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Airsoft Frequently Asked Questions
What is Airsoft?
Airsoft is a fun, recreational game that some consider as a sport. It can be played by teenagers and adults. In fact, many law enforcement and military professionals utilize airsoft fields and arenas for training purposes. Airsoft guns are typically modeled and detailed as replicas of their real firearm counterparts. An airsoft gun looks very similar in detail to the real version. Airsoft guns are powered by spring, electric, or gas and they fire 6mm BBs.
Similar to paintball, airsoft players play against each other in mock combat scenarios. However, airsoft tends to lend itself better to roleplaying and realistic training. In many instances, airsoft participants lean more into the fantasy aspects. Conversely, paintball players tend to focus more on the competitiveness of the sport. In a nutshell, airsoft players 'play army' in a friendly, safe, controlled environment.
Airsoft guns have ranges of up to 200' and the majority of guns are fully automatic. The BBs shot by these guns are 6mm and only weigh .20 grams. When compared to paintball, being shot by an airsoft BB is not nearly as painful as being shot by a paintball gun. Airsoft BBs do not leave any marks, unlike paintballs. When you are shot in an airsoft match, it is up to you to call yourself out. This is a game based on the honor system.
For people not familiar with airsoft, it is not a 'militant' fanatical cult or way of life. Playing airsoft is merely a way for people to get together and enjoy the thrills of mock gameplay using realistic looking guns and uniforms. It is a great team-building game and an awesome way to exercise, enjoy camaraderie and the outdoors.
What should I expect from playing airsoft games?
Expect to have a ton of fun, meet good people and get some exercise. There are many different types of airsoft games and scenario wargaming. Many airsoft events and games include prizes, awards, and raffles. Also, many fields utilize military objectives, barricades, props, vehicles, etc.
Some event coordinators and airsoft facilities managers will put together a wide variety of airsoft games ranging in complexity. Some include weekend scenario events, others are simple sessions lasting a couple of hours. Some are close quarter battles (CQB) and others are hostage rescue scenarios.
What do I need to start playing Airsoft?
- Airsoft Gun - Any type of airsoft gun is good, anything from pistols to automatic fire rifles. Just make sure that your FPS (velocity) is within the acceptable ranges for the field that you are going to play at.
- Eye and Face Safety Gear - It is advisable that you wear MILSPEC, ANSI or ASTM rated goggles with a full seal. Stay away from mesh goggles as they do not offer the same level of protection. Many fields have strict guidelines and regulations for minors. Goggles that are equipped with 'thermal lenses' are recommended to reduce the about of fog up during play. These can oftentimes be found in paintball gear. Also, wearing a sweatband helps reduce eyesight problems.
- Uniform - If you are playing in an event with teams, be sure to wear the appropriate uniform to match your teammates.
- Honor and Sportsmanship - As mentioned above, airsoft is a game ruled by honor. This honor code applies to your gun’s velocity limits, ammunition, and gear as well as calling yourself out on the field when you are hit. This game requires that everyone upload this code of honor. Additionally, a high level of sportsmanship is expected, both on and off the field. We like to think that all airsoft players exhibit the highest levels of character by displaying the best sportsmanship and honor.
Airsoft Gear Checklist
Must Have Equipment:
- At least 1 airsoft gun (however having an automatic rifle and a dependable sidearm is advisable)
- Goggles/Mask that is suitable for airsoft
- Multiple Hi-Capacity Ammo Magazines
- Multiple Hi-Capacity Batteries or Gas Refills
- Battery Charger (w/DC capability)
Nice To Have Equipment:
- Tactical vest or Harness
- Family Radio Service (FRS) Radio
Boots for outdoor play
- Water supply, CamelBack or Canteen
- Bandana, Headwrap, or Sweatband
- Small rag (to clear gear or clear googles)
Important: keep in mind the old saying of “You get what you pay for.” Make sure that you buy good gear to avoid having issues on the field. Cheap gear will ultimately break, and oftentimes this is during gameplay, at the most inopportune timing.
Which is better: Airsoft or Paintball?
Both games are fun to play, in their own unique ways. There are differences in airsoft and paintball and there really is not any real correct answer. Each game poses its own challenges and attributes that appeal to many. The answer to this question really comes down to personal preferences.
How do you know if you have been hit while playing airsoft?
The biggest difference between airsoft and paintball is that airsoft hits do not leave marks, unlike paintball. Therefore, airsoft is based strictly on the honor system. The honor system dictates that you immediately call yourself out when you are hit. Sometimes, the only indication that you have been hit is the sound. This occurs if you are wearing think clothes (or multiple layers), tactical gear, or are hit at a long range. Regardless, you must immediately call yourself out when hit.
Due to the reliance on the honor system, the game of airsoft will not be enjoyable by all if people do not honor the rules. Players that cannot live up the honor code should not play.
Many airsoft fields implement rules that stipulate grounds for ejection and termination if players are found cheating. Fortunately, there are very few instances of people cheating.
Does it hurt to get hit?
Being hit by an airsoft BB hurts a lot less than being hit by a paintball. However, being hit at close range can still sting a little bit and in some cases, a close range hit may leave a welt. Long range hits do not hurt as the BBs naturally slow down. In some cases, you don’t even feel the hit. The force of impact is largely dependent on the velocity settings of the airsoft gun and the distance. It is for this reason that many airsoft fields restrict the FPS to a maximum of 400 for safety reasons.
Does it matter what kind of airsoft gun I use, spring, gas, or classic electric gun?
Typically, any type of airsoft gun is OK to use at a field, as long as the FPS is within the field’s velocity limits.
Keep in mind that airsoft games cover large areas and consist of intense firefights. Airsoft rifles have a further range than pistols and sub-machine guns. Therefore, if you are playing in games where range, as well as power, is required, an airsoft electric gun (AEG) with high capacity mags will be the gun of choice. Guns powered by gas (CO2 or green gas) are typically used as sidearms. However, in close quarter combat (CQB) games, pistols and sub-machine guns will be used more frequently.
Personally, I like to use an AEG and I carry a gas pistol as a backup sidearm. Depending on the game and the field, I typically have multiple AEGs.