What is Airsoft?
Airsoft is an activity where players will engage their opponents by shooting round non-metallic BBs at each other using a replica firearm typically called an Airsoft Gun. A player that is hit by a BB is considered out and they have the opportunity to reenter the game at a later time based on the rules of the specific game they are playing.
Airsoft started in Japan in the 1980’s and moved to Europe, North America, and the whole world over time. While its popularity was well below paintball in its early years it has seen a surge in popularity in the last 10 to 15 years. This is due in part to its cost of operation as well as public awareness of real military special forces. This led to the desire for more realistic gameplay scenarios and also the popularity of military simulation video games that people want to experience in some way in real life.
Airsoft is often compared to paintball. Both are considered “shooting sports” and share a lot of the same terminology and equipment however they are different in many ways. Here are a few of the main differences:
- Airsoft projectiles do not leave a mark so it’s less messy. Because there is no marking it’s considered an “Honor” sport where players need to be disciplined enough to call their hits.
- Airsoft BBs are much cheaper to buy and in most cases, players can bring their own BBs to a field to play which makes playing much more affordable.
- Airsoft Guns can be powered by either compressed air or battery whereas all paintball guns are powered only by compressed air.
- Airsoft Guns look more realistic, which makes the gameplay appear more like a military simulation. Because of their realistic nature, it is important to be cautious when using and transporting them.
BWSK Airsoft Club
Is Airsoft Safe?
A common question people have is whether airsoft is safe or not. The simple answer is yes, it is safe if the proper safety procedures are followed. This is true of many outdoor activities from riding a bike to swimming in a pool. The key is understanding the risks and learning the safety procedures both on and off the field of play.
On the Field Safety
When playing Airsoft the most important safety concern is wearing the proper eye protection. There are many options but a good rule of thumb is to only use ANSI-rated goggles that are full seal, meaning that there are no gaps between the goggle and your face. Full-face masks are not completely necessary but it’s recommended to protect your teeth and mouth.
If you are a new player and on an airsoft field for the first time, make sure that the field has clear velocity guidelines in place. Velocity means the speed of the BB as it leaves the barrel of an Airsoft gun (this is often called an FPS Limit or Feet Per Second). The FPS rules for fields can vary depending on the type of gun, type of gameplay, etc. You just want to make sure that the field is checking the BB speed of every gun that is being used on the field.
Engagement distance is another important safety factor. This is the distance that players are allowed to shoot or not shoot each other. As with FPS rules, engagement distances will vary from field to field, the key is to make sure the field you visit has engagement distance rules in place.
If playing with regulated FPS limits and engagement distances getting hit will sting a bit but not hurt terribly. It can hurt more if you are hit on your hands or neck. Good gloves can mitigate most hand discomfort and the use of a scarf is great for protecting your neck. Thick clothing overall can help protect you from hits to your body, legs, and arms.
Wearing the proper footwear for the terrain you plan to play on is also important. If you playing at an indoor field, it’s perfectly safe to use tennis shoes. If you are playing outside, especially where there are obstacles to moving around you will want to wear footwear that provides more protection for your feet and ankles. Your best option is to use a military, or work boot that wraps around your ankle and has a thicker sole.
One of the biggest misconceptions people have with Airsoft Guns is to consider them “Toys”. They are NOT toys. They are Replica Firearms and, in many cases, indistinguishable from the real thing. This means that it’s imperative to treat your Airsoft gun as would a real firearm when you are not on the field.
Never, ever brandish your Airsoft in public. Not only is it illegal, but it is also very dangerous. Law enforcement has no choice but to consider something that looks like a real firearm as the real thing. This can lead to life-threatening situations that are 100% avoidable by simply not bringing your Airsoft gun out in public.
When transporting your Airsoft Gun it needs to be secured in a gun bag or case. Like with a real firearm it has to be as far away from the driver or passengers of your vehicle as possible. Many Airsoft Fields and/or Airsoft Shops will refuse your service if you do not have your Airsoft Gun properly secured.
Store your Airsoft Gun in a gun bag or case so that casual misuse is prevented. Keep it stored and secured and away from curious fingers.
BWSK Airsoft Club
Where Can I Play?
When you make the decision to play your first game of airsoft you will find there are many options for getting into the game. Your best first option is to find your local Airsoft Field, read their rules, and then find your local Airsoft Shop to get the gear you need and then go out and play.
Another great option is to find the Airsoft Teams operating in your local area. You will never have as much fun on an Airsoft Field as you will running as a team. So check out the teams near you, see if they are recruiting, or mind if you tag along.
At the moment in Macedonia there are four Airsoft clubs, check them out on the links below:
BWSK Airsoft Club
What Types Of Games Are There?
Airsoft games can range from a simple 30-minute skirmish to a full weekend event. There are also many different types out there, with endless variations that field owners and organizers use to put their own spin on games. Here are the 3 main categories most typical Airsoft games fall into.
This stands for Military Simulation and these games tend to be slower-paced objective-based games that are modeled after real military scenarios. How “real” they make these games can vary from game to game but the overall goal is the same, to give the player a chance to use strategy to solve a specific set of problems to “win”. You can play Milsim games that are only an hour or so long at your local field all the way up to very intense full immersion games that can last 40-65 hours straight. These kinds of games are really what sets Airsoft apart from other shooting activities.
These types of games are intended to not be realistic expressions of what a real-world mission might be and more of what you might find in a video game. The rate of fire and the amount of ammunition allowed are much much higher than in a milsim game. The pace of a SpeedSoft game is also much higher with players working toward smaller objectives.
These games are ones that you tend to also find in Paintball and other shooting sports. Scenarios like Capture the Flag, Hostage Rescue, Team Deathmatch, and others are commonly used in traditional games. They are usually shorter in duration, 30 minutes or less so players can cycle in more easily and often the fields are smaller.
This stands for Close Quarters Combat and often refers to playing indoors or inside of room-like structures. The key element here is that you are “close” to your opponents. Moving from room to room looking for the enemy players. CQB is not a type of game however as you can have Milsim, Speedsoft and Traditional games all run inside of the CQB context. The important thing to know is what types of guns are allowed in any CQB environment, so check with the field or event organizer to know what you need to play.
In practice when going to a field or event you will see a mix of all these styles present. The key is to be aware of what is being offered so your expectations are in line with the games you will be playing. This is very important for SpeedSoft vs Milsim players as their styles of play fall on opposite ends of the spectrum leading to conflict on the field. So, discover the kind of gameplay you like and research the field or event before attending.
Click HERE and check out the 15 Most Popular Airsoft Game Types and Modes.
BWSK Airsoft Club
Who Can Play AIRSOFT?
Anyone under 18 years of age is not allowed by the law to join any airsoft activity in our country. If you want to try Airsoft for the first time, your best bet is to find a local team that rents Airsoft Guns and safety equipment and see if you enjoy it or not. If you do enjoy Airsoft, you can consider buying gear of your own. You can buy a great starter gun for $150 (including a battery and simple charger) and safety goggles and/or mask for under $30. If you include a carrying case for the gun and some BBs you can start playing for less than $200-250. Do your research, and make sure you buy gear that lines up with the kind of events you plan to attend.
BWSK Airsoft Club
What Do I Need To Play?
If you have never played before, find a local field that offers rentals and just go out and play. No matter your age, that is the best way to get started. Just. Play. Once you do you will discover not only if you want to pursue Airsoft but also what kind of gear you might want seeing what other players use on the field. Another option is to connect with a local team that might be willing to lend you gear to try out. There are a lot of gear freaks out there that have tons of extra kits to let you use. So reach out and see what’s going on with teams in your local area.
You can certainly spend thousands of dollars buying the best available equipment.. Before you do though, do your research, evaluate what you “need” vs “want” and let your kit grow with your experience level. It’s reasonable to spend $200-250 and get a great starting setup… a gun, battery, charger, and safety gear. The important thing is to make an informed buying decision.
Airsoft is a very gear-heavy sport, there are literally hundreds of different choices in almost every category. The biggest decision you will have to make is the type of Airsoft Gun you want to buy.
BWSK Airsoft Club
Types Of Airsoft Guns
You will hear a lot of lingo for different types of guns, M4, DMR, Sniper, SMG, AK, Pistol, etc… They all mean different styles and looks and the real-world counterparts they designed for specific tasks. Look for either an “M4” or “AK” style rifle when you begin your search, as they will give you the most flexibility.
Electric Airsoft Gun (AEG)
The most common way for a gun to “shoot” is by using an electric motor that pushes air through the rifle using a small internal piston. They are called AEGs and almost any style can be an AEG. To operate an AEG you only need a battery and charger. They are the easiest to operate and the most cost-efficient to begin with.
Gas Blowback Gun (GBB)
Gas Blow Back guns take a compressed gas, normally called Green Gas, that is filled into a magazine and that gas is released into the gun when the trigger is pulled to “shoot”. GBB rifles are by far the most realistic feeling Airsoft guns. They also require a lot more understanding, are less flexible and often cost a lot more to operate than an AEG.
HPA or PolarStar
HPA or PolarStar Airsoft rifles connect to an external tank of compressed air that provides the force to “shoot”. HPAs are more expensive than AEGs but far more reliable than either GBB or AEGs. You will find that HPA-style guys are more often used for SpeedSoft-style games than Milsim as the rate of fire (how many BBs per second it shoots) can be very high. If you decide to get an HPA, make sure to check with your local field about any HPA-specific rules or restrictions.
Bolt Action or Springer
Bolt Action or Springer both refer to guns that you pull back, or cock, in some way so when you pull the trigger an internal piston will then push air through to “shoot”. A Springer is a slang term used for small pistols that are usually on the lower end of the quality and performance spectrum. Bolt Action refers to a more high-end rifle that is usually used for long-distance shooting often called a sniper rifle. These rifles tend to shoot with a higher FPS and are used for a very specific purpose that carries more restrictions for their use on the Airsoft field.
Green Gas vs CO2
Green Gas is a special type of propane that is formulated to be used specifically for Airsoft Rifles or pistols. CO2 is a compressed gas cartridge that can also be used for Airsoft Rifles or pistols. Green Gas is typically much cheaper to operate and easier to “refill” when you are playing that CO2. Also, some CO2 pistols can have FPS ratings that are too high to be used on most fields for short engagements. For a starting pistol, we recommend starting out with a GBB pistol that uses Green Gas.