2019 is drawing to a close, and so this year I’ve decided to do something a little different. Instead of talking about the shifting attitudes in the community, and fretting about what new threats will face our hobby in the future, I decided to put together a more positive outlook on what has happened in 2019, and what there is to look forward to in 2020.
To achieve this, I reached out to those who I felt had a similar outlook on the sport to me, and hopefully to you the reader! Now it should come as no surprise that every contributor is focused more on the military aspect of the hobby, and so if your interest lies in running round wearing leggings and a woolly hat whilst wielding a tricked out Hi-capa who’s trigger you’re pulling faster than Prince Andrew can pull a 17 year old, then this probably isn’t the article for you.
All of the contributors were sent the same questions, making it interesting that they have all come up with different answers. The questions were:
1. What was your biggest moment or achievement of 2019?
2. What do you think is going to be the biggest/hottest/most popular thing in 2020?
3. What do you have planned for 2020?
Let’s find out what they said:
The Full 9
TheFull9 is a serving British military Armourer, covering primarily tactical gear with some camo and firearms stuff in the mix.
“The most significant event in my 2019 has been deploying on my 2nd proper operational tour in the Middle East. Carrying every day is a great opportunity to put a couple of items of kit through their paces over the longer term, but more importantly doing the most important part of my trade role in support of missions in the air and on the ground that really make a difference to security back home. On the hobby side of things, working unusual shifts that were constantly changing was actually a good chance to converse with various manufacturers all around the globe on different time zones and put some really interesting projects and ideas in to motion.
I noticed, starting in 2018 and through this year, that the technology for custom fabric printing has been spreading and getting more affordable, so in 2020 I’d expect that trend to continue and I think we’re going to see even more sets of uniforms (especially Crye cuts) in rare and unusual camos that previously would have been totally unobtainable. Gear is getting increasingly modular and built for quick changes in configuration thanks to micro chest rigs and zip-on back panels and those concepts will certainly continue to spread. We even see this in firearms with systems like the modular trigger pack in the Sig P320 and upcoming ‘create your own’ Glock type pistols. We’ll be seeing new additions to the G4 line from Crye, back panels from Spiritus, probably an updated FCPC ecosystem from Ferro and more importantly an increase in top quality gear at more mid-range prices.
Personally I am very much looking forward to SHOT Show 2020 as the show tends to be really great on alternate years and 2019 was a somewhat underwhelming year for new products as many of the big names clearly have a lot being worked on in the background right now. As far as posts on my site (and attached social media) I am working on roughly an 18 month backlog and in the past year I’ve been able to track down some rare pieces and create a few rather nice items of my own designs so it’s going to be very enjoyable to share all of that with the world.”
@thefull9_ / https://thefull9.net
T42 (as in “Tea for Two”, how quaint) are a leading UKSF impression Callsign, consisting of mainly civilians with a few enlisted men and officers. All with a common interest in UKSF Gear and Tactics.
2019 has been the first full year for Callsign T42, and therefore also the year we found our individuality and started getting more consistent facetime as a unit. Enforcing our philosophy that we’re mates first, teammates second so it’s always more of a social event than strictly airsoft. It also established where we fit within the UKSF impression scene and what we could do to give back – we were founded from established members of the community who found we got along really well, we’re not elitists or members of the old guard of the impressions community so it was good to help out people like us who have an inclination for impression kits and also to promote events aimed at everyone, as long as they’ve had some serious thought put into them. As such, our biggest moment was the Pilgrims Bandits Charity game hosted by JTAC. It was a great day to meet up with everyone in our community that we speak to often, but don’t necessarily get the chance to get facetime with; Mike Perrett of Amtac, John of JTAC Customs, and the boomers from E27 to name but a few. The day itself was solid, we relish the chance to make a go of stacking it up and down hills, stacking it on flat ground or just stacking it in heavy woodland in the name of charity. The Back Country/ISG training workshop was a close second, although it only lasted a day, it compounded more useful information, feedback and trigger time into a single package than an entire weekend milsim event. Getting honest feedback on our drills was ideal, although many of the lads have FIBUA experience, it doesn’t always perfectly translate and so being able to immediately get feedback and put our best foot forward from the onset was a massive booster. Being a somewhat fledgling impressionist group, but also being good mates, it’s always important to get as much facetime with as many of the blokes as possible; it also didn’t hurt that it was at this event that we brought on board our newest member.
We think the hottest thing about 2020 will be some of the events that the smaller event organisers will be bringing to the table. With some of the rumours circulating of some very promising events with the potential to develop into something very tasty indeed, as a group, we’re very much looking forward to what 2020 has in store. Indeed, with more and more event organisers gearing their events towards quality, engaging situations and environments rather than mindless shooting weekends, we’re keen to see what innovations come from this newest market trend. We’re also looking forward to trying out some of the more unique areas of operations including, but not limited to planes, trains and ships, and all the weird and whacky nooks and crannies the market has to offer.
2020 is the year when Callsign T42 really try to give back to the communities that have shaped us, as well as the blokes who we dress up like and gawp over every waking second. We have a few charity events as well as some sponsored fundraisers to help the charities that honestly do some cracking work for some amazing people. We’re also looking forward to supporting some of the smaller British businesses and event organisers to really try and invigorate the UKSF community, continuing to help others achieve what we have; proving that even gear queers who drool over 50 quid pouches can do some good once in a while.
Airsoft Tactical Research Group
ATRG is written by Dan, a UK based Airsofter, Firearm Shooting and all-round Outdoor Pursuits enthusiast. ATRG specialises in covering Gear, Replica and Accessory Reviews as well as conversation pieces around these areas of interest.
2019 was a great year for ATRG, it marked the first full year online for the blog and some really exciting opportunities have presented themselves, with the hard work of 2018 paying off and getting the blog from where it was initially to what it’s achieved now being such a labour of love it’s been a great time both in terms of figures but more importantly, experiences.
My biggest moment of 2019 was probably taking the initial steps into the world of target shooting, it’s something I’ve been longing to do for a number of years but time constraints and obviously it’s high cost have stood in the way until recently. There were many other key moments… All the interviews hold a special place in my heart… Those are the guys that have influenced the blog in bigger ways than they’ll appreciate and the replica reviews are obviously a lot of fun.
The hottest thing in 2020? That’s a difficult one, one of the key releases in the Airsoft world is the highly anticipated Mk46 Mod 0 by Tokyo Marui, alongside whatever else they’re looking to release in 2020. One things for sure, I’ll be getting the Mk46 upon release.
There are also a number of other businesses that are scheduling new product lines such as GBLS with their prospective AK and K2 lines. Shot Show 2020 will hopefully see the unveiling of exciting new lines by Haley Strategic, Spiritus Systems and of course… Crye Presicion.
What I’m hoping to see is an expansion of Tokyo Marui’s GBBR line up. A Heckler & Koch 416 based upon their proven ZET system would be a welcome addition to the line up or the holy grail… A Gas Blowback or Recoil Shock based MP5 Sub Machine Gun would set the community on fire!
As for my own aims in 2020, I’ll be looking to continue writing gear and replica reviews whilst hopefully adding more on the target shooting side of the blog. I’ll be aiming to keep the balance between the Milsim and Skirmish sides of the Hobby alongside target shooting and most of all, getting out there to meet interesting people and learn new skills.”
The Tactical Optician
I’m the Tactical Optician. A former Reserve Forces officer, I’m old enough to know better but young enough to use full-weight plates. I work full time at a large regional eye hospital, but also provide bespoke prescription eye wear solutions to military & law enforcement customers, and airsofters. I also endeavour to protect optics & torches from bb strikes.
My highlight of 2019 was finally meeting face to face several friends from various forums, that I have known for many years. I was privileged once again to be invited to JTac’s Pilgrim Bandits game at Humber Airsoft, to which several of my online acquaintances also traveled. During challenging times, these guys had leant to me enormous moral support. To finally meet and thank them was huge. The road back from 2014 has been long, but it has been humbling to be supported by so many in the community.
I’m excited to see what Tokyo Marui can do with the Mk46 platform. I’ve never been a huge fan of support weaponry in airsoft, but if anyone can change my mind (and empty my wallet), Tokyo Marui can. So many versions of LMGs on the market require much remedial work to make them a reliable prospect, that it hasn’t seemed to be worth the extra weight of lugging one around. Until now…
2020 will hopefully be a year where I actually get to skirmish with as many of those great characters in the community as I can. There is definitely a hardcore of decent folk out there that consistently deliver more than they take. And Airsoft is all the better for it. Our hobby is in a good place…
Team Gray Fox
Team GrayFox is long running airsoft team, created in 2003 made up of 14 actively playing like-minded gearwhores.
The biggest moment of 2019 was actually getting near the whole team together at a 24 hour weekend at Stanta, the game wasn’t amazing but getting that many members together to sling some plastic and shoot the breeze is why we are still going strong after 15 years.
We’ve got fingers crossed that Stirling will get a Stanta date, hopefully before AI do, and gear wise we are always buying new stuff, upgrading and refining but I can’t see anything game changing on the horizon.
2020 is looking like more of the same, real life always gets in the way but we’ll try and get to a few more games and hopefully run another one of our own events.
The company was formed in its current form in 2006 after a few of us worked for Stirling services, running professional CP training courses for High risk environments and also running Airsoft events from 2002. Our aim is to deliver varying styles of games to cater for all types of airsofter, from themed game shoot em ups, to combat missions and role play combat missions.
Our biggest a achievement of 2019 was to continue to run the types of games that people enjoy. Delivering fun enjoyable games is our priority.
What’s going to hot and popular in 2020? We’ll continue to work hard and deliver the best we can in our different styles of games. Airsoft in the UK is going through a transitional process as it does every 4-5 years. Attitudes change and players crave different challenges. New kit on the market is exciting but we need to keep it safe and practical whilst integrating into the events.
Looking into the future? It’s back into Spain with some new sites, a few training events and also we’d like to run a maritime event like we did a few years ago with Operation sea Angel!
Maybe some helicopters too as that’s been a while since we did that.
@stirling_airsoft / https://www.stirlingairsoft.com
Task Force Broadsword
Taskforce Broadsword is a well-established airsoft team within the UK MilSim community made up of a mix of civilians and currently serving military personnel from the British Army and RAF.
Our biggest moments of 2019 would have to be when we developed a working relationship with trident gear co as the team run their training plates all the time and use typhoon airsoft ltd for our supplies such as BB’s, gas, pyro etc. The other biggest moment would definitely have to be when we captured 5 out of 7 HVT’s at the trees event run by Stirling Airsoft, who we also are developing a really good working relationship with and thoroughly enjoy every event they host. As a good by-product of attending so many of the Stirling events, we have become good friends with Task Force Delta and worked alongside them in pretty much every event this year – they are a great bunch of lads! We also combined our team logos to make a unique team patch.
The hottest thing for us in 2020 would have to be the potential to get on the Stirling event that is being planned to take place in Spain – the different climate, environment and terrain will definitely be challenging but very enjoyable in the same breath.
We have got more kit to get and make all of our kit be as cosher as possible to our UKSF impression kit list/loadout style, so hopefully better reference photos as the kit used within UKSF is tested and adjusted so that we can follow suit and pay them the credit they deserve.
Trident Gear Co. (Ltd)
Trident Gear is run by two serving soldiers from the Army Reserves both of which have civilian jobs within the emergency services. Having over 10 years’ experience in the military and law enforcement firearms industries. Trident Gear aims to bring the best training plates to the airsoft community for both realism as well as comfort.
Our biggest moment in 2019 was getting the company started and taking our first steps into the corporate world with us looking to improve our company and our products with the community for the community. Along with producing our first set of Multi curve foam plates, which we believe is a first in the Airsoft market. We hope to end 2019 with a bang as we are working on and finalising this style across our whole range of plates.
We’re looking forward to getting our hands on the DAS GBLS systems to test as they look like they will strike a good balance between realism and usability in the UK with GBB not always dealing well with our colder climate.
2020 is setting up to be a big year for Trident Gear with us working on lots of new iterations of our tried and tested training plates as well as some new innovations. One of our biggest intentions is for us to get back onto the field more regularly as we’ve had a lot of challenges in our personal and civilian work lives this year so we will hopefully have more time to enjoy the sport this coming year.
We are already looking into the Backcountry Workshop/ISG events alongside Task Force Broadsword, who we sponsor and then on to some of the Stirling events.
@tridentgearco / www.tridentgear.co.uk
The Reptile House
The Reptile House is a blog about stuff I’m interested in, which contains words like “Gear Review”, “Reference Pic Analysis”, “Airsoft” and, “If I worked this hard at my actual job, I’d be minted.”
It’s mid-December so the biggest moment of 2019 is going to be in a few days’ time, when the blog hits half a million views for the year. I don’t set myself targets and I don’t naturally promote myself, so the blog lives or dies solely on the quality of its content – including all the help I get from the likes of Tactical-Kit (the UK’s premiere tactical retailer), HAO (premium airsoft manufacturer), and like minded contributors.
Currently I’m really getting into Crye’s AirLite Structural stuff – so that’s, what? The future we were promised at 2018’s SHOT, as the hottest thing about 2020? Sounds about right. The AirLite Convertible Chest Rig is my favourite platform right now and I’ve just ordered the Structural Plate Carrier (SPC), so I’ll be reviewing that in the New Year.
Mostly, though, my plans for 2020 aren’t even on the back of a fag packet yet – but will contain words like “imposter” and “winging it.”
@the_reptile_house / https://thereptilehouseblog.com
Brit Kit USA
I’m Harry, the owner of BritKitUSA. I’m originally from south London but live in Portland, Oregon in the U.S. I’ve had a thing for patches ever since I was kid visiting the airshows in Biggin Hill in the 70’s that morphed into BritKitUSA decades later!
The projects we did/are doing for various SF units have been fun to work on but perhaps the moment that put the biggest smile on our faces here was the surprise fund-raising patch we did for Dan Foofighter’s daughter, Sunnie, who is fighting cancer. We had a lot of help & input to make it happen and were blown away by the response Sunnie got and her strength has been inspirational.
Patchwise, the biggest thing for 2020 will be the Presidential Election, here in the U.S. at least. Personally, I can’t wait until it’s all done & dusted as it’s going to be a long year of utter bollocks.
For us 2020 means celebrating our 10 year anniversary with new collaborations, products and limited edition giveaways. It’s been a great journey and we’ve made some awesome friends along the way from all walks of life. Looking forward to what the next 10 years bring.
@britkitusa / www.britkitusa.com
The Geardo Crow
I am a British airsofter coming from a military background, who started this blog in 2017 to alleviate my poor other half from having to listen to me prattle on about kit for hours on end.
The biggest moment of my 2019 is obviously the pretty massive action of leaving the Army. It was a decision made in 2018 and getting out has presented its own challenges, but it was definitely for the best (more on this over on ATRG’s blog here). The kit mongering has continued though, and the biggest change in that part of my life has definitely been working with the guys at Tactical Kit, Platatac and Whiskey Two Four. If you haven’t already checked them out then a) which rock have you been hiding under and b) you should do it now. Since leaving the forces it’s been hard to justify buying the same volume of kit as I did before, and so the help from these guys has been a big part in keeping the blog going.
As for what’s going to be hot in 2020? I’m really excited to see how the race for the minimalist plate carrier turns out, with Spiritus and Ferro Concepts already in open conflict, and a couple of other companies working on contenders. I’m also really looking forward to getting my hands on some of the new Platatac clothing items that will be making an appearance in 2020. As far as games go? I can’t comment too much, I don’t go to enough as it is, but I am really excited to try out the new scenario style days at Alpha55. They’re not full Milsims, and they’re not trying to be, but we all love to have a little more immersion and I think Gaz and his team will find it to be a great success.
My own plans for 2020 are a little thin on the ground at the moment. The plan is to get a few skirmishes under my belt while it’s cold, then ramp up my Stirling attendance when I deem it warm enough to sleep outside (I left a job that forced me to be cold, it would be stupid to do it now by choice). I’m trying to move away from being a total Crye fan boy this year, and slim my personal gear down to what I absolutely need, making room for more gear that I’ve begged, borrowed or bought for review. Following in suit from the backend of 2019, the plan is to give away the majority of kit donated by manufacturers for review, so keep an eye on the page!
Thanks for sticking through and reading to the end of this bloody long article. If you’ve got any questions or feedback then don’t hesitate to get in touch either here or over on my Instagram @thegeardocrow. As a reward for being committed, here’s a couple of photos of me looking like a complete thundermong with SA80s:
Happy New Year, and have a good 2020 you beautiful bunch of cunts!
3 thoughts on “2019 in review – and what’s to come in 2020”
Bet you didn’t expect the Beerflu… 😉
Too right ahaha