Monday, July 30, 2007

JLS FN2000 AEG Airsoft Gun Review

Airsplat was kind enough to send me the new JLS FN2000 for review. This is the first time I’ve had a chance to get my hands on a JLS AEG, and was eager to tear into the gearbox and am excited to share what I’ve found. Grab yourself a chair and some popcorn, as this is going to be an in depth review that no other airsoft review site can rival.

The AEG comes packaged in a plain brown covered box with a styrofoam bottom half. Upon opening the box, I was a bit shocked to see that the gun was in two parts. Now, it’s not supposed to come this way, but mine had actually field stripped itself to some extent during shipping. This gun is so easy to field strip, that I’m not totally surprised that this happened. Included in the package are the AEG, a small bag of bb’s, 9.6v NIMH battery, manual, charger, and a high capacity magazine. The packaging leaves something to be desired, but face it, you’re not buying it for the box are you?

Materials / Construction
The JLS FN2000 is a 1:1 scale replica constructed in plastic and metal. Metal parts include the RIS rail, front sling eyelets, cocking lever, magazine, outer barrel, selector switch and sights. The main body of the gun, trigger, hop up cover, mag release lever, safety lever, and flash hider are plastic. All the external plastic parts seem to be durable and well able to take a bit of a beating (I’ll cover that more in a minute). The metal parts are decent, but not to the quality you’d see in a Classic Army or ICS, but then again, this gun is only a mid-level electric gun. The finish on the metal components is a bit weak and the black color on the RIS seems to rub off on your hands if you swipe them along the side. There are imperfections in the RIS rail along the whole length. This will not keep you from attaching anything, but cosmetically it is not as finished as a higher end AEG would be. The rubber butt plate allows easy installation and removal of the battery, and snugly fits the included 9.6 volt battery. The butt plate snaps on and off, and is held in place by friction.

The outer barrel attaches to a bright orange plastic flash hider that is securely attached and cannot be removed without damage. That being said. Let’s all play nice and keep our orange tips as that’s just one way of keeping you safe while playing airsoft. We don’t need people afraid that you’re running around with a real firearm, and needless to say that could end badly for you if you were to remove the blaze orange tip.

Looking at the internals we’ll start with the inner barrel. The inner barrel is 363mm long (same length as the m4 inner barrel), and appears to be constructed out of brass. I do not have the ability to accurately measure the inside diameter of the barrel, so unfortunately I do not have that information to give. In the event someone out there can give me solid proof of the inside diameter, I’ll add it to this review.

The inner barrel connects to the hop up chamber which is constructed out of plastic. Personally I’d like to see a metal one, but at this price point, a plastic one is a given. The gears are also constructed out of plastic as well.

The battery connects via a mini tamiya connector to the gearbox through a 20 amp 250V fuse. The fuse container is a bit large, but fits easily in the space allocated for it in the butt stock. The wiring, while not amazing in quality, is much better than I expected after having looked in the gearbox of an Echo 1. Healthy 16-18 gauge wire that seems fairly flexible (read decent strand count), runs from the battery straight to the trigger mechanism and motor.

The gearbox (a modified version 2) is constructed of metal, and contains metal gears, cut off lever, trigger actuator, cylinder (brass), anti-reverse lever, and springs. I expected to see this. The spring guide (with washer), selector plate, tappet plate, and air seal nozzle are all plastic. I was quite surprised at the apparent poor quality of the plastic parts. The tappet plate and selector plate seemed overly flexible and the air seal nozzle didn’t seem to be held tightly in place. I would have liked to see some more ridged plastic in the selector plate and the tappet plate with a reinforced plastic or metal spring guide. I must say that I am impressed with the piston and piston head. The plastic appeared to be of good quality, the piston head ported, and a great fat o-ring that should seal well for a long time to come. The gearbox, as most are, came covered in the usual oil spill of lubricant. The motor seemed to be decent quality, and the wires are soldered directly to it. I would like to point out that the soldering job done on the wiring was not the best quality. I have very good soldering skills, but the quality of this was truly novice. No, I don’t expect the wires to break free of the terminals anytime soon, but I would expect less blobs of solder especially when they are that close to the gearbox shell (a possible short circuit contact point).

The FN2000 is a no fills get the job done gun, not a multifunction “Leatherman” tool. The gun has what you need to get the job done. The sight rail features an integrated flip up sight in addition to the RIS rail that allows you to attach optics.

At the rear of the RIS rail is a flip up door that allows easy access to the hop up adjustment.

The gun features a tool free field striping procedure that is easy and straight forward. With a simple push of a button, you can field strip the gun and have the inner barrel and hop up in your hands in seconds.

Face it, no one buys an AEG without consideration of its performance. When I first opened the box, I quickly plugged in a battery from one of my other AEG’s (an 8.4v NiMH) and filled the included high-cap mag with the included bag of bb’s. Out to the backyard I headed eager to squeeze off some shots while the included battery (a 9.6 NiMH) was charging. Firing the gun on semi-auto I quickly noticed that the hop up was way to low. I opened the hop adjustment cover and gave it a bit of a turn and fired again, repeating till maximum range was reached without causing the bb to fly wildly like a toddler on a bag of pixie sticks. The maximum useable range seems to be about the limit of my yard at about 100 feet; beyond that accuracy began to diminish and the bb’s began to drop quickly. Like every testosterone filled male, I quickly switched over to full auto and fired off a quick burst. It wasn’t all that I had expected… then it dawned on me… the battery that was included was a 9.6 volt and here I am feeling melancholy about this gun while it has a 8.4 volt battery in it. I repressed the desire to empty mag after mag of bb’s while waiting for the battery to finish charging. If you’re going to buy one accessory with this gun, might I suggest an intelligent rapid charger so you don’t have to wait for your batteries to charge forever and lower the risk of killing your battery.

About 30 minutes later I’m back outside with the 9.6 volt battery installed and a magazine of bb’s. WOW. I had never had an airsoft gun that I felt needed a 9.6 volt battery, but this was down right amazing. The rate of fire is pretty impressive for a gun shooting 350 fps without bearings and on standard gears. Due to the bullpup design with the magazine in the back of the gun the gearbox is located at the back of the stock. This makes for an interesting sensation as the close proximity to your head makes the noise very loud and the vibration much greater than a metal body gun with a mid body gearbox. To some this might be a turnoff, to others a reason to plunk down some money.

Next I took a look at the consistency of the AEG over 3 different target ranges. The target consisted of a sheet of cardboard with a 1″ grid marked on it. Shots were taken at 30 feet, 60 feet, and 80 feet after making sure the hop up was adjusted for best overall performance. At each of these distances I observed groupings of about 2.5 inches. I found it odd that the groupings did not end up closer as I approached the target, nor did they appear to spread as I moved away from the target. All shots were taken unsupported from a standing position in dry conditions with a slight (less than 1mph) occasional breeze to the left from the shooter’s vantage point. I rule the consistency test to be inconclusive as the gun did not exhibit increased groupings at longer ranges. I would guess that due to using an unsupported shooting position, the accuracy test was thrown off. I will say that at 100 feet I had no problem hitting a chest sized target consistently.

I did find that switching from semi-auto to full auto took some getting used to as it is not easily accessed by your trigger finger. I also found the safety switch to be counter intuitive, but both of these observations can be easily remedied by practicing.

The trigger itself takes a bit of getting used to. After taking apart the gun, I was better able to understand why the trigger is not a crisp as the trigger on other AEGs I’ve used (such as the mp5 or m4). The trigger is held out with a stiff spring. The top of the trigger is connected to a plate in the gearbox by a long metal rod. This rod pushes the plate in the gearbox to make contact with the trigger contacts in the gearbox. This long rod must flex slightly, or have a bit of spring where it is bent at 90 degree angles to interface with the trigger and contact plate. I would say that I cannot fire nearly as fast in semi-auto with this AEG as I can with other designs, but that’s where using short bursts in full-auto come into play so it’s a bit of a moot point.

The rear flip up sight was a bit of an oddity. Maybe I just don’t know how to use it, or what my sight picture should look like, but looking through it at the front post would always cause my shots to land high. In order to accurately shoot with it, I had to aim with the front post just below the opening in the sight window. I personally didn’t find using the flip up rear sight to be of much use, as it was no better than the standard sight (which was faster for me to acquire).

One point to bring up is the magazine. The high cap included worked flawlessly. Never any issues with feeding or the spring unwinding prematurely. I did notice that my Classic Army high cap magazine did NOT work in this gun due to slight differences in the thickness of the protrusion above the cutout on the side near the top of the magazine, but others have not had a problem. There have been problems noted with ICS mags as well.

Typically you compromise price for performance and build quality and durability when you buy an AEG. The JLS FN2000 shows us that you can get a gun with high fps and good ROF without breaking the bank. I’d recommend this gun to players looking to just get in the game and would like an all in one package with a battery and charger to get them going, or someone who’s looking to start a new project gun and likes getting their hands dirty. If you like the bullpup configuration, but don’t want to go the P90 or AUG route, this is a good alternative at a great price point. Please check my “Tech Info” section @ for a full review of the gearbox itself and suggestions for those of you looking to make this a project gun. Again, I’d like to thank AirSplat for making this review happen and keep your eyes open for more reviews to come!

Teenager accused of firing airsoft gun at officer

A 17-year-old Eugene boy is being held in the county juvenile detention center after he allegedly fired an airsoft BB pistol at a passing motorcycle police officer.

The incident happened around 9:20 a.m. Wednesday on the cloverleaf onramp from Northwest Expressway to Belt Line Road, police spokeswoman Kerry Delf said.

The officer reported seeing the shot fired by the front seat passenger in a car passing him in the opposite direction. The round missed.

The officer turned, stopped the vehicle and charged the shooter with menacing, reckless endangering and attempted assault on a public safety officer. Two other male juvenile occupants of the car were not involved and were released.

Delf said the misuse of low-powered guns can be dangerous. Airsoft guns typically fire 6mm plastic spheres at more than 200 feet per second. Because the guns often resemble high-powered firearms, they can evoke a potentially deadly self-defense response from police officers, Delf added.

City code prohibits firing any gun - including pellet guns, air guns and BB guns - except on established ranges, and also bars pointing any gun at another person except in self-defense, she said.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Witnesses back look-alike gun (airsoft gun) felony law

Should pointing a bb gun at a police officer be a crime?

That was the issue discussed Tuesday afternoon at a public hearing at Blackhawk Technical College on a Wisconsin Senate bill that would make it a felony to point a facsimile weapon at a police officer.

Members of the Wisconsin Senate Judiciary and Corrections Committee held the public hearings concerning Senate Bill 43, which was introduced by State Sen. Judy Robson, D-Beloit.

“The men and women who protect our streets often only have a split second to observe and react when they are approached by an individual armed with a firearm or what appears to be a firearm. Anyone who points a real or fake firearm at an officer impedes law enforcement, endangers public safety and should be held accountable for these actions,” Robson said.

Robson mentioned the Janesville Police Department has seen an increase in the number of facsimile guns surfacing. In recent months, the Beloit Police Department also has had several reports involving facsimile weapons.

“This is happening a lot,” she said. “Apparently, it's a big problem, bigger than I realized.”

An example of a facsimile weapon is a bb gun or an Airsoft gun. People only have to be 18 years of age or older to purchase these weapons. These weapons are required to have an orange tip, but the tips could easily be altered.

The bill was born when Beloit Police Chief Sam Lathrop went to legislators in February 2006 after the Rock County District Attorney's Office did not file charges against a man who pointed a weapon at an officer during a routine traffic stop.

Just before midnight on Dec. 28, 2005, a Beloit Police Officer Andre Sayles stopped Reginald L. Curtis, 32, of Beloit, for a traffic violation, but when he approached the car Curtis allegedly pointed a gun at him. The officer believed the gun to be real so he shot at the car. The car fled the scene, but a crash left Curtis to flee on foot.

“Fake weapons could look real and real weapons could be made to look fake. It's dangerous environment for our officers out there,” Lathrop told the committee Tuesday. “We need to remove hurdles and roadblocks facing our prosecutors so that the people who choose to behave in this fashion are held accountable for their actions.”

“The guardians of our society are the first ones to place themselves in harm's way on our behalf and they do so every single day,” he added.

On Jan. 4, 2005, Curtis turned himself in and was charged the next day with attempting to flee or elude an officer as repeater, obstructing as a repeater and misdemeanor bail jumping as a repeater.

“It's hard enough at midnight to tell what weapon is real, what weapon is fake,” Sayles told the committee. “And I believe that my life and the other officers' lives are worth more than nine months in prison or jail if somebody was to shoot and kill myself or any of my other brothers and sisters.”

The district attorney's office did not charge Curtis because a weapon was never recovered and the assumption could be made that the weapon was not real.

“Both the chief and I had fairly lengthy discussions on the case and what can and cannot be done in this type of situation and putting it mildly we were both frustrated about what we couldn't do on the serious nature of this case,” said Rock County District Attorney David O'Leary.

On Oct. 10, Curtis was sentenced to six years in prison followed by three years supervision after a plea of no contest.

Currently, pointing something at an officer perceived to be a weapon is a Class C forfeiture, with a penalty of up to $500. O'Leary told the committee he also has the option of charging someone with disorderly conduct with the use of a dangerous weapon, a misdemeanor.

Committee members raised questions about the penalties being to high if pointing a facsimile at an officer becomes a felony.

During his testimony, O'Leary explained, having this piece of legislation in his arsenal would help because it would give the district attorney's office more options when dealing with cases involving facsimile weapons. Right now, he can only charge someone with a forfeiture or a misdemeanor.

O'Leary explained he would like the pointing of something at an officer to be handled similar to how armed robberies are treated. If a victim perceived the attacker as having a weapon when demanding his or her belongings, the suspect is charged with armed robbery, even if a weapon was never recovered.

“In the training that law enforcement officers receive on use of force when deadly force is threatened against a police officer, there is only one response the officer has left,” O'Leary said.

State Sen. Mary Lazich, R-28, asked O'Leary of the charging options he has when it comes to dealing a 17-year-old person who has never gotten into trouble, but made the stupid mistake of pointing a facsimile weapon at an officer. Would that teen have to go through the rest of his life with a felony attached to his name? she asked.

“The system is designed to handle each case uniquely based on the person appearing in court,” O'Leary explained.

The teen may be put through deferred prosecution, he said, which means he may need to prove he can stay out of trouble for a certain period of time and the charge would either be dropped or reduced.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Brandishing your airsoft guns

This isn’t another lecture about not brandishing your airsoft guns in public. This is going to be a pretty short article, but I think rather informative, so stick with me for a few minutes.

Like many airsoft players, I enjoy real firearms as well. When it comes down to it, airsoft tries to mimic real fire arms in whatever ways possible; weight, dimensions, and action. Let’s look at the AR-15 series. The airsoft equivalent has a charging handle, ejection port, and mag release just like the real steel. Now they don’t all function, but they are there and mimic it. Take a look at this article on Arnies Airsoft about the Sig Arms training GBB. Either Sig Arms thinks there is a market to sell to airsofters, or they realize there is enough realism in airsoft to use it as a training aid. And that’s what I’m getting at today.

A good while back I went to the gun range for the first time. I was looking at buying a small hand gun for self protection and home protection. I wanted to try a particular model that a friend of mine owned as it seemed to fit the bill. Eighty rounds of .40 caliber ammo later, I realized that I couldn’t should for anything. Okay, I wasn’t that bad, but I wasn’t that good either. Warp to a year and a half ago.

My wife just bought me my first airsoft gun. Yes, a UTG shotgun is what started off my hobby. Shortly thereafter I bought a UTG MP5, as it was cheap and decent quality. Then, about a year ago now, I bought my first gas blow back, a KWA USP .45. Now I’ve put several thousands of rounds through this airsoft gun, and along the way came to the conclusion that if I nailed the basics on gun handling and usage with this, I should be able to carry it over to a real firearm with little learning curve. I practiced my grip, draw, lining up my sights, two handed, off-handed, and strong handed shooting, and target acquisition. Warp to father’s day weekend.

My wife wanted to have some fun on father’s day and took me to the local range to fire off several different guns for fun, and to help me make a decision on what I want to purchase next. The guns I shot were as follows: Springfield XD 4″ Service .40, Glock 27, Smith & Wesson M&P .40, and a Baretta M92. How well did I shoot? Remarkably. Groupings at near 45 feet of about 1″ at best 3-4″ at worst. I even fired the mini Glock (the Glock 27) strong handed shooting 5 rounds in succession quickly at over 30 feet and grouped my shots at about 2 inches. That is the same gun I used the first time I went to the range and could barely keep my shots on the target. I had better trained my hands how to react to the gun firing, how to properly squeeze the trigger (not yank it), how to recover from recoil, how to use my front sight correctly, and how to properly reacquire my target quickly for follow up shots through the use of my airsoft gas blow back gun over months of practice.

Now I’m in noway saying that the use of a gas blow back airsoft pistol is a substitute for practicing with a real firearm. What I am saying is that an airsoft gun can make for a decent training platform for certain exercises that otherwise could only be done at a range, and other that couldn’t even be done there. For example, at home you could practice your grip, lining up your sights, firing follow up shots, and target acquisition. If you’re lucky to live in a state that allows concealed carry for firearms, then the greatest thing you could practice is drawing your firearm from a holster, acquiring your target, and firing with follow up shots. This something most ranges don’t allow, but is vital in a defensive survival situation. Yes I understand the clack and bounce of an airsoft gun is nothing like a real firearm’s bang and recoil, but it does help train your body’s natural reaction.

So, firearm owners, maybe you should look into airsoft? Airsoft owners who own firearms… maybe you should spend more time practicing with your gas blow backs as if it were your actual firearm?

Three teenagers accused of impersonating police with airsoft guns

Three teenagers accused of impersonating police have been arrested after Spokane County sheriff's deputies tracked them down after a fake traffic stop.

According to the Sheriff's Office, a woman told deputies that she was driving on the Newport Highway about 1:15 a.m. Monday with her husband asleep in the passenger seat when a car with high beams and flashing red and blue lights pulled her over.

She became suspicious when one of the teenage boys approached the car. She rolled up her window and the boy drove away, but not before she got his license plate number.

When deputies investigated, they said they found out that the trio had done the same thing two other times. Once, one of the boys had threatened a carload of teenagers with an Airsoft pistol, which is a plastic pellet gun.

"The danger is they look like a real pistol," said Sgt. Dave Reagan.

The teens told deputies that they were stopping people to warn them about traffic violations. Deputies told them they were under arrest.

Aleksey Lysenko, 18, of 15319 N. Chesapeake, and 14- and 17-year-old brothers were arrested on charges of second-degree criminal impersonation.

The charge is a gross misdemeanor, so even if they are convicted, they still could become law enforcement officers in Washington state, said Reagan.

"Of course, this activity did show an extreme lack of judgment," he added.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

UTG L96 Airsoft Sniper Rifle Review

Lately the clone market has exploded. From names like Echo 1, Leapers (UTG), JLS, Well, and others, have come some remarkable products. While most of these companies are known for making products that (while trying their best to resemble the name brand) have fallen short in complete replication of durability, longevity, and performance. I have owned two UTG airsoft guns, and recently AirSplat sent me the new UTG Shadow Ops Sniper L96 to review. Thanks to AirSplat, I’m able to bring you this review.

My first impression upon receiving the rifle was, “wow this is big”. When you first open the box you are greeted by an unassembled rifle. Assembling it is simple requiring the use of a simple Hex wrench that is included. After sliding the barrel into the stock, it’s as simple as turning two screws to secure it. Being a clone in the same light of the Warrior L96, it shares many of the same construction qualities. The body and trigger assembly is ABS plastic, and the barrel, RIS, and bolt are metal. The magazines (2 are included) are mostly metal minus the spring loaded top half (to help eject the mag from the rifle) and the bb feeding tube which are plastic.

The gun weighs in at about 10 pounds and (unlike some other versions by other manufacturers) has a metal frame. The metal frame is a definite plus as it adds strength to the mounting points between the barrel and the stock, and should help prevent damage should you accidentally smack the barrel into a tree while high tailing it from an incoming barrage of bbs.

The gun comes with a nylon carrying strap that attaches to the front of the stock and either side of the rear of the stock using metal clips and rings. The nylon is decent quality given that it’s included with the gun, but it’s nothing to write home about. I did have one of the clips unhook while carrying the gun once, so be wary.

The butt plate is made of rubber and has a textured surface.

When it comes down to it, it’s a sniper rifle and it’s greatest feature is it’s ability to reach out and touch someone. 450+ fps is incredible out of a stock sniper rifle, but we’ll touch more on that in the performance part of the review.

The rifle has an RIS rail made for attaching a large scope. I’m using the AirSplat 3-x50 Illuminated scope which they recommended. The rail is well made, metal and the scope is able to firmly clamp on it with no wobble.

The stock features an adjustable cheek rest. A simple turn of two screws (using provided hex wrenches) loosens the cheek rest for adjustment.

The UTG L96 also features an adjustable bipod. This is what I was excited to check out, and one of my reasons for choosing this rifle. None of the other L96 clones come with a bipod so I thought this would be a great value. It slips straight into the front of the stock and locks in place. It is constructed of metal and features two additional RIS rails. Now quite sure what you’d need these for as a sniper, but they are there if you need them.

The butt stock is adjusted by simply removing the screws that hold the pads in place and removing any necessary pads.

The hop up is adjustable and accessed via the bottom of the stock forward of the mag well. Adjustments are made using the included hop up key (or hex wrench).

The rifle also features two safeties, one on the trigger and one near the bolt. The one near the bolt flicks off with moderate pressure from a finger. The trigger safety is a backup that ensure the rifle can only fire when the center safety on the trigger is depressed. Any pressure on the trigger that does not depress the trigger safety will not allow the gun to fire.

Okay, now this is what you’ve come here to see. When you do not have the ability to rapidly put down fire, accuracy is where it’s at. You need to be able to take out your target with a single quiet shot. I was eager to put this together and fire off some shots with it right away. With the hop up unadjusted I loaded up some .30 KSC Perfect bbs into it and took it out back to fire. I was not impressed. Shot after shot landed in random places. The range was lacking, and the accuracy was horrid. I grabbed the hop up key and turned it up a bit. After a bit of fidgeting I was able to obtain a usable range of about 200 feet and a max range of almost 230 feet. This was impressive. The problem now was that the bbs flew left or right or high or low at random. Accuracy was only decent at up to about 50 feet. Now my KWA USP .45 is accurate to almost 100 feet, this was a problem.

I turned to the forums at Arnies Airsoft for help. There you’ll find a wealth of information in this thread, given you have the time to sort through it all. I found the answer in two parts. First, in inside of the outer barrel has spacers that hold the inner barrel in the center of the outer barrel. These were not spaced out evenly at all allowing the barrel to flex as the bbs traveled down the barrel. I disassembled the rifle and removed the inner barrel assembly. Using a ruler I evenly spaced out the barrel spacers and then put a few wraps of duct tape around the barrel to keep the spacers from moving as I slide the assembly back into the gun. I also noticed that the gun had more oil / lube than a shade tree mechanics overalls. I wiped down the bolt and cleaned out the barrel. With that completed I put the rifle back together. There was definitely a marked improvement. I can now hit a man sized target easily at 160 feet. Unfortunately I do not have a clear line of sight in a safe direction to shoot beyond that for further testing. I still find it quite acceptable to be hitting a chest sized target at 160 feet.

Given I don’t have access to a chrono I tried out the poor man’s chrono using a coke can. Yes, I know it’s not terrible accurate, but I’d estimate the speed using .20 bbs to be about 480-500 fps. Pretty sweet given the price of this rifle. I attempted to have the rifle chrono’d but unfortunately I did not have the chance before the review, but I will update this as soon as I’m able to hop down to Airsoft Atlanta to have it chrono’d.

The mags are easy to load using the supplied speed loader, but I have found that they are quite a bear to insert into the mag well. I’m hoping that with some wear and tear they’ll fit better. I hope I never need to hurriedly load a mag into this rifle during a skirmish, as it just isn’t going to happen. I must say that the mags fed well and were reliable and I never had a problem with a misfeed.

The bipod was really soaked in oil when I received it. It needed an immediate wipe down with a towel. After cleaning it up a bit, leaving just a hint of a coat of oil, I attached it to the stock. Not impressive. It was very tight when trying to swivel the rifle, although that loosened after a while, it still wobbles inside the stock. I don’t know if the problem lies in the stock or the pin on the bipod, but the left to right rotational wobble is irritating. It does well at panning left to right once it’s loosened up, and it pivots up and down with no problems. The adjustable length legs are utterly useless. They are spring loaded so that when you turn the catch on each leg the end shoots down so you can gain some height with the end of the rifle. The problem is you really can only use them all the way in or all the way out. It’s difficult to set the height even between the two at any other height in between. I also wish the legs had one release to drop both of them, but again, since it’s included it’s really only starter quality stuff.

First I’d like to thank AirSplat for giving me the chance to review this rifle. The UTG Shadow Ops L96 is a good quality starter sniper rifle. The high fps helps stem the cost of upgrades needed on more expensive versions (like the Maruzen), to allow it to engage at sniper quality distances. Given the lower price point it is acceptable to reason that there will be shortcomings of this rifle (hard to insert mags, quality control on the barrel spacers, over greasing of parts, plastic trigger and sear), but I am also pleased to see the number of metal parts as well. When one buys this rifle one must understand that they are buying a clone or a duplicate made at a lower price point. It will not shoot as accurately as the Maruzen (given a similar spring to the UTG), but at such a low price point, the cost of a new hop up chamber and barrel still put it cheaper than the Maruzen. My plans for this include putting in a Madbull inner barrel and a PDI hop up chamber to gain the accuracy afforded by the Maruzen, with the power and range that the UTG comes with stock.

If you’re looking for an entry rifle and are willing to do some work to make it work for you, then this is a great choice. If you’re looking for something that will hit a target at 200 feet with no work required, then keep looking. To the guys at Leapers who distibute this, nail down that quality control, lighten up on the lube, and give us a better hop up unit and you’ll go a long way!

I will update this as soon as I have a chance to chrono the rifle and test it at longer distances.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Johnson City has ordinance that outlaws sale of air-powered airsoft guns

While paintball is viewed as a fun sport, Johnson City officials decided long ago the guns are too dangerous for public use.

In 1985, city officials outlawed the sale of all air-propelled guns to the general public. All paintball markers, airsoft guns and BB guns had to be pulled from the shelves of retail stores.

"Many cities are passing these ordinances due to possible threats to bird sanctuaries and other refuges," said Maj. Trent Harris, operations division commander of the Johnson City Police Department.

No other area cities have such an ordinance.

"We have the occasional complaint or accident with a gun like that," Bristol Virginia Police Lt. Darryl Milligan said. "We do have a city ordinance that prohibits the firing of any projectile, whether its a real gun, an airsoft gun, or a bow and arrow, unless it is in a controlled environment."

Kingsport Police Department reports no paintball incidents in recent years.

"To my knowledge, we have had no incident relating to paintball guns or anything like that in our jurisdiction," Kingsport Police Deputy Chief Dale Phipps said. "I just recently got off of patrol, and I don’t ever recall having a problem."

Paintball proponents say any weapon can be dangerous if not used correctly, but they note that paintball facilities have proper equipment and safety practices. Other than a few bruises, paintball minimizes potential injuries, they say.

Paintball guns are regulated by the amount of compressed CO2 that is used with each shot. As long as paintball

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Airsoft Scope Review

AirSplat was kind enough to send this my way for review. As it was, I needed a scope to go atop my UTG L96, and they suggested that I take a look at this. So without further adieu here it is.


Included in the box:

Retail Cost at Time of Review:
$44.95 @ AirSplat

The scope itself is constructed from a single tube and is made from what appears to be aluminum. Weighing in at 3 lbs. it’s about what you’d expect a scope this size to weight. The glass used in the scope appears to be decent quality and features a slight anti-reflective coating on the objective lens.

The lens protectors are 1/8″ plastic with elastic to hold them in place.

The covers for the adjustment screws are aluminum and the screw threading appears to be good quality and should hold up well.

The scope features a 50mm objective lens to let in as much light as possible giving you a crisp image to look at. At the other end of the scope, we find that the scope can be adjusted for anywhere from 3-9x magnification. While anything over 4 is pretty much useless for shooting at target in airsoft, it makes good for spotting potential threats at farther distances. Additionally, the scope features a range finding graph (which is beyond my ability to understand aside from the cross-hairs) that can be illuminated as well. The illumination ranges from 0-11 and lights up the range finding graph in red lighting.

I used this scope on my UTG L96, and found that it works rather well. Sighting in the scope was fairly easy using the commonly found adjustment screws on the top and side of the scope. After being tossed in my closet on several occasions and bumped about, the scope didn’t loose it’s zero point. The instructions were decent for an Asian made product, and got the point across on how to adjust it. The magnification adjustment ring turns smoothly, although the tension on it increases with the magnification. One thing I did note, is that there is a bit of distortion around the edges of the image when looking through the scope. While this isn’t a real problem (especially in airsoft), I wouldn’t recommend using this for a real firearm.

I have not had a chance to try the scope out in low light conditions outside to fully test the illuminated reticule, but I intend to and update the review with it’s performance.

The weather here has not been such to allow me to test it’s anti-fog ability, so I did the next best thing. I took the scope and set it on the sink while I took a nice hot shower. Looking through the scope after the shower, it was foggy. Now, keep in mind this is much more extreme than what you’d get just being outside playing airsoft, but it was the only way I had to test it. Now the fogging did subside quickly after I took it out of the bathroom, but if you’re caught on a hot muggy day in a slight drizzle, you might see some fogging, although I’d expect it to be minimal.

Overall, the quality of this scope is comparable to those in it’s class and features. With 3-9x magnification and with a 50mm objective lens, this is a good deal. Add in the illuminated reticule and again, a good deal. If you’re looking for a decent scope, and don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for something that will never be used on a real firearm, then picking one of these up from AirSplat would be a good decision.