“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.