Getting Into Airsoft
Getting into the sport of airsoft can be quite exciting, but can also be quite intimidating for many people. Most of us, and perhaps you as well, started into the sport one of two ways:
- You happened across an airsoft gun at the local big-box store and thought “well this looks fun”, and possibly picked it up and started shooting with your friends or kids in the backyard. (Great memories for sure!)
- You were invited by a friend to an airsoft outing, skirmish or event, felt the adrenaline and are looking for ways to get into airsoft even more.
- You are a parent, doing some homework on the subject (As a note, people of all ages enjoy this sport, so don’t worry if you get the “itch” also – Many airsoft teams are comprised of a good mix of adults and kids…)
Granted, there are many other possibilities, but most people fall into one of these groups.
Well, here are a couple bits of advice for those of you who are looking to enjoy this experience much more!
Getting Into Airsoft Suggestion #1 – “Don’t be intimidated”
My very first suggestion, and what I feel is one of the most important, is to not be intimidated…Don’t be intimidated by money. Don’t be intimidated by gear. Don’t be intimidated by the guys who “look” like they can play (just like you, everyone performs at different levels – gear doesn’t make the player). Don’t be intimidated by the gun that is “modded” to beat the band. Also, don’t be intimidated with the safety factors. Be aware, but don’t be intimidated. If you want to learn more about safety in airsoft, I have more info coming available. You will find it is a quite safe sport, provided you follow field rules, and keep your mask on at all the times on the field, even if battling with fog issues. If you do run into fog issues, you might want to try the ExFog system, designed to eliminate this problem. Keep in mind that most airsofters are out to just have a great time, and we love it when people join in the fun!
So when you see the guys decked out in camo, plate carriers, helmets, swat gear, ammo pouches, radios, or whatever else in the world they are wearing or doing, make sure you also note that most of them slowly built up that gear, and that many other people are also having just as much fun with the very basics!
Which brings me to my second Airsoft suggestion for getting into the sport…
Getting Into Airsoft Suggestion #2: “Start with the basics”
Granted, if you want to go “all out” right out of the gate, have at it! But not everyone is in a position to start big, and many people are still defining what they want to get out of the sport…
So what are the basics? What do you need to get into airsoft?
You will be happy to know the answer is quite simple:
- An Airsoft gun: Chances are you have one already, which is why you are here. You can find numerous suggestions on airsoft guns, and what is the right airsoft gun all over the internet. One of the coming articles will cover the importance of choosing the “right” airsoft gun, but for now, as long as someone can’t outrun your current BB’s, you’ll be good! – Also, it doesn’t hurt to have a couple extra magazines lying around!
- BB’s – Quality, seamless BB’s will help your gun last much longer. It is rare you will find these at a big-box store. Although you likely started with that, I would encourage you to learn more about BB’s. For quick reference, unless you are playing around the home with risk of hitting siding, etc. where you would want very light BB’s (like .12g for instance), I would suggest that the average player uses .20 to .25 gram, until you find what will work for your needs.
- Face-mask or Goggles: You need eye protection, period. You will get shot in the face. Many times. Generally, that is the only exposed area, so protecting your eyes is a must. Find a pair of full-seal goggles, and get a good antifog. You will surely fog up playing this game, and a simple breaking of the seal, can result in big problems, such as losing team points, up to ejection from the game, or loss of vision from that “miracle shot” you didn’t expect.
- Important Note: Although there are several “wire” or “mesh” masks for eye protection, it is highly suggested that you DO NOT get those. Many fields, and most reputable MILSIM event hosts, will not let you use them because the BB can shatter at impact, with a potential for pieces flying through the mesh, possibly resulting in eye damage.
- Mouth/Face Protection: Adult teeth don’t heal. This is an area that is easily overlooked, but face shots happen as noted before. Many airsoft fields require full face protection under a certain age, which is usually a full face mask, or a half-mask with mesh faceguard.
There are other areas where you may choose additional safety precautions, such as face and mouth protection shield (highly recommended), groin protection, knee guards, etc. We will go into those in more detail in the safety section, but they are not necessary to start playing the sport.
Only these three items are what you need at almost all fields. Just a gun, bb’s, and a mask (and suggested face/mouth protection depending on the age).
So start with the basics in gear, a pair of clothes you can get dirty in, and have fun!
Getting Into Airsoft Suggestion #3: “Connect”
Get online and search for fun places to play…Remember, many airsoft fields are also paintball fields that allow airsoft players to play. Find a local or statewide forums. For instance, I live in Northern Indiana, so I connect with “Michiana Airsoft Coalition“, where I can link up to local players and teams, and know when all the big events are taking place.
Look at Facebook for local groups and teams as well. I play with the 14th LID out of South Bend, IN. These guys are definitely like family!
In no time, you will likely be surprised at how many places (paintball field, airsoft field) host airsoft, even weekly, and also what larger events you can attend and who you can hook up with to really have some fun!
Getting Into Airsoft Suggestion #4: “Pace Yourself”
You will quickly find that the sky is the limit. You may join a team. Chances are that the team may require a certain platform of gun and gear. A “style” that reflects the team. You may want to create your own team of sorts with some friends. You may find that you love working on the guns, creating new builds and getting into the tech side of things. You may find you started with an AK, but now you want to go with a “SWAT” platform of sorts. You might just enjoy hitting as many big events as you can, with no real team connection…This sport offers such a vast amount of opportunity, from building your own RPG’s, to being a grenadier, and the list goes on and on. So make sure to pace yourself! If you don’t, you may be the guy that has all the gear, but can’t afford to play…Your new friends will want you to show up. They generally won’t care if your gun shoots the fastest, or you have the newest camo, etc…
If we can help, don’t hesitate to comment below!