Take aim and let loose: Airsoft 101
Are you looking for an activity that can be done in large social groups, involves a solid workout, and gets your adrenaline pumping? Look no further than Airsoft.
Very similar to paintball, Airsoft is a competitive team sport where players face off through a variety of different games with the aim of “eliminating” your opponents. Instead of paintballs, though, Airsoft guns use little pellets that can be just as painful if you are on the receiving end.
Whether there’s an open Airsoft field near you, or you just want to learn a bit more before diving in, it’s good to be acquainted with the different types of gameplay, the best sources of information, and some cool gear to look out for.
There are tens of different types of games and simulations out there in addition to the standard team vs team field match. Below are only a few examples of the fun types of gameplay possible.
Close-Quarter Battles (CQB) – Gameplay in CQB is faster than other types of matches because of the more intimate environment. It is often played indoors—a small warehouse or structure—with many blind corners and sharp turns.
Zombie – In this game you split the players into a 4:1 ratio of zombies to humans. When a “zombie” shoots a “human”, they infect them, turning them into a zombie as well. The “humans” need to find the hidden cure items on the field before all being turned.
Sniper – More akin to hide and seek, in this game there is one Sniper for every 10 participants who uses an airsoft sniper rifle. When the game starts, the sniper has a few minutes to pick a good hiding spot. The sniper then must shoot all the remaining participants before he/she is discovered!
Stay up to date
Whether you want to find gear recommendations, tips for different playstyles, or just watch someone blast through a military simulation, there are some excellent Youtube channels to check out.
Airsoft GI – From gear to buy on a budget, to consistent reviews of new accessories and different loadouts, Airsoft GI is a great channel for gear analysis and recommendations. With close to 150 million views and hundreds of videos to get lost in, you’ll know your primaries from your secondaries in no time.
Desert Fox Airsoft / Dutch the Hooligan – If you want a first-person experience of action-packed games and adrenaline-pumping encounters, these channels are your go-to. You can watch different types of gameplay while learning tactics and strategies for your next match.
Another great resource is Airsoftology.com. Whether you are a beginner or a more experienced player, Airsoftology will have something for you. With regular Q&As, reviews, and vlogs, this site is a gold mine for Airsoft news.
One of the great things about Airsoft is that no loadout is quite like any other and you can be as creative as you want with your gear. Beyond the basic gun and helmet, there is a wide variety of ways to customize your setup.
Mag adapters – While they might not be the most aesthetic solution out there and can add a bit of bulk to your setup, mag adapters can be useful for a number of reasons. First of all, different guns require different magazines—some of which can be pricy. A mag adapter makes these unnecessary to rock your most recent purchase. Secondly, mag adapters can boost the number of rounds you have available for your gun and make reloading much more simple and efficient.
Hydration systems – This is something that can really help your in-game endurance levels. You’ll most likely be spending at least a few hours skirmishing, and you want to give yourself every advantage you can. That’s why it is a good idea to bring a hydration pack. These hand-free solutions will make sure you don’t dry out mid-game while being able to keep your attention on what’s in front of you.
Sights/optics – For the most part, people aim by looking to see where their BBs are flying which, let’s face it, isn’t the most effective way of aiming. The different sights and optics available are a great way of stepping up your game, especially for longer range zones and targets. Keep in mind, though, that whether it’s a magnifier with a crosshair, or a red dot/laser, sights can be quite fragile. If you do go for a sight, we recommend either purchasing or crafting a little shield to protect it from rogue BBs.
Grenade launcher – The negatives here are obvious. A grenade launcher can add a hefty bit of weight to your gun, they can be quite expensive, and not all shells are actually going to come in handy. Having said that, though, it is a grenade launcher. Do you need to clear a room out of enemies? Grenade launcher. Need to destroy some vegetation that your opponents are hiding behind? Grenade launcher. How about wiping out a vehicle? You get the point. You may want to avoid them in CQBs, but if the scenario is right, they sure can get you out of a clinch.
Tracer units – Tracer units are perfect for tracking your BBs in the dark to perfect your aim. They are also ace at helping with hit identifications in the dark—you can hardly contest a hit with these BBs. Want to take it one step further? Pair your tracer units with a suppressor.
Get out there
Beyond the games and the gear, Airsoft also has an incredibly vibrant community surrounding it. Your local arena is likely to have special weekly/monthly events and tournaments that bring everyone together for a series of challenges.
Airsoft is a great way to meet new people, push your physical limits, and relieve some of the tension you’ve built up during the week. There are an abundance of resources you can access online to get started, find gear that is right for your experience/budget range, and learn new tips and tricks, so there is really no excuse not to give it a try!