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    R2Gear MK3

    Going out to the outdoors or airsoft events, one thing that I worry about is if my smartphone is rugged enough to handle bumps and falls. So far, it does, but I would prefer it tucked inside my pack or pockets when out there in the boondocks. But with that inside, how can I quickly communicate to my team or to the outside world?

    There might be a solution to that as a group of Korean developers are busy working to ensure that their R2Gear MK3 5-in-1 Smart Outdoor Gadget gets delivered to their Kickstarter backers in early 2018.

    As explained on the Kickstarter Page, the device works this way:

    “Meet MK3, a '5-in-1 Outdoor Smart Gadget' to make your outdoor life more convenient. It includes walkie-talkie via smartphone Bluetooth paring, Emergency button, Bluetooth speaker, LED light, and a Stylus pen. Whether you’re climbing, hiking, fishing, or camping, the MK3 will help you enjoy your all the outdoor activities and keep your smartphone safe.”

    The features are good enough for me to consider one to bring to the field as I can just have this out and on my hand or backpack strap whilst it remains connected to my smartphone which is safely protected inside my daypack or pouch. No need to whip it out to receive or make a call. The other four functions are bonuses, though I like the Emergency button feature as a nice touch to make this an essential device when going outdoors.

    In an emergency, just use the emergency button on the MK3 and it will transmit GPS coordinates and emergency messages to selected numbers on your smartphone via the Zello app that you can use with the device. I remember this feature as seen in the first generation Samsung smartwatch in which there was an app called “SOS” in which you can just press that app button and send emergency SMS to select numbers on your Samsung smartphone.

    The stylus can be useful when wearing gloves, so you do not have to remove your gloves when using the touchscreen on your smartphone, especially in cold conditions. The LED light and Bluetooth speaker are alright though I would have preferred a higher capacity rechargeable battery that can also act as a powerbank to charge my smartphone when it runs out of juice.

    One problem with MK3 is that it still relies of cellular sites for the communications part. Unlike the Beartooth that uses radio frequencies for communications with the smartphone, making it not reliant on cell sites, the MK3 can become useless when there is no cellular coverage.  This means you might need a spare radio in case there is no signal for your smartphone.

    The MK3 has been fully funded on Kickstarter and they probably are now going to through prototypes that they can use for certification, then to production, and eventually initial deliveries by March 2018. If you missed backing it on Kickstarter, you can still pre-order as they created an Indiegogo page to accommodate those who want to be in the first batch.

    If you want one and for your team mates, you can order the “Friends and Family Pack Standard” which for US$329, you get 4 MK3s. But if you have a larger team, then get the Deca Pack for US$689 and get 10 MK3s. There are other packages up to the Super Pack which comes with 50 MK3s which is probably suitable for events organizers.

    Now you have to decide, the MK3 or the Beartooth to replace your airsoft team’s radio comms.


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    Megabots MK3 Eagle Prime

    We’re getting closer to what will be the first giant robot duel in human (errr… robot) history. Two years in the making, we believe that the fight between the robots Megabots and Suidobashi Heavy Industries will finally take place at an undisclosed location. It is supposed to happen this month, but it has been pushed back a bit, with the fight seen to be happening in September.

    In preparation for this fight, the Megabots created a more able fighting robot in the form of the MK3 “Eagle Prime”, giving it a more patriotic name to it as it will carry the hopes of American robot fans. In  a video released early this week, they test the Eagle Prime which now weighs 12 tons, is 16 feet tall, seats two (pilot and gunner), is powered by a 430 horsepower V8 LS3 engine, and costs them a cool $2.5M.

    The right arm of the Eagle Prime is armed with a claw for better grappling whilst the left arm has a double barrel paintball cannon.  It moves faster and go around or through obstacles faster and the cockpit show better controls though I have to say, I’m not really impressed with it going through the stacked oil drums perhaps to protect its newly painted exterior.

    Watch the video here to see for yourself:

    Now, we do not have any updates on the Kuratas robot that Suidobashi Heavy Industries is making. The last time we saw the Kuratas, it looked like it can go around beat the Megabots MKI as it is faster and taller. But with the MK3 Eagle Prime, we do not know yet how the Japanese might want their build a new version of the Kuratas to counter it. Perhaps they have been going over the new video to see its weak spots and exploit these. The original Kuratas was armed with an airsoft minigun, but that won’t be effective against a hulking 16-foot steel robot so they better arm it with something better for a melee fight.

    The Japanese are leaders in robotics, and their popular culture is steeped in Mecha or giant fighting robots, so their national pride is at stake also in this fight. They better make sure they have anew Kuratas that can give the MK3 Eagle Prime a run for its money.

    The venue remains undisclosed and there are no ringside tickets to it. This is due to concerns that the public might not be protected if they see the fight up close as there might be flying metal debris all over. We do not know how the pilots of the robots will be protected too. But don’t worry, there are plans to livestream the fight on YouTube and on Facebook.

    We are looking forward to day when the announcer says, “Let’s get ready to ruuummmmbbbbllleeee!!!” and make robot history.

     

    All photos from Megabots.


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    Trailblazer Firearms Lifecard

    It’s not always everyday that we get to see an unusual gun. That unusual gun may or may not be made for airsoft, but it is something that proves that if “there is a will, there is a way” when making products. It is only the human imagination that will limit out way to develop things in life, and usually, minds can provided limitless idea, whether useful or not.

    For those looking a really concealable fiream that looks harmless to others until it’s too late, here is a new design from Trailblazer Firearms. The “Lifecard” is a .22 LR pistol that looks like a credit card when not in use. Such a compact pistol will mean it is a single shot weapon made of fully-machined aluminum billet with hard-coat black anodized finish.

    The president of Trailblaze Firearms, former US Marine Aaron Voigt, says that there is more innovative firearms in the pipeline and the Lifecard is just one of the products that is going to come out of the company.

    Top operate the Lifecard, the owner slides the latch to unfold the pistol then places the bolt in the half-cocked position by pulling it slightly rearward until the bolt is flush with the pistol frame. He/she can then slide the barrel release catch which will then allow for the barrel to be lifted. The ammo can then be chambered and to close, hold the barrel release catch rearward until the barrel is placed backed and locked by pushing the barrel release catch forward.

    When firing the pistol, there is a v-groove to be aligned for target acquisition. To cock and fire the pistol, the shooter firmly grasps the recessed sides of the bolt and draws it fully rearward until it catches. When ready to fire at the target, shooter just pulls the trigger rearward.

    To unload, just repeat the loading procedure and pull the cartridge out by holding the rim.

    Spare ammo can be carried as there is a compartment built into the handle. The owner can store up to 4 cartridges that are nested alternately.

    In a gunfight, the Lifecard will not be able to keep up with the regular firearms. But as a quick self-defense weapon that will make a potential attacker think twice catch him/her off guard with its unique profle, it can be useful. For ladies that need a compact weapon that they can put into their purposes and still looking harmless, then this one can fit the bill. Customers will have to check their local laws regarding ownership of this type of a firearm and whether they allow for concealed weapons.

    The Lifecard will begin shipping by mid-August with a price tag of US$399.00.


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    US Palm AK30 Magazine

    Another company familiar to airsoft players has to close doors after 8 years business. US Palm announced on Facebook that they are shutting down and has already made its website inaccessible. Checking their website, the visitor will get an Error 403, which means access to the company website is forbidden.

    US Palm is in airsoft by licensing its products to PTS Syndicate, especially its polymer AK magazine, the AK30. Many gunsmiths that  do customization of AK AEGs always grab a PTS US Palm AK30 magazine as a final touch to their custom airsoft AKs.

    Apart from polymer AK magazines, US Palm also produces other gear such as grips, and body armour. Available to airsoft players via PTS Syndicate apart from the AK30 airsoft magazine are the AK Battlegrips for both AEGs and Gas Blowbacks.

    We do not know if PTS Syndicate will continue US Palm products for the airsoft market with the news and who also gets to own any intellectual property of the company as part of the liquidation process.

    Below is the full statement as posted on their Facebook Page:

    US PALM was a great experience, and we hope we contributed as much as we received. But in the end, a downsizing economy, industry instability, and internal factors all lined up and dealt us the final coup de gras.

    Moving forward we're happy to say that some of our designs will be finding new homes, while others will be lost in the process.

    On that note, please consider liking and following our industry associates who will be continuing on in our spirit of providing outstanding innovative gear, and offering a select handful of our more enduring designs under their label:

    Armor Products, vests and packs: Armor Express
    Bags, pouches, Cargo Cuffs, etc. Wilderness Tactical Products
    K9 items: K-9EDGE

    I can't sum up my feelings more succinctly on deciding to finally pull the pin, better than to quote Vince Lombardi:

    "Gentlemen, we are going to relentlessly chase perfection, knowing full well we will not catch it, because nothing is perfect. But we are going to relentlessly chase it, because in the process we will catch excellence. I am not remotely interested in just being good."

    Have a good 'un, and Happy Trails.

    Robert Anderson
    Founder


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    Devtac Ronin Level IIIA Ballistic Mask

    Ever since Wesley Shibata of Devtac contacted Popular Airsoft in 2012 about his creation, the Devtac Ronin Kevlar Mask that he initially designed for airsoft use, his product has gone a long way from its original airsoft use to an actual tactical product that has ballistic protection properties.

    Wesley has been on that since the beginning when he explained to us he has a product roadmap, starting with an ultralight fibre mesh but with plans to incorporate Kevlar. Though at that time, whilst it is ready to take up to 10 layers of Kevlar, he did not claim it can provide ballistic protection yet but it was the plan in the future. We do like his candor but his vision to take his product to achieve Level IIIA which is the highest level in soft body armour was done according to plan. Another level that he may achieve soon is the trust that operators of special forces may give to it as they are now testing it.

    With the SAS now testing it, the Devtac Ronin Mask may just be an essential equipment by  Tier 1 operators if the troops from one of the world’s most elite special units will accept it and use it future deployments. According to the Daily Mail, in a story shared by Wesley on the Devtac Japan Facebook page, which is also covered by other UK newspapers and tabloids, the SAS are testing a “Star Wars” helmet to fight terror.  It is a bit lazy for the reporters to call it a “Star Wars” helmet as it is actually based on the Army of Two mask design that many airsofters and video gamers are familiar with.

    When it achieved a Level IIIA in ballistic protection, it means the Devtac Ronin Mask can stop .44 Magnum and AK-47 rounds. What we know about the Devtac Ronin Mask is that it also has anti-fog features, but in the news reports on the version of the mask being tested by the SAS, it has GPS tracking so that the operator can locate troop positions, air conditioning to protect against heat and gases, heat seeking technology (thermal viewer?) and dig this --- a “friend or foe” feature to pick up signals from other wearers of the mask. We do not know which company Devtac joined forces with for the additional features as before they teamed up with Armour Wear to enhance its ballistic protection capabilities. Additional protection it provides is from shrapnel, blasts, and fire.

    Apart from the SAS, U.S. special operations units such as the Delta Force and Navy SEALs have used the helmet. But so far, we have not heard if these are already in the official kit list of these operators or perhaps used for certain missions.

    We wonder if there is still a Devtac mask being made for airsoft though there is a replica that was made under the “Wosport” brand. But we can understand if the company is busy working on their mask that is designed to protect the troops and pushing the technology even further.


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    Call Of Duty World League Championship 2017

    For the Call of Duty fans among airsoft players out there, it’s the Call of Duty World League (CWL) Championship 2017 this week in Orlando, Florida. This is the second season of the CWL with 32 teams battling for supremacy in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare with US$1.5 million at stake.

    The CWL kicked off in December 2016 but the finale will take place from the 9th to the 13th of August at the Amway Center. The season has the biggest prize pool total of US$4 million to be given.

    “It’s been a great year for the Call of Duty World League with more players competing than ever before across the pro and amateur circuits,” said Rob Kostich, executive vice president and general manager, Call of Duty in the company’s press release. “And through our partnership with MLG, we’ve also continued to raise the bar in event broadcast production delivering hundreds of hours of content for viewing on MLG.tv. From the millions of fans who play and watch worldwide, it all comes down to this, an epic week featuring the top 32 teams competing at the highest level.”

    The event will see the qualifying teams from around the world who want to see themselves crowned supreme with their teammates. If you have been following the event, here are the groupings to for you to determine which team will have an easy path to the finals in the weekend or will have the fight of its life in a group of death (group in which some of the best teams are in).

    This finals week of CWL will feature Team Plyce the winner of CWL Global Pro League Stage 1 Playoffs; Team Luminosity, winner of the CWL Anaheim Open; and Team OpTic Gaming, winner of the CWL Global Pro League Stage 2 Playoffs.

    If you plan on watching this live at the AMWAY Center especially for the weekend, you can purchase tickets for US$53.99 for a General Admission Pass or US$160.99 for VIP Pass where you can get VIP floor seating for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, access to the VIP Lounge, and an exclusive VIP hoodie.

    You can also watch the event online via streaming on MLG TV.


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    ARSOF Soldier with the FN SCAR-H

    It’s really getting serious, the search for the replacement of the M4 rifle by the U.S. Army. Last June, they put out an RFI for a 7.62mm Interim Combat Rifle. The RFI was not a commercial solicitation by the U.S. Army, but the RFI is mainly for planning purposes and the submissions for the RFI will serve as the basis for a more commercial bidding in the future.

    The U.S. Army has been looking for a replacement of the M4, and are keen on getting a 7.62mm standard issue rifle as recent advances in body armor amongst potential enemies make the 5.56mm ammo used by the M4 ineffective.

    Now fast forward to August, they have put out a solicitation for a 7.62mm Interim Combat Rifle and from the submissions, will whittle down the number to 8 rifles for testing and evaluation:

    The Army has identified a potential gap in the capability of ground forces and infantry to penetrate body armor using existing ammunition. To address this operational need, the Army is looking for an Interim Combat Service Rifle (ICSR) that is capable of defeating emerging threats. The Government has a requirement to acquire a commercial 7.62mm ICSR to field with the M80A1 Enhanced Performance Round (EPR) to engage and defeat protected and unprotected threats. The ultimate objective of the program is to acquire and field a 7.62mm ICSR that will increase Soldier lethality.

    The Government intends to award a maximum of eight (8) Other Transaction Agreements (OTAs), procuring seven (7) weapons from each Offeror for test and evaluation purposes. The Government reserves the right to award less than eight (8) OTAs or to make no OTA awards. Offerors may submit more than one (1) proposal; however, each proposal must be separate and distinct from one another. Each proposal shall include a bid sample, proposal and system safety assessment report. Once the test and evaluation is concluded, the Government may award a single follow-on Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) based contract for the production of up to 50,000 weapons. This estimate is subject to change.

    All interested Offerors are required to submit a bid sample, proposal, and system safety assessment report. The weapon system bid sample (one (1) weapon), along with proposal and a system safety assessment report, shall be delivered no later than 1500 Eastern Daylight Time Wednesday 6 September 2017 . The one (1) bid sample weapon shall include enough magazines to support the basic load of 210 rounds, one (1) cleaning kit, one (1) suppressor, one (1) specialized tool kit (if required) and one (1) commercial manual.

    Photo: Heckler & Koch HK417

    The entries should be “Commercial Off The Shelf” (COTS) rifles which means that these are already existing rifles available commercially. They will not accept customized or modified rifles. We do not know how many will be able submit entries as they are looking into a rifle that can be fired in semi and full auto, folding back-up iron sights, ability to readily to take in weapons accessories which means rail systems, and ambidextrous controls.

    The first rifles that come to mind are the Heckler & Koch HK417 and the FN Herstal SCAR-H/MK17. Other rifles that we can think of are mainly more optimized as Designated Marksman Rifles such as the H&K M110A1, KAC M110 and the LMT LM308MWS but can be out of the running as these are semi-firing rifles. The M14 Enhanced Battle Rifle EBR can be one entry too.

    It will be interesting to follow this development and if ever the U.S. Army finally deploys a 7.62mm rifle as the standard issue, how it will affect the purchasing decisions of its allies such as those in NATO. The French have just adopted the HK416 which is a 5.56mm weapon and the German Bundeswehr are looking to replacing the G36 rifle. Will the trend be with going to the 7.62mm once the U.S. Army fully commits to it? We’ll find out soon.

     

    Top Photo: Army Special Operations Forces (ARSOF) soldier with SCAR-H in Afghanistan (U.S. Army photo by U.S. Army Pfc. Codie Mendenhall)


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    Cybergun Inokatsu Glock 17 Limited Edition

    Now, there is such a thing as an airsoft Glock, a real fully-licensed airsoft Glock that regular airsoft players can get to own rather being a solely a training tool for the French Interior Ministry. So that means our imaginary airsoft Glock has become a thing of the past.

    The problem though is that it is an Inokatsu Glock 17 Gas Blowback Pistol that will only be available in France, so lucky are those airsoft players who are residents in France. Here is the announcement of Cybergun via their Facebook Page:

    Cybergun acquired the Taiwanese airsoft manufacturer Inokatsu in 2010 with a plan to provide premium airsoft products and Inokatsu is an established name for premium airsoft guns. That means the pricing for the Inokatsu Glock 17 GBB Pistol will command a premium price. Initially, Cybergun will be releasing a Limited Edition Inokatsu Glock 17 GBB Pistol with a price of €350 and it will just be limited to 100 pieces. The photos included here are what airsoft players can expect to receive if they get the limited edition which will come with a Glock t-shirt, case, Glock Cap, and a Glock Patch apart from the pistol and magazine. It is now on pre-order.

    Also mentioned in the comments, a regular Inokatsu Glock 17 Gas Blowback Pistol with a price of €250 will also be released and orders will be taken by the 28th of August.

    Reading in the comments section, Cybergun may have admitted that it is not manufactured directly by Inokatsu when someone commented about it:

    Still reading through the comments section, other Facebook users are speculating that the OEM is VFC which is said to be behind the Stark Arms brand with airsoft pistols based on Glock designs. There is no confirmation if VFC is the OEM though the company is known for being an OEM for Umarex.

    Pricing is in the Inokatsu range, which will make airsoft players, even in France to hesitate as it is expensive though we expect that Cybergun may not find it difficult to sell as there airsoft players wanting to own a fully licensed airsoft Glock. The question is if it will perform better or as well as the Marui G17 Gas Blowback Pistol or even the WE Airsoft G17 GBB Pistol.

    If would have been great if it is Glock 17 Gen 4. Unfortunately, this seems to look like a Gen 3.

    So now that the Glock airsoft pistol is real, will you buy it at the price(s) that Cybergun is asking for?

    Photos of the Cybergun Inokatsu Glock 17 Airsoft Pistol as posted on Facebook below:


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    U.S. Marine with Suppressed M4

    The U.S. Marines are betting heavily in using suppressors as they slowly build-up putting cans into the rifles and support weapons for the Devil Dogs. I wrote here last December that the 2nd Marine Division wants to put suppressors in every weapon with the Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, deployed in Norway happy with the exercises they conducted using suppressors last May, the U.S. Marines issued an RFI for suppressors.

    Now, they are issuing a second RFI for suppressors that can be used with the M4, M4A1, and M27, with a probability of future purchases between 18,000 and 194,000. The following are the minimum requirements for the suppressors to be considered:

    1. The suppressor should be capable of detachment/attachment and disassembly/ reassembly by an operator in the field without the use of special tools for normal care and cleaning.

    2. Suppressor should enable a noise level of 139 decibels or lower at either of the shooters ears.

    3. Suppressor should be a design that minimizes the change in the host rifle internal operating system dynamics.

    4. Suppressor may be of the over the barrel, or flush mount design and should not be longer than 20" total barrel length (threshold), 18" (objective). 

    5. Suppressor should be of the quick detachable design.  A special muzzle device may be attached (by a unit Armorer) to the OEM weapon in order to facilitate installation and removal by an operator.

    6. Must be able to withstand the sustained rate of the M27 IAR (capable of a rate of fire of 36 rounds per minute for 16 minutes, 40 seconds with firing starting at ambient temperature for a 600 round load).

    7. The entire suppressor and muzzle device should weigh no more than 18 oz.

    8. The use of the suppressor should not increase the dispersion of each respective weapon.  It is acceptable for the weapon to experience a repeatable shift in the zero between unsuppressed and suppressed operating modes, but that shift should not exceed 3 MOA for each respective weapon.

    9. The suppressed weapon should  retain its dispersion through the life of the barrel (objective of 24,000 rounds)

    10. The suppressor system is not required to have an internal projectile pathway which is the usual industry standard for a 5.56mm diameter round.  The internal bullet channel may be larger than is typical of current suppressor designs.  In other words, the suppressor may be able to be employed on multiple calibers (i.e. A059 Ball, AB49, AC12, AB57 etc.) without any modification to the suppressor.  This attribute not only facilitates future caliber/weapon capabilities, but could also mitigate baffle strikes.

    11. Suppressor should function with all Department of Defense Identification Code (DODIC) 5.56 mm ammunition, including A059 Ball, A063 Tracer, A080 Blank, AA33 Ball, AA53 Ball Special Match, AA69 Armor Piercing, AB49 Ball Carbine barrier, AC12 and AB57 Enhanced Performance Round.

    12. Suppressor should not require permanent configuration changes to the weapon system.

    13. Suppressor should not inhibit the mounting or operation of the M203 or M320 grenade launchers (objective).

    14. Suppressor should not require the addition of a gas mitigating charging handle.

    15. Should be able to accept a suppressor sleeve in order to reduce thermal signatures and mitigate operator burns.

    16. All suppressor external surfaces should have a dull, low-reflective finish (to include pins, bolts, lanyards, sight posts, etc.).  The external color of the system should be consistent with current camouflage colors and patterns.

    17. The suppressor material should be able to accept approved USMC paint (e.g. rattle-can spray paint)

    18. Suppressor should be resistant to corrosion, abrasion, impacts and chemicals, including standard Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) decontaminants.

    19. The suppressor should resist maritime corrosion and/or effects of carbon/copper/lead fouling. 

    • MIL-L-46000C - Lubricant, Semi-fluid (Automatic Weapons)
    •  MIL-PRF-372D - Cleaning Compound, Solvent (Bore of Small Arms and Automatic Aircraft Weapons) 
    • MIL-PRF-14107D - Lubricating Oil, Weapons, Low Temperature
    • MIL-PRF-63460D - Lubricant, Cleaner and Preservative for Weapons and Weapons Systems

    20. The suppressor should not require a more frequent cleaning schedule than the weapon system.

    21. The system, with suppressor attached should continue to operate and safely function after exposure to blowing dust, mud, salt fog, rain, and icing/freezing rain environments as specified in US Army Development Test Operations Procedure (TOP) 3-2-045 (Small Arms - Hand and Shoulder Weapons and Machineguns) dated Sep 2007.

    22. The system, with suppressor attached should be able to withstand the shock from a user performing individual movement techniques in combat, and the vibrations of being transported in standard military aircraft and ground vehicles as loose cargo, without degradation of performance.

    23. The system, with suppressor attached should continue to safely function after being dropped in any orientation from a 1.7 meter height onto a smooth concrete or steel surface at temperatures ranging from -25º Fahrenheit (F) to 140º F.  The addition of the suppressor on the weapon system should not result in a discharge when dropped from this height.

    24. The system, with suppressor attached should safely function through a temperature range of -25º F to +140º F without degradation of performance.

    25. The addition to the suppressor, request information on the ability of industry to provide a BFA type suppressor (that looks like, operates like and weighs the same as the live fire suppressor).  This BFA type suppressor should be capable of catching a live 5.56mm round.  This BFA suppressor should also be easily distinguished as a training device only.

    U.S. Marine Corps Photo, by Sarah N. Petrock

    It looks like the vendors interested in responding to the RFI have  their work cut-out with this long list of “minimum” requirements, but the USMC have good reasons to insure that the list can get the effective cans for use in the field by the Marines.

    The U.S. Marines are happy with the results of their tests with suppressors during the exercises in Norway according to Military.com. The use of suppressors have allowed the members of the units to communicate effectively, which if under the louder din of weapons fire, would make verbal communications tedious and affect coordination:

    "It used to be a squad would be dispersed out over maybe 100 yards, so the squad leader couldn't really communicate with the members at the far end because of all the noise of the weapons," he said. "Now they can actually just communicate, and be able to command and control, and effectively direct those fires."

    Another thing about why suppressors are also preferred, they allow the soldiers to be more stealthy when firing.

    Furthermore, and more for health reasons, is that with the use of suppressors, there will be no need to use ear protection as unsuppressed M4s and M249s can cause a temporary hearing loss at 159 to 164 decibels according to Popular Mechanics.  It can contribute permanent hearing loss in the long run.

    We’ll find out soon if the USMC will become fielding units that come with fully suppressed weapons. If that indeed happens, they can become more stealthy and better coordinated as they can put minimize the problem of noise as they go into battle.

     

    Top photo: U.S. Marine at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Sept. 3, 2015 (USMC photo by by Cpl. Paul S. Martinez)


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    DJI Mavic Pro Drone Sunset

    Drone owners, whether hobbyists or commercial drone operators, will need to consult their maps before flying their drones on certain areas. Their drones might just trespass on military property, and with the new policy that the Pentagon just approved, they might get shot down or seized if deemed to be threats.

    The new policy comes into force due to incidents of intrusions of drones above the bases with Popular Mechanics (not related to Popular Airsoft) reporting that one came into near collision with a F-22 Raptor, a stealth fighter plane that costs US$150 million (or US$250 million, depending on the source). But just one loss of the country’s premier interceptor is unimaginable and this incident is what led the Pentagon to signing off the new policy.

    Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said to Military.com that the bases “retain the right of self-defense when it comes to UAVs or drones operating over [them,]. This means the gloves are off and they can destroy, seize, or track the drones hovering over the military installations and this policy covers 133 bases and facilities across the USA.

    The policy can be clear cut for those visible military bases that do the country, but there also concerns regarding other locations which the military rents out. One example cited by Military.com is about the silos for the Minuteman III nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles in the fields around Minot Air Force base in Minnesota. The land is leased from farmers and that farmers nowadays are using drones to survey or inspect their fields, making it easier for them using traditional methods.

    But for those who fly drones near visibly mark military installations, they will have to tread with caution as they might just lose their drones if they fly into these, intentional or not. Either they can check the geofencing features of their drone apps or update it if need be, which some drones actually offer. But for those drones without geofencing, then they have to err more on the side of caution lest they lose their investments in these expensive things.

    For airsoft event  organisers that got permission to hold an airsoft event inside a military and planning aerial footages with drones, they better consult the administration of the base on the use of such camera drones. Having their drone shot down whilst in the midst of taking a nice airsoft action footage will really ruin their day.


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    Airsoft Brands

    We are seeing a graphic being passed around in social media. Called the “New Airsoft Brand Ranking 2017”, it shows a “tiered” ranking of airsoft manufacturers with EMG, or the Evike Manufacturing Group being a top-tier brand. It looks like everyone is surprised by this graphic which is shown below:

    Jet DesertFox shared the same image on his Facebook timeline, remarking that,“Whoever made this must be trolling hard.” For those who commented to his sharing the image, nobody really agreed with the ranking as they have their own preferences with one commenting that, “EMG being on top discredits this whole thing! I think ICS and VFC should be on the same level as Krytac. Marui on top.”

    We are trying to find the source or origin of this graphic to ask how they came about with this ranking of brands. Was it via an online poll, a scientific survey, or they just decided to make this graphic and piss everybody off? The last time there was a “ranking” of airsoft brands, was during the Popular Airsoft “2nd Global Airsoft Survey Project” that was held in 2012 and it comes with airsoft brand and purchasing preferences that was useful for airsoft businesses.

    We wonder what criteria this ranking was based upon. Is it in brand recognition, product excellence, customer loyalty, product innovation, after market support, wide availability, or just from thin air?

    Anyway, airsoft players are free to debate which brands they prefer, regardless of whatever ranking that is put out by any individual or group. Brand loyalty can be also be emotional rather than just based on numerics or polls. Consumers will stick to a brand for certain reasons even if there is another brand that offers a superior product or service.

    So which brand do you prefer? Or do you want another “Global Airsoft Survey Project” to take place again? Not an easy job, and OptimusPrime will have to think about it hard to conduct another one as it takes a lot of time and money.


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    U.S. Marine 3D Printing

    The U.S. Marine Corps is seriously considering 3D printing as an integral part in going to battle. By having 3D printing facilities at near the frontlines, they can print out spare parts and devices needed on demand without waiting for logistical support to arrive when time is of the essence.

    The Marines are about to start testing prototypes of their X-Fab or the Expeditionary Fabrication for Field User Evaluation (FUE) next month. The X-Fab is a collapsible 20 x 20 container that houses four 3D Printers , CAD software, and a scanner. It would act as an addition to the C7912 mobile machine shop, which is equipped with the usual tools needed to fabricate part such as lathes and milling machines.

    The advantage of having the 3D printers on the field is the quick way to create needed and done to the exact specifications when compared to traditional machining.

    In a press release, program manager says that, "We don't know where the technology will take us, but this is a great opportunity to find out what Marines think about it and explore the viability of additive manufacturing for the C7912 Shop Equipment, Machine Shop."

    Weighing 5 tons, the X-Fab can be easily be transported by truck and can be powered with a generator or from the power grid. It will take a team of four to set up the X-Fab in a matter of hours. Master Sgt. Carlos Lemus, staff noncommissioned officer in charge of the Additive Manufacturing and Innovation Cell with 2nd Maintenance Battalion says that having the X-Fab has the potential to cut the logistics footprint of the maintenance Battalion, saying that, “X-FAB will also enable us to better support Marines by getting platforms back in the fight faster. We are looking to exploit this capability, because it has the potential to cut out the time it takes to order and receive parts; instead of waiting weeks or a month for a part, our machinists can get the part out by the end of the day.”

    Funded by the Department of Research, the X-Fab is still experimental and exploratory. The FUE, which will being on the 1st of September, will gather feedback from the users covering the design and dimensions of the X-Fab itself, the quality of the materials used for 3D Printing, capability and capacity of the 3D Printers, and the quality of the output of the X-Lab. The results can be used in improving  the mobile fabrication shelter for further evaluation and the development of an acquisition strategy.

    There are many possibilities with 3D Printing, and U.S. Marines can create a small UAV that they need for reconnaissance, improvise machines that can be temporarily used in the field, and even create new devices that will meet the demands of the situation hand. Who knows, they can even print out food for personalized meals which the U.S. Army is looking into. From hobbyists to Marine machinists, 3D Printing can help a Marine battalion achieve its objectives in the field.


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    World Of Tanks “War Stories”

    This should get a good number of airsoft players excited as World of Tanks is high up there in the list of video games that they prefer playing when not on the airsoft field. According to Wargaming, World of Tanks will be getting its first single player campaign next week called “War Stories”. I am not exactly a multiplayer gamer, which World of Tanks originally us, but I may just start taking at look at it seriously with the single-player mode.

    Apart from playing it in solo mode, players can also work on the campaign playing cooperatively.

    “War Stories is the next evolution for our brand,” said TJ Wagner, Creative Director and Executive Producer at Wargaming’s Chicago-Baltimore studio in a press statement. “As the first campaign series in the World of Tanks universe, War Stories allows us to bring a new narrative to the game and expand on our multiplayer experience with engaging single-player and online Coop content for our new and longtime tankers.”

    War Stories will have two campaigns that are comprised of three chapters. Some of the battlefields that will be fought on are based on historically based. There will be stories that will be added that are not historically based such as the invasion of Great Britain and alternate ending of the Cuban Missile Crisis. These are told in-game comic strip style done by comic writer Andi Ewington, with artwork from PJ Holden and Matt Timson.  This is the same team that  came out with "World of Tanks: Roll Out" that was released early this year.

    The first two stories that will be released on August 21 include the “Brothers in Armor” which is more of a training mission where the player is an American Sherman tank captain embedded in a Russian tank battalion via the Lend Lease Act as the Allies supply the Russians in the Eastern front.  The other is “Flashpoint Berlin” which is about breaking the Blockade of Berlin during the Cold War in which a British tank unit is tasked to escorting the convoy towards Berlin.

    World of Tanks “War Stories” campaign will be available on Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox One S and PlayStation 4.


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    Airsoft Surgeon European Championship 2017 AAR

    Another year, another milestone for Action Air Practical Shooting as a big number of airsoft practical shooters converged once again at the StrikeForce CQB in Gloucester, United Kingdom. This year, 200 players came to compete at the Airsoft Surgeon European Championship 2017 last 5th and 6th of August 2017.

    With 20 stages to complete for two days, the shooters vied for the titles of being the top in their categories and divisions in one of the biggest tournaments in the airsoft world. The Airsoft Surgeon European Championship 2017 is now on its 5th year and it gets even bigger every year. For this year, more countries have joined in this competition with a contingent from Brazil flying all the way to be part of this event.

    For us at Popular Airsoft, our task is to cover the event, which we have been doing ever since it started in 2013 at The Grange in Balsall Common located in the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull. For this year, I was finally joined by Master Chief, giving me an extra pair of hands. This freed me up to taking photos whilst I tasked him to take videos. With 200 shooters, his help went a long way.

    We arrived late afternoon Friday in Gloucester and most of the players were already in town with the pre-shoot by the Range Officers and media already coming to a conclusion on that day. The pre-shoot took place ahead of the main competition to allow those who will officiate the event to already go through the stages and submit their times as they were also competitors at the tournament as well.

    Around evening, we met up with the NABV team from the Netherlands for dinner. For this year, they were a smaller contingent comprised of Gerard, David, Luuk, and Marco as most of the usual shooters from their group were in other commitments that were in conflict with the schedule of the Euro Championship. Over a big dinner, some drinks and the usual banter, we did some catching up though we got to end the night early as they had to rest in preparation for the big day. Master Chief and I had a two more rounds at Hotel bar before we also called it a day.

    Saturday, the 5th of August, we arrived at the StrikeForce CQB to see most of the shooters already  geared up and ready to meet the challenges that lay ahead. But before the shooting started, a briefing had to take place. Clarence Lai, aka the Airsoft Surgeon, and Chris Kong of RedWolf Airsoft UK welcomed all the shooters whilst Justin Cooper of the WPPC who was the Match Director laid down the rules for the shooters to follow.

    As mentioned previously, there were 20 stages, plus a fun stage. Organised by Airsoft Action for Maggie's Cancer Caring Centre in Cheltenham, the fun stage is the charity stage and the shooter who posts the best score gets to win a prize. Also, a raffle for the charity was part of the event with the raffle winner announced on the second day.

    By 0900H, the competition officially started. The stages whilst they are usually numbered, were also named after the sponsors.  The UKPSA stage looked the most daunting, and for this year, the Airsoft Surgeon is a sanctioned Level 1 event by the UKPSA, making it an official IPSC event.

    What we have noticed for this year there is a bigger number of very young shooters. Last year, there was one very young shooter, Kiko who was 9 years old at that time. Now, even more kids were participating with most coming from the First Person Shooter group from the Isle of Wight. It looks like the future of Action Air in the United Kingdom is very bright with this new generation of shooters.

    I have to say that even with minor problems such as Wifi connectivity as scorers were armed with tablets to easily input the scores and, the event was managed smoothly. No drama at all, if you allow me to write that. Even the number of DQs has gone down as compared to the previous year, even if this was the largest batch of shooters to date.

    Such a level of organisation is very much commendable, given that RedWolf Airsoft UK had their main office in Tewkesbury burned down last month, and along with it the prizes and paraphernalia for the Airsoft Surgeon European Championship. All the hard work went up in flames just like that. Nevertheless, RedWolf Airsoft in cooperation with the local clubs was able to deliver, if not the best, one of the best Airsoft Surgeon European Championships ever.

    One thing that we missed for this event was the traditional BBQ that takes place at the end of the first day. This is where the Airsoft Surgeon himself puts on an apron and serves the shooters grilled food and drinks after a long and tiring day of shooting. With the aftermath of the RedWolf UK fire, I guess it was out of the question.

    The second day started with the organizers acknowledging the big delegations as well as the new countries that have joined in the event. Justin Cooper, being the Match Director, announced that a penalty will be given to any shooter not helping in patching the targets. Shooters need to help in patching the targets so as to make any stage ready for the next shooter and keep the event on schedule.

    By 1700H the shooting finally stopped, save for those shooters going through the Maggie’s Fun Stage. But for the tired airsoft practical shooters, it was time to find out the winners for event. But before that, it was the “Clarence and Chris Show” as affectionately called by the veterans of the Airsoft Surgeon European Championship. The antics of Clarence and Chris as hosts bring colour to both the opening and closing ceremonies of the tournament.

    After thanking all the sponsors, giving away some goodies, and announcing the raffle winners, the awarding ceremonies too place. Familiar names were called as runners-up and winners for the Production, Custom, Open, and Standard Divisions as well as the Open and Standard winners in the Lady, Senior, Super Senior, and Junior Categories. For the kids, there was a “Young Guns” Division created specifically to award the young shooters. This was the idea of Jessica-Jade Dove of the FPS and took the initiative to have trophies made for them.

    The Airsoft Surgeon European Championship 2017 officially ended by 2000H, which was rather later. With many of the competitors scrambling to grab their gear and into their cars to get home, goodbyes had to be said quick before they start their long journeys back home, save for some who planned on leaving Gloucester the next day.

    Being the biggest airsoft practical shooting event in Europe, I wonder if next year will be another record breaking year for the Airsoft Surgeon and RedWolf Airsoft. 200 practical shooters is already a big number for an airsoft practical shooting tournament and I just hope it will still grow bigger. The event actually helps in the growth of action air in many parts of Europe as each year we see another country being added to the list. With the first sanctioned Action Air World Shooter finally taking place next year in Hong Kong, we will see how European Action Air has matured as we see their very best shooters compete against some of the very best in Asia who probably have a lead start in the discipline as they airsoft practical shooting in the region has been alive and kicking for many years now. But then, that’s another story to tell next year.

    See you at the next year’s Airsoft Surgeon European Championships.

    WINNERS LIST

    Open Division:

    1. Ka Lam Nicholas Wong (HKG)
    2. Matthew Wyborn (GBR)
    3. Maciej Piwowarski (POL)
    4. Max Noble (GBR)
    5. Jurgen Ronsse (BEL)

    Standard Division:

    1. Pak Lam Lai (HKG)
    2. Paul Wyborn (GBR)
    3. Alasdair Mustard (GBR)
    4. Joeri De Haes (BEL)
    5. Nick Towndrow (GBR)

    Production Division:

    1. Surawoot Tanasen (GBR)
    2. Jesse Nio (FIN)
    3. Matthew Reed (GBR)
    4. Pedro Paton (ESP)
    5. Ryan Renard Production (GBR)

    Custom Division:

    1. Rafał Tomanek (POL)
    2. Dave Rose (GBR)
    3. Troy Morris (GBR)
    4. Andrew Inglis (GBR)

    Open Division Ladies:

    1. Marianne Gundayao (GBR)
    2. Maria Christina Palmones (GBR)
    3. Victoria Fellows (GBR)
    4. Myriam Dannemark (BEL)

    Open Division Junior:

    1. Ka Lam Nicholas Wong (HKG)
    2. Francisco Javier Honrubia (ESP)
    3. Harrison Courtney (GBR)
    4. Lani De Haes (BEL)

    Open Division Senior:

    1. Tim Wyborn (GBR)
    2. Jon Cull (GBR)
    3. Steve Taylor (GBR)
    4. Bart Verwijst (BEL)
    5. Gerard Timmers (NLD)

    Open Division Super Senior:

    1. Paul Van Den Bosch (GBR)
    2. Norman Humphries (GBR)
    3. Stephen Birtwhistle (GBR)
    4. Ronnie Graham (GBR)
    5. Trevor Sinclair (GBR)

    Standard Division Ladies:

    1. Barbara Roslanowska (POL)
    2. Jessica-Jade Dove (GBR)
    3. Eluned Pritchard (GBR)
    4. Rebecca Salmon (GBR)
    5. Misty Manley (GBR)

    Standard Division Junior:

    1. Paul Wyborn (GBR)
    2. Lee Buswell (GBR)
    3. Thomas Coquelle    (BEL)
    4. Rhys Orchard (GBR)
    5. Alexandre Coquelle (BEL)

    Standard Division Senior:

    1. Nick Towndrow (GBR)
    2. Darryl Cleevely (GBR)
    3. Pete Thornton (GBR)
    4. Marco Van Der Meulen (NLD)
    5. Kervyn Orinx (BEL)

    Standard Division Super Senior:

    1. Guy De Backer (BEL)
    2. Mark Van Den Bosch (GBR)
    3. Dave Rossiter (GBR)
    4. Allan Belcher (GBR)
    5. Mike Richards (GBR)

    All photos of the Airsoft Surgeon European Championship 2017 can be found at the Popular Airsoft Facebook Page.


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    The H NAF 2016

    We’re in the midst of preparations again for what is considered to be the biggest airsoft party in the world --- the National Airsoft Festival 2017. Starting as the Ground Zero National Weekender, it is now officially called as the National Airsoft Festival (sometimes National Airsoft Event) and will be on its 11th straight year on the long weekend, the 25th to the 27th of August 2017. The event takes place at the Ground Zero Woodland in Ringwood at the Hampshire/Dorset border in the United Kingdom.

    Indeed, it has turned out to be the biggest airsoft party in the world and we love the event for it. Other airsoft players expecting the event to be three days of just slinging BBs may be in a disappointment. It is an event that is heavily into socialization as much as it is also a 3-day extravaganza of airsoft battles. With the name of the event now a “Festival”, it should have already settled the confusion.

    Since it is a festival you will expect a lot of colourful sights, and you won’t be disappointed. If not on the dead zone, you might see airsoft players parading around in not-so-tactical costumes, like those bunch of bananas that showed up last year.

    You can party hard, but just remember to try and avoid a hangover or else you will miss the main event ----- the airsoft battles as the three factions: Bravo, Delta and The Others battle for supremacy this year. Delta won last year with The Others second and Bravo third, but will they be able to defend their win this year? The Bravo will be itching to win as always, but for The Others? They will continue to sow mayhem on the field form fun, winning will just be a bonus. For this year, the organizers are expecting 2,494 players so far (us also included).

    Master Chief and I will be there roaming around with our cameras as well as with our airsoft guns as we are playing too. Popular Airsoft has been covering the event since 2008 and we have not missed a year since then. As always, we shall be playing on the side of the real party people, The Others.

    See you all this weekend and we’ll all partake in the 3 Bs: BBs, Booze, and BBQ!


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    Robots From Terminator Movie

    We find killer robots either menacing or cool in movies. One movie franchise that presents both is the Terminator and the story behind the movie might just come true, if the world’s leading scientists and robotic companies on artificial intelligence are to be believed.

    Research on Artificial Intelligence (AI), which can allow for autonomous and intelligent machines, is now moving at breathtaking pace. We are now seeing unmanned vehicles in military and civilian applications, and in the area of military applications, there are efforts to come up with autonomous unmanned vehicles that can do the mission on their own without needing any remote human pilot. One example is the British “Taranis” project which is an unmanned combat aerial vehicle that is intended to include “full autonomy.”

    Will fully autonomous and intelligent robots pose a threat to society just like in the Terminator, or like The Matrix? In a letter signed  by 116 founders and leaders of robotics and artificial intelligence companies they are calling for a ban on killer robots at the start of the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) as the United Nations (UN) voted to start discussions on such types of weapons systems as an arms race on autonomous and unmanned weapons systems is starting to heat up.

    One of the signatories is Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla Systems and perhaps the most interesting man in bleeding edge technologies with his ventures on electric vehicles with Tesla, OpenAI for Artificial Intelligence, space exploration with SpaceX, faster mass transportation with the Hyperloop, and more. Another is Mustafa Suleyman of Alphabet, the holding company of Google, and is the head of AI of Google DeepMind, the company he founded before Google bought it.

    The signatories wrote (as reported by Business Insider Australia):

    Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare. Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend. These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways. We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.

    We therefore implore the High Contracting Parties to find a way to protect us all from these dangers.

    There are too many ifs and buts right now as well as variables in the creation of autonomous weapon systems, or to put in bluntly, killer robots. The letter shows the apprehension of the leading minds of robotics and AI, and it is so hard to question that as they know more about such than the ordinary person on the street. If you remember the news about Facebook shutting their AI experiment down when their AI robots began communicating in their own language, just imagine if robots began communicating to each other and decide to make their own destiny at the expense of humans? Or an experiment of an armed robot gone awry and hard to shut it down? Or a rogue nation or group of hackers controlling robots that can wreck destruction?

    Others will point out to Isaac Asimov’s “Three Laws of Robotics” as a good starting point to help safeguard humans from robots:

    1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
    2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
    3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

    But then, any rogue country, company or organization may just want to have robots not following the laws whatever any convention governing the development of armed robots. With the breakneck speed of technology, we do see these killer robots appearing soon and they will be deadlier and smarter than the present day UAVs and drones.

    So do you think a ban on killer robots be put immediately and devote research to robots that save lives rather than wage war?


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    UKAPU & WAAC

    The march to having airsoft legalised in Australia continues and it is now getting stronger. Western Australia is where the action is right now for the campaign of Australian airsoft enthusiasts from the Western Australian Airsoft Club (WAAC) to have their sport recognized. Just yesterday we posted news that Aaron Stonehouse, MLC who got elected to the Western Australia Legislative Council under the Liberal Democrats, launched the campaign to have airsoft legalised in the state.

    Whilst they are working on getting more grassroots and political support, another thing that the WAAC needs right now is international support. With airsoft legal in most countries, and almost the whole Western world, Australia is left behind in this sport. In this regard, they have discussed cooperation with the United Kingdom Airsoft Players’ Union (UKAPU), one of the better organised airsoft players’ organisations in the world. Finally, this month they have formalised and agreement of affiliation between the organisations.

    Press release from UKAPU on this affiliation, as sent by Jon Hill, the new UKAPU Press Officer, can be read here:

    WESTERN AUSTRALIA AIRSOFT CLUB & UK AIRSOFT PLAYERS UNION AFFILIATE
    Australian and British players team up to fight for airsoft

    UK Airsoft Players Union and Western Australia Airsoft Club officially ‘tied the knot’ this month! The two organisations elected to officially affiliate, in recognition of their shared aims and values and in a show of international solidarity amongst airsoft players. Australia operates under common law which comes from in the UK, yet, in stark contrast to the UK, Airsoft is banned. WAAC has it’s work cut out for it in trying to get the ban lifted in a single state of Australia, with the hope that the other states will follow. The UKAPU committee was very impressed by the competence and commitment of the WAAC team and have confidence in their ability to lead the fledgeling Australian airsoft community toward accomplishing this mammoth task.

    “I am happy to announce that UKAPU is affiliated with Western Australia Airsoft Club, Inc.

    The organisation is run by a few passionate individuals who are committed to getting Airsoft legalised within the state of Western Australia - and eventually propagating it throughout the rest of the country.

    We've been supporting them for some time now. Their campaign is picking up momentum and good progress has already been made in their endeavour."

    - David Weston, UKAPU Chairman

    WAAC have already made some significant headway.

    They met with the Shadow Minister for Police, who stated that he was “embarrassed with the legislative regime” regarding the provisions of the Firearms Act being applied to the sport of Airsoft.

    Successfully ran a ‘Nerf gun amnesty’ campaign which caused a stir in local media regarding nonsensical firearms legislation in WA.

    This week they will be meeting with the State Minister for Police, the first ever airsoft group to be granted an audience.

    For more information on the WAAC campaign please visit http://airsoftwa.com.au and like their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AirsoftWA/ and ask your Aussie mates to do so too, they really need the support of locals who may want to play airsoft in the future!

    It’s really a call to action for airsoft communities and organisations around the world to help expand the beachhead that is being established in Western Australia. If airsoft gets legalised in Western Australia, it is seen that the other states in the country will follow. If you want to make a video or statement of support to help the WAAC in their campaign, then better get in touch with them so it and they can add it to their website and documentation needed when they lobby at the state government level.

    Hopefully, we get to see airsoft being played on Australian soil openly and legally soon.


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    Forces Of Freedom NAF 2017

    Last year, one exhibitor at the National Airsoft Festival 2016, Koyoki  Ltd., got a good number of airsoft players check out their video game made for tablets and smart phones called “Forces of Freedom”. This is a 5-vs-5 gameplay and players on each side can get to choose their role before the game starts --- as a sniper or rifle. The game ranges from the 1960s up to present day special forces so loadout and firearms changes as the setting changes.

    For this year, the company will be back again with not just a demo. It will be holding a mini-eSports to pit teams from the National Airsoft Festival: Bravo, Delta, and The Others. The good thing here is that this event can have a bearing on the outcome of the overall event as players can earn extra points for their groups. Just imagine a very close fight on points on the dead zone only to be broken by the points won from the “Forces of Freedom” tournament.

    Photo:Airsofters playing "Forces of Freedom" during the National Airsoft Festival 2016

    Do you think you have the reflex and skills to beat the other groups in a digital skirmish? Better step up and inform the National Airsoft Festival organizers if you want to represent your team:

    Forces of Freedom - the mobile team combat game that premiered last year at NAF returns, bringing you a unique airsoft video game crossover tournament.

    On Friday night, 3 squads representing BRAVO, DELTA & THE OTHERS will compete for the 1st Forces of Freedom Cup.

    The winning squad earns an exclusive mission assignment for the next day’s airsoft game allowing the team that they represented to earn bonus points!

    Come along, watch & support your team and participate in our “Bullshit Bingo” for a chance to win a money can’t buy Forces of Freedom T-Shirt!

    If you are interested in representing BRAVO, DELTA or THE OTHERS as a PLAYER in the Forces of Freedom tournament, email florian@bravoco.io or post on the facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1353945394659709/.

     

    You can practice right now by downloading Forces of Freedom to your mobile device the Forces of Freedom game. It can be played on iOS and Android devices provided that your device is up to date. You got until Friday and if you get chose to be part of the team for you NAF 2016 group, prepare to bring electronic glory for the first time in an airsoft event.

    The National Airsoft Festival 2017 will take place on the 25th to the 27th of August 2017 at the Ground Zero Woodland i Ringwood, Hampshire.


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    USMC Sgt. Margarita B. Valenzuela with M27 IAR

    The process of equipping more Marines with the M27 Infantry Automatic Weapon just got even faster. Early last week, the USMC issued a Notice of Intent to Sole Source for more than 50,000 new M27 Infantry Automatic Rifles (IARs). For Heckler & Koch, that will be another ka-ching to will help the bottomline.

    Observers say that the M27 IAR is becoming the standard issue rifle for the Marines. Early this year, they wanted 11,000 M27 IARs, but the manufacturer will have to ramp up production as it has been raised to 50,000.  It has already replaced the M249 as the Squad Automatic Weapon, and with more and more Marines equipped with it, it means that they can lay down even more effective fire even with the absence of the M249.

    Here is the introduction to the Notice of Intent:

    The Marine Corps Systems Command intends to solicit and negotiate with only one source under the authority of FAR 6.302-1, Only One Responsible Source (FAR 6302.1 (a)(2)(ii)), based on substantial duplication of costs to the Government that are not expected to be recovered through competition and unacceptable delays in fulfilling the agency's requirements.  The Government intends to solicit and negotiate with Heckler & Koch (H&K), 19980 Highland Vista Drive, #190, Ashburn, VA 20147, for up to 50,814 - M27 Infantry Automatice Rifles (IAR).

    This notice of intent is not a request for competitive proposals.  However, any responsible source who believes it is capable of meeting the requirement may submit a capability statement, proposal, or quotation, which shall be considered by the agency, only if received by the closing date and time of this notice.  A determination not to compete the proposed requirement based upon the responses to this notice is solely within the discretion of the Government.

    Marine Gunnery Sgt. Patricio A. Mora With M-27 IAR (USMC photo by Lance Cpl. Pete Sanders)

    The M27 IAR, which is based on the 5.56mm HK416 from Heckler & Koch, is more expensive than the M4. At a unit cost of US$3,000, procuring 50,000 rifles will mean a needed budget of US$150 million. This can be lower depending on the unit cost to be agreed on by the contracting parties.

    Will Heckler & Koch be able to keep up with the demands of customers? The company has been winning contracts such as the HK416 selected as the standard rifle for the French Army and will probably be needing more facilities and people to keep with future demand. Soldier Systems say that according to those knowledgeable in the industry that the company may have to give up on the U.S. Army’s 7.62mm Interim Combat Service Rifle bidding in order for it to focus on the orders.

    So, is the M27 IAR finally the standard issue rifle of the Marines? It looks like it, but no one will say it with conviction.

     

    Top photo:Marine Sgt. Margarita B. Valenzuela with M27 IAR (USMC Photo by Sgt. Alicia R. Leaders)


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    Airsoft Surgeon European Championship 2017, Matt Wybron

    As promised, we have uploaded the videos of the 2-day of airsoft practical shooting action during the Airsoft Surgeon European Championship 2017. The event took place last 5-6 August 2017 at the StrikeForce CQB in Gloucester, United Kingdom. Around 200 shooters from different countries in Europe and some from Hong Kong and Brazil participated by this event.

    These short videos number over a hundred, and that’s a lot of videos for you to watch to last the whole weekend. If you are curious on how airsoft practical shooting (called as Action Air in IPSC) works, then these are the videos to watch as you can see the various stages or Courses of Fire  (COFs) that the shooters go through. They all vary in difficulty and all shooters go through these stages. What is not shown in the videos are the preparations they make in their mind as they plan on how to hit the targets in the fastest time possible. Even before the event, they are sent the illustrations of the COFs so they can start planning ahead.

    For the shooters themselves they can find in their videos to do a self-critique of their shooting. It is a recommended thing so they can correct weaknesses at their shooting clubs’ ranges.

    So I guess you have the weekend cut out for you with these videos. But you don’t have to watch them all in one go. You could always come back and play the videos again.

    To start watching the videos, click here to go to the Popular Airsoft YouTube Channel. Enjoy!


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