Single Player Thoughts on Destiny: Rise of Iron

Greetings Guardians, it’s been awhile since many of us have played Destiny.  We all have  a few friends that are still out there doing the grind, but personally I haven’t been on Destiny since sometime after The Taken King expansion.  Since then, there have been no significant content updates released for Destiny, and a bunch of us were turned off by Destiny because of the repetition.  A few of us have played MMO and other types of games where there was a grind, but the lack of new content, and the inability to move forward in the game got very boring.  The other turn off for many was the fact that we purchased a season pass that was only for two DLC expansions.  In looking through the depths of the interwebs, it seems to be somewhat unclear to buyers that what they purchased was an expansion pass rather than a “season pass” which only afforded them the two expansions House of Wolves & The Taken King.  This drove away a good bunch of players.  For me, I stopped playing once most of my friends had stopped playing.  This left me with no one to play or raid with.  I did have a small group of people I met on PSN while raiding, but my work schedule kept me from being on at the same time they wanted to run the raid.  Then, with the release of various other titles such as The Division and various betas, my time with Destiny ended.  

Now, with the current climate of games that have been released, my interest was reinvigorated just before the release of the Rise of Iron expansion.  Many of the Gun Gamers crew was full speed on the hype train with The Division and subsequently No Man’s Sky.  Both, to some degree, ended in some sort of disappointment.  Again, like my friends dropping out of Destiny, the same happened with The Division.  There was a grind, the game was broken, and gearing up for the endgame was absurdly difficult.  A few of us are currently waiting to see what Patch 1.4 has to offer, but I digress.

So let’s get back to Destiny.  Rise of Iron is the newest expansion to Destiny at a cost of $39.99 on PSN.  In this new expansion, the Light level is increased yet again.  If you are starting anew, a special token is given to you to auto level your character to 40.  I think this was done with those who already had other characters and wanted to bring that other character up to level to start the most current adventure in mind.  Without spoiling too much of the story, Rise of Iron welcomes you to the story of the Iron Lords.  You already met Lord Saladin when the Iron Banner arrived at the Tower, but now he has put those duties to rest to assist and guide you through the story and the SIVA Crisis.  The expansion brings a new social space on Earth, new story missions, a new strike, and with the updated Light level, new versions of strikes now available, and of course a new raid.  The expansion changes will require the player coming back to the game to re-gear to some extent, but it’s nothing impossible.  Because two out out of the three characters that I had were somewhat endgame, I was able to gear up pretty quickly simply by either doing the daily mission and even the story missions for Rise of Iron.  Bungie has not made the transitions from the changes they have made in the various expansions too difficult.  If you are reading this and getting ready to join the Iron Lords, prior to decrypting Engrams of any level, ensure that you have the highest gear equipped.  The reason for this is because when decrypting said Engrams, they will drop at a Light level equal to, if not a few levels higher, than what you have equipped.  Also, do this one by one and not in a batch, because if an item you have decrypted is of a higher level, you should equip it to increase your Light level to allow further decryptions to drop higher level gear.  With everything said with gear and Light level, another thing to consider is that your legacy gear will not be as powerful as it was in the past.  You do have a few options though.  You could infuse  some of the newer high level gear to obtain a higher level on the legacy exotics or older gear you have, or you could also go to the blueprint vendor and obtain a newer version of your legacy exotics if available.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had a good group or time to tackle the raid, so this is a single player and story content review, but my thoughts on the story content are quite favorable.  The story content took me a couple hours, and the exotic weapon quests added a lot of variety and fun new toys to play with.  Shiro-4, the weapon vendor in Felwinter Peak, also has Rise of Iron unique bounties that further add to the amount of content to play through, and the variety is quite welcome.  Overall, I’m quite happy with the amount of content that was added to change up how you can play the previous content for Destiny and to add more interesting areas, enemies, and missions to experience.

So what are my feelings on Rise of Iron?  I like it.  This expansion has the best story thus far (hard not to spoil it, so trust me) and offers a lot to the player coming back to the game and those starting anew.  The expansion opens up a whole new area to explore on Earth, the Plaguelands, where the story occurs as well as a whole area to explore and new patrol missions to complete.  This has made Destiny enjoyable once again, and I am playing it regularly.  Like reviews i’ve read online, I can’t make your mind up for you.  You need to make the decision if this is worth the money.  I know a few friends that are just creeping along and playing fairly causally and have yet to pull the trigger on Rise of Iron.  Everyone is different.  Like here in Gun Gamers, some of us are still playing The Division while others have abandoned the game as broken.  If you enjoyed Destiny or are still playing, I suggest you go for Rise of Iron.  If you are unsure, maybe stop by a friend’s house and try it out, or even check out YouTube for some gameplay to help you make your decision.  If Bungie keeps up with good content, maybe Destiny isn’t finished yet.


Inside an Arma 3 Realism Unit


On July 4th, 2016 the Arma 3 realism community was rocked by the news of a mass exodus of members from the 506th Infantry Regiment Realism Unit.  Nearly two hundred members of the unit left to join a new unit being formed called the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit Special Operations Capable (13th MEU SOC).  To someone on the outside, this doesn’t seem like entirely big news, but for those of us on the inside, this was a major event that sent ripples through the community due to the fact that the founders of the 506th were longtime members of the 15th MEU, which is one of the oldest running realism units within the community.  So before I tackle the fireworks and give you the history of the 13th MEU SOC Realism Unit, I will first define realism gaming and give you a look into the community as a whole.  Buckle up, this one is going to be a long one, but will not be lacking drama, intrigue, or explosions.

What is a Realism Unit?

Realism gaming in Arma is an attempt to reenact real life combat to the utmost detail, down to tactics, uniform, loadouts, communications, and even mission design.  As it has been described to me (and as I’m fond of describing it to others) it is a virtual version of Dungeons and Dragons with the role play being military simulation.  Units are formed to provide members a simulated hierarchy, sense of camaraderie, and a place to play well organized and structured games with realistic scenarios and a variety of roles.  For example, one could be an infantryman serving in a rifle squad, weapons unit, corpsman or medic, or fill a supporting asset role such as a pilot or tank crewman.  These games operate at task force levels with sixty plus people playing at any given time often in a PvE setting with two people acting as “Zeus,” or game masters that set up the missions and control the OPFOR within a given storyline.  Given the nature of Arma as a multiplayer game, the environment is completely free roaming and ultimately a sandbox for you to play in and do just about anything you can think of.  There are varying degrees of focus on realism from unit to unit however.  Some units don’t have the rank and administrative infrastructure as much as others and focus on realistic combat gameplay instead of trying to achieve unit functionality as close as possible.  To do this, most units have a specialized mod pack or mod list that they use to replicate communications (Task force radio to simulate radios in game), get certain loadouts and vehicles, or control physical aspects of the game (such as utilizing the Advanced Medical system, which is a pretty awesome system). I will get into these mods later but you get the gist.

To browse for a unit that you may be interested in, visit the Arma 3 Units site which contains a listing of realism units that you may join.  Most true realism units will have “realism” listed in their name, some of the biggest units are the 15th MEU, 13th MEU, 506th, and 7th Cavalry.  This is not a comprehensive list, and there are many more units but you will need to do your research and see what unit suits you.  Many serious realism units have age requirements (the 15th has a cadet corps where those that aren’t of age can still be apart of the unit until they reach the age to enlist in the main unit), and they have a training pipeline.  This pipeline will consist of a basic training and further specialized schools depending on the MOS chosen (very much like in real life).  An example of how the pipeline works for the 13th MEU SOC is that upon acceptance into the unit you will attend a recruit training class where they will check that you installed the unit mods correctly, give you the unit structure, and a history of the unit.  Then you would go to the School of Infantry (SOI) which would span 4 days over the course of two weeks.  If you chose an infantryman MOS, then you will be able to be billeted within Echo company.  If you are a pilot, corpsman, or on a vehicle crew you will need to attend a specialized school for further training.  During SOI, you will learn small unit tactics, vehicle procedures, weapon systems familiarization, etc.  Basically, everything you will need to know to immerse yourself within the unit you are billeted in.  Having been through this system, it may seem intimidating and a tad confusing at first, but the instructors and recruiters do a great job explaining the joining process and are open to answer any questions you might have.  So now that the basics of realism units and what they do has been explained, now we can get into the nitty gritty of the 13th MEU.


The 13th MEU SOC

To make a long story short, the 13th MEU SOC is made up of a large number of players who left the 506th after a disagreement in the chain of command.  The unit is pretty new and has had its share of growing pains.  Once the excitement of a fresh start gave way to the reality of the transition to a Marine unit, the membership began to drop.  Most of the ‘first wave’ were members of the 506th who elected to go to reserves (play at leisure without having to keep up with attendance policies, mostly due to a busy real world schedule) so they ultimately went back down to reserves.  The next wave came as people decided that the unit just didn’t quite satisfy their gameplay taste.  So now the unit is stretched out with some glaring holes in membership, but we are optimistic about recruiting.  One significant difference between the 13th MEU and the 506th is that we have a 17+ age limit while the 506th maintains an 18+ age requirement (as far as I know of, still held true when I was still there).  This is in hopes of broadening the recruiting pool from which we can fill our ranks (at least this is my educated guess).  Our numbers may be thin, but the members are dedicated and optimistic.  Growing pains are hard, but the missions and transitions have gone over pretty well so far.

Transitioning over to a Marine unit from an Army unit definitely has its challenges in differences of tactics, terminology, structure, etc. Some of the biggest differences are that each squad has three fireteams instead of two, which allows squads to be more autonomous.  Pay grade wise, Marines often hold lower ranks, so the unit command staff came up with a ‘one up, one down’ rule.  This means that in the real world, someone who holds the rank of Sergeant is typically a squad leader, Staff Sergeant is a platoon leader, and team leaders are Corporals.  In the 13th MEU, team leaders can hold the rank of Sergeant, and Squad leaders the rank of Staff Sergeant.  This is where we deviate a little from the real world in order to accommodate pride and egos, which I am certainly not complaining about (LOL).  Another difference is in terminology.  Formations on the fireteam level are different than that on an Army unit (reference any field manual on rifle squad formations), and as a team leader, I had to adjust all of my training documents to reflect this.  It gave me something new to do, which was awesome, but posed a new learning curve for my team and I.  A fireteam wedge in the Marines looks like a diamond formation in the Army field manuals.  Roles also change within a Marine unit.  In your typical Army unit you have a team leader, grenadier (carries the M320 or M203), automatic rifleman (carries the M249), and a rifleman.  In the Marines you have your team leader (carries the M203), automatic rifleman (M249 or M27 IAR depending on squad leaders decision), assistant automatic rifleman (carries extra munitions for the automatic rifleman), and rifleman.  In Army units, during movements the riflemen are the primary soldiers that handle rear security. In Marine units, the rifleman is the point man or “scout.”  This changes the skillsets that each team member needs to have honed and perfected in order to operate efficiently as a fireteam.  Even the difference in weapon for the automatic rifleman changes the way in which they are used within the team.  The M249 is a much better weapon system to provide suppressive fire to support movements on objectives, while the M27 IAR is for more targeted suppression, especially in urban terrain.  The M27 IAR can also act as a designated marksman rifle (in a way).

Gameplay in the 13th MEU centers on infantry operations with supporting assets such as vehicles and air support.  Some of the vehicles utilized are LAV’s and M1A1 Abrams.  Air assets include rotary (helicopters) and fast movers (Jets).  Our operations operate at task force levels, meaning all of the assets work together to complete missions outlined by mission designers in the S-3 shop.  Oh yes, we do have various jobs that you can perform outside of just your role within your billeted unit.  S-1 handles processing paperwork such as recruiting, maintaining rosters, awards, and decorations (we even get ribbon racks).  S-2 deals with intelligence, S-3 handles mission design, Zeus operating (the game master), as well as the recruit training pipeline.  S-4 deals with logistics for missions and developing the mods that the unit uses.  S-5 deals with civil affairs such as interacting with the public through production of media and other units.  Needless to say, there is a lot you can do to be a part of the community as well as attend as many fun OPs as you can, or play on the public server.  Sorry, quick tangent, back to gameplay.  As I said before, we basically play a virtual game of Dungeons and Dragons through the lens of modern military combat.  Storylines for operations have hints of real life implications.  So this leads me to another tangent, our current deployment story line (just to give you a taste).

As soon as the unit was stood up, we entered a training cycle to acclimate ourselves to the new tactics and Marine Corps doctrine.  As the unit hit mid-September, we began to prep for the 2016 RIMPAC military exercises.  This is a giant joint training exercise with various countries such as the United States, Australia, China, and Russia participating.  Task Force Charlie (Third Platoon, Echo company. Saturday Operations) stepped off on the first training exercise of RIMPAC and received word that ANZAC (Australian) Forces came under attack (‘real world’ not training related) by unknown forces.  They quickly assumed defensive positions around a bridge that connects the island US forces are operating out of to the mainland.  Eventually, the culprits of the attack on ANZAC forces was revealed, no it was not the Russians, it was in fact the Chinese.  General Shoushan and his unit went rogue, and now our unit is attempting to curtail their aggression.  The unit is now beginning to conduct operations to create a foothold into the mainland.  Sounds pretty ballin’ right?  End of second tangent.

I don’t want to give away too many secrets to you guys, so my suggestion to you is to do your research, find what unit fits what you want to get out of the game, and then join.  At first it will be scary and intimidating, but you will get past it and have some of the most fun you’ve ever had in Arma.  Of course, please check out the 13th MEU SOC Realism Unit and join me and many others in a great community, but do what will be the most fun for you.  Be sure to check out more gameplay videos that I will be putting out as the story develops.  Thank you for taking the time to read this, I know it was a real page scroller.

As always, pew safe, pew often.

Red Beard AKA “Sgt Red”, out.

FFI 2016 M81 Combat Uniform Hard Use Report



If you’ve looked at getting a Crye styled M81 combat set, odds are you’ve run across the set from Flash Force Industries, herein referred to as FFI.  Flash Force Industries has a fairly good reputation for making a decent replica of the damn near impossible to find and prohibitively expensive (if you can find a beat to shit used pair) Crye-cut M81 set for a much more reasonable price, and this is part of what attracted me to their offering.  The other factor that FFI seems to have picked up on (and no one else) is the sizing.  You see, FFI offers their uniform in an XL size that, according to their sizing chart, fits my 6’3” 240lb large frame.  Semapo Gear, UR Tactical, Emerson, AllWin… none of the other replica uniform companies offered a full featured G3 cut M81 combat set in my size (usually a large-long in BDU sizing, and a 38L in my real Crye G3 Multicam pants).  FFI’s sizing chart said that they would fit, so I ordered this uniform from JK Army Shop and got it about 2 weeks later with standard shipping.


First, let’s talk about the good things this uniform had going for it upon arrival.  As advertised, the uniform did fit my frame pretty well, though the kneepads rode maybe half an inch or an inch too high, even fully relaxed down.  The uniform also does a great job replicating all the features of the real Crye G3 combat set, and the pockets, adjustments, and stretch panels are all in the right places.  The coloration of the M81 pattern is dead on, and overall the uniform makes a great first impression.


Poor engagement on the waist adjustment tabs.

However, I did quickly notice a couple flaws.  As stated, the kneepads would not adjust down to ride the way they do on my real Cryes, which puts them a little lower meaning I can kneel on pretty much the whole pad when I take a knee.  It also prevents the kneepad from having to flex when I bend my knee, but more on that later.  I also noticed that the waist adjustment on the pants had pretty poor hook and loop adhesion, as the hooks on the rubber tabs are more like rubber columns with small domes, which dude a poor job grabbing the loop field material.  With a belt on it’s not a huge issue, but it’s one to take note of regardless.


If you couldn’t tell, I’m the guy with the “E House” tab on his helmet, and yes I am wearing the FFI set in that picture.

The field is really where I solidified my opinion of this uniform though.  I wore the FFI combat set for the first day of OP Gladio put on by MSATO and Centurion Airsoft, and I put the set through some hard use on a hostile AO.  Half the uniform held up, and the other half did not.  The combat top is the half that I like, as the sleeve length was perfect for my body, the fit was excellent, and wearing the top all day was extremely comfortable.  The stretchy body material felt great against my skin, the summer weight M81 fabric made for very comfortable sleeves, and all the pockets and doo-dads worked the way they should.  I have no complaints with the top.


GoPro footage of me re-inserting my kneepads.  This happened A LOT.

The pants on the other hand…  Well they failed me in a bad way.  The first major issue I had with the pants was the extremely poor retention on the kneepads, as the loop Velcro sewn into the kneepad pockets failed to effectively engage with the hook fields on my Crye Airflex kneepads, meaning that every time I bent my knee the pad would try to pop out since it had little to no effective retention.  This was also exasperated by the fact that the kneepad was directly on top of my knee at all times, rather than properly set below it as it should be, and I couldn’t fix that.  FFI’s sizing chart claims their XL pants will accommodate a user’s inseam up to 35.5”, but if my experience as a 34” inseam wearer should tell you anything, it’s whoever made that sizing chart clearly thinks kneepads are supposed to cover your thighs.


This gash is large enough for me to fit three fingers into.

If that wasn’t annoying enough, I also came to the determination that the FFI set’s material is not as tough as it needs to be for hardcore field use.  At one point, I took a slide down a steep grade, and when I stood up I felt a breeze on the back of my thigh.  I reached down, and found myself putting my finger though a nice big tear in the material and a torn out corner of the cargo pocket.  I know I didn’t slide on anything absurdly sharp, as my thigh that was in contact with the ground the entire time was not bruised or cut in any fashion, so I can only assume that a root or rock not quite sharp enough to hurt me eviscerated FFI’s M81 fabric as I slid.  While this is a bit of an extreme case, I also took this slide with two other individuals, neither of whom had rips in their pants.  I then proceeded to slide, trip, fall, and even rappel all over the AO on Day 2 of Gladio with my Tru-Spec pants on, and I failed to come out with any rips.  I can only assume this is due to the summer weight material that FFI is using for their combat set, which fails to act as an effective ripstop and is definitely thinner than the material on both my Tru-Spec and Crye pants.  So while I like this material for comfort with the top, it did unfortunately fail to hold up for me on the bottom.

As a result of the kneepad retention issues and the immediate failure of the material (Gladio was my first time running the combat set) I have to recommend giving the FFI combat set a pass if you’re looking for durable M81 pants with solid kneepad retention.  They just didn’t hold up to my hard use in the field, and they didn’t live up to their sizing chart with the way the kneepad placement kept screwing with me.  Maybe if you’re shorter and don’t use your pants as hard they’ll work better for you, but they failed for me.  I still like the top as a comfortable summer weight combat top, as I’m rarely quite as hard on my uniform tops as I am my pants, but now I need to look elsewhere for solid integrated kneepad M81 combat pants.  Maybe this is the impetus I need to give Beyond Clothing a call…  In any case, hopefully my overview of my experience with the FFI combat set helped you make a decision on if it’s right for you.  Until next time, I’ll see you on the field.

-E House

Some Beginner’s Tips On Airsoft Tech Work

Back when I first started playing airsoft, the thought of having to take my gun apart terrified me.  There were so many horror stories floating around about destroyed gearboxes and the like that my desire for a better performing gun was squashed by the fear of being left with a pile of useless metal.  The more I thought about it though, the more I came to understand that working on anything; from a broken Xbox 360 your friend gave you to your wife’s Porsche, can be made infinitely easier as long as you utilize the right techniques and make sure you have the right tools.  So today, I’m going to go over a few things that I’ve found in my adventures.

Use your phone.

A lot of people forget that this whole “information age” is not really about porn and cat videos.  It’s about connecting you to the ENTIRE COLLECTED KNOWLEDGE OF THE HUMAN RACE SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME.  It’s all on the net somewhere, so chances are a version 3 gearbox teardown video should be pretty easy to find.  So before you even get the tools out, watch a few videos about what you want to work on.  Some of the manufacturers even put up videos from their own tech departments showing you gun breakdowns, gearbox internals, etc.  You’ll find out quickly if your gun has weird proprietary parts or comes apart in an odd way.  You can even keep it up and pause it as you follow step by step.  I also take a bunch of pictures before and during a project.  Need to know where that screw went or which side of the gear was facing up?  Look back and it’s right there.

Prepare your workspace…

You don’t have to have a special airsoft workbench or garage corner, but before you start you should clear a space bigger than what you think you’ll need.  If you’ve ever worked on anything, you should know you always need more space.  Also, get some kind of mat to work on.  Every round screw, pin, and spring WILL roll off the table, that’s just how the universe works.  A textured rubber crafting mat works great to prevent that; some of them even have raised edges so if you do bump things and they start to fly they can’t go far.  Even an old scrap of carpet works in a pinch; although you don’t want all the little fibers making their way into your gearbox and hop up, so keep it clean.

…And keep it organized.

The three of you reading this who actually read to the end of your gun’s manual have seen an exploded blueprint of your gun.  For the rest of you, your average M4 AEG has like 200 parts.  And you are going to take them all apart at some point.  For a quick field repair, I have used my motor as a magnetic screw holder.  Even the cheapest motor has magnets strong enough to hold pins and screws, and some of the good ones can hold them against the motor grip while the motor is still in it.  This only marginally helps though.  You will still end up with parts stacked on top of parts and forget if the short or long screw goes back in which hole.  What you really need are those magnetic trays!  I love ’em.  Hell, I picked up a 4 pack at Tractor Supply the other day for $5.  Even if you’re putting aluminum or plastic parts in them, you can keep all the hardware for one part of the job together and organized.  Even Tupperware, a tackle box, or those shot glasses you and your buddies should probably wash by now work in a pinch.

All your tools are too big.

With the exception of a common Phillips head screwdriver, and some standard Allen wrenches, all of your other tools need to be downsized.  Your dad’s vise-grips are too big to do anything on your gun.  Even a regular sized pair of needle-nosed pliers is usually too big to do things like pull motor connectors off.  A pair of small needle-nosed pliers is good though, and bent nose are even better.  Hemostats in all of their various incarnations; long, short, bent, long bent, are wonderful.  They let you get to places you just can’t otherwise.  Also, a longer than usual screwdriver is usually needed to get down into the screw that holds on your buffer tube.  I use one that accepts different bits because some manufacturers use Phillips head screws and some use metric Allen bolts.

Quick note here about something that is so great I don’t know how I worked on my AEG’s without it: The quick-change spring gearbox.  Most basic AEG gearboxes have the spring always under tension, which means not only does it fly apart when you open the gearbox shell, but you have to hold it under tension while you try to put it back together.  And of course you took it apart to clean and re-lube it, so your hands are covered with silicone or moly grease or something.  And when you slip… it just sucks.  Ask someone you know who works on guns about the first few times they put a gearbox back together, and take note of the look on their face.  The quick-change system allows you to remove and reinsert the main spring while the gearbox is fully assembled so nothing is under tension while you’re trying to line up screws and gear shafts.  You can get everything lined up and snugged down without having to hold that spring, and without fear of it flying apart and having to start over after you hunt down your spring guide.

I encourage you all to use this info to learn about your guns.  Even if you aren’t fixing or changing anything, you should know how it works so that when something goes wrong and you do take it apart you can tell what’s different.  Also know when you are in over your head.  We all love to fix our own cars or homes, but you need to know when to call in an expert.  It’s the same with your airsoft gun.  Take it to your local shop, because they have probably seen it before.  And don’t feel bad if they know what’s wrong with it in 5 minutes and you feel stupid, it’s what they do all day.  I would be more worried if I left a gun with someone for a couple hours and they still didn’t know what was wrong with it.

So pull out your old broken gun, fix it, slap some duct tape on it and run an insurgent loadout.  Or make that high ROF build you’ve been thinking about for months.  You have to start somewhere, and as long as you start right everything should be good in the end.  Just remember to ask for help if you need it, and Google is your friend!





Running An Airsoft MMG: Application and Considerations


The MMG field is a fairly limited niche market for those people who want a giant looking belt fed gun to run around with.  To define the term, an MMG is an airsoft replica of a heavier, larger caliber support weapon than your typical M249 or RPK.  This class includes the PKM, MG42, M60, M240, and other 7.62mm or above support weapons.  They are super impractical for airsoft, but also a lot of fun because you have a giant gun and it forces some changes in how you play.  Red Beard offered up some great tips and tricks on how to run an LMG on the airsoft field, and almost all of it applies to running an MMG.  You can check it out here:

In airsoft, the LMG and MMG share very similar roles for most national level games with only one exception, which is MilSim West, who allow MMGs to have a higher muzzle velocity and carry more ammo.  That difference aside though, the only difference in performance with any other airsoft gun is that you want a big gun with lots of onboard ammo that looks cool, which for most of us is 99% of airsoft!

With its only advantages tucked away, let’s look at the big negatives; Weight and size.  I believe the smallest MMG on the airsoft market is the M60E4, which is still 940mm long and weighs 15 pounds.  For reference, a Krytac SPR is not only shorter, it’s also under 6 pounds.  All that weight makes carrying the weapon at the ready all the time incredibly difficult, even if you are E House. (Editor’s Note: Challenge accepted.)  Tight buildings become a total nightmare, if you are even allowed to enter them, and the enemy will always see you coming well before you round a corner with such a long barrel, or they won’t but you also won’t have your weapon up and ready.  How do we deal with these shortcomings and maximize our effectiveness and our fun on the field with this platform?

Let’s start with the one place you least want to be with an MMG; On the move.  Your reactions, no matter your strength, will be slower than normal to react to a threat.  If you are ambushed, this will go double because your weapon won’t be up, and it takes a lot of time to bring it to bear.

Your first option is to drop and try and throw ammo back.  I find this tends to work out really poorly against someone who is already sights on target while you are trying to find the target.  If everyone in your group responds by throwing ammo everywhere, or directed at the enemy when you know where it’s coming from, sometimes you survive the encounter.  However, unless you resolve the firefight quickly, you are likely going to find yourself in a bad situation without a good way out.

Your second option is to move to cover and begin denial of area.  After running my PKM for a few games, I found my best odds of getting to cover alive were achieved by firing loosely in the direction of the enemy while I ran.  Since I was often engaging in brush situations, I simply leveled my PKM along my hip and sprayed with it as I ran to cover.  It sounds really stupid, but it honestly works because the sound of BB’s tearing through brush keeps heads down, even if it’s not right on target.  I also tried bringing the PKM up on sights and shooting, but I find it’s easy to start slowing down trying to find where you are being shot at from and engaging while exposed.   As a result, I found hastily trying to get to cover and engage with a better position to be faster and more effective.  Once behind cover, engagements become much better and easier to manage.

The ideal world for the MMG is setting up a position and picking your firefight.  Every MMG on the market has a massive ammo capacity, with the lowest being around 3,000 rounds.  As Red Beard pointed out, bursts are important, but so is expressing your seemingly endless displeasure to the enemy for them being in front of you, and the best way to express that is from the prone position.  Unlike most LMG’s, I believe every MMG (except the MG42) comes with a shoulder brace in addition to a bipod.  These flip up pieces on the buttpad are amazing at keeping the gun up at your shoulder for long periods of time, without worrying about tiring out your arms.  This allows you to do two main things.  The first is set up an ambush well in advance.  Since you don’t need to worry about the weapon not being at the ready at any point, and you only need wait for the opportune time to strike.  The second is denial of an area.  This is my favorite application of the MMG.  I set up covering flanking fields of fire in a firefight, and I wait for the spillover.  Inevitably, people always try to flank around to get the edge on other players, since it only makes sense.  When they do that though, they stumble right into a well-entrenched player with a ton of ammo, leaving them gift wrapped for easy kills.  It also opens up the venue for your team to be able to flank the enemy and push through when large numbers on one side suddenly collapse due to something they didn’t expect.

With Red Beard’s firing notes in consideration, the only additional firing habit I would add is if you are having a hard time getting a well-entrenched player, or you want to keep a ton of heads down in general, don’t aim for the player.  Aim for the loudest, closest barrier you can strike to let them know that sticking their head out or trying to take the area is a terrible idea they will regret.  Loud noises will stop 90% of airsofters straight in their tracks, even at national events where I shut down an entire 10v10 firefight over a walkway just because I dumped a 30rd mag from a GBBR with a sound amplifier mounted.  Don’t underestimate the loud noise effect!

I am very rarely one to push upgrades as a suggestion to anyone, but the MMG is really a gun built to engage at longer ranges.  This is not to say you need to overhaul a gun entirely, but a new barrel and bucking can make a world of difference.  With a Prometheus barrel and Krytac bucking, my PKM went from being able to engage up to maybe 160’ to being able to engage around 210-220’ (suppression, not necessarily pinpoint accuracy) with only those two changes.  (Editor’s Note: You’re welcome Kyle.)

The final, and most important thing though is to get an awesome replica ammo belt for your belt-fed machine gun.  Make all the players jealous of how awesome your giant gun looks, and maybe they will join you on the awesome fun that is an MMG.