Ai500 The Gathering – An Introduction

Ai500 The Gathering – An Introduction

Welcome to the first official Viper Team post. Here, the first Ai500 of 2017, ‘The Gathering‘ looms large upon us. This is my seventh outing leading the Viper Task Force out against the ‘Green Team‘ AKA ‘Mongoose‘. This has seen hundreds of Airsoft Players, from all over the United Kingdom and from across the globe wage a campaign of attrition across innumerable sites and locations, showcasing some of the finest large scale game play our community has to offer. 
This time out, at our largest event yet, will see over 400 players from both teams wage Plastic Deth within the confines of an eerily disused ‘theme park’.
Led by Airsoft International magazine, and accompanied by sponsors Enola Gaye, Airsoft World, Viper, Action Sports Games, Abbey International, Intelligent Armor it promises to be a truly explosive Airsoft event in this years gaming calendar.

Task Force Viper 
The team at present, will see the entire Task Force, led by myself and longstanding second in command Ben Dickie, as well as sub commanders leading the six call signs, Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo and Foxtrot into the front lines of the action.
Wether you are attending as a small group of friends, individually, or as team you’ll be allotted prior to gameplay to one of the above six call signs. We will not be splitting up any teams, respecting the very fact you collectively wish to remain together throughout. Smaller groups and individuals will be allotted to callsigns to bring them up to full strength.
This allows, the overall command to equally share various tasking, missions and objectives equally out to you all via your sub commanders.
This worked exceptionally well at the last event. Keeping everyone abreast of objectives as they unfolded, and amazingly everyone in the action. 
This also allows us to manage each callsign, and respectively withdraw them from the action, allowing them to rearm and reload as well as collecting ‘wounded and dead players’ and thus preparing them, at full strength to go back into the action. This ultimately puts you in the position to get maximum time out in the Area of Operations (AO) – and, experience to the fullest extent, the scenario and combat as it unfolds.
Essentially, all I require from each and everyone one of you is to bring your ‘A Game’ as well as an abundance of positive enthusiasm, honorable play and honest hit taking. Approaching each tasking and objective with cheery enthusiasm will only further our position to achieve victory.
It may at times seem like you’ve been given a less than glamorous tasking or objective, however as was often proved, as we often moved callsigns around the AO they often clashed with the opposition and found each and every objective and strategic position hotly contested. So, have faith and bear in mind throughout whilst it may appear that your purpose appears to be either a little vague or the overall objective seems distant and obscure it often serves the greater overall picture unfolding elsewhere.
What I can absolutely promise is you will all be in the thick of the action, fighting in and throughout a varied urban and CQB environment.

Comm’s Check

We will be again running the Command Net on PMR Channel Five, sun channel one. In simple terms, for those with Pre Programmed radios, that’s Channel Five. Here, for those that require to pre program their comm’s here are the frequencies and a few tips to optimize clear comm’s.

We invite all of you to use, and utilize the command channel, but, whilst this caused zero issues on our last deployment I ask only that you do so responsibly.
In simple terms, at the request of command to standby and clear the channel please do so. This is often to allow us to either brief out via the command channel new missions, objectives and intelligence on enemy positions, and additionally to direct each callsign into position and into action.
You can use the command net to offer new intelligence, requests for support and reinforcements and of course, inform command you’ve completed and objective or mission as well as requesting new updated missions and objectives.
For inter team comm’s please use channels six and above.
You’ll more than likely find, that each sub commander either has already a nominated a Radio Control Operator (RCO) or if you are up to the task with reliable communications equipment, please present your self to your sub commander on a voluntary basis.
This is a vital task, often seeing you deliver up to date intel to your sub commanders, often under fire in the thick of the action …

Getting Squared Away – Gears, Camouflage, Kit and Equipment

Here’s the fun part of the event, something which to a lesser or greater degree we all enjoy and enthuse over.
Whilst, we’ve covered how best to prepare for a event, AO’s and climates elsewhere on this blog, and in exclusive content for Airsoft International, here we will look at gears and load outs within the frame work of this event and the rules as they apply to our Task Force.

Traditionally, we have the option of a myriad of patterns that best fall under the simple description of ‘arid or desert’ color ways. This includes, Multicam, and Pattern (MTP), Desert MARPAT, DCU Tri-Color, No.5 Pattern (Desert DPM), Tan, Coyote Brown (CB), Flat Dark Earth (FDE) even UCP (Universal Camo Pattern) etc …
You get the idea, or rather the theme. This is quite simply is to assist with the distinct definition that we are not on the Green Team. Who will naturally be running the darker North European patterns and solid greens and blacks.
It further serves the purpose, that we do not have to ruin the suspension of disbelief, by using brightly colored tape or armbands to define which force we are operating under. In lieu of armbands, and this will be covered more succinctly and in detail upon the full release of the event rules, we will be operating a patch based medic rule, which if you don’t have them from previous attendance, will be issued prior to the commencing of combat operations.
You can mix and match colors from the colors and camouflages we’ve been allocated, but you cannot use any of the patterns allotted to the Green Team.

Plate Carriers & LBE

Now, you’ll naturally need something to carry your magazines, pyro, communication systems, hydration and all other ancillary equipment you may feel you require whilst out on operations undertaking your objectives and takings.
These can be any color. 

Naturally, if your Chest Rig, Plate Carrier or Load Bearing Equipment (LBE) matches the above colors, you are already at a distinct advantage.

 However, if your equipment is of any other color or pattern, do not despair, you can use it as long as your upper and lower clothing meets the required Camouflage and Colors as outlined above.
A question often asked, is with reference to jackets for foul or inclement weather, unlikely as it is to either rain or be particularly cold, this is the British Isles and at best weather is, as you well know, unpredictable. Both teams have used a variety of jackets, in neutral colors, or in camouflage patterns which reflect which side they fight for.

I’d avoid using a Camouflage jacket which uses the oppositions colors as your likely to be mistaken either by them or your own team mates. A hit is a hit, and blue on blue will require you to take the appropriate action under the medic rules, or return to your ‘medical facility’ before being returned to the front lines.

I’ve included here, several options of Chest Rigs, Plate Carriers and combined LBE – which dependent on either the AO, tempo of operations and duration spent in the field as well as required equipment, dictates which I’ll use.

High Speed, Low Drag 

A Chest Rig is an ideal solution to carry at least a minimum of Primary and Secondary magazines for your blasters. Ideal for short Direct Action (DA), Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) and Reconnaissance style missions. You’ve got enough munitions, including grenades, smoke and flash bangs to complete your objective, either eliminate or defend yourself against any OpFor encountered and break contact back to the safety of friendly lines. This will invariably allow you to carry communication systems, hydration and any other mission essential equipment.

Heavy Metal

Plate Carriers, whilst, perhaps within the remit of Airsoft are quite possibly redundant, as we really don’t need ballistic and fragmentation projection, but they do offer a broader load bearing capability due to their expanded real estate of MOLLE. Using a well set up Plate Carrier, can allow you to carry more ammunition, hydration, complex communication systems as well as more grenades, smokes and flash bangs. It’s need to be duly reflected, that we all enjoy looking the part, and why not. That’s half the fun and adds to the sheer escapism and suspension of disbelief. 

But, bear in mind, more kit carried equates to weight and this over time, if not conditioned to it, or overloaded will in some instances cause fatigue, in the best case spoil your enjoyment of the event at worse cause exhaustion, dehydration and leave you tired and aching. That aside, some say, that if your not tired and aching after a full days Plastic Deth then you’ve been doing it all wrong …


LBE combined with lighter options, as seen here with a slick LV-MBAV meets a happy middle ground. Where form meets function, and can be further combined with a belt load. Perhaps and ideal compromise, maintaining an aesthetic appearance whilst keeping a high speed, low drag functionality could possibly be a good direction to consider. 

Here, this simple premise allows you to undertake quick and fast missions, and if ammunition and supplies hold another one or hold a position until reinforcements arrive before having to withdraw and rearm …


Ball caps, Beanies and Boonies are all favored soft head borne apparel. If you choose to prefer the above options, or not as the case may be, the choice is yours. I often have all of the above, or a selection of at my disposal. Wether it be for prepping kit, briefing out callsigns, or light patrol of the front lines to see how the battle progresses these are all options, particularly when the weather draws in and it gets a little darker and colder.

However, and this is personal choice, when I’m in the thick of the action, particularly in CQB or Urban environments, my chosen PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) is invariably some form of helmet, ballistic or not, most high end replicas will afford protecting you not only the bumps, knocks and scrapes all too generously collected mid firefight but allow the carriage and application of other equipment. This can be anything from communication headsets and ear protection, lights, strobes and even NVG’s.


Boots are an expansive subject in their own right. One that can and has not only filled the venerable pages on here, but across the global web, magazines and no end of experts will tell you what you should expect, need and demand from your foot wear.

I’m happy to solicit questions on advice on particular boots, and what you can expect from certain brands and models.
However, I’ll say this much in advance. I’d advise wearing a boot you’ve already pre worn and are comfortable in, confident it won’t injure your feet or ankles. There is nothing worse than sore or blistered feet, or a twisted or sprained ankle to put you out of the fight. A little baby powder and wet wipes to clean your feet is no bad thing, as are several pairs of clean good quality socks.


Recommended kit is a pair of gloves, the choice is yours, but it’ll save you from scrapes and scratches and your tear through the AO assailing obstacles and rough terrain. Invariably at one point or another it’ll offer some respite from the inevitable painful shot to hand – it’s a good idea to look after those trigger fingers.
I’ve amassed a varied collection, from the near indestructible Mechanix, the Classic Sage Green ‘Flight Gloves’ to PIG’s FDT shooters gloves, Mountain Hardwear for cold weather and the up armored Oakley SI Assault Gloves.

Eye Pro

Whilst ultimately we recommend full seal goggles or safety glasses with either a full face, or lower face mesh mask, one things for sure they must meet the correct ballistic safety specifications of ANSI Z87.1 – this by definition is a rating specific to high impact velocity projectiles traveling at speed, therefore creating mass. Eye Protection, giving a snug full seal offers in general terms a level of confidence with regards to protecting your eye sight with the risk we are subjecting ourselves too.
I use, personally as it offers a good fit and seal to the form and shape around my eyes, either Oakley Gascan’s or Monster Dog’s. Other brands such as Smith, Bolle, Revision are, if safety relevant all trusted brands.  


Without these, we’d be really out of the game. As long as they are reliably and consistently functioning, with in the agreed site/event limits measured in Feet Per Second (FPS) with a 0.20g BB you are good to go. Naturally, I’d ensure you bring at least one weapons platform that you confidently and reliably trust to perform. Good trigger respond, charged spare batteries, or plentiful gas to operate is a must, with a reliable Hop giving you a consistent shot to shot accuracy will ensure you can throw down in a firefight with the best of them.


Other things to consider, but by no means essential, include a weapon mounted torch, useful for the gloom and murk of unlit interiors, and of course low light as the day draws to a close. A sling, ensures weapon retention and allows for easy transition to your secondary platform without it clattering to the floor. 

Vert or Angle Fore-grips allow for a steadier manipulation of your platform, and not only assist with a shooting form making for easier sight acquisition but a steady platform keeping shot to shot on target.

If your running NVG’s, a DBAL or PEQ with an IR capability allows you discreetly paint unwitting targets, and if accurately zeroed put out an accurate shot from under shadowy cloak of darkness.

Scopes, Red Dots and Holo Sights are all great additions to assist either shooting at range, quickly bringing your blaster onto target or transitioning from target to target. 

But, remember – they need to be zeroed to accurately reflect your guns range and shot to shot consistency.


A secondary can take many forms, dependent on your role within in a team or style of play. Invariably this is commonly a pistol, with a minimum of one or two magazines. Great for drawing when there’s insufficient time to reload and the threat is still present. 

Aside from being cleaned, lubricated and serviceable – checking your secondary’s Hop is consistent and gives you shot to shot consistency at any given moment, will give you the confidence to take the fight head on to the OpFor.
Other options, may comprise of Shotguns, popular amongst breachers and point men, first through the door, or as an extra little punch in CQB conditions particularly when running an SMG such as an MP7
In certain instances, an SMG serves as a great secondary, such as players running support weapons or DMR’s which are inoperable inside building and confined spaces.
One is none, two is one …

Support Weapons & DMR’s

A recent conversation threw out the question, can Airsoft, specifically blasters, truly mimic their Real Steel Counterparts.
Whilst range, accuracy and rates of fire may not be indirectly comparable, I’d wager with the spectrum of their optimal range and accuracy – yes they can.
Support Weapons, such as M249’s, Mk48’s and the like can be to great effect, a superb addition to any teams arsenal, put down voluminous rates of fire, and spread to an area effect. Scoring multiple OpFor ‘casualties’ at best. Even in worst case scenario, thwarting an enemies movement, progress or their ability to even return fire. Well positioned support weaponry can, really alter the flow and outcome of any firefight.
Likewise, an effective and accurate DMR or Sniper platform offers that ability to reach out a little farther. Pushing back the OpFor, making certain routes and areas contested for dominancy a no go, all down to an accurate and skilled marksman.
Conversely, these can be defeated by drawing us into the tight confines of an urban area, or within the CQB chaos of interiors, it’s all about using the right tool for the right job, employing a strategy best suited to your chosen weapons platform. 


So, aside from personal admin gear, sufficient water and food (although catering and local amenities are available) sleeping systems, repair kits, batteries, batteries and more batteries this essentially should serve as introduction to the new or initiated on their first big event, and for the experienced veteran a simple reminder and food for thought.
So, herein is a brief overview of preparing, planning and getting on the same page, to put us within good reach of a strong victory. Teamwork, patience, enthusiasm and a cheery can do attitude go a long way to ensuring not only your teammates have a good event, but your opposition too, and most of all, more importantly you. I’m looking forward to catching up with you all, old and new faces alike. I’ll be on hand throughout, not only steering us in a positive direction, but to answer your question, trouble shoot any problems or worries. Who’s with me – S23

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Celebrating our third anniversary of the blog, we have created our third Mk III patch – the S23 patch.


Thank you to all that have preordered, we are due to start shipping imminently – however we a have a few left.

Whilst meant as surprise, these patches will not only come with a ‘S23 Diamond‘ stickers, but a limited oversized ‘S23 Diamond Bumper Size’ sticker too – by way of thank you for support and patience.

Limited Second Run of our Mk III 3rd Anniversary Patch – Get Em’ Here:    **GET EM’ BEFORE THERE GONE** Limited Second Run of our Mk III 3rd Anniversary Patch – Get Em’ here:


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