If there’s one thing that bothers me, it’s plagiarism. If someone doesn’t acknowledge their influences or inspiration, they are profiting in one way or another from someone else’s experience and ideas. (The other thing that bothers me is the G27 grip – but that’s another blog for another day :D).
While I’m being completely honest, I should also point out that the majority of civilian PTW builds don’t hit the spot for me. In a build of this sort, the whole represents less than the sum of the individual parts that were used to construct it. It’s as if the builder covered themselves in superglue, then ran through the ‘Hipster Gun Parts’ shop.
Those clever enough to be able to distinguish a good cilivian PTW build from the rest are likely to be able to craft their own free-solo build, or they are on their way to being able to do so. More often than not, they will have been influenced by the very builds they view as tasteful – both RS and Airsoft. They are also likely to acknowledge their influences.
I can’t say where my builds sit on the mediocre/free-solo scale, but what I can say is there was a cathartic moment when I saw a large collection of builds done right and when I knew what I wanted from a build. That cathartic moment was provided by the PTWs in Hawaii thread on the Systema PTW Forum. The PTWs in Hawaii thread showed me the craft and gave me something to admire and aspire to.
There’s no way I would ever suggest these awesome free-solo builds to be formulaic. But they provided some fundamental principles for me: Prime lower, Prime or RS upper, as many RS parts as possible, a longer barrel with a good amount covered by the rail – which was more than likely a tube rail. I was already a big fan of tube rails, owning a Wilson Combat TRIM and a Samson Evolution at the time. As for the quality of the multiplicity of RS parts used – the Hawaiian PTWs brimmed with top tier manufacturers like KAC and LaRue. There were no economy rails or budget trigger guards, nor did every part scream hipster. Every part was considered. Every part was appropriate. Every part was selected to deliver the vision of a unified, synergistic whole.
The PTWs in Hawaii thread taught me about taste and about the importance of the end product being greater than the sum-of-the-parts.
More of the Hawaiian guys’ builds are linked below. Analyse, learn and above all enjoy – because they simply do not get any better than this…and if you’re inspired, give credit where credit is due.
(And please – just say no to the G27 grip! :D)
The pics below follow exactly the same aesthetic, but are a mixture of PTWs and GBBs: