I recently had the pleasure of conducting an email interview with Stealth from Airsoft Store Canada. For those not in the know, Airsoft Store Canada is one of the more well established online airsoft retailers in Canada with a focus mainly on internal parts, but with a rapidly growing selection of external parts and accessories.
I for one vouch for the quality of Airsoft Store Canada’s items and their quick, helpful customer service, of which Stealth is the pointman. See below for my quick interview:
Stealth (Airsoft Store Canada): My father purchased my first “airsoft gun” for me when I was about 6 years old. While it seems like a crazy idea, you have to understand that this was in Hong Kong where airsoft is a lot more prevalent. It was a China-made Double Eagle springer pistol and I didn’t do much with it aside from shoot it around the house a few times before being packed away and moved to our new home in Canada. Time went by and the gun made various appearances as a novelty item when friends came over but I was introduced to what most people associate as airsoft when I was about 15. I had started playing walk-on paintball a few times with friends in highschool before most of them discovered airsoft through Airsoft Canada Forums. The primary retailer back then was Tru Lai and as most players of that era fondly remember, he happily peddled airsoft goods out of his trunk at various Flag Raiders games. I bought my first “real” airsoft gun shortly after (A Western Arms Prokiller F3.9 and a Tokyo Marui MP5A2) and I’ve been playing for about 13 years now. Time flies.
Throughout the years, the reasons why I keep playing have changed. These days, I stay in the game because I appreciate the training and personal fitness aspect of airsoft. And let’s face it – it’s fun to talk sh*t and shoot your friends. That never gets old.
D: What convinced you to take the leap from player to retailer?
S: To be blunt, we were sick of overpaying for parts that continuously failed to meet expectations. With the increase of cheaper, more accessible airsoft guns in the Canadian market, there was a niche for tried and tested, high-quality parts with a pricepoint that matched the guns the parts were going into, being sold by people who actually used the parts.
D: In your opinion, what separates your store from others in Canada?
S: I would have to say the biggest defining characteristic would be the fact that almost everything we sell has gone through our own testing and evaluation before being released for sale. This keeps the quality and reliability high and at the same time, increases our own knowledge-base, which we can share with our customers and the airsoft community. Everyone wins.
D: Airsoft in Canada faces some legal challenges that may not be present in other countries. What major challenges, if any, do you face as an airsoft retailer in this country? As a retailer, what changes would you like to see with regards to airsoft laws and regulations?
S: I think most retailers and players alike can echo this sentiment – A clear definition of what exactly constitutes an airsoft gun in both the CBSA and RCMP’s eyes and an alignment of those definitions.
D: As a retailer, what are some of the more popular buying trends that you’ve noticed? What are your most popular current items? What do you think makes them so popular?
S: The 2013 season saw a large surge and trend towards improved trigger response and accuracy. This translated into increased sales for high-voltage lipo batteries, supporting mods as well as various barrel group parts and upgrades.
D: In your opinion, what single innovation in airsoft technology has had the greatest impact on airsoft gun performance?
But actually the “innovation” that’s revolutionized airsoft gun performance is the emergence of the “casual airsoft tuner” and his/her willingness to share that wisdom and expand the knowledge-base. High-performance is no longer limited to hardcore tuners and is generally more accessible to the masses, removing some of the hokey, perceived “magic” that was previously reserved for the professional gunsmith.
D: What would you like to see out of airsoft manufacturers in the future? What upcoming or recently released items do you feel have the most potential?
S: I would really like to see the Tokyo Marui Recoil-Shock and KWA ERG series get more exposure because not only does it uphold the realism aspect of airsoft, but its application as a real-world training tool is unlike anything else available currently. Performance compared to standard AEGs and increased reliability and consistency compared to GBBR makes it a perfect bridge between two worlds. I’m also looking forward to Krytac’s line of AEGs with integrated MOSFETs.
D: A significant portion of your store deals with internal upgrades. What advice would you give a new airsoft player who is looking to do his/her own tech work for the first time? What are the common mistakes that players make when working on their own guns? What simple fixes are often overlooked or dismissed as unimportant?
S: Visit Airsoft Canada’s Upgrades & Modifications forum – search on specific upgrades and topics in question. I don’t necessarily recommend new players/techs visit Airsoft Mechanics as it’s a much more hardcore tuner forum with some advanced concepts being discussed. I think over the past year or so, we have cultivated a fairly good pool of personal technical gurus on ASC whose advice and knowledge we can back.
The most common mistake I see when people are working on their own guns is the use of improper tools. A good set of METRIC (not SAE/Imperial!) Allen keys, basic dremel tool, MAGNETIC screwdriver set and soldering iron are all that most people need.
D: You’re very active on the airsoftcanada.com forums. What questions are you most often asked?
S: 1) When will <insert airsoft product> be coming back in stock?
2) Do you do local pickups?
D: Would it be possible to get a parts list of your personal primary rifle?
S: I have a few primaries, but I suppose I keep coming back to this one:
King Arms SR15 E3 IWS
5KU 16″ Nighthawk dimpled outer barrel
Dytac KAC URX 3.1 13.5″
Knights Armament URX 3.1 rail panels in Tan
Dytac Milspec buffer tube
Magpul CTR Stock for Milspec buffer tubes in Flat Dark Earth
Surefire M600c in Tan with Gear Sector Scout light mount (clone)
Magpul PTS MOE pistol grip in Flat Dark Earth
Magpul PTS ASAP plate
Troy Battlesights in Tan (clone)
Leupold 1-4×28 scope on Larue LT-104 mount
Gemtech G5 suppressor
King Arms mechbox shell
AWS Stealth MOSFET
Lonex M130 Spring
Siegetek Concepts 14.09:1 Chromoly gears
Lonex V2 cylinder head with 70D Sorbo Buddies
Lonex POM piston head
SHS 15T piston
SHS M4 nozzle
Lonex A1 long motor
G&P hop-up unit
Lonex 70D hop-up sleeve
Prometheus 455mm 6.03mm inner barrel
HS5 M-Nubs with modified hop arm
Overhoppers thanks Stealth for taking some time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. We wish him the best of luck with his operations and look forward to picking up more goodies from his store in the future!