Airsoft: PvP IRL – The most fun you’ll have with a toy gun


“Wanna go for it?” asks my teammate taking cover behind a tree a couple yards to my right. Both of us use bolt action sniper rifles, and automatic fire from the enemy’s position has us pinned down. We’re also the closest players to the objective, and only one of us needs to get there for our team to win. Twenty seconds left before the game is over. Time to make the call.

Surveying my options and seeing none, I shrug, “Sure, why the hell not”. I set my rifle down to get out my sidearm. I make the hand gesture for “3, 2, 1” and we both jump out of cover and make a mad dash towards the enemy base.

With two fast moving targets to eliminate, the enemies have to focus on one or the other. Go figure, they focus their attention on me. I make it maybe five steps towards the base before they light me up with BB’s. For good measure, I trip on a tree root and somersault into the dirt.

“Game!” my teammate calls! Mission success. I may have had to take one for the team, but we got the win!

This is one of many interesting situations I’ve experienced in the course of a couple months of playing airsoft. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, airsoft is a sport very similar to paintball in nature, but without the messy paint part. Instead of using paintballs as ammunition, airsoft uses 6mm plastic BB’s, often weighing between 0.20g and 0.45g. These are fired out of airsoft guns which are often made as replicas of real guns. It allows for a little bit more flexibility in terms of the types of gear you can use in comparison to paintball.

Since the paint element is removed from the game, airsoft relies on an honour system when it comes to getting hit. Basically: if you get hit, call your hit. With that in mind, when played amongst a mature group of individuals, it generally doesn’t seem to be an issue at all.

If you are a video game / PvP enthusiast and you find yourself needing to get away from the computer, airsoft may be worth looking into!

From Civilian To Airsoft Commando In 3 Easy Steps

I admit, airsoft hooked me before I even got my hands on a gun. A couple of years back while looking for Space Engineers videos by LastStandGamers, I actually stumbled across some of his airsoft videos by chance. It looked cool at the time, but I figured that it probably wasn’t something that’d be very popular around here. It turns out that I was wrong. Fast forward a couple of years when I came across a couple of Novritsch videos on Facebook. This time, the bug bit me.

I’ve liked toy guns, and military history since childhood. I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a “buff” when it comes to either subject at this point in my life, but I still carry an interest in it. So when I saw these guys running around in the forest, playing military simulation games, wearing all sorts of cool gear and shooting guns that look exactly like the real thing, I knew it was something I had to get myself involved with. Here’s what I did to get myself started in airsoft:

Go to your local army surplus, and get yourself some cheap camo

This one is probably the easiest step, and is actually technically optional. Generally speaking, most people have an army surplus store somewhere not too far away, and they are great sources for affordable gear. If you’re really unsure of whether or not you’ll enjoy the sport, then you could hold off on this one. That being said, it’s really better to purchase basic camouflage for yourself, as it makes the game more enjoyable for you. If you don’t stand out like a sore thumb, you’ll find yourself getting shot less, and will have more opportunity to get some shots of your own down range.

For me, I wanted to a reason to wear camo. The first thing I picked up were pants, a couple of shirts, and a boonie hat. My favourite field is in a forest, so I decided that woodland camo would be best. I had a tac vest hanging around from years before for some reason, so I put that to use as well. You’ll want to get eye protection (this is a must), and face protection (a must for most fields, optional at some). Some surplus stores have this stuff as well, but if all else fails you can find ‘em online.

Buy an airsoft gun

This step is sometimes a cause for debate among the airsoft community. Generally speaking, most people will recommend getting an AEG (automatic electric gun). These are often reliable, and will do a good job for you right out of the box. They’re the most common airsoft gun you’ll see at most fields, so there’s a good chance that someone there will be able to show you how to use it. This reliability and ease of use makes them one of the most recommended choices for a player’s first gun. There are other options, though.

Bolt action sniper rifles are one of them, but they can often be frustrating to use. They are generally considered to be the most cheaply made airsoft guns, and are often made with low grade materials. As a result, before long, the player needs to upgrade their rifle, which isn’t optimal for most new players. The other gun which is generally common but not necessarily recommended as a first gun, is a gas blowback pistol. These guns are powered either by green gas (basically propane with silicone oil), or CO2 canisters. They operate very much like their real firearm counterparts, and can be pretty fun to shoot.

Many people advise against both bolt action rifles and gas blowback (GBB) pistols for new players. Naturally, I purchased these as some of my first guns. In the end, you’ll buy the gun that best suits your play style. Many fields have rentals, so that’s also an option to consider.

Find your local airsoft field, go to it, and shoot your new airsoft gun(s)

I just popped “airsoft field” into Google with my city name, and I was off to the races! I also signed up on some local forums, which led me to more local fields and games. Airsoft communities seem to generally be very welcoming to new players, much like Eve players. It’s a small enough sport that they’re very passionate about retaining new players to keep the sport alive (sounds familiar). If you have questions, ask! Other players and organizers will be quick to jump in and offer some friendly advice. After that, get out there and shoot some people and inevitably get shot yourself!

Go Forth, And Rain BB’s On Thy Enemies…Or Friends

That’s all there is to it! A budget of $500CAD or less is all you need to start enjoying airsoft. The hobby ticks a lot of boxes for me. It lets me shoot guns at people and not end up in jail. I have a reason to own guns, but not worry about killing machines in my house. And I can play a game at the same time as keeping fit. Everybody’s reasons for playing are different, of course, and like any game it may not be for everybody. Still, if you want to get some exercise and have an absolute blast doing it, give airsoft a chance!

Hope to see you on the field!

Editor’s Note: Before buying an Airsoft gun (or any firearm), always check the relevant laws in your country or state. Their legality may differ based on your location.

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  • Freelancer117

    Srsly buy some goggles.

    November 30, 2017 at 10:32 AM
  • Honestly I think there are a lot of “gun people” who would have a better time with airsoft. The projectiles are less expensive, and you can still accessorize however you want, which certainly seems to be the point of owning many types of real gun (I’m looking at you, ARs).

    Your airsoft gun looks just as good with that dank EOTech holosight, pmags and the right suppressor. Plus you get to shoot it for cheap and at people! What’s not to like?

    Also, let’s not even broach the subject of tacticool gear. Oh dear. The quantities of cash you can drop on all the right plate carriers and magazine pouches in genuine Crye multicam pattern…

    November 30, 2017 at 7:30 PM
    • What I’m trying to say is, I still have thousands of dollars worth of airsoft shit. I got into it during highschool. I should probably see if there’s anyone playing in my area.

      November 30, 2017 at 7:32 PM
    • Macky Avelli Ganthrithor

      I agree 100%. I’ve made a couple of trips to the gun range, and it’s definitely fun! It doesn’t hold a candle to being able to shoot at other people though. I can’t see myself getting in to exciting situations at the gun range, and if I did it probably means that something really bad is happening. Any urge to purchase a firearm was immediately erased once I purchased my first airsoft gun, an M1911A1 GBB pistol. It looks exactly like the real gun I’ve always wanted, and I can shoot it inside my house. There really isn’t any negative here that I can see.

      December 1, 2017 at 2:25 AM
  • 1 question though: how come you left out GBB rifles? The biggest difference between airsoft back in the 2000’s and now seems to be the widespread and somewhat-reasonably-priced availability of gas rifles. Such things were extremely rare when I got into airsoft back in the day, and AEGs completely dominated the sport. I’ve got an Escort MP5 designed to run on CO2 or compressed air that requires a full external gas rig. Nowadays though can’t you get like a $300-400 GBB rifle that uses plain old propane in the magazines?

    November 30, 2017 at 7:34 PM
    • Macky Avelli Ganthrithor

      You’re absolutely right, I did leave those out. Generally speaking, HPA (external tank) rifles and GBB rifles aren’t even mentioned when it comes to getting a first gun for a new player. As much as it is getting more affordable to do HPA setups, and you can get a decent GBB rifle for $300-$400, that’s still a bit more than the average new player is willing to do. Here in Canada, you can get a half decent AEG for somewhere around $200, which is a lot more reasonable for a new player getting into the sport. That and there’s less screwing around with an AEG. I’m sure there are plenty of folks out there who went with an HPA or GBB rifle set up for their first gun though!

      December 1, 2017 at 2:19 AM
      • Oh wow, AEG prices are way down. You used to only be able to get shit-tier Chinese clone AEGs for that kind of money. Good old TM guns were $250-300 (and were built entirely of plastic, usually requiring expensive bodykits if you didn’t want your gun to be all flexy and delicate). Classic Army and other manufacturers sold OK guns with better bodies for $300-400.

        Have any manufacturers figured out how to make a reliable AEG yet? When I was playing they used to break all the time, especially anything built around a TM version 2 type gearbox… the gearboxes would crack, motor pinion gears would strip, pistons and gears would strip, etc.

        December 1, 2017 at 2:37 AM
        • Macky Avelli Ganthrithor

          I think reliability has improved on the cheaper clone AEGs to some extent. Then again, I feel like AEG reliability is almost like a luck of the draw type of deal. A pal of mine recently picked up what I’m fairly certain is a pretty expensive AEG, and it crapped out on him after 2 games. Some people talk about their cheap shitty clone guns lasting for years without any problems though, as long as you keep ’em stock.

          December 1, 2017 at 5:23 AM
          • I’ve always had good experiences with guns based on the TM v3 gearbox design. I think the motor being rigidly attached to the gearbox rather than floating free in the hand grip makes a difference. Also the design of the gearbox housing seems to be stronger in the right places and less prone to fatigue cracks.

            My AK-pattern AEGs have always been my favorites and the most reliable. I’ve got a few G36s as well (also a v3 design), and my only problems with them have been electrical (the trigger contacts are burning out on one, and in general you kind of need lipol batteries to get something that both fits the handgrips and provides enough power for the guns).

            Conversely, I’ve never had an AR-pattern gun (v2 gearbox) that didn’t break down constantly. I did build one for a friend once that featured a stiffer spring on an almost-completely-stock TM gearbox, and that one seemed to last forever despite his habit of holding the trigger down a ton (go figure), but that’s basically the only v2 gun I’ve seen that wasn’t plagued with problems. God, the number of hours I’ve spent tearing those fukkin ARs apart. So many fiddly, hard-to-reach screws.

            December 3, 2017 at 5:14 AM
  • airsoft rifles
    These are often dependable, and will do a decent job for you right out of the box.

    June 29, 2018 at 12:38 PM