Airsoft is a team-based sport, much like paintball, which pits players against each other in non-lethal deathmatch using plastic-bullet or paint-bullet weapons.

In airsoft, these weapons come in a variety of classes - from small pistols to massive machine guns - and are often very realistic - sometimes to the point of being banned in certain countries. The ammunition used is plastic 6mm BB bullets, fired with a velocity of of several hundred feet per second, at realistic firing rates. The bullets are completely harmless, unless you're unlucky enough to get one in the eye - for this reason, most players wear safety goggles. Also, a bullet from a larger gun such as an assault rifle can hurt quite a bit, so most players also wear protective clothes and camoflague.

Tokyo Marui, a japanese company, is the world leader in airsoft weaponry manufacturing. Their lineup includes pistols, shotguns, assault rifles, sniper rifles as well as heavy machineguns: Terrorist faves like the AK47 are available together with US weapons like the Colt M4A1 and european ones like the Steyr AUG.

Airsoft weapons are powered by spring, electricity, or gas. Spring weapons are often very cheap, since they require manual reloading between each shot - you can usually get a spring pistol for something like $20. Gas guns can also be found at low prices but range in price up to about $250 - but the fact that no reloading is required between shots is worth a lot, and many gas guns can even fire full-auto. Spring guns are mostly pistols and shotguns, while all types of guns can be gas-powered because of the high flexibility of the power source. However, gas guns are generally less durable than electric ones.

Most good airsoft guns are powered by electricity - for example, almost every sub-machine gun, assault rifle and sniper rifle you can get are electric. However, there are also electric pistols available. Electric airsoft weapons are called AEGs - Automatic Electric Guns. These weapons are reliable and effective due to their high firing rate and long battery life, however they can be vastly more expensive than their gas or springcounterparts.

The term Airsoft is often used to refer to an object, and a sport.

Airsoft guns are detailed replica firearms. They look (and often function) very similar to the real weapon they are modelled after. At first glance, they look perfectly real, but upon closer inspection it is apparent that they are made out of plastic or cheap metal. Typically, air power is produced by compressed gas or a spring to propel a 6mm BB out of the model's barrel. Various manufacturers, mostly in the Pac Rim, create these models for hobbyists to collect and use.

Motivation for buying an Airsoft gun over the genuine article can be due to the fact that the "real steel" is illegal in the owner's country, too expensive, or too deadly. Many hobbyists also enjoy modifying the internals to upgrade the power, or have the model resemble one of the owner's favorite weapons.

The sport of Airsoft uses these models. Various games similar to paintball can be played: skirmishes, siege games, capture the flag, and full-scale military simulations. The participants in the game often deck themselves out in full military gear for extra realism.

Airsoft attracts many people interested in milsim, and relies heavily on the honor of the participants. Unlike paintball, the pellets fired by the guns typically do not leave a visible mark, requiring people that were hit to call themselves "out" and face whatever penalty the rules dictate.


Airsoft


The Game

Think paintball. It's usually the same general formats: capture the flag, elimination, and so on. But the fact that the weapons are a far cry from your typical paintball marker means that game tactics are considerably different. You've got snipers who need a good hiding place and vantage point. Longer barrels are more useful at longer ranges, but become unwieldy when you're in a close quarters combat (CQB) situation. At that point, you'd better have a decent sidearm with you. Automatic pistols and small submachine guns are the typical preference. Good camouflage, team tactics and aim are usually helpful; airsoft is a bit more exclusive than paintball since it requires a much greater investment of practice and money (gear and guns don't go cheap). The sport originated in Japan, where the weapons were first designed. No surprise, since they rely on extremely small and high-performance parts, for which Japan has a good reputation of producing. The sport is in certain ways a response to the unrealistic playing style of paintball. Airsoft is the closest you'll get to a genuine simulation of modern military warfare.

The Weapons

Airsoft guns are replica firearms. They are nearly all modeled after real-world weapons, and often function in a similar fashion. Some manufacturers go so far as to design their guns with the same rounds-per-minute capabilities as the real thing, and often purchase licenses for including the original trademarks. It's no wonder, then, that they've endured a somewhat ambiguous legal status in many countries. They are usually made of strong ABS plastic, but conversion kits allow you to make your weapons all-metal, increasing the sense of realism (and making them quite a bit more durable).

AEG's

Automatic Electric Guns. Powered by rechargeable battery packs hidden wherever there's room, which usually means the stock or foregrip, these are rated according to their voltage and mAh (milliamp-hours, ranging from 600 to 3000). Also, the larger the battery, the longer it'll last. Nothing's quite as frustrating as running out of juice during a heated shoot-out.

What, you may ask, does the difference in power affect? A just question. Airsoft guns are not all created equal, and certain models shoot farther and faster than others, typically according to the performance of their real-steel counterparts. AEG's propel BB's by pulling back on a spring-loaded piston, then releasing it to create a puff of air strong enough to fire the round. Long-range weapons need a stiffer spring, and thus a more powerful battery to make it function. It is also possible to upgrade the internals of an AEG (indeed, it has became a popular hobby and business), so when you want to increase the FPS (feet per second, in terms of how fast the BB goes) of your favorite stock gun, you're probably going to need a better and bigger power pack.

AEG's usually come in the form of machine guns, assault rifles and submachine guns (SMG's). In other words, electric power is best for automatic weapons. There are exceptions, of course - the famous H&K PSG-1 sniper rifle is an AEG.

EBB's

Electric Blowback pistols are relatively new; they're meant to be a cheap substitute for GBB's, which I'll mention further on. And cheap they are, with a price tag about a third (or less) that of their gas-powered counterparts. EBB's use regular alkaline batteries, usually inserted into the grip, that both power the BB and make the slide "blow back", as it might on a real pistol. Unfortunately, these guns tend to be woefully underpowered, and can't stand up to real GBB's.

GBB's

Gas Blowback guns remain pretty much exclusively in the realm of pistols and small SMG's. There are several reasons for this. One of them is financial: AEG magazines are simple devices; they only need to be able to push stored BB's into the gun. GBB mags, on the other hand, are much more complex. They must also hold the compressed gas that powers the weapon, and release it in controlled bursts when needed. As such, they are made of much more durable materials, and cost many times what an AEG mag would. Basically, when your magazines empty in about 2 seconds of maintained firing, you want some inexpensive (and lightweight) spares close at hand. The price of GBB magazines makes this possibility rather unviable. Also, compressed gas conveniently replaces explosive powder in pistols. In nearly every other way, they work exactly the same way real steel pistols do. The burst of gas propels the BB out of the barrel, as well as pushing the slide backwards, recocking the pistol and chambering a new round. When the magazine is emptied, the slide locks back. A new magazine is inserted, the slide released, a new round chambered and the gun is ready to fire. Certain GBB pistols can even be disassembled into their component parts.

Again, there are exceptions. Most notably, the Ingram M-11 and Heckler & Koch MP5K come in gas-powered varieties. I'm told the sound of automatic gas-gunfire (which produces a respectable *bang*) is quite satisfying.

The two most popular types of gas are the medium-powered Green Gas and the much rarer, insanely powerful Red Gas. The latter is rumored to be used for certain matches held in Hong Kong, where a player is eliminated when they can no longer endure the pain of being hit. I've seen pictures.

Gas Non-Blowback (GNBB's?)

These include automatic pistols that simply don't have a functioning slide mechanism, as well as revolvers. Airsoft revolvers are pretty simple. The shells may or may not be removable; a BB is inserted into each shell and gas into either the grip or cylinder. Since no energy is spent on kicking the slide back, gas non-blowbacks put more oomph into the bullet, usually resulting in more FPS.

Spring Rifles

Generally, sniper rifles use spring loading. This has the advantage of realistic bolt operation, and means that snipers can't get too many shots off in quick succession, a concession to the people under fire. Sniping in airsoft is no easy task. BB's don't travel at supersonic speeds, so you have to compensate for distance with moving targets. There's also the fact that if your position is revealed, it's nearly guaranteed that you'll be put out of the game in short order. A single-shot long-barreled rifle and a semi-automatic handgun don't stand much of a chance against an assault rifle that knows what it's after.

Spring Pistols

Springers, as they are often called, have to be manually cocked after every shot by pulling back on the slide to spring-load the pistol. "Springer games" aren't uncommon after a day of play. These are the cheapest variety of airsoft weapons.

Minis

These are a line of cutesy, miniaturized airsoft guns. They take regular ol' Duracells, and have automatic fire. They aren't terribly powerful, however, and are usually just good for plinking around the house. Obviously not too expensive.

The Ammunition

Airsoft guns fire plastic BB's with a 6mm diameter. The differences come only in the quality and weight of the BB's, which ranges from .12 to .43 grams. Heavier rounds are more accurate due to their higher inertia, but don't go as far with the same amount of energy. It's essentially trade-off. The standard for medium-range rifles and pistols is .2 grams.

Airsoft BB's once came in a paintball variety. But 6mm paintballs are very hard to manufacture, and misfires would totally gum up the inner barrel of a gun. Because these are no longer in use, airsoft skirmishes rely on the honor system for people to declare themselves eliminated. There are also exploding BB's in existence that pop like firecrackers when they strike a hard surface. These, unfortunately, are only readily available in some parts of Asia.

The Accessories

Airsoft guns are replicas. This carries a few advantages, one of which is the fact that you can add nearly any accessory that'll fit the real steel. Scopes, lasers, red-dot reflex sights, slings. Of course, airsoft hobbyists don't usually need the precision and accuracy in their equipment that a professional might, so you'll typically be able to find a far less expensive airsoft version of popular gun accessories.

The Gear

Milsim. Military simulation. That's what airsoft is all about, and pretty much anything that serves well for the military will aid you in an airsoft skirmish. Eye protection is an absolute essential, officially so in most clubs nowadays. And we're not talking about those funky glasses you wore to determine concentrations of hydrochloric acid back in high school. Ski goggles are liable to shatter. The safest route to take is anything designed for paintball; just be careful that the mesh covering your mouth won't let a BB through. Trust me; you'll be glad you have your whole face covered. A padded baklava will also make dreaded shots to the ear and neck more bearable.

Anything past that is optional, but a lot of it can be very useful. Pick up some fatigues from your local army surplus shop, they've got high durability (for those inevitable crawling-through-the-dirt situations) and camouflage is always nice. Web belts and tactical vests are great for cantines and spent mags, in addition to MRE's and camping gear for extended games.

The Manufacturers

Tokyo Marui, based in Japan, is the largest producer and developer of airsoft guns and accessories. They set the standard for reliability and durability. Nearly anything they sell will be a dependable weapon right off the shelf. Western Arms manfactures some of the higher-end (and higher-priced) items; their line of Infinity pistols has oft been called the "Ferrari of Airsoft". Other companies with a good reputation include KSC, Maruzen, Tanaka and KuanJu (at least with their more recent products). Be wary of anything of an unfamiliar brand and unusually low price tag - in airsoft, quality is generally proportional to cost.

Airsoft in Canada

The sport of Airsoft has enjoyed wide acceptance in the US, no doubt because of the more extensive gun culture. In Canada, though, it's an altogether different beast. Replica firearms have a big potential to be used towards criminal ends, and since Canadians are generally more adamant about gun control, the government can impose pretty tough legislation without fear of reprisal. All the same, there is no concrete law regarding airsoft guns, and those who play are content to keep the sport mostly underground. With the popularization of paintball, cheating and generally disregarding rules and tactics has become a serious problem. This has resulted in a certain degree of resentment on the part of airsofters towards those who play paintball. With airsoft, only those who really want to participate are able to do so.

The Community

Canada is a big place. Geographically, airsofters are few and far between. It's no wonder, then, that the community has found a suitable home on the Internet. Airsoft Canada (www.airsoftcanada.com) is THE place to go if you're looking to participate. Skirmishes and major events are all organized here, and information about Canadian retailers exchanged (more on them later). The forums keep the community and various clubs in contact with one another.

Retailers

If the police aren't likely to break down your door in search of airsoft equipment, their tolerance in rather lessened when it comes to importing it. The rule to live by is this: DO NOT BUY FROM OUTSIDE OF CANADA. Your purchases WILL be seized at customs. Yes, there are rare cases where a gun will make it through. But it's not worth the hundreds of dollars your likely to spend to risk it. There is only one US retailer that can guarantee shipment. Airsoft Atlanta (www.airsoftatlanta.com) has a near perfect record of getting their wares into Canada. There are trade-offs, though: they will not ship AEG's over the border, and the shipping costs are through the roof (UPS, go figure). Canadian retailers are, generally, a much better way to go.

When I first decided to purchase an airsoft gun to eventually participate in some organized games, I was disappointed by the poor quality of Canadian retailer's websites. They weren't very well organized and the selection was limited. Don't be fooled, however. The Canadian airsoft community is very tight-knit, and most purchases and transactions aren't made through the offical websites. Most businesses are run by a single person who was lucky enough to acquire a movie liscence permitting the importing of props (guns), or some other such loophole. They are all active members on Airsoft Canada's forum, and that's where deals are usually sealed. There's even a section devoted to buying, selling and trading. The apparent lack of selection on their sites are due to the fact that they keep almost nothing in invetory, everything is ordered upon request. Keeping that in mind, they can find just about anything an airsofter could want.

It's easy to lack faith in that kind of market. But fear not. Although it might seem like these retailers have a lot of room to jerk their customers around, such is not the case. Any crooked deals, rare as they are, are reported in the forums. The retailer immediately loses at least a part of their good reputation. But it doesn't stop there. Since sellers are more often than not avid players themselves, several people in the forums will likely know them pesonally, and pay them a visit if a situation isn't rectified. All things considered, it's safer to buy from them than from "official" retailers.

How to Get Involved

Once again, the place to go is Airsoft Canada. There's at least one airsoft club based in every major Canadian city, and if they've got a website, you'll find the link to it there. Otherwise, there's a section of the forum for game announcements. Though most clubs charge a fee to join a game, they're usually happy to have someone come and observe free of charge. Ask around.

A final tip - no matter what country you live in, don't parade your guns around in public places, or even anywhere near civilization. Horror stories abound of people who were doing something as simple as knocking over cans in their backyard, and the next thing they knew, their face was being shoved into the dirt by a SWAT team. IT'S NOT WORTH THE RISK.

Thank you, and happy skirmishing.

Sources :
http://www.redwolfairsoft.com
http://www.airsoftcanada.com

Our team is in place, ready to fire upon the enemy. I'm holding my silenced sniper rifle lightly, waiting at a window, my eyes scanning the dark horizon, through my night vision scope, in the middle of a pitch black night. I'm not sure how many enemy troops will be sent tonight to try and retake this train station, but it is imperative that we keep it, or our foothold against the opposing country will crumble. We need this train station to get supplies to the front lines, and tonight the fate of our war will be decided...

History

Airsoft was invented about thirty years ago by the major BB gun company Daisy. In the 1970's Daisy introduced what they called a "soft air gun." It didn't catch on in America, but became very popular in Japan. Daisy created this gun with purely recreational activities in mind, for people who were unconcerned about the hunting capabilities of a gun, and just wanted to practice for fun with their friends.

After the first line of "soft air" guns were created in the US, Japan, Italy, and several Asian countries started to manufacture them as well, this took the industry to new heights, making whole new series of air gun replicas. The Japanese gun company, Tokyo Marui, created a gas gun system that used carbon dioxide, like that used in paintball guns, but the Japanese government banned the release of CO2 into the atmosphere. This new development led to the invention of the Automatic Electric Gun (AEGs). The manufacture of these air guns lead to their niche in firearm safety training courses, and the movies (airsoft guns were used in Bad Boys II, The Matrix, Charlie's Angles, Snatch, Predator 2, and many other films).

Boys and their Toys

Airsoft is similar to paintball in that the game is based around military squad tactics to achieve specific objectives. This is why the Airsoft games are called MILSIM, or Military Simulation. To make the MILSIM more realistic, the players are required to dress like the military with BDUs or Battle Dress Uniforms, patches, assault vests, boots, gloves, hats, everything, teams even have the authoritative structure, and you have to show proper respect to your superiors when the game is in play.

This realism is enhanced because of the guns that are used. The guns in Airsoft are highly detailed, copies of modern military, police force, or foreign weapons. They shoot 6mm plastic BBs at low velocities. These weapons cannot be modified to shoot any other projectile other than these BBs. Airsoft guns shoot slow enough that they don't hurt much when they hit you, but fast enough to be fun and accurate.

I myself am interested in Airsoft for many reasons. I have an internal fascination with weapons, firearms or otherwise. I have a longing to learn the squad based tactics used in the military, not that I want to join the military. Also, the sport itself it just a lot of fun to play and participate in, because of a sense of teamwork and membership that grows between my teammates and me. Also, Airsoft has a strict honor code, this keeps people honest and in line, making them much more fun to be around. Finally, Airsoft keeps your body in shape, your wits sharp and about you, and your reflexes quick.

There are two problems with Airsoft, it is very expensive and it is hard to master. You have to work a great deal to become a good player at this sport. It takes a lot of dedication, devotion, and experimentation (not to mention some pretty deep pockets) to excel at the sport. Although some people will tell you that all that matters is the guns and that the person with the "better" gun would win in any situation, this is not true. There is more to Airsoft than money, there's a sense of tactics, stealth, teamwork, and honor. It also helps if you have good coordination.

Gun Fetish

A movement on the left draws my attention I look around and I see a small face peering over one of the abandoned trains. "A scout on the far left train", I whisper into my radio headset, to warn the gunner, Jesse, who is covering that track. As the scout peeks over the train, I take a shot at him and miss. Damn!. He ducks behind the train, probably to relay my position, then he peeks over again and takes some pot shots at me. His aim is completely off. I take another shot, this time I get the bastard. His head falls beneath the train. "That's one we don't need to worry about" I whisper over the intercom, my captain, Mike, gives a chuckle in reply. Another rifleman comes around a corner to my right. He fires on the grenadier, Greg, in the right corner below me. At the same time he shoots, and hits, I get off a shot, it hits home. "Another down."

Although it may seem easy to make a choice about which gun you want to buy, there are many choices to make about which company to buy from and which type of gun to choose. There is no "best" gun, there is only the guns that feel good to you. Some questions to ask are, how upgradeable the gun is, how it feels in your hands, how you like the sites, the magazines, the slides, etc...

The guns themselves are powered by pressurized air and comes in three basic types.

Gas Guns

Gas guns are powered by compressed gas, which is stored in a small reservoir in the gun. The gas itself is purchased in canisters to refill the guns. There are two main types of gas, green gas and red gas. Green gas is a medium power gas that doesn’t tear up the internals of the chamber. It is quite popular in the United States and Canada. Red gas is much more powerful, it increases velocity of the BB, but it can also ruin the internal parts of the gun. Red gas is used more in Western Asia. The gas is released in controlled bursts for each shot. These bursts accelerate the BB and throw back the slide to reload the chamber with another BB. The magazines normally hold from either 20-23 BBs, or 40-43 in a high capacity magazine. One of the many good things about gas guns is they are easy to field strip. You can take these gun down very far and put them back together again very easily, I've been able to break down and reassemble my Glock in 23 sec...blindfolded. This makes the gas guns very easy to keep clean and well oiled so that they last for a long time

Electric Guns

Electric guns are battery powered. The batteries used to power Electric Blowback Guns (EBBs) are usually AAAs or AAs. The batteries used to power Automatic Electric Guns (AEGs) are specially made to fit the gun's battery space, which is usually located in the foregrip or buttstock.

EBBs are almost never used in the sport, because of their unwieldy magazines, low capacity, low bullet velocity, and pretty low quality (not to mention that the realism of their "blowback" is terrible). They are very fun for small home games between a couple of people.

AEGs on the other hand, are the most common primary weapon of a participant of the sport, because they have a high bullet capacity, and have many ways to add scopes, lasers, grenade launchers, and other accessories. Unfortunately, these guns are hard to try and take apart, unless you are really experienced, because of their excessive springs, gears, and other bells or whistles, which may pop out and get lost in the shadows of the cramped space you call your room.

Spring Guns

Spring guns are powered by a manually compressed spring. Spring pistols are used widely as a "starter" weapon, because they are cheap, reliable, and pretty well powered. Although these guns are almost never used in games, because of their single shot and slow reload time, they are real fun to plink at cans and squirrels with. Spring rifles are like AEGs but you have to reload/recompress the gun every time you shoot. This makes it a bit awkward. They are no where near a replacement for the AEG. The last type of spring gun is the sniper rifle. Most types of the sniper rifles are bolt action (although they can be modified to run of gas), because that is the only way to compress a large enough spring to propel the BB far enough that it can be used as a sniper rifle. These rifles a have rail on the top to permit various types of scopes.

The problem with all Airsoft guns is that, although they are made from high quality parts, eventually they all break. If you don't take care of your gun, then, the dirt, water, crud, old grease, or anything else equally undesirable, will make your gun unusable rather quickly, and you either have too buy a new gun, or pay a professional to fix it for you, which can cost a great deal of money either way. Although, if you keep the gun clean (in the case of an electric gun of some sort do not take it apart, have an experienced friend take a look at it for you), keep it well oiled and out of the water, it should increase its lifespan greatly.

Gearheads

Just as I started to relax, a grenadier comes around the same corner and shoots off a grenade, I duck and cover, but the grenade hits a wall next to my window, I get of a quick shot, but miss and he gets off another grenade, which also misses, I take my time to correct for wind, and this time the grenadier goes down. At the same time as the grenadier, a gunner comes around the opposite corner, and before I can swing around to get a shot off, he starts laying heavy cover fire on me. I flee from my sniper position at the window and set up my gun at a window opposite the aggravating gunner. I take my time, because he doesn't know I've moved yet, and take the shot, I see him fall to the ground and chuckle into the intercom. 

In Airsoft gear refers to everything you need to play the sport correctly. As an example, my gear consists, basically, of a full coverage face mask (paintball mask), a black balaclava, for warmth in the winter, a tactical vest , to hold all of my extra magazines, my hydration pack, and my radio, a thigh holster, for my sidearm, knee pads, waterproof boots, and of course my Battle Dress Uniform, consisting of pants, jacket, and shirt. This gear will allow me to move quickly and silently towards my objective and end up ready to fight once I get there. It is lightweight, compact, and holds all to the equipment I need to be effective in the sport. Of course this gear assembly is different for everyone and varies according to your type of weapon. So you have to talk to people who have the same assembly you want for advice.

Headgear

In Airsoft one of the only ways to get injured is by getting hit in the facial area with a BB. This is why you have to buy some sort of face coverage. There are many levels of coverage, everywhere from just the eyes (if you are really manly and tough) to full face coverage (like me, if you are wimpy and have an overbearing mother). The choice is really up to you, just as long as you cover your eyes you shouldn't get anything more than a welt if you are hit. If you are nauseated by the thought of having a pimple-sized red welt in the middle of your forehead, then you should buy the full coverage.

Vests

The vest is possibly the most important part of your gear, for it holds all of the equipment for you guns. Again, there are many types of vests and, depending on your role in the team, your vest will be different. If you are a grenadier, you will get a vest with twenty of thirty 30mm grenade pockets on it to be most effective. If you are a riflemen (like me), you should get a vest the has pockets that can hold 6-8 of the magazines for your type of gun. If you are a gunner (with a large machine gun like M249 or M60), you should get a gunner's vest, which has pockets all around you to hold the large box magazines for your gun (or extra BB depending on your loading system). And so on, of course if you are unhappy with any of the already manufactured selections, you can always go with a customizable MOLLE RACK system. This allows you to buy whatever you need and put it on yourself, this is a much higher priced item though. It also doesn't hurt to have an empty magazine disposal bag. This is just a pouch, usually on the A.L.I.C.E. belt around your waist, and you just put your used magazines in there instead of back into the pouches on your chest, because that takes time.

Hydration systems

Hydration systems are another essential item to a player's success in the field, in fact if you do not have a hydration system then you could either end up unable to run, jump, fire, or evade, or you could end up dehydrated. This would be bad. There are tons of selection of hydration systems, but they all consist of a soft plastic bag that can be filled with water, and a long tube with a mouthpiece that allows you to get a quick one-handed drink. Most vests come with a pouch in back to hold you hydration system.

Holsters

Holsters come in three main styles: On your thigh, on your hip, and under your armpit. The most popular style is the thigh holster, because it is out of the way of the rest of the gear, and it is in the exact right place for easily drawing the weapon. The hip method is not used that often by people in Airsoft, because it get in the way of the gear. Shoulder holsters are used mainly by people who want to conceal there weapon under a coat, and still have an easy time drawing it. Again, it gets in the way of the in Airsoft gear, so it's not used very often either.

Wargames

"You're on fire today" Mark, another team commander says. I look out into the darkness and see the rest of the enemy coming. "Here they come. They've got...two riflemen, a grenadier, a gunner, and two snipers. It looks like the grenadier and gunner are moving around the opposite side of the building, yeah, they're out of my view. The two snipers are staying behind in the trees, and the riflemen are coming forward to the trains. One is hiding behind a train on the third track and another on the first. Jesse WATCH OUT!!!." It was too late, the rifleman had already fired. "Jesse's down. The two riflemen are coming up to the back door. Mike and Mark, be ready I think they're gonna break in." They kicked the doors open and converged on Mike and Mark's position. I heard frantic fire down stairs. After it receded. There was nothing.

Airsoft is played at meets where teams compete in a variety of games that make use of the local conditions. Airsoft teams sometimes travel hundreds of miles to play in a meet, that may last an entire weekend. Personal honesty is emphasized in Airsoft since any "hit" with another player's BB is considered a "kill." Players who are consistently reported as cheating are banned from the rest of the meet. There are anywhere from two to twenty different teams, depending on the size of the meet, that come to the meet to play. The official meets are set up in a championship ladder system, where two teams are pitted against each other and the winner plays again. The unofficial meets are usually just two teams and they play again and again more for practice than for winning. Both teams come out better at the other end. Then there are other meets where anyone who is interested in Airsoft, but aren't very sure where to start can come and talk to people, fire weapons, listen to introductions and basically have a good time (I'm hoping to help out with one of these meets next year for my team).

To make sure that the game is kept interesting, situations are made up using three basic game types. These are Capture the Flag, Attack and Defend, King of the Hill, and Search, Destroy or Rescue. The game's moderators set the mood of the game in the real world environment. These situations usually include what has happened to make this situation possible, the coordinates of your base, the objective(s), and the objectives' coordinates. Here's an example of a situation for each type of game.

Capture the Flag

I am sure all of you know what capture the flag is. Two teams, each with four to five colored flags. Each team tries to defend their own flags and capture the other teams’ flags. The team that has more of the opposite teams flags at the end of the time limit, wins. For example, in an Airsoft CTF situation, you are in hostile enemy territory. The enemy has captured documents out of a downed plane and all the crew men were killed. Your objective is to go into the hostile zone, retrieve the documents and bring them back to base.

Attack and Defend

One team is assigned to defend a certain area, position, or item. The other team’s objective is to capture whatever the first team is defending. The team that is in control of the position at the end of the time limit, wins. For example, There is a vital position on a hilltop, which if kept Team A will be able to win the war and if overthrown, Team B will win the war. Team A's objective is to keep the hilltop until reinforcements arrive (until the time limit runs out). Team B's objective is to take the fortified hilltop in order to win the war and keep it until reinforcements arrive.

King of the Hill

There are several points assigned on a map. These points are objectives for each team. Every minute (the time length may vary) the team holds one of these points they get a point. For example, within a battlefield of two countries, there are a couple of strong points, which if held will give them a great advantage in winning this battle. Team A's and Team B's objective is to hold these strong points for as long as is possible.

Search, Destroy or Rescue

A person or object, is wanted by both of the teams. Each teams' objective is to find and capture this object, the first team to get it and successfully get it back to their base wins. There is a downed pilot somewhere within the playing area. One team is supposed to find and rescue him. The other is supposed to find him and bring him into captivity. The only way the teams can move the pilot is by telling him a direction to go and telling him to walk. The teams can provide some protection, but there is a distance limit, and if the pilot is intercepted, then he’s under the control of the other team. The first team to successfully get the pilot to their base, wins.

Getting Started

When I first got started in Airsoft I bought some spring pistols, two EBBs, I did a lot of research on the internet and talked to a lot of experienced players in the Airsoft forums. I'd suggest you start out like I did, with some EBB pistols and maybe a spring rifle. If you like Airsoft, you can move up to more complicated weapons like gas guns and AEG rifles. I learned most of the things I addressed here through my team and through NEASG (North Eastern Airsoft Group) and their website: www.neasg.com. The people there are really nice and quite cooperative in talking to people about Airsoft. If you have any further questions, you can either talk to me through E2 or my username on NEASG is DCU-Ghost.

Mortal Combat

"Mike...Mark...are you there?" Shit. I remember the two snipers that are left just as a bullet whizzes past my head. Whoa. I didn't see where the shot came from so I move to my old position and scan the outside area. HA! Found him. I center my crosshairs and take the shot, another down, but still another bullet whizzes near me. Too close. Again, I duck and I move to the third position and scan again, I find the other sniper and he finds me at the same moment. It's a race, we both center, correct, and fire. Fortunately, he forgot to re-cock his sniper rifle, so I hit him, and he falls to the ground. I heard footsteps up the stairs. Thump Thump Thump. I let my sniper rifle fall back on its sling and take out my automatic shotgun. I tiptoe across the floor of the room to get on one side of the only entrance to it. I hear a small scuffle of feet towards my room. I raise the shotgun to my shoulder. Waiting. I see a head lean around the corner and I let loose with my gun. Five shells flew out of it before I stopped long enough to hear my latest victim shout, "HIT!" and the thump of him dropping to the floor.

&"Got him" I said into the intercom. "Okay then, that's it, that was the last man" says a voice I recognize as the moderator of our Airsoft game. "Okay everyone back to base. I clambered down the stairs, making sure that the person I had just shot was okay, and to congratulate him on a good game. I walked up to Mike and Mark to ask what happened. "It was great. The four of them blew through the doors, and we each got the first one that came through, but then Mark got hit by the gunner, and although I got the other rifleman, the gunner turned his sights on me and that was IT. It was was fun though, and you were GREAT! Sheesh, seven guys, six with an Airsoft sniper rifle. That's saweet." Yes, yes it is. "Okay let's round'em up again. DCU...you're now attacking." Okay. "Lets go play" I say as I go to switch my sniper position with Greg. "I really like this game" Jesse says as we run of into the darkness.

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