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    USMC Enhanced Combat Helmet (ECH) Training

    The U.S. Marines Corps (USMC) announced that they have awarded Gentex Corporation a US$51 million, five-year, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract to supply the each Marine the Enhanced Combat Helmet (ECH). Since 2014, only Marines shipping out on a deployment are issued the ECH and this new contract will mean that Marines will also be able to use the ECH for training.

    In use by the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy, the ECH is a lightweight helmet that offers better ballistic protection of around 35% than the Advanced Combat Helment (ACH) that it will replace using lightweight material technology for enhanced protection from small arms fire and fragmentation. It is comprised of a ballistic shell, suspension pads, a four-point strap. Also in the helmet package are a reversible helmet cover, a bracket for night vision goggles, and attachments for additional hardware and devices.

    “Right now, we have three helmets fielded, but the future vision is a single helmet for all operating forces, which greatly simplifies logistics considerations and increases cost savings,” said Nick Pierce, team lead, Body Armor and Load Bearing Equipment, as posted at the USMC website.

    Gentex is also the same company involved in making the U.S. Army’s next generation helmet, the Integrated Head Protection System, which has already started production and is expected to be fielded for combat in 2020.

    The ECH was tested in January 2017 as part of a selection process with the First Article Testing to begin in September 2017 and support delivery of the first order for 35,424 helmets. Afterwards, fielding is scheduled for the spring of 2018 and will cover the I, II and III Marine Expeditionary Forces.

    “The ECH is the helmet of the future Marine,” said Maj. John Draper, ECH project officer. “It’s important for Marines to train with the same gear they will bring into combat.”


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    BAE Systems Liquid Armour

    Will Kevlar and ceramic ballistic plates become a thing of a past as the go to ballistic protection for troops? If the BAE Systems and Helios Global Technologies will have their way with the “Liquid Armour” and if it works as claimed, then troops can to the battlefield better protected as well as more nimble as compared to existing ballistic protection gear.

    Not exactly a new technology as this concept has been in the development since early this century, Liquid Armour is getting more attention in recent years. With the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between BAE Systems and Helios to develop Liquid Armour for ground troops, we see this as moving faster that it will be seen in the battlefield in the future.

    In a press release by BAE Systems, Anne Healey, BAE Systems’ General Manager  Canada said: “Liquid armour could offer our troops increased protection but be lighter, allowing for greater manoeuvrability.

    I’m pleased we have been able to sign this MoU with Helios as their reputation in ballistic and blast protection means they’re well placed to help deliver this capability to Canada in the future.”

    Kevlar and ballistic plates shatter upon the impact of the projectile to absorb the blow. Liquid Armour, or also known as the “custard-style” vest is designed to harden when hit. When combined with Kevlar, the particles of viscous fluid inside the armour lock together upon the impact of the projectile, thereby forming a solid barrier and spread the impact over a wider area.

    This makes the combination stronger and what is even better is that it is lighter and thinner of around 45% than other armour. This allows for greater manoeuvrability and easy integration with other systems.

    It will be interesting to monitor the progress of Liquid Armour and whether the Canadian Military would be interested in adopting it for their own use. For militaries looking for better and lighter ballistic protection for their soldiers, Liquid Armour offers a big potential.


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    John Wick: Chapter 2

    There is one airsoft company is so invested right now with the John Wick movie series and it is not other than the iconic Japanese company,  Tokyo Marui. With the planned premiere of John Wick: Chapter 2 in Japan on the 7th of July 2017 (Japan is the last country where the movie will have its premiere), there will be a welcome of sorts with the Japanese airsoft/survival game community celebrate John Wick from 26 June to 15 July.

    Now, that’s a real celebration of John Wick by Tokyo Marui. They celebrate the arrival of the movie which strengthens their marketing of their KSG Gas Shotgun, which was promoted heavily using a John Wick theme as the gun was also used in the movie.

    The John Wick Survival Game Festival will be produced by SG-Fashion Snap, the website the focuses on survival game fashion showing the various loadouts and costumes that airsoft players in Japan wear. What SG-Fashion Snap.

    If you are in Japan and would like to celebrate the showing of John Wick: Chapter 2 in the country next month, you can select to join in one of the more events lined-up:

    26 June: John Wick 2 Gun Orchestra Preview & Narikiri JW Suit Survival Game Night

    Limited to 50 guests with the venue being the Asobiba Akihabara game Field, guests are encouraged to wear suits for the survival game, just like how John Wick wears suits to kill his enemies. Celebrities such as actress Fujie Reina, military writer Duke Hiroi, and Instagrammer Liku_tactical will be the special guests for the event.

    26 June – 8 July: Narikiri John Wick Fashion Contest

    The preview will take place during the Survival Game John Wick 2 Gun Orchestra Preview & Norikiri JW Suit Survival Game Night at the Asobiba Akihabara game field with the winners announced on the 8th of July. Prizes to be won are:

    • Grand Prize: Tokyo Marui KSG, SADA suit tailor, Luminox Ref. 3801
    • Second Grand Prize: Tokyo Marui Glock 34, SADA suit tailoring ticket
    • Judge Special Award: SADA Suit tailor

    The judges are Shimamura Yu (Tokyo Marui), Iida Yoshifumi (SGF), Naezasa Osawa (THE SELECTION ), and Aoshima Mai ( Luminox ). This event will also be at the ASOBIBA Akihabara Field.

    6 June to 11 July: JW Tactical Challenge

    This is a fast shooting challenge using a gas blowback pistol. The Grand Prize is a Tokyo Marui John Wick Set comprised of the KSG and Glock 34 with the second Grand Prize being the Tokyo Marui Glock 34.

    7 July: Narikiri JW Continental Hotel: Finale Party

    This will be the “Banquet of a Killer” where the atmosphere is set like the movie. There will be a 1 on 1 survival challenges competing for gold coins which are the currency of the underworld and also used by John Wick.

    The party will also be the awarding ceremony for the winners of Fashion Contest and the Tactical Challenge. Special guests are Shimamura Yu (Tokyo Marui), Sakano Kumi, (Fight! Pitcho Lina) , and Matsushima Eiemi.

    Those are just some of the events being prepared and at there are still about three that remains to be announce. Learn more about this at the event website setup by SG-Fashion-Snap.

    Surely, when John Wick: Chapter 2 arrives next month in Japan, the local airsoft community will be ready and waiting.


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    U.S. Army M249 (U.S. Army Photo)

    The M4 and now the M249 SAW.  It looks like that when the next decade arrives, the U.S. Army would be retiring their main infantry weapons as they are set to ditch the 5.56mm round in favor of the 7.62mm one. If the U.S. Army gets its way, it prefers that its Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle (NGSAR) will also be suppressed and magazine-fed. The M249, while it is more known to be belt fed, can also be magazine fed so that it can the magazines used in M16s/M4s so it can keep it on firing even if it ran out of linked ammunition.

    The Army Times posted the news when it spotted the Special Notice posted by the U.S. Army at the Federal Business Opportunities website last May 31, 2017:

    The Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle (NGSAR) is a single incremental program to meet future force warfighting needs. It is the planned replacement for the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) in Brigade Combat Teams (BCT) and select support units during the next decade. It will combine the firepower and range of a machine gun with the precision and ergonomics of a carbine, yielding capability improvements in accuracy, range, and lethality. The weapon will be lightweight and fire lightweight ammunition with improved lethality. The NGSAR will help to reduce the heavy load that burdens Soldiers and that has a significant negative impact on their mobility, survivability, and firing accuracy. Soldiers will employ the NGSAR against close and extended range targets in all terrains and conditions. The NGSAR will be compatible with and dependent on legacy optics and night vision devices to meet required capabilities. It will also be compatible with the Small Arms Fire Control system currently in development and possess back-up sights. It is anticipated the NGSAR support concept will be consistent with (comparable to) that of the predecessor M249 SAW involving the Army two level field and sustainment maintenance system. The NGSAR will achieve overmatch by killing stationary, and suppressing moving, threats out to 600 meters (T), and suppressing all threats to a range of 1200 meters (O).

    Army Pvt. Michael Rojas fires an M249 light machine gun during in Djibouti, 2 May 2017
    (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas M. Byers/Source: Defense.gov)

    While no caliber is mentioned in the, it is reported that the U.S. Army is mulling caliber changes between the 5.56 and the 7.62mm rounds that can be used for the squad automatic rifle and the replacement for the M4 rifle as the U.S. Army needs a new round that can penetrate new body armor that potential enemies’ armies now wear. It has to be noted that the posting is a Special Notice, which means that,“The Government does not intend to award a contract on the basis of this Special Notice or to otherwise pay for the information solicited except as an allowable cost under other contracts as provided in subsection 31.205-18, bid and proposal costs, of the Federal Acquisition Regulation.” That means it is a heads up for military contractors to start looking into making new weapons designs that can meet the details of the Special Notice. Similar to a Request for Information, this is not yet a Request for Proposal (RFP).

    The U.S. Marines are using the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle (IAR), an HK416-based weapon that has been made to meet the requirements of the Marines as a replacement for the M249. The M249, introduced in 1984, has been in use in major conflicts that the U.S.A. and its allies have been involved in.

     

    Top Photo:  U.S. Army photo by Spc. John Cress Jr.


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    John Wick with Kel-Tec KSG

    Rare is the movie sequel that is equal or better than the general one. The first movie that comes to mind is “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back”, and after that rarely can we remember a sequel that does (yes, Aliens can count in my book). The crazy action flick “John Wick: Chapter 2” the sequel to surprise John Wick, manage to do just that as week, with film critics generally giving it praises, and saying it is a vast improvement on the original one.

    But it looks the underworld of assassins won’t be limited to the big screen soon, as another project that is made for the boob tube to continue the gore fest is in the works. However, this is not a hand off from John Wick: Chapter 2, but rather it is a prequel called the “The Continentals.” And just like in the movie, the assassins will be working mainly from high priced hotels around the world which are their safe havens, and are paid in gold coins by their clientele.

    John Wick: Chapter 2 director, Chad Stahelski, confirms that the TV project is linked to the film as reported by Maxim, ““It’s very tied to the film [in that] it’s about the Continentals all over the world, how certain people come into that world, and what happens in relation to those people, which is cool. I think the world is very vast, and everything I’ve heard from it is very positive.”

    No information yet on the cast for this TV series of assassins who will be killing people left and right depending on how their clients can afford them (and with gold coins, they are pricey indeed). We all hope that this will be done as well as the movie and that means there will be some awesome hand to hand combat and gunfights that can all look forward to just to satisfy our need for another hit of John Wick moves.

    Keanu Reeves is said to have a cameo role as John Wick himself in the series. Since it is still in the early ages, the information is still sparse. We’ll just have to stay tuned for more announcements in the future and for now we can just do some airsoft John Wick short films that we can post on YouTube.


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    Rakka

    Neill Blomkamp’s got something that many airsoft YouTube celebrities can only dream of, a small studio to do some experimental films. With "District 9", "Elysium" and "Chappie" as his acclaimed works on the Big Screen, he’s got money to burn to put up an independent film incubator called Oats Studios. Whatever creative work they produce will be made available online for free viewing or can be purchased for download. It’s the customer’s choice that is.

    In his first short film under Oats Studios, Blomkamp went back to where he made a big break in Hollywood, making an Alien sci-fi short film. Perhaps by fate or coincidence, or she cannot just really get away with, Sigourney Weaver of Aliens series fame is also in this movie. Both Blomkamp and Weaver were supposed to a new Aliens movie, but it looks it was not going to happen as there was no script for Blomkamp to work on according to Ridley Scott.

    “Rakka” which can be streamed online on YouTube and Steam, shows Planet Earth invaded by technologically advanced, aggressive, telepathic and telekinetic reptilian aliens called the Klum in the early 21st Century and started transforming the planet to fit their living conditions but detrimental to human beings as their planet becomes less breathable for them.

    There is of course human resistance, and the story revolves around a militia based in Texas that is comprised of stragglers of the U.S. Army who still have some fight in them. They were able to block the telepathic abilities of the aliens to control humans with the Brain Barriers that. They are also pinning their hope on a person called Amir, who escaped from the aliens that have experimented on him and had gained precognitive abilities due to these experiments, to help them fight the aliens.

    Whilst Rakka is free to watch, according to Wired.com, viewers can also have the option to purchase Rakka on Steam and they can get access to the assets such as the 3D models, sound scoring, and raw footage. Blomkamp is curious if the audience would be able to do a better cut of the film. Oats Studios will rely on donations as well to keep itself afloat.

    Apart from “Rakka” another short film “Cooking With Bill: Damasu 950” is available and coming up will be a short horror flick with Dakota Fanning. But for most airsoft players, “Rakka” will be the more interesting short for them to watch, as they will try to put together the loadout and guns they see in the short film for them to make their own “Rakka” impression.


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    King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun

    A news story on Deutsche Welle will just make our shake our heads in disbelief and may just spark another debate on allowing minors to own airsoft guns. Two German teenagers aged 13 and 14 fired on King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun of Thailand in the Bavarian town of Erding. Reports said that he was unhurt, but this could be treated as a diplomatic incident.

    From a garden, the two teenagers fired at the King when he was cycling through Erding. The same teenagers shot at him again when he was passing through in a car on the same day. The entourage of the King informed the police of the two incident leading to the two teenagers being questioned by the police.

    "I can confirm that on June 10 at around 11 p.m., two young boys aged 13 and 14 fired rubber pellets with a toy that we call an airsoft gun at a group of cyclists,” said Steinhaus-Koch, prosecutor spokesman in Landshut. While the King did not file a complaint himself, the Bavarian state prosecutor is investigating the 14-year old for attempted criminal assault, whilst the 13-year old is below the age of criminal responsibility. The spokesman also added that the King's aides informed them that he did not wish to press charges

    King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun owns a villa in the town of Tutzing on Lake Starnberg southwest of Munich. He spends a lot of time in Bavaria, and photos of him in Munich by the local media are controversial though Thailand’s lese-majeste law does not allow reports on the private life of the Royal family and such reports are blocked in Thailand.

    The only son of the much revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit, he accepted the throne in December 2016 after his father passed away last 13 October 2016. He has not yet been crowned formally as the King of Thailand as the country is undergoing a “Year of Mourning” with his father expected to be cremated on the 26th of October 2017. His crowning is expected to take place sometime after that.

     

    All photos here are credited to Wikipedia.


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    Canadian Sniper

    Canada can boast of having the finest snipers in the world. The deadliest sniper in World War I was Canadian Francis Pegahmagabow with 378 kills and in recent years, of the top 5 longest range sniper kills, three were made by Canadians, with the recent one made last month in operations against ISIS in Iraq.

    That record-setting shot was done at a range of 3,540 meters (3.54 kilometers) by a sniper of the Canadian Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2). Now compare it to the record it broke, done by Corporal of Horse (CoH) Craig Harrison of the United Kingdom in 2009 at a range of 2,475 meters, the new record is over a staggering 1,000 meters farther. The other shots in the top 5 were over 2,000 meters, making this record pretty much hard to beat.

    The identities of the Joint Task Force 2 sniper and his spotter are kept confidential for operational reasons. Just like the other record shots made by Canadian snipers, the rifle used is the McMillan Tac-50 which is designated as the C15 in the Canadian Army and has been the standard Long Range Sniper Weapon (LRSW) since 2000. According to the Globe and Mail, the sniper was perched from a high rise building with the bullet taking 10 seconds to travel to hit the target and that the shot has been confirmed with video and other data.

    The other Canadians that are in top 5, Master Corporal Arron Perry and Corporal Rob Furlong, belong the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. This is the first time that a record long range shot taken by a sniper from the JTF2 has been reported. The JTF2 is a special operations unit of Canada tasked with counter-terrorism, hostage rescue, and direct action. Information on the operations of the JTF2 is classified and the Canadian government rarely comments on these.

    Here is the list of top 5 long range shots recorded:

    1. Canadian JTF2 sniper in Iraq at 3,540 meters with McMillan Tac-50 (2017)
    2. British sniper Craig Harrison, Household Cavalry, in Afghanistan at 2,475 meters with Accuracy International L115A3 (2009)
    3. Canadian sniper Rob Furlong, 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, in Afghanistan at 2,430 meters with McMillan Tac-50 (2002)
    4. Canadian sniper Arron Perry, 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, in Afghanistan at 2,310 meters with McMillan Tac-50 (2002)
    5. U.S. sniper Brian Kemer, 2nd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, in Iraq at 2,300 meters with Barrett M82A1 (2004)

    For those who are looking for an airsoft version of the McMillan Tac-50, there is one made by Antisniper Custom Works based in Russia.


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    Fort De Montgilbert

    The news of tragic accident is just coming out of France and we thank Pierre for dropping us a message sending us a link to Ledauphine.com for us to verify this story. Airsoft-France also posted the story of the incident at their website last week. The death of an airsoft player during a game at Fort De Montgilbert should also serve as a reminder to those organising airsoft events to ensure that the game site is safe for airsoft players to play in.

    Guillaume Lacotte, the 27-year old son of Jean Lacotte, deputy public prosecutor of Poitiers, known with this callsign “Sig 357” and belongs to Airsoft Team IS38 Grenoble, fell four floors or around 7 metres high to his death, during an airsoft game last 13 May 2017. It was a night game, between 8 to 10pm and it is believed to be that he was walking on a wooden plank to cross an elevator shaft when he fell to his death.

    There were 60 participants and organizers game and they were questioned by the investigators from the gendarmes of the Aiguebelle brigade and the research brigade of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne last 16 May. Also part of the investigation is to determine that all the safety conditions have been met before the game was conducted.

    Tributes were paid to Lacotte by his airsoft team, posting on Facebook that "Guillaume Lacotte died during an airsoft operation. We are all very sad and affected. Sig was a generous man, always with a smile, funny, very gifted on the field." He was buried last 19 May 2017 in the village of Saint-Hilaire-de-Villefranche in the Charentes Maritimes Department.

    Airsoft France posts some questions regarding the incident on who is liable for the accident: Is it the game organisers? The management/tenant of the fort? Or the commune? The commune of Montgilbert owns the fort. 

    Fort De Montgilbert
    (Photo source: Maurienne-Turisme.com)

    Sometimes, it takes a terrible accident for us to take safety at venues seriously. Airsoft organisers and airsoft field owners should always take extreme care in ensuring the safety of their venues.  Many airsoft games take place at abandoned places such as ruins, former military bases/forts, abandoned buildings, and derelict factories that the conditions of these places will always pose some danger to airsoft players as they are not maintained and in various states of disrepair. Dangerous area should be prominently marked and declared off limits to airsoft players. Also, players will need to briefed on these areas and be reminded all the time. It is highly recommended that marshals are posted near these areas to redirect players to safer positions.

    Players are advised not take risks in crossing dangerous areas so they can get an advantage during an airsoft game. It may make sense tactically in a real military operation where there is always a high degree of risk, but in airsoft, safety takes precedent over having tactical advantage at all times.

    Our condolences to the family of Lacotte, his friends, and his airsoft team mates.

     

    Top photo: Fort De Montgilbert


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    GTAP

    The guys at Airsoft Plantation have been working overtime to come up with new gameplays and scenarios to try a bring something different to airsoft. And this time they have pulled out probably the first free-roaming airsoft game play based on the popular video game Grand Theft Auto.

    The players are divided into 4 teams: the Street Gangs, the Cartel, the Mafia and the Police. Each team has a strategic starting point and are free to roam around the entire game area. Each player is given $500 AP money and 5 cards. Money signifies wealth and buying power while the cards signify street credibility and allows players to buy stuff such as properties and cars.

    The game map is comprised of different areas where players can freely roam. Apart from the 4 teams starting points, the is a Casino where players can play the roulette and earn extra money; an Estates Agent where players or teams can buy properties which then can be used as re-gen points; a Shop where players can buy or trade; a Car Dealership where they can buy or steal a car; a Bank to rob; and a Police Station where they can get locked up.

    This was quite a complicated game so John took time to explain all the rules. As mentioned previously, the players can roam freely. If a player goes into another team’s area, they can engage in a shootout. Apart from the Police team, the other teams can engage other teams or players anywhere in the game area. If a player is shot, the player must drop $100 and a card on the ground for other players to collect. The Police can only engage if they are fired upon or if they think the player/team has committed a crime. They can also arrest players if they get near enough to tap a player on the shoulder. Arrested players will be taken to the police station and will lose all their cards and money to the police.

    Players can also rob any building that is open for business. Players can buy a property from the estate agent, and buy a car from the dealership.

    When a crime is committed, an alarm is activated and the police are told where the crime is, the police will respond to the alarm and try and stop and arrest or shoot the team who has committed the crime. The entire team in which the player who committed the crime will then be put on the police hit list until another crime is committed.

    At the end of the game, teams and players will earn points depending on the amount of money, cards and completed objectives.

    It was a well-thought out game scenario and was played for 2 full days over the weekend. There was a lot of negotiating between teams. Coalitions were formed. Tactics on how to outwit the police and everything that they can think of to get away with the most money and cards.

    At the end of the weekender, the individual winners were announced. For the individual winners: Tosun Gulakdeniz aka Mr. T won first place, Billy Steven came close on second and David Smolten cam third. The Police team won the team category.

    Well done to the Airsoft Plantation team for another successful weekender and for continuously challenging themselves to come up with new and better gameplays for players to enjoy.

    I would like to credit Mr. Nick Skamballis for taking the photos and sharing them with us despite not being 100% well during the day.

    More photos of the GTAP Weekender at the Popular Airsoft Facebook Page.


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    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered

    For those who waited for the release of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered on its own, the day has come. Many of those who were not exactly enamored in getting Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare but wanted to play the Remastered version of one of the best selling COD titles and decided to wait for it to be unbundled can now finally get the standalone version.

    10 years since it was first released, Modern Warfare captured the interests of millions of gamers, airsoft players included. The Modern Warfare will be initially released for the Sony Playstation 4 console and there are no release dates yet for the Xbox One and Windows PC.

    The single player campaign which I have played many times over will be included in the release as well as the 16 maps for the multiplayer mode. A Variety Map Pack which will contain a 4 multiplayer maps as well a 10 rare supply drops will be made available separately for US$15:

    The Variety Map Pack for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered includes four remastered multiplayer maps from the original game, plus 10 Rare Supply Drops.

    Re-experience some of the most epic maps in Modern Warfare history, including Creek, a wide-open village ravaged by combat where concealment is the difference between life and death; Broadcast, an enemy communications building with confined corridors and wide-open parking lots; Chinatown, a foggy downtown district, lit by a full moon and the neon glow of the city; and Killhouse, a tiny warehouse for maximum close-quarters chaos.

    To celebrate the release of the Modern Warfare Remastered Standalone release, a seasonal event called Call of Duty “Days of Summer” will take place. Players can compete in this five-week event and this will included new gear, a summer-theme map for the Remastered, give-aways, and XP events.

    Playing the Remastered version will of course need more in terms of system requirements as compared to the original as it will have have to take opportunities of advances in digital graphic technology  that happened in the past 10 years.

    The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered Standalone is priced at US$40.00.


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    Han Solo Star Wars

    Airsoft players who are fans of Han Solo of Star Wars may just want to hold to their DL-44 airsoft blasters tight and hope that LucasFilm will be able to deliver a nicely produced Han Solo movie that can rival or exceed Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.  Both Rogue One and the Han Solo movie are some of the standalone Star Wars movies that Disney and LucasFilm have been planning to expand the Star Wars universe and milk tthe most out of one of the most successful movie franchises ever.

    The latest news coming out of LucasFilm was that directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were moving slowly and not offering much camera footage for editing that they were fired by LucasFilm president Kathleen Kennedy. Vanity Fair got the juicier details that led to their firing from directing the movie.

    To replace the two directors, LucasFilm has hired veteran director Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Splash, Cocoon, Apollo 13, DaVinci Code) who has until the first week of September to finish the filming in London. The original schedule to finish the shooting was to be next month, but with these developments, the timetable had to be changed and Howard has to move faster as there is a release date that they are going to strictly follow.

    Photo: Ron Howard (Source: Wikipedia)

    But if there is one thing that Ron Howard should be familiar with is that he has worked with Harrison Ford and George Lucas in American Graffiti, one of the most profitable films of all time and in released in 1973. Though Harrison Ford will not in this movie and George Lucas has already sold LucasFilm to Disney.

    Photo: The cast of the Han Solo movie (LucasFilm/Disney)

    The problem with the Han Solo movie production is not only about with the directors. The LucasFilm bosses are not also happy with the performance of Alden Ehrenreich, who plays as the young Han in the movie. They had to call in an acting coach, which is rather unusual given that the production has already started filming. This might mean there will be a lot of reshoots to be done, just like what they did with Rogue One before it got released to worldwide acclaim.

    Even with these problems besetting the production, the yet to be titled Han Solo Film is set to be released on May 25, 2018. For the meantime, airsoft fans of Han Solo can enjoy playing with the DL-44 airsoft pistol available in the market these days.


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    Glock 23 MHS

    With the protest of Glock on Sig Sauer’s winning the contract for the U.S. Army’s Modular Handgun System (MHS) now rejected by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the company finally unveiled photos of their entries for the replacement of the M9 9mm pistol as the standard sidearm for the U.S. Army.

    The company submitted as its entries the Glock 19 MHS 9mm and the Glock 23 MHS .40cal pistols to the MHD bidding three weeks after getting the official rejection from the GAO. 

    Both of these pistols sport a lanyard ring, black ambidextrous controls, manual thumb safety, extended magazines, lack of finger grooves, and also has a flat dark earth colour just like the winning SIG 320 pistol. The photos do not show the threads for a suppressor which is also a requirement for the MHS.

    Sig Sauer won the MHS contract to replace the Beretta M9 pistol by submitting the SIG P320 pistol as its entry. The contract is over a 10-year period which should make the company busy for a decade just supplying the U.S. Army. This win was protested by Glock, releasing a statement after its protest was rejected by the GAO:

    “By not completing the testing on both proposals on a competitive basis, the Army never determined which pistol would better meet the warfighter’s needs,” said GLOCK, Inc. Vice President Josh Dorsey.  We are confident had the Army completed the testing, the GLOCK 19 would have outperformed the Sig P320, as it had in recent testing conducted by a leading federal law enforcement agency which resulted in GLOCK, Inc. being awarded that contract. GLOCK pistols have been battle proven by select units of the U.S. military forces for the past ten years. GLOCK, Inc. stands with the men and women serving in the Armed Forces and will continue to give them its full support. 

    The GAO released a 17-page report which includes a table showing a comparison of both entries when they were evaluated by the Army “under the section M” factors:

    Whilst the table may show a close in terms of meeting the technical requirements, what is significant in the GAO document is that Sig Sauer underbid Glock by a US$100 million. Common sense dictates that the contract goes to the company that provides a better price even especially if entries are almost evenly matched. In this case, a better price from Sig clinched the contract.

    Still, Glock can just offer these MHS entries to the civilian markets and law enforcement agencies. The company has been making wins especially in police contracts with the latest being the Philippine National Police picking the Glock 17 Gen 4 as their standard service pistol and winning this contract at Sig Sauer’s expense.


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    .50 Desert Eagle Pistol (Wikipedia)

    The introduction of YouTube in 2005 it ushered in an unprecedented boom in video making never seen in history. Perhaps tapping in the tendency for humans to be voyeuristic, each video upload gets its share of eyeballs ranging from the tens to billions. The most viewed video on YouTube so far is still Gangnam Style, which already has almost 2.9 billion views.

    Many YouTube Channels can only dream of such number of views. But since it is just so easy to put up one’s own YouTube Channel as all it takes is an internet connection, a YouTube account, and a smartphone with a video camera that practically almost every internet user will be competing with each other, sometimes competing with pets that have their owns channel that one has to do something really attention grabbing to get those much needed views.

    If one wants to monetize a YouTube video, then one really has to do more than just taking videos of brushing teeth in the morning as a good number of YouTubers are earning big bucks online with their viral videos. One name comes to mine --- the controversial PewDiePie and in airsoft, there is Novritsch who has achieved 2 million subscribers which is a first for an airsoft YouTube Channel.

    But sometimes, the obsession in getting more famous on YouTube views can just go too far, or perhaps plain reckless and stupid, that it can lead to fatal results. There have been incidents on teens getting injured or killed for doing dangerous YouTube stunts with the latest being a pregnant teen who accidentally shoots her boyfriend dead while doing a YouTube video.

    In a report on Buzzfeed, 19-year old Monalisa Perez was arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter for killing her boyfriend, 22-year old Pedro Ruiz while filming a stunt for her YouTube channel last Monday. She is presently released on a US$7,000 jail bond with conditions that she does not possess any firearm and will have to wear a GPS monitor.

    Monalisa Perez and Pedro Ruiz (YouTube)

    Perez called up 911 to inform them that she accidentally shot her boyfriend on the chest when they were making a YouTube video at their home in Minnesota. Responders found Ruiz with a gunshot wound and tried to save him. Ruiz died at the scene.

    Perez told the police that that Ruiz told her to shoot a book he was holding for their YouTube video, believing that the book will stop the bullet. Before the incident happened, she tweeted that they were about to conduct a dangerous video, telling her Twitter followers that it was her boyfriend’s idea, not hers.

    Her YouTube channel, which she started last March 2017, shows videos on challenges, stunts and pranks. Also seen in the channel is their three-year-old daughter. As for the fatal stunt, she mentioned that Ruiz have been trying to convince her for “a while” to shoot the book for her YouTube video showing her another book that a bullet was not able to penetrate. With a .50 Desert Eagle pistol, which is a rather powerful handgun, she shot Ruiz while he was holding a book a foot away. Authorities found the pistol lying on the grass outside the house and took it away together with the cameras used for filming for evidence.

    In a report at Valley News Live, Ruiz’s aunt tried to convince him not to do the gun stunt, but he told her that they want to get more YouTube views in order to get more famous.

    The last video on Perez’s channel was Ruiz doing stunts at a fair. Perez is 25 weeks pregnant with their second child.

    If convicted of second-degree manslaughter, Perez faces 10 years in prison, a US$20,000 fine, or both.

     

    Top photo: IWI .50 Desert Eagle (Wikipedia)


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    New Jersey State House

    The game of whack-a-mole continues for the U.S. airsoft communities as they try to prevent various attempts at legislation that will ban their hobby/sport or just make it frustrating for them to own an airsoft gun. The latest is the State of New Jersey in which the Assembly has just passed Assembly Bill A1119 on its third reading and goes to the State Senate for them to review to pass, reject, or amend.

    For now State Senate has sent the bill to the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee to review. For those familiar with state legislatures or even the U.S. Congress, if a bill passes in both houses (lower and upper), the bill will just need the approval or veto of the Governor. This means that the A1119 is halfway through the legislative process and the local airsoft community will need to act more urgently to prevent its passage.

    The Everyday Operator has put up a video explaining the bill, called “AN ACT concerning the sale of certain imitation firearms and 2 supplementing Title 56 of the Revised Statutes”, and what are its implications to airsoft in New Jersey State. Here is what he says in a nutshell:

    NJ Assembly Bill 1119 (also known as A1119) is a bill that is currently going through the New Jersey state government and will severely impact airsoft for our state.  Other states, such as California and New York, have already passed similar bills into law.  However, the airsoft industry in California and New York has not been greatly affected by those laws, because those laws only require brightly colored electrical tape to be on several parts of a gun at the time of the sale.  After the sale, they can be legally removed, just like an orange tip.  The main difference is that this NJ bill will require guns to be painted and require all barrels to have at least a one-inch thick plug, preventing any gun from expelling any projectile.  A similar bill was created in Massachusetts, but that failed to pass.  If A1119 is passed here, it will be detrimental to the airsoft community in New Jersey.  The New Jersey airsoft community must stop this bill from passing.  Keep checking this page for updates and more information as it becomes available.

    You can download the document that he used to explain the bill here and it contains information on how airsofters can act by contacting their local representatives and state senators to voice out their opposition or ask for an audience to explain why the airsoft should not be affected.

    We’ll keep you posted on the progress of this bill and the efforts of the New Jersey airsoft community to prevent this from passing.


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    Russian Next Gen Combat Suit (Russia Today)

    U.S.A, watch out! The Russians are preparing their answer to the U.S. Army’s “Iron Man” Suit or TALOS (Tactical Light Operator Suit) as they unveil the prototype of their next generation combat suit during the opening of Russia’s largest high-tech prototyping center located at the National University of Science and Technology (MISIS) in Moscow Thursday last week according to Russia Today.

    Being developed by the Central Research Institute for Precision Machine Building, the Russian efforts also mirror the direction that the U.S.A. and other advanced militaries are taking --- a combat suit that uses exoskeleton and a helmet that gives head to neck protection. Obviously, the exoskeleton is meant to reinforce load carrying and stamina as it allows soldiers to carry more loads over longer distances without further stress to their bodies.

    The prototype on display looks more like of a mock-up rather than a working one. Whilst there is mention of cutting-edge armour, there is not much information that can be gleamed from the display. The body armour looks to be more streamlined and lightweight, but no mention of the material that will be used for ballistic protection.

    The helmet shows that it will have its up heads-up-display (HUD) which will project information into the visor such as battlefield information which can be like the plans of the U.S. in which information can be shared to other units and HQ. There is no mention if it will be using augmented reality to further supplement information on the field. There is a light on the side of the helmet that can be used for map reading and inspecting weaponry in low light conditions. An NVG mount plate is seen on the front of the helmet. Just like the Revision Military Battkskin, this has mandible protection but looks like it is not a modular helmet concept in which the helmet can be configured according to mission requirements which the Batlksin does.

    Another thing on the display is the rifle which does not resemble any Kalashnikov-type design and it looks to be a more compact rifle. It sports two barrels which the concept is said that is able to fire different size bullets. Indeed, it is a curious thing though we doubt if it will be a weapon that will be developed since Russia is testing the AK-12 that is proposed to be the new standard service rifle for Russian Army.

    But one thing for sure, this and other developments in the Russian military show the slowdown in the efforts to modernize the Russian defence forces, regardless of the sanctions imposed by the West for its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and support for rebels occupying eastern portions of Ukraine in 2014.


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    Terminator 2: Judgment Day

    I remember watching Terminator 2: Judgment Day (T2) when it opened at cinemas worldwide in 1991. It was a cinematic masterpiece on its own right with the first use of human animated motion in CGI (computer generated imagery) winning it the Academy Award in visual effects. It was groundbreaking and in the packed theatre, we were treated to one of the best sequels for a movie franchise, and the highest grossing movie of that year and eventually the highest grossing movie in the Terminator franchise.

    It is in the top 10 of my list of the best sci-fi movies of all time and now it is going to be back in theatres again next month digitally remastered in 3D to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the movie. Announced last year on the 26th of August 2016, which is the date when the Skynet became self-aware in the movie franchise, T2 is something that I will look forward to come next month.

    Watching the 2D trailer below, the remastered version shows that T2 is one of the timeless movies that you can watch again and again over the years and will not look dated:

    Well, the story for T2 is that it takes place ten years after the original Terminator in which Sarah Connor and her 10 year-old son, John Connor, are on the run being pursued by the T-1000 that was sent from the future to prevent Jon from being the leader of the resistance. The T-1000 is liquid metal shapeshifting Terminator that can be put itself back together quickly and can take on the form of other humans. Tasked to protect the Connors is the older Terminator, first seen in the first Terminator film, which is of course governator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    The film was the most expensive production during its time, with a budget of US$102 million but earning over US$500 million worldwide won awards, and then was followed by three more Terminator movies.

    Now, for the serious airsofter, it’s time to list the weapons used in the movie and the good thing is that, most if not all, of the guns used have airsoft versions and are can be ordered from any reputable airsoft seller around the world.

    For me, it’s time to get back to the theatre come August 2017 and hoping that T2 3D will awe me just like it did in 1991.


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    bHaptic TactSuit (Engadget)

    The march for more realism in Virtual Reality continues. This growing and exciting field offers in which users are given a 360-degree immersive experience provide developers another area to ensure that this experience goes to another level via haptic feedback and a growing number of companies are rushing to put out devices that can give feedback points.

    Popular Airsoft did cover one before, Hardlight VR, produced by NullsoftSpace VR Inc., has 16 haptic feedback points that focus on the upper parts of the body, mainly the shoulders, chest, abdomen, arms, and upper back. If playing a VR game, a player can feel a gunshot, stab, punch, or a shockwave in these areas.

    But now, here comes another company that aims to put the VR suit offerings of other companies to shame. Korean company, bHaptics, put out their TactSuit that offers 87 haptic feedback points. According to Engadget, the TacSuit, which was on display during HTC Vive X demo day in Shanghai, it is a wireless kit composed of a mask, vest, and sleeves. Now as for the feedback points that are powered by rotating mass actuators, 7 are found in the mask, 20 on each sleeve, 20 on the back of the vest, and 20 on front. This placement of feedback points means that the user will relatively have 360-degree haptic feedback on the upper part of the body up to the head.

    VR game developers that want to exploit this number of feedback points can program their games to give a sensation that players probably would not have felt before in other video games such as being slashed by a sword, or multiple gunshot hits. With the mask that sensation is also brought to face. I guess you have to be prepared to be tortured by these sensations especially when playing VR games that depict violence.

    Honestly, I am excited by what the TactSuit offers though the company will be offering this for arcade games rather than individual players for now, even if the pricing they are looking into is less than US$550 per TactSuit, which is affordable compared to other offerings in the market based on price to sensor ratio.

    Well, I suppose for now it arcade gaming can allow the company to fine tune the product as it allows them to get a good number of players in one setting, such as the experience of these players who played Zombie Attack at the Lotte World Amusement Park in Seoul, South Korea:

    The only thing that the TacSuit will need to add is more feedback points for the lower part of the body, in particular the legs to make a fully haptic bodysuit. I can just imagine how this can be used for tactical training for military and law enforcement training as these organisations are looking into VR to supplement training of their members.

    I just hope that this can be released for use at home soon enough. If I can’t play airsoft outside due to bad weather conditions, at least I get to play something that will also give me the sensation of being hit, no marshals necessary.

     

    Photo Credits: Endgadget


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    Jackie Chan "The Foreigner"

    The older Jackie Chan gets, the more serious his movie roles get. Known more for his comedic action style in his movies, his latest movie, “The Foreigner”, marks a different Jackie Chan from that actor that we have been familiar with. Still, we get to see his kickass martial arts moves even at the age of 63.

    “The Foreigner” is based on the 1992 Novel The Chinaman by Stephen Leather. The movie is directed by “Casino Royale” director Martin Campbell is produced and Chan’s co-stars are Pierce Brosnan, Charlie Murphy, Liu Tao, Orla Brady, and Katie Leung. The story is about a quiet businessman who runs a restaurant in London who goes after those behind a politically motivated bombing that killed his daughter.

    Chan, whose name is not exactly Chinese in the video, as he is referred to as Ngoc Minh Quan, which is a a Vietnamese name, approaches Brosnan who plays Liam Hennessy,  a politician he believes can lead him to the bombers. He knows that Hennessy has a shady past and has connections to the IRA but he got turned down. He then trails him to further develop his leads as he planned to avenge his daughter.

    Almost like “Taken”, Quan has a hidden past and he has specialist skills in close quarters combat, bomb making, and marksmanship. The close quarters combat and death defying stunts are all hallmarks of Chan himself albeit with the additional skills that are required for his role.

    There is a bit of controversy regarding the Chan playing the role of a Vietnamese in the movie given the history between the two countries and the recent tension in the South China Sea, accusing the producers of doing something akin to whitewashing. However, it has been explained the he is really Chinese in the role and that there are mysteries and twists behind Quan’s real identity and that he took the name to hide his past and become a quite businessman.

    “The Foreigner” is set to be released on the 13th of October 2017.


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    Giaco Whatever 4000 PSI BB Gun VS Coca Cola Experiment

    In a previous news post, we saw the makings of what Giaco Whatever, its maker, says to be the “Fastest Airsoft Gun” in which he put out a full burst of 6mm BBs with his custom made airsoft gun at 130psi being an HPA powered contraption. The initial test was already impressive but he says it was not even near its full capacity. For someone who can fire Nerf Darts to break the sound barrier, it will be hard to satisfy his curiosity in knowing how fast projectiles can go with this contraption.

    In what is supposed to be an HPA-powered airsoft turret that is radio controlled, Giaco Whatever decided to really push to the limits what his creation can do.  He replaced the plastic BBs to ball bearings, increased the pressure to 4,000PSI and of course, took precautions to protect himself as this experiment is scary to conduct.

    The result? Well, utter destruction of the targets that were put in front of it, the coke cans were shredded (poor man’s chrono, anyone?) and the ball bearings just went through the row of wine glasses as if they were not there. Another unintended result is that the ball bearings even went through the protective barriers that he put into place to prevent the ball bearings from scattering all over the room. The ball bearings event reached the wall at the end of the room doing damage to it.

    It’s mesmerizing to watch the demo in slow motion as the insane BB gun spewed out the ball bearings and hitting the targets. While it looks fun to watch and even more fun if you try to build one yourself, we would rather caution you not to do it yourself as it is a dangerous experiment to do on your own. It is still best to leave this to the pros. Also, check your local laws if doing something like this at home is illegal.

    Now we wait for Giaco Whatever go back to his original project of turning this to be the fastest shooting radio-controlled airsoft turret/sentry gun.

    I would not like to be at the receiving end of it if ever it gets deployed at an airsoft game.


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