Airsoft Ohio Forums  
  #1  
Old 01-12-2009, 11:54 AM
Spectre's Avatar
Spectre Spectre is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: A land of superior apathy, also known as Cincinnati
Posts: 1,437
Blog Entries: 1
Spectre is a Private First Class
iTrader: (11)
Beginners Guide to Support Weapons

There has been a lot of conversation over the topic of Support Weapons recently here on AO. New members are inclined to believe that a support weapons is anything that has a large capacity detachable magazine or is capable of accepting a bipod. My guess is that this is due to the fact that there is a wide market of drum, beta, and C-mags available from a variety of companies for a variety of AEG’s. However, an AEG, like an M4 is not to be classified in the same region as a FN Minimi, M249 or M60. A support weapon is by nature, belt feed, heavily engineered against failure and overheating, heavy, uncomfortable to wield, and an all around pain in the *** to carry. I think it’s important to lay down some basic guidelines defining the role, deployment and usage behind it.

First off, a support weapon is classified as any weapon that can provide support to advanced infantry in the field. This includes, but is not limited to light machine guns, heavy machine guns, mortars, any type of grenade launcher, etc. This article is to discuss the role of the lighter machine guns used in combat rather then cover the entire support weapon spectrum. Other then grenade launchers, the other classifications are not common in the typical airsoft environment. I do not want to call each weapon a Squad Automatic Weapon, as some may suggest, solely for the reason that I believe not all apply to this sort of deployment. Thank you Darkstar for reminding me to include this.

Airsoft is based off of a mentality of Military Simulation, or as many call here on the forums and in the field, Milsim. This is the idea that everything that is done is as close to how it would be done in a real military, paramilitary, contractor, or militia like organization. Because of this, an AEG based off of an M4, G36 (or any other H&K “G” series), Mp5, AK, M14 or whatever you can name cannot magically become a support weapon with the addition of a large capacity box mag. Reason being in real-steel is that these weapons are not built to withstand the stresses involved in prolonged firing needed to keep conflicting opponents heads down. Numerous threads arise; mostly from new members asking if such and such base model AEG can be used as a support weapon with the addition of only a box mag and possibly a bipod and or forward vertical grip. This article is intended to lay down some basic guidelines of what is considered usable at MOST Milsim game scenarios.

-------------------------------------------------

Support Weapons that are generally accepted at all games. All of these replicas have been based off of real-steel firearms that have seen and are currently seeing action in the field.

M249
First and foremost is the most common of the Support Weapons; the M249, or any of its ancestors or derivatives. The replacement to the aging M60, this weapons fires the standard 5.56X45 This includes the MK I, MK II, MK 11 PARA or any of the MK46 MOD based weapons that companies such as G&P and STAR airsoft companies produce. As anyone who knows anything about the current modern US military knows, the M249 is the standard Squad Automatic Weapon issued to each squad or the role of overwatch and support fire. This holds true in airsoft as this gun has proven itself to be effective and somewhat reliable in sustained fire due to a heavier gearbox. This gearbox also happens to be compatible with many Version 2 gearbox parts (piston, gears, motor, etc) and is not too difficult to repair. This section also includes the M240, which is produced by a few manufactures. This is the easiest model to find being manufactured by the following Companies: Classic Army, TOP, G&P, STAR, Echo 1, and A&K.

M60
The iconic machine gun of the Vietnam era, this gun served the United States Armed Forces Well into the 80’s firing the powerful 7.62X51 NATO standard round from a decomposing belt chain. The M60, much like the M249, has many derivative weapons, most notably the various “E” series guns or E3, E4 which are still used to this day in limited numbers. Many are now available to the Civilian market. In airsoft, this gun is just as heavy and unwieldy as the real deal. Companies such as Inokatsu, STAR, VFC, and A&K all produce a collector’s grade replica.

Russian AK style Support weapons
There are many of these, varying from the RPD, RPK, PK and PKM. Not as common on the field as the M249 or M60, these support weapons are generally accepted none the less. Several of the classic Soviet/Russian era weapons, the most recent model being the PKM, are difficult to find in the airsoft world as few manufactures produce replica of them. The only way for players to field a replica of the PKM machine gun is to either contact a small scale custom manufacturer or design and build the replica themselves while paying attention to detail. One comment on the conversation over the construction of a support weapon using a standard AK is that any standard length AK 47 can have a drum magazine and bipod slapped on it. However, it is not that simple. The gun used is an AK 74, not a 47 and has an extended heavier barrel to which an integrated bipod is attached to the weapon. The only airsoft manufactures of this kind of weapon are Classic Army, and SRC. However, several aftermarket conversion kits are available for Tokyo Marui AK’s. Echo 1 also added a RPK-74 LMG to their "Red Star" line of Kalashnikov type AEG's.

MG34-MG3, MG4-MG43
This is the standard support weapon used by German Armed Forces at the current moment along side of the H&K MG4-MG43. Some individuals may confuse the MG 43 with the controversial “MG36” due to the integrated telescoping sight/carry handle (as pictured in the link below).
http://world.guns.ru/machine/mg40-e.htm
The MG34 or MG3 is a direct descendent of the infamous German MG34 of World War II deployed against American, French, British and Russian forces. A few changes have been made to keep up with modern times, but much like the American M2 .50cal, the MG34 has withstood the test of time. The MG 34 has only one classic airsoft manufacturer,Asahi Firearms, while Shoei produces a MG42. There are no known manufactures of the MG4-G43 for airsoft. Anyone willing to put in enough time could possibly custom build one from a hybrid of an M249 and G36. A costly build.

MG21-MG23
The support weapon of Western Germany during the 60-80’s, this gun is not common at all in the airsoft field and requires custom modification to produce. I have seen an AO member with a moded G33 as so to include the appropriate front set and bipod and box magazine. If this player would like to provide photos, I will gladely post them here.

British L86A2-LSW
This is one of the common issued support weapons used by the British armed forces to this date. The LSW is an odd support weapon that is not common in the airsoft field due to a limited manufacturing following. The only known manufacture is STAR, with their L86A2-LSW AEG, which includes the weapons, bipod, and carry-case. The real-steel weapons is rather strange compared to most modern support weapons, as it is directly based off of the L85A2, and is of a bullpup design. Further, the weapon itself feeds from a limited 30rd detachable box magazine just like all the other L85’s.

EDIT 10-2-09: ICS has released their version of the L86A2-LSW in what appears to be a faithful representation of the weapon. The manufacturer claims that the gearbox is easily accessible and spring swap-outs are achievable in under a minute.

M240
The M240, also known as the FN MAG, has served as the U.S. military's medium weight support gun for years. Firing the powerful 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge from a decomposing ammo-belt, this weapon in often seen mounted to Humvee and other combat vehicles, as well as crew-served by infantry. In the realm of Airsoft the M240 has only been seen in the form of aftermarket kits manufactured by Trigger-Happy or independent enthusiasts. Up until recently there has been no actual manufacture of a complete AEG, however Echo 1 has in fact announced a production line model and is currently available through pre-order. Expect to pay big bucks and carry over 25lbs in gun weight for this behemoth.

-----------------------------------------

Generally unaccepted support weapons. These are guns that are rather controversial in both the forum , and in real-steel as to their use in the field and their capability to be used as a support weapon. If you decide to bring one to a dedicated AO Milsim event and expect to use it, be sure to have a back up just in case the event organizers prevent you from using it.

MG36
My personal belief is that the MG36 should be considered a full support weapon, although it being lighter than other deployed Squad guns. Reason being is that it is of the same concept of the L85A2-LSW, a support weapon based off of the standard rifle of a standing army with modification to the barrel, bipod, and ammo-feed. However, since it is not widely used as the standard support weapon, and I can’t even find decent reputable information on its existence, I believe it belongs here. For those looking to construct an MG36, popular culture seems to indicate that this simply consists of an G36 AEG of the standard full barrel length with integrated bipod, a dual drum magazine, and integrated telescoping sight, standard to all G36 and K rifles. A heavier barrel is needed however, and since there are none in manufacture besides various fluted versions, some personal ingenuity is required.

IAR
As far as my knowledge is concerned, the IAR has yet to be adopted by the USMC or any other US Armed forces. A trend in the airsoft community appears after every episode of “Future Weapons”, where some of the younger, nave members of these forums assume that the weapons displayed on this show are already in use by the US military. This is not the case. Personally, it makes little sense to me why a group such as the USMC would want to take a reliable rifleman out of the picture and deploy him as a soldier carrying this IAR, whose purpose is to just further keep heads down. Any airsoft version of the IAR would have to be modified for sustained heavy fire. But there is a contradiction in this, the IAR is designed to fire from the standard M16 30rd detachable box mag. Your average AEG can fire off 30rds with little problem fairly quick with the appropriate (and inexpensive) electronics. Better wiring, a high voltage battery, a good motor, and even a MOSFET system can cause your typical M4 AEG to fire above 28-32bps. If this is the case, theoretically anyone could build themselves one of these rifles, and everyone on the field could become a support gunner. This is not how things work. The majority of armed forces deployed to fight are at heart, rifleman. This section also includes the M16 LSW/LMG.

My verdict on the IAR still stands, even if there is evidence of approval. However, organizers (as mentioned already) have the final say, not I. Therefore this merely serves as a tool to guide players and aid organizers.

-1/24/2011: I have read further into the IAR and the USMC decision to place a large order of these weapons from HK. Many military analysts believe that this move was motivated by the Marine Corps desire to upgrade from their standard M16/M4 weapons to something much more modern, reliable, and light weight without the political issues that the Army has encountered with weapon trials. The HK IAR (M27) variant fires closed bolt, just like any other M16 type weapon, however is fitted with a much more resilient BCG and barrel with the added benefits of the HK416 internal design. (For those of you who may not know, the 416 has a very efficient gas and heat management system, keeping the bolt nice and cool even under sustained fire.) It can sustain fire much longer than a standard Colt/FN M16. In Airsoft, there is no way to distinguish between this and a standard M4 on the field. In addition, staying true to the Corps emphasis on accurate controlled marksmanship, the IAR will still be issued with the standard STANAG 30rd detachable box mag, so boxmags become moot. So for simplicity sake, steer clear of the "IAR" role.

As with anything in the ever-changing world, the battle field will always be evolving as well. With smaller, faster and more precise units carrying out decisive warfare over large combat forces, the days of the heavy belt-fed support gun may come to a close in the not-so-distant future.


--------------------------------------

Any weapon that has been modified simply by adding a drum magazine and possibly a bipod is in no way, a support weapon. Although a player may be allowed to use such a gun at open or free style events, which emphasize more on bringing new players to the sport rather than enforcing Milsim habits, the same player most likely will not be able to use this gun at dedicated Milsim games. This includes, but is not limited to, slapping a box magazine on any M4, G36, Mp5, G3 or 33, AK, SCAR, whatever. Any individual may feel free to build whatever gun they please, it’s a free country mind you, but that does not guarantee you the right of use at a game intended to simulate the realities of real world conflict.
More information may be added to this article as time goes on.

UPDATE MARCH 26 2009: Will update with further classes soon.

Last edited by Spectre; 01-24-2011 at 09:49 PM. Reason: changing the L85A2-LSW to L86A2-LSW
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 02-07-2009, 05:15 PM
Mickey Mickey is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Sellersburg, Indiana
Posts: 8
Mickey is a Private
iTrader: (0)
The IAR is now intigrated as a Squad Automatic support weapon.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 02-13-2009, 09:18 PM
Hillslam's Avatar
Hillslam Hillslam is offline
Belt-fed doom
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,345
Hillslam is a Private First Class
iTrader: (1)
Colt got awarded a contract
http://www.defenselink.mil/contracts...ontractid=3928
but its not deployed yet.

I'd call it an option in 2010 when the airsoft makers create a replica. I personally wouldn't say anyone with an m16 can just call it an IAR and get the higher fps allowance. Also - its magazine fed, so forget the boxmags.
There are light (plastic) SAWs out there. And the AnK M249 and the Star M60 are both light.
__________________

Sooner or later, karma catches them all.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 02-13-2009, 11:08 PM
sticks's Avatar
sticks sticks is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: columbus
Posts: 129
Blog Entries: 1
sticks is a Private
iTrader: (2)
Hillslam, according to that link, H&K, Colt and FN(Herstal, was surprised it didn't go to the USA branch...) all got contracts to make an IAR.

Thats all, great article Spectre!

sticks
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 02-13-2009, 11:54 PM
Spectre's Avatar
Spectre Spectre is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: A land of superior apathy, also known as Cincinnati
Posts: 1,437
Blog Entries: 1
Spectre is a Private First Class
iTrader: (11)
As of this date 2009, my classifications still stand. All in all, it will be up to event organizers what is considered a SAW and what is not. I do not, in any way, dictate what they think is appropriate. If it becomes more widely accepted, then it will change.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 04-24-2009, 12:20 PM
slacker137's Avatar
slacker137 slacker137 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Space the final frontier
Posts: 73
slacker137 is a Private
iTrader: (0)
Spectre: If your talking about my 21e para project I'll try to send you some pics.

Also Don't forget the Aug LMG!!! That's one beautyful Gun!!!
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 04-25-2009, 11:32 AM
Dead_Pool's Avatar
Dead_Pool Dead_Pool is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: fredericktown, ohio
Posts: 318
Dead_Pool is a Private
Send a message via AIM to Dead_Pool Send a message via Yahoo to Dead_Pool
iTrader: (17)
On H&K's website the MG36 is shown in pictures and does not look any different than a G36E with the exception of the C-mag. http://hkpro.com/G36.htm
There is also reference to its use by the german KSK.
The MG36 should be permitted for use in milsim games.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 04-26-2009, 08:54 PM
Nova's Avatar
Nova Nova is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 36
Nova is a Private
iTrader: (0)
Would you recomend a S.A.W. for a 113lbs. 13 (soon to be 14)?
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 04-29-2009, 01:55 PM
slacker137's Avatar
slacker137 slacker137 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Space the final frontier
Posts: 73
slacker137 is a Private
iTrader: (0)
Support guns....Come on dude just throw bags of bb's at people
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 05-03-2009, 11:42 PM
gFawkes gFawkes is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 34
gFawkes is a Private
iTrader: (0)
Wasn't the SCAR developed to replace the m249? The thought process being that if they shrink the size of the weapon system into a M4/16 sized package the SAW gunner would be less of an obvious target to opfor while still performing the same duty effectively.

http://www.defensetech.org/archives/004458.html
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 05-12-2009, 10:14 PM
Spartan-120 Spartan-120 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 37
Spartan-120 is a Private
iTrader: (0)
The IAR is being fielded pretty much only to infantry units, where the SAW's size, bulk, weight, and unreliability are becoming a serious pain in the ***.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 06-06-2009, 08:28 AM
RedWing Morris's Avatar
RedWing Morris RedWing Morris is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 57
RedWing Morris is a Private
iTrader: (2)
well, maybe someone will produce an IAR in the near future as the marines will be fielding it extensively.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 11-18-2009, 09:13 PM
rolexwatch
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Look at watches.

Look at watches. Look at watches.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 05-12-2010, 02:10 PM
Teddy Bear's Avatar
Teddy Bear Teddy Bear is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: 1060 West Addison, Chicago IL.
Posts: 380
Teddy Bear is a Recruit Private
iTrader: (0)
L86A2 LSW :
I'm sure you just made a typo.
Yes thank you Spectre, The real steel dose use a Drum magazine people, it's not a COD thing, it's real.
__________________
Callsign --Teddy Bear
"The answer to 1984 is 1789" -Charlie November



When I grow old and tired, I want to move to Scotland to see the Penguins and live where the Palm Trees grow.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 01-24-2011, 09:49 PM
Spectre's Avatar
Spectre Spectre is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: A land of superior apathy, also known as Cincinnati
Posts: 1,437
Blog Entries: 1
Spectre is a Private First Class
iTrader: (11)
Updated 1/24/2011
__________________
Smile Back
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Tokyo Mauri VSR-10: Facts and Guide monkey_slap Bolt-Action and Spring gun discussion 40 12-02-2013 12:11 AM
FPS Limits based on Weapon Classes. nextmayor Airsoft Advancement and Scenario Discussion 84 12-04-2007 11:49 PM
Support Weapons Reaper General Discussion 58 11-09-2007 10:51 PM
Silenced Support Weapons WarWolf Electric Guns (AEG) 2 01-05-2006 12:54 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:15 AM.


Airsoft Guns, Tactical Gear, Military Gear, Ohio Airsoft Retailer

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2005 - 2009 Airsoft Ohio