Thursday, 7 October 2010

Benelli M4 - Zombie Killer's Choice

Knew I was right buying the full length Benelli. As used by Tallahassee in Zombieland.

New Stuff

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

New Stuff

Double Eagle Benelli M4 Shotgun

For a while I had a hankering for a shotgun. Now whenever I've seen shotguns in action on the airsoft field, they never seem to be very effective so I didn't want to spend upwards of £150 on something that can only really be described as a whim purchase. Again, the Chinese come to my rescue in the form of the range of shotguns produced by Double Eagle. The one I really wanted was the shorter barrelled version, but in the end, and as result of the complete lack of stock of these guns, I went for the DE M56DL Tactical M4 Full length from Airsoft World.

Rather than re-type what I have already said about this gun, I'll post the review that I did for the Airsoft World website...

I bought this shotgun, the DE M56DL Tactical M4 Full length from Airsoft World. I ordered it on the Thursday morning, paid the extra for Saturday delivery and it duly arrived Saturday morning. When I opened the box I was very surprised with the quality of this fifty quid gun. It's sturdy and feels well made and solid with rubberised grip surfaces. The gun comes with a single cartridge, a pistol-mag style speedloader, a bag of cheap yellow ammo, two point sling and a small allen key (which seems to be for adjusting the nearsight). I took it out of the box and had a go straight away. It's a good sized gun, I'm six two and it feels big for me. The extending stock would help smaller folk, but it would still be bulky and just to reiterate, feels more expensive than the price tag suggests.

The pump action is pretty stiff, and it makes a solid noise when fired with no rattles from the internals. The gun fires three rounds each time and holds a single 30 round cartridge in the compartment just in front of the trigger guard and can keep a spare in the hollow in the pistol grip, but I'm not sure I'd trust it to stay in there. My only complaint, and it was something mentioned in the description text on the website, is that the stock tube does come loose, which it did almost immediately. This requires a really long 4mm allen key (about six inches, which I'm still trying to source) to do it up. A minor gripe, but still a bit of a pain if you don't have the right tool for the job. I'm going to threadlock it too when I find an allen key to tighten it up again. My only other problem is finding somewhere with the spare cartridges in stock, then I'm taking it out for a go at a skirmish. Considering the price paid for this gun, approximately a third of the cost of a comparable Marui item, it's a brilliant bargain. I may even buy the short barrelled version as well sometime.

What I would add to this is that when the stock comes loose (which in my experience is as soon as you take it out of the box) you will need the aforementioned really-fucking-long 4mm allen key. Six inches is the bare minimum length and don't think, like I did, that you have a socket screwdriver or similar because the inner diameter of the stock tube is too small to take socket screwdrivers or the adaptors that are usually found on the ends of them. After a lot of trial and error, I found a suitable allen key made by specialist cycle tool manufacturer Fat Spanner. This allen key has approximately six inches of exposed shaft and is just long enough. A bit pricey at £4.50 for a tool you may only use a couple of times, but always worth having the right tool for the job. I eventually bought one from Bunney's Bikes in Nottingham.

Last night, as you can see from the picture, I set it up in full tactical mode with the Aimpoint from my M4 and a torch and torch mount. The torch I've had for a while, the remote switch is a Spiderfire item and the mount was a cheap one off eBay. Looks pretty good like this.

Blackhawk Crossdraw Vest

I've wanted a Blackhawk vest for a while. Not something I was desperate for, but from watching Stargate and Blackhawk Down, I quite fancied owning a DOAV (Delta Operators Assault Vest) at some point. I'm still on the lookout for a DOAV as they don't seem to come up for sale very often. In the mean time, I'll settle for this crossdraw vest that I bought off the UKAZ forum recently. Not used it yet but I have tried it on and it's pretty comfy. It needs a bit of adjustment, of which there is plenty. Velcro adjusters on the shoulders and drawstring adjusters at the sides of the rear panel and I imagine that this would fit most people.

I'll write some more about this on the future when I've had more of a play with it, until then, enjoy the picture.

Ares M16 85 round magazines

I promised to take a couple of mates airsofting for the first time recently. I had guns to lend but not enough magazines so I bought a box of these Ares plastic 85 round mags. The three problems I ran into are thus:

1. They are a bit fatter than metal mags and asa a result, are a bit of a tight fit in both the Classic Army and Guarder receivers of my two Colt rifles. I dare say they'll wear down with use, but at present, it's a bit of a squeeze getting them to seat properly and then less than graceful trying to get them out again. Low speed, high drag.

2. They don't feed very well, at least the couple of times I used them over the course of a days skirmishing at Urban Assault, I had a couple of feed issues which resulted in me ditching the mag and going to the next available metal one.

3. They re described as black, the label on the box says black. They are mid- to dark grey at best.

Complaints aside, a bit of silicon spray will probably fix the feed issues, grey is nearly black and I'll just have to fight with them whenever I use them, and to be fair, they'll always be the last mags to be used. For £45 including postage from Zero One you can't complain too much if they don't last forever either.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Holster Bad-Assery

I've just found a link to Andrews Leather over at the Zombie Hunters Forum. Not only do they make a brain-blistering array of leather holsters, but they also have excellent 70s cop show style guys modelling their wares. My personal favourite - the Firepower rig, designed specifically for "narcs who wished to make a good first impression on their customers".

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Airsoft International Magazine

I very rarely criticise Airsoft International magazine. Yes, it is not the most accurate or informative publication in the world, but it supports Airsoft in this country and is only £4 a month so I can put up with a lot from it, hell, I've even learnt stuff from it on occasion, so generally, good job AI.

Unfortunately, in this month's edition there is an artice about British Commandos of world war 2. In this article, the word 'Catalyst' is printed as 'Cartelist'. Typos are expected in magazines, newspapers and websites. The hopeless inability to spell, in a national or in this case international magazine, is pretty unforgiveable.

C-, could try harder.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Completed Work - L119s & Warbelt

It's taken a long time but the L119A1 projects are finished. A Readymag is in the post, but apart from that, you see in front of you two finished guns.

The fullsize L119 consists of a Marui M4A1 RIS, although all that really remains is the stock and the internals. The 10" SFW is a piecemeal of Classic Army receiver and internals and Marui RIS.

The battlebelt has gone through a few incarnations but I'm finally happy with it. I'm trialling the weapon retention strap to see if I get on with it, this may stay or go but the rest is pretty much set in stone.

Apologies for the poor quality photos, I'll get some better ones up shortly. Just wanted to show off not one, not two, but three finished projects.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Michelle Rodriguez Publicity Shot for 'Machete' Movie

This movie looks better and better every time I see something about it...

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

The L119A1 Project: L119A1CQB

Some new bits arrived from Hong Kong this morning after being stung by customs for £25.99. These are the first stage of changing over my generic M4CQB into a 10" L119A1. I must be a glutton for punishment.

Most of it is largely cosmetic. It is essentially a Classic Army M4 with a Marui Receiver. I bought it from a mate a couple of years ago to tide me over while the fullsize 119 was being built. It's a good little gun and has done me well, so now it's going to get the UKSF treatment.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

New First & Only CQB Site in Leicester

First and Only Airsoft are continuing their plan for global domination with the opening of yet another site, this time in a disused shoe factory in Leicester.

The Leicester CQB site opens mid July. There's not much information up yet and I could find directions to see where the site was either, all in good time I guess.

Aologies for the terrible music on the following clip...

Machete Trailer

This could give The Expendables a run for it's money this summer.

MACHETE: Trailer. Watch more top selected videos about: Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal

Monday, 12 July 2010

The L119A1 Project: Lessons Learned

Once upon a time, there was a perfectly good Tokyo Marui M4A1RIS. One day, some idiot saw a thread on ASCUK about the L119A1 SFW, otherwise known as the Diemaco, the standard assault rifle of the UK special forces. The weapon came to prominence in the books 'Bloody Heroes' and 'Operation Certain Death' by Damien Lewis. The aforementioned idiot thought it would be a good idea to a) build his own L119A1 and b) make this his first airsoft rifle build project.

Anyone who has built an L119A1 will know the pain that this idiot went through. Initially, the components, such as the correct receiver, the barrel and the foresight were all very difficult to get hold of. Army Code produced limited runs of the barrel and then a very limited run of the extortionately priced foresight. DragonRed similarly did a limited run of the barrel which was far superior to the Army Code product (and the one that went on my rifle).

My personal build project also had the problem that the Marui RIS is shorter than the real M4 RIS and, by default, any accurate replica such as the Classic Army or DBoys M4 RIS which meant that the L119A1 barrel was built around the real thing, so that when installed, the Marui RIS was too short.

Cosmetic details apart, when I started this, I knew very little about the inner workings of the AEG. I know a lot more now and my next project (god help me) will be to upgrade a gearbox. When I put my L119A1 back together initially, it all seemed to work, but lacked power, range and accuracy. I had no idea what this could be so I scoured the internet for inspiration. As it happened, I thought I found the answer in the August 2010 issue of Airsoft International magazine. I sat down on Friday evening with tools and AI open on the table and pulled my gun apart.

The problem was in fact, twofold. When I bought the Guarder receiver, it came with various bits and pieces of cosmetic hardware as well as a new plastic one-piece hopup unit. With the hopup was a tiny piece of clear rubber tube, what I though was going to be a spare hop-bucking. This turned out to be the actual hop bucking. I thought that the hopup unit would be ready to install, complete with hop-bucking and the instructions (such as they were) gave me no reason to suspect otherwise. Being a complete novice, I left this essential piece of rubber out. As a result, practically no spin was being applied to the rounds coming out of the rifle and they were going all over the place.

Problem number two was where AI came in. The August edition featured numerous how-tos, one of which was upgrading a Marui M4 Sportline, very similar to the M4 RIS in most respects. One of the modifications that they suggested was to glue a small piece of plastic to the front of the hop-up to shim it against the receiver and push it up closer to the gearbox. I duly followed the instructions and it eventually worked. The piece of plastic I used was too think to start with but with some patient filing and inevitable swearing, I got it to fit very snugly, making the receiver pins quite tricky to get back in, but at least they won't drop out like they were prone to before this mod.

Threadlock and PTFE grease purchased from GEE DEE Models in Nottingham so the threads were locked and the gears greased (as much as possible), as were the sides of the gearbox to make it easier to insert back into the very snug receiver. All back together and a couple of rounds fire down the garden (much to the consternation of my fiancee and the three cats) and I can safely say that it appears to be firing as well as it ever was.

I'd like to say that I've enjoyed my first build project, but I can't. I'm very satisfied that it's finished (finished in as much as it is back together and working) and I've done it all myself, but it has been a right royal pain in the arse. I have learnt a lot and I may well start another build project in the future (most likely an L129A1 DMR). The L119 still has bog stock internals so the next job is to replace the barrel and upgrade the gearbox. I may get a shop to do the gearbox as I'm not feeling brave enough to butcher the gun again. If I can find a cheap, faulty gearbox, I may use that as a project base rather than ruining a good working gearbox, we shall see.

Almost as a postscript, I would like to mention Airsoft International magazine again. The magazine has it's critics, myself among them. Some of the spelling, grammar and punctuation leaves much to be desired, as much the fault of the proof readers as the authors and many of the articles are badly researched and lacking detail. that said, it is a very useful resource. I have been buying it for the last two years. Most of the articles I have read have not been particularly useful but some of them are worth their weight in gold, such as the one that helped to rescue my gun project, plus it supports Airsoft which is commendable in it's own right.

This gun has cost me around £500 including the donor gun. It has also cost me countless hours of frustration as well as days and days waiting for parts to arrive from China. To anyone considering building a custom project gun, think long and hard about why you want the gun and read everything you can about it, even if it seems irrelevent. And good luck.

Parts Summary:
Tokyo Marui M4A1RIS donor gun
Guarder Colt Canada metal receiver
DragonRed L119A1 barrel
Guarder large AR15 grip
DBoys PEQ-2
Marui M4 stock, stock tube, foresight, flash hider and internals
ACM ACOG 4x Scope
Marui BUIS stock pad (incorrect one - to be replaced)
Single-point sling mount (Unknown make - to be replaced)

Friday, 9 July 2010

Gear Review: Blackhawk Advanced Tactical Elbow Pads

I had a nice email the other week from Matthew Milner at telling me that he liked my site and would I add a link to his store. In return, he said send me a pair of Blackhawk Advanced Tactical Elbow Pads to review. Never one to refuse free stuff, I agreed. The pads arrived this week as promised so here goes.

The packaging is typical Blackhawk with the big, bold logo on the heavy cardboard header stapled to the cool (and also reusable) ziplock bag. Inside are a slightly dusty pair of Blackhawk elbow pads. Not sure what makes them advanced, guess that would be Blackhawk's marketing department (or possibly the ridge on the inside to help stop the slipping off your elbow). On first inspection, they seem pretty robust and well made. The rubber elbow cap, embossed with the Blackhawk logo, is reassuringly bulky and there is plenty of padding underneath. I've never been one for wearing elbow pads whilst playing airsoft, but I guess a few hefty knocks there would soon change my mind, especially somewhere like Urban Assault where there is plenty of door frames to clout your elbow on. Having been a BMX freestyle rider many
years ago, I know how much it hurts to fall on your elbow, these could have saved me a lot of pain many times over.

According to the Blackhawk website, and repeated on the PatrolStore pages, are the official list of features:

• Substantial protection in a lightweight, durable package
• Non-slip, flexible, molded polyurethane cap
• 600 Denier nylon shell
• New contoured interior ledge prevents pad from slipping downward
• Closed-cell foam padding provides excellent shock resistance and prevents water absorption
• Hook and loop elastic straps

When you put them on, they are pretty comfy and not particularly restrictive. I usually wear knee pads when playing on urban sites, my current choice of pad is the Alta Superflex. they are pretty good but still move around and dig the elastic into the back of your knees, makes me wonder what elbow pads would be like to wear all day. I'll give them a try and when I do, the after-action report on these pads will appear here in the near future. The one thing I did notice when putting them on was that the 'New contoured interior ledge' on the inside of one of the pads was slightly bigger on one pad than on the other. This ridge is there to help stop the pad slipping downwards off you elbow, it's a sort of lopsided foam cup inside the pad with the upper edge (that would go around the top half of you elbow) being more pronounced than the lower half. I'm guessing that this is a minor flaw in the production of this one set of pads and doesn't really affect the way they are worn and I imagine they will bed in a compact with use, it was just something I noticed when putting them on.

If you want to order a pair of the Blackhawk pads (available in Black, Olive or Coyote) for a very reasonable £16.99 (that's less than £8.50 an elbow, when you get to 40 you'll be glad you did), click along to or give Matthew a call on 01737 642 424.

On to the Patrol Store site. I hadn't heard of them before getting the email from Matthew. The site itself seems more geared towards Police equipment with the homepage showing links to a whole host of law enforcement duty gear. When you dig deeper, the site continues on this vein, but if you hunt around, you can find offerings from 5.11, Blackhawk, Hatch and Mechanix and boots by Lowa, Magnum and
Bates. The gadget fan in you will also be pleased to see knives, tools and torches from Gerber and Fenix and weapon optics from Aimpoint & Eotech.

It's always nice to find something you've never seen before and one of my favourite things on was the range of tactical vests from Protec Covert Equipment, like this this one. Again, these are exclusively aimed at police officers (the cuff, baton and pepper spray pouches give it away, along with the enormous 'POLICE' patch on the back) and, sadly, are only available to police personnel, but are cool nonetheless.

In summary, I would say that this site is not as useful to the airsoft world as a lot of the tactical gear sites out there, but it is still worth a visit and the friendly introduction I got to the site from Matthew coupled with the swift delivery of the pads can only speak well of their customer service.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Night Vision USA

Night Vision USA have a huge collection of high quality night vision equipment including night goggles, night vision cameras and rifle scopes at very attractive prices.

Peter Morris from NVUSA sent me an email asking if I could put up a link to his site. Having had a look at Night Vision USA, I'm more than happy to do so. they have a massive selection of NVG gear, day & night systems and thermal cameras. I don't know very much about night vision gear, but from what I do know, I'm very impressed with their range.

Night Vision USA

Gear Review: Warrior Grab Bag

Okay, so I've had this just over a year and I guess it's time I did a review on it. What we have here is a Warrior Grab Bag, originally bought about sixteen months ago from UK Tactical. I bought this bag in that tactical manbag frenzy that did the rounds about that time, just as the fad for Claymore bags was dying out and people were snapping up something cooler, more tactical and more expensive. I have to admit, I jumped on the manbag bandwagon with this, coupled with the fact that I wanted to buy myself a birthday present and didn't know what else to spend the money on.

Warrior do several configurations of their grab bag. All utilise the same basic bag but have options as to the pouch configuration attached to the front MOLLE straps, you can have 3 double 5.56mm mag pouches, two mag pouches and a holster, three single 5.56mm mag pouches or three smoke pouches all in either olive drab or tan. I ended up coughing up about £70 for the grab bag with holster and a spare magazine pouch for the single reason that each variation of the bag is £54.95. A spare mag pouch is £8.95 and the holster is £14.95 so this seemed like the best value for money.

At the time, I wasn't sure how useful this bag would be but I have ended up using it all the time as an everyday-carry bag with all my work stuff in, as well as a load of tat I don't really need but fulfills the GHB /BOB (get home bag/bug out bag) purpose of the item.

Since I bought the bag, I have replaced the mag pouches with two Warrior medium utility pouches that I bought from an airsoft forum. They are OD, and a little big, but work pretty well on the bag. When I get round to it, I may change these for a couple of Warrior small utility pouches in tan to match the bag, but I'll leave it as it is for now.

As far as I can tell, the bag, like much or Warrior's gear, is a copy of a much more expensive, US branded item. In this case, the Blackhawk grab bag. The Blackhawk bag is about £100, so this is pretty good value as far as I am concerned. If you are bothered by brand names, and would rather carry a US branded bag, feel free to go out and buy the Blackhawk one, but I would be inclined to say you were wasting money.

The Warrior grab bag has a single main compartment with two internal pockets, one of which is velcro lined (loop) and comes with velcro backed (hook) pistol mag pouch and an elastic loop backed with velcro (hook) that you could get a STANAG magazine in, but usually contains my iPhone which fits like a glove. The flap of the bag doubles as a map or document case with a clear plastic inner sleeve, accessed from the side by some hefty velcro. On one end of the bag is a small utility pouch, big enough for a cellphone, small PMR446 walkie talkie or field dressing. Mine contains my Petzl head torch. At the other end, originally, was a removable MOLLE double pistol mag pouch but this has been replaced with a 5.11 Water Bottle Pouch, another single pistol mag pouch was also attached to the MOLLE webbing on the bag's strap, but this has been removed and usually sits on my belt with my Leatherman in.

If I had to complain about one thing it would be that this grab bag isn't very grab-able, it would very much benefit from a grab strap as well as the shoulder strap, but apart from that, I've been very happy with my man-bag so far. My bag gets used every weekday for my general work and everyday-carry gear, some of which is probably not needed every day but I feel better carrying it with me. So far the bag is not showing any wear and tear despite being dumped in my car boot twice a day, there are a couple of scuffs on the buckles and the tiniest bit of wear on the bottom, but no signs of failure or breakage.

If I was going to complain about this bag, it would be that it should have a grab handle. When getting in and out of the car, or grabbing it from under the stairs, you have to grab a handful of shoulder strap or the bag itself.

Considering it is called a grab bag, it could be a bit more grab-able. The other minor gripe would be to have a removeable shoulder strap. I can't give a good reason for this, I just feel it would be useful and the quick-release clips (which usually have a swivel on) would make untwisting the strap easier. With a bit of work on the sewing machine, this mod would be easy to add, but it'd be nice if it came as standard. Whilst writing this article, I saw a thread on UKAZ advertising the new Flyye range over at eHobby Asia, which includes the FLYYE Low-Pitched Equ Bag (whatever that means), which is essentially the same bag (as far as I can tell from the pictures) as the Warrior one, but with a removeable shoulder strap.

The contents of my bag, should you be interested, usually resembles the following with room to spare for sandwich box or other miscellaneous tat (as you can see, you can get quite a bit of stuff in there):

Main Compartment
External HDD & cables
Phone & cable/charger
Misc USB cables
USB drive(s)
Misc paperwork, couple of CDs
Bluetooth headset

Front Right Pouch
Pocket Buddy containing Leatherman, Gerber Scout torch, spork, emergency whistle & sharpies/pens
Mini prybar
Small can of deoderant
Compass, Tool Logic credit card tool, mini-glowstick, Pen

Front Left Pouch
Sunglasses case containing Oakleys, Choob & Croakies
Headphones for phone

5.11 Waterbottle Pouch
Nalgene bottle & Firefly lid
Tatonka steel cup

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

L129A1 DMR

There seems to be a lot of interest about the new British Army sharpshooter/DMR rifle, the LMT L129A1 so here's a video. Looks good.

Link to Combat Arms article over on the LMT website.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Tactical Camera Gear: When Two Gear-Obsessed Worlds Collide

Being a keen photographer and tactical-gear nerd, I wondered if there was any middle ground between the two. Cameras are obviously used in the Military and Law Enforcement fields for surveillance and the like, so there must be a requirement for hard use gear for storing and transportation of expensive and fragile electronics and optics. I thought I'd look into it.

I'm currently using a LowePro Toploader bag for my Sony a200. It's okay for the time being as I just have the standard lens that came with the camera and a couple of small accessories and cables that just about fit in the front zip pouch, but if I need to carry anything else, like a tripod or gorillapod, I have to carry another bag or rucksack, which isn't ideal. Something bigger and more practical is required.

The first site I found having typed in 'tactical camera gear' into Google was this camera grip/mount thing made from a wooden rifle stock with a couple of RIS rails, a torch and bipod attached. Not only really cool but practical and not entirely very complicated to make. This has been added to the future projects list. Unfortunately not really what I was looking for. I'm also not sure what the Police in the UK would make of you carrying it round in public.

Back to the old search engine, there are, as I expected, a couple of options from some of the major tactical gear manufacturers like Diamondback Tactical, and Flyye as well as a couple of Chinese airsoft sites like Toy Soldier and Airsoft Club. The DBT offerings consist of a camera/optics bag and a camera/optics bag with a laptop sleeve on the front. Both look as though they are designed as an insert for a rucksack or assault pack, although I could be mistaken. Toy Soldier and Airsoft Club, obviously at the other end of the tactical gear price range, have more of a variety. Toy Soldier boasts several items including a camera go-bag, single-point sling type camera straps and a couple of chest rig style offerings, with Airsoft Club having a more multi-purpose, multicam shoulder bag at a very reasonable US$22.99.

Although not particularly tactical, but still worth a mention are professional level photographers luggage manufacturers CCS who have an excellent range of gear ranging from simple compact camera pouches to full blown camera and lens rucksacks. If you can't find a bag on there, you haven't looked hard enough.

MOLLE systems are nowhere near as exploited by the photography industry as they could be. I found a few manufacturers that made individual MOLLE components that, combined with a battle belt, chest rig or drop leg panel could be very useful, not to mention cool-looking. Items such as the Forward Observer pouch from Hazard 4, the Spec-Ops padded utility pouches as well as some of the more military-oriented MOLLE accessories like dump pouches or clamshell style medic pouches and you could have a very versatile as well as individual camera-bearing solution.

Finally, although not a manufacturer or retailer, this guy clearly knows how to put together a camera rig such as the one I mentioned above, making use of commercial MOLLE components. Read his blog here.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Coming Soon...

Once again, I've been a bit lazy with my posting. I've been doing some gear reviews but haven't got round to taking the photos yet, I'll try and do that this week.

Coming soon:

Gear Review: Warrior Grab Bag one and a bit years on.
Gear Review: 5.11 Tactical Nalgene pouch/Flyye Nalgene Pouch Comparison
Tactical camera gear
Site Review:
Gear Review: Blackhawk Elbow Pads

That's what's coming your way when I can get round to doing them. Stay tuned.

Monday Gunfight

A bit of a teaser for the upcoming Expendable movie. Enjoy

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Armadillo Documentary Movie Trailer

'Armadillo' is a new Danish movie currently showing at the Cannes Film Festival. If the trailer is anything to go by, this account of the conflict in Afghanistan from the perspective of two Danish soldiers and, if the trailer is anything to go by, this movie is going to be dark and harrowing and difficult to watch in places. Beautifully shot though with some stunning action scenes, made all the more dramatic because you know they're real.

Synopsis (from the website):

ARMADILLO is an upfront account of growing cynicism and adrenaline addiction for young soldiers at war.

Mads and Daniel are on their first mission in Helmand, Afghanistan. Their platoon is stationed in Camp Armadillo, right on the Helmand frontline, fighting tough battles against the Taliban. The soldiers are there to help the Afghan people, but as fighting gets tougher and operations increasingly hairy, Mads, Daniel and their friends become cynical, widening the gap between themselves and the Afghan civilisation. Mistrust and paranoia set in causing alienation and disillusion.

Armadillo is a journey into the soldier’s mind and a unique film on the mythological story of man and war, staged in its contemporary version in Afghanistan.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Obscene Revolver

So sweet, but ridiculous at the same time. Although, if you're gonna have a massive revolver, why not go balls out and get one like this.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Email from Chinese battery Manufacturer

This just turned up in my Spambox. Not sure how Tina worked out from my website that I was 'a Wholesale Division of Airsoft gun in Hongkong' but there you go. Someone may find the contents of this email useful, even if you don't it's quite amusing to read (although to be fair, Tina's English is a damn sight better than my Chinese).

Dear David:
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2. For NI-MH batteries we can design and produce :

voltage :1.2V

capacity:700mah to 10000mah

remarks:a. samples available

b.100% inspection before shipment.

c. one year after services ensure

d. (OEM) Customized service like design, packing is acceptable.

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any need ,you can add my MSN or u can leave me your another contact ways,MSN or Skepy all welcome . Looking forward to hearing from you soon .except the business thing ,i also wish we can be friends in near future.

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Mobile: 86-0-13416825415

Website :

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Monday, 12 April 2010

Gear Review: Guyot Designs Firefly Bottle Lantern

Since I bought it about two weeks ago, I have begun to think that this item, while being cool and gadgety, is a little extravagant. It's a Guyot Designs Firefly Lantern Bottle Lid for Nalgene-type polycarbonate bottles. It replaces the lid of the bottle, takes 3 AAA batteries, and when switched on, emits a warm, bright glow from the three LEDs inside doubling up the usefulness of your bottle from just bottle to bottle and lamp, ta-dah! The LED compartment shines down into the bottle illuminating the contents or just the empty bottle itself.

The lid is pretty sturdy and is attached to the bottle by a black nylon cord locked around the neck of the bottle with a little grub-screwed plastic cinch doohicky making it all nice and secure. Batteries are fitted in a waterproof compartment in the top of the lid secured by three small screws. All the parts are chunky and feel pretty robust as you would expect from an item in this price range. The only problem I've found so far is that the on/off swuicth doesn't always work first time, which is a bit lame for something this expensive, but not the end of the world.

It's pretty cool if you want to travel light (no pun intended) meaning that you no longer have to carry a camping lamp with you although, to be honest, you could just take the normal nalgene bottle (or any other bottle that takes your fancy) and carry a head torch too. You'd be £18 richer, but would have no gadget-nerd fun.

Seriously, this is useful, but at nearly £18, plus the price of the bottle (which can be anywhere between about £3 and £10, you'd probably be better off (in both senses of the phrase) buying a '58 pattern bottle and a cheap head torch, but this is pretty high tech and gadgety, so if like me you're a bit of a sucker for that sort of thing, go for it.

The Firefly was bought from Wilderness 1-2-1. The bottle took just over a week to arrive, which was longer than I'd have expected, but this was over Easter so is entirely forgivable. Wilderness 1-2-1 were nice and friendly, with a personalised typed letter in with the item, which is a nice touch that you don't often get. The letter also suggested that carrying coloured fruit squash in the bottle could be less detrimental to your night vision. Good tip.

Monday, 5 April 2010

The greatest action movie ever?

Co-written and directed by, and starring Sylvester Stallone, and featuring Jason Statham, Jet Li, Eric Roberts, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny Trejo, Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis, Micky Rourke, Charisma Carpenter and the late Brittany Murphy, The Expendables can't possibly be anything short or pant-shittingly awesome. Even the mighty neck of Sly Stallone was overwhelmed with the full-on action awesomeness of this movie, having to have emergency surgery and a plate put in after breaking his neck whilst filming. Bad. Ass. Don't believe me? Just look at the poster and the trailer. Awesome.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Death Valley Magazine, The Old School Man and 1000 Rules

Allow me to introduce you to three interesting, informative and (especially in the case of OSM) hilarious websites.

I came across the Death Valley Magazine when, for some reason that I am eternally grateful for, DVM started following me on Twitter (cheers guys!). I duly read a couple of tweets, read a few more, then followed the links to the DVM website. I won't go into too many details about who writes DVM other than the fact that they are a bunch of witty and intelligent American guys who also happen to work in Private Contractor circles. Don't let that put you off though, they mock their own trade as much as anyone elses, ripping into the Urban Bug Out Bag in more or less the same breath as tactical baseball caps and Multicam whilst simultaneously praising old school weapons like the FN FAL, baseball bat and knuckleduster (just don't mention plastic knuckledusters).

Shortly after following the ling from DVM to Old School Man had me snorting in my tea, specifically the habits of old school man. This list is in much the same vein as the Chuck Norris facts that went round the internet a year or two ago, but geared more around Steve McQueen. Literally hilarious.

Considering how many men are in therapy crying about how their mommies didn’t breast feed them enough it is surprising that the Old School Man still only has 2 emotions: Angry and Not Very Angry.

The other link I found via the DVM site was 1000 rules for surviving the zombie apocalypse, a subject, as many of you are aware, is close to my heart. this site, presumable influenced by the recent movie 'Zombieland' takes the whole rules for zombie survival thing that much further.

Rule 997: Stay out of the woods. In the Zombie infected world the woods are only for deer and people who want to be eaten.

Give theses three sites a read and I guarantee you will laugh at at least one of them. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Monday, 22 March 2010

Gear Review - Condor Tear Away EMT Pouch

On my arrival at work this morning, sat on the reception desk waiting for me amongst the rest of the post was my long awaited Condor Tear Away EMT Pouch from the nice people at SOLO International.

Having waited since the beginning of November for this from another reailer before cancelling the order and re-ordering it from SOLO last week, I was looking forward to having a look at this and getting it installed.

The reason I bought this over other Individul First Aid Kit (or IFAK) pouches ws because this one is actually detachable from the base. The pouch can be mounted on a MOLLE platform in the same way as thousands of other different pouches, but this pouch is in two parts, the base, which attaches to the MOLLE platform, and the pouch itself which is connected to the base via hook-and-loop and a securing strap with a quick release clip meaning that it can be torn away from the base in the event of an emergency, or in the case that the pouch is simply easier to use when not attached to a belt, chest rig or plate carrier. Although designed as a medic pouch, I could quite easily see it in use as an E&E pouch or toolkit, especially in an EOD capacity.

The pouch is opened by means of two paracorded zip pulls which run around three sides of the pouch meaning it can be opened completely to allow access to the contents. Inside, there are two internals pockets in the back panel as well as a row of elastic loops to insert items into. A further two elastic straps run down the other half of the clamshell, and the pouch is completed by a zip-up mesh pocket attached to the bottom. There are also four paracord loops, one in each corner of the clamshell to attach clips, carabiners or lanyard to to secure loose items.

The overall quality of the pouch is pretty good. Although not top quality, I can see it taking a fair amount of punishment. The only area I would be concerned with is the quick release clip on the securing strap, this is made of quite cheap plastic and although it could be easily replaced, I would like to have seen a better quality item for the money, especially when the clips on other competitively priced brands such as Warrior Assault Systems have good quality plastic hardware. The same could be said of the zip, which also feels a little on the cheap side and is noisier than the zips on Warrior gear.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with it. Not sure what I'll use it for, as a medic pouch of this size just for airsoft is a bit overkill. You can get quite a bit of stuff in this pouch so it could easily double up as a medic pouch and tool kit with a bit of spare room left for the odd Mars bar.

Website Review: Intelligent Armour

A year ago I had an email from Alex, the owner of Intelligent Armour asking if I could post a link to their gear and training sites, which I was more than happy to do. Since then, Intelligent Armour has gone from strength to strength and now has a fully fledged and fully stocked web store with an excellent selection of gear, more reminiscent of a US based gear store than a UK one.

Intelligent Armour Limited provides tactical equipment solutions for individuals and teams. Our clients range from Government Agencies, Armed Forces, Police, and the Private Security / Close Protection sectors Worldwide.

Our aim is to supply the correct operational equipment at the best possible price, we seek to supply the most up to date field tested tactical products and body armour.

On first inspection the Intelligent Armour is well-designed, clear and easy to navigate. There is the usual selection of Oakley, Blackhawk and 5.11 gear, but further investigation leads to a wealth of unusual and interesting tactical gear aimed at law enforcement, military and private security, and also featuring equipment suitable for outdoorsmen, embedded journalists or anyone interested in high quality, hard wearing clothing and equipment, such as the Bugout Gear bags, Fjallraven clothing range. A the company name would suggest, an extensive range of covert and overt body armour, plates and ballistic helmets is also available. It is also nice to see a range of Fjallraven gear in ladies sizes and styles.

Fans of multicam will also be pleased to find a strong range of Blackhawk MOLLE accessories in this pattern. Whilst not particularly to my taste, it is a popular camo with geardos and airsofters and, due to it's recent adoption with the US army as well as the announcement of the adoption of the MTP camouflage pattern by the British Army, doesn't show any signs of going away in the near future.

My only criticism would be to say that there could be a bigger range of US brands on sale. I have nothing bad to say about the 5.11 or Blackhawk gear that I've come across, but it would be nice to see some others like Tactical Tailor or even some more esoteric brands like ICE Tactical or Maxpedition which you don't see very often on British retailer's web sites. That said, this is not so much a criticism of this site so much as an observation on UK tactical gear retailers in general. I'll freely admit that I don't know the politics behind the supply and demand of gear between the US and UK and this may be down to the US manufacturers and suppliers more than the UK retailers so I'll leave it here as a general observation rather than a criticism of what I have found to be a very impressive and interesting site.

My single favourite item on the site is the Fjallraven Vidda Trousers. At £110 they are not for the faint hearted. Fjallraven are new to me, but I am very impressed with what I have seen of them on this site.

If you are not convinced by the shop site, Intelligent Armour is part of Intelligent Holdings who also have Close Protection, Intelligence and Training divisions and are wholly owned by a former member of the British Army which suggests to me that this is a company that Knows what they are doing.

Intelligent Armour Limited supply to a number of Government units, and we have only recently opened up our marketing to Airsoft; and it's all going very well.

We try to keep our prices very realistic and ship to around 30 different counties each month; every month, our business is growing by 15-25%.

To finish off, a couple of point which may be of additional interest is that Intelligent Armour offer 10% discount to members of the armed forces and police services. A discount which has also very kindly been offered by Intelligent Armour to readers of this blog. Monthly product updates will also be a future feature. Stay tuned.

Massively Impressed...

SOLO International have managed, within a few days, to supply me with the Condor Tear-Away EMT pouch I've been after (from another site) since the beginning of the year. nice to have a good experience with an online gear store for a change. Thanks to Pete at SOLO for sorting this out.

I'll get a review of the pouch up when I get a chance.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

First and Only's new FIBUA Site near Leek, Staffs

Just received through Facebook from First & Only Airsoft, details of their new site near Leek in Staffordshire.

First and Only News!
New FIBUA site – Anzio Camp

First and Only Airsoft are pleased to announce the opening of our largest FIBUA/URBAN site.

This Site is located Near Leek in Staffordshire and is situated on a old British army camp. The site incorporates 17 buildings, many of which are double story, and range from large accommodation blocks and officers messes to smaller offices and armouries. There is also a large amount of woodland at the top of the site and even an Assault course!!!

For a map please look at Anzio Camp.

Open day Games will be run every 2 weeks at this site, with many special events and weekender's also run throughout the year.

We will be opening this site near the end of April, and will be opening bookings from the beginning of April. The opening day will be limited to 100 spaces.

There will be a booking thread on the first and only forums located at First & Only Forum.

For more information please e mail

This looks pretty special, and only 45 miles from Nottingham too. There are more details and some great pictures of the site on the Urban Assualt site (the urban explorers, not the Peterborough based skirmish site), and a map and some additional info on the First and Only forum.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Massively unimpressed (pt2)

I am sick of trying to buy gear online. In December, I contacted Condor about their Rip-away EMT Pouch. Condor replied promptly with a list of European suppliers. I placed an order with Soldier of Fortune at the beginning of January and I am still waiting for the pouch following them sending me the wrong colour (I sent it back, and paid for the postage myself with no attempt to refund this expense from SoF), and then an email informing me that a pouch had arrived from the US but had no pouch, just the velcro backing panel. Last I heard from them two weeks ago was that they are going to try and order me another and if they can't get one, and I quote, "nothing has arrived with my new order that arrived last week I am placing one more this friday if nothing arrives i will just refund you and have to forget about it as its going on to long".

I contacted SOLO International today and they have one in stock, so this might have a happy ending, thanks to SOLO.

My second gear failure was with Dropzone Supplies where I placed an order with them for a 5.11 watch cap. I got the confirmation email and despatch notification and everything. Having waited a week or so, I emailed to find out if the hat had actually been despatched. This was followed up with a voicemail message on my mobile telling me that they didn't actually have the hat in stock, had not sent it out and would not be having the item back in stock now or in the future. They refunded my cash.

My current bone of contention is with JD Airsoft. I found their website and noticed that they had the 5.11 watch caps in stock. When I ordered the £8.99 item and checked my cart, they quoted me £9.99 for P&P. I contacted them the same day by email with a query about their postage fees and got the reply that this was the rate for next day delivery and that their website would be updated with lower and slower postage charges in the next few days. This was a week ago, and the charges have not changed, their online shopping cart system has also been unavailable for the last few days. I phoned them yesterday and there waas no answer. I've emailed them today about when would be best to phone today and have yet to receive a reply, although the shop is shut on Wednesdays.

This is a bit of a moan on my part. I have ordered stuff online, and continue to do so quite regularly. In these hard financial times, yopu would imagine that retailers would bend over backwards for trade. I appreciate that these retailers also supply the forces and (I would imagine, to some degree) the emergency services and that they may, and quite rightly so, get priority on orders, but come on. three and a half months for an order to come from the US ? Am I asking too much ?

Friday, 5 March 2010

massively unimpressed...

with both Condor and Dropzone Supplies.

Let's see if SoF can redeem themselves and get the delivery from Condor and fulfill my order in the next week or so.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Real M41A Pulse Rifle

Also found on Soldier Systems with more info available from their own website is this shit-the-bed cool rifle modelled on the Colonial Marines M41A Pulse Rifle from Aliens. The MAX-41A is currently in development and testing (according to their out-of-date website) and because I live in the UK, I definitely can't have one. More info and loads of pictures here.

Remington Modular Sniper Rifle

I've just seen this video of the new Remington MSR (Modular Sniper Rifle) over on Soldier Systems. Looks amazing.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Solitaire Maglite LED upgrade hack

Found this on a blog while actually looking for a hack to upgrade a solitaire maglite to something resembling useful. They're nice little torches, well made and solid, just hardly bright enough to see further than a few inches, which isn't much use in a torch. With the advent of cheap, bright LED technology, the poor little Solitaire has become redundent. This article explains how to install a 3mm LED into your Solitaire to make it pay it's way again.

Solitaire Maglite LED upgrade instructions.