|Creation date||July 11, 2013|
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In recent months, the milsim/airsoft community, including this blog, have struggled to define MilSim. What is MilSim? Are you MilSim enough? You get the idea, they’ve been tag lines and has tags in every aspect of social media lately. Last weekend, I attend the 6th Annual 6mm Sniper Competition at Gunny’s Warfare Center in North Carolina, and met a completely new group of teams that I had never met before. Surely, I thought, this will help me define MilSim much more accurately from an all new perspective.
That weekend was a defining moment for this local community, and a realization for myself. While so many focus on defining MilSim by the equipment they don, the replica rifles they piece together, or the military style tactics they use on the field, this local NC community really hit the proverbial nail on the head for me.
Last year, a member of the Raptor 1 MilSim family was killed while serving with the US Marines in Afghanistan, just days before completing his tour. He was excited to come home and introduce his son to the airsoft community.
Troy & Chele telling the story of the fallen Marine.[/caption]To honor his memory, and help introduce his son into the world of airsoft, members of Raptor 1 approached their retail sponsor, Stampede Airsoft out of New Port Richey, Florida. What followed was nothing sort of epic. While the story of how it happened might be best for a separate blog post, the results were this: Stampede Airsoft traveled to Gunny’s Warfare center to present the prototype version of a Knight’s Armament M110 by ARES/zShot.
This one of a kind AEG, fully licensed and signed by a member of the Knight’s family, is a replica of the same weapon the fallen marine used, and was known for, while in Afghanistan.
While many out there would suspect that a retailer might get in on this as a way to publicize their small, up and coming store, all evidence of the contrary were displayed when store owners Troy and Chele presented the gun to the Raptor 1 team. It was evident by their cracked, solemn voices that this was a personal mission, and honor for them.
It was an honor for me as well, to be there for such an awesome presentation. For a firearms company to license to an airsoft company, to create a prototype AEG to be donated for a single reason is truly moving. The dedication of Stampede Airsoft to make it happen in time, and for the Raptor 1 guys to be so dedicated to their extended family and their family is staggering.
What is MilSim? It’s a game. It’s a hobby. It’s not a life style. The number of national ops we attend will not be read out at our funerals, nor will our kill to killed ratio be displayed in our obituary. What will be remembered is the bond we form with those whom we share this great hobby with. The bond will carry on to outside of the playing field.
The camaraderie shared by competitors at the sniper competition was a breath of fresh air in a month full of negative airsoft drama. Some of the best memories that I will take away from that weekend weren’t even about airsoft, but were created because airsoft had brought me there. Just like being able to honor a fallen Marine, whom which I would have otherwise not have had the privileged of knowing his story.
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