A representative of Action Sport Games (ASG) from Denmark recently stopped by my workplace – they’re apparently starting to look into more Canadian distributors now. Oh, and the Scorpion EVO is going to be a product that will definitely making its way into Canada, largely due to the quick change spring system of the Scorpion. ASG is very proud to claim that this new AEG will be a European produced product, produced in Denmark, ASG’s home country.
But that’s not the most interesting point that came out of our conversation for me – as it turns out, he used to be a part of a company called 3P (part of Cybergun, huge airsoft company from France). 3P being a company from Montreal, Quebec, Canada – initially at least. 3P being one of the first companies to bring airsoft to Canada, starting back in 1994. That is, they were doing so until the RCMP caught up with them and wasn’t too happy with the whole airsoft thing of real looking toy guns. 3P initially was actually a company doing import of Japanese “Otaku” (weird obsessive hobbyist culture) products such as Manga, though when they caught wind of these Japanese airsoft guns, this became a thing that they started to work with. Hence why airsoft is now so big in Europe – Cybergun has been there for a couple of decades now.
3P was actually a distributor of Tokyo Marui products – interesting since when I was in Tokyo, Japan and visited Marui’s head office, the representative there mentioned a sole Canadian distributor from a long time ago that went by a name of something along the lines of “3P.” The sales rep, Mr. Sugimoto, from Tokyo Marui instructed me to contact them for parts orders and all other inquiries about Marui products within Canada, but upon my return home, I could not find a single thing about such a distributor with that name. This is because 3P actually packed up and left Canada after to a crackdown on the airsoft market by the RCMP (for you outside of Canada, this is essentially the Federal police here) instructing them to cease doing their business of airsoft products in Canada. This is why there is no more Tokyo Marui direct distributor anymore – all Marui products I’ve seen in Canada and have attempted to track where they came from all seem to be coming from wholesaler distributors who are not in fact exactly or a subsidiary of Tokyo Marui.
He mentioned that he was one of the earlier companies to work with licensing for airsoft products – back then there was Marui and there was KWC. He recalls visiting many of the real firearm companies (Colt, Springfield, etc) in order to approach them for licensing rights, which was always a little bit of a toss up. Usually, when presented with a Tokyo Marui airsoft gun that was a repro of the real firearm, that manufacturer would be thrilled that the “toy” version was approached with so much attention to detail and would generally be on board – free money for them anyway. As it turned out, H&K and SIG were the only ones not to resign contracts years later with Cybergun, and instead went ahead and created their own company – Umarex.
And of course, a little story about how Glock hates airsoft products – when Glock first introduced their model “17,” there was panic about the largely polymer construction of the gun about how it may become the next favourite terrorist’s gun, as many believed it could be snuck onto airplanes. Consequently, after seeing these plastic airsoft lookalikes to Glock products, Glock wanted these to be stopped. This has of course now resulted in Glock taking legal action against companies marketing airsoft products bearing the Glock name (namely companies from USA or Canada). On an interesting related note, ASG will not sell their Glock products to North America, though they may have them in their European catalog edition…
Another interesting note was that Cybergun was one of the first companies to bring airsoft out of Asia – initially to France, of course. This is why we now see European airsofters with some of the oldest player groups around.
Fun facts from this (otherwise anonymous) representative from Action Sports Games. It was a pleasure to meet him and hear his story.
He has chosen to remain unnamed in this article, due to fear that the RCMP may still come after him after all these years. I don’t blame him for this, as the RCMP has had a history of cracking down hard on airsoft every couple of years, prior to the loose legalization of airsoft products in Canada that we’re now seeing since 2-3 years ago. Even now, paranoia about this for Canadian airsofters involved in the industry is still relatively high, so even though I haven’t been around long enough to have known many of the guys who took the full brunt of force of enforcement from the RCMP, I still known enough to watch my step around certain topics.