One of the most recognized explosive devices after the pineapple grenade is arguably the M18A1
Claymore. Named after a Scottish large sword by the inventor Norman A. MacLeod,
the Claymore mine was initially developed for the Korean war, but was more widely issued
in the Vietnam war. With the abundance of movies about that war (Platoon for
example) and the rising
of action movies such as Commando, there are few young men today who haven't
seen one in the big screen. The Claymore still remains widely used in real
battlefields, despite of restrictions on mines, because it can be operated in
various manners to change the classification. After seeing almost half a century
of use, the Claymore is far from becoming obsolete. As with all small arm and
light weapon technology, there is a connection to Airsoft games.
With the exception of the most hardcore MilSim players, Airsoft
"fashion" draws heavily from movies and games, so there has been a
demand among the majority of Airsofters for replicas of explosive devices for a
long time. People from MilSim groups have also expressed the need for working
simulation mines. It goes without saying that all kinds of props create a truly realistic
atmosphere in scenario games. Re-Enactors and MilSim players have even been
using non-working grenades and mines as part of their kit just to get into the feeling of actually
"being there"! A working Claymore offers the same kind of additional
realism and fun as Airsoft guns offer over blank firing Model Guns (cap guns).
How well the Claymore works will of course determine what kind of a difference
their deployment makes. Some Airsoft mines and grenades have been too complex,
unreliable or lacking in power to offer any fun over non-working
props. Let's see what the Gamma M-33 is made of!
Tactical advantage or just a fine prop?
The appearance of the Gamma M-33 Claymore is very believable. Players with
actual military training might notice the lack of some minor details, but
overall the Gamma looks so real that we have had requests to paint it entirely
bright blue or orange for shipping, to indicate more clearly that it is a toy.
Never, ever put these in your driveway or front yard even as a joke, as it will
bring the local SWAT and EOD to your house with 100% certainty! The olive drab
color has a nice matte finish and the front has the legendary "FRONT,
TOWARD ENEMY" in bold capital letters. The text is raised so the user may
read it by fingertips even in total darkness. When picked up, the Claymore is
somewhat lighter than its real counterpart, but a solid hefty package anyways.
The steel made scissor type legs are found to become somewhat loose over time,
but a few drops of Loctite in the pivots will tighten it up nicely. The hinge
was copied from the real one, which are single use only so they naturally were
not designed for repeated use without some maintenance.
The remote firing device has a realistic look, but unlike the real one it is
wireless. This is an excellent step towards practical use of the device, since
Airsoft games are very fast paced so you would not have too much time on your
hands to lay out a wire. Naturally if you are into realism, you can use a mock
wire to connect the Claymore to the firing device. Reliability of the wireless
device should not be of any concern: It is based on the same technology as car
lock remotes, which are proven to be reliable in everyday use all over the
world. They share a similar encoding system, which means the chance of someone
else setting off your mines with their remote are extremely slim. When did you
last accidentally unlock someone else's car with your remote? Further, all
remotes from Gamma have a unique code so it is impossible to get similar codes
by chance. Theoretically you can't harass the device without using radio jamming
equipment, which are highly restricted/illegal in most countries.
Due to the restricted availability and dangerous nature of many effective
pyrotechnics, they are simply not available to most Airsoft enthusiasts around
the world. Gas powered mines are certainly not an option for people who still
enjoy real winters in their countries. You can always warm up the magazine of a
GBB pistol, but warming up a mine you placed on the icy ground half an hour earlier
is a bit harder... So the options of getting BBs from a mine to the target are
somewhat limited. In the case of Gamma, simplicity is bliss. The actual
mechanism consists of only a few parts, which operate in a simple but precise
manner at the same time, much like a Glock pistol. Inside the mine there are two pre-loaded springs are
connected to steel teeters, which are held back by two trigger arms. A canvas
trampoline is rigged between the teeter ends with the payload. When the spring
cover is opened by either the remote controlled solenoid or trip wire, it actuates the
trigger arms to release the teeters, throwing a good amount of frag-goodness
forwards of the mine. The mechanism is entirely made of steel and the canvas
trampoline is user-replaceable, so the mine is a very long life item.
The Gamma Claymore was found in our tests to have a spread of roughly 40
degrees, and the wall of BBs is dense enough to take out a player with certainty
up to 10-15 meters (33-45 feet). The BBs travel further up to 20 meters, and they have
a very good chance of hitting someone in the target area even at that distance.
This means that even a single Claymore can cover an impressive area of a small
site, and deploying several ones allow you to force the opponents to use routes
and positions where you have the upper hand! The performance was more than we
expected and the Claymore really has a high "Wow!"-factor attached to
it. Unlike sidearms which are not used that often, the Gamma Claymore is more
than just a good looking piece on your vest! Speaking of gear, the Gamma
Claymore is supplied with a high quality MOLLE pouch constructed of Cordura®
with high quality zippers. Bandoliers are coming soon.
Whether you can gain advantage by deploying one or several Claymores
depends heavily on the field type, and what kind of role you're playing. Bushes
offer a good concealment for the device, but dense leaves might cause
penetration problems just like with AEGs. Constructed CQB arenas offer less
flexibility in the placement of the mine, but in a fast paced game the surprise
effect is better as you can't see through walls. The use of a Claymore is most
effective when you are familiar with the field you're playing in, and have a
good communication level with possible spotters. As the Claymore actually wields
BBs, the playing rules don't necessarily need any appendices. Another option is
to agree to a certain elimination radius and sector for a Claymore loaded with
flour, and go with the spirit of the honor system, which should be familiar to
all Airsofters. The white cloud is easily noticed even from a distance, and
provides an awesome effect when mixed in with BBs!
Using a single Gamma M-33
Preparing the Claymore for use has a bit more steps than using a regular
airsoft gun, but it's simple enough to be learnt in a few minutes and with
practice the use becomes natural. When you become familiar with the system, it
can be reloaded in less than 30 seconds! After making sure that the back safety bar is
in place and safety pin removed, carefully pull the trip-wire loop and ease the
front cover open. At this point you may switch the power on, unless you're using
the mine in the uncontrolled mode, which is 100% mechanical. If the scenario
is really long (two figure numbers in hours), you can also choose to switch the power on when you actually deploy
the device, to save battery life. The Gamma Claymore should already synchronized with the remote firing
device out of the box, but it is a good idea to check the function anyways.
Normally you will only need to program it, if you are executing a cunning plan with
several mines. Batteries (3x CR123 and 1x A23 type) are included with the
Claymore, and last a good while before needing a replacement. Even after setting
off the Claymore dozens of times and having it turned on for hours, we are yet
to run out of juice on the first batteries!
Only one of the two teeters is opened to insert the payload (BBs, flour or
similar) to the canvas trampoline. The teeter and front cover are then closed
and the safety pin inserted. While the trampoline holds an impressive amount of
BBs, we found that it's not a good idea to overload it. You get a better range
and good enough spread with a little bit less BBs. To get better stability, it
is advisable to support the back of the device against a tree or wall, if
inserting the legs partially in the ground is not possible.
After finding a suitable location for the Claymore, open the scissor type
legs and adjust them. Check that the legs don't prevent the
front cover from opening past 90 degrees. At this point it is advisable to check that the electronics are switched on, even if you did it earlier. Despite
the green color, you might want to use light grass or similar to prevent the
opponents from spotting the device. Again, make sure that you don't prevent the
front cover from opening. After this it's only a matter of setting up the trip
wire, or moving away from the Claymore if you use the remote firing device instead.
The remote firing device has a range up to 100 meters, which covers enough area
that you can detonate it whenever you have a visual to the area that the
The more the merrier?
Each Gamma M-33 is supplied with a remote firing device. This means you can
deploy several Claymores to different locations at the same time, and launch
them independently as the situation demands. Having more than two different
firing devices in your possession might become confusing quickly as the
situations get tense, so it's a good idea to have a rough sketch of the field
with the positions of the Claymores marked with letters or numbers, and the
corresponding figure written on the firing devices. Each and every remote firing
device has its own individual synchronization code, which means you don't have
to change frequency crystals to avoid the risk of interfering with other mines.
Another option is to program all the Claymores to obey any single remote
firing device at once, and hand the extras to your team mates. This way any
member of the team can launch all Claymores at once, so you can keep a
certain area blocked from the opponents as long as you have any mates left.
Pairing the Claymore with the synchronization code of a remote firing device is easy to do. One Claymore
mine can be paired with up to 16 remote firing devices at a time, and an
unlimited amount of Claymores can be paired with one remote! To reset the
receiver inside the Claymore, you need to push just one button (RC Reset) for five
seconds. After that, pairing the Claymore with firing devices is a matter of
pressing the same button for one second at the time, and pressing the firing
button briefly during the following 10 seconds. An indicator light signals the succession of
Almost nothing restricts you from making complex combinations of mines that
are launched together, single ones which are actuated by individual controls, or
other tactical traps. You can leave out uncontrolled Claymores as sentinels for
a certain area. In a fast paced game a trip wire is really hard to notice, so
you can force the opponents to avoid certain areas - or move through them with
care. And as even the most brilliant plans always need a backdoor, you can
program one "SHTF"-control, which is paired with all the
Claymores in the field!
From the viewpoint of the target
In real life mines are one of the most feared weapons among soldiers, and
cause possibly the most controversy after nuclear and biological weapons. The
main effect of mines is not actually having an enemy soldier walk in a minefield
and hit one, but to have the enemy troops avoid certain areas. Common Airsoft
tactics would be reckless in real warfare, and the same applies to mines as
well. Fear of death is not easy to simulate, so the Claymore has to be deployed
with the thought that it will be detonated, and the advantage in game play is
gained that way. After a few rounds of effective use, an effectively deployed
Claymore teaches your opponents to be cautious when moving in the field. The Claymore is
hard to spot because of its size compared to a player, and if you are within
distance and sector, it will not miss you. The BBs feel like someone threw a
handful of BBs on you so they don't sting as with AEGs, but the surprise factor
in a tense gaming situation has made a lot of players literally jump and yell
"OUT!" in a whole new pitch!
Disabling the Gamma Claymore is fairly easy to do if you know how it works,
but getting to the mine can be a task. Preventing the front cover from opening
is the simplest method to disable the mine, but for this you have to be next to
it. Inserting the back safety bar or the safety pin will also prevent the device
from throwing BBs, but this also requires going next to the device. Getting close to the
Claymore may prove to be hard for the opponent, as they have to look out for a
trip wire, and even if it is avoided, the Claymore could go off at any time when
the remote firing device is pressed. At the same time they need to
constantly scan the environment for you and your squad.
As a safety matter, we also tested the Gamma M-33 at close range. To get all
the BBs hit one spot we used one of those freebie bags which TM give out with
their Airsoft guns. Shot in the chest by this bean bag, our test subject hardly
flinched. The anticipation was far worse than the actual hit. Separate BBs do
sting a bit at a close range, but it is also not a risk to a player wearing at
least proper goggles. While it is basically impossible to measure the speed of
the BBs, judging from the pinch factor and overall range of the device, the
inertia of a single BB is about equal to a spring operated pistol from the more
affordable price range.
To sum it up...
The Gamma M-33 Paintball / Pellet Mine is a faithful replica of the M18A1.
Despite the lack of a couple of minor details and a weight of only 1000 grams
(as opposed to the 1600 grams of the real one), the Gamma Claymore certainly
doesn't feel or look like a kid's toy. Having a couple of these in your kit
increases the weight of your vest enough to give you the feel like you're really
carrying something, while a load bearing harness with nothing but magazines
often feels overkill for such a light load. It is practical and easy to use in
the field, and it is reliable both in the wireless and mechanical mode. Overall
a very fresh flavor in the stream of AEGs and gas pistols, with no real weak