2018 is dead, long live 2018.
Whilst there is there is a lot of promising stuff on the horizon for the 2019 year that we want to talk about, we simply can’t look forward until we take a moment to look back. The 2018 year brought with it a swathe of positive changes for the MK23 platform, ON MY MK and the community as a whole; we saw a bunch of new parts, new faces and the most exposure the pistol has had since it’s launch on the market. It's been a year to remember!
Let’s let the flashback begin as we note some of the biggest points (both the pros and the cons) of 2018!
ON MY MK was launched. Yep, 2nd of February 2018 was the official launch date of our website and blog. In that time, we have had 45,000 site page views, 12,500 sessions by 6300 unique users, 12,100 blog post views, 450 FB likes, 464 IG follows. These may seem like low numbers by today's standards, but for our little blog, we are totally thankful for these figures, to our community partners, the community and consider this to be a huge success!
ON MY MK went to IWA. Brad attended the IWA 2018 exhibition in Nuremberg, Germany by invitation from Modify Tech airsoft. This was an airsoft life changing experience and gave us an appreciation and insight in to a very rarely seen side of the airsoft industry and the effort manufacturers make to release their new products! There was also much currywurst and fine lager consumed.
Gary Fox joined the team. Gary joined ON MY MK as a content writer and was picked up for his excellent community presence, great technical knowledge across all platforms, but most importantly for his passion for the MK23 platform. He’s continued to be an asset since, both online and in the field where we have skirmished together.
We met some pretty cool MK23 owners. This year Gary and I had the means to travel to some “away” games and met up with some of the most recognized (and some less known, but equally enthusiastic) MK23 users currently active in the stealth community. To name a few, we had the pleasure of gaming with AirsoftCamman, CleanShot, Snakethesniper, KickingMustang, Steakthesniper, The Cheetah, Belgian Sniper, Sniper Ops, SniperMechanic. Meeting and seeing others enjoy and appreciate using the MK23, has been the driving force for us, and we expect it only to get stronger as we move in to 2019.
Brad appeared on the Airsoft Nation podcast. In his first live interview, the tale of the MK23 and the ON MY MK origins were shared to the world, with his passion hopefully converting a fair few players to the MK23 cult.
The MK23 Owners Group grew to 5400 (as of this writing) members, with an increase of 1450 new members in 2018. There were 2600 posts, 33000 comments and 38000 reactions!
We saw the popularization of the Maple Leaf Crazy Jet barrel / Transformer bucking spread to almost every MK23 build in the community, as well as the introduction of the Super Hero buckings to the market.
Silverback Airsoft, the biggest external replica manufacturer our community has seen, joined the fray and introduced their MK23 compatible silencer, signaling a huge boost of interest in the MK23, however it was received with mixed results from the community.
Double Tap Designs, Foundry Airsoft and Hadron Airsoft Designs all released revisions to their game changing product’s. DTD updated their MOLLE retention plate for their holster, FA made durability changes to their carbine kit that turned it in a to a real workhorse, Hadron released their M-TDC dust cover, which has given users even more versatility than ever before. We also saw smaller, new product releases for each of them that each equally had a massive impact on the market.
CNC parts manufacturers Shooters Design, Lee’s Precision Engineering and WiiTech re-surfaced in our community, providing full metal slide replacements, internal trigger unit parts and accessories, magazine shims and outer barrel adapter.
The fart flap mod graced our presence. Gary threw up an article after much secrecy to detail the greatest mod to ever be used in conjunction with the MK23 to achieve ultimate suppression and silence.
We added the Community Gallery, Stock Checker and OMMK Store to the website. Each of these features serving the purpose of giving back to the community and making the MK23 experience better for each user!
We saw new barrels and hop rubbers coming out of Taiwan, from TN-T airsoft, giving MK23 users the closest drop in R-Hop experience in recent times thanks to their incredibly large hop windows and contact patches.
Excellent tutorial and guide content emerged from the community, introducing the “smooth and silent” trigger assembly modifications, through the use of correctly shimmed sears and slick trigger arms. We had a dozen new and efficient magazine repair tutorials, suppressor upgrade guides, sticky trigger fixes and gas router nozzle shimming!
The community gave us new 3D printed parts innovators, in the form of Naunak, Fidel's Workshop, Softtech and 6Shooter (to name a few) each bringing with them a range of unique designs; such as a double to single stack magazine converter, printed match trigger, rail adapter and suppressors. Of course, many smaller individuals gave us their range of modified designs too!
The demand of MK23 parts and accessories did not go unnoticed by retailers, and we have seen a good chunk of them increase or even specialize in stocking parts for our community in 2018. To name a few, Socom Tactical, Impulse101, Eagle6 and Skirmshop have all clearly bolstered their shelves with parts for MK23 Owners.
ON MY MK spoke to MK23 owners that they had never met in person before, discussing the MK23 and the community, only to given advice by the players to check out posts in the community written by one of the two of them or to go directly on the website for all the information they could need. They then had the pleasure (one of our less humble moments) of introducing themselves to these players much to their surprise, thanks and amusement!
The MK23 has made appearances in over 100 new Youtube videos in 2018 alone, from many different content creators and in as many languages. This exposure has led to quite literally, millions of people witnessing the power of the MK23 gameplay.
We launched our first assortment of ON MY MK / MK23 merchandise, both in the form of T-Shirts and Patches! Making this one of the few ways to boast about the MK23 and help represent the cult.
Whilst the list above summarizes a good deal of our highlights in 2018, we realize that we may have forgotten some details, and to those that shared experiences with us or know of some points we may have failed to mention, we thank you very much, you know who you are, and ask you to forgive us for the missing bullet point!
Of course, 2018 was not all glory, there were some slopes that the MK23 community ran in to on the way to 2019; however, thankfully they were very few in number and we recovered well! Here's a quick round up...
MK23 stocks fell to an all time low. The growth in demand for the MK23 in 2018 caused retailer shelves to empty faster than they could fill them. Due to the nature of Tokyo Marui's limited batch runs for their replicas, this meant players had to wait several months before new stock would find its way around the world - in some cases in very small amounts. This made getting hold of a TM MK23 particularly hard to do in the earlier part of 2018, especially so in the United States. Clone models were obviously more accessible, but even reliable retailers struggled to keep stock.
Feed lips. Replacement Toyko Marui feed lips were incredibly sought after as new clone MK23 owners appeared in the community, seeking to sure up the reliability of their new replicas. With prices soaring to triple their RRP in some places to meet the supply of demand, replacement feed lips became a luxury item bought in mass when limited stock from Japan arrived. The community still suffers from this, but less so as new users from the start of 2018 have become regulars.
Rise of the clones. No, not the clone replica, but very much along the same lines. 2018 saw the release of some incredibly innovative and popular 3D printed parts. The MK23 Owners group, which is the source for many of the communities innovations and discussion saw the arrival of many imitation 3D parts which did little to differentiate themselves from their original creations, nor did they make much attempt to credit the original designs. Due to the strict, and protective policy of the MK23 Group, these imitation parts were restricted and culled from the group to protect the intellectual property of the original creators in the group. Whilst the policy was enforced, with good intention, it stunted some growth for the platform from new designers who may have been discouraged to design and build upon good existing designs. This culling of members naturally resulted in some bad blood, with some group designers being maliciously targeted on personal pages as a result of the moderation. It was some of the darker times the group has faced in recent years, but thankfully the group's policy now has open gates to all designers, original or imitation in an effort for transparency, further innovation and platform growth. For the greater good!
Facebook Anti-Gun policy. Arguably the biggest thing to affect the MK23 and airsoft community as a whole in 2018, FB's stern approach to censoring pro-gun content started making ripples in airsoft community groups (particularly the MK23 Owners Group) towards the end of 2018, we started seeing posts featuring replica gun parts, aftermarket upgrades like outer barrels, magazines and 3D parts getting automatically flagged by the moderation algorithm. This lead to several groups, including the MK23 community, having posts flagged as a breach of community standards - eventually to the point where the groups were suspended until offending content had been removed. Fortunately for the MK23 community, the MK23 Owners Group survived the suspension review; unfortunately for some other groups, they did not and were immediately and permanently deleted from FB without chance for recovery. The MK23 community goes forth in to 2019 as a survivor, but still under the same threat, as FB buckles down with even more focus on pro-gun content.
Gel Blasters happened. Look it up. They made a MK23... (see below).
So with 2018 wrapped up, all said and done, we can take a deep breath and look ahead at whats on the cards for 2019, ON MY MK and the MK23 community as a whole. We know from existing projects that we are due some pretty big and exciting aftermarket part releases, we know that some big industry names are dipping their toes in to the MK23 waters and we've been teased by some well known community figures that they know how to get us talking among ourselves!
Here's a glimpse of some of what's coming for 2019.
The Road Ahead
WiiTech is due to release a series of additional MK23 internal and external parts, to complete their existing line of newly introduced CNC manufactured items. The fact that a company with the ability to produce long awaited items like replacement hammers, loading arms and more, in such high quality is providing parts for the NBB MK23 is testament to the success and demand for the MK23 platform, regardless if most users will purchase the parts or not. It's a massive acknowledgement and their spotlight will surely draw in more manufacturers and innovators in like moths to a flame.
Foundry Airsoft is due to release their long awaited "enhanced modular" kit, in addition to their Bulpup conversion system kit, which will allow users to achieve a carbine setup and all the advantages of one whilst keeping the compact profile of the standard pistol. The "enhanced modular" kit will feature a much larger range of kit options and accessories and will also include an aluminium reinforced body.
Double Tap Designs have an unannounced project in the works - which we have very little information on, but if its anything like their holster, it's going to shake up the community yet again. They are also due to release their universal holster system, which we hope will support the MK23 too.
ON MY MK will be back at IWA, both Gary and Brad will be in attendance this time! We hope to see some of you there!
VFC are due to release their GBB version of the MK23. We don't know much about it, but they were due to preview it at IWA 2018 but pulled it out of being demonstrated before the event. The KWA / UMAREX GBB MK23 has become much harder, and more costly to obtain these days, so a refresh to the GBB availabilty will be a welcome change!
Modify Airsoft have been working on a new bucking, specifically with the MK23 in mind, but with wider support to the VSR and GBB platform. It's likely to bring back some old tech and mix it with the new!
Novritsch and SniberBuddyFabi were spotted on Youtube touting stealth-tapped pistol with the silhouette of a MK23. We don't know much about it beyond clearly identifying the shape of the pistol as a MK23 with a few external accessories - but if we know anything about the Austrian, the last things to be wrapped up in that tape ended up making it to the shelf. If this looks like what it looks like - we could see the largest growth in MK23 users since the launch of the pistol - more so than in 2017-2018 combined.
We've seen more Japanese manufacturers like DCI Guns and Laylax pay attention to the MK23 again with late 2018 releases - and having researched their previous release model, it's very likely that they will not stop with a single product release and probably have more up their sleeve. Laylax especially is already well known as one of the few manufacturers that have supplied quality CNC aftermarket parts - expect more of the same in 2019.
TN-T listen to their customers, and it was not long after their latest release of buckings and barrels that some of the communities more technical MK23 users started to provide feedback to them. We expect some hot releases early 2019 from the Taiwanese company.
Hadron Airsoft Designs dropped the game changing Modular TDC in Q4 2018, whilst only the basic package is available, the capabilities of the TDC-M and it's mounting options have already been showcased and we expect the accessories (rail kits) for it to start rolling in within the first few months of the new year. We also know that they are not done with their suppressor line, but are not privy to share more!
The French airsoft community are avid fans, and arguably some of the strongest supporters of the MK23 despite being fairly isolated from the rest of the international community. Their community contains some talented 3D printed parts designers and we were slowly introduced to their work (such as a 3D printed trigger, RMR mounts and compensator systems) in the last months of 2018. We are looking forward to seeing what the likes of Fidel's Workshop and Impression3D get up to in 2019. Les joueurs français nous reviennent!
We know of 3 new independent 3D printed parts manufacturers that are working on new MK23 designs - all of which have not yet graced the market and offer a feature that we as a community have long requested (whether we realized it or not). The amount of upcoming work and innovation for the community is staggering, and it's a clear sign that the MK23 has not peaked yet.
Maple Leaf have more to offer in 2019, including their new MK23 compatible Whisper suppressor. A fully featured suppressor with a working baffle system (US owners take note of the legality of this thing). We're excited to try it and test it's effectiveness in the field.
SniperMechanic is getting more mechanical. We know from his W.A.S.P system for the SRS and VSR that he's not shy to innovation and making a solid and game changing product. He recently got hooked up to a 3D printer and is a diehard fan of the MK23 - backed up with his CAD skills, that can only mean one thing for MK23 users in 2019. Keep your eye on him.
If we take just this short roadmap as an example of what to expect in 2019, we're already hitting the ground running! Each release we see this year is going to be like a domino falling, and it's going to have a knock on motivational effect to welcome in the next release, big or small - 2019 is going to be the defining year of the MK23 era - this is something we are certain of. It's not just about the new parts and products however, we as MK23 owners are an incredibly proud community, that has existed well over 10 years - well before juicy new upgrade parts started becoming so common place for the platform. MK23's users are a special breed, and they are known to welcome in new owners with the same respect and guidance as those before them. 2019 is going to in bring in new owners too, more than likely faster than the existing community can process, it's going to be harder for community members to pass on their knowledge and core principles as MK23 owners before those new players get out on the field and start sending the rounds. In the late months of 2018, we saw the rumblings of what the increased appearences of MK23 owners can cause, with the UK airsoft scene starting to report cases of the MK23's reputation taking on a darker tone due to it's performance in the hands of a capable player. With the MK23 still only being categorized as a sidearm in many cases, the rising amount of players highlighting our "sidearm" as a more than viable primary weapon is envitably going to start raising suspicions and concerns from fellow airsofters - for a number of reasons (from it breaking immersion as unrealistic, for it being too effective in comparison to a standard rifle). Misunderstandings, lack of knowledge and increasing amount of aftermarket parts are all potentially issues we as MK23 owners are going to face in 2019. Whilst we can be incredibly progressive as MK23 owners in our own community bubble (MK23 Master Race!), we need to be aware of how we look on the outside, and what our growth can mean for us and our fellow players. Which is why I'll finish up on a New Years Resolution, as is only fitting for a post celebrating in the new year. From myself and Gary, we as a MK23 owners will continue do everything in our power to ensure that we and the MK23 community can continue to enjoy our very unique platform, to promote the good nature of it's users and to inform others of the benefits of using it through knowledge and guidance. ON MY MK will stride forward in to 2019 with the same passion that led to it's creation in 2018, and we hope that you as a reader will join us in this endeavour as you have done up until now! Thank you for an amazing 2018, we've come a long way. Let's nail 2019!
(ONMYMK original logo, dated 27/10/17!)