Words and pics: Raven06a
First of all, I want to thank you for having me on the blog. Writing for The Reptile House is quite an honour.
Before going into my kit, some context about milsim in Chile is needed. I’ve been playing airsoft since 2005, back when it had barely arrived in the country. Nowadays we have close to, if not more than, 5000 active players out of a population of some 18 million people. Of the 5000, there’s a small niche community which is more focused on milsim play. At a guess, I’d say it’s no bigger than 500 players.
Now, out of that lot, I’d say that only half are serious on the reenacting side of things. So, reenactment/mil-inspired kits are still kind of nascent here in Chile. However, the community has been growing more and more which is encouraging for those of us who like that part of the hobby.
I am part of a team called IVa Patrulla (4th Patrol) which has been around for almost 8 years now. As a team we’ve always been a little competitive; trying to focus on our gameplay and finding ways to improve it, when we catch ourselves being sloppy in the field.
As far as kit is concerned I’d like to say that I’m loosely AFSOC-oriented, with my main focus being on Special Tactics Squadron CCTs. It all started back in 2014 when I decided to run a couple of radios and slap a patch on a replica LBT6094 – just as a way to lean away from all the Seal kits. Of course, my research at that time was limited to Seals. And that’s when I set my sights on actually putting together something more credible, but always user-centered.
About that: I don’t consider myself to be a reenactor. I use pictures as the basis of what’s plausibly available to a certain unit. I then build around that, combined with a bit of judgement and common sense. I don’t intend to be picture perfect (and I admire guys who do it down to a T), but I’m not gonna run an MP5 because I saw a training pic of a CCT using one.
A lot of the research process has involved reading and investigating. You can find tons of info on Seals, Devgru, Marsoc, Green Berets etc – and a little on CAG. But amongst the obscure and not entirely understood stuff is Air Force Special Operations. Be that PJs, TACPs, CCTs and SOWTs among others.
The real guy community is so small and tight knit that there is really very little info out there. If you ask me, Air Force Special Ops guys DO really live by the quiet professional motto. And I think that has something to do with why I’m trying to learn about them.
Once my research was mature, I started to understanding the nature of STS’s mission profile, and why individuals may choose one type of kit over another. In essence, an STS guy has to be a riflemen/doorkicker just as much as the next guy in the unit he embeds with.
I won’t go into much detail here, but guys from Combat Control School (or the Pipeline) go to Advanced Skills Training before qualifying to embed with another combat unit (be that Marsoc, Seals, Green Berets or whatever). Once they embed, they train with their ‘foster unit’. So, it makes sense then that they adopt SOPs and gear which is compatible with their foster unit.
Back in 2010 or so, a certain squadron based in Pope AFB acquired several Crye CPCs since, allegedly, “Delta had them”. That alone tells you about their operational needs and budget (which of course, will vary depending on the unit). Now, since SOF Airmen are considered such a force multiplier in the field, they try to blend in as much as possible. Just running more antennas can be a clear tip to the enemy that, “That’s the guy who calls in the airstrikes.” Therefore, a typical SOF Airman will try to look no different from any other SOF guy in his unit.
Gear-wise, I’ve narrowed my reference scope on the last couple of years (say 2014-2017), drawing inspiration from every single pic I’ve seen without going overboard with details.
My direct action kit is nothing really special or rare. I currently carry a Crye AVS with an assortment of Tyr Tactical pouches plus the Crye AVS Radio pouches. One of my favorite pieces of gear from that selection is the Assaulter’s Zip On panel. It’s usually more than enough for day long ops and it can easily be removed when I need to go lighter. I’m not much of a first line kind of guy, so I just carry my pistol – although I’m thinking about going the Ronin battle belt route, so I can offload some things.
I bought my AVS at a reputable surplus store, out of Fort Bragg. It came from a kit bag full of Seal gear, which had been traded to pay for some house repairs after a huge storm. The seller told me the Seal was from, “A very famous team stationed here”. While I’m not crazed about it, it is indeed a fun anecdote…and reason enough to never sell the AVS.
My helmet is a TMC Maritime (or Super High Cut as it is now called) with an A-Two cover and some other bells and whistles. Only recently did I move my TCA Comtacs Dual Comms to the Arc adapters and I think it was a good decision.
By the way, while I love real kit, replica kit also has a place – although I always try to buy real stuff if money allows.
As for primary, I have two platforms: an STS-inspired M4 (KWA) with tons of replica stuff. While I’d like to dress it up with real optics and the like, I can’t justify it right now. My other platform – which I love – is a Top Tech HK416 with a HAO SMR.
That’s what I use when I’m feeling more 24th STS (which is JSOC’s STS unit). The 416 draws some inspiration from CAG blasters, which I know kinda stuck with some 24th guys as well.
On a side note, I’ve been eyeing a TM NGRS, but at the moment I think I’ll stick with buying more gear…
When trying to look the part, I add some details like pens, maps, Garmin GPS and my trusty Suunto M9. As I said earlier, I try not to go overboard. Again, my logic is based upon what works for me; and so I won’t add a PRC177 however cool it looks, since two radios are good enough for my needs.
I’ve been told by some guys on the forums that my kit looks pretty authentic and real. When I think of it, I actually feel kinda proud – even if it’s not picture perfect. But it is user-perfect, and that’s how I think a real world guy would go about it.
Take what’s useful, ditch what’s not.