V-TACTICAL UNIVERSAL TANK POUCH REVIEW!

Hey there!

So today I have another review in the Valken HPA series this December and in this post we are going to look at the Universal Tank Pouch – a molle pouch that Valken has specifically designed to hold HPA tanks that is suitable for mounting vertically AND horizontally on battle belt set-ups, and plate carriers.

The universal tank pouch is designed to carry 45ci-90ci air tanks - it has 3 Velcro straps to adjust the pouch to the size of the tank and make it secure when you’re running on the field. It has an elastic strap that pulls up from the bottom and goes over the regulator to keep it in place for extra security when you’re running it horizontally. It’s easy to install, the molle on the tank pouch is a different size to the molle on most plate carriers but that doesn’t pose an issue when attaching the pouch to a plate carrier or belt. It has a reinforced piece at the top, and my only guess for this is that it is to protect the regulator from getting caught during a game or hitting the back of the plate carrier when you’re in motion? I found that my Valken tank fit perfectly in the pouch, but as I have the ultra rig installed on my tank, the regulator did stick out of the pouch a fair bit.


What do I think of the aesthetics? Honestly, I’m not keen on the look – it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing design but it is a product that definitely puts more focus on the functionality and usability of it rather than how it looks. I think it’s pretty cool that you can mount it both vertically and horizontally, this definitely makes it more versatile in regards to loadouts and play styles. So for the players who like to run just a battle belt set-up, it’s a great choice.



The pouches are available in tan, olive and black – I would really like to see these made in the V-Cam to go with my MultiCam plate carrier but, the tan doesn’t look out of place on a MC PC/rig. They are available from the Valken website here for $19.95 which for us Brits is around £14.76 at the current exchange rate which is really affordable for a pouch with such a specific purpose.


Overall, I think Valken have done a great job with the universal tank pouch, although I’m not a fan of how it looks I think its usability and functionality more than makes up for that. It’s not a pouch I would necessarily swap my cargo pack for (which is what I carry my HPA tank in otherwise) but it’s great that a specific pouch for HPA tanks is available for HPA users.

Post sponsored by Valken Tactical

Photography thanks to Pewpewpatriot

2017 FAVOURITES: FAVOURITE CAMOUFLAGE AND LOADOUTS!

Hey everyone!

Here’s another post in my 2017 favourites series as the year comes to a close and in this post, I’m going to reflect on the loadouts and camouflage patterns that I’ve donned this year and choose my favourite 5! Do you have a recommendation for a camo pattern you think I’d love? Write it in the comments box below so I can check it out!

MultiCam X Wolf Grey

First up is my go-to winter loadout, MultiCam combat trousers/UBAC and a Wolf Grey softshell that keeps me warm at low temperatures. I’ve been developing this loadout since 2015 and keep going back to it as I love the shade of grey and how it breaks up all the MultiCam. It’s warm, super comfortable and probably one of my all-time favourite loadouts! Photography thanks to James Murray.


Lumber-Tac X Ranger Green

Next up is the loadout I wore for the Tora Bora Raid weekender event in August 2017. You can check out my full loadout lowdown post here. The basis of this look is a Primark flannel shirt and ranger green combat trousers, this worked really well with my ranger green TMC plate carrier. What I like about this loadout is that it’s super relaxed and comfortable. It’s also perfect for the summer months as well thanks to how lightweight it is. Photography thanks to Snook Snaps.


M81/US Woodland

M81/US Woodland is my go-to camo for a ‘green’ team loadout. I’ve worn it for every MilSim that I’ve played on the green side. I really like the pattern, the mix of colours and it definitely goes with MultiCam tactical kit and green kit. M81 was the issue camo for US soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors from 1981 until it was replaced in 2006. It features four colours and is a high contrast disruptive pattern. Photography thanks to John Wright.


Camouflage Europe Centrale

CEC (or CCE) is a camouflage that I didn’t even know existed until my trip to Paris in September 2017! It is the issue camouflage for French military and is a four-colour pattern of woodland shapes that is designed for French forests. I wore this camo with a tan plate carrier and a tan softshell as it has more of a brown hue than green and I loved it! Photography thanks to Dye Lifad.


MultiCam Tropic

My overall favourite look of 2017 has to be MultiCam Tropic. I’ve always been a huge fan of MultiCam and so it makes sense that I’m drawn to the other variants. My team and I, Project Cerberus decided early 2017 that this would be our team camo for the year and it hasn’t let us down. I really like how it looks with ranger green, olive drab and also MultiCam plate carriers and tactical kit. MultiCam Tropic was developed to reduce the visual and near-IR signature of a person operating in a dense jungle environment that is mostly lush vegetation that isn’t really affected by seasonal changes. Photography thanks to Pewpewpatriot.


2017 FAVOURITES: THE TOP 5 AIRSOFT GUNS I’VE USED THIS YEAR THAT AREN'T AR PLATFORMS!

Hey everyone!

I get a lot of questions about what airsoft guns are my favourites and even though naming my favourite airsoft guns EVER would be a really hard choice to make, I’ve reflected on the ones I have used THIS year and picked my favourite 5. For this list I’ve chosen one of each platform that isn’t an AR15 – from shotguns to SMGs to support weapons, check out the airsoft guns I’ve used and rated this year:

My AK of choice this year has to be the G&G RK74-T, you can check out my full review here. This AEG is the longest variant in the tactical AK series by airsoft manufacturer G&G. What swayed me on this AK over the scores and scores of other AKs out there are the features that such as the keymod rail system and the foldable stock. For me, it's a fun RIF to use and mixes the best of the iconic AK with the tactical goodness of an M4! Photo credit to Snook Snaps


As for shotguns, this year I’ve really enjoyed using the Tokyo Marui Breacher. Although I haven’t done a review on the TM Breacher, every time I’ve used one I’ve had a blast. I love how the breacher sounds when it racks and discharges. It’s a really short, compact weapon that is perfect for CQB, and the 3 round or 6 round burst feature is something that can be switched up to surprise your enemy.


For my support weapon, it has to be the Classic Army HPA Microgun. This is probably THE most fun airsoft gun I’ve had the chance to use this year. It is 32 rounds per second of pure fun, and when HPA tapped is a consistent support weapon that can be used for extended periods of time. It is pretty brutal and something you’d definitely want in your arsenal for suppression, defence and also breaking through defences.  


For a Sniper rifle, I think it has to go to the Ares Amoeba Striker. This sniper rifle is really affordable and performs great out of the box. What sways me on this is how easy the stock bolt is to pull back as that is usually an area of trouble for me. It also looks great and comes in a variety of colours to match any loadout. Upgraded, it can definitely give even the TM VSR a run for its money! Photo credit to Ioan Roberts.


My favourite SMG of the year has to be the Krytac Kriss Vector – you can read my full review here. The Vector was the most highly anticipated AEG of 2017 and for me, it didn’t disappoint! I love the look of the Vector – it’s so different to any other weapon on the market and its performance out of the box is pretty hard to match. It is accurate, has great range and consistent groupings which for me what makes it such a great choice if you’re looking for an all-rounder weapon that is compact. It is worth noting that the Vector, only just beat the ASG Scorpion EVO 3 A1 on this list. Photo credit to The Airsoft Project


VALKEN V12 HPA SET-UP!

Hey everyone,

If you’ve been keeping an eye on my Instagram and Facebook pages you will have noticed that Valken has sent me a full HPA set-up to test drive. As I’m a complete newb to HPA systems, the first post in our December HPA series will be a post on the set-up itself – from the Ultra regulator to their Optima BLOCK-I V12 rifle so those of you thinking of making the transition know what to expect! It goes without saying that HPA systems are a lot more complicated than your average AEG and GBB system, requiring 2 sources of power instead of one. In this post, we’ll be looking at my set-up which includes: the Valken V12 Optima BLOCK-I rifle, Valken Ultra Rig, Valken 48/3000 Tank, Valken SLP QD Air Rig 42” Hose and the teeny tiny 7.4v 250 mAh PEQ Battery.




First, let's look at the main power source of a HPA set-up, which is, of course, the air which is contained in a HPA tank. The tank I have is the 48cu black 3000psi (EU) w/regulator air tank. It is made of aluminium and has a 3000 psi fill pressure with an 800 psi output pressure. It features a nickel-plated brass bonnet that provides a durable and long-lasting gas interface and high/low-pressure burst disks for the highest level of safety. Tanks of compressed air make me a little bit nervous, especially when they're so close to my spine (we've all heard horror stories!) but the fact they exceed ASTM standards is a piece of mind.

Next up, is the Valken Ultra Rig, which fits on top of the tank and regulates the air that goes into the rifle, and it is also where you can adjust the FPS via an Allen key. It is easy to operate as it has a quick rotating on/off design which releases/cuts off the air flow into the rest of the system.

In regards to the battery and air rig hose, there’s not really much to say – the battery goes in the stock and is required to power the FCU and mosfet. The air hose, which should go without saying allows the air to get from the reg/tank to the gun itself, both are essential to the system.


Lastly, let’s look at the V12 Optima BLOCK-I! Now this will just be a short rundown of the key features of the rifle as this will be getting its own review in a couple of weeks. It has a Valken V12 engine pre-installed in a fibre reinforced light-weight polymer upper and lower receiver based rifle that has a 9.5” modular polymer free float rail system with built-in accessory rails, meaning it’s ready to be accessorised with lights/lasers and PEQ boxes and because of the polymer it’s a light-weight rifle. Let’s have a quick look at internals - it has an FCU that can easily be programmed via the LED trigger face which is a pretty cool feature, it features an enhanced nylon rotary hop-up and a 6.03mm copper inner barrel. I like how the Optima BLOCK-I looks and I really like how light-weight it is.



I am really looking forward to running a HPA set-up in-game!

You can see my unboxing of the full set-up here:


Post sponsored by Valken Tactical
Photography thanks to Pewpewpatriot


NATIONAL AIRSOFT FESTIVAL 2017!

Once a year Zero One Airsoft host the National Airsoft Festival – a dedicated airsoft festival where airsofters descend on Ringwood in Hampshire to sling some plastic, enjoy camping with their teammates and enjoy shopping and beers in the Zero One village. Our contributors Kelly and George were there to cover the biggest annual Airsoft weekender in the UK!

Kelly: The National Airsoft Festival is, without a doubt the biggest airsoft weekender in the UK. On the bank holiday weekend in August 2,500 airsofters descend on Ground Zero – Zero One's skirmish site located in a small market town in the south-west to enjoy a huge festival dedicated to everything airsoft. I arrived at about 1 pm on the Friday afternoon thanks to the good ol’ bank holiday traffic and the festival was already in full swing! As I drove down the long road laden with banners for the NAF into the quiet camping zone to meet up with my teammates, I was already feeling the festival buzz and so were they! They were already in full festival mode with pitched tents, beers and of course a BBQ on the go! After we’d set up the rest of our camp for the weekend it was time to take a walk into the festival village to sign in.




Let me tell you about the festival village! It is a huge space amongst the trees of the Ground Zero forest that is conveniently situated between the gaming zone and camping zones that holds the Zero One shop tent and bar tent, the retailers/manufacturers stands, the food vendors, the range, the G&G CQB course and player sign in. It is the hub of activity over the weekend! The gates to Ground Zero open at 7 am on Friday for festival goers and I recommend getting there as early as you can – this way you can get your pick of where you camp and get through the sign in and Chrono queues pretty sharpish, 2017 is the first year Ground Zero have chrono’d players weapons at the event and getting that many players checked and tagged takes a fair while! Every player/camper is required to sign in at the registration desk before your fun can really start! At sign in you receive your player packs which are customized to your team – either Bravo, Delta or Others and they contain your player bands, NAF patches, product catalogues, freebies and the game plans for your respective side. Tickets for the NAF are £90 if you wish to play or £30 for the weekend if you simply want to camp and enjoy the festivities and shop your heart away.




One of the highlights of the festival for me is the shopping and seeing all of the different retailers within the festival area and checking out all the new kit they have! Zero One bring a 48,000 sq ft shop marquee with them every year and it is filled to the absolute brim with everything you could need from BDU’s, RIFs, scopes, sights, gun cases, beebs, batteries and any other accessories you could need! The showroom tent is also connected to the Zero One bar tent (for anyone who needs a stiff drink after spending all their money on new kit!) and is a huge tent kitted out with hay bale tables and benches, a bar that serves drinks at very reasonable prices and a stage area for the live entertainment in the evenings. Outside the tent, there is an ample amount of picnic tables for players to have a drink, check out their new purchases and eat some grub! For anything that the Zero One tent doesn’t have they invite a whole host of retailers and manufacturers including big names such as Viper Tactical, ASG, Enola Gaye, Bear Valley Co, LOWA along with a whole host of smaller retailers that sold everything from customized dog tags to boots and kit. The festival village this year also had an increase in food vendors, from ice creams and sundaes to burgers and cheesy chips to greek cuisine and a pizza stall there really was something for everyone! Perfect for whether you decide to eat out all weekend or if you just fancy a snack on your way back to your tent!

The facilities at Ground Zero for as long as I have been attending in my opinion have always been very good. The camping is separated into 3 sections – loud – for those who want to go hard all night, normal – for those who want the best of both and quiet camping – for those that love their sleep. The camping areas are huge and even welcome caravans and motorhomes so you don’t have to tent it if that’s not your thing! Each campsite is equipped with an adequate amount of portaloos for festival goers but teams do have the option to book their own portaloo for the weekend at a price of £125 per loo. The private portaloo is delivered to your camping area so there’s no worry of having to stumble in the dark across the site to find the loos if you pitch up your tent a way away from them. My only gripe with the facilities this year were men using the ladies portaloos, which is no fault of the organisers. Ground Zero are always really considerate of the significantly higher male to female ratio on-site and provide each campsite with a number of ladies only loos, something that I and the other slaydies in attendance really appreciate. To make it clear I have absolutely no issue with dudes using the ladies if ALL of the other loos are engaged but if the others are free? As Zero One says ‘Be considerate lads, flop it out somewhere else’

The NAF also serves another awesome purpose besides being a get together for like-minded airsofters – it is the UK qualifiers for the G&G World Cup CQB Shooting competition! Earlier this year some of you will have seen that I flew out to Taipei, Taiwan to cover the bi-annual G&G World Cup, where contestants from all over the world compete against each other to claim the title of world champion and the $10,000 prize fund! Over the NAF weekender players can have a crack at the G&G M.E.T target system and CQB course in the hopes of qualifying as the UK champion. Players compete in teams of 2 in a two stage CQB arena – the first stage is the G&G M.E.T target system which involves both players eliminating 25 targets each as quickly as possible using a stock G&G CM16 SRL, once this stage is complete they move into the CQB arena where they must eliminate all of the targets as fast as they can  - this may sound easy but some of the targets are hidden, some are behind you and all of this has to be completed in only 4 midcaps worth of ammo (each player gets 2 midcaps before starting the G&G M.E.T) The team with the fastest score over the weekend qualifies for the World Cup in Taiwan – with flights and their hotel covered by G&G (and free tickets to the NAF 2018 to defend their title thanks to Zero One Airsoft). 5 days in Taiwan to compete for a world title AND $10,000? Yes, please!

As many of you will know, I rarely play woodland and I play every single weekend so for me, the NAF is a bit of a ‘bus driver’s holiday’ as I call so for me, it’s all about one thing – the social. The social side of the festival is my jam, I love attending and meeting so many of the community and generally just chilling out with friends/colleagues. This year I didn’t play but the weekend is definitely what YOU make of it - I had an awesome time at the National Airsoft Festival 2017 and I cannot wait for the 2018 weekender, Zero One manages to make the weekender better and better every single year so I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next year! I really recommend this event even if you come purely for the festival side of things.






George: Since Kelly has covered the social side of NAF, as a Bravo veteran of the event having been 6 times, I have a fair idea of how the event runs from a player perspective (Let's put it this way... I was there the last time Bravo won!).

Now even though I didn't get a chance run the Krytac Vector like I'd hoped this year (I was on the Airsoft Action stall for a lot of it), I instead took the opportunity to talk to you guys that came over throughout the weekend, admittedly to look at the aforementioned Krytac Vector, about how you were finding the gameplay.

I spoke to some teams that like me, have been going for years; I spoke to some first-timers and I spoke to those folks that have only been once before but were dead set on getting their guns out and bracing the storm once more. What's nice is that we all seem to have the same perspective when it comes to NAF and it varies very little from team to team. The event isn't a Milsim: it's not even close but it does take from certain elements. It's not even a skirmish because of the sheer magnitude and organization of the gameplay. I feel like the best way to describe the National Airsoft Festival is to call it an extreme skirmish!






Getting 2400 players onto any site is going to be a challenge, let alone chrono'ing that many players like they did this year (think about it, on average each person has 2 guns). Even when a decent percentage of players will likely never hit the AO it can feel like cramming that last BB into an already full high-cap before closing that fill door and winding the spring. The game area at Ground Zero is 150 acres, which is massive but even so, 3 teams each consisting of 800+ players means that 150 acres gets filled up pretty quickly!

What that does is create an environment in my mind where 3 different types of play can exist.
You can either:

1) Head out with the largest proportion of your team in order to push hard on a large objective. This method will often land you in a grand firefight between many factions, forcing you to both attack and defend positions with plastic being pelted around from every angle. It is an intense arena of confusion that requires some serious brute force and cunning to overcome any stalemates. This is the closest version to a regular skirmish game... on a much bigger scale.

2) Head out with your smaller squad and aim to complete smaller objectives. This often means you'll be actively avoiding firefights unless they're completely necessary and opting for stealth, slowly making your way through the dense woodland in order to reach an objective across the site. This will likely end up in a smaller but equally intense firefight to obtain that objective and is more akin to a Milsim style gameday. You're not tied to a larger group and can act independently from the wider team, choosing the objectives and routes you want to take however once you're separated from your squad, it's often really difficult to make it back.

3) You lone wolf. Tackling this method is in some ways the easiest way to play but equally the hardest. On the one hand, you have zero responsibility to keep your team-members alive and no need to find them again you get separated. On the other hand, you have to be extremely stealthy and choose when to engage an enemy because you will be outgunned 90% of the time. This method is almost completely stealth and you go much deeper into the forestry than most and often don't care for the objectives at all. You're there to hone your skills and choose your moments but be warned... you're not the only lone wolf out there. You may just happen upon someone else being equally stealthy and at that point... you'll have to choose to either risk letting them pass, or hope that you have the better positioning and go one on one.





Which kind of player are you? Or do you fall into a different category? Over the years I've tried all three methods at this event, sometimes on the same day! This year my teammate Joeski told me about his favourite engagement of the weekend... I won't lie, every time I hear about situations like this, I wish I was out and laying down some plastic alongside them.

Apparently, they travelled to the village to find out that there were Others attacking from one side but, as is the way with Ground Zero, the dense woodland made it difficult to see exactly where the multitude of flying spherical balls of bad news were coming from.

"We'd fire back at where we thought they were but it really felt like they were just everywhere, it was a proper little clusterf**k really... and you can change the wording on that one (NOPE!).

We had Steve doing his Rambo thing, standing pretty much out in the open with his recoil (a TM G36K Recoil Shock... a VERY satisfying piece of kit to shoot) so all you could hear was this recoil going off, sounding like some sort of real machine gun and occasionally you just hear this 'hit Others' and you're like oh, well that's another kill to Steve.

Suddenly he gets hit from... no idea where which seemed to be the case for everyone in our area. You just saw a BB come out of nowhere, or well 10, and then you were out. The Others were definitely there but they were being very very good. They weren't exposing themselves and it was just constant; you were always under pressure and all you could do was just fire back in their general direction and the thing is, they were doing exactly the same thing. They had no idea where we were either because if they did I think they'd have probably been a lot more accurate."

This kind of situation is one that all of us that play woodland sites have probably been in once or twice. That utter confusion mixed with a determination that you know exactly where the opponent is positioned... 'no, they ARE behind that leaf I've hit 7 times... they ARE!'. The problem is, they're probably not, and what happens when you focus everything on that one position? Well, you lose situational awareness and things change fast!

"So Steve got hit and I'm stuck in a couple of bushes without very much cover about 20meters away from the Village and then suddenly... the Village was under attack from the other side. There was a tonne of people getting hit, you had Bravo getting hit, you had Others and then as soon as you heard that first..."

At this point I like to think that it went down like an action movie, our hero is pinned down yelling orders at his squadron,

'Fire at the Others! Fire at the Others! They're to our North! OTHERS TO THE NORTH!'
'DELTA HIT'

… the camera dramatically pulls in close and swoops around...
'… S**T'

"So there were now 3 teams in this firefight and we had Delta on one side, the Others coming up from behind and Bravo stuck in the center with no cover because no matter where you were in the village BBs were flying in! That's where it all went to hell. I'll be honest, I didn't last long after that.
The weight of fire coming in was incredible and obviously, they weren't talking to each other but had somehow managed to work out this perfect crossfire that meant we just had nowhere to go.
If we tried to retreat we'd have been shot, if we tried to push forward we'd get hit, if we tried to hold it.. well GG. It was a really good firefight and for me, it was the tensest 45minutes of the weekend."
That's what I love about the NAF weekender (nothing NAF about it in my opinion), you have complete choice to take part in whichever element you want to and control how you play the game. It's always a hard site to play, with so many players it can sometimes be overwhelming, but at the end of the day, you make the weekend whatever you want from it. To play or not. You could be out in the bushes for the whole weekend and not take a single shot, or you could take part in the most intense 45 minutes you've played. If the daytime play isn't for you, you can take part in the night game against much smaller teams but with much greater difficulty... I saw a few NVGs and vision assisted scopes out there this year... or like Kelly said you can play the CQB arena over and over again and compete against your own times.

All in all, you could just go for the camping but after the usual trash talking coming from a certain team (I'M LOOKING AT YOU DELTA!), there's always a score to reflect on at the end.

The scores:

Bravo – 2024
Delta – 1884
Others – 1721

So Kelly, how do you feel about the final score? BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO!


Kelly: We’ll get you next year.

Hardwick, K & Shankster, G. (2017). National Airsoft Festival. Airsoft Action. 80 (November), 24-27.

Photography thanks to Ioan Roberts
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