Sunday, 28 October 2007

SYA airsoft skirmish - 28th Oct. 2007

My very first airsoft skirmish report of my visit to South Yorkshire Airsoft. This is very much a 'newbie' eye's view of attending a skirmish for the very first time, so bear with me...

'Alpha' squad, Red Team at pre-match briefing. I'm the big chap in the
middle in the black balaclava.

I guess - for me - the only downside of traveling to SYA was the 5.20am get up (to travel from Scarborough). If you don't have your own car this is one of the chief worries about airsofting - as all sites seem to be tucked away in the middle of the countryside...

Having got to SYA - thanks to a mate who does have a car - the first thing that gets you is the sheer size of the site! And as a noob this was scary, as being unfamiliar made it that much harder to grasp the objectives for the day.

Everyone else nodded in recognition when the Marshal briefed us and pointed out 'The Trident Club', 'The Tank Sheds and so on...

Advice No. 1 - 'Hook up'

So my first bit of advice to any fellow noob is: Hook yourself up with a squad that's been before - you'll easily recognize them. Don't be afraid to ask if you can hook up either - everyone is very friendly and wants to help...

But also don't be offended if a group doesn't want to hook up - a lot of people play with mates or like to do certain things (like the excellent sniper team we 'Reds' had on the day - fantastic job guys!). If they aren't too keen to have newbies tag along it's NOTHING personal - it's just that they have tactical reasons why they can't baby-sit...

But you will always find a group who will have you along.

Advice No. 2 - Listen to the Marshals

The 'briefing' at the beginning of the day (about safety and rules) is GOD'S LAW - get close to the Marshal who is giving this and listen. There is loads of good advice in this speech - and you can ask questions afterwards.

Next: Listen to your team briefing - the one with the mini-map of the site where you'll be shown your objectives...

Bit of a tip here is get yourself on Google Earth before you come and zoom in on the site and print that out...If nothing else that will show you just how big the place is!

SYA Proteus camp - click on image to see large version

The game

Get ready to REALLY enjoy yourself!

Experienced players have told me on the forum that there isn't any way to describe airsoft until you've actually done it. And that's spot on.

It's not like paintball, it's not like playing BF2 on your computer, and it's not like playing soldiers when you were a kid...The main difference to me was the TENSION.

When I was on defense and waiting for the Yellow Team to attack - I actually got a sweat on!

 One of my visits to 'Regen'. 

Does it hurt?

I suppose this is the biggy for newbies...

And the answer is - yes and no!

The pure adrenaline of the game can sometimes make you not feel anything at all until you are walking back to Regen ( and I would say this is why some people are mistaken for cheating - sometimes you really don't feel even a close hit!)

At other times - when you are taken by surprise - it stings like buggery!

My arms and my ass (thanks Wayne!) look like I have measles - and they are tender to touch.

I noticed that the 'young guns' had a lot of bravado about being hit - and wore the marks like badges of honour....But that didn't stop one of the young lads screeching like a scalded cat when I hit him in the neck (sorry mate). Yet two minutes later he was laughing and showing off his 'war wound' to his mates in Regen!

My rule of thumb is simple. I don't have anything to prove, and I work in an office - so little round red pockmarks are boring to explain. I padded up, and I was happy as a sandboy - if anyone thought I was a pussy, they didn't say it to my face! And that's all that matters to me.

And finally...

Right or wrong I wrote down some 'general truths' that I learnt from the day (some tongue in cheek but useful!)...

1. The other guys rifle will ALWAYS out-range yours!

2. Your Hi-Cap mag will stop feeding AS SOON as you have a large group of enemy in front of you who didn't see you coming.

3. If you do not buy any pyros/grenades you WILL come across a large group of enemy sardined into a small room.

4. NEVER believe the words 'I will cover you'.

5. ALWAYS be suspicious when an experienced player says 'after you mate'.

6. The first person to shoot you in the ass will be a team mate (and probably a 'friend').

7. When five of your squad are clearing a hut the 6th member of your team will ALWAYS decide that is a good time to lob in a smoke grenade.

8. If you are in any way 'over-sized' you will ALWAYS get 'point'.

9. The phrase 'don't worry, we're behind you' means exactly the opposite when you suddenly come across a large group of the enemy.

10. NEVER believe it when someone says 'don't worry, they WON'T come from THAT direction'.

My first 'war wound'. Shot in the 'ass' by my own side!

Sunday, 23 September 2007

KJW Sig Sauer P229 (all metal) GBB pistol

(Disclaimer: I'm a 'newbie' to airsoft and this is my very first gun. So please please point out obvious technical commissions or errors - I'm still learning!)

KJW Sig Sauer P229 GBB full metal pistol: £99.99 from AIrsoft Armoury - total 'set-up' package including gun, extra mags and accessories was £150.

Why the KJW Sig P229?

"A Full Metal gas blow back airsoft pistol with ABS Grip, it weighs in at a hefty 1130g. The Magazine Capacity is 24+1 and is NOT compatible with Marui P226 Magazines." (Wolf Armouries)

Unfortunately, there isn't much manufacturers bumph about this gun - my interest and purchase was purely based on the fact that I wanted a side arm that British forces currently use (the P226 is the standard issue pistol, designated the L105A1, and the compact P229 is used by special units).

The full designation for the real pistol is the SIG Sauer
P229R—"R" denotes the accessory rail. [Wikipedia]

As it was a back-up pistol I wanted, I chose to go with the P229 - although, in reality, the size difference between the 229 and the 'bigger' 226 isn't actually all that much!

Real steel info (from 'Wikipedia'): "SIG firearms are manufactured both in Germany and in Exeter, New Hampshire. Although Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft is a Swiss company, Swiss law is highly restrictive when it comes to the export of firearms. Consequently, SIG entered into an agreement with German gun manufacturer J.P. Sauer & Sohn to facilitate an export market for their products."

This is where the 'Sig Sauer' comes in - in case you were wondering!

"The SIG P229 is a compact firearm, often used for concealed carry purposes. The standard version features a DA/SA trigger...The P229 can be chambered in 9 mm, .40 S&W or .357 SIG."

The Sig P226 series has been hugely successful around the world. It narrowly missed out on being the US Army's replacement for the M1911 to the Beretta M92 - some still consider the Sig to be a better weapon than the Beretta.

It is a favourite of police and special forces - including the SAS - and has been used in such TV shows as X-Files and Star Gate!

More info available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SIG_P226

The KJW P229 airsoft replica



The thing that no photo or description that can prepare you for is the weight of the KJW P229! I'm not saying it's overly heavy - just that if you are used to plastic pistols you may have a surprise in store for you.

Certainly, as a newbie, I was taken back by the solid heft of this gun. But it felt nice, and 'real' - with the cold of the metal giving me the right feel in my hand.

The look of the KJW is very workmanlike, the finish a satin black. You can debate about the looks of the P229, but it's square-cut design has plenty of intimidation factor.

Perhaps most importantly, nothing rattled or fell off when the gun was hefted about - nor does any part seem likely to do so.

The KJW P229 in use

Having tentatively filled my gun with green gas I was ready to fire my very first airsoft gun!

Well, actually, thinking about it - this wasn't my first airsoft gun. I *did* own a spring powered Glock a long time ago - which I bought for a film I made as a media student...

And here is where I noticed the KJW's first good point. The magazine of the KJW has a nifty feature where you don't pop in the BBs one at a time at the mag mouth, but instead you pull down the feed follower and pour in the BBs through an widened openning. I imagine this is a great time saver in the field.

Racking the P229 gave a *very* satisfying metal 'KLACK'...Thereafter, firing the blowback KJW was a pure joy! Pow, pow, pow!

Nice feedback in my hand, the recoil gave precisely the right impression. I was impressed, and when the clip was empty, the slide lock held open the slide indicating the depleted mag. Nice.

Operation and controls

Just a quick note on this one.

I have no other airsoft pistol (yet) to make direct comparisons on control features. But I did find the Sig P229 safety button a little awkward. 'On' is easily archived by the trigger finger of the right hand - but 'Off' is a fiddly two handed affair which I can only assume is designed to work best with a the two handed 'Weaver' stance.

Otherwise the decocking button, slide lock and magazine release are all very ergonomic and easy to use (for a right hander - note that this pistol is NOT ambidextrous!).

Final thoughts

Well, am I pleased with teh KJW P226?

YES! Very much so - BUT this is my first proper airsoft gun, so I *could* be easy impressed. But, even I think this is a solid purchase (literally!).

And here I would like to take a moment to mention the excellent help I got with my purchase from Airsoft Armoury.

I 'came clean' and told the guy at A2 that I was a 'noob' and didn't know what I should get with my first purchase to get the pistol working 'out the box'. The assistant was *very* nice and took time to go through what I would need, the alternatives, and the pros and cons of each accessory.

He explained the operation of the gun, about the gas system, and helped me make up a list of items I would need. Additionally, he worked out the items so I would get the benefit of A2's free delivery.

Everything you see above was placed on my shopping list (minus the targets
which were free print outs from targetz.com). And delivery was prompt and I
cannot express my excitement when I got the package and was able to set
up straight away! (Thank you Airsoft Armoury!)

Summary

Pros:-

  • Full metal construction
  • Solid construction and detail
  • Easily field loadable, thanks to mag layout
  • Mean looking!

Cons:-


  • Fiddly safety catch operation
  • Not ambidextrous
  • No real-steal trade marks

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'NOOBIEDOH!'

What's a 'noobiedoh'? Well, this is when - as a newbie - you make a silly mistake and a more experienced person shows you what you've done wrong and you go 'du-oh!'

In this case my 'noobiedoh' was racking the unloaded KJW P229 only to have the slide stick in the 'open' position because of the slide lock...

"It's bust!" says me, as I have seen all the movies and pistol slides always return to the closed position when you rack them!

I was *JUST* about to call A2 - thinking I had a duff pistol - when an army mate of mine stopped me, loaded the mag with BBs and again racked the pistol...

This time the slide cycled fully to the rear and then forward again!

"Du-oh!" says I - "Twat!" says he!

The slide will only cycle fully when BBs are present in the mag.

Er, oooops!