The Big Interview : Kelly Hardwick (Femme Fatale Airsoft)

femme-fatale-2Kelly Louise Hardwick is Femme Fatale Airsoft – one of the biggest names in the UK Airsofting community. She’s hugely popular on social media, blogs regularly, writes for the UK’s leading Airsoft publication and goes out to Airsofting events across the length and breadth of the country. We spoke to her about her experiences….

How are you?

I’m really good thank you.

How did FFA start?

I started Airsoft as a hobby in August 2014, and then I had a car accident, and lost my job in November of that year and created the blog to fill my spare time. It’s snowballed and snowballed since then (laughs). After the accident, I thought, I’m going to have a look at all the kit I wanted to buy when I was able to play again. And after searching the internet for around 9 hours, over two days, I was like ‘why isn’t there anything for women?’. And two, ‘there’s not really anything out there that encourages women’.

There was a massive gap in any information available to help women. And, there was a quote that was in a book that I read when I was 16 years old, that said ‘be the change you want to see in the world’, so I thought, ‘Why not?’.

The problem was, I was new to it anyway. So it’s been a massive, massive learning curve. And it’s been me trying to find me feet in airsoft, which I have, quite quickly.

What’s happened over the past two years for you then?

A lot! The blog has enabled me to travel, meet new people and be a part of some amazing experiences. One of the most notable would be that in July 2015, I got approached by Airsoft Action magazine, and I became the first female contributor to a UK Airsoft Publication. I’ve been lucky to travel internationally with them to the IWA in Nuremburg (annual trade show). It’s been crazy, absolutely crazy…I have travelled up to 800 miles at weekends to play airsoft. I love it, I absolutely love it and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s been a crazy, crazy two years.

Just give us a ballpark on the Airsoft. How many sites have you been to?

Kelly on top of a chopper, with some smoke grenades of the kind used in some airsoft adventures….

I would say I’ve probably been to about 20 to 30 sites, in the last two years. So my home site is Strikeforce CQB in Gloucester. That’s the site I play the most often. The furthest north I’ve been to is Edinburgh, in Dalkeith, that was a long trip! And then the furthest south I’ve been is the UCAP Sandpit in Kent. I play more southern sites than I do any other. I think the south has a better selection of CQB sites. I would say a lot of the northern sites are woodland, and I don’t play woodland too often.

Airsoft’s quite an unusual sport. How would you describe airsoft for the uninitiated?

How I had it described to be was that it’s like a real-life Call Of Duty, but you’re the player, if you see what I mean. It’s a fun hobby. Everyone’s really friendly. You shoot each other with plastic pellets, and they don’t hurt that much.

Tell us a bit more about the Airsoft community. It seems quite secret and underground. What is it like? Who goes?

I would say that one of the best things about Airsoft is the community. I think if you know about it, you know about it. If you’ve never heard of airsoft, you won’t have any idea. This one game can bring so many people together. You can get builders, doctors, people from all walks of life and we all run around woods, dressed as soldiers playing with toy guns! I think the advertising for the sites/shops are more prevalent than they used to be. Some people in general don’t really understand what we do but more people know about it now. I read in a newspaper article once that the UKARA website had around 15,000 people registered on it in 2012. And the industry as a whole has grown 5 fold since then so i
t’s constantly expanding, so more people know about it which is only a good thing.

On a normal game day, you’ll turn up at the site, get everything from your car and get your kit to the safe zone to get ready. Safe zones are anything from purpose built, to gazebos. Anything works. It’s a very odd sport (laughs). After that, once everyone has turned up, we all get kitted up, and sling plastic for a bit.

What is there out there, in terms of unusual or interesting Airsofting locations?

FFA checks out the CZ805 from ASG.

There are some that I’ve heard of that sound really interesting, I really want to play them but I haven’t had a chance yet such as Red 1 The Boat. I think the most interesting sites I’ve been to so far are the Mall in Reading, it’s a shopping mall, and it’s so strange! You’ve got all the shops, all the windows, all the escalators. The escalators don’t work because obviously, with BBs everywhere that would be dangerous. But, it’s bizarre because, you obviously recognise shopping centres in the daylight, when they’re really busy, but it’s really eerie to see it dark, with no one in it.

I’d say another interesting site I’ve been to is the Gaol in Rutland. It’s an old Category C men’s prison. So it’s not like high security, but all the cells are still there, all the gates, everything like that. It’s dead cool.

What is the gender balance like in the sport?

I would say, the gender balance is predominantly male, and it always has been. Do I think it always will be? Maybe. I think it takes a special sort of person to play airsoft. You have to enjoy getting shot at, and a little bit of pain! (laughs).

I think from when I first started two years ago, the industry has moved forward quite a lot. Back then, there wasn’t a lot of well known female players, and I spent ages looking for them! You’ve obviously got big name players like Desert Fox, Scout The Doggie, on the male side. There were only a couple of really female players making waves such as Unicorn Leah, Airsoft Hasmeen and Adella Relentless. And there weren’t many companies making tactical clothes for women, now, there’s a lot more coming into the market with brands such as 5-11 Tactical ( making a lot more women’s tactical clothing, which is great.

What’s it like being a woman Airsofter?

You have to learn how to put a load out together, and if you’ve not got thing specifically made for you, it can be quite difficult. It is nice to have that female presence online and on the field to help with any questions.

Kelly has shown that girls can smash stereotypes in her alter ego as FFA

There’s one thing about women, as well, they seem to play harder than some of the guys do. It’s insane. Some of the women – and I make a point of meeting as many female Airsofters as I can, just so we can get more of a female solidarity thing going. Spice Girls / girl power sort of thing  – and.. some of them are crazy. Absolutely crazy, and it’s amazing to see.

What does your loadout for your typical event consist of?

For my primaries, I have two favourites, my two go-tos. G&G sent me a custom CM16 SR-L. Basically, it’s a mash up between the first Black Rose, and the CM16 SRL with a Key Mod rail system. That’s my favourite gun to use. It’s got a custom Cerakoted real steel red dot sight, and it’s got a mini launcher – 40 BBs of pure terror, out of one tiny little launcher. And I’ve got my Scorpio Evo by ASG as well. That has no pink on it, so that’s my serious gun for games I can’t really take the pink one to. It’s a good all rounder.

As for my sidearms I’ve got two. I’ve got the WE, M&P the M Force one. It’s got a silver vented slide with a gold barrel. It’s got a pink grip. It’s very blingy! And then, for serious games I’ve got my CZ P-09, by ASG. That’s got no pink on it!

I was wondering how feminine you are with your presentation!

See people have an issue with the pink! Pink’s not my favourite colour, believe it or not. Purple is, but there’s not a lot of kit out there in purple, so pink’s a good substitute. Because it’s a fun hobby, I like to have fun loadouts. What’s the harm with a little pink here and a little pink there? (Laughs).

In terms of your ‘brand’, Femme Fatale Airsoft, it’s been very successful what do you plan to do next with it?

I’ve never really thought about it. Because it started out as a fun hobby. And I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t fun. I just take each day as it comes. One thing I like about it is I get to travel with it, I get to meet new people and obviously I’d say, representing the hobby in a positive light. I’ve no specific plans for where to take it next so we’ll see where it takes me.

You can follow Femme Fatale Airsoft on her blog. She’s also on Instagram, YoutubeFacebook and Twitter

BB Guns & Airsoft: A Guide

Daisy was the very first BB Gun brand

BB guns have been around since the 1900s, with Daisy being one of the first companies to manufacture them. Although the term “BB Guns” has become a very broad term, it was originally used to refer to 4.5mm ball bearings.

What is a BB Gun?

BB Guns are a type of air gun that shoots small ball bearings. The majority of the BB guns are CO2 powered and the ball bearings are often zinc or copper, or gold plated. This type of ammunition is often referred to as 4.5mm BBs. The term ‘BB gun’ was used to specifically describe air guns that fired ball bearings, but is usually misused to describe pellet guns. Some models like the Heckler & Koch P30 (see below) fire both BBs and pellets, giving you the best of both worlds, while others are strictly 4.5mm, like the Beretta Elite.

Daisy Guns

Daisy started in 1882 in Plymouth, Michigan as a windmill company. In 1886 they started to give away BB guns with each Windmill, but the gun became so popular they packed up the windmill business and sold just BB guns instead. One of their most famous BB guns was the Red Ryder Model. This was named after a comic strip and followed the design of lever action rifles. Even to this day the Red Ryder is still available to buy.

The U.S army trained recruits in safe firearms handling using the Daisy Model 99. This helped the soldiers learn to use, handle and quickly draw their weapons. The sights were removed from the BB gun during training and the technique’s name changed from Quick kill to Quick fire.

Competitive Shooting

There are many competitions for 4.5mm BB guns around the world. Daisy hold their own one each year. Their competition is a 5m target shooting contest and sees teams from all around America compete. To qualify for the daisy competition your team must place within the top 3 in a state championship.

Competitions like this exist in the UK as well and follow a similar structure. There are restrictions on power, BB grain etc. to ensure a fun, fair shoot for everyone.

The GHK GK74 Blowback, a great airsoft rifle

The Law on BB Guns

A 4.5mm BB gun must be less than 6 ft/lbs (8.1 J) by law. If a BB gun is more powerful than this they count as a firearm and are illegal in the UK. Any BB gun under 0.737 ft/lbs (1 J) is not included in the firearms regulation but are included in the VCR Act.

In Scotland you must have an air weapons certificate to own a 4.5mm BB gun no matter the power form the 1st of January 2017.

The last few important things to note about the law is that due to the 2006 Violent Crime Reduction Act all sales of new air guns must be done face to face either at a gun shop, or delivered to your door by us here at Pellpax, where we conduct the face to face transaction at your door, by delivering to you in person.

To buy either a 4.5mm or 6mm BB gun you must be at least 18 years of age and have ID to prove so. When transporting these guns you must do the following or it counts as an offence;

  • – The BB gun must not be loaded with ammunition or propellant
  • – They must be in a non-easy to reach area such as a boot
  • – Must be kept inside a bag or case

The Japanese airsoft craze

Airsoft Snipers on a Milsim patrol

In the early 1980s, airsoft guns were sold in Japan. They were known as soft-air which referred to the green gas they use. The main reason this craze took off was down to the fact you could hit humans without injury and they closely resembled real guns. Airsoft now has a variety of game modes such as C.Q.B (Close quarter Combat), Field, MilSim and historical reenactments. Airsoft has also been used by modern military and police organisations for training purposes.

Although BB guns used to refer to the 4.5mm made by Daisy Guns, the term has broadened in recent years and started to include airsoft guns as well.

Airsoft uses spring, gas, electric or co2 and come in a variety of powers. The WE 999k is a mid-range rifle firing at around 330fps and comes in either Gas or Electric. A higher end gas rifle is the GHK GK74 (pictured, above) which shoots at around 380fps and starts at £509.99.

The Heckler & Koch P30, a great example of an airsoft sidearm

The biggest factor that separates an airsoft gun from a BB gun, is the ball bearing it shoots. Where airsoft uses plastic BBs that measure 6mm, BB Guns use 4.5mm made of copper or zinc. Although the terms use to be separate the definition of BB Guns has changed and now includes a variety of different guns. To get started in airsoft, you can pick a decent tub of 0.20g BBs up for £7.99 here. The 4.5mm BB comes in tubes of 1500 and are available here for £5.89.

Type of airsoft

Airsoft guns are often referred to as BB guns as they shoot 6mm plastic ball bearings.  Today airsoft is bigger than ever with over 200 venues in the UK all offering a variety of game modes. Most venues offer basic game modes such as Capture the Flag, TDM, hostage rescue and more. Some venues offer more specialised game modes like planting the bomb, hostage rescue, president etc.

One type of airsoft that is growing in popularity is MilSim. This is an abbreviation for Military Simulation and is focused on providing the most realistic experience to players.  These are often done over the weekend and last 1-3 days. Some of the most popular venues in the UK are Warzone and Airborne which offer events all year round.

To learn more check out our MilSim blog here. The official War Zone site is here. The official Airborne site is here. 

5 Of The Best Airsoft Blogs Online

When it comes to airsoft blogs, a good one can be hard to find. The main things we look for in in good airsoft and airgunning blogs are attention to detail, photos and connection to the reader. These are Ross Mitchell’s top 5 airsoft blogs that offer an eye-catching and in-depth read….

Number 5: Airsoft Odyssey

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Yosser’s Airsoft Odyssey

Coming in at number 5 is Airsoft Odyssey. This website has a variety of areas ranging from videos, kits and helpful blogs. The blog I read in particular was the WE Makarov Test and Review. In this blog, we see them take the iconic Makarov pistol and break it down talking about the whole process from unboxing the pistol to shooting it. A section of the blog that I found really interesting was where he put it through a Chronograph test.

Now, I won’t spoil it for you but he first tests the Makarov without the barrel extension on but once attached the results were very interesting. Overall I like this blog as he goes into great detail about the bb’s and gas he uses, tests and talks about all the little features of the gun and he’s got some pictures showing the guns iconic design!

Number 4: Airsoft International Magazine

Meanwhile, for Number 4 we have a blog aimed at beginners in the airsoft world. This blog is from and is very neat and well presented. Within this medium sized blog we can see him starting off by talking about the laws on airsoft rifles. Now, the UK is known for being nervous around anything that looks like a gun, and to prevent Realistic Imitation Firearms (RIF) being misused there are licenses and regulations you have to comply with.

This is one of the reasons I found this blog a good read. They break each part down to explain firstly why the law and licenses exist, and then continue to talk about how this affects you when buying a RIF.  Finally they finish by going into detail on how you can obtain one. Whether you’re new to airsoft or more experienced, I recommend this read as it goes into good detail but portrays it in a short, simple way.

Number 3: Airsoft & Milsim New Blog

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Airsoft & Milsim News Blog

Number 3 in our airsoft blogs we have a gun review. Now, when it comes to blogs there is nothing I like more than a well written, detailed gun review. Not only do I find them the most interesting to read about, I like to see others opinions on certain rifles and pistols and see if they agree / disagree with my thoughts. In this review from they take the Modify XTC-G1 Carbine and provide a thorough review. The blog is fairly long but they break it down into small paragraphs to make it an easier read.

These paragraphs are put under subtitles which include: Externals; The Frontset; The Receiver; The Stock; Hop-Up/Inner Barrel; Gearbox and then is finished with a conclusion. Within this blog I like that they put pictures for nearly every paragraph so you can see the step by step process they go through. This includes sights, stock, magazines, disassembly of the rifle and more.

The amount of detail they go into for each part is why this blog is number 3 on my list. They show you every spring, wire and bearing even include the manufacturing processes they went through making this a very interesting read for both new and experienced players. If you’re not one for long reads then the conclusion is a nice extra as it has a few paragraphs which sums ups the highlights and lowlights of the rifle. It’s then finished off by having the gallery with all the pictures used in the blog.

Number 2: Black Rams Airsoft

For our airsoft blog list Number 2 is another gun review but has a big difference to number 3. This blog from they review 3 different AEG rifles and compare them together at the same time. I like their choice of rifles as they’re similar to each other making the review more relevant but still have differences allowing them to be compared. They start off with the Bolt B4 AEG blow back.

They dive straight into the review by talking about the internal V2 gearbox. After explaining the gearbox system they move on to the recoil and sound. I really like how they compare the recoil, the sound produced by the rifle and more characteristic to inform you how realistic the rifle is which I haven’t seen in many other blogs. They then move onto the WE M4 and use a similar structure to compare it by starting off talking about the trigger and internal mechanism, then move on to recoil and realism.

Their 3rd rifle is the Tippmann M4, which is Co2 powered and gives them a bit more to talk about as they go into detail on what Co2 cartridges you can use before following the structure. The whole blog is then finished off by a summary stating what the most realistic rifle is, then the easiest to use and so on. Overall, this is a good read for anyone interested in airsoft and is very informative, without being long and drawn out.

Number 1: Femme Fatale Airsoft

Now Rated Number 1 on my list is a well-known group in the airsoft community. The blog I read was G&G Custom CM16 SRL by Now this blog is interesting for many different reasons. First of all it is a gun review which I love but it’s based on a custom gun where there was only one in the world. In this blog, airsoft enthusiast and expert Kelly Hardwick expresses her love for a custom CM16 SRL known as “The Black Rose Version 2”. She starts off by talking about where she first found it and why she fell in love with it. Then one day she got a package from G&G and it was her very own one! She gives a very accurate and in depth review of the rifle ranging from its build quality to its power and fps.

She included some great pictures in the blog showing the rifles best features off and then shows her using it. From reading on in the blog she starts to compare it to the first Black Rose and explains how G&G stepped up from it. Overall I found this one of the most interesting airsoft blogs around and really like the story behind it as well as the great pictures. The main feature that kept me hooked was where she talked about her opinions on it for example she says “I have always held G&G in high regards to their quality, reliability, affordability and performance”. This blog is definitely worth a read even if you’re not a fan of G&G!

To check out our extensive and growing range of airsoft rifles and airsoft pistols by the big manufacturers like Tokyo Marui, Ares, KWC, WE and many more, head to the store. 

Face Off: KWC Desert Eagle vs Tokyo Marui P226

tokyo marui p226This month, Steph Brooks from the Pellpax team takes time out to review two highly prized mid-range airsoft pistols. Read on for more….

I’m taking a break from firearms this month, and reviewing two great bb guns in the shape of the KWC Desert Eagle and the Tokyo Marui Sig P226. Airsofting has become a major sporting activity, with sites springing up all over the country thanks to the large number of people willing to give up their weekends and evenings to skirmish though a boggy field or an abandoned industrial estate. With its growing popularity and thanks to the competitive nature of the activity, the best equipment is essential, so let’s try and decide between these two mid-priced pistols to help you get the edge over the competition.


In terms of appearance both of these pistols look very similar to their live firing counterparts. The Tokyo Marui P226 is more of a police/military style pistol whilst the Deagle has more of the Dirty Harry “Do you feel lucky punk?” factor and is certainly larger and more exiting to aim, feeling like it is capable of doing some real damage.

Both of these pistols feature an ABS plastic body with metal internals, such as the gas blow back system and magazine. This struck me as somewhat of a downside on the P226 where its smaller frame could surely support more of a full metal body and make this pistol feel more like the real thing. There are also noticeable mould lines around the P226 and whilst these are easily filed away, they make the pistol look more like a toy than a real firearm. The Desert Eagle already weighs nearly 2 kilos, so maybe a full metal construction would not be the best idea but I would have liked to have seen the classic chrome finish on the barrel and slide, to make it look more like its iconic live firing counterpart.

As I have stated before, to me, looks are nowhere near as important as how a gun handles or shoots but if had to pick a winner based on the appearance of these two I would go for the Desert Eagle thanks to its larger shape and construction. Both of these pistols look like bb guns and although the plastic is strong, I can’t help but feel that more metal would benefit the aesthetics of both these pistols.

Winner: KWC Desert Eagle


Both of these pistols operate with a gas blow back system which means that when fired the slide of the gun is pushed back by the gas and chambers the next bb for realistic operation and recoil. This does mean that some of the energy from the gas released is diverted away from the power required to propel the BBs out of the chamber. On other hand, does make these guns feel far more realistic than their static alternatives, with realistic recoil and kick.

The safety of the KWC is ambidextrous and easily accessible. It does lack that distinctive click clack engage/disengage noise but hey, it does the job. The P226 has a slide lock but lacks any safety switch of any kind which had me sometimes disengaging a safety that wasn’t there and at first, seemed somewhat of an over sight to me. However, after some research I discovered that the live firing version also lacks a manual safety switch, and can only be fired when the trigger is pulled thanks to some clever internal pin locks. I have been carrying the P226 in a holster all day and have never had it go off when I wasn’t expecting but would still prefer a manual safety switch. Maybe it’s a psychological thing, but with the KWC I know when that switch is engaged there is 0% chance of it firing, and with the P226 there was always a niggling thought in the back of my mind.

The P226 features a rail on its underside near the trigger guard, which is ideal for a laser or torch, and makes installation easy. The P226 is probably second only to the 1911 in terms of aftermarket accessories with springs, barrels, piston heads and body panels all available to tailor the pistol to suit your specific needs or desires. The KWC is without rails of any kind and its iron sights are not as precise or well-made as the P226, as they are without white dots or fibre optics which makes aiming, particularly at white targets, a tad trickier. The Desert Eagle also has nowhere near the same amount of options in terms extra parts.

The magazines of both pistols are relatively easy to fill with both bbs and gas with and thanks to their all metal construction both feel exceptional sturdy and lock into place with a satisfying clunk. The magazine of the KWC has a bit of lateral movement, but not much and certainly not enough to make feel as if the magazine was in any danger of falling out of position.

The grips of both pistols are made from stippled abs plastic and provide a sure hold, even under recoil, both in the naked hand and with airsofting gloves on. I would be interested to see if they are so easy to grip after a couple rounds in the rain or when coated in mud, but this will probably be more affected by your choice of gloves than the pistols themselves. The P226 fits the hand better but that is just generally a size issue, rather than shape or design. Not that the Deagle is too big or in any way cumbersome, but unless you are Andre the giant it is unlikely that you will be able to wrap you fingers all the way round it. The Desert Eagle is from the family of guns that perceive bigger as better, it is meant to feel powerful in your hands, but this does have a few drawbacks, and it is worth researching your holster before you buy it, as the Deagle will not fit into them all.

I think I’m gonna have to give this to the P226. Its lack of safety will take some getting used to, but the fact that it can reliably fit into any sized holster, and its extra customisation options make it more universally suitable.

Winner: Tokyo Marui P226


I tested both guns from a distance of 10 metres inside an indoor range to eliminate wind, temperature or elevation changes from effecting results, and first of all I have to say that both these bb guns are extremely fun to shoot. The P226 has got to be one of the loudest gas pistols I have ever fired. Some may see this as a disadvantage for giving away your position but I must admit, at the range it left a big smile on my face thinking “this thing hits hard”. The KWC features a slide that features strong feedback whenever the trigger is pulled which undoubtedly affects accuracy but makes this pistol feel like an absolute cannon which is, of course, extremely enjoyable. In reality both pistols shoot at around 300fps, but the KWC definitely feels the more powerful with its heavier recoil.

In terms of accuracy the P226 edges it with a grouping of around 2”, as always, ignoring a couple of outliers that were shot at the start of the magazine and were just me getting my eye in. Three of the holes were actually double taps and all shots landed within 1.5” of the bullseye. The Desert Eagle, ignoring a couple of outliers, grouped at around 2” also but with no double taps and a greater spread between the pellets, particularly in the vertical plane. This leads me to conclude that although both guns are comparable in terms of accuracy on the day, the P226 might just be the more consistent when it comes to hitting the target.

The trigger of the P226 features a long length of pull, a long reset and quite a sudden break, which does take a bit of getting used, to produce accurate results. The trigger action is consistent and doesn’t feel flimsy or unresponsive, it is just somewhat longer than I was expecting and I suspect that has something to do with the safety mechanism I mentioned earlier but, nonetheless I’m sure it won’t be for everyone. The trigger of the KWC is harder to pull but has a much shorter length, which makes the pistol seem more responsive.

Another thing to consider is that the P226 cycles much quicker than the Desert Eagle and I was able to empty the magazine far quicker when shooting with it. Part of this is down to the heavier kick of the Deagle taking longer to realign my aim after shooting, but even just blind firing the difference in speed is noticeable and something to consider if trying to aim at a moving target when your window of opportunity is small.

Despite having great fun with both of these pistols I think the winner has to be the P226. In terms of accuracy is was marginally more precise and the quicker cycling speed allows you to get your shot off when you need it.

Winner: Tokyo Marui P226


In summary, both of these pistols do an adequate job of being back up to your airsoft rifle or as a primary weapon in CQB engagements. Both pistols fire reliably and in my testing I encountered no problems with either of them. Both airsoft pistols are extremely fun to shoot and provide great feedback thanks to their gas blow back system. In terms of airsofting both of these pistols are accurate and reliable and can be drawn and fired in an instant and could give you the edge over the competition.

Since I have to pick a winner, I give it to the P226 because, despite its lack of safety and somewhat Marmite trigger, I found it to be more accurate and it offers a bigger range of extras if customisation is your thing.

Winner: Tokyo Marui P226

Head to the store where you can grab an airsoft Desert Eagle, a Tokyo Marui P226, or any from our huge range of airsoft pistols and airsoft rifles.

Check out Steph’s review of the Beretta CX-4 Storm Versus the Winchester Lever Action air rifles.