So, you like airsoft? Part Two B: Gear

Advice columns, Get into airsoft series, Protective items

Preface:

This is intended as an introduction to airsoft, it is a general guide to airsoft in the UK, though many of the points here will be the same abroad.

Part One is a really basic starting point

Part Two A looked in detail at eye protection

This is Part Two B looking at equipment

Part Two C  will look at guns finally!

Part Three will look at specific airsoft genres.

If you would like to read more about getting into airsoft you can find all of our articles HERE.

So, you’ve tried airsoft and you like it!

So, you’ve been to a couple of games, you have decided what eyepro is best for you and now you need to get the rest of your kit.

Facepro

Facepro (face protection) isn’t compulsory on most sites in the UK. Some people wear it all the time, others never wear it. If you don’t like being shot in the face, that’s pretty understandable! But don’t whine about it, wear protective gear or you only have yourself to blame. BBs have a magnetic attraction to bare flesh! If your local site is a CQB site, full face protection is highly advisable.

As mentioned in the previous article, you can get integral goggles and face protection, but re-read that section if this is what you are considering.

Most face protection is a shaped piece of mesh with padded edges that covers your lower face, most of your nose and the jaw. You wear this in conjunction with goggles and this is by far the most commonly used and allows you to easily switch between mesh and clear goggles between games if you need to. It offers pretty good protection all round but there are usually gaps around the ears, throat and sometimes between the goggles and the mask.

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It is possible to get extra protection for the ears, mesh cups that cover them to prevent some of the most uncomfortable hits in airsoft. These usually are suspended from the helmet/headgear. You can also get plates that mount onto fast helms.

It is possible to go an extra level and get all-in-one ear, face and throat protection. These look ludicrous but do have fewer gaps in for BBs to sneak past.

If you want to go ALL the way you may wish to get a whole head covering. This is essentially a mesh mask as described above but forming a ‘bubble’ around the whole head. You will end up looking like a martian, but at least you won’t get shot in the head!

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Many airsofters don’t like wearing full facepro, finding it claustrophobic or stuffy, myself amongst them. I wear it for CQB and that is about it. There are, thankfully, other options available. Many airsofters wear a scarf, shemagh or similar that they can pull up around their face if they get too close for comfort. Although this takes the edge of shots that would otherwise sting or leave a mark, an unlucky shot in the teeth may still do damage. Without practice you may also find that the scarf slips down or moves around annoyingly. It also can cause your clear eyepro to steam up worse than usual.shemagh_lg

A major reason for face protection is to shield the teeth which can be chipped, knocked loose or out completely by an unlucky shot. Some players wear a gum shield to prevent this. Although effect at protecting the teeth, you cannot communicate clearly to your team mates and you may find yourself dribbling randomly during a game.

 

The latter two options are popular among airsofters who use a particular ‘loadout’. They are much more discrete and don’t clash with an historical outfit-nothing ruins a really good, old uniform like modern facepro! This is particularly important when playing games with high immersion value such as WWII, Vietnam or Filmsim/Milsim. If you do need to wear facepro for these games, try and keep it unobtrusive out of respect for the other players!

 

Gloves

There are so many options for gloves. They can add to a load-out if they look right for it and provide some hand protection. The right gloves also act as camouflage, as (especially white) bare skin stands out in woodland or open spaces and doubly so in the dark.

The most popular ones are ‘armoured’ tac-gloves. These are fairly thin fabric to allow easy weapon handling on the inside of the hand but have either hard foam or plastic panels on the back to take the edge off hand shots.

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Woollen gloves. These are great for winter as they provide warmth as well as protection, however they don’t give you a great deal of grip.

Leather gloves. For me the best option, but the most expensive. If you shop around you can find a pair of unlined or very thinly lined leather gloves which take the edge off hand shots but don’t sacrifice dexterity or grip. You have to look after your leather gloves, keep them moisturised, clean and not dry them too quickly after a wet or muddy game day. Whatever you do, get the types without large, external seams as these cause issues interacting with the trigger and control surfaces.

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Fingerless gloves are available in all the above types. For wooden gloves they provide a much greater level of dexterity and grip than full length ones, and significantly improves this on a cheap pair of ‘armoured’ gloves. For leather gloves there isn’t so much point as a good-fitting pair acts as a second skin.

Headwear

With headwear, you have two main categories: Soft and Hard. Both protect to some extent against BB strikes which do hurt on unprotected scalp, but some have extra functionality.

Soft headwear: beanies, balaclavas, snoods etc… are great for winter wear. They are warm and protective. Balaclavas and snoods can also be used as impromptu facepro if needed. Caps, shemaghs and sunhats are great for summer as they are a little cooler. Some kinds of sun hats (with stiff brims) are also good for winter as they keep the worst of the rain/sleet/snow off your face. They can also be used in conjunction with a scrim scarf to break up the shape of your head and shoulders, which is a major visual indicator that is likely to give you away.

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Hard headwear or helmets stop you from feeling the BB directly. Fast helms are popular at the moment, a lightweight, round helmet that fits over the top and back of the head and can be had in a variety of colours and styles to suit your load out. They also have rails and mountings for accessories such as NVAs (Night Vision Aids), cameras, monoculars, glowlights or pretty much anything else you can imagine.

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This is a personal preference above all else. I use a British WWII-era MkII Brodie helmet with a hessian cover for my regular skirmishing, it keeps the sun out of my eyes, my head dry and the cover is now painted in drab colours to break up its distinctive outline. While protecting my head from BBs, it has a unique ‘ting’ noise it makes when shot so I still know when I am hit.

With helmets it is easy to make or buy a suitable camouflage cover for most models, some it is even possible to create a cover that breaks up the outline of your head and helmet, which is no bad thing for camouflage.

Load-carrying equipment

There are a few sub-categories of LCE. What you go for depends on both your personal preference and the airsoft gun you are using. If you are running a particular load out do some research into the webbing kit the originals use/d, but bear in mind that it won’t always be suitable for the airsoft version of the gun you are using. For example the US WWII rifle belt won’t take airsoft M1 Garand magazines, as they are about 4-5 times the size of a Garand en-bloc clip. Some WWII US  airsofters use Rigger pouches to get around this, the equipment maintains the look of the outfit and is more practical than wearing empty webbing, carrying all your ammunition in a satchel.

This aside, there are three main types of LCE:

Webbing

This is the traditional way of carrying your equipment, used in various forms since the introduction of firearms from the apostles of the early musketeers to recent times when it has been supplanted in Western military doctrine by plate carriers.

Generally, this consists of a belt, a pair of shoulder straps and an array of pouches that attach to the belt or shoulder straps to carry your equipment. Modern (1930s onwards) webbing allows you a reasonable degree of modularity, allowing you to customise your webbing kit for the gun/sidearm/equipment you carry and where items are located for ease of use.

37 pattern webbing

37 pattern webbing

In the UK, webbing pouches have gone through a phase of being fairly universal until recently. Both 37 and 58 pattern webbing has two large utility pouches at the centre of the equipment that can hold pretty well any magazines you can think of. You can then add supplementary pouches/holsters/packs to carry any other equipment you may need.

58 Pattern webbing in Northern Ireland.

58 Pattern webbing in Northern Ireland.

Although there were a couple of small-scale attempts to replace 58 pattern webbing, the only really successful one was with the 95 pattern, or PLCE (Personal Load-Carrying Equipment). This is a much more dedicated webbing set, designed to work around the L85 (SA80) weapon system. This webbing can be used for other rifles that take similarly designed magazines however.

95 Pattern/PLCE Webbing

95 Pattern/PLCE Webbing

Between 58 pattern and 95 pattern these are the two cheapest options for an entry-level webbing set in used condition. 58 Pattern in particular will cost £15-20 for a full set including poncho roll and large pack.

Chest Rigs/assault vests

The chest rig has never seen much use in western militaries, though they have been experimented with. In the Far East however they were ubiquitous in all the small, anti-communist wars, particularly favoured by groups such as the Vietcong. They are particularly popular for use with the AK-47 and its cousins.

AK47 chest rig as used in Vietnam.

AK47 chest rig as used in Vietnam.

The chest rig is typically (though not always) a pre-determined set of pouches for carrying ammunition for a certain firearm. It is much cheaper than modular webbing so is a popular choice for less well-off militaries who just need to equip as many people as possible for the least cash. It carries all the weight around the chest rather than at the waist like webbing.

An assault vest is the next step up, pre-set pouches mounted on a vest-like structure that covers the whole torso. Usually you have an array of magazine pouches for a specific weapon, some utility pouches and possibly pouches for grenades or communications equipment.

Plate carriers

The plate carrier is the standard today among well-off militaries. It combines a lot of advantages of the chest rig and webbing.

The base component is a body-armour plate carrier, traditionally a separate piece of equipment, on which are mounted rows of straps onto which pouches can be attached in any format the user desires. This is a popular choice among airsofters as it allows a great degree of modularity depending on your kit and provides a bit of protection from BBs.

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What you go for depends on your load out to a great deal. If you just want a load out that works then just pick what you like! Personally I use 37 pattern webbing most of the time as it allows me to swap between my Sten and M14 easily without changing pouches, though having recently acquired a GBB (Gas Blow-Back) M16A1 this may need to change, as the magazines don’t fit very well in there!

By all means research what load-carrying gear you may need but wait until you have decided on your airsoft gun before deciding, you want to avoid having awkward to use webbing. Unsuitable webbing makes it very hard to play effectively!

 

Don’t forget, if you would like to read more about getting into airsoft you can find all of our articles HERE.

 

Don’t forget to ‘Like’ our Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on our projects and interesting videos and articles.

You can also buy many of our finished products in our Etsy store.

 

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FG42: Part 4

Battle Rifles, Custom builds, FG42, Weapons, WWII

The next important step In making the FG42 was the furniture. The prototype served its purpose but it was time to get something that was a better shape. I took the outside shape and created a series of layered profiles that could be glued together. These were then laser cut in plywood.

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I put two pilot holes in the backs to line them up, using M4 screws. Then put each layer down in order with a thin coat of wood glue and clamped it.

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The two halves could then be glued together. Here’s a picture of the new next to the old, as you can see the shape is much improved and the sling swivel mount is present in the new version.

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For the fore-end, much the same procedure was followed, I’m concerned about the strength of this part as there are some very thin joints so this may have to change for production. Nevertheless, the original was fragile so maybe this is authentic!

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I took the worst of the edges off with the draw knife, but it was quite difficult due to the perpendicular grain.

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In the end, I switched to the drill mounted sanding drums, which dealt with the cross grain far better and gave a relatively smooth finish. A quick going over with sandpaper by hand will clean this up nicely.

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Not looking too shabby though I say so myself! A bit of wood stain and some kind of epoxy outer should finish this off nicely when it is sanded down. The next step is to make the new magwell and create the bipod!

 

If you are interested in this project or have an idea of your own, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss. ‘Like’ our Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles.

You can also buy many of our finished products in our Etsy store.

So, you like airsoft? Part Two A: Eyepro

Advice columns, Customer Reviews, Get into airsoft series, Products, Protective items

Preface:

This is intended as an introduction to airsoft, it is a general guide to airsoft in the UK, though many of the points here will be the same abroad. Any advice regarding the law is intended as a rough guide only and you should research further or consult a lawyer on points in detail if you wish to.

Vintage Airsoft is not responsible for any action you take regarding this advice!

 Part One, a really basic starting point is HERE

This is Part Two A and will look in detail at eye protection, Part Two B at equipment and Part Two C at guns finally!

Part Three will look at specific airsoft genres.

 

So, you’ve tried airsoft and you like it!

That’s great, I don’t blame you! So you’ll want to start assembling your gear. Before I get to the fun stuff, here’s the important bits:

Eyepro

There are quite a few options for eye protection. Some eyepro is airsoft specific, some is general. I’ll not go into specific requirements for eye protection standards but will show some pros and cons of each type.

 

Safety specs.

These aren’t really designed for airsoft, though they are used. These usually (but not always) meet the minimum safety requirements for airsoft but you should always test them before relying on them for protection.

These are usually inexpensive, and the most discrete to wear. However some goggles do have a gap around the edge, which can leave you vulnerable to BBs getting through this gap.

All clear eye protection fogs from time to time, with warmth and sweat or moisture in the air. Safety specs do have an advantage over other forms of eyepro in that you can reach into them to clean dirt and moisture in the field without taking them off. If you get fogging then you can wiggle them up and down to clear them in a few seconds.

Because of their low profile, they are popular with themed airsoft games such as WWII and Vietnam. They are also a good choice for snipers as you are unlikely to get lit up at close range so the reduced protection is less of an issue, but the ability to clear them is vital and they don’t get in the way of a scope or clunk on the buttstock.

You can get larger lab specs that go over spectacles, but these have large gaps around the bottom typically so be wary of them.

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Safety goggles.

These are the next step up. A good pair of safety goggles wrap all round the eyes and it will be pretty well impossible for a BB to get past them. As far as safety is concerned, these are the safest eye protection.

However due to the reduced capacity for air flow, these are likely to fog and are harder to clean in the field, but this can be done with practice. Some higher end goggles have fans built in to improve this, other use a thermal lens to keep mist at bay. Some less expensive goggles may distort your view at the edges. Any large goggles can get in the way of rifle stocks for aiming, which can be an issue with using sniping scopes. However if you wear spectacles, these are a valid option.

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Mesh.

There are two main types, large goggles and small ones. Large ones protect the full eye area, small ones just cover the eyes themselves. These have the profound advantage of not misting up or getting smeared.

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However, cheap mesh goggles do have their drawbacks. Cheap BBs can shatter on impact and small fragments can get through. The large goggles can get in the way of aiming on some guns, but some thin glasses can be worn beneath them. In bright sunlight, the light can dazzle through the holes, which is distracting!

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Full face protection.

It is also possible to get eyepro built into full face protection, either in mesh or clear form.

While this provides a pretty seamless level of protection across the whole face, if you use clear eyepro in this format it will still mist up and cleaning it is nigh-on impossible in the field. However some versions do have built in fans or thermal lenses to help offset this. If you wear glasses with these, both the lens and the glasses themselves may fog and you won’t be able to clean either! Some face protection can cause issues with aiming certain guns.

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You can also get themed full facepro if you have a specific load out you’re aiming towards. For example, I make the WWI tank crew spatter mask for this purpose, but you can also get gas masks, horror masks, replica faces and so on!

Prescription eyepro

If you decide to take you airsoft seriously and need glasses, you can get safety specs and goggles that take prescription lenses. They are usually better than the average safety specs and of course allow you to see very clearly. As ever with clear eyepro, they will still mist up from time to time.

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Some final eyepro tips:

1. In an ideal world, shoot any eyepro you have to test it before you use it. If it’s a pair of inexpensive safety specs, get two pairs and test one. Use a 350fps gun in full auto at close range, test the frame and the glasses themselves. Any signs of cracking or splintering then do not use them. If you have access to a DMR or sniper rifle (450 to 550fps in the UK) then it is also worth testing with them to simulate a worst case scenario. When you have tested your first pair, use the second as impacts can degrade the protection. 

When testing eyepro like this, WEAR EYEPRO. Just in case you forgot that BBs can take your eye out…

2. There are dozens of different standards for impact ratings, but not all are suitable for airsoft. This is why I recommend the above test before any skirmish use.

3. Anti-mist for clear eyepro is a constant debate. Honestly, I think mist is nearly unavoidable and when I remember, wash my goggles and specs in a detergent solution which largely keeps it at bay. Carry some clean blue tissue around with you for a cheeky wipe in the field if needed, most sites have a stock.

4. DO NOT USE SKI GOGGLES. These and other related forms of eye protection are not designed to protect against impacts. They will shatter and send splinters into your eyes.

 

Sorry for such a long post on this, but there is a lot to cover! Next time we will look at webbing, helmets and other more exciting equipment.

 

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You can buy many of our finished products in our Etsy store.

So, you want to try airsoft? Part 1.

Advice columns, Game write-up, Get into airsoft series

Preface:

This is intended as a general introduction to airsoft for people who have never played before. It is a general guide to airsoft in the UK, though many of the points here will be the same abroad. Any advice regarding the law is intended as a rough guide only and you should research further or consult a lawyer on points in detail if you wish to. Vintage Airsoft is not responsible for any action you take regarding this advice!

This is Part One, a really basic starting point.

Part Two will look in more detail at guns and equipment.

Part Three will eventually look at specific airsoft genres.

So, if we are sitting comfortably, let us begin:

 

So, you want to try airsoft? Well, get yourself an airsoft gun and off you go then!

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Oh wait. Don’t do that.

If it was that simple I wouldn’t be writing this would I?

-Buying something that looks just like a real gun is illegal in the UK

-You have to be over 18 years old

-You don’t know what is worth buying yet

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The VCRA or, how do I get a UKARA ‘license’?

The Violent Crime Reduction Act is a largely pointless bit of law that makes it illegal to sell, manufacture or import Realistic Imitation Firearms (RIFs) in the UK. There are ways around this however as the VCRA grants exemptions to permit their sale/creation, including Airsoft Skirmishing.

What this means is that you will have to prove to any retailer that you are a regular skirmisher. This hasn’t been defined in law and is, rather like the rest of the VCRA, a bit sketchy and vague. This is where UKARA comes in.

The United Kingdom Airsoft Retailers’ Association (UKARA) co-ordinate with many sites to keep a record of who is skirmishing regularly and therefore has a defence to buy RIFs. When you have played three times in two or more months, sites will allow you to fill in a form and pay to have the pleasure of easily buying RIFs online and in shops.

Let me get one thing straight:

UKARA IS NOT A LICENSE.

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UKARA is a scheme set up by retailers to cover their own backs, it is not government run, affiliated or even officially recognised. It has never been tested in a court of law. Nevertheless, among airsofters it is seen as the gold standard of defence and is by far the most widely recognised. Other schemes are available but not as widely recognised.

What about those bright blue/green/red/yellow/see through guns? What’s wrong with that?

These guns, or Two-Tones as they are often called, are Imitation Firearms (IFs) under the VCRA. The difference is that although they look just like the gun in every way, they are at least 50% brightly coloured or see-through to mark them out as not real. All you need to buy these is to be over 18.

guns

If you just intend to mess about with friends (on land with permission!) or shoot in the garden these are fine. For serious airsoft skirmishing they have a number of issues. Firstly, in woodland a bright pink gun is quite visible.

Secondly, many of the cheaper options on two tones are very low quality. They have plastic internals, plastic externals, low power and are generally a bit dismal. Many retailers do however offer a two-tone service on good quality guns for a token £15-20. That’s a lot of money to spend to make your gun less useful, but if you want a good airsoft gun without actually going skirmishing then that’s the way to go!

Yes, you can repaint it once you have a defence to the VCRA, but it will chip off and wear as you use it, revealing your lovely, vibrant undercoat once again.

And even after all of this, you may have bought a two-tone, gone airsofting, realised your gun is rubbish and all your new airsoft buddies may have to let you know there aren’t many good upgrade parts for that particular model. Then you are back to square one.

So, don’t get a gun! Yet.

Choose a site

There are airsoft sites all over the UK, they are roughly divided into to two major types: Woodland and CQB (Close-Quarter Battle).

For your first airsoft experience, I would wholeheartedly recommend woodland/outdoor sites. The chief reason is that most shooting happens at range, so when you get shot it hurts less. Yes, airsoft hurts, but 99% of shots in woodland sites sting for a moment to let you know you have been hit and fade off very quickly. It isn’t something you have to worry about unless you get in very close.

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Outdoor airsoft is very much fieldcraft, movement and tactics based. Good camouflage, accuracy and unit tactics pay off here. Don’t worry about knowing everything about these subjects when you first turn up, in fact if you go in with a know-it-all attitude you will learn the hard way that it’s not quite like in the movies.

CQB is a very different beast. I recommend you play a few outdoor games first before trying this. CQB is intense, fast and painful. CQB will leave marks. Good CQB sites are strict about the power allowed and do not allow full automatic, which is unnecessary.

Why you need face pro in CQB. Don’t make my mistake! This did however lead to the happy creation of my WWI tank crew anti-spatter mask.

Your first concern is to find one local to you. If it’s convenient, you can get to more games and not have to set off at the crack of dawn or psych yourself up for a long drive home after a hard day’s skirmishing. If you have a few options, try them all out. You want a site with good prices for hiring kit, decent guns for you to use and a friendly bunch of local players for you to learn from. Ideally, the site owner/operator should have an interest in airsoft as the games will be better run and based on the abilities of airsoft guns as opposed to the limitations of paintball guns (which many sites also run).

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I’ve found the site I would like to try, what should I take?

Money. Cash is best as not all sites have card facilities. Enough to hire for the day and buy some more ammo, you will run out quickly until you learn which shots are worth taking!

Rough clothes. You can pick up an old pair of DPMs (the recently discontinued British combat uniform) and a jacket for a few quid and these are absolutely fine. You can also get MTP (Multi-Terrain Pattern), the current British uniform very readily now. They are lightweight, hardwearing and comfortable, as well as breathable in warm weather. Avoid denim, it is hot, stiff and gets very heavy and uncomfortable when wet.

A hat. This is one bit of protective gear sites don’t typically provide. Hits on the skull do hurt, so the more of your head that is covered the better. A beanie is fine.

Gloves. Hand strikes are a bit sore, in CQB these are vital as hands get hit a lot, in woodland they are nice to have. In winter they also make holding metal guns a lot more comfortable.

Footwear. Substantial, supportive footwear is a must, especially on woodland sites. At a minimum, hiking boots, or ideally high-ankle assault boots. You can get these easily in army surplus shops, it is worth trying on a few pairs to find ones that fit well. Also consider a thick pair of outer socks to prevent blisters.

A good sporting attitude and a good dose of honesty. If you don’t play honourably and take your hits you won’t make many friends and will probably get shot a lot to make up for it until you do. Regular airsofters hate cheating, they don’t take kindly to it. Listen to the marshals, they will give a safety briefing at the beginning and instructions during the game. They are there for your safety and enjoyment.

Everything else should be provided by the site, a basic webbing set, gun, ammo, batteries/gas, eye protection (eyepro) and face protection (facepro). Wear face protection for your first goes, at least until you know what it’s like getting hit.

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Oh, three final bits of advice:

-If you’re not sure, ask a marshal. There’s no such thing as a stupid question, they know not everyone is familiar with guns and safety gear

Keep your eyepro on when you’re not in the safe area. You will get yelled at for taking it off, for you own good

-Take your time and enjoy yourself. You don’t have to be Andy McNab or Jason Bourne on your first day. No-one is.

 

The guns we build here at Vintage Airsoft are generally for the more experienced airsofter who has specialist needs. However we deal with all levels of players and are always happy to help build the gun of your dreams.

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We’ll be covering in more detail the kit you may want to consider in the next post.

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You can buy many of our finished products in our Etsy store.

Browning M2HB .50 calibre machine gun

Cold War, Era, History, M2 .50 Machine gun, Machine-Guns, Products, War on Terror, Weapons, WWII

The Browning M2 has its roots in WWI. By the end of this war, both British and French militaries had large calibre machine guns and the Germans had been in the process of developing theirs. The need had come about with the introduction of armour in aircraft and vehicles that repelled most regular arms.

M2_Browning,_Musée_de_l'Armée

The early Browning designs were only half successful. There were water cooled variants but these were heavy and moves to make them air cooled followed quickly. With some effort and consideration, the design developed until one type of receiver could be used to make seven types of machine gun using different barrels, jackets and internal components. It could feed from the left and right which was important for its use in aircraft and it quickly replaced the .30 Browning, then in use for this role.

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The M2 has been manufactured and in use since 1933 and the design has remained quite unchanged since. It served through WWII with Allied forces, notably by the Long Range Desert Group and the early SAS in North Africa where it was a popular choice for destroying aircraft on the ground in their signature hit and run raids.

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An M2 aircraft variant in use by the SAS in North Africa, WW2.

It also served in Korea and Vietnam, where it was occasionally fitted with a scope and used as an over-sized sniper rifle. As a closed-bolt weapon it was very accurate by MG standards and it was during Vietnam that the longest kill recorded, at 2000 yards (1800m), was set and stood until 2002.

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It has since served in nearly every war of note and many wars you won’t even have heard of. For Western militaries today, it is usually mounted in aircraft or on vehicle turrets, though it is sometimes to be found protecting bases in Afghanistan, where the exceptional range and accuracy is well-suited to the wide, open spaces.

 

I will be building a Browning M2 for a client, plus a turret mounting for the top of a Land Rover.

 

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‘Fabricators’ Luger P04 holster: Review

Customer Reviews, Luger P04, pistol

Having finished my P04 Naval Luger, I had been tucking it into my belt for a few weeks and needed a better carrying solution. There are a few holsters about and I picked this one up from Ebay from a seller based in India called ‘Fabricators’.

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At £27, free postage I thought it was worth a punt. If it was truly dreadful I could send it back or sell it on easily enough!

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On the back, there are two loops to hang it on a belt. There is no way to stop it moving on said belt, but that is the way of German webbing. British webbing kind of spoils you !

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The quality of the stitching is very good overall, there are no places where I am anxious about it coming loose.

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Down the side, there is a space for a cleaning rod. This is one aspect I was nervous of: in the picture on Ebay the Sam Browne stud was not well fitted. In the example I received it was however and the slot to close the flap well sized, not too tight or loose.

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Inside the flap of the holster, there is a pouch for the disassembly tool.

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And as a rather nice touch, it came with the disassembly tool! The pistol is a good fit, it sits deeply in the holster.

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On the side there is a tab, which you pull to lift the pistol and grab the grip.

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So, the downsides. The quality of the finish of the leather is not the best. It is painted on and not deep set within the material. In the picture above you can see a line above the cleaning rod pouch where it has flaked a bit, which is how it came rather than wear. Also, there are a few spots where glue has been slightly misplaced.

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However, for a hard leather holster for an unusual pistol I am pleased with it for the price. My main kit is British, so it will only be used when I fancy a change or when I’m playing CQB and am not using the Webley.

 

I’m not going to score items when I review, the numbers are subjective and meaningless. Instead, I judge items by whether a) I would buy it again if I needed another and b) whether I would recommend it to a friend. In this case, the answer is the same to both: Yes.

 

This may not be the best quality bit of kit out there, but it is a very fair price for what it is. To get better, you would have to spend a good deal more money-if you could even find one for this particular pistol.

 

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PZB-39: German Anti-Tank Rifle

Anti-Tank, Custom builds, History, Products, PZB-39 Rifle, Rifles, Weapons, WWII

The anti-tank rifle was, for many years, the only device capable of disabling a tank. In the Great War, British tanks were faced with the German T-Gewehr, a huge single-shot, large calibre Mauser rifle, which was moderately effective at short ranges but resultantly terrifying to use. Combine this with the shoulder-destroying recoil and this was a less than satisfactory solution.

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The T-Gewehr itself was supposed to be a stop-gap until Germany could bring its anti-tank machine-gun into production and deploy it. However the end of the war came before this could happen and as a result the only infantry anti-tank technology anyone had seen in action was the T-Gewehr.

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0.55 inch Boys Anti-tank rifle.

In the inter-war period, some development was carried out by all major nations into infantry tank-destroying technologies, all based around the anti-tank rifle. The only other option was the small artillery piece carried by infantry regiments. By the opening of WWII, the most prominent anti-tank rifles were the British Boys rifle, Finnish Lahti, Polish Model 35 and the German PZB 38 and PZB 39.

Asevarikko 1. 8,00 pst. kiv/38.

Polish Model 35. Probably the best anti-tank rifle of WWII. Not that it did much to help them.

The PZB-38 was intended to be Germany’s main anti-tank weapon when introduced, but it proved expensive and complex to manufacture. It was replaced by the PZB-39 as a consequence.

Russland, Deutsche Soldaten mit Panzerbüchse 39

The first thing to note about this rifle is that it is huge. Absolutely massive. 1605mm long. This is one of the downsides of anti-tank rifle technology, they have to have a powerful cartridge, which needs a strong chamber and receiver, plus a long barrel to build the necessary velocity to penetrate armour.

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As a result of this size, steps were taken to make it as portable as possible. The buttstock folds under the gun, such as it helps.

2mxlqooThe second thing to note about this rifle is that it is single shot. Every time to fire, you must open the breech and load a new cartridge, all manually. The action is a falling block, not dissimilar to that used by the Martini-Henry. It is opened by pushing the pistol grip forward, which pivots down at the front of its mounting. This ejects the spent cartridge and allows you to replace it.

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The two large boxes on the sides hold the ammunition, which is held in spring clips within.

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While anti-tank rifles were the only option available in the early war, they were really defunct even before it started. Only hits on a few critical areas of a tank could disable it, and these were quite unlikely under the stress of combat. The Finns had some success with Boys rifles against Soviet tanks during the Winter War, but by 1941 During Operation Crusader (the relief of Tobruk), there was not a single incident of a tank being disabled by the rifles.

The Germans took their anti-tank rifles into Russia, expecting Russian armour to fail readily, though they were disappointed in this not being the case. As a result, many of the surviving PZB-39s were sent back and re-purposed into grenade launchers in the form of the Granatbuchse (GrB) 39.

GRB-39 grenade launcher.

GRB-39 grenade launcher.

In service, these were both effectively replaced by the Panzerschreck and the Panzerfaust which were far superior, and in the case of the former was widely copied.

 

For those interested in learning more about the PZB-39, you should check out Forgotten Weapons’ video on one of these rifles.

 

You can also see the video about the GRB-39 grenade launcher.