We like to take some time and meet our customers to shed some more light on their business – Who they? What do? This month we met with Dave Taylor from Daves Custom Airsoft to find out a bit more about him and what makes his business tick.
So what got you into Airsoft?
My mums friends kids played airsoft at X-Site in High Wycombe back in about 2000 when it was a paintball site, we rented some space on some weekends and played airsoft, I had a cheap springer rifle with the mag on the side that I got from Airsoft World, it was a bag of rubbish and I didn’t really like the first game, but, I saved up for a TM AK47 which I got from Airsoft Armoury and loved playing after I got that.
Who is the better player at your shop?
We are yet to go playing together as a DCA team, however, as the boss naturally I would be the best player sat at the back directing people. Of course we would have to take our HK11 & MG3 with us, so, maybe we would have a small firepower advantage.
What is your favourite thing about airsoft?
In a world where it is easy to sit about on your phone and play computer games, airsoft gets you out, it gets you active and it is a good way to meet people, all the nonsense people talk online can get silly, but, I have never really met anyone at a site who was not super friendly. Most of all of course I love the guns, if we could own these sort of real guns in the UK I would, but, airsoft is the next best thing and beats shooting at paper all day.
What would you like to see change/improve in airsoft?
I would like to see manufacturers consult with retailers and tech shops more to produce higher quality RIFs using the correct quality materials. I would also like to see a far better supply of spare parts, with TM as a great example of a company that does not care about customers outside of Japan and does not have sufficient spare parts. Primarily at the minute I would like to see a manufacturing shift from China and Asia over to the U.K and Europe and I would like to see us produce our own airsoft replicas. I think that giving funds to China at the current time will come back to bite us in later years and that we should be investing in our own U.K made items as a priority, this of course means the end user will have to be prepared to spend more.
What made you decide to open your Shop?
I worked full time in Defence for a number of years and although I loved that industry I also did not appreciate working for other people, we attended the British Shooting show in 2014 and we made strong sales over a weekend, I handed my notice in on the Monday and have not looked back since. (Well, perhaps over COVID there have been times I wish I worked for someone else).
Is this your first location or have you moved shops?
Our location in Dippenhall is our first location with a decent showroom, before that we were round the corner in Crondall in a very small space, our new location allows us to have storage for stock, room for machine tools, paint room for Cerakote, a small range and a showroom area so we are pretty spoilt.
What are the popular brands at your store?
By chance we found we became known for TM, although, given TMs lack of parts and the fact that the products have been devalued by retailers in the UK selling too cheaply we have decided to move away from TM for the time being, we still work on them, we just don’t want to spend all our money on it. Instead we are stocking a strong range of high quality China soft guns which we gut out the internals with our High Spec packages, as well as guns from great brands such as VFC / Umarex, PTS, Arcturus, KWA etc. Naturally, a popular brand can be made or broken with one decent or one bad gun so this is always changing. It is definitely worth noting that the quality of lower end guns from brands such as CYMA has increased massively over the last few years.
What’s hot at the moment?
At the minute we are doing a lot of Cerakote work, primarily on rifles but also some pistols and other non airsoft items, we have a particular customer in France who likes to order LMGs with multi-coloured Cerakote patterns and the spin off from that being that other customers see them and want the same which is great. In terms of replicas that are hot at the minute I would say the PTS Centurion CM4 and the MCX are our most popular RIFs.
Is there anything that has just come onto the market that you think it’s going to be HOT?
We heard tale of an SKS and a Lee Enfield SMLE that works so we are very excited about those two. We like guns that are different and if it has wood, even better.
Is there anything that has come onto the market that’s made you think “what the!?”
The LCT LK-33 (HK33) got us very excited as we have done a lot of work with LCT G3s, but, Mid Caps are near impossible to find for them and did not come out until months after the gun. Why would you make an incredibly realistic stamped steel AEG and then only sell high caps for it? Mad times.
What are the plans for you in the future?
Being a bit of an old school patriot I want to do my bit for the country and the sport, we are dead set on producing an entirely UK made RIF and this is a vision we are chasing. Overall though of course we want to continue to expand our stock holding, keep customising RIFs at a good strong rate and producing some incredible guns such as our latest MG3 KWS.
If people want to know more, how can people find you?
For a good flavour of our company it is best to check us out on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, of course you can also visit our web shop at www.davescustomairsoft.co.uk or after COVID drop into our store at GU105DW, if you google us, the google robots will provide directions.