I’ve noticed a growing interest in counter terrorist and other LE (Law Enforcement) special operators.
As they’ve become more and more and more militarised, the distinctions between these units and SOF have blurred.
Meanwhile, I’ve also noticed a paradigm shift in impressionista behaviours. Interpretation has become as acceptable as a carbon copy loadout.
More and more impressionistas are going “SOF-ish” – blending an eclectic mix of the very best gear, in a ‘unit agnostic’ way.
You’ll see the term CAGRU later on in this blog. While this is used in a tongue in cheek way, it also perfectly encapsulates the spirit of this confident new movement.
Similarly confident and independent-minded, Gray Fox’s F23 is someone who has imploded the boundaries between LE and SOF, creating an awesome impression in the process.
I wanted to know more…
What was your motivation in assembling what has been called an “LE-ish” impression?
I’m a gearwhore and that’s me. I love buying, collecting, looking at and wearing “Gucci” kit. In the past the cool guys were normally the military; SEALS, SF etc., and with Gray Fox being a USSOF team that fitted in with my kit choices. And, for me, DEVGRU was the ticket.
However I always like to look slightly different and do my own take on what’s fashionable. If AOR1 was the flavour I’d run AOR2. 6094 is the rig of choice? I’d run an NCPC or JPC. Everyone running the Ops-Core? Id’s run a MICH 2001. You get the idea…
So, with great repro companies like Semapo and VGC offering a one stop shop for your SEAL loadout, I wanted to be different! Around this time I’d started following the likes of Jake Swanson and Outlaw185 on IG and I’d just seen a 60 Minute piece on FBI HRT.
I thought, “Shit! These guys look cool.” I put it down to a lot of these guys being ex-SF and running the kit they knew whilst on tour, etc. So that’s the kind of route I’ve decided to go.
You must have been through a shit tonne of kit over the years? What are the highlights of your current loadout?
Rich you’re not wrong! Early last year I was basing my kit loosely around HRT. I was running a JPC and rigger’s belt over green Cryes and it looked cool!
But I didn’t like the sag I was getting on my rig. And, having to take everything off my belt at the end of every game day was a pain in the arse.
The main motivation for my current set up was the same as real LEOs: speed and usability.
As a player, I want to be faster than the next guy. I want to get my gun on target quicker. I want to change mags quicker. Basically, I want to get the bad guy before he gets me.
At the same time, I was looking at the S&S Precision Plateframe. F03 picked one up and after having a fingerbang, I was decided. It has been the best PC choice of my airsoft career.
It’s light, comfortable, waterproof and most importantly RARE on the airsoft field. That combined with my Ronin Tactics gunfighter belt, pistol pouches and S&S Precision holster extender GTR are a match made in plastic-slingers heaven.
Last time I featured your blaster, it was a PTW. You’ve now dropped that platform for NGRS. What were the reasons behind the move?
After running AEGs for the previous 10 years, I’d always wanted a PTW. This was because of: 1., The trigger response. 2., The bolt stop function. 3., RS compatibility. So coming in to some money I took the plunge and picked up a MK18. All was great until I had chopping issues with no real answers. Mags = expensive. Hop = more expensive. Cylinder = even more expensive…but where to start?
So I chucked it in and picked a G&G EBB 416 on the cheap. I loved the freedom of AEGs again, although the trigger response was lacking. Then, with the addition of a new team member – F27 – I got the chance to handle an NGRS M4 with a Spectre fitted.
All I could say was WOW! Super-snappy programmable trigger, bolt stop and that recoil !!! Not much puts more of a smile on your face than shooting that on full auto. Well, apart from mini guns in Vegas – but that’s another story.
I had some NV I was looking to off load and happened to be offered an NGRS 416 and M4 in the trade. So I decided to join the TM Recoil family.
What attracted you to build a 416 instead of another M4?
Great question with a simple answer. In airsoft, where gas systems don’t exist, a 416 is 99.9% identical to an M4. But, as I said earlier, for me it’s about speed. The extra half inch height on the top rail fits my body better, allowing me to get a sight picture quicker and get rounds down range fast.
It’s really that simple! Oh and DEVGRU/HRT love them 😉
The RAHG really sets the character of your 416 build. What influenced you in going tube rail up front?
I was running an SMR on my G&G. Again, when moving over to the NGRS I wanted something different. The RAHG is a sexy rail. It allows me to mount kit exactly where I want it – even at 45 degrees. It also has a really nice low profile, without the built-in rails at 3,6 and 9 o’clock. Plus, the extra forward sling swivel points are a bonus over the SMR.
What advice would you give beginners on the optimisation of blaster ergonomics?
Don’t just copy a picture you like the look of.
Blaster setup has to work for the user. It has to facilitate confident and comfortable operations.
For example, I’ve gone from a dual light and laser switch and hand stop, back to a vertical grip with pad and thumb switch – simply because I could not operate my torch and IR laser at the same time during night ops.
So I would say to anyone: test your kit thoroughly before you go out on ops. See what works and is comfortable for you when holding your weapon for extended time periods.
I noticed you went with an Angry Gun SOCOM Mini instead of 556, which really suits the build. How did you get the authentic-looking tempered colour on the can?
I did indeed Rich! I love the SOCOM series of cans and AG make the best replicas IMO. As for how I got the authentic used look? I used the same principle as in real life. Heat. I put the sucker on the gas hob until it turned the right colour, then plunged it into cold water. I then took a file to give it that lightly bumped scratched look.
I’m lovin’ the paint job, as usual; it has a confident subtlety. How did you go about doing it?
When painting anything kit related, I have have a philosophy that less is more! I feel the more time you take to paint something the more staged and toylike it looks. Why do the real guys paint their expensive kit? Answer, to break up its outline. So I throw on a quick base coat then using an old pack mesh pocket, I spray through some, greens, browns, tans, etc. I then wipe some off straight away, to give it that worn look. The whole process of painting a rifle should take no more than 10 mins.
Thanks very much for talking with me, F23. It’s really kind of you to give your time freely and at such length. Last question: what does it mean to be part of Gray Fox?
Firstly, thanks for having me. I follow your blog closely as you always seem to be at the forefront of new kit coming onto the market!
Oh, Gray Fox…the guys that call me CAGRU because I now run the kit I like and don’t strictly adhere to a theme 🙂
What can I say? They are all a bunch of…………outstanding guys! Really, they are an amazing group of like-minded friends. I would go as far as to say that it’s a brotherhood!!! These guys have gotten me through some pretty life changing events and we would do anything for each other. I love the team so much, I have our original patch on me permanently:
Gray Fox isn’t an airsoft team in the true sense, but rather a group of brothers that play airsoft.