Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cornershot Weapons System: Viable for Airsoft Use?

Given that it is now widely adopted by the world’s leading defense and law enforcement groups, can the cornershot weapons system prove useful in the Airsoft gaming world?

By: Vanessa Uy

Ever since Amos Golan invented the cornershot for use in the Israeli Defense Force’s urban warfare operations, many in the Airsoft gaming community are wondering whether it will be viable for Airsoft use given that Airsoft weapons systems are almost identical to the “real” guns that are used in cornershot. But before we proceed, here is a short primer on what is cornershot.

Given that the Israeli Defense Force operations are usually done in urban environments. Designing a “contraption” that allows soldiers to use their standard infantry weapons to be fired behind corners while allowing them “cover” against gunfire from the enemy would serve as a very useful lifesaver to soldiers prosecuting their operations in such hostile environments.

Amos Golan’s cornershot used a system composed of a camera, a view screen / video monitor, and a firing mechanism that allows a soldier to fire not only their standard infantry weapons like assault rifles, but also handguns and even 40mm grenade launchers in relative safety behind sufficient cover without the need for the assault rifle, handgun, and grenade launcher to be modified in any way. Even though his system now enjoys widespread adoption and use, a similar - although different in concept - device was built during World War II by the Germans that also allows their soldiers to fire their guns behind corners.

Known as the MP44 bent barrel weapon, the gun was primarily designed for German commandos for use when they gained entry to bunkers and other enclosed spaces. The gun’s barrel was “gently” bent 30° to allow the gun to hit targets behind corners wile giving the soldier sufficient cover against enemy fire. The German built device uses prisms for optical sighting that allowed its operator to see targets around corners. Even though the gun was manufactured in significant numbers, it’s “thirty-degree-bent-barrel” became it’s “Achilles Heel” because bullets – the projectile – could more often than not get stuck in them. Plus, the MP44 Bent Barrel Weapon was only accurate in CQB conditions, at distances greater that 12 meters, its accuracy is found wanting. Unlike the modern version invented by Golan were standard infantry weapons can be easily fitted into for “cornershot” use without modification. With sufficient training – especially given the original cornershot’s excellent camera and sighting optics – a soldier can still get guaranteed head shots even at distances slightly greater than 300 meters via a standard issue M-4 carbine.

Even though in military and law-enforcement use had became widespread, in the Airsoft gaming world, use of such weapons systems had been outlawed by most Airsoft clubs. Citing that cornershot weapons systems based on the one designed by Amos Golan is a violation against established blind-fire rules. Given that if an Airsoft enthusiast – with MacGyver-like sense of engineering improvisation - is fortunate enough to examine one closely, he or she could easily clone it using of-the-shelf Internet-ready personal computer peripherals. Like Net-cams and small plasma screens to be used as a video monitor. One can be cobbled up using these items and other parts for probably under 500 US dollars. Given the lack of “truly binding laws and agreements” in the Airsoft gaming world preventing the use of such weapons systems. It will be only a matter of time when a cornershot weapons system similar to that invented by Amos Golan will be widely used in Airsoft as a squad-level weapons system.