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    Forcite Alpine Ski Helmet

    In terms of helmet technologies, skiers are just way ahead of us airsofters and we are nowhere closer to what they use, since mainly most of our attention are to military helmets. But with the way companies are designing ski helmets like the Forcite Alpine Smart Helmet, the airsoft industry, as well as the companies involved in designing integrated soldier systems, should pay attention to their innovations.

    Since many of  us nowadays are using full face and head protection, we might as well have helmets with full face protection crammed with some technologies in to them. The Forcite Alpine Smart Helmet, is one example of a high-tech helmet that has some features that many an airsofter would want.

    Many of us go to the airsoft field now having an action camera attached to our helmets. The Forcite Helmet already comes with an integrated 1080p HD action camera with a 160 degree wide angle lens that is capable of recording at 128 frames per second! Footages taken at 128fps give us a lot of options for slow-motion editing which many airsoft channels would love to have as a feature for their video clips.  What's more? It comes with optical image stabilisation which is capture smoother footages.

    The Forcite Alpine Smart Helmet doesn't stop there. It has integrated communications with a built-in mic that uses Bluetooh and Wifi to communicate with other skiers who are wearing the same helmet and makes it ideal for small unit communications. With its smartphone app, the helmet can then use hands-free communications with its built-in speakers and mic. Altitude and GPS coordinates can also be sent to emergency services.

    Since it has built-in speakers you can easily listen to your music playlist that you have in your smartphone and you can easily control the volume from the helmet with the big buttons. Speaking of big buttons, you can operate the action camera with the big button on the side. The buttons are big for easier operation with gloves, which we also use for protection in airsoft. Also button-operated is a fog lamp which you can switch on in low light conditions or poor visibility.

    Of course, all these features are nice, but what is most important is the head protection system that the Forcite Alpine provides, with skiers going down slope at high speeds.

    Overall, the features are in our wishlist of what a high-tech airsoft/tactical helmet should be. The Forcite Alpine Smart Helmet is not on the market yet, with pre-orders to be announced soon. How much would it cost?  I hope it's not something that would make want to sell two high-end airsoft guns just to get one of these.


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    Sidekick

    We went back to browse Kickstarter for some projects that could be of interest for airsoft players on or off the airsoft field. We found something that users of the popular GoPro High Definition Action Camera can get as a companion that will be useful in low light conditions. Appropriately called the "Sidekick", it is a lightweight and powerful companion light for the GoPro.

    Made by the California-based company Light & Motion, the Sidekick is on Kickstarter with its funding goal already met and still getting more pledges with just 10 days to go before the pleding ends.

    With 600 lumens Cree XM-L U2 LED, Sidekick is mounted beside the GoPro to provide illumination in low light or backlit conditions. For airsoft players who do not have some bright and powerful weaponlights but use GoPros in CQB games, having the Sidekick can assist the GoPro have better video capture, rather than suffer through grainier or noisy videos when players enter a dark area. This is most useful in indoor CQB arenas as there are lots of dark spaces and dim lighting in the actual play area.

    Another feature is that it can be used underwater of up to 200 feet. Whilst the base model comes with the 600 lumens LED,  another model, called the Sidekick Duo that comes with 400 lumens spot beam for navigation. The Sidekick is powered by a USB-chargeable 18650 lithium-ion battery with an LED battery level indicator.

    To attach the Sidekick to accompany the GoPro, the existing Mount  Bolt is replaced with a longer one that can take on the Sidekick. Another accessory allows and extended arm so you can adjust the Sidekick even more to generate a different light effect or a more convenient position for the user.

    It is not as tactical as taclights and weaponlights in airsoft and may need a protector from BBs. You can readily switch off the Sidekick if you need to be stealthy during airsoft games, but you compromise your video quality. So there are tradeoffs when using the Sidekick though some users would rather not care as long as they get better video quality of their airsoft games. Apart from that it can also be a useful head mounted flashlight at night when you need for it night games.

    If you're interested in getting a Sidekick, click here to go to the Kickstarter Page. Hurry, as the crowdfunding window is about to close, and you get a Sidekick or Sidekick Duo at a discounted rate before it goes into production and retail.


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    Vulcan Razors

    Kickstarter is a good place to find some innovative and high-tech projects that can be used for airsoft.  But it's also a good place for some simple projects that are useful for in our everyday lives and do not need to be powered by batteries. This project, initially spotted by Tactical Fanboy, is more of repurposing of a deadly product into something for personal hygiene purposes.

    This reminds me of an entry in the bible about "Swords to ploughshares", but this one is more of a .50 caliber shell converted into a razor. Called the Vulcan Razor, it is a project of a veteran-run business in Texas called Coxswain USA.  Established by Rick Kadets, who is a US Marine Veteran, entrepreneur, craft and trade enthusiast, Coxswain USA aims to raise US$1,000 to ship the Vulcan Razors to customers who have pledged funding. With just 5 days to go, he has already raise over US$900, so he's close to achieving the funding goals.

    The .50 Caliber brass shell would serve as the handle of the Vulcan Razor since it is brass it has good weight, and Kadets needed to design something to make sure that razor plate can be held into place. He designed a patent-pending Slug-Adapter that has groves that goes into the opening of the cartridge and grip into the brass. To top it, he also designed the razor plate to mount on the Slug-Adapter.

    To start shaving, all you need to do is to put a cheap disposable razor blade.

    The risk of the project not meeting its promises is nil as Kadets says that the Vulcan Razors are ready to ship. Whilst Coxswain USA is raising funding via Kickstarter  for those who really want to order now without waiting for the Kickstarter project to end, they can go to the Coxswain USA online store to order a Vulcan Razor for US$80. Sounds expensive? If you want to support Veteran-owned business that will also support other veterans getting back into civilian life, that price sounds like cheap.


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    Airsoft Utah Aerial Airsoft Footage Captured - Quad Copter

    As we are getting used to more and more camera drones covering various events, airsoft included, some of us want to dabble in Aerial Photography/Videography. Having a camera drone is of course, a very good start, but having such cool toy does not mean you can just go out there and shoot some amazing and breathtaking videos taken with drones that we see on YouTube these days.

    It still takes skill and the priority really is to have your video/filming skills honed by constantly practicing. In terms of sources, the internet is awash in tips, tutorials howtos, videos, and forums where people share knowledge on how to take great videos, that you may just not need to go through a video/film school. The best really is a combination of theory and practice, plus some budget but good equipment. Take inspiration from already some nice videos posted online and find out how they did those. You'll be surprised that a lot are not taken with some expensive equipment that big companies can afford. It just takes a lot of imagination, some cheap but effective contraption, and a lot of trial and error. The last one meaning having the virtue of patience.

    Once you're confident with your video taking skills, then your second step will be of course having the skill a flying a drone, unless it's already a hobby of yours, flying a drone might look easy, but will also need a lot of practice. Once you are piloting drones well on instinct, then you're ready to take it to the next level --- aerial drone photography.

    Flite Test writes and has a video on the tips on taking good footages  from the air:

    To sum up, here are the tips you will need to consider according to Flite Test:

    1. Have a gimbal for the camera for smoother video footage. The gimbal helps in image stabilisation.
    2. Consider the time of the day. Most cameras take good footage "at the golden hour" which is usually right after sunrise and before sunset. But events such as airsoft happen on all hours so plan your video taking according to available light and be creative of the effects of light at certain times of the day (or perhaps night).
    3. To show movement in the air, tracking trees and objects in the foreground will be important.
    4. Having the sun flare into the video lens can give a dynamic effect.
    5. Practice makes perfect. Try different camera drones with multi-rotors.
    6. Get used to taking footages whilst flying line-of-sight. FPV screens are very helpful, but due to transmission lag you, it best to use the screen for reference and framing.
    7. Weather is important. It's best to take footages  when the weather is calm.
    8. Play with the horizon and angles to capture some unique footages/shots.
    9. Try shooting some drone footages you have watched that you think are creative.
    10. Creating nice scenes is very much dependent on how you move and manoeuvre the drone.
    11. Position the drone to catch sunlight and try to make backlighting work for you.
    12. Always try to be at the right place at the right time.

    Always keep these  in mind, but always feel free to experiment. The sky's the limit (though maximum ceiling and battery capacity may limit your drone) in taking video footages with drones.

    But there's one thing you should never forget, always check national and local regulations  on the use of the drones. Some may require licensing before you can operate one, and there are "no go areas" for drones and knowing where these are will be helpful. Even in airsoft events, there will be areas like these.

    Happy flying and filming!


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    Kalashnikov Made In The USA

    With the crippling sanctions set in place by the Western Powers hitting Russia hard due to its support to the rebels in Ukraine and annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, some companies that were part of the sanctions list have to find a way to continue doing business in overseas markets. For Kalashnikov Concern, the U.S. market is their biggest market for the export of their AKs and Saigas, having a local partner in the form of the Tullytown, Pennsylvania-based Russian Weapons Company (RWC Group LLC.).

    Since the sanctions began, the importation of AKs to the U.S. are illegal, which also means the supplies of AKs for the U.S.  civilian market where there is a high demand, will soon become low even if the company has enough inventory for now.

    But if they are locally made "Made in the USA" AKs, then that would not be a problem since what are covered by the sanctions are the imports, which is otherwise called "import substitution". That's the move taken by the RWC Group LLC to meet the growing demand for AKs which they announced during the SHOT Show 2015 in Las Vegas.

    Kalashnikov Concern is perfectly ok with it, according to Sputnik News, a newly-launched Russian media group:

    "The production of the Kalashnikov Concern has traditionally maintained its leadership positions on the American market. The introduction of sanctions has substantially increased interest in the Concern's production, and we believe that such a move on the part of the RWC [Russian Weapons Company] is completely logical under the present circumstances. We can only note that such a step once again highlights the popularity of the legendary AK assault rifle," a spokesperson for the company said.

    RWC is not even permitted to contact Kalashnikov Concern as part of the sanctions and this decision for import-substitution is their own to make without any consideration on how Kalashnikov Concern will react. Perhaps the Russians are looking far ahead, that when the Ukrainian crisis blows over, and the sanctions lifted, they will formalize the relationship with RWC to be local distributor and manufacturer of Kalashnikovs via licensing agreements.

    There is no information yet where RWC will be setting up a factory as reports last month state that they are still looking for a suitable location. So far, the reaction of the local market to an American-made AK has been positive.


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    5APCA Winners Announcement

    It was two grueling months of close calls and now finally announce the winners of the 5th Airsoft Players' Choice Awards. We said it was grueling as there were lots of close calls in various categories, especially those for the companies and organisations defending their crowns.

    Winners of the 5th Airsoft Players' Choice Awards are chosen by Popular Airsoft readers via the Nomination and Voting Periods, a process which is tedious, but makes sure that the winners do deserve the votes of our readers.

    Our thanks to all our readers who cast their votes, without your participation, the biggest online airsoft event, won't be pulled off for the 5th straight year. We know you want to know if you have won one of the raffle prizes, but you'll need to wait for another days as we prioritise the winners of the various categories.

    We say congratulations to the winners of the 5th Airsoft Players' Choice Awards! (Please contact us immediately as we need to get your shipping address)

    Best Airsoft Retailer for North America

    Evike.com

    Best Airsoft Retailer for Europe

    Gunfire

    Best Airsoft Retailer for Asia

    RedWolf Airsoft

    Best Airsoft Magazine (Print or Digital)

    Airsoft International

    Best English Language Airsoft News Website

    Arnies Airsoft

    Best Non-English Language Airsoft News Website

    Toy Soldiers Airsoft

    Best Airsoft Blog

    Hyperdouraku

    Best Online Airsoft Community/Forum

    Reddit /r/airsoft

    Best Airsoft Video (Posted Online in 2014)

    Airsoft GI How to Get a Girl to Play Airsoft

    Best Airsoft Event (with over 500 players)

    Border War 6 The Sunseeker

    Best Airsoft Podcast or Video Channel

    DesertFox Airsoft

    Best Tactical Gear Manufacturer

    5.11 Tactical

    Best Eye/Face Protection Manufacturer

    Oakley SI

    Best Airsoft Upgrade/Parts Maker

    MadBull Airsoft

    Best Airsoft Kaboom! Manufacturer (Grenades, Pyros)

    Airsoft Innovations

    Best Airsoft Pistol (regardless of power source)

    Tokyo Marui Glock 17  Gen 3

    Best Airsoft Gas Rifle

    GHK G5 GBB

    Best Airsoft Electric Airsoft Gun

    Tokyo Marui HK416D NEG

    Best Airsoft Gun Manufacturer

    Tokyo Marui

    Special Airsoft Players’ Award

    Jet DesertFox

    Special Popular Airsoft Award

    Javier "Darkhorse" Franco
    One Grunt's Opinion
    For Outstanding Airsoft Opinions

    Please take time to click on the logos of our sponsors and visit their websites. Without them, the Awards won't be a reality and there will be no cool raffle prizes to give away:

    MAIN PRESENTER

    GOLD SPONSORS

    GENERAL SPONSORS

     


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    5APCA Raffle Winners Announcement

    What else can we do to thank the Popular Airsoft readers for their cooperation on the 5th Airsoft Players' Choice Awards but to give them the chance to win exciting raffle prizes courtesy of sponsors and supporters? We sure hope the prizes have given them enough proper motivation to nominate and vote in the biggest online airsoft event?

    Some advisory for raffle winners are in order. Please do take note that custom charges for the delivery of the raffle prizes are borne by the winners. If you are based in the United Kingdom, and have won an airsoft gun, please do furnish us with your VCRA Valid Defence such as your UKARA Number. If you cannot furnish us, then your prize will be forfeited and the award will be raffled off again.  If you are based in the USA, then we shall paint your airsoft gun with an orange muzzle.

    Below is the list of the raffle prize winners and their corresponding prizes. We have blotted some portions of their email address for privacy (and anti-spam) purposes and we shall be emailing them shortly that they have won a raffle prize.

    Congratulations to the raffle winners. We hope you love the prizes!

    ARMAND 
    armand.******@orange.fr

    France

    Tokyo Marui HK417 Early Variant Recoil Shock

    Owen
    firebreath****@gmail.com
    United Kingdom

    Tokyo Marui M870 Breacher Gas Powered Shotgun

    Peter
    ****sniper@yahoo.com
    U.S.A.

    Tokyo Marui HK45 Gas Blowback Pistol

    Arnulfo
    arnulfo_******@yahoo.es
    Spain

    Tokyo Marui M&P9 Gas Blowback Pistol

    Rikkert
    rp******@immaterium.com
    Netherlands

    E&L Airsoft EL-104 AEG

    Karl-Heinz
    karl-heinz*********@t-online.de
    Germany

    Specna Arms SA-V01 AEG

    Michael
    ***airsoft@gmail.com   
    Ireland

    Paulina
    paulina*****@gmail.com   
    Poland

    Pedro
    ******.preto@sapo.pt   
    Portugal

    Rockets BBs, Flashlight, Gloves, & Promotional Gadgets.

    Kaihiro
    kaihiro****@i.softbank.jp
    Japan

    ESS - Profile TurboFan Goggles - Foliage Green

    Don't you love participating at the 5th Airsoft Players' Choice Awards? Please take time to click on the logos of our sponsors and visit their websites. Without them, the Awards won't be a reality and there will be no cool raffle prizes to give away:

    MAIN PRESENTER

    GOLD SPONSORS

    GENERAL SPONSORS


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    Airsoft Meetup 2015

    Indeed you are! We are proud to announce that the  Airsoft Meetup 2015 is definitely on! The annual gathering of airsoft media to listen and ask questions at the airsoft industry under one roof is going on its 4th year. This event takes place during the IWA & Outdoor Classics, the massive international outdoors, firearms, tactical gear, and airsoft event in Nuremberg, Germany.

    The who's who in airsoft in Europe as well as internationally will be there, including some of the winners of the 5th Airsoft Players' Choice Awards as the awards ceremony takes place during the Airsoft Meetup.

    If you are going to the IWA & Outdoor Classics 2015, then you're most definitely invited to Airsoft Meetup 2015. Please do take note of the schedule:

    Airsoft Meetup
    8 March 2015
    1300H to 1630H
    Hong Kong Room
    Nürnberg, Messe
    Nuremberg, Germany

    Please download this image showing the location of the Hong Kong Room:

     

    SO WHO CAN ATTEND THE AIRSOFT MEETUP?

    Anyone who has access as a trade or media visitor to the IWA & Outdoor Classics 2015 and has interest in airsoft can attend the Airsoft Meetup:

    Exhibitors (Airsoft Manufacturers, Tactical Gear Makers, Distributors etc.)

    If you are an exhibitor at the IWA 2015 & Outdoor Classics with the airsoft market as one of your segments, you are invited to join us and mingle and given the opportunity to present your products or plans either via slide presentation or a "show and tell" to the airsoft media and other interested individuals and purchasers. If you intend to give a presentation, please contact us immediately so that we can schedule it (15 minutes). We still are still searching for some additional speakers.

    Airsoft Media

    This meet-up is also for the airsoft media such as magazines, blogs, and news sites to touch base and compare notes with one another. Most have been cooperative with one another, and this meetup will help them discuss in an informal way on how to improve airsoft reporting for the airsoft community and the general public.

    Airsoft Enthusiasts

    You're also welcome to attend and watch since after all, you're the main target market for the abovementioned groups. So if you want to look at the latest presentations and plans, then you might want to include the airsoft meetup in your schedule whilst attending IWA 2015 & Outdoor Classics.

    BOOK YOUR SLOTS NOW!

    There are limited slots for this meetup as we have 75 seats available. In order to get your seat, better get your ticket now.

    See you in Germany in March!


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    Bug-A-Salt Camofly 2.0

    Over two years ago, we wrote about the Bug-A-Salt, which is what we call as the ultimate weapon in the Total War On Bugs, in this case, against the pesky housefly. The invention helps in eliminating flies in the home without resorting to chemicals and instead uses the ordinary table salt as ammo. It was such a fun and effective device that its Indiegogo campaign that it raised over half a million dollars, way, way over the inventor's target of US$15,000.

    Even with that cash hoard, the Bug-A-Salt went back to Indiegogo to raise funds for their Bug-A-Salt 2.0 Camofly Edition with a target funding of US$50,000 which was already achieved as of this writing. We don’t know if they really need the money, but what I think what they're after is feedback, and see how their customers on Indiegogo.com would react to another Bug-A-Salt version. Well, I guess the feedback is good as they have achieved the funding goal with 25 days to go.

    The Bug-A-Salt 2.0 Camofly Edition, comes with its own camo pattern, obviously. Perhaps not as effective as the camo patterns that we’re used to airsoft, but it's all in theme of the perpetual war against flies. But what really is important are the upgrades that makes the Bug-A-Salt 2.0 more effective than the original as shown in the image below:

    Apart from those upgrades, what attracts us to the Bug-A-Salt is that it is a non-toxic fly killer and actually doesn't leave a mess as the dead fly remains intact for easy removal and cleaning. It is also cost-effective as it uses cheap and readily available table salt. It doesn’t require batteries, just your quick pump-action skills to make sure that no fly can escape death once you aim and shoot at it. Also, you can easily reach hard to reach corners and ceilings, especially with increased power and range.

    If you want to pledge, there are various perks offered by Lorenzo Maggiore, its inventor, including the package deal of getting Bug-A-Salt 2.0 in its original color and the Camofly. An added benefit of getting the Bug-A-Salt is that 5 dollars of your purchase is also set aside for the support of veterans.

    The Bug-A-Salt 2.0 Camofly Edition can be found on the Indiegogo and the crowdfunding campaign ends March 7, 2015.


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    AMS Flyye Industries Gear

    Flyye Industries Tactical gear occupies a place among milsim airsofters somewhere near the center of affordability, durability and functionality. Unlike other Chinese tactical gear manufacturers, Flyye Industries uses actual 1000D Invista Cordura and licensed patterns, which is why they have garnered a well-earned reputation for producing high quality gear that exceeds its price.

    Building a new airsoft loadout is always an exploration into what you value most on your kit, and working with Flyye’s extensive catalog gives you a lot of flexibility. We decided to build a loadout that’s sure to satisfy even the most demanding airsoft player in any situation using only Flyye gear.

    The base of this build is the Flyye Industries MOLLE JPC, a light weight plate carrier with three integrated M4 mag pouches, front-and-rear MOLLE, shoulder pads w/ hydration hose retention straps, front-and-rear foam plates and an open-sided cummerbund for increased ventilation. Unlike most JPC style plate carriers on the market, the Flyye version features shoulder straps made from thick single sheet nylon material for increased durability. This JPC’s sleek minimalist design has become widely popular with airsofters, and makes for an excellent platform for customization on a light, low-profile frame and is a great start to any airsoft loadout.

    Three magazines isn’t enough for most milsim airsoft scenarios, so we’ve slapped on a MOLLE M4 triple magazine pouch. The triple M4 magazine pouch uses elastic retention straps, just like the JPC, and sports a tight profile to the plate carrier. This accessory pouch also features exterior MOLLE webbing for potential additions for a more robust kit, but in the interest of a more mobile loadout, we’ll leave it at that.

    At the top front face of the plate carrier is Flyye’s admin panel with a pistol mag pouch, soft hook and loop fasteners and an internal storage compartment, handy for carrying a physical map, objectives, or a wallet. The pistol magazine pouch is not just a good choice for those with a sidearm, it’s also an excellent space to carry a 90 round speedloader, invaluable for long periods of sustained play.

    On the rear is the Flyye 1000D Cordura MOLLE MBSS Hydration System Backpack, an excellent day pouch with two storage spaces, patch space, tightening straps, side-mounted MOLLE and a release hole for a hydration hose. Larger hydration packs are better as they rarely have a large profile and can be utilized for extra storage, and the Flyye MBSS is no exception.

    But a plate carrier alone won’t do for truly serious airsofting, so we’re going to deepen this kit by adding on a Flyye MOLLE Gen 2 BLS Bravo Combat Belt. A wide platform with comfortable mesh and internal non-slip silicone makes this system comfortable and useful, conveniently coming with a (removable) belt right out of the bag so it’s immediately ready for use but can be easily replaced with a belt of your preference.

    On the right side of the battle belt is a Flyye 1911 Right Handed Pistol Holster in genuine Multicam, which is also perfect fit for certain airsoft GBB pistols (as shown). Two layers of straps keep the sidearm secure and there’s no wobble whatsoever. Just in front of the holster is a MOLLE Flash Bang Grenade Pouch on the right side for easy and rapid use, made of tough Cordura fabric like the rest of this Flyye loadout.

    On the left is a MOLLE Roll-Up Drop Pouch, a tough drop pouch that has straps which fix easily to all sorts of systems, from MOLLE to any belt. The pouch rolls up easily to be non-obstructive when not in use and is to the left of this kit on account of me being a right handed player, sitting exactly where my hand would go if my left arm was at rest. Just behind that is a MOLLE Vertical Accessory Pouch, a useful general-purpose pouch for personal items, extra ammunition, objectives, bandages and any other non-combat item one would prefer to have easily at hand.

    Last is the Flyye Industries Horizontal Modular MOLLE Spec Ops Thin Utility Pouch. Horizontal utility pouches are excellent general-purpose carrying pouches (you can never have too much carrying space) and this one has even more space than initially meets the eye. Even better, the pouch does not sag below the belt line, meaning it will never make sitting uncomfortable or obstructive! Some might consider having two pouches redundant (even if we ignore the hydration pack) but it’s useful to have one pouch for immediately necessary things (game bandages, smartphones, BB ammo) and another for things you’ll need later (lunch, wallet, GPS transmitter, even more BB ammo.)

    Everyone has their own approach to building a kit, and there are some things that we’ve left out that others would find essential such as a radio pouch, easily removable backpack, or more a more robust set of MOLLE on the side panels of the plate carrier. But that’s the wonderful thing about MOLLE based loadouts, especially from companies that create products as diverse and durable as Flyye Industries: fixing those problems is often just a different pouch and a few minutes away!

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    Disclaimer: This article is an advertorial by Airsoft Megastore. Sponsors/advertisers of Popular Airsoft are allowed to have advertorials posted on a case to case basis.  This article reflects the views of Airsoft Megastore rather than Popular Airsoft.


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    British Shooting - Airsoft Show 2015

    I usually dread making a long travel on the 13th of February. I may not really be a superstitious guy, but I do experience some bad luck on a Friday the 13th. But when compared to disappointing my wife for spending time with her on Valentine's Day which is today, then I'd rather risk the Friday the 13th travel than her wrath for the weekend. I'm sure any sane husband or partner would totally agree with my decision.

    Apart from the usual delays in the British rail network, my trip to Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire to attend the British Airsoft Show, which is a part of The Great British Shooting Show, was uneventful, thank god. I expected an average number of visitors on this day, being a working day, as compared to Saturday where there is am expected deluge of visitors. Indeed, it wasn't as crowded and as busy as the second day.

    Some initial photos taken on the British Shooting Show areas before I headed off quickly to the British Airsoft Show which is in the colder part of the Exhibit Hall where the first things to greet me were some military vehicles in the middle of the area, perhaps to fill up the area since it looked like there were fewer exhibitors as compared to the last time we were here.

    Glancing to my left and you won't hardly miss it is the RedWolf Airsoft UK booth where they have a practical shooting booth where you can have a go for some defensive airsoft shooting for 2 quid. Greeting Chris and Gaz of RedWolf Airsoft UK plus a mandatory group photo of the RedWolf Airsoft UK crew. Nigel of Airsoft Action Magazine was there too so the gang's there and as always some light banter and some catching up. This year, Airsoft International Magazine didn't put up a booth as compared in the past two years.

    For this year, the skirmish area of Stirling Airsoft is half as it was before, but still a good number of visitors showed up to experience force on force airsoft. For a more "Call of Duty" Experience, the Band of Brothers Airsoft have setup an interactive tent where visitors can shoot at video game screen using airsoft guns. We'll have a video of that ready next week.

    The Grange have a busy booth where they mostly airsoft guns on display rather than tactical gear which generated more attraction. Jim Septhon showed to me that he has more HPA-powered airsoft systems, including the new Tippmann Airsoft M4 blowback HPA-powered airsoft gun.

    Incentive Designs UK, the guys behind the RED and the VENOM MFG have their booth as well and manned by brothers Martin and Andrew Honeywill. They have on display their massive China C-42 Grenade Launcher on display that reminds of you’re the China Lake Pump Action Grenade Launcher and more devices that Milsim people who love to have in their baskets.

    Other airsoft retailers on the show floor as the moment are BadgerTac, JD Airsoft, Dave's Customs, CQC LTD, Airsoft Zone, Epic Militaria, Armex, and Tactical Kit. But according to the British Airsoft Show website, there are more exhibitors. Perhaps those who weren't around yesterday planned to setup today.

    I also went for a quick check of the main British Airsoft Show where the latest in hunting and outdoors are on display. This is not exactly a defence show with more badass rifles, but more of firearms that are allowed locally, which are mainly airguns and shotguns, given the strict laws on guns in the UK.

    Before I packed up and joined in the rush hour trip back to Coventry Train Station, I took time to cover a game of Stirling Airsoft where some airsofters were up against some Cadets from the Army Cadet Force for some good fun of rescuing a hostage and the usual search and destroy skirmish.

    The good thing about going on the first day of the British Airsoft/Shooting Show is that for those who are planning to do some shopping, you always get first dibs at the what’s on offer there and avail of show discounts. A good number of airsofters got some of good ones with one actually bringing a trolley along as if he were doing some groceries at Tesco's. I almost got  myself some 5.11 Tactical stuff, but stopped myself when I realised that I still had some vouchers with massive discounts to use at an online gear retailer.

    If you have an understanding girlfriend/boyfriend, wife/husband, or partner who'll let you go today today instead of that Valentine's date, then take the chance the visit the show to support the local airsoft industry. Or perhaps you have planned with her/him early on that your date will be in the midst of guns, knives, and outdoor gear, then the Show is the place to be. Just make sure you have some roses and chocolates to bring along just to make Cupid happy or you'll get an arrow in the butt.

    More photos of the British Shooting Show and British Airsoft Show at the Popular Airsoft Facebook Page.


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    CoolBox

    Last year we wrote about the "Coolest Cooler" which probably is the ultimate cooler that you would want to bring to an airsoft event, a concert, festival, or an outdoor party. It almost has everything you would need to feed and keep cool a small crowd. You can even have a small dance party with its built-in Bluetooth speakers.

    Now, we probably have the coolest toolbox, which the designers call as the "CoolBox" which they claim as a "smart toolbox" that airsoft gunsmiths and handymen would love to bring along wherever they go. What the designers had done to the toolbox, which is already a very handy portable storage box, is redesign it into something even more useful and fun to have around.

    Both the Coolest Cooler and the Coolbox have some similar features such as wheels, bluetooth speakers, LED lighting, and USB ports to recharge portable devices since they came with internal rechargeable batteries. Whilst  the Coolest Cooler focuses on food and drinks, the Coolbox has features designed to help the airsoft gunsmith work on custom project or repair and airsoft gun such as white board for the dimensions and measurements and a tablet stand. The tablet stand is a very thoughtful addition since one can check on references online such as YouTube DIY videos, troubleshooting tips, using the onboard calculator for measurements, and of course, for that occasional entertainment such as watching a video or playing a game app.

    It also comes with a Retractable Power Cord to charge the battery via a power outlet and can pass through to charging and powering other devices. It also has a 3-way splitter so more devices can be charged or use electricity at the same time.

    Another thoughtful feature is the clock to help keep track time.

    Just don't forget to put your important tools in it and ready to go once you get one of these.

    The CoolBox crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo has already reached its initial funding goal of US$50,000 and raised already over US$170,000 with 25 days to go. Whilst you can pledge a minimum of US$1, to be one of the first owners, you can actually pledge a minimum of US$169 for a limited time. The planned retail price for the CoolBox once it goes on a full commercial release is US$299.00. You better hurry as the pledge amount goes up once the limited time lapses.

    There you go, a toolbox that does more than just merely store the tools you need for your next airsoft project or any DIY project  you're planning to start. If you think this deserves to be a commercial possibility and available in the market, then perhaps you might want to pledge some amount to fund this and turn it into a reality.


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    Call of Duty 2015 Championship

    Announced last January is the Call of Duty Championship 2015. Set for March 27-29 in Los Angeles, players will shoot it out for a total of US$1 million in prizes and sponsored by Microsoft/XBox and Major League Gaming. For this year, amateur gamers, who think they can mix it up with some of the best FPS video game, as long as they can meet the tournament rules and regulations, can now join in the event.

    By tomorrow, tickets will be open to the public by 10am PST at the Major League Gaming website. Tickets start at US$50 Gold Package includes a three day pass, , Call of Duty Championship 2015 Premium Personalization Pack token, and a token to download Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s “Ascendance” DLC.

    For those who are going to pay Platinum Package of US$100, they get pretty much what those who paid for the Gold Package plus VIP seating and the Call of Duty Championships 2015 sweatshirt.

    Curious what the Call of Duty Championship 2015 Premium Personalization Pack token is, it has three new reticles, calling card, a golden weapon camo, Championship Exoskeleton, Championship Helmet, etc. For those who want to have this ahead, they can order it from the Xbox Live online entertainment network for US$3.99.

    For the professional gamers, the qualifying rounds are done with XBox One with qualifying tournaments held in Asia, Australia, North America, South America and Europe. The games will be broadcasted live in MLG.tv.

    With this approach of making the tournament open to the Public, Call of Duty publisher Activisionaims aiming to "boost eSports to new heights." Game developer Slegehammer's co-founder Glen Schofield said in a statement: "We developed Advanced Warfare with the competitive community in mind, and we can't wait for the top talent from around the world to compete in the Call of Duty Championships."

    And that means major multiplayer warfare next month in Los Angeles.


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    AMS Custom Airsoft Gun Builder

    If you miss the Weapon Blender Gun Builder, then miss it no more as there's another interactive  custom airsoft gun builder that is  now online and we do like what it promises to the airsoft player. In what probably is a bright future for online airsoft retail, Airsoft Megastore (AMS) just unveiled their AMS Custom Airsoft Gun Builder.

    Our gripe about the Gun Builder of Weapon Blender (which is now offline) is that there is no real-time calculation of costs as based on the prices of the parts and accessories put into the custom build. Airsoft Megastore's version does it better and we hope that they continue on improving the system since for now it's still in its early version and only available for the AR/M4 platform. The AK Platform will be following soon.

    This means that you can put your own custom airsoft gun together depending on your budget. You can mix and match and watch the total price for your build displayed. If it's over your budget, you can remove a part here, an accessory there, until you are satisfied with the build and the price quoted  by the interactive gun builder. Place your order and the gunsmiths of Airsoft Megastore will do the rest. All you have to do is relax and wait until it's delivered to your doorstep.

    It would be nice if it has a drag, drop and remove option like Dr. Noob's "Pimp My Gun" which would make it even more interactive and a treat to use.

    We'll let Ross Collins explain further on how you are going to use the AMS Custom Airsoft Gun Builder in this video:

    The beauty of this gun builder, apart from the real-time cost calculator, is that each part and accessory you put has a description and product information for you to understand what you're putting on your custom airsoft gun. This means that you are fully aware of the specifications, features, and pricing of each part and accessory. Overall, you are in full control on what goes into your airsoft gun. All Airsoft Megastore has to do is put together your custom airsoft gun according to your exact specifications.

    These days, we want things customized or personalized according to our tastes, and the internet and computer software allow for that. Airsoft Megastore is very much aware of that and has created a very useful tool that we highly suggest that you visit the AMS Custom Airsoft Gun Builder page to kick the tires and find out how what it lacks and tell them what they need to improve on.

    This means more work for the web guys of Airsoft Megastore as the gun builder needs to be further improved in terms of product database and weapons platforms that can be customized. If you like what you see and find it  a very useful interactive tool with lots of potential, we highly suggest then help them improve the gun builder such as reporting bugs to fix and making feature requests that they can include in future version.


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    Karakorum Qougar/Cougar

    We're back to writing about Muzzle Flash Devices today. It is just ironic that much research is being put into minimizing muzzle flash signatures in real steel guns; but for airsoft, we welcome such feature, no matter if these reveal positions of airsoft shooters. In our quest for the realism in our airsoft guns, we welcome recoil, muzzle climb, blowback, and muzzle flash. These are gun characteristics that gun designers want to eliminate.

    Muzzle Flash Devices are now back in the airsoft market in electronic form. The more known one is the Venom MFG (Muzzle Flash Generator) made by UK-based Incentive Designs. We have reviewed this device and actually been impressed by it.  But soon, it will face competition from another Muzzle Flash Device designed in the birthplace of airsoft, Japan.

    Called the "Quogar/Cougar" and made by Qaraqorum/Karakorum, it works on the same principle as the Venom MFG as it uses LED lights to simulate Muzzle Flash with a sensor that activates the lights when a BB is fired. The Cougar looks similar to the Noveske KX3 Fire Pig Sound Amplifier which in airsoft is being produced by MadBull Airsoft.

    The LED lights in the Venom MFG  are more recessed as compared to the Cougar. When you fire the AEG with a Cougar installed, the Muzzle Flash effect also looks nice to see on camera under low light conditions. We wonder if this works well in daylight as the Venom MFG actually does work well under sunlight, the flash being visible.

    An unintended effect of these Muzzle Flash Devices is the gun smoke effect when installed on Gas Blowback airsoft guns. This is an effect seen with the Venom MFG, and remains to be seen if the Cougar can do the same as it was designed with AEGs in mind.

    For now, Incentive Designs do not have to worry about the competition as Cougar is not yet commercially available. Karakorum are expecting it to be available in Spring with no pricing announced yet and if they are going to sell it outside of Japan. Still, it’s nice to see options in Muzzle Flash Devices/Generators in the airsoft market, giving us airsoft players more choices.


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    Aliens (1986)

    Colonial Marines! Prepare for your next mission! In what probably the most anticipated Alien movie since the 1986 Aliens by James Cameron (the following Alien movies were darn awful, IMHO that I can't recall what they were) and the spin-off movie Prometheus by the original Alien director Ridley Scott, another Alien movie is set to start production. Alien 5 is going to be directed by another in-demand sci-fi director these days, Neill Blomkamp.

    If you don't know him, perhaps these movies might help you refresh your mind: District 9, Elysium, Chappie, and the short film Halo: Landfall. If you did like his previous works, chances are you are expecting a fresh approach to the Alien movie franchise.

    Neill Blomkamp himself posted on Instagram to confirm the project, sorta:

    Um... So I think it's officially my next film. #alien

    A photo posted by Brownsnout (@neillblomkamp) on Feb 18, 2015 at 3:55pm PST

    Blomkamp is a big fan of the Alien franchise, and now taking the helm of the next movie in the franchise is something big for him. He has worked with Sigourney Weaver in the movie Chappie and we wonder if they are going to team again in Alien 5 as we expect another set of thrilling and chest-bursting scenes as the aliens try to wreck havoc in all gore and glory on screen. Weaver actually said she would like to be in the movie as Ripley again if Blomkamp is going to direct it.

    More Instagrams of the concept art that Blomkamp is working on:

    Oh shit

    A photo posted by Brownsnout (@neillblomkamp) on Jan 1, 2015 at 6:06pm PST

    #ripley #hicks

    A photo posted by Brownsnout (@neillblomkamp) on Jan 1, 2015 at 5:49pm PST

    Prometheus, which is the prequel to Alien, will be having its Prometheus 2 sequel due for release in March 2016 and Alien 5 is said to be set right after Prometheus 2. We might expect release of Alien 5 in 2017 instead.

    That's still two years of waiting so a lot of time to dust off that airsoft M41A Mark 2 Pulse Rifle either from Jing Gong or the G&P kit for the Tokyo Marui M1A1 AEG. Those who have their Colonial Marines loadout will be using them again as Alien goes back to the silver screen.


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    Operation Bad Blood 2015

    Operation Bad Blood, Evike.com's Appreciation Game has got even bigger each year, especially when the company threw its strength behind it. It has become the largest airsoft event in the Northeastern United States, drawing players from many parts of the East Coast and hitting over 1,000 players.

    Conceived initially as a charity game by Moondog Industries and NYC Airsoft for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, for 2014 Op Bad Blood expands even further, and will be hitting both the East and West Coasts.  They won't happen at the same time as Op Bad Blood East set for 13-14 June at Paintball Sports in Plate Kill, New York and Op Bad Blood West set for 2 May at Arc Airsoft in Hollister, California.

    Op Bad Blood West is also a charity event with the International Medical Corps being the intended recipient in support of their Ebola Treatment Efforts and the California Academy of Sciences. Op Bad Blood West still maintains support for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and added the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation as recipient for this year. Moondog makes sure that the events he organises always have a charity component.

    Both events will have the same storyline:

    In the aftermath of an outbreak of Ebola, a third of Congo’s population is dead and the country is in open civil war. The country is split into 6 warring factions. The CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control) has put out a bounty for fresh virus samples from the effected regions to try and isolate the new ebola strain. Each of faction has sent armed medical teams into the hot zone in the tribal territories to find them.

    Op Bad Blood East is a 2-day event, with the second day being a sneak preview for this year's Tantalum Contract and the zombie-themed airsoft game OP: Dead Blood.

    Tickets for both events can be purchased at the Evike.com online store but you will have to wait for them to announce when the tickets will be on sale. For now, the best is to learn more about both events at the NYCAirsoft.com forums.


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    Senate Bill 213 "Look-Alike Weapons Safety Act of 2015"

    With all the news about incidents in which people, including children, are shot for carrying airsoft guns in public across the States, that soon it will get the attraction of a legislator in the U.S. Congress. Indeed, it has gotten the attention of Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California), that she filed Senate Bill 213 (S.213) on the 21st of January 2015.

    Called the "Look-Alike Weapons Safety Act of 2015" it actually has a long title, the "To improve requirements for entering into commerce of imitation firearms, and for other purposes."

    According to the US. Congress website, here is the summary of the Bill:

    Amends the Federal Energy Management Improvement Act of 1988 to prohibit manufacturing, entering into commerce, shipping, transporting, or receiving any toy, look-alike, or imitation firearm unless the permanent color of the entire exterior surface is white, bright orange, or another specified predominant bright color. (Currently, imitation firearms are required to have only an orange plug inserted into the barrel.)

    Revises the definition of "look-alike firearm" to include traditional B-B and pellet-firing air guns that expel a projectile through the force of air pressure. Maintains the exclusion of paint-ball guns.

    For airsoft players all over the U.S.A., this means that the dreaded SB199 of Kevin De León in California which will take effect on 1 January 2016, might just become a Federal Law in the form of S.213. However the difference of SB199 from S.213 is that SB 199 requires certain portions if the imitation firearm (such as airsoft guns) apart from the orange muzzle to have 2 centimeter wide fluorescent colors. For S.213 it requires the entire exterior surface to have a bright color. You might as well convert all Nerf guns into airsoft guns.

    The bill right now is in the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation after being read twice when it was introduced into the Senate.

    What are the actions of the airsoft community in the U.S. to prevent the S.213 from progressing into the U.S. Senate so far? There are now moves to petition the U.S. Senators not to vote for the approval or lobby the members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation to pigeonhole it (the term for the legislative process of not doing anything).

    But overall, there is still no concerted action by the U.S. Airsoft Industry and the Airsoft Community for a unified campaign against S.213. They might as well learn the ropes of lobbying quickly now as this is not California anymore, this bill when it becomes into a law, will cover the entire United States.

    What to do now? It depends as there's no industry association at all (unless you consider the Airsoft Safety Foundation to be one), unless the Airsoft community is dependent on the NRA, NSSF, and other related industry associations to help kill the bill (it’s nice having allies). With the debacle that is SB199 in California, haven't the airsoft community learned its lesson of developing an effective lobbying effort (which means a national organization) to prevent airsoft from being regulated that it makes no sense to play it anymore? Airsoft associations in other countries which have stricter firearms laws than the U.S. have prevented such over regulation of airsoft on their own, why can't the U.S. airsoft community?

    S.213 may just be the worst nightmare for the American airsoft player that might come true.


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    HEAT 3 Smart

    I guess that got your attention --- Smart Gloves. With all these talk about smartphones, smartwatches, smartglasses, and dig this… smart beds, you won't be surprised if someone comes out with smart gloves. Indeed, there is one, and it's not a very new product. It has actually been around for several years now and was designed for special forces of Germany and Austria.

    It’s called Heat 3 Smart, for those expecting to have Wifi capabilities, it does not (nor does not come with apps). Developed by the Heat Company, it is actually a glove and mitten combination. The mitten part gives the Heat 3 the added insulation to help the gloves keep your hands warm. The glove is the inner layer which allows the operator to use the devices and be able to shoot the rifle without the need to remove the glove and exposing the hand to the extreme cold temperatures.

    Since it has been tested by German and Austrian special operations troops perhaps training in the Alps, then it must have already proven its worth to provide the warmth and comfort for the soldier operating under freezing conditions.

    The problem with winter gloves before was that it's hard to operate touchscreen devices such such as smart phones and tablet computers when wearing these. That means that you'll have to remove the gloves in order to touch the screen and that again leaves your hand exposed to cold weather.

    But now winter gloves are treated silver fabric in the index finger and thumb areas that would allow the wearer to use touch the screen without the need to remove the glove. The Heat 3 Smart has the same feature, which makes it touchscreen ready.

    The materials are goat leather which protect the palm area and Primaloft a synthetic microfiber thermal insulation material made for the U.S. Army in the 1980s. There is a compartment at the back of the mittens where you can store materials such as papers, maps, phones, or even hand warmers. There are safety straps with elastic cuffs to prevent them from being lost when they fall off.

    The Heat 3 Smart has been available in the U.S. for some time now and can be purchased from stores such as Amazon which sells it for US$199.95. If this freezing condition in the U.S. will continue for an extended period and you want to play airsoft at your snow-covered airsoft site, you might want to seriously consider getting a pair of these.


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    Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiments SOHG

    Yessiree! The more grenades stacked together, the more effective they become to take out the enemy in rooms and bunkers. Called the Scalable Offensive Hand Grenade (SOHG), this is a new type of hand grenade being tested by the U.S. Army and can perform better than the standard fragmentation grenade. To increase or decrease the power of the SOGH, you either stack up to three SOGHs together or remove them, depending on what the situation warrants.

    According to officials at the annual Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment at the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia, the testing have been completed successfully with the soldiers stacking up to three grenades and using them with devastating effect. Designed by Nammo, the grenades are actually being used by specops forces since 2010 and are called "Nammos."

    The grenades give you an initial impression of being like smoke grenade canisters, but they have a threaded base and a threaded circular necks for them to connect to the base of another SOHG grenade when stacking them up. Each canister contains 0.25lbs of explosives and with a maximum of three, a soldier can throw a total of 0.75lbs of explosives with the 3.5 second fuse.

    According to Kit Up! Harry Lubin, chief of the Experimentation Branch of MCOE’s Maneuver Battle Lab, said that a two module SOHG blast completely collapsed a one-room, adobe-style structure.

    Although Offensive Hand Grenades were designed to act differently from fragmentation grenades as they are made for the purpose of minimizing destruction of infrastructure and assets, the power by the SOHG when put together would allow the user to determine the amount of SOHGs needed to minimise collateral damage.

    It is still up the top officials of the U.S. Army if they are going to adopt the SOHG for use by the infantry. In case they do, they will have to implement another training regimen to ensure that soldiers are able to use the SOHG to their maximum (or minimum) effect when out there in battlefield. In these days where many if the fighting are done in highly dangerous urban area, grenades play a big role in clearing areas. The SOHG might just be the right grenade to use.


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