What is Airsoft?
Airsoft is a military simulation sporting game with similarities to Paintball. The main differences considered by many being that Airsoft is more realistic because of the replica guns, custom equipment and outfits. Airsoft BB Guns are capable of traveling far longer distances with considerably less bullet drop compared to Paintball guns.
Players are all at an Airsoft skirmish for one reason. They are looking to have a great time with a great bunch of people. Those who are new to Airsoft should have no reason to feel scared, worried or any worse skilled than anyone. Remember that having fun safely is the most important part and it is not a real war.
Airsoft sites always have a group of marshals who can often be seen wearing high visibility fluorescent jackets or are easily identifiable. They are on hand to uphold the site’s standards of fair play during Airsoft skirmishes as well as advise and instruct players on gameplay objectives and safety. You can consider the marshals as the veterans of Airsoft at the site. They’ll be friendly and knowledgeable of the map of their site and can give you great tactical tips so never be afraid to talk with them, especially if they are playing with your team. If you are ever concerned about safety or a player’s behaviour you should seek to talk with a site marshal about the problem. It is their job to help you and everyone get the most out of Airsoft sporting in a safe and correct way.
The Airsoft BB Guns used are most often full scale replicas of real guns. Common guns of choice are the AK47, M4 variants, P90, MP5, G36C among many others. They are usually powered by rechargeable batteries and are very reliable. A single charge is enough to last a whole day of Airsoft skirmishing but many players choose to have one or two spares just in case.
The ammunition used in Airsoft BB Guns are BB Pellets, small 6mm round plastic ball bearings. BB Pellets are inexpensive but it is very important to buy quality pellets so that your Airsoft BB Gun doesn’t jam. You can purchase pellets in their thousands so you never need to worry about running out of ammo. Many players choose to carry bottles of BB pellets or spare magazines loaded so that they can reload on the battlefield.
Players can choose to wear whatever suitable clothing they choose but it is usually camouflage outfits which are worn by all. You should wear what makes you comfortable but safe, remember that too much exposed skin or thin clothes will make it more painful when you are shot. Some players might wear other tactical gear such as vests, helmets, holsters and padding. This can give you many advantages such as having torches or magazine pouches as well as making you look the part.
The Playing Environment & Game Types
Airsoft skirmishes are usually held in forests, fields and buildings. Versatile environments can have multiple objectives and positions to attack and defend with obstacles and challenges. Different rules can change the way you use the environment. Remember that consideration for how you use the environment and cover can mean the difference between winning and losing.
Depending on the Airsoft site, game types could include attack and defend, capture the flag, demolition, team death match or all versus all.
Eye and face protection is very important. Goggles or face masks must be worn which can usually be provided by Airsoft sites on the day of a skirmish if you are hiring or buying equipment or Airsoft BB Guns. Normal glasses are not adequate protection and as a minimum players must wear ballistic glasses at least. Players can choose to wear whatever suitable clothing they choose but most commonly camouflage outfits are worn. You should wear what makes you comfortable but safe, too much exposed skin or thin clothes will make it more painful when you are shot.
Teamwork is very important in Airsoft if you want to win. The best teams succeed thanks to not only their skills but by working with their fellow teammates. This means listening to each other and strategizing, moving together and being friendly and positive.
There is a large community of Airsoft players in the UK and it might be a good idea to join them, get involved with an established team or group with your friends.
When you play Airsoft, you will get shot. Being hit by a BB pellet is comparable to being flicked or pinched hard. If hit on an area of thin clothing it will be particularly more noticeable. There is not usually any lasting pain and provided that Airsoft is played safely you should have nothing to worry about.
BB pellets don’t break into pieces on impact or leave any immediately visible mark that indicates you have been hit to anyone. Instead an honour system is used where most often players will call out “hit” or a similar phrase and stand with their hands in the air. After being hit you will either be out of the match or have to proceed to a respawning area where players may have to wait for a specified time before joining the game again. Cheaters are rare in Airsoft and those who disregard Airsoft site rules are frowned upon. It is simply easier and respectable if you declare that you are hit even if you are unsure whether you have been or think you might have been.
AEG (Automatic Electric Gun) – This is the standard name of most electric Airsoft BB Guns. AEGs are powered by batteries which are housed inside the gun commonly in the stock. The battery is wired to a motor which drives a piston to apply air pressure to fire BB pellets.
RIF (Realistic Imitation Firearm) – These are Airsoft BB Guns characterised not only by their realistic appearance and colour (i.e. black, tan, etc.) but by their high power and impressive technologies and accessories. These are designed for those Airsoft players who show dedication to the Airsoft sport. Players who want to own black Airsoft BB Guns have to own a license issued by the United Kingdom Airsoft Retailers Association (UKARA).
BB (Ball Bearing) – These are the ammunition that all Airsoft BB Guns fire. They are small plastic balls of weights 0.12g, 0.20g, 0.25g, 0.30g etc. The most common weight of Airsoft BB pellets is 0.20g because they are usually best for a balance of distance and accuracy. Heavier pellets are usually used by high powered sniper rifles.
Glasses/Goggles – These are the most important part of Airsoft equipment. They are always used by all Airsoft players for eye protection. Players can use specialist goggles or ballistic glasses so long as they provide full coverage protection of the eyes.
Medic – This term is used at some Airsoft sites by players who are “killed” to ask to be “healed” by a player who has the right to. “Medic rules” are the rules by which medics abide and every Airsoft site will have different rules.
Pyro – This is a general term used for any grenades used in Airsoft skirmishes. They are usually only “flashbangs” or smoke grenades of low effect. Every Airsoft site has its own rules for pyrotechnics and you should always seek their specific rules and information before using them at a site.
Respawning – This is the term used when you are “killed” during an Airsoft skirmish. A respawn often means you have to find a respawn point/area which is a designated area where you must go to before you can re-join the match. Sometimes you may have to wait a small amount of time at the respawn point but is never very long, for example 5 minutes.
Important Note: Every Airsoft site has its own rules and practices so always seek their advice for information specific to their site.