A LITTLE WORD ABOUT AIRSOFT IN THE WORLD
Airsoft is some kind of joke for any serious military or firearms enthusiast, and for many good reasons. Airsoft ‘guns’ – even the most expensive ones – are nothing more than toys for kids, or movie props at best: unreliable, lightweight replicas, very cool to grab and shoot, but without any value for any serious shooting-range enthusiast. Airsoft ammunitions also lacks any marking system, so airsoft skirmishing should never be considered a real sport, but a game for ‘old aged kids’ trying to feel ‘inside movies’ or – in the worst ‘human cases’ – inside computer games.
THE ITALIAN AIRSOFT CHAMPIONSHIP
Despite that sad basic truths, Italy got crazy for airsoft and in a few years we found ‘our’ way to transform it in something REALLY serious. The most doesn’t know but here in Italy there is a well established (around 20 years) italian airsoft championship that solved the problem of the marking system using only one very smart rule. Teams DON’T play against each other (as in football, soccer, Formula One, etc) but fight against arbitrators. In simple words, arbitrators act as the ‘bad guys’ and set up the very same mission for every playing team, and the one that accomplish this very same mission better than any other, is the final winner of that event.
Each championship run is made by five events in two years and I personally play my region’s championship from more years than I want to admit to myself (fifteen…. Yep).
In the nineties – when the championship was still ‘young’ – the events were short and simple, they weren’t physical demanding and didn’t required any land navigation skill.
But year after year, the championship always got harder and harder, to the point that nowadays the average difficulty sounds crazy to the most.
The hardest events usually require players to march up to 60 kilometers in 30 hours, without any real pause to sleep and under ANY weather (rain, snow, etc).
No matter how tired, cold, wet, sleepy you are… You have to never give up with both mind and body, because when you are too tired/wet/cold/sleep, fighting well is much more difficult.
My team’s best result ever, was 28th on 260 teams from all Italy in 2009.
THE BLADEOPS STORY
What I am going to tell you didn’t happen during one of those hardcore championship events, but during a ‘movie inspired’ non-sporting event, mostly made to entertain people and without any final classification at all. Anyway, most players were coming from the local championship, and I finally had the pleasure to have the italian champions right on my side during a couple of missions (the ‘Blackhawks’ of Pastrengo, really funny guys I am a friend of from a long time).
Most of the fun of the event came from the fact that every player had his own fictional character and had to act accordingly, so to create a fictional, movie-like world.. So, here’s what happened.
My four men patrol was radio-ordered from headquarter to go on certain coordinates on the field, to check some ‘unknown movements’.
It was night, and when we reached the place, we found two relaxed, armed guardsmen talking aloud, as if they had nothing to do. Thinking they weren’t enemies and dangerous neither, we didn’t opened up fire and approached them peacefully, saying we were army regulars. They told us that they were guards of a nearby bank and that we kindly had to ‘back off’, which we did. We then hide back in the woods and radioed our headquarter who the guys were, and what they were doing.
“Stay in place, team 7” was the reply.
“We are going to give you a mission”
After a couple of minutes the orders arrived: we had to conquer the bank with ‘extreme prejudice’, but first we had to try to convince the two guards to simply go away.
Then I had an idea, so I offered myself to my team to talk again with the guards.
I pulled out my Cold Steel ‘leatherneck’ training (hard rubber) knife from its sheath, then I reverse gripped it, covering it with my wrist and forearm. Since the pockets of my woodland-BDU pants are very large, I also put half of it inside my pocket.
From the front point of view, it was invisible. My plan was to put my rifle on the ground and go to talk with the guards, but with the hidden knife at the ready. Then, I realized I was making a bad mistake.
My rifle has a three points sling and I was wearing it around my neck, so there was no way I could put my rifle down on the ground using one hand only. And using two, I would have surely exposed the knife in the pocket. So I took the sling out from my neck and hold the rifle with one hand only. When I was ready, my team mates hide themselves in the woods while I stayed in plain sight, waiting for the guards to return.
A couple of minutes later, they were back in place. This time they were silent and their rifle were at the ready. Anyway, seeing me on the open and right in front of them with the rifle pointed muzzle down, they thought I had no bad intentions.
“Can I talk with you again?” I said but they didn’t reply.
So I added: “I put my rifle down on the ground. You see? I leave it here and come to you”
“Okay then. Come here”
Seeing I left the rifle far away, the two guards relaxed a lot, and lowered their weapons from at-the-ready to down on their slings. I walked to them than I started to talk:
“The army told me to stay on guard in this sector but they didn’t talk me about any bank”
“Anyway, here there’s a bank for sure, and it’s our duty to watch it. Regular army or not, you can’t stay here”
“It probably is just a map misunderstanding, but we have a job to do. Can you please simply get away?”
“Of course we can’t. That’s a problem of yours, not ours”
“I don’t know how to say that to you guys. So I will put it plain and simple: you should really get the XXX away from here”
“We are not going anyway you stupid –
With a single movement, I slid my rubber knife under both the necks in front of me.
Cold Steel’s training rubber is quite hard, so for safety reasons I slid it a little lower than the real throats were and before the talking guard could end his phrase, everything was already over. A little while of silence followed up.
“I just slit both of your throats” I said.
“You did it for sure” said one guard.
“I don’t know if rubber knives are covered in our rules” said the other.
“As you wish – I said – but my team is hidden right behind you. You see? And they are ready to fire”
The guards turned themselves and saw the rest of my team coming out from the darkness of the nearby trees.
“It doesn’t matter – said one guard to the other -, I liked the way he did it and his acting too. Go on with your mission right now, guys. Time is clicking”
IN THE PHOTO:
Me just a few minutes before the events told here.
I wear a woodland BDU with an english ARKTIS ‘long range’ chest.
My airsoft weapons weapons were:
+ a PANTHER ARMS short barrel version of the M4
+ a WILSON COMBAT CQB (1911 clone in the inner holster of the ARKTIS, not visible)
+ a Cold Steel Leatherneck training knife (near the neck, barely visible)
+ an ATN NVM-14 night vision monocular
Find the Counter Point I here.
For the last three years of my life, I have carried as an EDC my Cold Steel Spartan. I have been in a love affair with this knife, serving in the military. But by far the best reactions I have ever gotten, pulling this rather large folder out of my pocket was one of my Sergeants saying ” Why in the world would you want to carry a sword around in your pocket?!” In which I replied I’m a little guy and I need a big knife.
This is my Cold Steel Ti-Lite. I own many knives that are far more extravagant looking, made of better materials, and carry a heavier price tag, but this knife is truly my favorite. It has not to do with its capabilities as a blade, or what utilitarian function it serves, but the memory of my dear friend Matt Smith, or as some in his battalion knew him as ” Lance Cpl. Mathew Smith”.
Matt was my good friend all through high school. We played football together, we fished together, we hunted together, we talked about guns and knives together. We were two peas in a pod. After we graduated high school, Matt immediately enlisted in the Marines. As a joke referring to a YouTuber known as ParkourDude91, I got Matt a Kabar knife with ” Semper Fi ” written on the side of it in silver sharpie marker. On the day that Matt left for his deployment, he gave me a Cold Steel Ti-Lite knowing how much I disliked Cold Steel. On May 10, 2003, Matt’s mother called me and told me something that I was not ready for. At the young age of 21, and only 8 days before returning home, Matt’s Humvee was involved in a non-hostile accident which took his life.
Other than the missing thumb stud, the knife is mint condition. I’m afraid to carry it, afraid to use it, afraid to lose or break the one thing I have left of Matt. I keep it on my desk along with a picture of him and I standing on the banks of Lake Erie right before we set out to go Walleye fishing.
Freedom isn’t free, and he will not be forgotten.
This wicked 4 and 1/2 inch, 4mm thick, Japanese AUS 8 steel blade, is modeled after the famous Spartan sword. This blade, depending on the year purchased, has either a bead blasted or stone washed finish with “Spartan” and “Cold Steel” laser engraved on opposing sides. As consistent with Cold Steel products, the HCR is between 58-60. The immense strength and cutting power behind this blade is rivaled by none.
The handle of this knife is ergonomically sound. It is a 6 inch grivory handle with steel liner inlays. it has been designed to aggressively stay in your hand, whether soaking wet or in a fight. This knife will not slip.
This knife has a quick deploy pocket catch which allows for consistent fast one-handed deployment of the knife. In addition, this knife has a reversible pocket clip so that it can be carried either right handed or left handed. The Spartan has been gifted with Cold Steel’s coveted Triad lock. This lock has been field tested and proven multiple times to be the strongest most reliable lock. This knife is essential in anyone’s arsenal. Whether you use it for combat, survival, or even just as an everyday carry, this knife will not fail you.
The Cold Steel XL Talwar knife derives its shape and style from the curved south Asian sword that shares the name. The talwar originated in the Persian and Indian confluence area alongside other curved swords such as the saif, the shamshir, the kilij and the pulwar. The British Pattern 1796 light cavalry sabre even takes many of its cues from the talwar.
A classic talwar has a wider blade than a shamshir. It also does not have the expanded false edge that a kilij has. The classic talwar sword featured a pommel disc that was quite large. Below the pommel, there was often a sharp spike. At the top of the handle there was traditionally a knuckle bow. A knuckle bow is the part of the hilt on some swords which extends down to cover the fingers. The combination of the knuckle bow and the pommel disc created a tight area for the hand grip.
Because the talwar had a fairly cramped grip, it was difficult to use in traditional sword fighting. Instead it was used as a piercing weapon and did have some utility when used to make draw cuts.
The Cold Steel Talwar takes the blade shape cues of a classic talwar and resolves the somewhat limited functionality of the talwar’s cramped grip by giving you one of the most generous handles I have ever seen on a knife. In fact, the design of the Cold Steel Talwar actually allows you to use it as a hand and a half knife if you so desire.
The Japanese AUS 8A stainless steel blade features a continuously curved cutting edge from the tip all the way to the choil. The blade has a full flat grind and a fully serrated edge. To open, you use the ambidextrous thumb plate designed by Andrew Demko. This plate, with practice, can be used to open the blade with a draw snag movement as you remove the knife from your pocket.
The blade locks open with the Tri-Ad® lock. Cold Steel which claims to make the strongest and safest folders in the world, created the Tri-Ad lock to further back their claim to safety. The Tri-Ad uses a stop pin which distributes both vertical positive and negative pressures. It takes these pressures and transfers them into the liners that protect the rocker. The blade is designed with a shoulder which fits around the stop pin. This increases the system’s resistance to wear. When the blade is opened completely, the full surface of the lock and the blade tang mate up flush. Because the lock has a slight angle, any force on the blade actually creates a stronger lock up instead of loosening the lock up. It is an ingenious and effective locking system which will take an incredible amount of abuse and continue to perform without fail.
The handle on the XL Talwar is two 7 1/4″ G10 slabs with heavy texture. A series of finger grooves sit along the curved interior edge of the handle. You can hold the knife choked up to the very front for controlled cuts, you can hold it set back for slashing cuts and you can actually hold this with two hands for maximum control and force in your cut. A series of heavy duty jimping lines runs on the spine from the blade down to where the Tri-Ad lock sits.
Comes with a right/left reversible tip up pocket clip.
This is a great, heavy duty, big knife. If you want the big one, you can find the Cold Steel 21TTXLS on our site here. If you like the knife, but would prefer it a bit smaller, you can find all of Cold Steel’s Talwar knives here on our website. Let me know what you think of yours below.
- Item Number: 21TTXLS
- Name: Talwar – Combo Edge 5 1/2″
- Blade Length: 5 1/2″
- Blade Thickness: 4 mm
- Overall Length: 12 3/4″
- Steel: Japanese Aus 8A Stainless
- Weight: 8.4 oz
- Handle: 7 1/4″ G-10
- Pocket Clip: Ambidextrous Pocket / Belt Clip
- Suggested Retail Price: $184.99
The Cold Steel XL Talwar knife takes inspiration from the traditional, razor sharp, curved blade Indo-Persian sword of the same name. This model, 21TTXLS, features a 5.5″ combo edge blade. Flat ground with a continuously curved cutting edge from the upswept tip all the way to the choil, the Cold Steel Talwar gives cutting and piercing power unheard of in a folding knife. The handle is American G-10 textured and contoured into a pistol grip style for comfort and safety. Add in the industry leading Tri-Ad® lock and you have a knife to be reckoned with. It also has Andrew Demko’s ambidextrous thumb plate that allows you to draw-snag the knife as you pull it from your pocket–the power of the Talwar at the speed of lightning
Check out these great Voyager knives from Cold Steel.
This video gives you a nice review and comparison of several of Cold Steel’s push knives. You can find the entire line here.