Saturday, September 6, 2014

Does the M1915 Villar-Perosa Submachine Gun Make A Good Airsoft Gun?

Given that the “vintage Airsoft model / replica guns” has its own sizable cult following, would an Airsoft version of the M1915 Villar-Perosa submachine gun make a good Airsoft gun? 

By: Ringo Bones 

Photos of this seminal submachine gun may give the impression that it may be too awkward and too unwieldy to use one in battlefield conditions, but a recent documentary about old guns has shown that a gun enthusiast was quite delighted after firing a still working 1915 Villar-Perosa submachine gun – like the one displayed in the Austrian Army Museum in Vienna and the Russian Museum of Artillery in St. Petersburg – even assessing that the gun will be manageable in battlefield use despite being slightly heavier in comparison of contemporary 9-mm submachine guns. Does this make the 1915 Villar-Perosa a good Airsoft gun for the “vintage gun” enthusiast? 

Even though I have yet to see one displayed in our local Airsoft shop, the Villar-Perosa submachine gun originally has two variants that was more-or-less fielded near the end of World War I. The twin-barreled M1915 model (actually two submachine guns in a “Siamese-Twin” configuration) was originally designed in 1914 and was originally intended by the famous Italian small arms designer Bethel Abiel Revelli for use in World War I era biplanes. Though it’s 3,000 rounds per minute rate of fire can make a short shrift of any biplane that comes in front of it, the 9-mm Glisenti ammunition – similar in size to the modern 9-mm X 19-mm Parabellum cartridge – proved to be low powered and too limited in range for practical use as an aircraft machine gun. The 9-mm Glisenti ammunition is even “weaker” than its contemporary – the 9mm X 19-mm Luger pistol round. 

The manufacturing company Officine Villar Perosa (OVP for short) eventually made a “stripped-down variant of the M1915 Villar-Perosa submachine gun, the OVP M1918 “automatic carbine” with half the rate of fire of its predecessor. Its rather rapid rate of fire was primarily caused by lightweight bolt being paired with a powerful spring. Both guns operate in the open-bolt configuration with a delayed blowback action. Fed from a 25-round box magazine, the submachine guns very high rate of fire and rather short range only makes it suitable for close quarter battle / CQB situations. Though it could look very kick ass to the unfamiliar, even in its Airsoft version firing 6-mm plastic 0.2-gram mineral-filled polypropylene pellets travelling at 400 feet per second. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Can Airsoft Improve The General Public’s Gun Safety Consciousness?

With the tragic shooting accident that resulted in a shooting instructor being shot in the head by a 9-year-old girl, could Airsoft guns serve as a “much safer” way to promote gun safety consciousness to the general public? 

By: Ringo Bones 

The accidental shooting death of gun instructor Charles Vacca involving a 9-year-old girl with an Uzi back in August 27, 2014 raised yet again the subject of gun safety concerns in America. Gun instructor Vacca got accidentally shot in the head in a routine instructional demo at a gun range in Arizona that caters to Las Vegas tourists. The 9-year-old girl who was allowed to shoot with an Uzi lost control of the gun when it was set to fire in full-auto mode in an uncontrolled muzzle rise that resulted in gun instructor Vacca getting shot at least once in the head. Even though the “gun experts” from the NRA says the 9-year-old girl should have been started on a single-shot .22 caliber weapons system, will it be much safer if younger shooters should have been introduced to an Airsoft replica gun first for basic gun safety instruction? 

Even though gun instructor Charles Vacca had his right hand on the 9-yer-old girl’s back and his left hand under her right arm when he was shot, it proves to be still quite an “awkward” position to control the Uzi’s muzzle climb of an inexperienced first time shooter due to the fact that the Uzi’s telescoping bolt design and an “awkward” center-of-gravity proved it to be an unwieldy weapon to handle and relegates it only to close-quarters combat or CQB engagement. Given the “unwieldy nature” of the Uzi, I sometimes wonder how much training time the Israel Defense Force devotes to their conscripts before being allowed to handle the Uzi submachine gun in either of its 9-mm and .45 caliber variants.

Even though quite a number of “gun accidents” that result to a shooting death incident have happened before the recent 9-year-old girl Uzi shooting tragedy on U.S. soil, a number of gross gun safety violations have been “caught on video” around the world for a number of years now. Back in 2011, a young Syrian “conscript” fighting for the free Syria Army who looks like he’s still a college freshman had been caught on tape inserting a fully loaded magazine on his Kalashnikov / AK-47 with the assault rifle set in full auto mode while  he muzzle rested on his chin. Thankfully, an older fellow comrade caught him just in time before the incident resulted in a tragic accident. If the young recruit had previous familiarity with an Airsoft replica of the Kalashnikov given that both almost works about the same while only the real steel gun is potentially lethal, would such gun handling snafu be avoided?        

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Lewis And Clark: First Airsoft Gun Enthusiasts in History?

Even though there was scant mention of it during their expedition, are explorers Lewis and Clark the world’s first Airsoft gun enthusiasts?

By: Ringo Bones

Even though there’s scent – even no mention – of it whatsoever, it has been witnessed by many Native American tribes that they have met that Lewis and Clark carried an Airsoft type guns as their main weapon for hunting during their expeditions. A Kentucky Hunting Rifle handmade by European gunsmiths who settled in Pennsylvania was deemed not good enough for use by Lewis and Clark even though Kentucky Hunting Rifles were widely used as sniping rifles during the American Revolutionary War. Given that resupply is difficult and black powder is not water proof – and can even be hygroscopic especially if sodium nitrate is used as an oxidizer – it is quite easy to understand why Lewis and Clark chose a pneumatic Airsoft type gun as a main hunting weapon during their expeditions.

The Lewis and Clark expedition began in January 1803 when the then US President Thomas Jefferson, in a confidential message to the US Congress, recommended an appropriation to explore Western America. The expedition was an attempt to find a route to the Pacific Ocean and to open new areas for United States fur traders whose former areas had been occupied by Native Americans removed beyond the Mississippi. It was to ascend the Missouri River to its source, cross the Continental Divide and descend the Columbia River to its mouth. President Jefferson’s secretary, Meriwether Lewis and Capt. William Clark were appointed to lead the expedition, which was organized in the summer of 1803.

 Starting from St. Louis back in May 14, 1804, they went up the Missouri River to the mouth of the Platte, reaching the present site of Bismark, which was near the camps of the Mandan Indians on November 2. There they wintered. Breaking camp in April 1805, they went to the mouth of the Yellowstone River, sighted the Rocky Mountains and discovered the three forks of the Missouri River, which they named Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin. Proceeding up the Jefferson fork, they crossed the Rocky Mountains in September and went down to the Columbia River, sighting the Pacific Ocean in November. After wintering on the coast, they started their return trip on March 23, 1806, arriving in St. Louis on September 23, 1806. The expedition increased the geographical knowledge of America and provided much needed descriptions of the Missouri and Columbia River valleys.

As witnessed by many Native American tribes that they’ve met and demonstrated the weapon to, Lewis and Clark used a pump action compressed air bb gun / pellet gun as their main weapon as they explore the then uncharted parts of America. The choice of an Airsoft type weapon makes sense given that resupply is difficult – even impossible – and black powder doesn’t work when wet. Demonstrating to every “friendly” Native American tribe that they’ve met, witnesses say that Lewis and Clark’s Airsoft bb gun had enough kinetic energy to bring down a good sized deer – comparable to that of a modern .30 caliber bolt action rifle?