Friday, 29 June 2012

HK417 Review by Land Warrior Airsoft

Here's a video review of the new Umarex/VFC HK417. Wasn't sold on this but having watched the video I might have changed my mind. Only thing that puts me off is the size of the magazines and having to buy another load of load bearing gear and extra magazines, ultimately turning a £400 gun into more like a six or seven hundred pound gun. A mate has one on pre-order so I'll reserve judgment until I've seen one in the flesh.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Warbelt. Now with Added Tacos

As mentioned previously on this blog, I've upgraded a bunch of ammo pouches to HSGI Tacos. Two of the double-decker Tacos, along with an HSGI Bleeder Blowout pouch have gone on my warbelt. The current incarnation of this belt (which will inevitably change again in the near future) consists of (from left to right): TAG Padded Patrol Belt, HSGI Double-Decker Tacox2, Warrior Assault Systems torch pouch, Maxpedition medium Roly-Poly, Warrior medium utility pouch, HSGI bleeder blowout pouch, CAT tourniquet and Blackhawk SERPA with SIG Sauer 226 (Tokyo Marui). I can see this changing again in the near future, still not 100% perfect. The two taco pouches have been moved so they're right next to each other. I'd like to change the torch pouch for an OD one and the belt may change for something like the Tactical Tailor Fight-Light belt. I'd also like a different pouch to replace the utility pouch, but haven't found one more suitable yet. The holster may also get replaced with a kydex holster, but I have to settle on which handgun will be carried on this belt, if I find a nice railed 1911, that may go on in place of the SIG. The hunt goes on.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Blogger to Facebook (via Twitter)

This all used to work. In days gone by, when I posted on Blogger, it would automatically publish to Twitter and Facebook. Since the Facebook TImeline appeared, this all stopped working and I never looked into why. Now I've looked into it and guess what? It's as easy as pie. My posts here now appear in Twitter and in turn get Tweeted to Facebook. All is well in the world again*. *Hopefully. This post is to see if this is in fact the case. What could possibly go wrong.

Haley Strategic Disruptive Environment Course

Some excerpts from the Haley Strategic Disruptive Environments: Handgun / Darkness / Vehicle class. Live rounds and SIMS/Airsoft guns in use.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Review: HSGI AO Chest Rig, Bleeder Blowout Pouch and Tacos

I had long had my eye on some HSGI Tacos. The modularity and capacity for carrying pretty much any magazines in the same rig really appealed to me; a single taco being able to hold M16, AK and .308 (M14/SCAR-H/G3) magazines without the need for much adjustment other than perhaps loosening or tightening the shock cord that runs aroung the outside of the pouch.

When I play airsoft, I usually run an Armalite-style rifle or an M14 and the complications involved around all the gear needed in taking them both airsofting on the same day can be a pain in the ass. I usually run a Molle belt and some sort of chest rig when using an AR-style rifle, and a load-bearing style belt kit (either ALICE or M-56) for the M14. Until recently, the 5.11 mini chest rig fulfilled this role, assuming I just wanted to use my AR. If I decided to switch to the M14, I would have to take another load carrying solution (one of the two aforementioned belt-and-suspender affairs) involving 7.62 magazine pouches. This had the added problem of requiring duplicate pieces of ancilliary gear such as dump pouch, torch pouch, canteen pouch, utility pouch IFAK etc on each of the belts. Using a single chest rig and belt kit equipped with Tacos would prevent the need for this duplication of equipment, would cut down the bare minimum of gear I would need to take with me for a days skirmishing (unless I chose otherwise) and would also take away the need to familiarise oneself with pouch layout for more than one weapons platform, in other words, running two dramatically different rifles, all the pouches would be in the same place for both.

First off, HSGI gear is not cheap. When deciding on which rig to buy, I looked at a few other manufacturers: Mayflower, Blue Force Gear and Tyr Tactical being the main competitors, with Warrior Assault Systems also in the running (Warrior DCS Plate Carrier review to follow in the near future, but that's another story). The price of all of the above manufacturers are comparitive with that of HSGI, but my experience with other High Speed Gear products (I've had one of their drop leg holsters for years now) has convinced me of the quality and value for money, not to mention workmanship and sheer rock-solidness of the HSGI brand. Having decided on HSGI gear, I ordered the Double Decker Value Combo which consists of the AO chest rig, a bleeder blowout pouch and three double-decker tacos. The AO double decker combo retails at $195. Buying the chest rig, bleeder pouch and 3 double decker tacos seperately would cost you $219 so you're saving a few quid buy getting the whole lot. In addition, to give my belt rig 'cross-platform support', I went with an extra two X2R double rifle tacos with the intention of mounting them, the bleeder pouch and a double-decker pistol/pouch on the chest rig and a pair of the double decker pistol/rifle pouches on my belt. Ultimately, this would allow me to carry seven rifle magazines and three pistol magazines (or a combination of pistol mag/multitool/torch) in total. More than enough for a few hours running round Peterborough's Urban Assault site.

Trying to put together the Tacos with the AO rig and my existing TAG patrol belt was not a lot of fun. I spent around four hours on a Sunday afternoon mounting these damn things to the belt and building the chest rig. As I mentioned before, HSGI gear is rock solid, tough as old boots and built to last. It took some work threading the malice clips through the Tacos themselves, let alone threading them through the rig or belt AND the pouch. When I tell you that blood, sweat and skin went into this new gear, please don't think I'm talking metaphorically. There is an instructional video on the HSGI site explaining how to mount tacos, it suggests using pliers and a bunch of other tools. You will need them. I recently moved one of the double-decker tacos to a slightly different position on my belt. Now that the mounting straps on the back of the pouch have had a chance to stretch a bit, it was much easier, but still quite tricky to engage the clips on the Malice clips again. Definitely not for the faint-hearted or impatient. I would also recommend planning carefully before mounting the pouches. Having attached them, you won't want to have to move them again in a hurry.

I decided on getting the whole lot in Smoke Green to make it as generic as possible, ensuring it would match up more or less with the existing kit, and wouldn't look out of place with any of the clothing I wear. If old-school green isn't entirely your bag, you can also get all of the HSGI gear mentioned here in Multicam, Khaki, Black, Coyote and ATACS (no word yet on ATACS forest green). I've yet to try out this gear in anger, but in the comfort of my own home, the ergonomics and layout feel great. The Tacos are still pretty stiff and hold magazines well, but do not make them difficult to draw in a hurry. Getting them back in is another matter and can be a bit fiddly, but this is not something you are likely to need to be able to do with any degree of urgency.

Moving on to the bleeder pouch, this represents a simple IFAK style system. It is only big enough to hold the essential items. I have an Israeli bandage and a ziplock bag with some basic first aid items in (wipes, plasters, safety pins etc). To give some idea of the size, it is around the same size as a double magazine pouch (and could quite easily duplicate as one). It features a red strap with a d-ring on the end that sits inside the pouch that can be used to quickly eject the contents of the pouch should the need arise. I have mounted a CAT tourniquet to the side of the pouch purely for cosmetic reasons.

Fox Airsoft LLC

Just got a really nice email from Frank Scharnell at Fox Airsoft in the US asking if I could add a link to his store here on my blog. It's always nice to hear from people who actually read (and in this case, even enjoy) my blog, and great to help out fellow airsofters. The link can be found in the sidebar or can be followed from here. Enjoy.