The best way to start this blog is to outline exactly what airsoft is not.
- Airsoft is not about guns and violence.
- Airsoft is not “tactical training”.
- Airsoft is not all about the K:D.
- Airsoft is not what you generally see on YouTube.
- Airsoft is not about who can sling the most plastic downrange in the shortest amount of time.
- Airsoft is not about hurting people.
- Airsoft is not just “pay to win”.
- Airsoft is not a license to be toxic.
- Airsoft is not a “cishet white male only” club.
To quote Unicorn Leah, airsoft is “NOT SOOper SRS boogaloo boi militia training”.
Airsoft is your game, and you are allowed to play exactly how you want, within the confines of the field rules. Think about your favorite FPS (first person shooter) video game. Do you enjoy the super serious tactical look in any of the Tom Clancy games? Or the more light-hearted look in Super People or Fortnight? Maybe you prefer the hobo-tactical look of Scavs in Escape from Tarkov, or the historic accuracy of period games like Hell Let Loose or Arma’s SOG Prairie Fire? Or perhaps you’re content to wear a hoodie and run rental AEGs.
How you choose to look and play is up to you. I see so many players online shitting on other people’s loadouts and gear because it’s not Brand X or Style Y. Ignore them – they are trolls. Granted, certain things will give you more of an advantage: M81 helps to conceal you better than pink tigerstripe, for example, but if you want to be that ray of happiness and really “buck the meta”, that is absolutely your choice. Just be prepared to get shot. A lot.
Airsoft is about having fun. Airsoft is about getting outside and running around the woods with friends, both existing friends and ones you haven’t met yet. Camaraderie. Community. I’ve joked in the past that 90% of airsoft is looking cool on social media, and I still think that’s true. And if you’re running a more alternative look, “your vibe attracts your tribe”.
Airsoft is about thinking and strategizing. Do you leave spawn and run straight into the hail of BBs that got you last time? Well, no! You consider the terrain and available cover. You consider the other team’s range and accuracy. One of my favorite things to do is charge towards any number of fortifications at SAASMaine, yelling obnoxiously, then ducking behind a tree, or into a gully. I’ll then sneeki breeki around to their position’s rear and quietly pick them off. Age-old tried and true strategy right there.
Most games are written as simple “run and gun” style of play, since that’s what the most popular FPS games depict. Some games have more roleplay in them. No, I’m not talking about the “naughty nurse” escapades that you may participate in behind closed doors, but a more immersive game style that may feature NPCs, or even settling differences with the other team through more diplomatic channels.
We really try to get a balance between the two. Personally, run n’ gun gets really dull for us after awhile (old and fat), and it’s always fun to see what sort of improv skills players have.
A great game that we attended at FGF in New Hampshire was Hoarfrost. Morsel brought her plushie possum as we roleplayed scientists, complete with white lab coats and Geiger counter! We were initially “held captive” by the amazing players of Blunt Force, and we were being questioned about the location of the hidden uranium (we actually didn’t know). At one point, Morsel pulled out her plushie possum and told the player questioning us to ask the possum. The look on that poor guy’s face.
He looked at the possum, and with all the seriousness he could muster asked: “Do you know the location of the uranium?”
Morsel immediately yelled: “No! He’s a fucking possum!” shaking it threateningly. Everyone around us, including me, lost it. I thought the look on the player’s face was priceless before, but it didn’t hold a candle to the look on his face now.
I count that as one of the most fun games I’ve ever been in. I had almost zero trigger time, we walked up and down that mountain a dozen times, we slept in the truck.. but wow. We really cannot wait to hit that game again this year (couldn’t make it last year).
So while we were getting our roleplay on, there was plenty of action all around us. If we wanted more trigger time, we could have certainly done so, but for us it was more fun just walking around between the teams and griefing them. Roleplay can be so much fun.
In the end, how good a game is or is not is entirely up to you. Make it fun.
There are a ton of myths in airsoft. Seriously. Every day while doomscrolling, I see more myths from various airsoft groups of which I’m a part. Let’s get to it.
Airsoft is Pay to Win – FALSE
A new player with Crye camo and JPC, running a $3k updated gun can, and will most likely, continue to get owned by that salty airsoft veteran with the $150 stock Cyma AK. Or even the rental kid wearing a hoodie. Granted, someone with longer range and more accuracy will have an advantage, unless they know how to capitalize on that advantage, they may as well be running a $30 springer.
Gear does NOT automatically give players an advantage; this is not COD. Knowing how to use the gear, knowing the field, playing your role… these are all part of what is required to win. These are all skills learned by playing.
HPA is better than AEG – FALSE
Without exception, airsoft uses a mechanism that creates a puff of air to propel BBs down the barrel. This puff of air can be generated by a cylinder/piston mechanism (AEGs, springers, most sniper rifles), compressed gas (CO2 or green gas) or via compressed air from a tank (HPA).
The BB doesn’t care about the source of the volume of air. It gets the puff and it flies through the air.
HPA has certain benefits, for certain. It’s quieter, it has a lot fewer moving parts, and even the least tech-savvy person can install and maintain their HPA system. It’s a lot easier to adjust your joules with HPA by simply adjusting the regulator on your tank. HPA is typically a “no stress” build, in that the gearbox isn’t subjected to the energy and forces of a strong spring and moving gears.
However, keeping your air tank filled can be problematic, especially if you’re nowhere near a company that can fill tanks. Yes, you can buy a high pressure air compressor. Or buy/rent a scuba tank (that you still have to get refilled). Or you can opt for a high-pressure hand pump, which is basically a bicyle pump on steroids.
Lugging a tank around during a game isn’t a dealbreaker for most, nor is having an air line connected to your gun. Running out of air during a game is not ideal. Sure, you can invest in a second tank, and then you’re faced with the quandary of carrying it around with you, or leaving it at spawn. Or you could bring your pump (hand or electric, if there’s power available) and refill your tank as needed.
HPA isn’t any more powerful than any of the other propulsion methods. 1.5j is 1.5j. Running HPA doesn’t automatically give any more range; range is still dictated by airseal, hop, BB mass, and kinetic energy.
K:D is the most important stat in airsoft – FALSE
K:D is important, to a point. Most games are team-based, so unless it’s a “last player standing” game, if you have a K:D of 20:1 but your team still loses, then that’s indicative that you were busy trying to get XP (if that’s a thing) and not doing your job. You weren’t playing as a teammate, you were playing as yourself, and fuck those guys.
FPS is the key to range – FALSE
Velocity is only a part of the equation. Please read the blog here for a better explanation of FPS vs. Joules.
Heavier BBs don’t go as far – FALSE
When I was chronoing at another field, and the chrono officer asked me what weight I was shooting, I told him: “.32s.” He got a funny look on his face and said “I always use lighter BBs in my rifles to get more range… I’d only use .32s in my pistols.” I just smiled at him because I wasn’t in the mood to give a science lesson, especially after only a single cup of coffee.
As explained in the blog linked above, heavier BBs are able to utilize more of the kinetic energy produced by the airsoft gun. However, that doesn’t mean you can use start using .68g BBs and expect them to travel a mile. Finding the “sweet spot” means a lot of testing.. the right bucking, the right nub, the right weight BBs… I tend to keep things simple and rather reverse that process. I use the same nub and bucking and BBs in each of my airsoft guns and tinker on the gun to make it shoot as I feel it should. Fortunately, when using good parts and good BBs, it doesn’t take a lot of tinkering.
Brand X is the “best out of the box” – FALSE
The very first AEG I bought was touted by “influencers” and so many people online as “the best out of the box”. Well, except I apparently go the only cursed AEG from that brand ever. Regardless, after the debacle I went through with the manufacturer and the popular webstore, I made the decision to never purchase the same make, or purchase from the same store again. That. Is. My. Right. Yes, I also discourage others from potentially running into the same issues I did, and always recommend what I have found to be a better AEG, and from more local, or at least smaller online, businesses.
Honestly, this applies to a lot of things airsoft-related. BBs, batteries, camo, gear, you name it.
I hope this not-so-quick “primer” is useful to someone. Yes, it can be daunting to get into a sport and hobby that you’ve never considered before, and if you’ve gone shopping for all the “cool” stuff and are balking at that $1500 worth of shit, then yeah, maybe consider other options. Get the Idogear G3 pants and save $270 just on pants over Crye, for example. If you’re big like Bear, then you have to get a little more creative.
We are always happy to share the businesses we know and trust. We are always happy to share our opinions, both good and bad, on pretty much anything airsoft. And no matter who you are, you’re welcome to play here.