Welcome to Milgeek.co.uk, my blog about my obsession with things military, including my airsoft hobby, family history in World War 2, military gaming, defence news and much more.
Nice to return to having my Milgeek Media Friday, and this week it's all about the old Lee Enfield .303.
Now I used the .303 (Model No. 4) when I was a school cadet in the 1970s, it was still the standard cadet training rifle then as the Army was using the 7.62mm L1A1 SLR and so I guess they thought it was good for us to train using a long large calibre rifle. Anyhoo...
Recently I watched a really entertaining video called 'Lock n' Load' on YouTube featuring R. Lee Ermey - you know, the Gunnery Sgt. from Full Metal Jacket! - where he did a rapid fire challenge between the British Lee Enfield and the American M1 Garand (yes, I know - not entirely fair as the Garand is semi-auto).
Still, this was a really cool comparison because when I was a teenager the Battle comic - a great favourite of mine - had a strip in it called 'Union Jack Jackson'. This was a fictional story of a Royal Marine who's ship was sunk in the Pacific so he ended up attached to a US Marine unit - and he had a competition with a Garand armed Marine to see who could fire the fastest, and the Brit won!
Now I know that was just a comic, but...The British Army were trained to fire their Lee Enfields rapid fire in what became known during the First World War as 'The Mad Minute'. Legend has it that so rapid was the British fire from the .303 that attacking Germans thought they were being fired on by machine guns!
Anyway - R. Lee Ermey's competition ended up with a predictable win for the Garand, but I was a little dubious as to the ability of his British opponent who - give him his due - wasn't that far behind the 'Gunny' at one point but wilted towards the end. My suspicions that he hadn't trained much with rapid fire with his .303 were somewhat backed up when I saw another video from the Good Ol' Gun Gripe boys YouTube channel!
This video shows an American gun enthusiast and Lee Enfield fan firing his .303 in true rapid fire style - and I couldn't help thinking that if he had been the Gunny's opponent then the Enfield would have probably have come out on top!
See what you think - first view the Lock n' Load video clip and then the 'Mad Minute' clip...
...Check out the speed of the aimed rapid fire here...
What do you think? I say let's have a rematch! :)
This is part of my transition from using a long arm as a primary to using a pistol. There's a lot to learn (you think you know how to handle a pistol - but you don't)!
Amusingly, these guys talk about the grip that I am most familiar with (and perhaps you to) - The Weaver - as being old fashioned (!) and make me feel like a Hill Billy with a musket! (I learned my pistol stance during my Cadet/Army induction courses). That weak-hand finger curled round the trigger guard was mentally slapped!
It's a really instructive video and I will be working my way through the series...
One thing to note though is that they illustrate the draw using one of those fancy specialist practical pistol 'open' holsters. It's actually more of a skeleton frame than a traditional enclosed style of holster, allowing them to draw faster by having the pistol leave the 'holster' forward and up and not up and out like it would with a traditional holster.
Yes, it's quickly approaching the time of year when you should be thinking not only about what to get the wife and kids for Chrissy (only 3 pay packets to go), but more importantly you should be getting those hints in yourself if you want to avoid the inevitable slippers or jumper.
So here's my first of this years suggestions that have a military theme - this is the Home Guard, a delightful recreation of those plastic soldiers you had as a kid! He comes either as a book-end or a doorstop model and is 19cm high, and he will set your gift-giver back £25 (plus P&P) from Suck UK.
Interesting to ponder, but if I could own any one of my airsoft guns as a real firearm which would it be?
No contest, and here's why...
STILL my favourite airsoft weapon - which also happens to be the first AEG I owned.
Above: My woodland configeration of my CA SA58.
...And here's my FIBUA/CQB set-up...
If I have any niggles about this set-up it's that the add-on front rail system doesn't completely mate with the reciever rail (there's a small gap between the front top rail and the reciever top rail). Also, the 1000 round mag is a little loose and rattles in the mag-well - hopefully the 120 round mid-caps I have ordered will be a better fit. But these are minor quibbles compared to the quality construction of this AEG and the brilliant design of the basic FAL itself.
I have to admit that I have noticed the boom in marketing products as 'Zombie' this and that has boomed over thepast couple of years. Several serious firearms manufacturers in The States have brought out a undead themed gun in an attempt to cash in on the 'popularity' (if that's the right word) of anything to do with Zombies.
One thing I find interesting is the attitude of 'serious' firearm users to this rather frivalous (they would say) inclusion of such items into thier sport/hobby. I'm a big fan of the 'Guns & Ammo' magazine - and I don't even own a banjo - and have been amused by the reaction to some of thier readers at the inclusion of a special Zombie section on thier web site!
That said I don't see that preparing for a imagined Zombie plague is any more 'crazy' than some of the other reasons that American 'Survivalists' use to justify thier paranoia (my favourite being a 'UN invasion' LOL).
My only concern is how much this frivolity affects taking firearms seriously as lethal weapons (not toys). I am not a fan of the painting real firearms to look like toys (like the whole 'Hello Kitty' pink gun fad) - I like the idea of making shooting fun as a sport, but a healthy respect of firearms should always be an inherant part of gun ownership.
...So I was pleased to see that the only guns painted in garish colours in this video were the airsoft ones.
As I look more into Action Air (Practical Shooting using airsoft) I am beginning to understand the formats that make up this formalized sport. Unlike the airsoft skirmishing - which by it's very nature is admittedly anarchic and wildly held to be, even by it's exponents, as 'playing soldiers' - Action Air is an administrated and codified sport which has it's own sub-formats or disciplines.
These disciplines - in the UK at least - are described as follows; IPAS, Practical Pistol and T.A.P.S.
Now, funnily enough - to an outsider like myself - at first glance there doesn't appear to be that much difference between the three (exponents will shake their heads at this opinion). All are basically timed target competitions using gas pistols to hit various types of abstract paper or metal targets on set 'stages'. However, as with most things, the devil is in the detail, and here's my initial thoughts on what these differences are...
IPAS - 'Iron Plate Airsoft Shooting'
The clue is in the title - you shoot at a series of 'iron' plates! According to the official IPAS - Action Air Shooing UK web site the rules for this form of competition are:
"...there are between two and five metal plates “down range” all plates are painted grey or white but one plate is either red or blue and this is known as the “Stop” plate. The shooter is required to start with the pistol holstered on the hip…On the audible start signal the shooters engages each of the grey plates (one shot on each plate) in any order but the stop plate must be hit last. The last shot will stop the timer and the total time for that run will be called."
This Evike.com video shows a 'Steel Challenge' (as the American's call IPAS) practise session. Although the 'stop plate' is not painted red or blue I think you can tell it's the middle one as you can just make out the wire coming from it which goes to the electronic timer (which records and 'stops' the timer) when the plate is hit...
Basically, Practical Pistol seems to differ from IPAS in that this is a more dynamic competition - there is a lot more movement and the stages (courses) are a lot more complex in order to mimic realistic scenarios.
Left: It's a pistol, Jim - but not as we know it. Practical Pistol has involved into a highly sophisticated discipline.
You have to physical move (run) along a course to get from one stage to another and these stages might be inside rooms or behind obsticles. So while iron plate will give you opportunities to hone your basic holster, draw and aiming skills PP then adds movement and position skills to your skill-set. And there is also a larger variation in target type.
Action Airsoft UK: "...no course of fire is ever the same from one competition to the next. Diversity is encouraged to keep the sport from becoming too formalized or standardized and typically, competitors do not know in advance what to expect in any given match…most shooting takes place at relatively close distances. Speed & accuracy are key factors..."
Here's a video showing some of the acion from the 2012 AIPSC UK Action Air Tournament which demonstrates just how inventive and dynamic this form of competition can be...
T.A.P.S. - Tactical Air Pistol Shooting
While Practical [airsoft] Pistol is perhaps the most evolved and codified airsoft sport it has also developed into quite a sophisticated and technologically specialised discipline. What i mean by this is that the 'tools' of the sport have become uniquely honed to address the very specific parameters of this controlled sport - the guns, for example, have developed into the unique 'speed shooting' instruments with their highly customised components and accessories.
T.A.P.S. seems to be an attempt to 'get back to basics' (or, to use another cliche, to 'keep it real').
Action Airsoft UK describes the format as such:
"It is essentially a hybrid event combining elements of Steel Plate Speed Shooting IDPA & Practical Pistol. It has been designed to replicate various elements of pistol training used by the military and law enforcement agencies throughout the world…A “tactical” event, no speed holsters or “race” guns are allowed, pistols must be carried in “duty” holsters on the hip and magazines are limited to ten rounds."
From my point of view this is the most interesting of the disciplines as it reflects training scenarios that are kept close to a regime that would has real world applications. I could see serving Police officers finding this a 'practical' event (excuse the ironic pun) where they use their actual duty equipment and pistol, whereas 'Practical Pistol' seems to be conducted by sportspersons who may have never served in a situation where they might be expected to use a pistol for real (I generalise but hopefuly you get the point).
This is a fledgling sport and at the moment I can only find a full firearm equivalent in video form - but this will give you the idea...
Note the non-'tricked out' Glock and the duty (standard American Police) holster.
Well, perhaps you are still thinking 'well, there still doesn't appear to be that much difference'! Or, possibly I have made a decent enough job at clarifying the difference...You never know!
But, I think the main point is that there is something for everyone here. I like the idea of IPAS as I could practise this is a very small space available to me (5m/16 feet being the stated minimum range), but I also like the philosophy behind T.A.P.S. because my interest lies in service side arms...
Having said all that, Practical Pistol 'race guns' do look cool! And I wouldn't say no to a custom 1911 to add to my small airsoft armoury. But I would probably use it by incorporating it into my modified home target practice regime.
Having received my new airsoft CZ75D I thought I would have a look around to see what accessories there are available for it. CZ themselves do an official set of add-ons, but there are also some other bits and bobs out there that you could trick out your 75D with.
Let's start with the official ASG airsoft add-ons, these consist of either a metal or a plastic 'silencer', a plastic tactical rail mount system and finally a tactical LED flashlight. All-in-all, this allows you to put together a pretty mean looking SOCOM-like set-up...
I actually managed to track down the rail mount system easy enough, but the silencer and flashlight have eluded me here in the UK. Not a big deal for me though as I only want the rail to mount a mini-holographic sight as part of a speed shooting set-up. This is supposed to retail at an RRP of £19.50, but I managed to find it at the Glasgow Angling Center (of all places) for just £9.99, and I'm pleased I only paid this as it's actually made of plastic.
However, aside from these official airsoft quality accessories there are a couple of nice real-steel extras out there that are worth mentioning...
First of all, although I am very pleased with the beautiful rubber diamond-checkered grips that the ASG CZ75D comes with out the box it is worth mentioning that Hogue do a very nice wrap-around rubber grip. The advantages of these is that they do come with finger groves for an even better snug fit. These are available from Midway UK for just £22.57 (but be aware that Midway do tend to sting you with the postage).
[I should mention that Midway UK also do a lovely set of replacement fibre-optic iron sights for the real-steel CZ75 - but I suspect that a bit of work would have to be done to get them to fit on the airsoft replica. But they do look incredibly cool!]
Next, I want a duty holster for my T.A.P.S. (Tactical Pistol) shooting and I managed to find a lovely Fobus paddle holster that is made for the CZ75D. Additionally, though, this holster can come in various formats including, belt set-up, as well as ankle, thigh and MOLLE attachment. It's excellent value as it starts from $35 from ZAHAL Israeli Gear (and they do ship to the UK).
This is a groovy piece of kit whether you are into airsoft skirmish of Action Air (Tactical Airsoft). Fobus is very highly thought of and the fact you can buy this holster in a variety - near custom - set-ups for whatever kind of airsoft you like to play is fantastic. I may end up buying a couple of these so I can mount on a belt and on a MOLLE vest.
So, there you go. Some nice stuff there - and none of it too expensive.
The first new airsoft gun I have bought in ages, but it's a beauty. Read more...
I had to post this up - this is just so sweet! :)
To me this shows how far airsoft has come - although this was filmed in 2009, airsoft acceptance in the USA is a few years ahead of it's acceptance as a mainstream sport here in Europe. But what's really nice about this - and had me smiling all the way through the video - was the reaction of this real steel shooter to opening and handling his very first airsoft pistol!
As he put's it - he thought it would be just a toy, but check out his shift in attitude as he gets this WE GBB 1911 in his hands. :) :) :)
Have you heard of 'Action Air'? No? Well, neither had I - until I started looking at some of the links on the websites that I mentioned in yesterday's post about micro-site shooting.
Action Air is the trademarked shooting discipline organised by the IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation). What's interesting for me is that when I was young I was about to get involved with Practical Shooting when British gun law dramatically changed due to the 1987 Hungerford massacre and I had thought that Practical Shooting had completely disappeared here in the UK. But actually it just re-designed itself and slowly remerged (quietly) over time.
What is 'Practical Shooting'? Wikipedia decsribes it as follows: "Practical shooting is a sport which challenges an individual's ability to shoot rapidly and accurately with a full-power handgun, rifle, or shotgun. To do this, shooters take on obstacle-laden shooting courses called stages, some requiring many shots to complete, and others just a few. While scoring systems vary between practical shooting organizations, each measures the speed with which the stage is completed, with penalties for inaccurate shooting."
It's all very serious and organized stuff and probably a bit to much so for the kind of free-spirit who is your average airsofter. But it does provide a interesting blue-print for potencial urban micro airsoft sites in exactly how they might layout small competative shooting galleries.
Obviously this leaves 'long-arm' airsoft shooters somewhat out in the cold as Action Air is primarily designed for pistols, being the most 'practical' (ho-ho) gun for the small amount of space intended to be used. But as I have showed before, Japanese urban airsoft clubs do make use of small office and warehouse space to create mini-skirmish galleries. Grimsby's Arena Airsoft is a UK version of these compact urban sites.
Still, back to the small small-arms, the Action Air format does provide the urban airsofter with a template that they can use for both individual practise in the privacy of a bit of garage space or in the form of a small organized club based in some rented commercial space. You don't have to align yourself to the IPSC to do so, but you can adapt thier freely downloadable guidelines to create your own ideal speed shooting gallery.
I find this very interesting, to the point that I will be doing some investigation into the cost of some local rented space. BUT - please, if you are tempted do make sure that you are straight up with any landlord and ensure that having a shooting hobby on thier property does not infringe any agreements or local by-laws!