Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The US Army’s Universal Camouflage Uniform: Useless in Afghanistan and in Airsoft?

Also known as the Advanced Combat Uniform, is the US Army’s Advanced Combat Uniform utterly useless as a primary camouflage battle dress uniform in the Afghan war theatre?

By: Ringo Bones

I’ve seen a growing number of Airsoft teams over the years adopting the US Army’s Universal Camouflage Uniform – also known as the Advanced Combat Uniform or ACU  – as their primary battle dress uniform for Airsoft gaming. But have they ever heard of the news that the ACU is utterly useless in the battle theatres of Afghanistan?

After 8 years and billions of dollars spent, the US Army back in June 2012 has just given up on an ambitious effort to clothe all of its frontline infantry soldiers in Afghanistan on the “universal camouflage pattern” even though it served them well in the urban combat theatres of Iraq since Operation Iraqi Freedom back in March 2003. According to frontline infantrymen who are recently and some who are still currently serving in Afghanistan, the Afghan terrain is primarily brown in hue and there is no brown whatsoever in the Advanced Combat Uniform (ACU) design.

Even though the ACU’s fractal geometry-based pattern looks very futuristic and very 21st Century, I’ve seen it used as the cover art in various Gene Roddenberry novelizations on “futuristic” Sino-Indian War scenarios as far back as 1987. And the design might have been originally conceived on a mid-1980s era Cray YXP supercomputer inspired when IBM researcher Benoit B. Mandelbrot published The Fractal Geometry of Nature back in 1983. Given that the geometric structure of vegetation and rocks/geologic formations always seems to follow Mandelbrot’s fractal geometry - then it is safe to assume that the US Army’s newfangled Advanced Combat Uniform would perfectly blend in any “natural fractally-pattered environment”, right?

Sadly, this is where theoretical design needs some more tweaking for it to work in the real world of Mother Nature. US Army infantrymen serving in Afghanistan had cited that in their own first-hand experience, the ACU made them stand out in the background terrain of the Afghan war theatre – as in they are using a “clown-suit” as a battle dress uniform. And in my experience, the US Army’s Universal Camouflage Uniform / ACU in Airsoft gaming situations only works when your game-site is an urban one. Must be the reason why the ACU battle dress uniform pattern sells like hotcakes for Airsoft enthusiasts living in Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Airsoft Assassin?

Given that it is realistic looking enough to pass itself as a real gun, can an Airsoft weapons system be used for assassination purposes?

By: Ringo Bones

Just recently covered by the BBC, the Czech Republic president, Vaclav Klaus, just emerged unscathed after an “assassination attempt” via a replica Airsoft pistol. The would be assassin, a young Czech man dressed in woodland pattern camouflage BDU, managed to get close enough to President Klaus to unload 7 shots of 0.2 gram 6-mm plastic pellets at point-blank range. Whether the incident is due to a security failure of his bodyguards, the Czech president only made a nonchalant glance of renunciation at his security detail for this incident to happen. Though the Czech president was checked out later in a local hospital for mild bruises made by the belligerent point blank shot, can Airsoft weapons systems be used for assassination purposes?

Seasoned Airsoft gamers and enthusiasts already know that anything above 400 feet per second muzzle velocity can already be painful even if those 6-mm BB pellets weigh only 0.2 grams and are made of mineral-filled polypropylene. Given sufficient muzzle velocity and projectile mass increase, a typical Airsoft weapons system could potentially acquire a kinetic energy equivalent of its pellets akin to that of a bona fide firearm, but given that its spherical pellets have a disgraceful ballistic coefficient, its potential as an assassin’s tool is for close range only. Though the Bulgarian exiled dissident named Gyorgy Markov was assassinated via a ricin filled metal pellet fired from a modified umbrella which for all intents and purposes resembles that of a typical Airsoft weapons system.

According to the would be assassin of President Klaus, his shooting of the Czech president with an Airsoft pistol is a statement over the Klaus administration being deaf and blind over the concerns of the Czech citizenry over the issue of government corruption. Though we non-Czech citizens are still woefully ignorant on the extent of the average Czech citizenry’s critique and gripes on how President Vaclav Klaus ran his country, this novel “assassination attempt” via an Airsoft pistol as political statement makes for an interesting story, nonetheless. And more importantly, let’s hope that this unfortunate incident won’t make it illegal for the Czech Airsoft enthusiasts to continue to buy Airsoft guns and play Airsoft military simulation games.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Can Celebrity Members Help Your Airsoft Club?

It ads prestige and prestige does help, but could celebrity members of certain Airsoft clubs be akin to gilding an already overdressed lily?

By: Ringo Bones

Most - if not all - Airsoft clubs always dream of having a bunch of Hollywood action heroes du jour as part of their Airsoft team, I mean who wouldn't. But is there a danger of having famous celebrities and/or public figures as bona fide members turning your Airsoft club/group into something akin to gilding an already overdressed lily?

Rumor has it that there's an Airsoft club out there who already has porn star Madison Scott as a bona fide member, but this particular Airsoft club has yet to make headlines - yet. And Madison Scott is an action hero of a different sort - if you know what I mean.

Still-relevant Hollywood action heroes and even has-been Hollywood action stars seem like a better bet as "celebrity" Airsoft club members. But are Hollywood action Heroes better off establishing their own Airsoft club / military simulation gaming outfit in the first place?