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...
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
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
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
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
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.
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 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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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
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.
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.
"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.