Late 1980s – early 1990s Ranger(ish) reconnaissance photoshoot

A while back I did a photoshoot with the theme of old school reconnaissance. Here are some of the images that came out that day. For more, please head out to my Facebook page. Link below. In addition, please check out my Instagram and Youtube sites as well and like and subscribe!

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M653 and M727 carbines

Earlier this week I uploaded a new video to my Youtube channel. On the video I am talking about my two AEGs that I have, the M653 and the M727. It is not an in depth video about the two different carbines but rather an overview of them. I do point out the most obvious differences between these rifles on the video.

The M653 was an “as is” purchase from a local airsoft retailer here in Finland. I have done some small upgrades to the replica along the way, most notably the hop up. It’s a G&P and from what I have learned from them, the hop up is something that needs to be changed right off the bat to get better results. The replica will shoot, but shot consistency when taking range and accuracy into account will be a lot better when you change the hop up. On the M653 I have a Prowin rotary hopup and a Madbull hop up bucking. These work really well and the replica shoots better than it did out of the box. Some small internal tuning has also been done to it, but nothing ground breaking. Just enough to make it run smooth and be reliable.

The M727 on the other hand is not an “as is” purchase. The receiver is G&P as well as some of the other parts on the replica, but I also used random parts that I had around when building it. There were some G&P made M727 carbines for sale at an airsoft retailer online, but they were all out of stock at the time when I was looking at them. Nevertheless, making something yourself will make you have a deeper bond to it, right? It took me a while to source all the parts for the replica but when I finally finished it, I was using it in almost every game I went to. It has been my main replica for a long time now. There is just something cool about this specific carbine that pleases me aesthetically.

Here is a link to the video on my Youtube channel. I have another video on the pipeline as well and it should be released in the next few days. Stay tuned, like and subscribe!

New video – ALICE setup

Yesterday I uploaded a new video to the Youtube channel. I’m talking a little about the current ALICE setup that I run and the modifications that I have done to it. A lot of the modifications, if not all, are taken from images, videos and books that I have read about old school gear that the US Military used back in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. Check the video out, leave a comment and subscribe!

Berget 13 kit – How it really went down

Even the best laid plans have a tendency to change when the first BB flies in the air. I earlier posted an article about the kit I was going to run at Berget 13. I had a dry-run with the kit at the reconnaissance training we attended with our team and noticed that while it was an excellent piece of kit, it was rather cumbersome with the drills we had to run. While comfortable and able to carry much on me, it was pointed out by our instructors (guys who do know what they are talking about, let’s just leave it at that) that the best rig for a reconnaissance trooper in their mind was a chestrig, belt and a rucksack. With this in mind, I change the LBV-E I had to a ALICE harness. Why? Well it was lighter and I still could carry the stuff I needed with me plus have my ALICE ruck on my back. Thinking that this would be the shit, I had a few dry runs at weekend games with the said kit and saw that it worked well. For weekend games at least. That previous sentence is important, remember it.

While I was finally packing for Berget and setting up some final stuff for the ALICE harness, I saw my SDS RACK (Ranger Carry Kit, as far as I am aware) in the corner. I’d bought this from a good friend who works at a local airsoft store near my hometown. I saw him carry one in 2014 at Blood Valley Chronicles airsoft event and it looked very comfortable and able to carry the essentials you needed in the field. I had gotten it with the main RACK plus three SDS R.A.C.K M4 Double Magazine pouches. I added some pouches from my Safariland ELCS kit to it and took it with me, just in case. I packed my other stuff and left them to wait for the trip to Berget.

As the hours towards game start were slowly disappearing from our watches, I did some final packing of my gear. We heard that we did not need our rucksacks, as we would be coming back to the camp to sleep or they could be dropped to us by our mechanized unit. We had anticipated as much and prepared for that. One team from our outfit stayed near the enemy base for the duration of the game and my hat goes off to these guys. Very hardcore shit guys, very hardcore! As I changed some stuff on my kit and packed my buttpack I started to notice that maybe this was not as good of an idea after all. While I like the ALICE harness at weekend games, with the thin strap foaming and the amount of stuff we needed to carry, it might get uncomfortable. Had it had more padding, it might have made a difference, or it might have not. Who knows? We head out and after 6 hours of wearing the damn thing fully loaded, my right should cramps at the in-game village we were then stopping at. The pain was a real motherfucker, as I had never had anything like that happen to me before. Noticing the looks the guys were giving me, I started limping as well (just for a laugh) and made a remark about Quasimodo from The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. Everyone started laughing with me. I convinced the guys I could still hold my weapon and we headed back to our camp as per orders from HQ. On the way we went through CP2 and run into about 10 GCT soldiers. Our sniper takes one guard out with one shot, for which the GCT player later walks towards us asking who took the shot. Our sniper confesses and the player walks to him to shake his hand to congratulate him for the excellent shot he took. That’s the spirit of airsoft right there everyone!

During this engagement with the help of adrenaline, the pain slowly fades away but kicks back in when we get back to camp. I take off my webbing and decide I will NOT carry that thing anymore the next day. Then I remember what I was told at the reconnaissance training; “chest rig, belt and a rucksack”. I take out my RACK from my kit bag and swap all the stuff from the harness to it. The essentials do fit but I still need a small rucksack. Having only my ALICE ruck with me (while really good, even the medium is quite large), I borrow one from the same guy who sold me the RACK, since he cannot carry a rucksack because of his shoulder. We discuss our mutual pains on our shoulders and about the RACK as well, sharing a few laughs about how plans never really come together the way you want them.

As I had learned, the ALICE harness worked well, for weekend games. Most likely with some lightening and adding a rucksack, it would work well for longer games as well. But with the current setup I had it with me, it just killed me shoulder. LBV would have worked better, but then again, it might have been too much. I was so glad that I took the RACK with me.

The next morning I setup the RACK, tightening the straps and everything. I placed my Blackhawk! dual pistol mag pouch on my trouser belt, as well as my Bianchi holster for my M1911. I ran these the same way at Blood Valley after Berget and noticed that while great, it is better to have a webbing belt for them. Since I have a few extra ones at my home bunker, I took one and added one ALICE mag pouch to it for small items along with a Blackhawk! bang pouch for grenades and what not. Have not tested this belt out with the RACK yet, but it feels good when posing. Then again, that does not necessarily mean anything.

I also modified the RACK a bit after Berget. I added one SDS canteen pouch and bought an extra Safariland accessory pouch for it so that I could put the other one back to my Safariland ELCS kit. I’ve also added some bicycle inner tire strips to the straps so I can run my camelback tube and radio wiring through them securely. These actually work really well and I recommend this mod! I use them on my other kit as well.

In addition, since I did not have a small daypack at all, I purchased one from, again, the same guy who sold me the RACK in the first place. Adding some custom foam padding to the back of the rucksack (the original was thin and when I got it, all folded up at the bottom of the pack) and secured it with some custom mods. The funny thing is, I bought “the same” pack from a shop/seller on ebay (which I will not name though I have had bad experiences with them in the past as well), taking a risk though I knew there had been some issues before as well, and I received the larger version of the rucksack. While the images on the listing were correct, the rucksack I received was the wrong one. It was the more expensive one so I was not going to complain, since I already had the smaller one lined up though my friend. Now I am just missing the largest pack of the set and I am squared away. I would have gotten the medium size eventually anyway, so no harm was basically done.

Now that my current favorite gear has been finished and what not, I just need to do some testing with it. So far I have tested individual items equipment and they seem to hold up really well and it is comfortable and light. I will try and see if I have any pictures of me with the Berget setup, Blood Valley setup and the current incarnation that I have yet to try out. Thanks for reading through everything and I hope this was at least remotely fun and informative to read. As always, here are some pics!11138149_10206472687717165_4215746964163608977_n 11412289_10206472690677239_4983640151854268173_n

Berget setup for the RACK and other kit seen as well. Could not locate better pictures but I’ll give you the short and sweet. From my POV, left hand side has Safariland ELCS M60/SAW 100rd pouch which was used for food and small items. Next up a tan buckled radio pouch (SDS Sabre Radio Pocket) for my radio, then three SDS R.A.C.K M4 Double Magazine pouches  (these are probably the best mag pouches I have ever had), one SDS MOLLE II, Pouch, Grenade, Hand, pouch which I ended up using for the platoon radio (Puxing 888, fits great!) I was tasked of carrying, and on the right hand, another Safariland ELCS M60/SAW 100rd pouch which held my canteen and canteen cup. In the upper picture you can also see the OD daypack I borrowed and of course, The Lawmaker, which is a custom made by Berget Events for me. Works like the real thing too. Liking it!

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Here is the Blood Valley setup. Basically the same as the Berget setup, but daypack switched for a Camelback 3L hydration (need to get a woodland one…) and the left hand side Safariland pouch was changed to Pouch, General Purpose, Large, from the same manucafturer. I also added an SDS Medic Pocket (as it says on the tag) to the right side of my left hand M60/SAW 100rd pouch.

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And finally, the current setup. Again from my POV when wearing the RACK, from the left hand side, Safariland Pouch, General Purpose, SDS Sabre Radio Pocket , three SDS R.A.C.K M4 Double Magazine pouches, SDS MOLLE II, Pouch, Grenade, Hand, US GI Carabiner with some OD 100mph tape, which holds two rolls of red/black electrical tape, SDS Medic Pocket and SDS 1QT Canteen/Utility pouch.

The belt is a standard ALICE webbing belt, with Blackhawk! Dual pistol mag pouch, ALICE M16 magazine pouch, Blackhawk! frag pouch and a Bianchi M12 holster.

The two rucksack are, left to right, The Protector Corp. Pack, Patrol, Combat and SDS Large Assault Pack. I think that the Patrol pack is the Air Force version, since it does not have the US stamped on the smaller front pocket. Both packs are to my liking and now I just need to get out with them to the field.

Thanks again for reading everyone and apologies for the shadows on the two last pictures.

Berget 13 kit

Decided to do something different this time around. Last post was  way too long ago and the blog needed an update. I have another idea for a photoshoot but I want everything to get a bit greener before I go ahead with that. Instead, I am doing a post about my kit which I will use at Berget 13 this year. Our airsoft team does the trip to Berget every year and we have had some very interesting roles there so far. We’ve been reconnaissance troops for NAF 3rd Rangers, bodyguards for a ruthless war lord Rico and this year, we will return to reconnaissance, enlisted with the Cerberus faction.

My kit is built around the kit that you have seen in the past posts, with some small modifications. I have acquired a few more LBV’s (now ranging from LBV-88 to LBV-E, along with some ALICE Load Bearing Harness’) and I have built one of them for Berget. Been spending most of my effort on that particular LBV and I love it. Always being a fan of that particular piece of kit, the choice was a no brainier when deciding for a base vest for Berget.

In the pics you might notice that my rucksack is missing. This was intentional, as it is basically the same (Medium ALICE) that you have seen in the past pictures. It will definitely be on my back if we do some longer recon missions that require longer stays in the boonies. On other occasions, my LBV is more than capable of sustaining me for longer missions as well. The buttpack holds two MRE’s, some spare clothing and other essential items (batteries, snivel gear etc…) plus my poncho and poncho liner rolled and attached to the bottom. I am not planning on using a Camelbak, since I have a straw system for my canteens that I will be using. Noise from the canteens? So far I have not had this problem in such an extent that it has proven to be a problem. I have about two liters of water on me plus I can add a third 1Qt canteen to the buttpack or go larger with a 2Qt canteen. An ideal solution would be to source a 5qt water bladder and store it in the buttpack or rucksack. I do not own one, though. Not yet, anyway.

My weapon is the G&P M653 with a G&P M203 Long Type grenade launcher. According to my research, this is the correct “old school” launcher for the gun, as used by, for example, by Army Delta’s during the first Gulf War. Not as heavy as I anticipated, and it certainly adds that cool factor for the gun. Though the grenades used in airsoft as not as effective as their real life counterparts, this launcher will be useful during Berget with their BAVS grenades. Taking out enemy vehicles will be fun! My sidearm is my Co2 powered KWC M1911, which has proven to be reliable as hell. My KJW M9 and WE P226 are both still in action as well, but the newly installed wood grips on the 1911 make it my current sidearm choice.

In addition to all this gear, I will have a two piece ghillie with me. Going with just the boonie with ghillie material added to it (with some AO natural vegetation) is also and option as it breaks the form, but using them both is always better. They go over my rucksack and cover it well and the bottom half is open from the front so reaching my magazines is not a problem, and neither is going prone. They are not present in these pictures since they were drying up after the weathering process I gave to them earlier.

Now that summer is coming along, I will do (I will try at least!) better with posting new content for the blog.

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1980’s – 1990’s US Army

Keeping it old-school again with this new setup. Winter is coming and the weather is getting colder, so I need to get some warmer stuff. Here are a couple of images that I took during the weekend while testing the stuff in a non-airsoft environment. Hence the lack of eye protection. I have a PASGT helmet in the mail to replace the MICH2000. The LBV is the same as I had on the previous post and the BDU has been switched for a “winter version” without ripstop. Gloves are nomex pilot gloves and my sidearm has been changed to an M9, thanks to someone special for getting it for my for my birthday. Boots are all-leather Finnish Army M05 boots. Have not found USGI ICW (Intermediate Cold/Wet) boots in my sizes since I have a wide foot. These boots are a compromise which in my opinion works well. Main armament is M16A2.

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Gear list for “1990ish Recon, Colombia, Clear and Present Danger”

I’ve had a few requests asking for a gear list of the previous post on the blog, the 1990ish recon kit. Took a while for which I apologize, but here it is. I’ve added a few bits to it after the pics were taken and they will also be listed here. I am still missing some stuff for it, as it is still a work in progress. I do not have a clear reference picture for it. I’ve been looking at a lot of images from that timeline and I have combined what I see fits my style of gaming and what I see as practical. Some may disagree with some of the choices that I have made, but hey, that’s cool! I took some liberties here and there, deal with it.

First, images!

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Alright, lets begin. My BDU is a regular US Army issue summer weight (rip-stop) BDU, complete with a patrol cap and a boonie. Under my boonie I had an OD bandanna. The BDU needs some usage for it to fade, but that is a work in progress. Boots are Jungle boots. They are actually German issue, which means they are not correct. I have not yet found a good alternative for them and these have been walked on so they fit my feet and are comfortable. No noticeable differences to the US Army ones, except the fabric used here is cordura and the soles are different as well. Gloves are regular US Aviator gloves. Absolutely love them!

Rucksack is a Medium ALICE rucksack with the frame removed. It carries all the essentials I need for a weekend game or a longer game. I use a poncho liner on the inside as cushion for my back since I do not have a frame for it. If you need to know the contents, there’s a green towel, shaving kit, medkit, gas for my sidearm, spare BB’s, cooking kit, more water, food for three days (I use either MRE’s or the British equivalent), some spare socks, t-shirt etc etc. I customize the contents depending on the game I am going to.

On one of my canteens I have a “straw kit” which is a good alternative for a Camelback, if you do not want to use one. It’s basically a cork that replaces the original.  You can make one of these yourself I am sure, but I bought mine from ebay. As you may notice, I do not have a cover for the 2qt canteen in the picture. I usually keep that in my rucksack. Still need to get a 5qt bladder…

Moving on to the LBV… The model is LBV-88. At some point I hope to replace it with an Adventure Specialist LBV, as seen on the Delta’s during Panama, for example. As you can see, I have modded the right side mag pouches with black elastic bands to hold two chemlights. I also have some of the elastic band on my left side, for routing comm wires. On the back straps I have two bicycle tire inner tubes. I use this to route the straw kit and other stuff that needs to be kept in order. Saves the trouble of taping and it is loose enough to allow free movement.

On the belt (which is an LC-1 pistol belt), working from left to right, I have two US issue M16 ammo pouches. The first one is used for 3 magazines (I have 9 mags on me, which may seem like a lot but I love to have some ammo with me) and the other one is used for my radio. I have a Puxing 888 radio which fits perfectly inside the pouch. I have a small hole for the antenna cut on the top flap and some elastic band on the inside (taken from my modified night camo parka) to keep it in place. This leaves room for items such as candy, pencils, notebook etc. Very handy. Both pouches have the grenade pouches removed from either side.

Moving on, I have two 1qt canteen covers on the belt. There’s room in the middle for a buttpack, which I have yet to buy. On the other cover I have sewn a first aid pouch, for extra carry capacity. Never know when you might need it.

Next up is my Bianchi holster for my M1911. Can’t go wrong with a Bianchi in my oppinion. I have two, OD and Black.

My primary weapon is a M653 with a regular US Army carry strap. I have removed the metal parts and replaced them with Paracord so it makes less noise. My sidearm is, as stated before, Colt M1911, Co2 powered. I also have a P226 that I can use if needed. The sling that I have for my M653 is just a regular US army carry sling. I modified it so that I removed the metal fasteners from either end and replaced them with Paracord. Makes it silent and gives me more room to adjust the sling how I want it. I currently run the sling a bit different than it is on the picture, but all in all it is the same still.

What is missing? Well, I would really like to purchase a buttpack for this setup. That or I will place the 2qt canteen on the belt once I get a cover for it. I would also love to have some Heavy Duty gloves and a few carabiners for the loadout to make it look ‘cool’. A STROBE light is a must as well, a working one if possible. I also need a mag pouch for my extra sidearm magazine, which I was planning on sewing on one of the M16 pouches I have on the belt. Ranger beads is also a must, plus a compass. These just from the top of my head; surely there are more that need to be bought that I will notice later on. Anyways, I hope this satisfies your curiosity about the kit, at least a bit!