This might be a short blog because most people already know our feelings on referring to airsoft as “training”.
Airsoft is not even close to any sort of equivalent to any sort of real world training. If you want or need real-world tactical training, then may we recommend joining one of our great nation’s combat forces? Because honestly, without the benefit a knowledgeable instructor, you’re just going to be constantly reinforcing a whole lot of bad habits that will get you less-than-alive in any sort of real world application. Especially if you source your training materials from some random YouTube channel.
The caveat to this, however is if you are training to play airsoft. Most teams will get together and have some backyard pew time so they can work on communication and movement skills. For airsoft.
Hiding behind a bush in airsoft will give you pretty good cover, as it will stop a good amount of 6mm plastic BBs. Hiding behind that same bush while someone is slinging 5.56mm at you will result you in having some more holes installed in your body. The OP wall? You’re still swiss cheese. Metal roofing at Outpost Omar? Maybe you can see where I’m going with all this.
So while yes, it’s perfect okay to train for airsoft games, it’s important to recognize that airsoft is not training for real-world tactical scenarios.
Do you need more examples?
BB flight path vs. bullet flight path. Most airsofters don’t even bother aiming, but instead watch the BBs and adjust fire from there. Because of the relatively unpredictable flight path of the BB once it leaves the barrel, aiming is irrelevant. “But my replica shoots ‘lasers’!” Congrats. It shoots lasers until there’s a gust of wind, or thermal upflow from the ground, or the BB hits a leaf or branch or a mosquito or dozens of other things that will abruptly change the path of the BB. Sure, you could have it “sighted in” at the range, but once you’re in the woods, it’s not going to be particularly helpful.
Airsoft recoil vs. real-world recoil. There are some fantastic recoil options for airsoft replicas, but none of them really come close to their real-world counterparts. That beloved 50rps HPA monstrosity you have? There’s a reason M134s aren’t hip- or shoulder-fired, no matter what you saw on Predator. It’s probably safe to say that if 50rps was an effective rate of fire that every soldier in the world would have firearms capable of that, instead of the 10 to 15 rps of typical military rifles. Regardless, controlling a muzzle at 10 – 15rps is difficult, let alone tripling that rate of fire.
Range. I can’t count how many times I could have taken out a target were we in a real-world scenario, but even the best-tuned replica just can’t reach that far.
Airsoft is a game. Airsoft is a sport. Airsoft is a hobby. Saying that airsoft is “training” is like saying COD is “training”, or Microsoft Flight Simulator is “training” to become a pilot. Besides, if someone is going to break into your house and you need to “defend yourself and your family”, you’re not going to have the time to don your PC and your NVGs and prepare your favorite rifle. You’re going to grab the closest available item that you can use as a weapon and go with it.
The other huge issue we have with calling airsoft “training” is purely PR and marketing. If any of these mass shooters post on social media photos of themselves airsofting with a caption like “Training at the local airsoft field,” how long do you think it would be before our toy guns are over-regulated? This point alone should be enough to make everyone stop before they call airsoft “training”.
Airsoft is about running around the woods with friends and having fun. Of course, winning is fun, but at the end of the day it’s all about the war stories and camaraderie.