Once again after email correspondence with few exhibitors from this years IWA Exhibition and finally some free time, even if AGAIN, a bit late, I can proudly inform you about the new things and exhibitors we encountered. Sadly due to some SD-card issues we lost a lot of pictures 🙁
It went pretty much the same way as last year, just with the “small”, but still significant difference, that we rolled out a little “late” form our “Headquarters”. Just the night before (and that’s probably the reason why we started so late), we checked the IWA Website and all the for us relevant exhibitors. We took some notes and set our priorities straight.
We just came in time to get some lunch in the Press Center – so we stuffed our faces and ran off into the wilds of the IWA 2014 Exhibition at Nuremberg.
Well not directly ran off – we first wanted to participate in the Press conference for the SOG – Scandinavian Outdoor Group – since we got a personal invite per email just weeks before.
First of all we entered some kind of “lobby” room where all the exhibitors had a really small table showing of their new products. You could touch and test them, ask the spokespersons question etc. It was really nice and they were really open for any question and didn’t hesitated in answering them. After Talking a bit with the MORAKNIV guy and some other we entered the conference room, which were 4 or 5 rows with tables and chairs. Also there was a stage set up with a projector showing around 2-5 slides for each exhibitor, who was on stage and presenting their new products. Again, we had some snacks and some delicious food there – what a pitty we were already so full – but oh well, we didn’t came here to eat, or did we? 😀
I really enjoyed the SOG Press Conference and have to admit that some Products, which I haven’t heard before got me really interested in them. For instance there was the company called Bergans of Norway, who presented a updated version of one of their backpacks, the Budor Silent Backpack to be precise – what really caught my attention on this particular backpack was not only that it was “silent” (Silent Fabric and no rattling noises when walking) and the integrated gun compartment, but the fact that this 50L Backpack they showed us on stage, which of course was empty and filled with paper or something like that, the exhibitor hold up with one finger. I mean I have an affinity with backpacks and my SSO Tortilla is about the same Size and even empty it is not that light, that I can say that lifting it with the small finger is like nothing. More on that later…
Next Exhibitor which caught our interest and whom we also haven’t heard before was the Sasta which originates from Finland. They showed us some Hunting Suits which immediately reminded us of the Russian Gorka style (especially Gorka E and Blokpost Gorka look) – we went after the conference directly to the exhibitor in that little lobby room and chatted a bit with him – but first I’ll continue with the conference in Chronological order 😛
There were some other cool things, like MORAKNIV have finally made a sheath for MOLLE pairing it with a serrated version of the Bushcraft Knife calling it the Bushcraft Tacitcal Serrated and a new Larger Bowie Style Knife which also have a MOLLE Sheath included named the Bushcraft Pathfinder (great looking knife, I might get one myself – embrace the review). I asked if it is possible to obtain such a MOLLE Sheath separatley and I got the answer that this was not yet in the planing. We will see…
Pretty great performance came from the Exhibitor of the Walkstool, which is a Swedish product and as you may have guessed it is a stool 🙂 The genius idea behind that stool is, that it is a 3 legged telescopic stool, which offer great comfort while sitting on it. The Exhibitor offer us a free sample so we can write a review of it for you – and we are happy to tell you that is is an awesome stool, which can be used in many daily applications and of course camping or skirmishing. More on that in the upcoming full review! Stay tuned 🙂
Huge fun part was wen Light My Fire took the stage, this company produces and sells little helpers and survival things especially around eating and making (of course, hence the name) fire while outdoors. The fun thing was, all of the Journalist, including us, got a little Fire Steel and a cutting board and some TinderSticks (which is some fire starter wood soaked in some kind of wax – smells great and burns even better!) – then he showed us how to use it and to start a fire on the cutting board – everybody was trying to start the fire with the feathered parts of the TinderStick. Of course we could keep the fire steel, cutting board and the TinderStick. Very Funny 🙂 Other hand I was a bit ashamed how our “journalist colleagues” left their tables at a complete mess, with excess food left on their plates, spilled drinks and so on… We were literally the only ones, who cleaned our own space at the table. Kind of sad…
As said before, we went straight to the Sasta guy in that little lobby room at the entrance of the Press Conference Room. We asked him if it was intended or just coincidence that one of their suit looks like a Russian Gorka somehow. He told us that this is not really intended to recreate that look. What I really loved about Sasta, is their Company story and philosophy. The Company and Brand is still owned by the Saastmoinen Family that founded it. The idea and the brand behind originated in 1969, when Urpo Saastamoinen, who was an enthusiastic Hunter and loves to be with Nature, couldn’t find the perfect clothing for his uses. He created his own suit for himself and it didn’t take long, when fellow hunters got their attention and were interested in one as well. The company still continues to develop first class garments combined with modern technology and their traditions of craftsmanship with the experience of more then 45 years. Great story! It still lets me be excited for their products! Hopefully I can get my hands soon on one of their Suits and test it in the harshest way I can. 🙂
Our first hall was hall 4A since the Press Center is located in NCC East Entrance and we wanted to go to Hall 4 to talk again with time and to get a better look into some Products from Sasta and Bergans of Norway. Very soon we noticed that there hasn’t been much change since the last year. Most Exhibitors are at the same spot in the same Hall. We decided to visit RusOptical again, since after a lot of positive email traffic with them at one point there was silent and no answers anymore from their side. We checked their last years spot, but there was nothing. After looking into the Exhibition Guide and checking the correct spot, we were baffled. SchweitzerOptics was written in big red letters above the Booth. What the f…? We saw immediately that their product were the RusOptical stuff, but not a word about RusOptical anywhere. After we asked the only guy there behind the booth, if this is RusOptical Optics, and he answered plainly “yeah…weren’t you guys last year here?” We just answered yes. We looked at some stuff but nothing new, only the complete rebranding. We haven’t got any statement from them why they choose to rebrand or change the name completely, but our guess is that they think (and I am pretty sure they’re right with this) That SchweitzerOptics is more appealing to any western buyer then RusOptical. Who can judge them? After all it is all about the money and making sales worldwide. We haven’t got into contact again, yet.
After that refreshing “shock” we headed over to Hall 4 and went directly to the Bergans of Norway Booth. After waiting a few minutes, since the Exhibitors were all talking with Visitors we took a look around their products and could “feel” them. Shortly someone asked us we he could help us. We told him that we attended the SOG Press Conference and were very interested in that Budor Silent Backpack and asked if it was this particular Item we were standing next to it. Nope this was last years model. He then showed us the benefits and difference from last years model, which was the better (sturdier and lighter) back padding and some little cosmetic changes. We told who we were and what our intentions are. We talked a while (in English) after realizing that they spoke German 😀 We changed to German and they gave us a Press Info Folder with CD and information and even gave both of us a Bergans of Norway Baseball Cap in OD (which I use nearly daily – thank you again!) Also here, Hopefully I can get my hands on that fantastic backpack and share the review experience with your 🙂
You might think now, “what the heck? – where is the Russian stuff? I thought this is a Russian gear dedicated Blog” – Well you are right, and be patient, there is enough to come in terms of russian stuff. We just want to give you our full IWA 2014 experience and also show you good quality products for your outdoor needs, like we did with the MORAKNIV Companion MG, the EKA Viking Combi Saw and many other things. Not to forget that the Scandinavians have the same harsh conditions like northern Russians have.
Now to our last Stop in terms of Scandinavian goodies 🙂
We walked around the corner and we were directly at the Sasta Booth. Also here we talked about their products, about what interested us the most (their Mehto Pro Outfit and the Montana Hat) We had a great chat, and he told us more about the company and its roots. I also noticed that they have special made Outfit for Women. Great Idea! As mentioned before, I really hope to try out their Mehto Pro Outfit and write a full fledged review about this exclusively here on Gruppa L.
One of our personal highlight, which we wanted to see and ask the inventors in person, was the SimGun Laser Training System. This invention is to bring Airsoft and/or paintball games to another level or realism – and to make it impossible for cheating (not calling your hits in the game) The Inventors, who are German/Swiss origins, were really friendly to answer all of our questions and also were really open to ideas and “criticism” from our side. This system can be mounted on any 22mm Rail and has an amazing precision of up to 400m+. It consist of a chest harness and headband with sensors and a laser unit for your rifle. We will post a full preview and conclusion within the next 2 weeks. Hopefully we can soon test this amazing invention on our own or even within our team.
Our next stop was the RealSword booth, where we once again asked about the RS SVD GBBR. We got an appointment with Helen Lin, a CEO from Realsword and we had a great Q&A with her. On the topic of the SVD GBBR we got a (for us) strange answer, which was of course in terms of economy pretty solid. She told us they will start selling the SVD GBBR when they sold enough of the AEG SVD. So guys, buy alot of AEGs SVD from Realsword so we finally can get our hands on the GBB variant 🙂 Realsword got also a new M4-series GBB Rifle which (even if it was a NATO gun) was pretty well made. She told us that the receiver was forged and is of superb quality – like the real deal. We asked also if they intended to do an AK (and Norinco) GBB variant we got the answer that this was indeed possible and they even considered it, but in China the market is more AEG dominant, so it isn’t time to expand their product range, not to mention that they could possible unwillingly compete against their own products. One thing that impressed us was, that she told us that they use machines in their manufacturing, which are intended for real Rifles. Not bad!
We passed by the KingArms booth and had the opportunity to check the new AS-VAL, VSS and the SR3-M. Of course back in March those were still prototypes (at least they told us). I was not so impressed with either of them. they were wobbly and something was rattling (in either of them!) maybe the connector for the battery, but could be also something different. The SR3-M was still an early prototype in terms of the handguard, which was glued and screwed together. Also they felt really light for my taste, since the real AS-VAL weights around 2.5kg. I hoped to see the LCT variant for a direct comparison, but they weren’t here and neither was an distributor.
We also passed by the G&G booth and hat a look at their variant of the VSS (IGOR) and it was even worse in terms of quality and even size to the original.
GIS Tactical – Hungarian company founded by an ex Military and Special Police Force Operator, which makes a lot of interesting Rails and mounts, Grips etc.
I really liked their version of the Mount for the AK side bracket and their Pistol grip feels great for my size 9 Hands.
Here and there we saw some AK’s and such with different looks – here a small collection for you, so you can take some rest for your eyes from reading 🙂
some more GIS Tactical goodies 🙂
Izhmash Saiga with Magpul PTR stock and Urban paintjob.
My personal Most-Wanted: PP-19 “Vityaz” 9mm AK variant
heavy modified AK by a German Distributor (which is uncommon, since real AK’s are not allowed in Germany for Sporting purposes – only hunting, but then limited to 2 round magazines – due to the short casing below 40mm (German gun law))
Who wouldn’t mind having that in their own showcase at home? 🙂
Soviet era Stechkin with Wooden Holster which also can be used as an buttstock- ingenious!
Tactical Game Innovations (TAGinn) was also at IWA and showed us their line of products and how they work. If you haven’t heard of them before then you are in luck! TAGinn does produce (and invented the first of its kind) 40mm Airsoft grenades that you actually launch out of your launcher. They fly around 100m precisely and are not harmful at all. Well I wouldn’t recommend being shot directly into the face with it.
They have different Grenades in their repertoire. There is a Sound/Flashbang, a “Explosive”, a powder/chalk filled, a BB filled and a “Dummy” variant for your shooting training. The owner of the company and inventor of those 40mm grenades even told us about a smoke grenade variant which probably will come soon.
They even have some regular grenades filled with BB’s for throwing. On the right picture you can see the launching unit with a grenade inside. The ingenious thing and design is the rifling which the launcher barrel got, in which the grenade sticks in (you have to push them inside with slight force). The “warhead” is made out of some sturdy foam, which breaks on contact with something slightly hard, but its hard enough so it won’t bend or break during the launching.
The Launching device is filled with greengas or CO2 which aids as propellant for the grenades. On the right you can see a cut-out section of the Powder filled grenade variant (without powder filling). You can see that the blue colored head is made of some porous looking material, which is this foam. It reminded me of those Foam cups you get when you buy some take-away coffee. I am really excited about those 40mm grenades and hope we can soon test them and use them in our future games. Stay tuned for more in future! Here a little youtube video of this product and how awesome it is 🙂 Made in Russia!
Talking about Made in Russia, Kizlyar Knives are handcrafted Knives made in the south of Russia in a town called “Kizlyar” as you may have guessed. They are of superb quality and have an awesome feeling in your hand. Those knifes are very popular by hunters, outdoorsmen and military personnel including Russian and even International Special forces. I hope I can soon call one my own and give you as well an insight and review of it.
Funny thing, we found some company called RAG4 which reminded me totally of RAP4 and they make some russian F1 looking grenades with BB, paint and blank fillings. Even an RG-42D variant which resembles the soviet handgrenade. The exhibitor didn’t hat anything on special information or could talk to us about their product and only handed us a flyer out.
SurvivalCorps (SRVV) was this year at the IWA! We had the chance to talk to the owner of the company quite a time. We asked him about his infamous SURPAT pattern, and asked if he ever intended to uses some other famous patterns for their product like the Russian SS Summer (CC Leto) variant, popular by FSB and MVD forces. He gave us an straight answer, which meaning we really liked and respected a lot. He said he doesn’t want to do with anything political and don’t want to get related to Nationalism and Fashism.
We also asked him about the well known “Alpha” Ballistic Plate carrier (seen above), which is a “better” base version of the renown FORT Defender-2 Plate Carrier, used by FSB ALFA Operators and other Russian special forces. “The “Defender 2″ Design is not the best design and I don’t know why it is so popular by FSB, since there are a lot of better Body armors around in the market” He told us. There are alot of Operators who buys the base “Alpha” Plate carrier from SRVV to upgrade their original Defender 2’s. Also he told us back then in march, that SRVV will com up with its own line of Crispi Sahara shoes, which has been in testing quite a while by FSB and MVD units. They will (and is already) a SURPAT Coloration available. We are still in contact with SRVV and will soon write a big post dedicated to them with several reviews of a few items and about the history of the company.
Oh, and did you remember the TVT -Archer TMQ Thermal imaging device we reviewed? Some Asshole stole it this year from their booth. I have to say it is very sad, that even in a Trade Exhibition, where only “professionals”, companies and such are present, still something like this happens.
As said before in the beginning, We are really sorry (and angry) that most of our pictures got lost. But I can say it was again a great experience, we met a lot of people and even made some new friends. And I promise the next IWA 2015 summary will come shortly after we visited the Exhibition
Feel free to comment or to ask us even about particular things or for future stuff we should look out for you guys.
22.06.2014 – by Logisticz for Gruppa L