I blogged about mil builds earlier this week and mentioned that copying a single picture from the wild is as valid as absorbing mulitple in the wild references to intuit your own mil build. I wanted to tease that out some more, because many of the impressionistas I speak to choose the latter approach. They adopt a more analytical mindset to build mil blasters; optimisimg for themselves but – crucially – guided by the contraints of observed custom and practice.

So, one airsofter may select a cool in the wild pic and copy that blaster to the letter. That takes a massive amount of discipline, not to mention the skills required to source all of the correct parts. And if they don’t live in the US that can be extremely difficult, not to mention expensive, if they have a taste for RS. However, that blaster may not actually work for the individual because it’s been optimised by the guy in the pic, for himself; not by or for the airsoft user. Similarly the placement of lights, aiming devices etc, may not be driven by in the wild custom and practice – but by a minority quirk. An in the wild minority quirk, but a quirk nonetheless.

The other airsofter is less concerned with photorealim and more concerned with collecting a comprehensive sample of evidence. This airsofter goes through a different process, to intuit – not copy – a mil build. This can be illustrated by the phenomenon of reversing the front BUIS.

When this trend originated in the wild, impressionistas would post pics of their reversed-BUIS blasters and the questions and saracsm would roll in. There are some very good reasons for going reversed-BUIS, but it took a while to permeate the collective airsoft consciousness. Behind the scenes, those analysing in the wild pics had observed a growing trend, intuited the advantages and rolled it into their blaster doctrines.

I confronted this very dilemma myself, after acquiring an Element LA5.

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Given the way I grip with my support hand, I had to reverse the front BUIS in order to put my LA5 somewhere useful. Or, rather, I had to resort to reversing the front BUIS – because it’s not a look I favour on my own builds.

The other position which would have accommodated the LA5 was behind my support hand – like this guy has his DBAL set up:

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The problem is, without changing my grip, the LA5’s emissions are going to be obscured by  my thumb. So while evidence exists of this aiming device placement, it’s not going to work for me. Likewise, it’s not accepted custom and practice across the piece. Most in the wild pics place aiming devices further forward on the rail, unobscured:

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So, I’m more in the observing custom and practice camp as to how my own blasters are set up.

But, I say again. Copying a pic or intuiting a mil build are both valid doctrines, in my opinion.

For me it comes down to an appreciation of balls deep dedication, and both of these doctrines of mil blaster building exhibit that.