Hey guys! You’ve made it to my first-ever, in-depth airsoft guide. This is a complete beginner’s guide to the sport of airsoft, I will be discussing several different topics in detail and providing links for further reading.
What is airsoft?
Airsoft is a sport that involves two teams, each team has at least six members and uses replica firearms to engage in mock combat. The guns shoot 6mm pellets, which are made of plastic or biodegradable polymer tipped with a metal ball. Players wear protective clothing to reduce the chance of injury.
Airsoft is played on fields that are set up using natural or artificial terrain, including hillsides and buildings. The field may include props like cars, crates and windows which can be used as cover during play.
Airsoft skirmishes take place in both indoor and outdoor environments, generally resembling close-quarter battles. Combat can be carried out at more distances, but the sport typically encourages players to engage within fifty feet.
The perspective of the sport also differs from other air gun sports such as paintball in that players on both sides are able to see each other’s positions and there is less emphasis on stealth.
What is airsoft gear, and how do you use it?
Airsoft gear consists of (but is not limited to) a full face mask with an integrated mouth guard, tactical vest, elbow, and knee pads, gloves, and camouflage uniform.
Airsoft players wear lightweight armor such as kevlar vests that are meant to protect them from the pellets. These come in varying degrees of protection depending on the manufacturer and model, but they should be at least a Level 2 rating.
Additionally, they wear head protection in the form of helmets and goggles with mesh screens that protect the eyes from bb’s. In addition to eye protection, full face masks/balaclavas provide additional safety for airsoft players as they cover the entire face including mouth and nose protecting them from bb’s.
Helmets are not required for airsoft skirmishing, but some fields may require them if under a certain age or on different days of the week. Airsoft players wear clothing made specifically for airsoft including pants and shirts/jackets to protect their skin from bb’s as well as kevlar vests which are heavy-duty bulletproof vests that are, again depending on the manufacturer and model, protect the torso from bb’s.
While airsoft gear comes in many different forms, it is advisable to use lightweight equipment for airsoft skirmishing. Airsoft players often wear combat boots and face masks with built-in mouth guards; lightweight armor such as kevlar vests, helmets, gloves and kneepads are also highly recommended.
What airsoft guns should I use?
When choosing an airsoft gun there are several factors to take into consideration. Given the recommendation of near-constant movement during skirmishes it is advisable to choose a weapon with a high rate of fire (RPS) as opposed to a high muzzle velocity (FPS).
Airsoft guns are typically broken down into four categories: spring-powered, electric/gas-powered, co2 powered and ‘propane adapter’.
Here are a couple of tips if you are looking to find the best airsoft gun as a beginner.
Spring-powered airsoft guns have the highest rate of fire and tend to be lighter and less expensive than their gas-powered counterparts though they also tend to have lower fps.
Electric-powered airsoft guns run on batteries or gas canisters and are generally more realistic in appearance. The battery/gas-powered guns are heavier and require more maintenance than their spring-powered counterparts, but they provide a stronger FPS.
Gas-powered airsoft guns use a small canister of propane, preferably between 300 and 400 grams, for power. These guns are commonly seen as more realistic than electric or spring-powered weapons due to the resemblance to real assault rifles and submachine guns. However, they are also slightly heavier and much more expensive than electric and spring-powered airsoft guns.
Co2 airsoft guns are also quite realistic but use a small canister of carbon dioxide instead of propane for power. Co2 is heavier than propane, which leads to an increase in weight and hinders the continuous fire rate compared to electric-powered airsoft guns. Because they do not require manual cocking, they do not need to possess a bolt action or semi-automatic firing mechanism, although these are usually still present. RPS is typically lower than that of electric airsoft guns and the muzzle velocity tends to be significantly higher due to the high pressures created by the co2 gas when it is liquefied within the gun.
Airsoft propane adapters are a combination of airsoft gun and propane canister. Propane adapters accomplish higher muzzle velocities than all other types of airsoft guns except for co2 guns. Additionally, the RPS is nearly equal to that of electric airsoft guns while it maintains the realistic look and high accuracy of gas-powered airsoft guns. They are also much lighter than co2 airsoft guns, which tend to be heavy.
What types of airsoft guns should I use as a beginner?
Earlier in the article, we already mentioned some tips about buying your first airsoft gun, but as a beginner, the bottom line is you should not purchase high-end airsoft guns.
Beginners are often advised to use spring-powered weapons due to their ease of use and low cost; gas/co2 powered versions are also recommended as they can be used almost anywhere. Weapons such as these will ensure that the player gets accustomed to the mechanics of firing, reloading, and such.
Should I pick an airsoft rifle or an airsoft pistol?
For your first airsoft gun, it would be a good idea to choose electric or spring-powered weapons as they require little maintenance and technical expertise in order to function properly. The days of airsoft guns that have to be cocked after every shot are long gone. Most airsoft guns today can be semi-automatically or fully automatic and have an electric/gas-powered motor that cocks the firing mechanism.
The most common airsoft pistol in use is the Glock 17, which is a replica of the M1911A1 Colt 45. They are popular due to their ease of use and low cost. The Walther P99 is also a very common airsoft pistol, which is modeled after the popular 9mm German sidearm.
Generally speaking, airsoft pistols are easier to use during airsoft skirmishes, but they are also more affordable compared to airsoft rifles.
For more information, check our more detailed guide on ins and outs of an airsoft gun!
Where do I get an airsoft gun?
The best place to find airsoft guns is at an airsoft field or shop. Airsofters usually have access to many different models, brands and types of airsoft guns from which they can choose. There are many reputable airsoft shops online that sell guns and accessories for a reasonable price. However, buying an airsoft gun from private sellers or auctions may not be the best option unless you know what you’re getting yourself into.
Taking everything into consideration, getting your perfect airsoft gun online would be the best choice. eBay and Amazon are two good options for this as they offer a wide range of airsoft rifles, pistols, shotguns, airsoft sniper rifles, and accessories. It is important to note that you must know what you’re getting into before spending hundreds of dollars on an airsoft gun that won’t meet your expectations.
Airsoft grenades have also become popular; they are fired in a similar way to paintball grenades. The airsoft grenade shell uses 6mm plastic pellets instead of paintballs and can be purchased with either an impact-only design or a burst fire system that allows the player to select whether they want the grenade to be impact-only or if it should burst when it hits a target.
Although airsoft grenades are used in place of paintballs, they still have to be purchased; the cost for each shell is usually equivalent to that of a bag of actual paintballs (usually $10 or $12). If you use these on the field only expect one shot from them as there is not much ammo in them.
Airsoft grenade shells are sold in single-shot, 3 round burst (or full auto) and timed modes. Timed grenades usually have a time of 5 to 15 seconds before they detonate. It is unusual for airsoft grenade shells to be able to fire more than one grenade at once due to the fact that most guns cannot shoot at this rate.
Airsoft grenade shells can be safely fired from any airsoft gun; however they require far more safety precautions to be taken than a regular BB as they are much more dangerous. Airsoft grenades should never be used in public or populated areas and should always stay well away from other people, trees, rocks, etc. Do not let the kids play with them and always have them at least a couple of meters away from other airsoft players.
Airsoft grenades should only be used as a last resort in combat; it is advisable to use regular BBs for most engagements. The best way to hit a target with an airsoft grenade is to spray the area where you think the enemy is with regular BBs then follow up with the airsoft grenade.
Understanding how airsoft grenades work can help you greatly in airsoft skirmishes, because not all airsoft grenades are ideal for each type of skirmish, or they might not be ideal at all in certain cases.
How to play airsoft for beginners?
The first thing you need is an airsoft gun, obviously! Browse through online stores and make sure that it comes with a battery and charger as well as a BB loader and safety glasses.
Then, you need an airsoft field. A good way to choose a field is to look for one with a number of different playing styles; some fields have close-range combat arenas, long-range sniper shooting ranges, obstacle courses, and more. The best thing about this game is that in each age group, there is a different set of rules that needs to be followed.
As you get older and become more experienced at airsoft gun games, it is likely that you will become interested in better-quality guns with realistic features. These are great for more advanced gameplay; however, younger players should stick to the low-cost plastic guns as they are easier to maintain and less dangerous.
Make sure to understand the rules of the location where the airsoft skirmish will be held, but also follow the regulations on airsoft in your country. Some countries have restrictions when it comes to playing airsoft.
If you have a large open space ensure there is plenty of room behind the targets so that if someone is hit they are not running into a tree or some other object. Also, make sure children do not play airsoft as it may be too dangerous for them to handle. When your kids want to buy airsoft guns and accessories, choose those that are low-powered. Most standard airsoft guns shoot at less than 400 FPS and most pistol-sized versions shoot 350 FPS or less (refer to the reviews of each gun for specific details).
What safety precautions do I need to take?
Airsoft is fun and exciting; however, there are certain safety precautions you need to take, as well as a set of rules that are in place.
Due to their nature, airsoft guns seem like they are toys and not real weapons; however, the thought is wrong. Airsoft guns should always be treated with respect and should never be aimed at someone’s eyes or face. Some players will wear a facemask, but just make sure you are not touching the barrel with your face.
Airsoft guns that shoot at less than 350 FPS can be used outdoors; however, for airsoft fields that have higher equipment requirements or in areas where airsoft guns cannot even be operated it is best to use an indoor airsoft gun arena. The arena will consist of a series of obstacles and targets for you to engage.
In fact, airsoft fields are outfitted with an electronic system that can detect if a gun is being shot out of the safe zone or aimed at someone without a facemask on. Even at very close range, an airsoft gun can cause serious damage if you are hit by one.
What should I wear while playing airsoft?
The equipment you need to play airsoft varies depending on whether you are playing at home or in an arena; however, no matter where you choose to play, make sure that the following safety equipment is worn:
- Eye protection such as goggles or a facemask.
- Ear protection such as over-the-ear style earphones or earplugs.
Airsoft guns are great for playing airsoft in your backyard or inside your home; however, there is a hidden danger with them. Even though the rubber bullets may not hurt when you get hit with them, they can still cause serious damage to your eyes and face.
Airsoft guns are not like paintball guns that shoot at a lower velocity; although airsoft guns are not as powerful and cannot hurt through clothing or trees. They should always be treated with respect and never aimed at someone without eye protection.
Types of airsoft fields
There are many types of airsoft fields out there; however, it is not as easy to find an airsoft field that allows you to play your favorite game. This is mostly due to zoning laws and current safety standards in place.
As an airsoft enthusiast myself, I have come across all sorts of different fields with a wide range of styles and options. There are free airsoft fields, private airsoft fields, indoor airsoft fields, outdoor airsoft battlefields, simulant-filled fields and many more.
It is not hard to find a field in your area if you have access to the internet; however, I recommend doing some research before you go spend money on an airsoft gun and find out that you cannot play at all.
There are many places available to play airsoft in your area; however, a lot of these require you to be of the legal age to purchase an airsoft (in most areas this is 18). If you want to play with other experienced players then I recommend joining an airsoft team, but if you want to just play airsoft with people your age then it is a lot easier to find an area outside of town with space or even a forest where you can be free to shoot all day without worrying about getting in trouble.
Airsoft is a great sport for people of all ages, especially if you want outdoor fun but don’t want to deal with the trouble of golf or hiking. Like any other sport, airsoft does require practice; however, even with some minor experience, you will have a great time playing airsoft.
Airsoft guns can be used to play airsoft in your backyard or indoor airsoft arenas; however, they are not like paintball guns. Airsoft guns should always be treated with respect and should never be aimed at someone’s eyes or face unless you are wearing proper safety equipment.
Airsoft guns can hurt and even break the skin at close range, but with proper protection, you will be able to enjoy airsoft without worrying about anything bad happening to you or anyone around you.
If you have been looking for a new sport that allows you to compete against your friends and fellow enthusiasts in a safe environment then I recommend giving airsoft a try.