Bitter End Interview

Posted by Unknown On Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Exclusive 'Bitter End' Interview!

Mark, creator of the now famous 'Bitter End' series of stamped steel eye protection talks exclusively to Yosser's Airsoft Odyssey about how and why he came up with the innovative concept that is now being copied around the world.

So Mark, where do you live and play airsoft?
I live on the West Coast of the United States in Washington State. Most of the skirmishes and events are in Western and Central Washington , although I have played many times in Idaho and have attended several of the LionClaws series playing in OP Lionclaws , OP Bull Dog and OP Red Storm.

What got you started in airsoft and how long have you been involved for?
My Brother
DEADLY (US Army) started the largest Airsoft team in Idaho; MilSim Airsoft Group M.A.G. and my 2 sons RICOCHET (SGT USMC) and C-4 wanted to start playing as well. We went to a couple of events in Northern Washington and soon discovered that there was a much better way to organize and structure the game than what was available. In early 2007 we met and worked with ROGER of 1st SWORD to organize and host regularly scheduled games with a real emphasis on playing with honor, good sportsmanship and trying to implement a standardized rule set .

Do you have a particular loadout and a favourite AEG?
We decided early on to don Multicam. I was able to secure quite a bit of kit from Crye when they were selling to civilians. We also have many different load outs if needed. My primary weapon is my Inokatsu M60… It is a signature all my own on the field. With super torque up gears, she rocks at a very distinctive 9 RPS. Thump, thump, thump. I have emptied 2000 rounds of suppressive fire with one trigger pull… very unfair - LOL!

Mark from Bitter End (click to enlarge)

Whats your favourite piece of airsoft kit?
The easy answer is my Bitter End Goggles, but I really like bringing my grill and downing a burger or 2 after playing hard all afternoon. A grill should be at the top of every Airsoft players list!

So what model ‘Bitter End’ goggles do you use?
Why BITTER END’s of course! These ones:

BE uses these himself (click to enlarge)

How long have you been making and customising glasses and goggles for now? And any idea how many you have produced?
I made the first stamped steel lens and installed it in my goggle in the winter of 2006. I don’t have an exact number. In the beginning I was giving them away or selling them at cost. Over the past couple of years I have had to keep an exact count; the tax collector wouldn’t have it any other way… thousands in 38+ Countries and counting.

What made you decide to go down the road of producing your great 'Bitter End' goggles?
After the very first time playing I was about to throw it in. I don’t need to tell some of you the frustration of only being able to see out of a small little corner of your goggle… being essentially blind on the field sucked all the fun right out of it. I tried every product and witches brew known to man, all to no avail. I knew I wasn’t alone; emails were coming in from every corner of the World requesting a goggle.

How did you come up with the 'Bitter End' brand name?
After SIX was outfitted with stamped steel goggles and we were on the field; player after player would ask, “Can I try them on? Where did you get them? Will you make me a pair?” It didn’t take long before the local buzz was I want/have a goggle from Bitter End. It morphed right into Bitter End Goggles and took on a life of its own. It spread very quickly around the World hop-scotching from one Airsoft forum to another. Bitter End is my call sign and is derived from a nautical term meaning the last foot or so of line. "The end of the line"… being 3rd generation NAVY, what else could I be.

You can also do various ‘customised’ paint jobs have you had any unusual requests?
Nothing too crazy, most players are traditional, requesting colours or patterns that match their load-out. Of course the scull and many variations of the scull are trending right now. But this one, designed by Jordan Ferre of Portsmouth, Hampshire, United Kingdom (give credit where credit is due) is always popular, so popular in fact this photo has been stolen and put on other Airsoft websites around the World. So if you happen to run across this snap, give em hell for stealing it!

The most copied picture showing BE's work

How do you respond to peoples questions about ‘shattering’ BB’s penetrating the stamped steel?
I started to require full seal goggles at all of my events when players wearing shooting glasses were getting plinked in the eye from side shots. I have also seen players get plinked in the eye from ill fitting goggles. I have also seen a player get plinked in the eye from a bb hitting between his goggle seal and his cheek. So I try not to be a smart ass by mentioning other riskier eyepro that doesn’t spark any debate.

Really I should have more stories about the subject than anyone. When I had time to play more (increasingly less) it would not be a stretch to have 60 to 70% of the players on the field donning Bitter End Goggles, all getting blasted without incident. While I don’t have any first hand experience with bb’s getting through the stamped steel; anything is possible.

I occasionally get emails from players inquiring about BIO bb’s. I have been a pioneer in requiring BIO bb’s as mandatory in all of the events that I organized since 2008. As you know; the tendency of BIO’s is to break in 2 or 3 large pieces if the impact is great enough. It has been my experience that when a BIO bb impacts a hard surface and breaks, the kinetic energy of the bb going in direction A doesn’t continue but is defected to direction B.

But know this: I tell any player that dons my gear; Airsoft is a dangerous extreme sport with inherent risks at every turn. If you are not 100% confident that you will be protected by Bitter End Gear then please don’t buy or use it. I am just one of many choices available for you; you need to have complete confidence to perform at your highest potential. There are thousands of players in 38+ Countries right now donning BE Gear, so you are in very good company. For me and many players like me, I couldn’t play without stamped steel lenses. My goggles fog up instantly and stay fogged up. My choice is Bitter End Goggles or not to play.

What prompted you making the lower face masks?
I was dragged kicking and screaming into building the lower face mask. Starting in 2007, players would email me (often) and ask me to build them a mask. I really wanted to have a firm foot hold on the goggle market before I focused on something else. At the end of 2009 I capitulated and came up with 7 or 8 different designs. I enlisted the help of the local airsoft players to wear them during actual skirmishes and fill out a lengthy questionnaire about what worked and what didn’t work with each design. I took the best of the comments and settled on the design that I am using now.

Custom Facemask designs by Bitter End (click to enlarge)

Any future plans?
I don’t know how long this will run; I am very satisfied with where we are at as a Corporation right now and I am very grateful to all of the players in the Airsoft Community that have and continue to support me and my endeavours. Right now there are many Bitter End knockoffs flooding the market from China, Taiwan and even the UK, funny stuff; they don’t even have enough imagination to change the names or styles of the goggles. Good luck to all of them… Really! God speed to all of our troops around the World as they sacrifice and stand in for us keeping us out of harms way.

Bitter End out…

Yosser Says:
Thanks for taking the timeout to answer the questions Mark and for some great advice. Don't forget to see the original
if you've not already checked it out

Check out BE's website via the banner:
Bitter End

This article is copyright 2010 by Yosser Airsoft Odyssey © and may not be be copied or reproduced without permission. Most Pictures are copyright of Bitter End © and are used here with permission. You may link to this page.


Post a Comment