I succeeded at being a bit more active on the blog in 2020 and so far, I’m doing OK in 2021. I’ve also started to be a lot more deliberate in my kit acquisition. On a long plod in the Lakes before lockdown, I was pondering my end of 2020 kit wrap up – the best buys and the slightly regretted and unnecessary purchases. The latter category is, thankfully, quite light, despite my weak to non-existent impulse control.
2020 was a bit of a year of clearing out. Kit permanently departing the J2 stores included my Crye CPC, black G3s, stand-alone level IV plates, a C4 OPS PTT, loads of unused MOLLE pouches, old belt kit and even my old Mavic drone. Overall, kit volume is about equal; what space I’ve cleared has been refilled! I’ve gone from 3 AEGs (TM NGRS L119A2, E&L AK and TM MP5) to 4 (TM NGRS L119A2, TM MWS L119A1, E&L AK and Sig Virtus MCX) and I’ve added a TM G17 as well. Maybe next year, I’ll manage to properly trim the kit store… Maybe. At the very end of the year, in October I also put together a CTSFO impression in a month which has added a helmet, combats two holsters, mini-belt kit and another plate carrier (a C2R wolf grey beauty) to stores.
2020’s Best Buys
- Invisio X50 dual comms controller and X5 headset – A real treat: genuinely top end comms kit which gives ear pro and great dual comms support. That is, once you get used to pushing the earpieces far enough into your skull that you can taste them.
- Tokyo Marui MWS M4 CQB – built into a modern SFSG style L119A1 – I don’t love it like I love my TM recoil based L119A2 but the MWS is just really, really fun to shoot. This is my wife’s favourite airsoft to shoot cos it’s just so much more engaging that an AEG.
- C2R Fast Plate Carrier – My lockdown #2 challenge was to assemble a passable CTSFO impression in a month. The only thing I missed in my month was the authentic plate carrier. But, just before Christmas the real deal C2R option popped up for sale and I jumped onto it. I’ve only just got it really so haven’t done anything with it but it’ll be nice to get it dialed in.
- Sig Virtus AEG and Killen Custom rattler kit – I got this to replace the legacy version with its issues (see below) and was delighted to see Killen Custom making a small run of rattler kits. I’m expecting the kit in Feb – very exciting cos you don’t see many rattlers and it, allegedly, would help scratch my SRR itch.
- Mystery Ranch Mountain Ruck – It’s a monster but when you need to carry a lot of stuff, this is the least bad way to do it. I’ve had an 80L Arc’Teryx Khyber for this for a few years but once you get much past 30kg the nice light straps start to really dig. The Mystery Ranch Ruck on the other hand seems, so far, much more manageable with really big weights. It’s rare that I need to carry much more than 25kg these days but on big photo trips, camping and camera gear adds up quickly.
- Nite Evolution Vortex 1-6 x24 Replica – A lovely replica scope, for airsoft, you’ll struggle to tell this from the original. Apparently some QC issues mean that not every scope is equal but I’ve been lucky here and would definitely recommend it.
- Jay Jay’s custom SRR man bag – Being as they’re super sneaky you don’t see many pics or hear much about them. However, I spotted this grab/man bag on eBay and I’m pretty sure that it’s the same item shown in one of the rare SRR reference pics. I’ll do a better write up sometime soon and it’ll go nicely with the Sig MCX Rattler project.
- Garmin Instinct Solar Tactical – Thanks to work I got 30% off this. I wanted something for quick grid refs and as a heart rate monitor and training aid for my running and general phys. This does both and even tells the time. I also stuck a knock-off metal strap on it for general town wear which makes it look a little more grown-up
So, no one’s perfect, least of all me. I have very little impulse control at the best of times and Lockdown hasn’t helped. However, I’ve tried to behave myself so my regretted purchase list is relatively light this year. I’ve also tried to be a little stricter and my purchases should either (1) make me get more kills, (2) be more comfortable and/or (3) reduce faff.
- Sig Legacy MCX with problems – Unbeknownst to be, the RIF had a few problems not mentioned by the seller. I over paid and got ripped off a bit here, very annoying but a lesson learnt. Sold on at a big loss to someone who knew exactly what they were getting so not a write off.
- AlpKit Elan Bivi – A lovely bit of kit but I just don’t get on with hooped bivi bag (and I’ve already got a Snugpak Stratosphere)
- CYMA railed MP5 handguard – A bit of a waste cos my ancient MP5 died and I decided to go for a Rattler as my CQB monster. This needs selling.
And so for 2021
2021 has already seen quite a lot of stuff arrive. I had a new bergan swap (their Mystery Ranch Mountain for my old Arcteryx LEAF bergan) and then there’s been a bunch of parts of my MWS and TM recoil and I’ve finally fixed all my old WE sig mags (yay for O rings, silicone oil and and valve tools).
What’s the shopping list for the year? Well, I’d like a new helmet. I’ve also been on the famous Tackleberry’s PTW waiting list for two years (!) for a custom and optimised HAO L119A2 PTW. I’ve been persuaded by the Geardocrow that I do indeed need a G&P DBAL after the farce that has been SOMO Gear’s NGAL 2.0 release with an IR laser which isn’t visible under a lot of NVDs (oops).
I’d also like some softshell multicam trousers (LEAF Combat Pants or Crye All Weather Field Pants?) for those rubbish days which I always seem to play on. I’ve already got some Platatac goodness on a plane somewhere between Aus and the UK although I’ll be going with their woodland DAX and CUTS when they come back into stock.
I also always need new optics (a Romeo 3 will be good for the rattler) and then the bergan needs side pouches and the fancy daysack lid as well.
I had hoped that my new kit rule (Does it help me get more kills, be comfier or or faff less?) would help control my buying habit – so far the evidence is mixed. And stores still have a bit of room…