Saturday, May 29, 2010

Goblin Deuce Sneak Peek

The Goblin Deuce

First update from Goblin in a while, I'm sure this little monster will pick up a lot of impulse buys. For the full story head over to Geoff's blog.

"Against Unsafe Paintball" Facebook Group

Herp derp.

Dean CK Lau has started a great initiative on Facebook to expose and educate those who are taking part in unsafe paintball practices. Paintball is a growing industry in Malaysia, and it's good to see someone trying to promote the safety aspect of the game abroad. The link to the group can be found here. English readers won't be able to read everything, as a lot is in transliterated Malay. 

Friday, May 28, 2010

A-TACS Cordura, Webbing and Hook and Loop Now Available

In a release from A-TACS:

After many months of stage two development on A-TACS and further enhancement of the printing technology behind the pattern, Digital Concealment Systems is proud to announce that A-TACS Berry compliant Nylon Cordura, Nylon webbing and Hook and Loop is now available for purchase.

In an exclusive partnership, A-TACS Nylon Cordura is now available for worldwide distribution through LC industries. As a result of this distribution deal, production-ready fabrics can be purchased in quantities as small as 5 yards. This low minimum purchase requirement will enable a wide range of specialized gear manufacturers to begin producing product without the need to carry heavy fabric inventory.
Fabric will be available in 330D, 500D and 1,000D weights with urethane backing and DWR treated face. For additional information, pricing or to place an order, please call Julie Kammerer or Susan Fields with LCI / TAG at 1-888-890-1199.

A-TACS nylon webbing and bindings are now exclusively available through Texcel, Inc. in a variety of specifications ranging from three-quarter inch to three inch widths. For ordering information and pricing, please contact John Pinkos at 401-727-2113.

To complete the A-TACS total concealment system, DCS in conjunction with Aplix, Inc. is proud to announce the release of A-TACS hook and printed loop. For ordering information and pricing, please contact James Bishop at 800-438-0424.

For all other inquiries regarding A-TACS Nylons, please contact Steve Hanks with Digital Concealment Systems at 334-448-5442.

Hopefully this means will see some interesting custom A-TACS gear very soon. Keep checking Grey Ops for the latest A-TACS news.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Paintball CQB Tactics, Part 3 - CQB Week

In this installment I'll cover some individual skills and tactics for paintball CQB play, and proper team communication.

Point A to Point B

The most basic individual skill you'll need to master for CQB is movement. The good news is that if you know how to walk, you've pretty much already mastered this aspect! The state-of-the-art basic method of movement in close-quarters combat is the Tactical Glide. This involves walking while leaning slightly forward at the waist, with a bend in your knees - not so low that you look like a caveman or knuckledragger, but low enough that you have the ability to spring up, sprint, jump to the side, or otherwise react quickly. The advantage of this position is that the bent legs act as shock absorbers at each step, giving you a stable shooting platform from the waist up, and allowing your weapon to stay more or less on target. As an added bonus, you make yourself a shorter target, and you're less likely to get your head shot off. Here’s a demo by a former US Marine (although I personally prefer to crouch a little lower than he does – as always, fine-tune your own style):

Contrast this with some of the methods of movement from the older schools of thought on tactical movement: There’s the "Step & Slide" method, where you move forward by taking a step forward with the lead foot, then slide the rear foot forward to catch up. There’s also the cross-over method, where you cross one foot over the other as you advance or withdraw. The Step & Slide suffers from instability, because with every step forward your upper body/shooting platform drops, and when you slide the rear foot forward to catch up your upper body rises. This means your gun doesn't stay on target very well while you move. The cross-step, on the other hand, is just a disaster waiting to happen. What if you needed to react at the moment your legs are crossed? Not only is it not a stable shooting platform, but mobility is seriously compromised with the legs in that position.

Weapon handling on the move

What about handling your weapon while you’re moving? Well the main thing to keep in mind is the 3-Eye Principle. This involves keeping both eyes and your weapon in the direction of the threat area, or your area of responsibility if you're moving in a formation with a team. Most paintball players are notorious for keeping their marker pointed down while they move! Keep your gun up and pointed in the general direction you're looking at, so you're able to shoot your opponent square in the goggles if he pops his head up for a split second while you move. (If you find your marker too heavy to hold up consistently, then either build up your arms, or get rid of the 20lbs of useless accessories on it that make it look badass but add very little to its function!) If you're on the move you're already in a vulnerable position, so don't make it harder for yourself and decrease your reaction time by not being ready to shoot instantly. You don't have to hold your weapon perpendicular to the ground with your eyes behind your sights (in fact this would make it hard to see hazards on the ground in front of you, not to mention KILL your arms), but keep it at what's called the low-ready. The low-ready means keeping the gun up in your shoulder and relaxed, so that it's ready to snap up to the high-ready position (eyes behind the sights) and shoot when required.

Note: The clear-ready is the position you adopt when you don't want to point your muzzle at (laze) someone. It basically involves having your hands on the marker ready to shoot it, but keeping it pointed at the ground.

Head on a swivel

When using the 3-eye principle and scanning your area of responsibility from side to side or up and down, always lead with the eyes. Remember the concept of the cognitive delay we discussed in part 2? Well, if you move your weapon and eyes together, by the time you spot your target and your brain evaluates it and identifies it as a threat, your weapon and eyes have already scanned past it, and now you have to correct them back in the opposite direction to aim and fire. If you lead with your eyes by a few degrees in the direction of your scan, by the time your brain screams “THREAT” your weapon is pointing directly at the target instead of past it. This can save you that critical split second you need to react and save your bacon.

One other thing I’d like to talk about regarding weapon handling (that doesn’t really fit into the movement section but I’d like to address) is the concept of reloading high. Whether a mag-fed or hopper-fed marker is used, a big mistake that some players make is to drop their marker down to around waist level to reload it. If you do this, while you’re looking down at your gun so much around you is changing. When you look up again after those 5-10 seconds and go to bring your reloaded marker up, your opponent could be right there in your face yelling at you to surrender! So bring the marker up in front of your face when you reload, and make that your “workspace”, so to speak. That way you could still see what’s going on with your opponent using your peripheral vision.

The biggest no-no

The most important thing to keep in mind while moving (or standing, or crouching, or sitting) is to KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOU INTEND TO SHOOT! While moving you can trip, bump into something, get startled, or suffer some other unforeseen event that can cause your trigger finger to twitch and fire off a shot, which can lead to anything from giving away your team’s position, to putting someone’s eye out. After lazing your buddies, the finger on the trigger is dead giveaway #2 that the person handling the weapon is an untrained civvie, because any professional doing that tends to pay in verbal abuse, pushups, and even lashes depending on what country’s military they’re currently in! DON’T DO IT!

A visual reminder to keep your finger off the trigger (contrary to the video title, no one got shot in this incident – it was a near miss):

Tactical Communication (Tac Comm)

Although individual skills are important, you need to be able to work as a team. Although I won’t really cover team movement and formations in this series (but expect to see it sometime down the road on Grey Ops), I definitely want to talk about communication with your teammates in combat.

Obviously you should tailor your communication to the situation you’re in. You don’t want to yell to your teammates if you’re trying to sneak into position, any more than you would want to whisper to them when shots are going off all around you. That being said, when the excrement hits the rotating ventilation device, GO LOUD. Use your command voice to call out to your team, i.e. SPEAK WITH YOUR BALLS. Speaking loudly and confidently psychs you up, intimidates the opposing force, and increases your assertiveness and “killer instinct”.

When you use your command voice, you can be heard without having to turn and face the person you’re communicating with. Just like you can drive and carry on a conversation with a passenger while looking at the road ahead, you can yell to your teammates and still look downrange at what’s going on with the opposing force, and they’ll still hear you. There’s no need to take your eye off the ball!

When you’re in an environment where it’s too loud to be heard, you’re too far to yell to someone, or you want to stay quiet, hand signals are an adequate substitute. Arrange these with your team beforehand, and keep it SIMPLE. Use 7 or 8 signals at most for common messages, as it’s unrealistic to expect everybody to memorize a whole new type of sign language that they’ll probably forget when things heat up anyway.

In the next installment of this series, we’ll talk about minimizing your risks while approaching and around corners and angles, one of the trickiest features of a close-quarters battlefield.

Part 4

Paintball CQB Tactics, Part 2 - CQB Week

This is the second post on in a series on CQB tactics for paintball. For the rationale behind this series, see Part 1.

Close-Quarters Battle: A Definition

Before we continue, let's define Close-Quarters Battle (CQB). There are a lot of fancy definitions out there that try to sound all technical and snooty, but the basic definition of CQB is "Fighting really f**kin' close!" This isn't taking a shot at a guy from 300 yards away. It's not dropping a 1000lb bomb on some poor guy's head from a fighter-bomber at 5000 feet. This is like in Roman times, when you'd get close enough to your enemy to see the fear in his eyes before you gouged them out with your spear. It's coming around a corner and seeing your enemy right in front of you. It's you shooting at him and him shooting at you, until one of you goes down. It's intense. But for those of you who absolutely MUST have some technical definition, you could say it's "Engaging enemies at close-quarters and neutralizing them with effective fire, while using proper tactics to minimize losses". A general characteristic of CQB is that it consists of "Short-duration, high-intensity battles".

One could argue that with the limited ranges of paintball markers, and the confines of the average paintball field, by definition ALL paintball engagements are close-quarter battles. With this in mind, most of the tactics for real-life CQB carry over pretty well. We'll get into some of those tactics later in the series, but first let's talk about how people react in high-stress situations like CQB.

Stress Reactions

Under extreme stress, such as in CQB situations, people go through certain physiological changes caused by an adrenaline spike. One possible manifestation of this is freezing. This is good in certain situations, but bad when a proper quick reaction is needed. Another is the Fight or Flight response, meaning aggressively charging towards a threat or turning your back on it and running away (both of which are usually bad moves in CQB). Others may experience speech problems, like stuttering or having their voice rise in pitch. A very common reaction is "clinging to the herd", in other words staying close to the group. This is a normal instinct in most social animals, as you improve your chances of survival by being in numbers (you don't need to be the fastest zebra in the herd to escape the lion, you just have to be faster than the slowest zebra).

This reaction can hurt your chances for survival in CQB, since you may be in a situation where you need to maintain space between you and your teammates. OR you might realize you're really in a bad spot (like this poor bastard getting shot up below), but you stick with them anyway because you want to stay with the group.

Let's go on a tangent for a moment and take a quick look at the process from perception to action:

Person 1 perceives something, evaluates it using their brain's current state of knowledge for guidance, and then acts. (I included the "Person 2" line to illustrate why action is always faster than reaction. Before Person 2 can (re)act, they have to first perceive the initial action, then evaluate it, then take action of their own. Person 2 is already 2 steps behind). This cognitive delay is bad enough when you need to act quickly, but when stress reactions take over your brain during the Evaluation phase, it gets even worse.

So we've identified why these stress responses are a bad thing in a life-or-death situation, but in paintball because your life isn't on the line you may only see "light" manifestations of these reactions. We've all heard a kid's voice break while yelling something when he gets excited on the field, or seen a buddy freeze when incoming paintballs start hitting all around him and his brain jams up as he tries to decide what to do (DUCK!). A little stress is good, because it keeps you alert and keeps your reflexes sharp. But too much stress causes the aforementioned reactions, clouds your thinking, and complicates the evaluation phase, slowing your reaction time. So how do we reduce our stress and keep it manageable in an intense situation?

Managing Acute Combat Stress

One method of short-term stress reduction is COMBAT BREATHING. This is a term coined to describe slow, deliberate breathing in an effort to slow your heart rate and lower your general level of tension. It consists of taking a medium-deep breath for 4 seconds, holding it momentarily, then breathing out for 4 seconds. Under stress you may not get the timing right, but the important thing is to remember to BREATHE! Your brain needs oxygen to function properly, and under stress a lot of your oxygen gets shunted to your muscles for quick action, which leaves less for the brain. By making sure you don't take shallow breaths (or worse, hold your breath) in a combat situation, you keep an adequate oxygen supply going to your brain, and the rhythm of combat breathing brings your body's stress level down considerably.

Another method of bringing your stress levels down (and this is ESSENTIAL), is proper TEAMWORK and COMMUNICATION. When you have too much responsibility in a stressful situation, the stress tends to pile up even more. Stress is a result of a perception of a LOSS or LACK OF CONTROL over your environment/situation. So when you have a division of labour in the team, you have less to worry about losing control over. To illustrate, imagine a situation where you're going into a hostile environment alone, and have to worry about threats from all sides - meaning 360 degrees of risks to your life. Now imagine a situation where you're a team of 4 going into that same situation, and each of you has only a 90-degree sector to cover. You only have to worry about that one sector, and you have confidence that your teammates will cover their sectors as well. That takes quite a load off, and your stress levels would be a lot lower. The communication part comes from reassurance from your teammates, and from members of the team keeping each other cool and in control. Hearing things like "Watch that door on the left", "Stay sharp", and "Watch your breathing" from your various teammates lets you know you're among alert, capable company. And of course, the importance of a good team leader who can handle stress well and keep his team focused can't be overstated.

Not-So-Friendly Fire

I just want to address one more thing when it comes to stress and CQB, and that's the issue of "blue-on-blue" fire. If you're into Milsim paintball, then it's likely your team doesn't wear bright red or yellow jerseys to set you apart. In fact, you're probably wearing some form of camo or black (which the opposite team is also wearing), it may be dark if you’re indoors, and the only way to tell friend from foe is a small band of blue or red tape on your upper arm or paintball gun. Subject to the stress of CQB, with your "evaluation" abilities being at less than their best, it's very easy for you to shoot a teammate by mistake. Since even a hit from your own team can eliminate you, you need to stay organized, realize where everyone from your team is at all times, and maintain strict fire discipline. Spray 'n' pray is out, checking your target and picking your shots is in. When you hear someone from your team yell "Cease fire!", stop shooting immediately. Or if you hear "Check your fire!" you need to really be careful with your shots, and avoid firing full auto (this is what someone should call out when they feel they're getting dangerously close to a teammate's field of fire).

And one thing you should avoid at all costs, even in low-stress situations, is "muzzling" or "lazing" your teammates. Never point your marker at something you don't intend to shoot, and this includes the back of your teammate's head! Under stress, or when surprised, or when the shots start flying about, you may just unwittingly fire a shot off, and if your marker's pointed at a teammate at that time, then that's the end of the game for them. So make it a habit at all times to avoid pointing your marker's business end at friendlies. If someone crosses in front of you, or if you cross behind them, quickly point your marker down at the ground/floor. In fact, if you watch Airsoft or paintball Milsim teams on YouTube, this is the main giveaway that you're watching amateurs. As realistic as their gear and loadout may look, when you see one or more members of the team sweep friendlies, pointing their weapons at their buddies ahead down the hall, or off to the side of a room, you know you're watching civvies. Someone in a REAL fighting force would never get away with that, because they would catch PURE HELL from their teammates and instructors!

Part 3

Milsig Now Carrying Magpul PTS Line

If you're a Canadian tired of having to deal with ITAR restrictions and Chinese made copies when it comes to Magpul equipment, you'll be happy to know that Milsig is now the official Canadian dealer for Magpul PTS gear.

Paintball CQB Tactics, Part 1 - CQB Week

These days in the Milsim world, be it at paintball fields, on YouTube, or on Internet discussion forums, there's far too much focus on fancy gear and looking the part, but not nearly enough emphasis on how to play with proper tactics. What ends up happening with this focus is that most Milsim players resemble SpecOps operators on the field, but display tactics more like the Somali mob in Blackhawk Down.

If you think this doesn't apply to you, well…it probably does. And it's nothing to be ashamed of, because there's no official Milsim paintball "training program" that everyone goes through when they start playing. The vast majority of players in this game have day jobs as plumbers, students, office workers, etc, and with no tactical guidance they just emulate the behaviour of action stars they see portrayed on TV and in movies. This is a bad idea, because the way combat is portrayed in entertainment is overwhelmingly NOT the way to do it in real life. Jack Bauer gets away with the mistakes he makes because the script says he does, not because they're sound tactics. Mind you, occasionally you'll see a good example in the media, but most of the time what's shown in fantasy-land is enough to make you cringe if you have an idea of proper tactics.

"You DARE question my tactics?!?"
As someone who's had real-world training in this area, I decided to put together a series of Grey Ops articles on proper tactics for Close-Quarters Battle (CQB) in paintball. A lot of real-world CQB tactics cross over well to paintball, with certain exceptions due to 2 factors: 1) Paintballs fly slower than real bullets (which reduces their accuracy and leads to an arcing flight path/drop), and 2) Paintballs don't penetrate most materials (thankfully, including the human body). There will definitely be something of value in this series for a player at any level of experience who hasn't had police or military tactical training.

Part 2 of this series will focus on the definition of CQB, the psychology of CQB situations, and how to manage stress and persevere during Close-Quarters Battle. Part 3 will highlight some basic individual tactics, and communicating with your teammates. Part 4 will discuss how to safely negotiate corners, which is a science in itself. Part 5 will cover Fighting In Built-Up Areas (FIBUA), and applies to anywhere from playing fields with village structures at your local field, to a large abandoned warehouse complex you might play at during an outlaw game. Part 6 will cover the most hazardous aspect of CQB, that being Dynamic Entry (room-clearing). Part 7 will use real-world video demonstrations by real fighting forces to show proper Dynamic Entry tactics.

Part 2

Thermal Imaging Active Camouflage

You may remember my article on active camouflage, well this technology is a very cool and current implementation of that idea.

The original article from Defense Update can be found here.

Beginner's Week's Unclear Future

I've been too busy with work to put together the amount of articles I'd like to have for Beginner's Week, so I'm putting it on hold indefinitely. In the meantime, I'd love to hear from everyone as to what they think the beginning paintballer should know. Zoltar out.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Ottawa Area Cancer Benefit Tournament

Those in the Ottawa area may be interested in the Relay-For-Life paintball tournament taking place at JTs Frontline Paintball this coming Saturday, May 30. All proceeds go to the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay-For-Life. This is your chance for you and your team to come out and support a great cause.

There will be raffles and target-shooting contests, and the chance to win over $1500 in prizes (including a BT Delta, Project Salvo, and Tiberius pistol). $60.00 gets you in, and includes air for the day, lunch, and 300 paintballs. Additional paintballs can be purchased at the field at reasonable prices (field paint only).

Click the image above for registration information. I hope to see you all out there, supporting this worthy cause!

D-Day Oklahoma, Canadian-Style - Scenario Week

For every scenario paintballer, the pinnacle of scenario games is the Oklahoma D-Day event held every year. But for those in Eastern Canada who can't make it, due to travelling distance or a lack of funds, there are alternatives. They may not be as all-out as the Oklahoma event, but if you want the feel of storming the beaches at Normandy, here are some events and fields that might fit the bill:

Voodoo Paintball (St-Etienne Des Gres, Quebec)

Every summer this field, located in a small town just outside of Trois-Riveres, Quebec, hosts a D-Day big game with over 300 players. In the first half of the day you spawn from a makeshift Higgins boat, and assault a sand beach towards a trench system filled with defenders. After taking the beach and clearing the trench system, in the afternoon you fight inland and push on Carentan and other famous D-Day sites. Here's a clip to give you an idea of what to expect for the day:

Voodoo Paintball is about 3.5 hours drive from Ottawa, 1.5 hours drive from Montreal, and 3 hours from St-Albans, NY. This year the event will be held on September 5th.

Mirabel Paintball (Mirabel, Quebec)

Mirabel Paintball hosts a pretty elaborate Normandy field:

The downside to Mirabel paintball is their paint prices, which are extremely high at $240 per case (although this seems to be the norm at Montreal-area fields). On the bright side though, the cost drops to $120 per case at big games (and they hold several big games each year).

Mirabel Paintball is approximately 1.5 hours drive from Ottawa, 45 minutes drive from Montreal, and 2 hours from St-Albans, NY.

Commando Paintball (Sarsfield, Ontario)

Commando Paintball has a new D-Day field that will be up and running this season. It doesn't look like something to drive hours to try out, but if you're in the Ottawa area it would be worth a visit.

Commando Paintball is about 30 minutes from Ottawa, and 2 hours from Montreal.

So if you live in Ontario or Quebec, and can't make it to the Oklahoma event, the above venues and events might give you an idea of what it would be like, and still give you a chance to enjoy part of the fun.

If any readers have some info on other D-Day setups or events in your areas, please let us know about them in the comments section!

Blogs in my Crosshairs

Here's a few paintball/milsim/military/general interest blogs that I follow that I think many of you might like:
  1. ITS Tactical - Taking a look at the tactical side of life, ITS is very popular, and for good reason. Check out How to Escape from Zip Ties, it really does work (I've tried it).
  2. Strike - Hold! - A lot of camouflage related articles, and a bunch of general interest stuff. Check out his Mirage/Multicam/UCP comparison.
  3. Death Valley Magazine - Combining the talents of, "Professional Adventurers, Wilderness & Urban Survivalists, U.S. Contractors, Former and Active Military, Intelligence Professionals..." etc., DVM informs while remaining humorous. Check out Improvised Weapons for Home and Abroad.
  4. Stormdrane's Blog - The go-to guy for cool paracord projects. Check out the Paracord Beer Can Koozie.
  5. The Firearm Blog - When it comes to firearms, you'll hear it here first. Check out the Weapons of the Malaysian Navy.
  6. 27b/6 - A wordsmith and master of pissing people off. Check out his claim to fame, the Spider Emails.

Hyper Realism - Simulation Based Training

Warning: Graphic simulated injuries in the video below.

In what appears to be the current pinnacle of simulated exercises, the system shown above uses a combination of MILES, ridiculous special effects, and tightly controlled scenarios to provide the most realistic experience possible. While clearly a training tool, if made available to the civilian milsim population, I'm sure I wouldn't be the only one itching to participate.

Oklahoma D-Day

Touted as the world's largest scenario game, Oklahoma D-Day is, as the name suggests, a recreation of the Allied attack on the beaches of Normandy in 1944. The game runs from June 7th-13th of this year (2010) and Commonwealth, American, French and German forces are all represented. An estimated average of 4000 people attend every year, coming from across the United States and several countries abroad. As can be expected, a multitude of tanks are always in attendance.

D-Day 2008 promotional video.

The field that D-Day is run on, D-Day Adventure Park, has over 100 acres of camping space, but space is very limited. Registration is now open and can be completed here: Register. This is one event I will definitely not be attending this year, but I plan on making the pilgrimage to Oklahoma in years to come.

Friday, May 21, 2010

DVR MD80 Review

For a while now, I've been looking for a cheap video camera to use during paintball games that fell under one of two categories:
A. Hardy enough to withstand a hit from a paintball right to the lens
B. Cheap enough that I don't care what happens to it.

The decision was made for me when I realized I really didn't want to spend much money in the first place, so "B" it was then!

I came across the MD80 on Ebay, and I immediately snatched it up due to the price, which shall be revealed in a moment.

Product: DVR MD80 (sold under different brands, and by several names)

Price: Including shipping and taxes, just under $15 USD!

Options: I believe it comes in different colours, and there is a similar product that is instead shaped like a car remote starter.

Shown with a standard sized card for scale.

  • Manual or sound activation
  • Different mounting options
  • Ability to act as a webcam
  • Accepts any micro SD card
  • Records at 720 by 480 pixels at roughly 25 fps
  • Built-in rechargeable battery

Pros: It's dirt cheap and works, if it stopped there, I feel like it would be worth it. The expandable memory, sound activation, nice resolution, internal battery and various mounting options are just icing on the cake. All the features work nicely, and because of its ridiculously small size, it would be very easy to mount just about anywhere.

Cons: It's from China and is cheap, along with all the associated headaches. The manual is crap, it often has trouble syncing with my Mac (fixed by simply getting the Mac to read the micro SD card with an adaptor), and mine broke soon after I got it. Broke is a bit of a strong word, as I proceeded to open it up with a set of jeweler's screwdrivers and just reconnected the pieces that had become detached inside (seems to have fixed it permanently). I can't get rid of the stupid time and date tags in every video it takes, which annoys me to no end.

Some totally uninteresting footage shot with 
the video camera. I had the camera on my vest.
Pay no attention to my messed up thumbs.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Underground Mod Shop Resurfacing

Underground Mod Shop fans will be pleased to learn that Britt is back from hiatus. I'll keep this post short and I'm purposely leaving any contact/link info out, as he has a lot on his plate to catch up on. More information will be posted as it becomes available.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hydration - Scenario Week

Not very comforting when all that separates you between
countless tonnes of water and two hungry orcas is a leaky window.

While not directly tied to scenario paintball, i feel that it is apropos to mention hydration this week as scenario games often run a long time, and thus require players to pay special attention to their hydration.

Why do I need to hydrate?
As Bonami Armah so succinctly put it, "Your body needs water, so drink that shit."

I don't feel thirsty on the field, so there's no reason for me to drink water.
Any medical professional will tell you that during periods of extreme exercise, by the time you feel thirsty, you are probably already dehydrated, and you may not even feel thirsty at all.

Niagara Falls

How do you know you're drinking enough water?
It's hard to drink too much water, but don't force yourself, your body knows when you've had enough. If your urine is a dark yellow colour, it means that you're not getting enough water, it should preferably be clear and colourless.

I drink and I drink, but I still feel thirsty, what's happening?
It's possible that you don't have enough electrolytes. During periods of prolonged exercise, make sure you supplement your water consumption with something like Gatorade, or any other drink that contains an appreciable amount of sodium and potassium. Without these essential ions, you're body won't retain the water you're giving it.

Water: Impress your friends!

How do I stay hydrated while keeping my paintball goggles on?
Other than the obvious solution of taking a break, any good paintball vest will contain a decent hydration pouch, that you can fill with a hydration system. If you don't have a vest and use something like a pod pack, then the Paintball Water Pod is a good solution. If neither option is available to you, you can always fall back on an aluminum water bottle with a straw.

Paintball Water Pod

Here's a small hint about hydration systems: Many hydration systems bought through paintball/tactical/military websites are a little overpriced. You can buy the same quality of system from hiking/mountain equipment retailers for a better price, and often find larger capacity systems.

While we're on the topic of water, you should
check out Metromint. I hate bottled water but
really liked this stuff. It uses real mint, and doesn't 
have any sweetening (real or artificial) added.

Metadyne Havoc - Scenario Week

The Metadyne Havoc Launcher is a modular paintball rocket launcher. It features multiple options such as a picatinny mount, a stand-alone format, tube extensions and breach loading add-ons. It retails between $300 and $400 and can be purchased from Metadyne Industries' web site.

Milsim Rockets - Scenario Week

Large scale scenarios often include paintball tanks, and typical rules state that they are impervious to small arms fire. So how do you eliminate tanks? Why rocket launchers of course.

Milsim Rockets is a manufacturer of, you guessed it, milsim rocket launchers. They offer three such launcher ripe for scenario games: a Bazooka, a Panzerfaust, and the instantly recognizable RPG-7. All the launchers run off remote lines (preferrably a Proconnect system), and have a 250 psi operating pressure.

So whether you're storming the beaches of Normandy, doling out a Blitzkrieg, or acting out a good old fashioned insurgency, Milsim Rockets has you covered.

Awesome Homemade M98 M4

I came across this video of a milsim paintballer in Germany showcasing his homemade M4 mod based on a Tippmann 98. It has a real M4 grip and working charging handle. A great example of how a little ingenuity goes a long way.

P.S. Did anyone else notice the sound of an explosion around 1:50? Didn't seem to phase him at all. I'd like to know what field he's playing at.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fulda Gap - Scenario Week

NATO and Warsaw Pact watchtowers on 
the (real) Fulda Gap. Picture taken from the BBC.

A yearly scenario run at Command Decisions Wargames Center, Fulda Gap is one of the most popular North American games to attend. The real Fulda Gap was an area separating East and West Germany during the Cold War, and was thought to be one of the prime avenues of attack in the event of a Soviet invasion. The flat and expansive terrain would have been perfect for a tank invasion, and this can be seen reflected in the paintball scenario, with many paintball tanks in attendance (and some extensive rules to go along with them).

The Fulda Gap website contains all the information necessary for prospective players, and registration is now open. The pre-registration fee is $60.00 until October 31st, and you may register for either NATO or Warsaw Pact units. The game itself runs on November 6th and 7th, with the two days prior offering various set-up/registration/social options. The complete calender can be found here.

You can expect to see many online paintball personalities there, and the generals this year are Larry Rivenbark and Doug Brown. Smack talk is encouraged. 

Despite being Canada, I'd love to attend, and already have plans for a summer project that will make me look the part of a member of the Soviet contingent...

New CQB Tiberius T8/8.1 Holster

Seen with T8.1

CQB Tactical Paintball has debuted their new CQB Tiberius T8/8.1 holster, providing pistol owners with another tantalizing carry option.

Draw tension is set with a single screw and various mounting options are available. These include: belt clips (as shown above), thigh rigs, and SERPA platforms. 

An immediate advantage I can see to this holster is the ability to use a barrel blocking device while the pistol is in the holster, and it should make for a very fast draw. A TPX holster is also available.

Pricing for these holsters begins at $70 CDN. Later this week, a T8/TPX double mag holster will also be released. Check back on Grey Ops for further updates, and to learn more or enquire about purchasing a CQB Tiberius Holster, email Romulus.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Scenario Versus Milsim - Scenario Week

To kick off Scenario Week, let's clear the air about the difference between scenario paintball and milsim paintball. "Eh? What's that?!". Yes, you heard that right, there is a difference. Despite what many non milsim/scenario players and even some notable online personalities say, milsim paintball and scenario are two different entities, but not mutually exclusive.

To get to the root of the difference, let's break down the words (in my own definitions).

Milsim: Short for military simulation. Quite simply, the replication of military weapons/apparel/tactics/communication etc. for recreational or training purposes.
Example: Teams dressing up in camouflage, tactical vests etc. with markers that replicate the look and feel of real firearms, participating in a force on force engagement with military tactics.

Scenario: A setting, formulated sequence of events or plot driven activity in a historical, fictional or suppositional context.
Example: Teams, utilizing whatever play style they wish, participating in a recreation of The Battle of the Alamo.

Example of a case where both apply: A scenario game played in a milsim fashion (The Battle of Mogadishu with milsim equipment requirements), or milsim players/teams participating in a scenario (a milsim team attending Fulda Gap).

More often, you will see milsim players playing in a scenario, as the style of play lends itself well to having scripted games. However, most scenario games will see a motley mix of speedballs, woodsballers and milsim players. It's not a huge issue that people often confuse the two, but a part of me is annoyed when someone in the community will proselytize "milsim" or "scenario" paintball without really knowing what they are talking about. Semantic rant over.

Sly Profit Review

I was long overdue for a mask upgrade, and Sly's new Profit caught my eye, so I picked one up from Buy Milsim.

Product: Sly Profit Goggles

Price: $100 CDN (from Buy Milsim)

Options: Black, white, blue, red, grey, or ACU colouring. Amber, clear, gradient smoke or chrome lens colouring.

  • 3M thermal gasket lens system
  • Velvet lined foam earpieces 
  • Dual straps
  • Soft jaw
  • Includes hat box style container and velour bag
Pros: One thing I'll give Sly, they certainly know a lot about presentation. The Profit comes in a great looking hat box style container, and a supple velour drawstringed bag. When you first put the goggles on, it feels like the earpieces are giving your ears a velvety hug. The mask itself just looks and feels gorgeous when you wear it out of the box. On the field, the double straps gave a very secure fit. The soft jaw is very malleable and I already had one bounce off it the first day of play. Tear down and cleaning of the mask is a breeze, although the lens release buckles had me puzzled for a second. I thought that you required the use of a coin/screwdriver for it, but it turns out there's a handy little tool on each of the straps that can be used to release the buckles. The mask breathed very well, and I was comfortable throughout the day in it.

Cons: I really hate chin straps. I realize they're the new standard, and I can't really fault the Profit for this, but I just find them uncomfortable without major addition to the safety aspect of the mask. The velvet earpieces, while luxurious, dampen hearing a fair amount. On the field, this can make all the difference between hearing a would be attacker or being caught with your proverbial pants down. I couldn't be sure (because of my muffled hearing) but I suspected my voice was muffled as well. While providing more coverage than something like Dye i4s, I found the Profit a bit minimalistic around the jaw (mainly when I was talking) and forehead (took one hit there, but it was a glancing one). The lens packaged with the Profit seems like it would be great for speedball, but in the woods I found the gradient to distort my depth perception, making my navigation of uneven ground a bit more difficult than usual.

Shown next to Dye i4s for size comparison.

Overall: The Sly Profit is definitely sexy. I have to say that the performance of it has left me at odds though. While it is super comfortable and breathes well, it leaves your communication on the field significantly hampered. I believe that the $100 price tag is fair, but I'd recommend you try the Profit before buying it. And if you are a woodsball/milsim player I'd recommend getting an amber lens with it, as the smoke lens does not lend itself well to play other than speedball.

Legion Paintball Legionnaire Vest Review

Legion Paintball is a subsidiary of a company that produces body armour in Malaysia. Their paintball vests are built to last, and are of superb quality. Their new Legionnaire MOLLE vest was kindly provided to Grey Ops for review.

Price: RM 459 (Roughly $145.00 CDN at time of writing) including 4 pod pouches and a tank pouch


Options: Available in Olive, Black or Coyote Tan

  • Mesh Construction
  • Plate carrier style
  • Hydration pouch and sleeves
  • Adjustable cummerbund, sides and shoulders

Pros: The first thing I noticed when I took the vest out of the packaging, was the amazing mesh construction. The entire vest is covered in thick yet breathable mesh, providing considerable padding while keeping the wearer cool. For people like me who sweat like a beast in the summer sun, this vest keeps perspiration to a minimum, and even feels like it wicks away moisture. The vest is fully adjustable, and fits very tight to the body with no play when running. To wash the Legionnaire, one can simply put it through a washing machine (given the instructions on the inside of the vest). The webbing is very easy to work with (compared to some other vests I've seen) and has some very solid stitching. Lots of real estate on the front and back (especially the back).

Cons: No belt loops, so you'll have to have a stand-alone belt system (would fit very well with a battle belt). A personal preference of mine is to always have some pockets on the inside of a vest for small yet valuable items, the inside of the Legionnaire is all mesh.

Overall: One of a kind, I have yet to see another vest in this style with a breathable mesh construction. If you're looking to get away from a zip-up style vest, and want to convert to a MOLLE load out, this is a very solid choice. The craftsmanship is very impressive, and Legion Paintball are very pleasant to deal with. Legion products are designed and produced exclusively in Malaysia.

If you want to know more, contact Legion Paintball here: or check out their Facebook page . They are currently looking for dealers, and if interested you can enquire at the same email address above.

Update (May 18th 2010) - Legion offers a 6 month limited discretional warranty against manufacturing and defects.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Goggleflage - Camouflage Week

Despite the shift in trends back towards woodsball and milsim paintball, most paintball manufacturers haven't caught up just yet. Camouflage still seems to be looked at in paintball as a sort of novelty, and manufacturers continue to crank out products in bright blue, red, and yellow, as if speedball was the be-all and end-all of the sport.

Some companies are wising up and producing camo masks to meet demand. The problem with a lot of these masks is that the camouflage is often some proprietary camouflage that will match only that brand's apparel (or not), but not the gear you already own.

Other manufacturers will camouflage only a part of the mask, and sell it as a "camo" version.

This clash of black and a camo pattern is almost as visible as a fully black mask. Most paintballers settle for a black mask, thinking that black won't stick out that much. This is a mistake, as Connor pointed out in his recent Grey Ops post, The Problem With Black. Not to mention we all know a nice black mask outline really makes for a great target in the woods. So what's a serious woodsballer or milsim paintballer to do?

Well the simplest thing to do is to find a mask that's available in OD green or tan, and see if it fits you and your loadout. A few companies are selling OD green masks, or a mix of OD green and tan. But if you don't like the design of any of these masks for whatever reason (be it for an improper fit or you don't like the looks), or you'd much rather have one in a camo pattern rather than a solid colour, then you have a couple of options available to you.

Option 1 is to paint the mask yourself. Krylon offers a camouflage spray paint that bonds well to plastic, and this is suitable for hard masks (look for the "Fusion" logo on the paint can). For our purposes, this paint is available in khaki/tan, olive green, and brown, and has a really flat finish so it won't reflect light. You can pick it up at Wal-Mart or Crappy Tire for around $7.

Painting the mask all one colour is really not that hard; just take off the parts you don't want painted, and spray on the paint in thin coats. 3 coats should do the trick, with each coat left 30 minutes to dry. Try not to play in the mask for a week, so the paint can harden properly and be more chip-resistant. You might want to keep a small paint brush handy so that you can fill in any tight spots.

If you'd rather paint a camouflage pattern on your mask, it's going to be a lot more complicated. You'll need to cut out stencils, wait for a lot of layers to dry, and you'll need to safeguard your hard work with some sort of matte sealant when you're done. The whole process could take a week or more. Because of the complexity of the task, I suggest you research the project throroughly - start by searching "paint mask camo" on YouTube to learn from others who've gone before, and to find some how-to guides.

Option 2 is to put a camouflage cover on your goggles. This is the best choice when you have a really flexible mask that won't hold paint well without cracking when it flexes, or if you just couldn't be bothered to spend a week painting your mask when you have other things to do.

Special Ops Paintball sells universal mask covers that will more or less fit most masks on the market. Alternatively, you could also make your own mask cover. This was a project I undertook recently with my shiny, flexible JT Proflex Revolution mask. I wanted a Multicam mask to match a Multicam loadout, but with the mask being as flexible as it is, painting it was out of the question. And that blinding shine definitely needed to be hidden.

First, you'll need to find the right cloth. I ordered a "TMC Multicam Face Veil" from EB Airsoft. This is basically a 60" x 20" piece of light, perforated cloth, for under $10 shipped. They also carry an ACU and a woodland-patterned version.

OPSGEAR also carries some perforated camouflage cloth that might be suited for the job, but I haven't personally seen it firsthand (search "sniper veil" at the OPSGEAR store). It's important that the cloth you use be perforated, so that it doesn't block off your mask's venting and cause it to fog up.
After you've received your cloth, cut a piece roughly the size and shape needed to cover your mask, with extra material around the edges:

Find a spot on the mask where you can anchor the cloth, and make a small hole(s) to anchor the front of the mask cover. Most paintball goggles have a post or two of some sort to anchor the lens, and this is a good place to hang the cover:

Once you have the material anchored on the goggles, fold the rest around and see how much you actually need to cover the rest of the mask. Trim the excess fabric from the edges, and leave extra if you want to sew the borders (this is optional, but it'll save the cover from fraying over time, and will help the mask last longer).

Once you've got the mask cover's shape all set, pick up some adhesive velcro from Home Depot (available for under $3). Cut the soft and rough strips into at least 10 squares each, and stick the SOFT squares at several places on the inside edges of the mask (this way you won't scratch yourself up if you decide to play without the cover). Then stick the rough squares of the velcro face-down onto the soft squares, and peel off the backing. Anchor your mask cover at the front of the mask, then very carefully start folding the sides of the cover over the edges of the mask, sticking the mask cover to the sticky side of the velcro one square at a time. Keep it tight to eliminate wrinkles, and put a lot of pressure on each square to make sure the glue on the velcro adheres to the fabric.

Once you're done, the end result should looks something like this:

From here you can paint the lens frame of your goggles tan or OD green with Krylon if you want, just to give yourself extra concealment. With the extra strips of fabric and velcro left over, you can even make a goggle band to wrap around your black goggle strap.

After a day of play, carefully pry the cover off of the mask's velcro, and rinse it by hand under warm water. Never let it see the inside of a dryer!

Last but not least, there's a product called Goggle Skinz on the market that you can apply to your lens itself, to cut the reflection and improve your camouflage:

You can find info on this product at Alternatively, an eBay seller named advancedpaintballconcepts1 sells similar goggle films on eBay, and can even do custom complete goggleflage as well.

And there you have it! Good luck on camouflaging your goggles, and see you on the field!

Actually, if you follow the directions in this post...I probably won't.