Are you too old to play “Pusil-Dunggab”? Are you tired of clicking on that mouse? If you are looking to inject a healthy dose of realism to that need to play war games, then airsoft could be the right choice for you.
As to how “healthy” a dose of realism it would be depends entirely on your knowledge of airsoft and its rules on safety. Thus, if you are new to airsoft, it’s best that you read on.
[This article is intended for newbies/rookies to airsoft in the Philippines. However, additional information is always welcome. Please feel free to add them in the comments section at the end – Iliganairsoft]
What is Airsoft?
Airsoft is a sport that simulates combat using guns called automatic electric guns or AEGs to shoot round plastic pellets that are usually 6mm in diameter and weighing 0.2 grams.
What Do I Need To Play Airsoft?
Below are the most basic needs of airsoft that beginners are advised to have in order to be able to play the sport:
AEG. This is your primary weapon. Airsoft guns used to cost a fortune but with the entry of the China-made AEGs, airsofters can now get one from P5,000 to P7,000 ($100-130) only. Visit your local airsoft shop or airsoft forums where many airsofters are selling 2nd-hand AEGs.
Mask/Goggles. If you value the ability to see, then NEVER play airsoft without wearing an airsoft mask or, at least, safety goggles. An airsoft bb (the round plastic pellet) can and will take your eye out and leave you blind. Refusing to wear a mask or eye protection can also get you banned from the game site or field.
BB. These are your ammo. What good is a gun without bullets, right? Always have a bag of 6mm, 0.2 gram bbs with you when you leave for the game site. Brands popularly in use are ICS and Golden BBs. They come in 3/4th-kilo or 1-kilo bags and cost from P230 to P250 ($6).
BDU. Battle Dress Uniforms will give you that soldier boy look. They also protect you from the sun, and injuries from things you come into contact with, especially when playing in a jungle environment. They also take out some of the sting of bbs because they are usually made of thicker materials. Unless you have an army surplus store in your area, the best place to forage for BDUs would be ukay-ukay stores (there are good finds there). However, for purposes of dressing your airsoft team, the local tailoring shop would be best.
Vest. A vest functions in two ways: first, it protects your torso from injury and the pain of getting hit by bbs; and two, it serves as your magazine carrier. You can also attach your radio to it or put other things into its pouches. Vests are sold by airsoft stores, but check out local tailoring shops, too, as some of these shops cater to police and military needs.
Boots. Wearing the right footwear helps protect your feet. Airsoft involves running, so make sure you are wearing something (they don’t necessarily have to be combat boots) that keeps your feet safe while affording comfort and ease of movement.
Do I Need to Have a Team In Order to Play Airsoft?
Having a team is preferable. However, if you are just starting, you can play with a couple of like-minded friends at an open lot or abandoned building. Just make sure there are no other people around, especially children, who could get hit accidentally.
How to Meet Airsofters
Ask around if there is an airsoft field in your area where you can meet up with other airsofters and play. Visit airsoft forums or join airsoft Facebook groups (there are many friendly airsofters there who would gladly answer your questions). The nearby airsoft store could also help. The guys there would tend to be airsofters, too, and know the local airsoft teams.
How to Play Airsoft
Airsoft is different from paintball. A paintball hit is clearly visible because of the paint unlike in airsoft. Thus, airsoft is a game that relies on the honor system. If you’re hit on any part of your body, you are considered “dead”, and required to acknowledge it by shouting “hit!”
Shouting “hit” informs other players, too, that you are already out of the game, and therefore, no longer a live target. Hit players should raise their gun over their heads and immediately exit the game site. To ensure you don’t get shot at while exiting, shout “dead man walking” as you exit.
Note: Never remove your mask even when you are already “dead” and on your way out of the site.
Kinds of Airsoft Games
You would need at least several buddies (6 or more) to be able to have a decent game. Below are the more common game scenarios that beginner airsofters can play:
Capture the Flag. Divide your group into two, each with its own flag. The flags are usually placed at the base of each team. The team that successfully captures the other team’s flag, wins. A variation to this scenario is where there is only one flag that is placed at the center of the field; and taking this flag back to your base wins the game.
Rescue Hostage. This is a popular scenario where one team guards a “hostage”, and the other team attempts to rescue and take him to a designated area. The “hostage-takers” may shoot the “hostage” as he is being taken away. If the “hostage” is “killed” before he reaches the evacuation area or landing zone, etc., the rescue team loses.
Escort VIP/Ambush. This type of game has one team escorting a VIP on his way to a designated area. The other team hides anywhere in the area along the VIP’s route and spring an ambush. If the VIP is brought to the designated area, the escort team wins. If the VIP is captured or “killed”, they lose.
Assault on a Fixed Position. This scenario sees one team attacking a base or bunker that is defended by the other team. The defending team’s movement is limited to the area designated. The teams switch roles after every round. It is referred to as King of the Hill if the position to be assaulted sits on top of a hill.
Seek & Destroy. If you really lack the numbers, this would be a great game scenario for you. Have one friend hide, and the rest of you try to hunt and “kill” him. This can be played with as few as 3 players only.
Basic Airsoft Rules
Please take to heart the following basic airsoft safety rules:
1. Always Have Eye Protection. The wearing of masks or goggles is the number one rule in airsoft. These can only be taken off at the designated Safety Areas.
2. Observe Gun Safety Rules. Airsoft guns should be treated like they were real. Thus, the safety rules for gun handling should be observed.
a) An airsofter should treat his gun as if it was loaded.
b) He should not put his finger on the trigger unless he is ready to fire.
c) Players should keep the gun muzzle or tip pointed at a safe direction when not in play, and he should make sure of his target and what lies behind it.
d) Lastly, remove the magazine and put the gun on safety when exiting the game site.
3. Establish Test Fire Area. Airsofters should establish an area where test firing guns should be done. This is to avoid accidentally hitting people. Shout “Firing!” to warn others that you are about to fire your gun. Observe the 180 degrees rule, which means no one should be within the area from your left side to your front and to your right side.
4. Establish Safety Areas/Safe Zones. Before playing, always establish a Safety Area where there is absolutely no firing of guns. This area serves as the place where airsofters can stay when not playing.
5. The Marshall is Always Right. Marshalls are the referees/umpires/game moderators. They are the ones who supervise the game, give out penalties, and call out the hits. Their word is law; thus, if they erroneously think you got hit, you have no choice but to exit the game site once they have already called you out. Arguing with a marshall is a big no-no.
6. Five-meter Rule. Airsoft guns can break the skin and cause welts and a whole lot of pain when fired at close range. Players should refrain from shooting other players who are within 5 meters from them, and instead, ask them to surrender or call out “You’re Hit!”
7. Knife Kill. Shooting another player who is so close to you that you can actually touch them is absolutely prohibited. Players should execute a Knife Kill instead. A Knife Kill in airsoft is done by tapping the opponent (whose back may be turned to you) on the shoulder to inform them that they are out.
Transport guns in bag. Foto: snapguide.com
8. Blind Fire. Blind firing is shooting your gun even without a clear line of sight to your target. It also applies to firing your gun while it is raised above eye/head level. This is a very controversial issue in airsoft with some competition organizers allowing it. To be on the safe side, avoid doing it. Not seeing what you’re shooting at is not good as there could be other people standing there, like the marshalls (who are only human).
9. Transport Guns in Bag. If you don’t want to get arrested or mistaken for a threat and shot by the police, please do not display your airsoft gun in public. Always put it in your gun bag when transporting it. Remember, airsoft guns look and feel like the real thing. It is also your responsibility to protect the sport of airsoft by following the rules.
Note: Before you start a day of airsofting, always, always take the time to have a safety briefing. This ensures that the safety rules are fresh on your minds, and that nobody gets complacent.
Glossary of Airsoft Terms
To facilitate your transition into the airsoft world, it would help to know the terms and acronyms related to the sport. This also aids you when conversing with other airsofters. Below is a list of selected terms taken from arniesairsoft.co.uk with some provided by iliganairsoft:
AEG (Automatic Electric Gun). This is the most popular type of airsoft gun for skirmishing use. It is powered by battery and operates through a series of gears and a spring-powered piston.
AK (as in AK-47). Avtomat Klashnikova or Automatic Kalashnikov.
BB (Ball Bearing). The ball bearing is the ammunition used by airsoft. Usually 6mm in diameter, these small plastic balls weigh far less than half a gram each (usually 0.20g).
BDU (Battle Dress Uniform). The name given to the clothing worn by a protagonist during combat.
Bullpup. A design methodology for rifles.’Bullpup’ rifles such as the AUG and the British SA80 have the magazine and firing mechanism set behind the trigger and grip.
CA (Classic Army). An Hong-Kong based airsoft manufacturer who has specialised in the production of both AEGs and aftermarket parts.
Chronograph (Chrono). A device that measures projectile speed. Used on most, if not all airsoft skirmish sites in order to check the speed at which the BB is shot from the gun.
CQB. Close Quarters Battle (aka Close Quarters Combat)
Fire Selector Switch. A switch that allows the shooter to change between modes of fire (Safe, Semi-Auto and Full-Auto fire).
FPS. Feet Per Second (a measure of velocity). Most fields limit gun velocity to around 350fps. In the Philippines, it’s usually 450fps (ouch!)
GBB. Gas Blow-Back.
Ghille/Ghille Suit. Camouflage worn by snipers.
H&K (Heckler & Koch). A German real-steel gun manufacturer, makers of some of the world’s most famous firearms, such as the MP5 SMG, the P7 pistol and the G36 assault rifle.
Hi-Cap/High-Cap. High Capacity (usually refers to airsoft magazines).
HOP-UP (HOP). A device installed in most airsoft guns to increase range. A small piece of rubber that is pushed inside the back end of the barrel through a hole in the top.
ICS. I Chih Shivan Enterprise Co. An airsoft manufacturer founded in Taiwan in 1983.
Kill House. A building where close quarter battles occur.
Lo-Cap/Low-Cap. Low Capacity. Lo-Cap magazines are the ones that are usually supplied free with AEGs.
Mag. Magazine (abbreviation). The magazine is a detachable part of the gun that holds the ammunition ready for shooting.
Mechbox. The central mechanism of an Airsoft AEG. Also known as a gearbox.
Mid-Cap. Medium Capacity (usually refers to airsoft magazines).
Muzzle. The muzzle is the very front of the gun, the tip of the barrel.
NV/NVG. Night Vision / Night Vision Goggles.
Real-Steel. A Real-World firearm or accessory (i.e. non-airsoft).
Re-spawn. To come back from the dead and re-join the game.
RIS. Rail Interface System (also known as RAS or ‘a Weaver Rail’).
ROF. Rate of Fire.
Skirmishing (to Skirmish). To use airsoft replicas in a mock battle, also known as Wargaming.
Stock of airsoft gun
Speedball. (Very similar to paintball) Played in a small field with lots of covers or bunkers.
Stock 1. (Noun) The rear of the gun.
Stock 2. (Adjective) An unmodified gun.
TM. Tokyo Marui (Airsoft manufacturer).
Trigger. The part of the gun that is manipulated in order to fire a shot.
Trigger Guard. A solid bar / obstruction that covers and protects the trigger.
Weaver Rail. Similar to RIS / RAS.
Zero. To align the trajectory of shots fired with the visual line of the sights.
Zombie. A player who does not acknowledge his hits, and thus, keeps on playing to the annoyance of other players. A cheater.