It was a long day yesterday at the IWA & Outdoor Classics 2010, and I was again nursing a hangover after going out with the top honcho of SRC while Whistler took care of the rest of the staff. But I do have interesting stuff to tell you about, with some leftovers of the second day that I failed to report last weekend, and some new stuff that would just interest you. So more photos, videos, and a long report today.
ACTION SPORTS GAMES (ASG, Denmark)
ASG was sporting CA as an airsoft brand but they are trying to change the game in Europe by not asking for the manufacturer's logo on the products instead they are licensing with real steel companies so they can legally use the engravings just like on a real firearm. Of course a small ASG logo gets engraved on the receivers. It makes life harder for an airsoft player because it takes some research to find out who made the actual replica. Most of the ASG guns were made by KWA so quality is already a given. I grabbed a Lewis Machine & Tool M4 replica and it was very firm, solidly built and the sales rep told me that it will deliver 400 fps out of the box just like the new CA M15 series. It would be nice to review one of these.
ASG acquired license with CZ, Wesson Firearms, Steyr and STI to sell their handgun replicas in 4.5 and 6mm Co2 and GBB versions. If this will go on we can see CZ rifles on the airsoft market and probably it will end the boredom of countless AK replicas. Let’s cross our fingers for that guys.
The main attraction (usually where the sales rep will drag you first) was B&T’s TMP or MP9 but I will let you decide which one you would want to call it. Originally developed by Steyr under the name of TMP but a Swiss company Brugger and Thomet added a few extra goodies like folding stock, 20mm rail and trigger safety. The semi auto version is called TP9 and the Germans probably know that better since their versions have to be downgraded to semi only (I won’t move to Germany in the near future that’s for sure). It was built to match the original and there is very little difference between the two and probably you couldn’t point out those differences. I went to see the original one and then back to the ASG booth and let me tell you I was impressed and not because the TWINS were modeling for my photo this time.
ASG just unboxed the Ultima gearbox, which deserved a full size display on the other side of the B&T TMP. Hopefully we can get the hands on one of these and test it in the next couple of weeks. I did not have the time to talk to the gearbox expert because he was on a meeting with more important people but I was promised a test sample for review purposes.
The most important thing stayed hidden at this booth as well: the Blaster BIO. Blaster is known in Europe because its reliability and relative accuracy. The full size display was right behind a thick column and some tables. I’m sure most of the visitors missed it.
The Strike series is probably ASG’s finest line of accessories. These scopes and sights are look like the bastard children of Trijicon and Aimpoint but in a good way and I appreciate the effort trying to be different, but I guess this is the only way to stay legal in Europe.
EVOLUTION AIRSOFT (Italy)
Evolution Airsoft is an Italian distributor of CA, ICS and Systema. Classic Army occupied most of their place and it took me a while to find the main attraction. Evolution Airsoft acquired a license from ZM Weapons and based on the license, they’ve designed the airsoft verson of the LR300 family. The guns were just demo units and I couldn’t look inside of them so I had to rely on the printed information and the little presentation of the Evolution Airsoft sales representative.
I know you would probably say “Not another M4!” but take a good look at this because it looks different. It’s not a secret that the standard LR300 was made by G&G for Airsoft Evolution but now the series will be made in Hong Kong with lot of CA internal parts (not officially confirmed). The full teeth piston pictured is standard feature of the ZM line and that piston looks like a CA part to me. The guns will be available in EBB and GBB version but no standard AEG will be offered.
Evolution AS will try to keep the price under 200EUR for the GBB and under 350EUR for the EBB version. Both EBB and GBB will have a unique feature: “working” DIGS. You might noticed that it is a folding stock version and now you think where they are going to put that recoil buffer. I told you it’s not just an M4. Not too many M4 GBB running around with the stock folded. The Delayed Impingement Gas System differs from the DIGS of an AR rifle and this will show in a longer gas block and a spring around the gas tube. The longer gas block won’t have any role in the replica but the spring around the gas tube will simulate recoil just like it buffers it on real guns. The EBB version will use the same spring to produce recoil and I am awaiting this version because I am curious how they connect the gearbox with a spring in the fore end. This website has further info on the weapon itself which was designed with the help of PARA USA which you can read more here.
In other news from the same booth: Evolution AS says that new EBB and GBB versions from CA are coming in two months' time (coincidence?) just about when they release the ZM LR family. They will use CO2 or Green gas and will be rated at 1 Joule. Nothing new as far as internals but they will be offered with Tango Down or Magpul accessories and furniture.
There was a small display for green stuff as well: Extreme Precision BIO BB were in the display to simulate the degrading. The display was very nice indeed but it wasn’t advertised enough around the booth. Sales reps should drag visitors to this display telling them that BIO is the way to go if you got some heart. Nah, new guns are more important.
ICS and Systema products were shown on minimal surface but none of them brands had any exciting new stuff. Systema was present with a couple of PTWs and the full range of Energy series. ICS had the the L86 LMG on display here as the latest one from ICS.
Keseru Muvek Fegyvergyar (Hungary)
Keseru Muvek Fegyvergyar is from Hungary and they are making Flobert weapons with a twist. They call it Non Lethal Traumatic Weapons and the intended use is self defense. The subject isn’t closely airsoft related but their ammo is soft and I mean rubber soft. Some of the Keseru products are available in four different calibers: 4, 6, 5.6 and 6mm blank. So far nothing special, but when you check the rest of the product line then you will see dual caliber: .380 and 18mm (some revolvers use 10 or 12mm)!!! You chamber a blank 380 and when that goes off it forces the rubber ball in front of it to leave the barrel with a muzzle energy of 60-130 Joule!! The good thing is that this is completely legal in some countries and while it’s not the most accurate gun on the planet but it is certainly fun and interesting idea. The design is spartan, but that keeps them reliable.
The whole thing with the rubber balls made me laugh as it was but the
sales rep pointed out the holes on the ½ inch wood and then I realised
that this could seriously knock someone off their feet.
They also had an UZI imitation 4.5mm automatic airgun (here converted to semi). It shoots 4.5mm lead BB’s and it is powered by a 12g CO2 magazine which is located in the magazine along with 24 BB’s. The firing mechanism is electronic so there is no bolt moving in this one but its battery needs recharging every now and then (charger included). You remember the video when a guy is using a cell phone to shoot blanks? Well, this company got one just like it gas or blank, pre-loaded and entirely made of polymer.
REDWOLF AIRSOFT (Hong Kong, UK)
RedWolf was one of the busiest booths I’ve visited and it was also one of the smallest. The Motion Tracker was pulling in lots of visitors but the ECHO1 minigun and the MG42 were just as much eye catching. You can buy the motion tracker already along with the minigun but for the MG42 you'll need to wait while they resolving reliability and cost issues. The RPG was a working prototype where the rocket contained the BBs and the body held a blank 40mm grenade what launched all the BBs at once (approx 150 of them).
A big LCD screen was showing videos the whole time about the motion tracker. Once you were done watching the motion tracker video they had one new presentation waiting for you. Airsoft Innovations were right there and explaining their new Impact grenade. The walls and displays were stuffed with high end custom guns from Airsoft Surgeon and parts from Deepfire and Hurricane. All of these presented by true airsoft celebs.
If you ask any airsoft journalist they will tell that they had the most fun with the Airsoft Innovations presentation. Since the IWA was a strict no shoot area (with the exception of an archery range and virtual hunting stations) we had to go to a hotel room to have some fun but at least we found out that the Tornado and Impact are safe enough to play with them in the living room. The Impact is basically a timer-less Tornado grenade and like the name says it only goes off when it hits something.
Here the safety pin holds a couple of metal pieces in place and those metal pieces are blocking the valve but once the pin is removed and impact happens they collapse and let valve expand the green gas into a chamber and then a 510 mm spiral barrel around the grenade’s body filled up with 200 BB’s. The impact where these metal parts collapse can be very minimal but shaking the grenade won’t make it explode even when you shake like crazy. Simple but effective design and now I know why they’re picked the name Airsoft Innovations. The Tornado and Impact are both made in Canada and it is not outsourced to other countries but your money will go to the right place and it will buy you a fool proof, reliable design.