Sanko Sannomiya – 1st October 2001
650-0021 Kobe, Chuo-ku, Sannomiya Machi 2-11-1 Centre Plaza West, 2nd Floor.
Tel: (078) 334-0114   FAX: (078) 334-0148

by Darren-Jon Ashmore (

It occurred to me recently that, while First Factory were perhaps the all round number one airsoft shop in Japan, I was still shoveling lots of money down other places on a weekly basis and that – especially as some of these types are a shade more willing to do international mail orders – it might be worthwhile having a glance over at some of them. So we continue this irregular series with my local shop Sanko Sannomiya.

You'll never see a shop like this anywhere in the UK - Arnie

Open now for 12 years and sporting 2 outlets (within 200 yards of each other), the shop sells airsoft products, model guns, security equipment and anime related toys[1].

The shops are run by a small number of specialists and fans such as:
Young Fred[2] – who is the shop’s AEG meister and Bolt Action god.
Shin-ichi Ito – who is the Director of the company, the gas gun guru and the man who designs Sanko’s range of original custom parts[3].
Kozo Orino – who is the old man of the shop and an expert on general militaria – badges, uniforms, webbing and the like.

Young Fred Shin-ichi Ito Kozo Orino
Young Fred
Shin-ichi Ito
Kozo Orino

The shop sells the products of all the major manufacturers – and can order anything they don’t habitually stock – but, the downside is that they sell everything at RRP. However, they do offer free airsmithing on any gun bought from them (service, upgrades, cleaning, repair etc.). However, where the shop really comes into its own is their second-hand/classic guns section.

Shin-ichi Ito's own range of original custom Wilson Slides

What with all the shops and suppliers around the Kinki/Kansai region (South central Japan – Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Himeji, Otsu, Awaji and the like) prices on even the most esoteric items can be pretty low. Mind you I will let Young Fred tell it in his own (translated) words in the interview we did – please note, note that an eccentricities in Fred’s “voice” are the result of my own translation, as in normal life he does not sound such a twonk!..
Fred “It seems that the further North you go, the more unreasonable shops become in their pricing on classic pieces. Take that Asahi MP40 you bought a few weeks back. 23,000 yen was no more or less than its worth without a box, but even boxed and new we would not have sold it for more than 35,000 yen (Much more than 40,000 yen and we would be thought of as trying to swindle people and more than 50,000 yen would just be, what does Ash call it ‘just rude’). I can understand high prices in the US or UK, but in Japan I can’t work it out – unless it is down to seeing an opportunity presented by lack of choice in the sticks.”.
Darren “Are you saying that some retailers can be a shade, shall we say unscrupulous?”
Fred “Well, lets think about Indian upstairs for a moment. What was the price he quoted you on that Glock 18c carbine set up you mentioned a while back?”
Darren “52,800 yen”
Fred “He quoted 32,800 yen to my sister when she called in recently – and that wasn’t just because she is related to trade; he doesn’t know her”
Darren“It would explain the lack of prices on certain things. So that Maverick won’t really be worth 60,000 yen I’ll bet”
Fred “30,000 yen at worst – and that if it is totally minty fresh”
Darren“Bloomin racist! (laughs)”
Fred “Not racist (laughs) – probably; just, despite my deep feelings on the subject, looking to take advantage of the all too many ill informed idiots out there – and there are plenty of Japanese mugs as well as foreign types for people like him to pick on I can tell you.”
Darren“But I wonder about the way in which all these classic guns are viewed here. Half the country seems to think the sun shines out of their receiver and the other half would not use them to clean the streets with. I wonder if that affects the price at all?”
Fred “Right in one. And actually that’s how we get our products so cheaply. Your MP40 came to us from Niigata with some other bits and that MG34 you took came out of wilds of Shikoku where support for such guns is limited[4]. But what people actually think about classic guns is a little strange. You get the die hard fans who wont admit to anything else, but the truth is they are often just whistling in the dark as, when it comes to the really old stuff – speaking as an airsmith – it is often terrible.”
Darren“So you are saying half my collection is overrated? To my face? I ought to bounce you on your head a few times for that (laughs)”. But you are not banging the build of these things are you. You’ve seen the innards on the MG34. She’s a work of art!
Fred “Truth to tell is that external air guns are mechanically more than a match for the machine quality of the average AEG – like the boss always says, Rolls Royce Vs Ford – but I in a game environment the AEGs are so much easier to use. Most of the players in Japan are gonzo gamers with a need for a simple, expendable and cheap system which wont require too much to keep in the field. It doesn’t matter that the things, like a modern Ford car, have a restricted lifespan built into them – even with care they are designed to fail– because they are so cheap to repair (or even replace when they do go down).”
Darren“The gears being the main issue.”
Fred “Yes. We’ve been working on AEGs now since they popped up in the dawn of the 90s and the same problems have persisted all down the line. Actually though that is not quite true. The very first FAMAS guns did not include such shoddy gears (I’ve still got one) but with the introduction of the Second Gen box the quality of the metal (laughs) took something of a nosedive.”
Darren“Why does the problem of stripping occur in the first place?”
Fred “Abrasive build up. Each and every time you pull the trigger metal flakes away from the teeth and builds up in the grease. As it builds up, the abrasion rate rises and so it goes up in an ever increasing spiral till the teeth on one gear can’t cope and then the whole lot tends to break down. And this is only increased if you are a semi auto nutcase”
Darren“Why is that then?”
Fred “A break lever drops into place on one of the gears to stop it dead after a full cycle. Now think about it. This gear is whipping round at full speed and suddenly…..bang On  new gears not a real problem, but on a worn one…..well……”
Darren“And this is why you, and First and Mugen and all the other custom shops recommend the fibre or steel gears even if a power upgrade is not being considered?”
Fred “They may be a little more than a replacement Marui gearset, but they will last many times longer. Mind you a good player who knows how to crack a box without wrecking it can readily enhance the standard gear life by regular cleaning and re-greasing.”.
Darren“On the subject of upgrades, for new British players looking to upgrade a gun what would your advise be, considering your experiences?”
Fred “Hmmh…..what with the odd limits on velocities, I would say the One joule Systema package with high speed gears. It keeps the gun just under 100 MPS and provides a tough set of internals. The most important feature for me with this set up is that the spring is not that tough and wont put undue pressure on the box or the gears – indeed, with a Systema set up at one joule there is considerably less stress being placed on the gears than with a standard spring on a standard Marui setup.”
Darren“But if you don’t want to go for a full upgrade – 100 pounds is not cheap – is there anything you can do without compromising the structural integrity of the gun?”
Fred “First off some don’ts. Never upgrade the spring without doing the gears. I’ve seen too many wrecked boxes which have been blown up that way – even with the old 90 spring (now replaced with the 1 joule spring). If you want cheap power, go ahead, but you will cut the lifespan of the gun down. But as for non threatening upgrades, an airless nozzle should be your first stop – an extra 4-5 MPS for nothing. A tighter barrel will also up range slightly (but this is really a thing for an up-rated gun and you wont see the best out of it unless you are running at least 1 joule). Oh, another don’t; steer clear of upgraded batteries in standard guns – a simple thing and one which you think would not need saying, but yesterday we had a chap in here who had been running a 13 volt Systema battery in a standard SR16 and wondered why he had no teeth left on his gears – at all. Then you could do the piston itself – but with the cost of that you might as well do the gears too……”
Darren“But what about things like the bushings, the gearbox itself, or the motor even?”
Fred “There are merits to all of these things and each will enhance the life of a gun, but for such low velocities they are not needed – all this was designed to take a full auto gun up to the 2 joule mark which using in the UK would just get the sport a bad name, as well as you into serious bother with Mr. Policeman – I think 2 joule full autos are a bad thing here – when an M16 can outshoot a Sniper then…………”
Darren“The logical structure of the game goes bye bye! Anyway back to Asahi after that aside, we were talking about the relative build qualities of AEGs and Airguns – their market demographics if you will – and I am of the opinion that companies like Asahi never produced for the gonzos so why did they close if they knew their market and supplied just enough guns to fill it.”
Fred “But the development costs on their guns were too high for their sales, which meant their margins were low – I once had the figures to hand, It think it was 4% overall net profit on a gun run, though that does seem unusually low and I may well have it wrong.”
Darren “Then there was the M40/M700 business”
Fred “Not the last nail in the coffin as many think, but a very large one to be sure. Fact is that even their target demographic had started going over to AEGs in 1994 with the introduction of the first reliable aftermarket box upgrades. It is sad to think Asahi guns are so sought after now when at the time, we could not shift the things for love nor money. But the worst thing is that they have been reduced to upgrading APSIIs and running out AEG conversions of their old FNC (mind you I think PDI have the right of it in they way they have been marketing their Dragunov, which isn’t all that bad a gun)”.
Darren“Understatement of the bloomin century! I’ve only played with Taeko’s first version myself, but I hear the second is a clear improvement. Mind you the law here is more sensitive to that sort of gun than it would be in the UK”
Fred “I know. You are really ****** aren’t you, and I’ll take that off her hands if she’s offering. How is she by the way; we heard about the crash and why she was selling her big toys. Not that I am trying to take advantage…”
Darren: “I could bleed this…… No. She’s fine, but she’s not selling the Dragunov. She was only selling the things she never used. Which reminds me, thanks for running them out as sales through the shop – We’d never as got as good a price without your help”
Fred: “Well, not that we didn’t make a pile out of it, but you are quite welcome. But back to velocities in the UK for a moment; you really do need a legal definition setting for airsoft guns rather than having them halfway between toys and real airguns. Maybe it is just as well though, or you would have the situation there we had here a few years ago, with sniper warfare ruining games left right and centre”.
Darren“I was in on the beginning of that in 96 – when I owned little better than a Toytech P90 and a PDW (laughs) – and it forced me out of the game for a while because I could not afford to either buy a tooled up sniper or upgrade my PDW to take them on”
Fred “2 joule upgrades for the MP5 series not the most common things eh? Eh? (laughs)”
Darren “It was a nightmare though – all the fault of that bloomin PSG1 – though it did not take long for sites, at least around here, to start setting reasonable limits on guns if I remember rightly”
Fred “It was the only way to go. With our site, our boss just looked round the field one day and, having seen 20 plus snipers and the rest armed with AEGs pumped up as far as they could go to cope with the bolters and PSG1s, he simply said ‘stock for pistols, shotties and SMGs. 1.5 joules on Assault rifles, 2 joules on target guns, sniper systems and heavy support weapons. 2 snipers per team, 2 x 2 joule heavy weapons per team’”
Darren “Logical”
Fred “it pleased everyone. The snipers (snooty little buggers the lot of them – us too) were happy because their clique fell back to the core members – indeed it contracted even as sites more often than not placed very strict team limits on sniping systems. The main players were happier because they could run reasonably priced guns and still play effectively. And the heavy weapons fans were ecstatic, because there was a reason to own an M60 or M249 again (laughs)”
Darren “You’ve never been too keen on the TOP M60 have you? (laughs)”
Fred “Er, I have no official opinion on that gun till we have sold our last DX, but on an informal level if the gods had meant us to use bellows in an AEG, blacksmiths would be having much more fun stoking their furnaces by now. Hardly TOP’s fault though”
Darren “A dig at Marui coming up”?
Fred “Not a big one – you can hardly blame them for wanting to protect the innovation they came up with – and before you start whining, the mechbox DID improve game play here no end so shut it fatboy! (laughs). But, their license fee for using the thing was, maybe a shade too unreasonable and so………”
Darren “Yeah. But whatever the reason, looks like we are not getting the same in the new M249”
Fred “Indeed. Bought a license or the Patent expired – I dunno, but she looks sweet as a nut inside.”
Darren “Still not having one then?”
Fred “Customers first, but you know its not my scene.”
Darren “(groan) I forgot about your little pecadilos Hauptman Steiner.”
Fred “Bl**dy gaijin! (laughs)”
Darren “I have to admit I have a soft spot for WWII hardware myself, but there is so little of it (well, of any consequence) – and we have this much chance of see Marui’s MP40 before the Second Coming with the overall failure of the Thompson”
Fred “Sad but true, still it has rather started shifting our Asahi MP40s – well, shifted.”
Darren “Gone but not forgotten.”
Fred “Until next month…… maybe (grins)”
Darren “We are not worthy. Speaking of which don’t forget that Ash wants one of those as do I.”
Fred “What are you talking about? Bloomin weirdo! Still Ash wants a cheap one I take it and why do you want another?”
Darren “Taeko’s Christmas Prezzie! Though I want one boxed”
Fred “Ash gets first shout. I still can’t credit the crap he gets to work (mind you most Japanese players/collectors don’t have the patience to go fiddling about with old gas shooters)”
Spot the KG9 bottom left
"Guns.. we're going to need lots of guns"
Darren “but a Maruzen GBB KG9 for 5,000 yen”
Fred “But where are you going to get mags? Or where is Ash? Mind you that isn’t the point is it. Makes a fine collector’s piece and scares the hell out of newbies. Which reminds me you still want a Bushmaster?”
Darren “Does a bear crap in the woods?”
Fred “Yes or no, you bloomin Sophist!”
Darren “Yes. You got one then”
Fred “No, but a customer has a few he is shifting to bring his stock back to a reasonable level, meaning fifty units”
Darren “Trader?”
Fred “No. Collector”
Darren “Get bent!”
Fred “You can talk to him yourself, he’s behind you! Mr. Sakamoto, this is the one”
Sakamoto “Hello. Eisai Sakamoto. Nice to meet you."
Darren “And you.”
Sakamoto "I hear you want a Bushmaster. Which type? New? Boxed? Extra mags?”
Darren “New, Full Green Furny version, Boxed and with as many mags as you can spare”
Sakamoto “Boxed gun. 6 mags, sling and a piped up Bull01 tank. 55,000 yen cash”
Darren “Sold. She’ll run on Co2?”
Darren “By the way, young Fred here tells me you have one or two more lying around”
Fred “Me”
Sakamoto“True enough. I have 3 more for sale”
Darren “I meant at home, in the collection”.
Sakamoto“Ah. Yes. Fifty – not counting the sale ones – of all types.”
Darren “One has to ask why?”
Sakamoto“Why not? They make good wallpaper”
Fred “Make him sick. Tell him about the real toys"
"Guns.. we're going to need lots of guns"
"Guns.. we're going to need lots of guns"
Sakamoto “Holding onto something are we? Right. 26 Asahi MG34s. 3 Asahi (censored)A1s. 2 Asahi (censored)700s. 13 Asahi M249s. 42 Asahi FNCs – mix of all types. 27 M60s – a variety of TOP and old Asahi’s. 21 Falcon Toys AK47s. 15 Falcon Toys Spectres. 15 Asahi FN FALS (all conversions). 3 Asahi M134a Miniguns (One professionally chromed) – for sale actually.”
Fred “These are the ones we are selling – if your friend is still interested”
Darren “Stop. Stop right there. I’ve had enough. I have to ask why once more?”
Sakamoto“It started as an attempt to run a mail order company, but ended as a genuine medical compulsion of which I am thankfully cured. Still, even in the deepest days I barely felt the loss of the money”
Fred “Mr. Sakamoto was a land agent in the Boom of the 1980s. Made quite a bit”
Sakamoto “I was selling hundreds of acres of downtown Tokyo land at a time open soil was selling for upwards of 200,000 pounds sterling per square metre. It didn’t last long but I sold as much as I could while I could”
Darren “So what do you do now?”
Sakamoto“Shop. Eat. Watch movies and buy guns.”
Darren “So, how much for a few tasty toys”
Sakamoto“Only the Bushmasters for sale I am afraid”
Fred “I’ve been trying for his MG42 for years”
Darren “You’ve got an MG42? Don’t try and tell me that’s an Asahi (laughs)”
Sakamoto“She’s real steel, 1945 on her manufacturing plate, which has been gutted and filled out with Asahi MG34 internals”
Darren “You Butchered an MG34?”
Sakamoto“I ended up using two.”
Darren “NoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOo!!!!!!!!!!”
Sakamoto“I know what you mean. I’d have been better off leaving it alone as a deact  -I never use it anyway, so why ruin it – and 2 other perfectly good guns. But that was when I was still “influenced”. It got pretty hairy at times”
Fred “In the end none of the local shops would supply him”
Sakamoto“I had to got to Osaka and even to Tokyo to find these things in the end. By then good Ext Airguns were getting scarce”
Fred “Only because you bought them all. I can still remember when the Asahi rep went to your house – priceless it was”
Darren “Hmmh”
Sakamoto“He cried. Apparently I had more Asahi guns than Asahi did even then. Now…..Well….. You and Young Fred is it? have more Asahi guns than they do I think”.
Darren “You’re taking the Mick. This isn’t real. Where’s the camera?”
Sakamoto“No joke. Honest”
Darren “I can’t believe it. If it were true it would destroy all my faith in the Gods of my Fathers!”
Sakamoto“Get ready to join Yanagita Kunio in that regard then because it is no lie; as you will see when the New Year party rolls round – and before you try anything, I know ALL my guns”
Darren “(singing in English) A million misers everyday open a can of beans and say – “There’s one missing!”.”
Sakamoto“he’s mad”
Fred “Told you so. Not as mad as his friend who only buys broken guns though”
Sakamoto“he bought my Kokusai M16 though. That wasn’t broken (though I thought the Sensei was having that). ”
Fred “This one got to it first. And it was broken by the time he finished with it; if Ash can be believed”
Darren (sulks)
Sakamoto“Hold on. Is this the one who won the ASCS Custom gun contest with that Dicky-Dicky Bang Bang gun? Hilarious I thought. Lovely looking thing though, in fact I think I’ll have one of what he had “Fred”. Can you whip her up from stock?”
Fred “If Darren will write down the parts I will do it today – it was pricey though……what am I saying? (laughs)”
Darren “OK” (and for the UK softers with a wedge to spend - Ed).

Nauty's personal cannon
ooh.. it's lovely. Nauty's personal cannon



Marui SR16.
Systema or Den Metal body (my Systema was not at ASCS so……and anyway I’d recommend the Den receiver any old day).
Systema mechbox and Full tune up kit – with one joule spring and High Speed gears. Tightbore barrel.
Metal Outer Barrel (Re-enforcing bolt on receiver needs modding to fit with RIS).
Freedom Arts Sebone rail.
First Knight’s silencer and integral adaptor.
Right Sniper Stock for M16.
Den Trinity / Z-Shot Trigicon Scope copy.
JRC M37 Ithaca Shotty “predator”.
Den Trinity motorized C-mag
2 x Systema 10.6V batteries.

Fred (bashing keys) “About 213,000 yen in total. We can build it from stock in a few hours – after lunch when it gets quiet. It would be cheaper to get the Den parts from them. But what do you care?”
Sakamoto“Here and now is even better than 3 days down the line”
Darren “Not my first disciple either”
Fred “I don’t know. It’s the thin end of the wedge.”
Sakamoto“Gaijin teams at ASCS. Winning competitions and getting fourth place and all that. Its been the talk of the Osaka softing community since it happened. Well I will see you later. Don’t forget Moteki-san, I’ll pick her up around 7pm.”
Fred “Thank you. Goodbye”
Darren “Ciao!”
(Sakamoto exits)
Darren “Come on admit it. This is a giant wind up. I’m naïve, but not that dense.”
Fred “Look. Its not a wind up and, I will tell you what, if we turn up to the house on New Year’s Eve and there are no guns waiting there I will, what do you call it, “Show my arse at the Vatican”! (laughs)”
Darren “Chubby Brown strikes Japan!”
Fred “Not him again! Who is he and why do your English friends deify him so much?”
Darren “He’s our household god of fermentation (laughs)”
Fred “Bloomin Heathens!”
Darren “Thank you (grins)”
Fred “You want to give me a hand with Sakamoto-Onisan’s Stoner?”
Darren “Go on then. Anyway while we are on the subject of AEGs what let’s talk about scopes. I mean do they really do any good out in the field?”
Fred “You seem to think so, or you would not have….”
Darren “I bought the Trigicon as a cosmetic touch really. She sits too far forward and has too small an aperture to use in the heat of things – I mainly use the iron sights on the top – unless I am sniping.”
Fred “You put that on your M40? Heretic”
Darren “That’s what made me ask the question. I mean this is a small scope good for about 80 meters tops, but she’s more than enough for me and it made me wonder if all these 3-9x50 rifles scopes people shell out for are really worth it?”
Fred “Another newbie question eh? Well, for an AEG like an M16 I’d be willing to say that a scope is a waste of good money, but a cheap read dot site – like the new Maruzen job (4,800 yen) is the thing you need. They work for medium range sniping, general engagement and even in CQB to a degree. However for sniping I really don’t think you need any more than a simple 4x40 – even for spotting. All these big hunting scopes people bolt on are style things which don’t have any real game effect.”
Darren “So, the best value for money AEG scope in your opinion is?”
Fred “Either the Walther Red Dot or the new Maruzen”
Darren “And for Snipers?”
Fred “The Aimmaster 4x40. Or – dare I say it – the Marui Proscope. With the Aimmaster just out in front for the sunshroud you get with it! Mind you, you can buy some marvelous, cheap scopes in the UK – much better and cheaper than you can get them here, so the best solution is to try the local gunshop first – if there are any left……”
Darren “What about night vision equipment. Torch or nightscope?”
Fred “Both if you can afford it. Torches are essential, but only so long as you are sure they wont draw fire – but there are ways of minimizing that risk as you know. What with the recent level 3/4 developments, basic level 2 night vision gear is very cheap these days. But stay away of level 1 passives – they’ll get damaged if someone shines a good torch directly on them – as happened to mine. The cheapest way to do things is to buy a spotting Nightscope/monocular and use is in conjunction with a one handed weapon from ambush. Next up the scale we have those lovely monocular jobs which have been retrofitted with adjustable weaver rails and cross hairs by companies like First. Then we have genuine night scopes for rifles – passive is better, but that old active IR system on your M1 carbine looks very nice (if heavy). Finally we have the head mounted systems – which are good for CQB but make it nigh on impossible to use a rifle properly.”
Darren “One of Taeko’s friend uses a system like that and a laser on her AK. Just flashes the laser on long enough to set up the fire stream and then hoses them down. Then scarpers, sharpish”
Fred “That’s the way to do it!”
Darren “But what about lasers. I know their sale here is a little dodgey, but owning them is fine so ……..”
Fred “I think they are essential in CQB – indoor anyway. The only downside is that if everyone has one you can get confused, but that is not a real problem once you learn to read the pattern of your own movements”
Darren “Best buy?”
Fred “Beamford 600mw with aftermarket First RIS mount if you need one. That just because it arrives with a battery and a pistol mount – choice of Glock, Colt, Browning or Smith Wesson I think”
Darren “Forgot. Choice on Night vision equipment.”
Fred “I would not know where to start in the UK. Try Anchor Military Supplies though. They seem to be able to get hold of just about anything”
Darren “You know them?”
Fred “World famous they are. Some of our customers have shopped there. Their website is very accessible. They stock some weird stuff too. Friend of mine picked up a 80mm lens (he was making a telescope) originally from the lens of a camera(?) attached to a Nimrod Naval Surveilance aircraft. For the sum of 30 pounds. He showed me a photo of the warehouse area, Armoured car casually sat outside. Very funny.”
Darren “Well, well, well. OK so, you are approached by a newbie with a wedge and a need to start skirmishing. Lets talk through the kitting process. What do you, as a shop, sell him first”
Fred “Goggles or a mask. Depends on the site he’s playing at and the type of role he wants to take. I recommend Bolle goggles for snipers and those who need to get close to their guns for scopes and the like. I don’t like Marui’s own glasses BTW. Not that they are unsafe or anything, but ……….. However if the person is working up close to the opponents, or does a lot of CQB it has to be a mask. Moreover all those fancy paintball masks are not as good as one of the cheapo wire mesh things we sell. Not so good for night gaming, but totally cuts out any fogging problems. As to anti fog lenses – well they are not perfect and not really worth the money unless you are planning on games longer than 30 mins or lots of winter/night games. The best I have found (and use) are Bolle again – bit pricey, but excellent”
Darren “OK so what next”?
Fred “Cammo. Though we don’t actually sell it. We talk through the cammo options because that determines what sort of webbing the person will need”
Darren “Ah and you do sell that I know”
Fred “The best buy in my option for simple gaming is a belt, Y or H suspender and 4 packs (for water, radio, First aid and Ammo/gas). Al these vests and hydration systems are all very well – and do come into their own in extended play - but for the average half hour game………….. Of course this assumes the people are not doing Milsim in which case their choices of webbing and cammo will be automatically made”
Darren “Next?
Fred “Boots. Got to be strong, preferably with steel toes and soles and waterproof. I use a pair of boots I bough from a building suppliers. Quarter the price of a new pair of JSDF[5] boots or imported military types and every inch as good.”
Darren “Gun next?”
Fred “No. Gloves, hat and padding. Not everyone needs them, but I’d not play without a good pair of shooting gloves, an old riot helmet and kneepads. But then we get to the gun”
Darren “Think total newbie here”
Fred “In the first instance I would say try a few in combat and if their site has none to rent, or friends wont lend, we will rent guns out for a weekend – we have a few of each for this job at Motomachi. Once the customer has tried a few game styles and gun types we talk through the various merits of the different power sources and the uses for each one and try to determine what sort of game the new player wants to do. Almost invariably they want to be able to respond to any situation – figures though – and so our choices tend to come down to the following (assuming a big wedge of money). SR16,  AK47, or FAMAS. The big battery makes them in my opinion and none of them are too large to use in CQB at a push. The FAMAS is the best overall gun for a newbie I think as it is the cheapest, the toughest and the shortest”. Back that up with an SMG like the Marui K or the KSC TMP, or one of the M11s  (or a shotgun like the new Defender). Topped off with a good pistol like the Marui Tacmaster or one of the WA colts. If the budget is tighter I usually recommend a FAMAS and pistol combo and if REALLY tight just the FAMAS.
Darren “You don’t recommend a sniping system?”
Fred “Certainly not. That would be irresponsible. That is the most specialized role in Airsoft as you know very well and it takes a bloody minded anal retentive like you to get the most out of sitting in the brush and playing a waiting/stalking game”
Darren “There’s more to your reasoning than that though”
Fred “It’s the money involved and the fact that you can’t really be a social player and a sniper at the same time – well not unless you are part of a very well structured team. The fact is that to get an APS or M40A1 running at game level round here can top you out at 100,000 yen if you buy new and that is not the sort of money to be spending on the fringest of fringe activities in Airsoft. Then again, there is a real danger of not being able to get onto a team as a sniper – as all the Kobe sites that I know of place serious restrictions on how many sniping systems are allowed on field at any one time”
Darren “As we said before, to maintain a semblance of realism. I assume the same applies to heavy weapons?”
Fred “Yes, but more to do with the cost than anything else – there is only a restriction placed on the numbers of 2 joule support weapons in teams round here (a stock TOP M60 is no better than any stock AEG really)”.
Darren “So the best beginner’s loadout, as far as you are concerned is a Marui Assault rifle with a big battery, an SMG (AEG or gas), or a shotty and a gas pistol, at best and an assault rifle pistol combo at worst”
Fred “Works well enough and is cheap to put together”
Darren “I know we do special loadouts for specific occasions. How do these differ from buying guns separately”
Fred “Well, the guns include hicap mags instead of the standard where possible and either one round for any grenade launchers, or a battery (or slings and the like if none of the above fit). Plus we give 10% of the value in shop gift vouchers”
Darren “What varieties do you offer?”
Fred “Well, here goes:
              1: Tactical 1 (Generic)).
                            Marui UZI
                            WA Colt Government 70 (or Striker Standard or Model 1991)
              2. Tactical (SWAT general)
                         Marui M16A2
                          Marui MP5K
                          Marui Beretta Tactical Master
              3. Tactical (SWAT CQB)
                            Marui HK MP5SD5
                            Maruzen M870 Pistol Grip
                            Marui Beretta Tactical Master
              4 Tactical (SEAL)
                            Marui M4 RIS
                            KSC TMP
                            KSC SOCOM
              5 Tactical (SAS Counter Terrorism)
                            Marui MP5A5 (or SD5)
                            Maruzen m1100 Full stock
                            Tanaka Browning Hi Power MkIII
              6 US Army (Gulf)
                            Marui M16A2
                            KSC Mac11
                            WA Beretta 92F (or WA Government 70)
              7 US Army (Gulf Grenadier)
                            Marui M16A2 with Marui M203 (and 3 extra shells)
                            WA Beretta 92F (or WA Government 70)
              8 US Army (Vietnam)
                            Marui M16VN
                            Maruzen Remington M870 full-stock
                            WA Government 70
              9 US Army (Vietnam Grenadier)
                            Marui M16VN with Marui M203 (and 3 extra shells)
                            or WA Government 70
              10 US Army (Vietnam SEAL)
                            CAR 15 (SEAL version – XM177 flashhider and 300 round magazine)
                            KTW Ithaca M37 Shotgun
                            WA Government 70.
              11 US Army (Vietnam SEAL Grenadier)
                            CAW M79 Blooper Grenade Launcher
                            (11a) KTW Ithaca M37 Shotgun
                            (11a) WA Government 70.
                            (11b) CAR 15 (or XM177)
              12 British Army SAS (Gulf)
                            Marui M16A2 with Marui M203
                            Tanaka Browning MkIII
              13 British Army (gulf/BOAR) – special order and subject to availability
                            ARII L85a1 (with Marui FAMAS internals)
                            Tanaka Browning MkIII
              14 British Army Marksman (BOAR) – Special Order and subject to availability
                            KTW L96A1
                            Tanaka Browning MkIII
              15 British Secret Service (Covert)
                            Marui HK MP5K
                            (15a) Maruzen Walther PPK Suppressed
                            (15b) Maruzen Walther P99 Suppressed
                            * Both sets include a Briefcase type carry case
              16 Bundeswehr (Rhine Army)
                            Marui G3A3
                            Marui MP5K
                            HK USP (or Maruzen Walther P99)
              17 Bundeswehr   (Rhine Army Marksman)
                            Marui SG1
                            Marui MP5K
              18 Bundeswehr (GSG9)
                            Marui PSG1
                            HK USP (or Maruzen Walther P99)
              19 Former Soviet Army
                            Marui AK47 (or AKS) – includes original AK47 ammo rig
                            Hudson Tokarev
              20 Vietcong
                            Marui AK47 (or AKS) or Marui Thompson M1A1 – includes original AK47 ammo rig or 2 x Thompson 240 hicaps.
                            Hudson Tokarev
              21 Israeli Security Forces (Raid on Entebbe)
                            Marui UZI (Woodstock version)
                            WA Government 70
              22 French Foreign Legion
                            Marui Super FAMAS (or standard)
                            Maruzen M870 full-stock
                            Browning Hipower MkIII
Fred “Prices on application”
Darren “Seems like you add one every week”
Fred “Every couple of weeks. Next set is the WWII edition”
Darren “This sounds interesting. Allied I assume”
Fred “First one will be US Army Normandy – Thompson, WA 1911a1 (we have found a few) and authentic webbing/patches. Number 2 will be US Screaming Eagles – Marushin M1a1 carbine with Paratroop stock (real steel) and WA 1911a1. Number 3 will be British Airborne (one of these only) – Smokey’s Sten Mrk V and Browning Tanaka Browning 1935. 4 will be British infantry (one only) – KTW Enfield and Tanaka Browning 1935. 5 is planned as German infantry – Tanaka Kar98 and Tanaka Luger P08.”
Darren “Do they really sell that well?”
Fred “We were surprised how well. I think people appreciate the thinking it saves them (laughs). Then also I admit the freebies do help”
Darren “Moving on. Sanko is not only Airsoft is it?”
Fred “Security equipment, model guns, anime toys and games”
Darren “I noticed the tazers. What are the regulations for their sale here?”
Fred “Age of Legal majority and that’s it. No name or address no nothing.”
Darren “Seems a little dangerous to me. You have many crimes committed with stun guns at all?”
Fred “Very few actually. I put it down to the violence of the police here – its amazing what can happen to a suspect in detention. And you certainly do not want to get to Prison in this country – better to cut your own head of with a comb.”
Darren “The biggest one you sell is that 40,000 volt multi piece. What does it do exactly?”
Fred “It mounts a shriek alarm, a high pressure pepper spray and CS gas spray as well as the stun gun itself.”
Darren “I love the way the electrical charge wanders up and down the baton sides. That would be enough to put off most potential trouble I think”
Fred “Hehehe….”
Darren “Now tell me about mail order, to the UK I mean.”
Fred “We don’t have any procedures in place to deal with it, but if people come through you, we are happy to help them – as long as you will do the donkey work.”
Darren “Seems fair to me”
Fred “Only fair to say that there are cheaper places for AEGs out there, as we have to charge RRP for our goods, but if someone really wants something that badly…….”
Darren “Right then, lets get this bloomin gun built…………”
Nauty (

[1] Including – when they can keep it in stock – the very impressive 1/12th scale Mobile Suit Gundam Zack MkII (which stands 140+cm tall and costs close to 1000 pounds).
[2] His real name being a state secret ^_^ - though in fact it is Yosuke Moteki.
[3] Which range from Durally metal slides for the WA colts that are so light that they can be run on 134a without issue, through a range of internal upgrades for a variety of guns, to the most marvelous full brass barrel, frame and cylinder set for Tanaka’s SAA.
[4] Which statement I found odd. When I was living in the wilds of Shiga prefecture – north of Kyoto, my Ext Air guns fared better than my AEGs as all I needed to do to keep them running was nip down to the local garage and fill up the BULL tanks from the tire device. ^_^
[5] Japan Self Defence Forces

This page last updated: Monday, September 6, 2004 0:04 AM
Copyright 2001Arnie's Airsoft.