Looking around on different blogs, websites, and YouTube guides, you can come across many unstructured articles and guides claiming to help you “survive” airsoft. Some are very interesting, some seem to have been written in minutes. But most of them don’t seem to be properly aimed at beginners.
Here, we wanted to take a middle ground: we wanted to produce an excellent, interesting article packed with information, but we wanted it to be suitable for beginners, and that’s why we’ve taken great care to include the essentials and trim the fat. Read on and learn what airsoft truly is.
What is Airsoft?
Maybe when you read our title you start to flinch “but which Airsoft is he is talking about”. If so, then we need to start at the beginning. Airsoft is a game, a sport, a hobby that’s similar to paintball in a lot of ways.
Unlike paintball, airsoft guns propel 6mm plastic pellets weighing anywhere from one-tenth to one-half of a gram, and the “guns” used in Airsoft are called “replicas”. We call them replicas and not weapons because we are dealing with objects that replicate the appearance of a weapon, not its use. These replicas are therefore much more realistic than paintball markers. It is important to note that most airsoft rifles and pistols are powered by a source of electricity, a battery, as opposed to the gas tanks of paintball markers.
Despite the differences, there are also quite a few similarities between Paintball and Airsoft. All participants have some sort of gun, all wear protective gear including indispensable tactical goggles or masks, and all walk around a field. When an airsoft or paintball match begins, the objective is often to eliminate the other players by shooting them a limited number of times. Once this number is reached, they must leave the game until the next round. However, this is far from the only way to play, and many types of matches exist.
If you are new to airsoft and have already played paintball, you should know that this hobby is (sometimes) much more tactical and diversified, from one game to another, from one association to another, from one team to another… the scenarios and games will be very different, so not all your experience will carry over.
What Do You Need Before You Start Playing Airsoft?
Despite its rising popularity, airsoft remains a relatively obscure hobby. The involvement of what appears like guns also gives a lot of people pause, which hurts the popularity of the game. This is despite them just being replicas.
Thankfully, however, most cities and counties have organizations and associations with teams and events to bring airsoft players together. Start by checking the events and associations near you to see if anything catches your eye! You need to know if you can play the game before investing in a replica.
Airsoft can hurt. Many say it hurts quite a bit. A direct hit by an airsoft pellet sometimes leaves marks, bruises, and sometimes scars. But, this shouldn’t discourage you. Don’t forget that there are airsoft chest rigs, gloves, masks, helmets, etc. all readily available to protect you during the game. Due to how well-prepared airsoft players often are, injuries are quite rare.
Many people start playing this sport before realizing that they don’t like it or that they don’t have enough time. So before you start with a $350 piece of equipment, start with “cheap” replicas. Many people start with spring-powered replicas. Preferably start with a replica that’s light and easy to handle. This can be found for a few dozen euros, add to that $50 of accessories and protective gear, and you’re ready to go.
If you want to get into the battlefield right away go for an entry-level airsoft rifle, but be careful not to buy anything under $100, you’ll end up with a low-quality replica that might break pretty quickly.
How to Shoot Your Replica?
It’s hard to explain how to shoot each replica as there are many types and variations, but we can start by breaking it down by replica type. Let’s start with the simplest type: pistols. The pistol is generally THE easiest replica to handle.
- Check that the battery is charged or that the magazine is filled with gas, depending on the type of the pistol.
- Load your pellets and place the magazine on the handle
- If your pistol is spring-powered or has a moving bolt, pull it back once to cock the first round.
- Check that the safety catch is off. You will usually find the safety catch on the top of the grip, just behind/under the bolt. If not, consult the instruction manual of your replica to locate it.
- Then comes the time to shoot. Standing, place the non-dominant foot forward, place the dominant foot back and turn slightly to the side. Raise the pistol with both arms outstretched and aim at your target, aligning the two aiming reticles on the front and back of the replica handgun to maximize accuracy. Then pull the trigger. Don’t worry, this isn’t a real gun, so you won’t feel any actual kickback if you’re using a basic pistol.