Contrary to opinion and what you see on your socials a major show is not all celeb glad-handing and after-parties… if you’re doing it right then trade shows are actually grueling marathons where yo’ll be putting in (quite literally!) the extra mile in search of those things both large and small that makes up the treasure-horde of new products to report on!

After DAY 3, the AA Crew are still covering ground and taking names, as they dig in to “get work done”… Boycie tells all…

After three days now roaming the floor and having meetings, our hips and feet are certainly reminding us of what we’ve done in the day… thankfully we all brought pain killers! Today was another day of meetings and checking out products that caught our eye. There have been a load of new accessories and airsoft products, too many to mention in this report, so watch out for the main report in Airsoft Action 159 next month!

After our usual breakfast in the Press Room, where we coordinated our plans, Dan, Lil Stu and myself headed down to the Law Enforcement hall, where Steve joined us shortly after. Our first stop was at the ALTAMA boot stand where we saw the great slip-on boot in the form of the Alpha Freedom Hands Free. This boot, once laced up and fitted properly can be put on and taken off without unlacing which is a huge benefit for those who need to put their boots on quickly… like me when I’m late for work! We were all impressed with how comfortable they were for a slip-on boot and the grip was brilliant, even on a slippery surface.

After leaving ALTAMA we went to check out what new products were on the FIRST TACTICAL booth. We saw here the new Defender V2 Shirt which is made from a slightly different material and comes in a little cheaper than the normal Defender shirt. After talking to Troy on the stand, I asked if our old mate Cory was around so that I could say hello again after meeting up with him last year. Cory is the gent who designs most of the FIRST TACTICAL products and who designed the Slash & Flash Glove which saved my hand when a flash bang went off early and caused an injury to my hand. It would have been so much worse if I hadn’t been wearing appropriate gloves… there’s a lesson when using pyro! Cory was pleased to meet up with myself and Lil Stu again and we introduced him to Dan and Steve. As Cory only had a few minutes between meetings we bid him farewell and carried on with the day.

Time for a brew, and we decided to go down to the lower level coffee stand to get a drink and plan the day up till lunchtime. We decided to go over to the Caesars Forum and check out as many stands as we could. Walking into one hall we went straight to the KWA stand where we saw the new ATP-Z GT and the chassis kit which will be available separately around mid to late Q2 (May-June). Also this was the second chance for Li’l Stu to get his dabs on the Lithgow F90 AUG which we saw last year when it was debuted and have featured in the magazine this month. Whilst at their stand we introduced fellow SMG member Shaun and Tyler from Red Dirt Firearms to the KWA products that could be used for training. Needless to say they were both quite impressed with the performance of the replicas, especially the LM4D. Shortly before we left the stand we met with Debbie Hu, the General Manager of the USA part of KWA. Also at the stand was Mr Hu, the owner of KWA and Woody, Debbie’s brother.

For the rest of the morning and into early afternoon we perused the other stands in two of the Caesars halls, before making our way back to the Venetian L2. It’s here that we met with Bill’s main man and old friend Ray from VFC, had a look at some products and a good chat about airsoft replicas. He also mentioned his good friend and our fellow Airsoft Action colleague Stewbacca and some of the experiences they all shared in Taiwan. Once we’d had some photos taken, Ray then had to go to another meeting so we decided to go off in the hunt for more new and interesting products.


Stand out products of the day; today Steve leads off! “Our visit to the KWA stand was an opportunity to get my hands on the LM4D GBBR and the ATP-Z pistol. I really liked the handling of the rifle and the recoil impulse of the semi auto and full auto operation felt almost like the real steel rifle I shot on Industry Day at The Range. What took me by surprise was the realism of the pistol, more so than the rifle. The blow back action of the ATP-Z felt similar to that of the .22WMR Walther pistol I used on the range.

My accessory of the day was the FIRST TACTICAL RECOIL RANGE BAG. As much as I try, I usually end up taking far more gear to the range that I would use and this bag provides ample room to support that habit. I really liked the pull out centres which allow for organising the gear and one of the pockets has an oil proof coating to provide a place for basic field maintenance, whilst also having raised edges to stop those pesky small parts from rolling away.

I also have to make special mention of the KWA “Street Smarts” VR System. This VR system offers both pistol and rifle support which allows the user to perform a multitude of drills and take part in virtual tactical scenarios. It provides feedback and telemetry which then allows you to hone your skills using a small space of a minimum of 20 feet by 20 feet (around 6m square). Whilst not cheap at around us$25,000 this will become a valuable training tool for a number of agencies and possibly airsoft sites and fields.”

Next up Dan brought us his thoughts for the day; “I did like the chassis kits for the ATP SERIES. They would be great fun at a CQB site. I’m not sure yet if the first ATP-LE Slide will be compatible but definitely the ATP-Z and ATP-GT will be, with each getting their own chassis kit.

For my product of the day, this was quite a hard choice but I settled on the VANTAC DIRECT ACCESS DEFENSE SYSTEM (DADS). The system allows the user to adjust the length of the stock by a simple button whilst still in the shoulder. I also like that you could change the eye relief quickly and easily without having to take your eyes off the target.”

Lil Stu, who’s feet are certainly reminding him of the distance we are walking each day said; “the ALTAMA boots are lightweight, comfortable and ridiculously easy to put on and take off. They are almost like wearing a pair of comfy slippers. A great feature was the Velcro ™ hook and loop which kept the tongue in place. The whole notion of slip on boots, for me is so stupid but brilliant! I’m yet to see how they fair over time but Trampas has been wearing a pair for almost a year now and was the one who recommended that we go and check them out.

My favourite product of the day was the ZEV CUSTOM GLOCK. Whilst being 9mm and not airsoft, I am sure that it won’t be long until we see a replica on the market. I’m not normally a fan of aluminium framed pistols but in this instance the frame, finish and handling were fantastic. The trigger was very, very nice and the colour was sublime.”

For me, my choices were the PRIMARY ARMS OPTICS sights which have great glass and give a really clear sight picture. I was also impressed by the pricing of some; I had imagined that one scope that I was quite taken with would be north of UK£1,000 was in fact around UK£500!

Airsoft-wise, and contrary to my usual tastes, I really liked the UMAREX/ELITE FORCE GLOCK 42, which is a fully licensed replica of the .380 compact pistol, OEM’d by VFC.

Well that rounds off a really long and tiring day for us all; time now for dinner and a well-deserved adult beverage before we launch into the final day of SHOT ’24!