The Airsoft Innovations “40 Mike” was announced recently. It claims to be the next generation of 40mm airsoft grenade and it’s definitely causing a little bit of a stir. In today’s blog, we’re going to look at the facts surrounding the grenade, some of the fake news and talk about the controversy surrounding the design.
First, The Facts
The 40 mike is touted as “the most powerful 40mm gas shell ever made”. It’s boasted as having a 100ft range, a 150BB capacity and it fires every shot at 240fps. This has been confirmed by a number of sources who have got their hands on samples, and there are no other 40mm airsoft grenades on the market that offer a similar range and FPS.
The 40 mike is also easier to load when compared to a traditional 40mm moscart. Other moscarts have several smaller barrels, each filled individually. The 40 mike has one long barrel that’s filled in one go. Both require a speed loader, but the 40 mike is arguably less hassle.
Some people are claiming that the 40mike fires at over 900 rounds per second. However, Airsoft Innovations themselves state that it fires its 150BBs in 1/3rd of a second. This would give a theoretical RPS of 450. If it shot at 900rps, it would be advertised as such.
There is no safety, besides a “safety cap” which, realistically is never going to be used during an airsoft game. This leaves 150bbs at 240fps to be released with a simple button push.
There’s no “off” button, once the BBs have begun to flow, there’s no way to stop the stream until the BBs have run out.
The grenade has split the community without doubt. Some players have called for an all out ban on the grenade, others don’t see a problem with it. Let’s look at the outrage.
But before we begin…
This is, and let us be clear here, not solely the fault of Airsoft Innovations or a witch hunt. Airsoft Innovations have always been innovators in airsoft and produce products that push the boundaries of what we know in airsoft. The 40 Mike, for the most part, is a good product which has been released into the UK airsoft scene poorly and when the sport, and supporting products are not ready for it.
Airsoft Innovations may be guilty of marketing the product in bad taste, perhaps overall designing a product that doesn’t align to airsofters goals, but we’ll leave that decision up to you.
Marketed as Overkill
A big problem that many players have with the new grenade is that the marketing, promotional materials and overall use of the product is what’s called “overkill” and in some cases to deliberately hurt.
Many airsofters have the mind-set of (quite rightly) that you should use the lease BBs possible to get the job done. If you can hit a player with 1 bb, what’s the use in the other 149bb.
The 40 Mike is equivalent to a full-auto spray with TM gun for a whole mid-cap. This, to most players is what’s considered as overkill. Even if used on a group of 10 people, 15 BBs each is too many at higher level FPS.
Even at Airsoft Innovations’ recommended minimum engagement distance of 12 meters, 100+ shots all over the body at 240fps is overkill in most player’s book. Even if you wanted to stop the torrent of BBs, the only thing you can do is aim somewhere else. In 1/3rd of a second, that’s hardly good enough.
Many players on UKAC’s Facebook page have a similar sentiment:
“I think they are fine on a safety perspective but gameplay wise a 10 foot spread at 100 feet hardly promotes good gameplay.” – Paul Adamczyk
For many players, it harks a little to close to “he burned my patch” and other HPA overkills.
It Breaks “Realism”
Airsoft is a sport all about realism and the 40 mike breaks that bond. There are no real-life versions of the 40 mike and brings a 40mm “power-up” to the party instead.
The 40 mike feels like a special move you can pull in a video game more than a realistic and tactical choice on the battlefield.
A 40mm grenade is intended to deliver a grenade-like explosive over longer than throwable distances. This could be an explosive, a smoke, chemical etc. There are no real-world options similar to the 40 Mike.
When you compare this to the TAG rounds, which had little controversy around their release, it’s easy to understand. Whilst TAG rounds did see a little backlash in terms of safety and legality in the UK, the majority of players were supporting the release.
It’s Actually a Little Underwhelming
Since Airsoft Innovations’ grenade is recommended for use at over 12 meters, you’re left with a relatively uncontrollable burst of BBs which doesn’t reach the target any quicker or any more effectively than a well-controlled burst or flurry of semi-auto fire.
Player’s on Facebook who’ve seen it in action have stated:
“Every demonstration I’ve seen [it] used properly it looks underwhelming compared to the rumours and terrible marketing video.” – Graham Hoffman on UKAC’s Facebook
However, there’s something that’s a little bigger than a bit of over-kill and poor performance that is causing a shake-up in the airsoft world.
Banned By Over 80 UK Airsoft Sites
The primary thing fuelling the hate-train over this grenade is that over 80 airsoft sites in the UK have banned its use.
Lincs Airsoft Club
Skirmish Combat Games
Airsoft Commando (Leeds)
Elsham, Messingham and the HQ
Mid Wales Airsoft
Red Alert Berkshire
The Department & Project X
Swat Parkgate (Bomb Up)
Bristol Courthouse CQB
The Base CQC
Op Tac - The Kingdom
Mad Dog – Huntindon
UCAP – All
South Coast CQB
To name a few…
(List provided by Monkman – Airsoft-forums.uk)
Now, some have sided with the airsoft sites, respecting and understanding their decision. Some don’t trust the site’s decision, arguing for more independence and trust amongst other things.
This has naturally created a divide in the community.
For the most part, neither is particularly right or understanding the depth of the situation.
It all stems from some early videos of the 40 Mike like this one from Popular Airsoft and Socom Tactical:
The videos are clear in what it depicts. It shows that a point blank, worse-case-scenario shot to eye-protection would obliterate and dislodge eye protection. This is without doubt, a bad thing. This alone could cause serious damage to a person.
But airsoft sites are smart. If they wanted to allow this kind of product, they would implement rules which allow everyone to maintain fun and safety.
Insurance won’t allow it
However, it’s not your local site’s decision to ban it.
The decision has more than likely come from their insurance companies who have begun instructing sites that they will not be covered if this airsoft innovation were to go awry.
Airsoft sites have been left with an ultimatum: Ban the new gadget or face having no liability cover (which is fundamentally against the law).
So here’s the problem
If you circle back around to Popular Airsoft’s and Socom Tactical’s video, you’ll notice the kind of eye protection which is used in the test and clearly highlighted by Popular Airsoft’s captions.
The video depicts a point blank shot to “Generic Chinese-Made Eye Pro”. This is eye protection that, almost certainly doesn’t meet the required CE rating for impact protection. The truth is that this kind of airsoft should not be being used for airsoft at all.
The vast majority of the controversy surrounding this product is born from it being tested against cheap and non-compliant eye protection.
Unfortunately, this eye protection is being used and it’s common on an airsoft site. It’s not always easy or possible for an airsoft site to tell whether you’re wearing high quality eye-protection, or cheap knock-offs. There’s a real problem with dangerous eye-protection on the market at the moment.
If you wear or know anyone who wears eye protection that has been purchased unbelievably cheaply from an unknown source, such as eBay or Amazon, please check that they are safe for use with the relevant CE approved markings.
When it comes to life, you get one pair of eyes and one pair of ears. You should absolutely buy the best eye protection that you can reasonably afford. Not the cheapest ones that look good enough.