Seasons in the Abyss – Ai500 ‘The Gathering’ S23 Gear Spotlight
Ai500 – The Gathering
So in less than five or so weeks we’ll be locked in combat, Plastic Deth – as we attend Airsoft International’s inaugural Ai500 – this year, held at a disused Theme Park, in the North of England …
The eerie, disused site will be, for two days at least be our home, and host a new form of ‘entertainment’ – Airsoft …
As I’m sure, I – like you have been preparing kit, gears and blasters, feverish in anticipation to once again, wage combat on a truly epic scale …
In fact, this year will see not just players from Great Britain descend on the site, but players from all over Europe to, 400 of you to be precise …
So, before I finish up the admin, and last minute briefings on the Viper teams page, for the seventh time no less I’ll lead 200 players, not as daunting as it sounds – I thought I’ll do a run through of gears, kit and blasters I’ll be using exclusively at the event …
Nearly over ten years old, my Systema ’08 PTW will, once again be wheeled out as my primary blaster.
Opinions and controversy aside, I’ve had the good fortune to use, own a variety of AEG’s, GBBR’s, NGRS‘ and subsequently settled for the PTW …
All of these have been, individually fun, reliable and during their employ, given my level of expectation on what they can or can’t do, understanding each ones limitations makes them no worse or better than this blaster.
It’s just this PTW, meets all of my expectations with regards to desired performance and optimal operability – consistency, range, accuracy, durability and above all, reliability – that however, goes out the window if your a poor shot …
Still, shooting skill and lightning fast reflexes aside, it all comes down to the very core ethos of Airsoft, honor and honesty – and, perhaps bizarrely take just as much pride in being struck out as I do scoring a hit. It means the opposition is either a sure shot, or just got the drop on you.
To make things a little easier, this PTW has a few little accessories, an Aimpoint CCO for faster target acquisition, Surefire IR M951 Torch, LA5 DBAL for illuminating targets under the auspices of NVG’s, and of course a Troy Industries sling.
As I’ll discuss later, I’ll be carrying eleven magazines, averaging at just over 30 Rnds, this will put me well under the in game limit of 600 Rnds at any time, but I’ll admit I get a kick out of reloads.
I invariably carry a secondary, in this instance’ – WE’s Gen 4 AWS Glock 17.
Whilst not strictly true to the ethos behind 1st, 2nd and 3rd Lines, this Crye MRB ‘belt’ acts as my first line.
Essentially, equipment carried upon your person, and or belt line. Whilst essentially being essential, or equipment carried at all times, this can and invariably will carry other items, perhaps not immediately of high priority.
Here, this belt carries four magazines for my primary, and my ‘first’ admin reload for my secondary. The belt also has my dump pouch, multi tool, two ‘frag’ pouches, and of course holsters and carries my ‘secondary’ …
At the very least, with my primary, I’ve got four magazines, without, at a minimum I’ve got two pistol magazines, one loaded naturally, and two ‘frags’ to use to fight back.
Essentially, my ‘battle gear’ – here an LV-MBAV which, also houses the attached Haley Strategic D3CR.
The MBAV on its own houses, not only my plates and soft armor, but additional pistol magazines, flash bangs and of course my communications systems, here a TRI PRC 152 MBITR.
… pistol magazines …
… flash bangs …
… 152 PRC MBITR …
Whilst the MBAV carries four magazines on its own, another four if the D3CR is attached, if I’m expecting heavy resistance, in a dug defensive posture I can add a further three magazines, attaching to the MBAV’s Velcro’d front attachment point an LBT kangaroo pouch. This can be either removed and stowed in my day sack, used in conjunction with the D3CR or on its own if I’m doing light patrol or reconnaissance structured tasks. Alternatively empty of magazines, it can be left flat on the plate carrier.
There’s a lot of conjecture on the reality of Plate Carriers and their practically in Airsoft. Regardless, whatever you prefer, is up to you.
Sure, real plates and soft armor really rack up the weight, can restrict mobility and induce fatigue, but for me it adds to the authenticity of a load out, the suspension of disbelief and immersion. Plus, it’s a great work out !!!
Gloves, are somewhat self explanatory. Airsoft, vicariously by nature – is a high speed past time, and therefore not with out its knocks and scrapes, plus terrain is often less than hospitable – these will afford you a level of protection for unwanted cuts, grazes, dust and dirt.
Due to the fairly complex role of running, five separate call signs, as well as an additional QRF, command cell including the five sub commanders I’ll be carrying a spare comm’s set attached to my day sack.
Where ever I’am – be it our ‘command cell’ or out in the middle of a fire fight I can direct all five teams onto their objectives and into the action.
Keeping my head protected, supporting communications systems, mitigating low light as well as supporting other ancillary equipment -here, I’ve opted to use an Aramid Fibre Ops Core. Aside from practical applications, it offers, again an element of protection from the elements and action all generated from ‘Plastic Deth‘.
In the interim when not using this PPE I use a stand alone headset with soft head wear.
Essentially, this is my day sack, here Hill People Gears ‘Tarahumara‘ single pocket cargo pack. This houses a hydration bladder, spare munitions, soft shell, MRE’s, batteries and water bottles, torch and of course everything I need to make a hot cup of joe …
In the unlikely event of inclement weather a soft shell, is packed away too.
I’ve opted again for this event for a Multicam Set, the shirts lightweight and moisture wicking, preventing heat built up from wearing a heavy plate carrier and the pants, with their generous cargo pockets and integral knee pads prove to be invaluable as they are indispensable.
Here, also – a good fitting, comfortable boot. This time out, due to varied terrain and topography I’ve opted for AKU’s GTX Pilgrims. Lightweight, breathable, waterproof offering a sure footed grip.
Last but not least, eye pro and ‘cool guy’ patches.
Whilst by no means exhaustive, or mandatory – hopefully this overview will give you a comprehensive idea, or at the very least put you in the mindset of what do or don’t need for the event – either way, I’m already starting to get ready in anticipation for what undoubtedly will be another exhilarating unique large scale ‘Plastic Deth‘ event – S23