When I had the pleasure of visiting West Midlands Airsoft High Command in Rowley Regis whilst I was there I got talking to Joe from, a relatively new independent airsoft rental company that aims to level the field for new players.

SIXMIL is an independent airsoft rental company that aims to 'level the bar' as it were for new players wanting to get into airsoft and give them the weapons and gear that are on par with regular walk-on players. They have been in business for around 2 years now and started with the aim to encourage more players into the sport by giving them something with new players don't get a lot of at the hiring stage - choice. SIXMIL provide a large range of weapons, genuine military clothing sets, tactical gear, even radios so they can get the most out of their early days in the sport.

Speaking to Joe I found out that SIXMIL originally started as a favour to a local site that often needed a couple of extra hire weapons here and there, and the enterprise grew rapidly (within 4 months) into a fully-fledged separate business. It became pretty evident to him that new players craved the choices around weapons and gear loadouts that regular players enjoy, but there were no rental services that could give them that choice so he decided to take it on himself. He understood that site owners are limited on time and money and that they need to focus the majority of their time and money on site improvements and game planning, and so as a result hire kit for new players is usually limited at best, and last on the priorities list. Joe thought it was clear that if you give new players that attention and choice that the sites often struggle to, it has a massive effect on their enjoyment and player retention from day one. The first site they took over hires from went from their usual 6-8 rentals a game, and within 18 months that number shot up to between 35-50 hires per game as the word spread about this service.

Currently, SIXMIL has permanent hire shops at 3 sites in the West Midlands - Stormforce Airsoft in Rugeley, Staffordshire, West Midlands Airsoft: FOB in Tean, Staffordshire, and West Midlands Airsoft: High Command in Rowley Regis, Birmingham. They also supply on an ad-hoc basis to other local sites as and when needed and also additional weapons for specific events. 

They are looking to expand into more sites on a permanent basis within the next 12 months, time allowing. In addition, and one thing that is really cool about SIXMIL is that they also have a fully equipped mobile armoury which they bring and set up at sites for specific events if needed.

Their current range, includes numerous assault rifle class weapons, sub-machine guns, support weapons, DMR's, sniper rifles, even GBB sidearms. Most of these weapons are also available to hire in both standard and upgraded configurations. The upgraded versions will include additions such as sights, foregrips and a few other external modifications. Kit-wise they decided that overalls and plastic masks just don't cut it, so SIXMIL supply a range of genuine military issue combat sets including DPM, OD/Greens, MTP and so on. These sets also have options like choices between UBACS/Smock tops, adding matching headwear such as boonie hats, baseball caps and helmets. In addition to their loadouts, the service also offers tactical accessory packs that include simple but useful items such as gloves, knee pads, shemaghs and so on. Of course, they supply a range of specifically designed chest rigs to accompany their weapons, from plate carriers to webbing sets, and even lightweight SMG assault rigs. The recent addition of radios and radio accessories to their range have proved really popular. One awesome service they offer is pre-designed 'Loadout Packages' that combine weapons and kit into one simple full loadout package so new players can pick and play – no prior knowledge of what kit works together is needed, these premade packages help to get new players out on the field and kitted out head to toe as well as the regulars and have been a massive success for SIXMIL.

Joe has said ‘We are always adding new weapons and gear! I'm probably the last person that should be doing this job as being a self-confessed gear junky myself I can't stop constantly adding new kit! There will be a new assault rifle class in the next month or two and another SMG class too, but I'm undecided on quite what yet (suggestions are always welcome). In addition to that, we are currently working on a new type of hire class altogether, something I've never seen a site attempt before - The Elite Class! Basically, I want to hit a side of the hire market that has been left untouched - regular players. The idea at the moment is to stock a range to top-shelf weapons (TM VSR's, TM Recoils, EVO's, AA12's) and so on and give regular players a chance to hire weapons they may just want to try or are thinking of buying and to kick things off we've just invested in some of the new CA microguns and are looking into how to get this out as a hire weapon for those that just need to go mental for the day!’

Thank you to SIXMIL for speaking to us, the Airsoft Action team wish Joe all the best and cannot wait to see what he has in store next!

Contact details:

Hardwick, K. (2017). Inside Airsoft: SIXMIL. Airsoft Action. 82 (Xmas), 46-47.

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