IN THE ARMOURY: G&G ARP 9 BLACK ORCHID REVIEW!

When the G&G ARP9 and ARP56 were released in the spring of 2017, they were a big hit with airsofters around the world but could they get any better? At SHOT Show in January 2018 G&G revealed two new colourways – the ‘Battleship Grey’ and the one that REALLY caught my eye, the limited edition ‘Black Orchid’. The team over at G&G and Nuprol (the UK distributors for G&G) kindly sent one over from the States so I could have a play and here are my thoughts:


The G&G Black Orchid ARP9 is a PDW style AEG airsoft gun that features a high-quality polymer billet style receiver which features the anodised pink parts we’ve seen in the previous ‘Black Rose’ models and metal M-LOK rail system. It is limited to just 1,000 pieces worldwide and has proven to be a big hit amongst airsofters that like a pop of colour in their loadouts. It has a GOS-V5 PDW stock and a 9mm style magazine. Usually, it comes with a pink crown amplifier, as mine is from the US stock it had an orange crown amplifier to conform to California regulations – I wasn’t overly keen on the orange so Tom from Airsoft Action TV kindly helped me dremmel it off and we installed a new flash hider. What about the internals? It has a version 2 gearbox, the G&G electric Trigger Unit and a preinstalled mosfet. It has a rotary style hop up dial that makes changing the hop up quick and easy just in case you need a little tweak during a game. It has a semi-auto and full-auto fire function with a really snappy fire selector. The straight, speed style trigger is snappy.



On a 0.20g 6mm BB the ARP9 Black Orchid is expected to chrono in at around 330 FPS, when I chrono’d mine for the first time it was around 310FPS, which is lower than the advertised FPS but means that straight out of the box it is UK site ready, even for sites that run a lower limit.

So how is it to use? The Black Orchid is as easy to use any other AEG out of the box. Pop the battery in, fill the mags, lock and load. The hopup is easy to adjust and when set right the groupings are pretty good. For such a compact little gun, the range is great and I had no issues using it in an urban environment where the engagement distances are typically a little further than what you would expect in CQB. One thing I really like about the ARP9 is just how compact it is! With a maximum length of 580mm when the stock is extended and weighing in at just 2.3kg it is a weapon that screams CQB. Even without the crown amplifier it is a loud little gun – sounding very snappy and aggressive which I love – not as loud as the firehawk but close. Its mag release reminds me of the AK platform mag release and it is easy to use and reload. I like that fact the mags are the 9mm style, and the extra length helps with reloading for sure! At the minute there are 3 mags available: 1,500 round drum mag, a hi-cap mag and the new midcaps which are 70 rounds – my preferred mag is the midcap and I usually carry around 3-4 per game just in case things get a bit lairy. With the drum mag attached the ARP9 looks a little crazy, but the ammo count would be great for an extended skirmish that didn’t have an ammo limit imposed. 




Is there anything that I don’t like about it? Honestly my only gripe with the ARP9 line of AEGs is the lack of battery space in the stock and the amount of wiring. The GOS-V5 PDW stock only has a small amount of battery space in the compartment, which is reduced by the excess wiring. Companies have made 3D printed extensions to combat this. In the future, I will definitely be looking at getting the wiring shortened, an M4 buffer tube and PTS syndicate stock installed to give me more battery space and give me more options of stock length as the current stock only has two locking positions. The stock is where the sling point is, so if you do decide to ever change the stock be sure to pop on another sling plate. I did also find that the hicap mag included was quite difficult to open when filling because of my long nails – user issue not a design issue.

These are mostly out of stock in the UK now because of how limited they are so it would be a wee bit of a scramble to get one but they retail anywhere between £187.95 from Zero One Airsoft up to £249.99 from JD Airsoft so they are affordable. They are also readily available in the black and battleship grey at airsoft retailers up and down the country.

Overall, I’m really happy with the ARP9 – especially in the Black Orchid colourway because it adds a fun pop of colour to my loadout! It’s a compact and lightweight SMG weapon that is perfect for CQB. The internal specs are good and it is easy to use and has good range and groupings straight out of the box. Although I think the battery space in the stock could be improved by either getting rid of the excess wiring or installing an M4 stock – the GOS-V5 stock itself is a pretty cool design and does look mean and goes well with the modern looking M-LOK rail system. The price point is extremely affordable. G&G really have done a great job on the ARP9.


Hardwick, K. (2018). ARMOURY: G&G BLACK ORCHID. Airsoft Action. 92 (October), 62-63.
Photography thanks to L Sibley Photography

SPECNA ARMS SA-H08 REVIEW | GUNFIRE.COM

Hey everyone!

Welcome back to the blog! Today I’ve got another review for you in partnership with Gunfire.com and we’ll be looking at the SA-H08 carbine replica from Specna Arms!


If you’re an avid reader of the blog, you’ll know I’ve reviewed a few guns from the Specna Arms range of AEGs but what’s different about this model is that it is one of their ‘heavy’ models meaning it’s made mostly from a zinc/aluminium alloy and reinforced with steel parts which includes all the screws, pins and sling swivels! In fact, the only polymer parts you’ll find on this AEG are the stock and the pistol grip.

Let’s talk about aesthetics! The SA-H08 is styled similar to the HK416 which gives this budget rifle a high-end look, particularly the stock! It has an anodised receiver with manufacturers markings and an anodised RIS MLOK hand-guard. The paint on the replica was applied via powder coating which provides a higher resistance to abrasion, scuffs and chips when compared to other paint finishes. It has a top RIS 22 mm rail, RIS hand-guard featuring an MLOK attachment system and an adjustable stock which stores the battery. The top RIS rail has metal flip-up iron sights, which are detachable. The replica is finished with a QD silencer mounted on a 14 CCW thread - which I REALLY Like!




What about the internals? Well, it has a ‘reinforced at cylinder level’ gearbox that contains a steel spring slide which is an element of the Enter & Convert quick change spring system. There are four anti-reversal latches. The lightweight, polycarbonate polymer piston is equipped with a steel tooth in order to increase durability. Also, a type 2 cylinder and a steel circuit-breaker, as well as a metal Hop-Up chamber. The replica is fully compatible with LiPo and LiFe batteries. I asked Gunfire to downgrade my SA-H08 from its base muzzle velocity of 430 FPS to comply with UK site limits, they replaced it’s manufacturers spring with an M90 spring (which is included in the box) to bring the RIF to an FPS of sub 330. Like its sister replicas, it features a quick spring release system, called Enter & Convert™ which means you can change the spring quickly without special tools or access to a workshop.

I took the SA-H08 for a day of CQB at one of my favourite haunts for its first run - the battery was easy to install and it passed chrono at 318 FPS (well within the legal limits). Thanks to the rotary style hop-up the hop was easy to change and the range was pretty good out of the box. I ran the rifle barebones, so no optics, lasers or torches - just the iron sights that are included in the box and I was happy with how it ran, although I did sack off the mag that was included for my trusty EPM X MAGPODS. There were no feeding issues or jams. The sound from the internals isn’t the best but it's not the worst. As the replica is made out of mostly metal parts, it is pretty heavy and did give my arms a slight ache - DON’T SKIP ARM DAY!

Overall, I was pretty happy with the performance, but is there anything about the SA-H08 that I don’t like? Yes, as with most products there’s always something that could be improved. The steel hi-cap mag can only be wound on with an Allen key - which is an irritant on the field so I didn’t use it and I feel the powder coating on the hand-guard could be improved. 


The SA-H08 retails for just £221.04 from Gunfire.com which is such a cheap price point for a full metal AEG replica. If you’re looking for a high-end aesthetic rifle at a budget price point, this Specna Arms model is definitely something you should consider!


Post sponsored by Gunfire.com
Photography thanks to Alex Meade

HELIKON COMBAT PATROL UNIFORM REVIEW!

Hey everyone!

Welcome back to the blog, so I’m a little late to the party with this post but today I’m going to be giving you guys and gals the skinny on the BDU I used for Warzone 6: The Final Assault! 


The team over at Military 1st kindly sent over a care package of Pencott Greenzone goodies for my trip to Crete which included a Helikon cap, the Wisport Sparrow 2.0 Pack, the Helikon CPU Shirt and the Helikon CPU Trousers, all in Pencott Greenzone.

First let’s look at the CPU shirt! The Helikon CPU shirt is a heavy duty combat shirt made from NyCo (Nylon and Cotton blend) Ripstop that has a two-way front zipper, a pleated back with a slit to enhance range of movements, 6 pockets for optimum storage, elbow patch reinforcements on each arm for durability and Velcro plates for attachment of patches.


It is a piece of utilitarian clothing that combines functionality with comfort, as it features a mandarin collar with Velcro closure - there is a soft fleece on the inside of the collar which makes it super comfortable to wear, it has a zipped front with Velcro flap closure that makes it easy to put on/take off. As for pockets it has two on the chest with Velcro top closure and zipped side entry, an upper arm pocket on each sleeve with Velcro flap and zipped side entry, it also has two forearm pockets of various sizes on each sleeve with Velcro closures. And my favourite aspect of the shirt? The underarm zippers for ventilation., although these had to go in the alteration - I’ll explain later!



Next up we have the Helikon CPU Trousers in Pencott Greenzone:

These are a pair of heavy wearing and comfortable Combat Patrol Uniform (CPU) cargo trousers that are also made from NyCo Ripstop that feature 10 pockets and a double layer on the knees and on the backside (yay for butt protection!)

They have a button fastening and fly - for quick an easy fixes on the field should the button fail, durable belt loops to hold those weighty shooters belts, side waist adjusters to personalise the fit and drawstring bottoms on the legs too. As for pockets, the CPU trousers are laden with them including two large front pockets, two small open pockets at the front, two cargo pockets with a Velcro closure, two rear pockets with button flaps and one lower side pocket with Velcro flap on each leg.

What’s the quality like? The fabric is thick, has a nice weight to it and feels sturdy and durable. The features such as the fleece lined collar and double layered knees and backside reinforce this!

So how do they both fit? Well, here’s the thing – they didn’t. Even though I was sent the smallest size that was in stock in both products (small in the shirt and 32L in the trousers), it’s clear from the before photos that the uniform absolutely drowned my tiny frame – now these would more than likely fit a dude but I’d say for women and younger players they’d probably be a bit of a miss. My wonderful friend Jo at www.purplepongo.com helped me tailor mine just before I flew out, and you can read all about the process and see the finished images here! Once these items were tailored, they were perfect.



How much do they retail for? Both the shirt and trousers are available from Military 1st for £62.40 each. 

Overall, I love the features and the quality. The only thing I was disappointed with is the fit.

MULTICAM AIRFRAME HELMET SET-UP! WILEY X | Z TACTICAL | FMA!

Hey everyone!

Welcome back to the blog! Today I've got another set-up post for you and this one in breaking down my MultiCam airframe set-up!

The base helmet behind this set-up is the FMA Dark Earth Airframe with a MultiCam Airframe helmet cover. A good few months back I was looking at a new helmet to replace my tired FAST Helmet and my good friend @taskforcewarrior chucked this one my way, having just brought a fancy new one himself. This Crye style replica is made of a lightweight high-density polymer - perfect for protecting your noggin during BB wars. It has foam pads on the inside, is ventilated, has a headlock chain strap, side rail mounts and bungees for NVG stability. It doesn't come with an NVG shroud but has pre-drilled holes to add one. 


I've accessorised this with the Wiley X EMEA SPEAR goggles - these are a pair of ballistic goggles with Rust/Smoke Grey/Clear lenses and a tan frame. Out of the packet they have a tactical strap that features the Tri-Glide System which allows the user to adjust length and quick release the key connections, in the picture I am using the Wiley X ARC RAS (Rail Attachment System) which enables me to use them comfortably with my helmet, without the risk of the strap sliding to the back of the helmet. The WX Dual Lens System is a two-layer lens that separates the temperature difference from the inside air and the outside of the lens, which means fogging is almost impossible. WX is dedicated to safety and clear vision so with the air temperature being separated the user gets a clear view. The lenses are easy to swap out to adapt to changing environments, tactical situations and light conditions.


The ear protection that I am using is the Z-Tactical Comtac II headset with mic with the Z-Tac ARC rail adapters, both in foliage green. I've used the Z-Tac Comtac IIs since 2015 (albeit this is a new set)  - what I love about them and what keeps me coming back to them is their ability to cancel out loud noises and amplify quiet ones, to be used as a communications system all for an affordable price. In the packet, they are mounted on a band which you have to remove to mount them on the ARC rail adapters if you want to use them with a helmet. A PTT is needed for the communications system to work and there's various ones depending on your budget, style and of course what radio you're running.


On the back I am running an FMA Mantra Strobe RED Type 1 which has both a red light and a none visible IR emitter which comes in super handy for night ops with blue force and a generic counterweight pouch which I can fill to counteract the weight on the front of the helmet.



Last but not least - what every airsofter loves to adorn their kit with, patches! As the velcro on my airframe cover is pretty small, I decided to put my ranger eye patches to some good use! The patches I'm running here are to represent my USA boys - the Enola Gaye Ranger Eye by Who Shot First, the No. 39 Sqn Reaper ranger eye patch from @that_brit_pierce and the 'H8' ranger eye from @pnw_punk.



VIPER TACTICAL TRIPLE MAG PLATE REVIEW!


Now we all like Gucci kit, but are we all prepared to pay Gucci prices that comes along with that? With Viper, we may not have to. Viper are well known for making great looking kit at low prices and that’s exactly what they’ve done with the Triple Mag Plate.


The Viper Triple Mag plate is a molle compatible elastic mag sleeve made from tough cordura and elastic that is designed to be worn on the front of a plate carrier or drop leg molle set-up that is low profile, slick and easy to use. The 3 mag sleeves can fit magazines, small radios, documents, flashbangs (Enola Gaye MK5s are a great fit) and bandages/field dressings making it a versatile and utilitarian piece of kit. It is pretty easy to install – I only say pretty easy as I have long acrylic nails which don’t fair too well with traditional molle (otherwise it would be easy peasy)! It has 3 molle straps with snap buttons for security.

When you first use the sleeves they are pretty tight because of the elastic and can be difficult to get mags in and out – I alleviated this by leaving 3 M4 midcaps in them for a few days before my skirmish which loosened them up enough for me to get mags in/out quickly but still have great retention. One of the things I like about elastic mag sleeves is that they have such good retention – they may be tight, but your mag won’t fall out! I also like that it looks similar to the Blue Force Gear Ten-Speed Triple M4 Mag Pouch which retails at around £39.99 making this a budget alternative with a pretty similar look! 



The sleeves are super low profile even with mags in them making this a great option for lightweight loadouts and for wearing under jackets (think to when you’re cold on STAG and you need to quickly throw something on) Which also means they wouldn’t be bulky if you were wearing your carrier in a vehicle – anyone for a tactical taxi? How low profile it is, is definitely one of the major selling points of the product along with its modern look and easy to use construction.

The triple mag plate is available in VCam (VCam cordura with tan elastic sleeve), coyote, black and green so no matter what your chosen camo pattern is there is a colourway to compliment it. I would love to see this made in the titanium colourway too as that is one of my favourites in the Viper range.

The important question, how much does it retail for? The price does vary between retailers but it is available around the £9-10 price point giving airsofters a chance to imitate those expensive looking loadouts on a budget, and hey, even having one for every colour loadout if they choose to. I think with this product Viper have definitely produced a quality budget product that will appeal to a fair few in the airsoft community.

Hardwick, K. (2018). Gear Review: Viper Triple Magplate. Airsoft Action. 91 (September), 81.
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