I just really hope this doesn't go the way of Madbull, and everything ending up with 'For airsoft use only' on it. If KAC get G&P, VFC, or a similar reputable company, with 100% accurate, high quality replicas, that don't have any mention of '6mm' or 'airsoft' on them, they'll make a *suitcase*-ton of money.
So, if you want a high quality product marked Knight's Armament, you can buy an actual Knight's Armament product. Depending on the item and your airsoft platform, it probably will work with some modification.
Otherwise, you can't expect them to willingly allow the existence of a low-cost airsoft product comparable in quality to their firearm product. They would be undercutting themselves.
In whatever way possible, the airsoft version must be clearly inferior to their firearm product, whether it be lower quality aluminum, poor anodization, looser tolerances on rail specs, obvious "FOR AIRSOFT USE ONLY" markings, or all of the above. This is not a question of "But KAC is a good company and X, Y, Z I met at M promotional event are good guys." It doesn't make sense for them to do otherwise.
From the perspective of someone living in the US, I for one am not excited about this licensing. I feel that the current state of the market, though it may be grey and unsteady, is best. For instance, VFC makes as accurate replicas as they can, usually getting the trademarks spot on. If any type of official licensing agreement comes into place, I severely doubt that this quality will be maintained. See any previous example of this (as already mentioned, Madbull being the worst offender). On a higher level, instead of doing KAC a favor and highlighting this as "Knight's Armament Co. Entering Airsoft Market," you can also think of this as "KAC Now Actively Defending Registered Trademarks and Intellectual Property Internationally."
For those stating "I hope this results in my favorite guns X Y Z being made into airsoft guns with high authenticity," what is stopping a company like VFC from making such products right now, without any type of licensing agreement? That is their entire business model (would you pay the premium for a VFC gun if they weren't the most faithful replicas of the real deal?) Currently, their only obstacle in making an airsoft replica of, say, an SR25 EMC, is they don't think there is enough demand. Once a licensing agreement is in place, they will have the additional obstacle of whether KAC will allow it or not.
This is obviously attractive from the manufacturer side: Taiwanese airsoft manufacturers gain more business legitimacy in the US with KAC sponsorship, can more readily reach the huge US market. KAC taps into the airsoft market via royalties which they were simply throwing away previously. For the consumer, the only benefit I see is maybe more readily accessible airsoft guns, not necessarily better airsoft guns or more authentic airsoft guns. Given that airsoft guns of all shapes and sizes are already readily available and legal in the US, that's not much of a benefit.
Edited by slu, 30 January 2012 - 10:58 PM.