaded into the magazine. The BB has to be put on a special cradle that is connected to a mobile phone via Bluetooth for it to be programmed using a mobile app. The user then selects which brand the BB will home in on such as GoPro or Sony. But he recommends just selecting the “Let the BB decide” button and the BB will just home in on any action camera detected on the target player when it gets fired from an airsoft gun.

    The “BBACam” works best as a counter-sniper ammo as it will go after those scope cams airsoft snipers use. It may not hit the player, but the satisfaction for the inventor is seeing one less action camera on the field. He prefers playing in an airsoft game where the players are more focused on the game rather than tallying hits to edit for their next video upload.

    The owner of the action cam that gets damaged or destroyed will just shrug it off, as the “BBACam” looks  like any white 6mm plastic BB and will just treat the hit as a BB that got lucky to hit an action cam. That’s a clean get away for the shooter who is more after action cams than airsoft players.

    So how does one get access to the “BBACam”? It’s not easy as the inventor mainly makes it for his own use. You might get lucky if you bump into him at your airsoft game site, he may just give you some BBs that you may not know are “BBACams” and you will realise that you are using some when one of the players in the opposing team goes back to the safe zone with a damaged cam.

    But sometimes, he gets to sell on the side on some airsoft groups on Facebook. Transactions are done via Whatsapp, payments are done in Bitcoins, and the BBs are delivered with no return address (he does not use his real name or his regular airsoft call sign in transactions). So good luck in finding one.

    If you own an action camera, then better make sure you get good protection it for the next airsoft game. You may never know it’s going to be the next victim.


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    CZ Bren 2 (Photo by CZ)

    Whilst the French Army chose the Heckler & Koch HK416 Assault Rifle as the replacement of the FAMAS rifle, the elite French law enforcement and special forces unit, Groupe d'intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale (GIGN), decided to replace their HK416 rifles with the CZ Bren 2 as the standard issue rifle.

    In a report last week by defence magazine, Shephard Media, Česká zbrojovkac informed them that the GIGN have selected the 7.62 x 39 mm version of the rifle and initially ordered 68 units. The report since they will eventually replace a majority of the HK416 in use by the unit.

    In the same report, the GIGN was said to have selected the rifle as they needed a rifle that has more power, as the terrorist attacks that happened in Paris proved that 9mm are inadequate against terrorists wearing bullet-proof vests at the 5.56mm ammo, used by the HK416, lacks the stopping power. They  needed a bullet with more stopping power and they eventually settled for the CZ Bren 2 after evaluating rifles that use the 7.62 ammos, and they prefer the 7.62 x 39mm over the 7.62 x 51 mm which they find to be too heavy for close quarters combat.

    The CZ Bren 2 is a multi-calibre rifle and can accommodate the 7.62 x 39mm apart from the CZ Bren 807 and is more suited for use by special units. It was proposed in the later stages of the selection and was intensively tested last year and meets the requirements of the GIGN.

    At its product page at the CZ website, the CZ Bren 2 has the following characteristics:

    • The weapon system is based on the tried and tested collection of gases from the bore with the option to regulate the piston mechanism in three stages.
    • The weapon is extremely reliable and durable in all conditions.
    • High accuracy and long service life.
    • Complete modularity in all calibres and barrel lengths.
    • Low weight and compact dimensions for fast and comfortable handling.
    • Controls accessible from both sides.
    • Bolt catch with two bolt release levers.
    • Separate cocking handle with the option to forward assist the breech.
    • Perfect ergonomics with outstanding control during shooting.
    • Materials used are non-flammable or have increased flame resistance, they are impact resistant and have a high resistance to mechanical damage.
    • The basic stripping and reassembly of the weapon for routine maintenance may be performed without the use of any tools, including the breech block carrier.
    • Storage space in the pistol grip with interchangeable backstraps.
    • Folding telescopic stock.

    The CZ Bren 2 that will be issued to the GIGN will be customized to meet their needs such as a flashhider that can be fitted with a suppressor, as well as a modified gas regulation system that would allow for subsonic munitions.

    Now, for airsoft players wanting to have an airsoft version of the CZ Bren 2, it is part of the CZ Bren 805 family and they can select either the CZ Bren 805 A1 or the A2 which are available via authorized resellers of Action Sport Games (ASG). But if you want specifically the CZ Bren 2, then you may just petition ASG to produce it, as there will be some tweaking needed to the 805 body, buttstock and front-end.

     

    Photo Source: Česká zbrojovka


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