Airsoft Guide For Dummies

Airsoft is a game in which participants eliminate opponents by hitting each other with 6mm or 8mm plastic bb bullets fired from a compressed-air gun (or airsoft gun) powered by propane, compressed air, manual spring-action, or an electrically powered gearbox.

Airsoft participants organize meetings at dedicated airsoft battlefields often adapted to provide walls, bunkers, trenches, buildings, towers, and other similar man-made field enhancements to offer realism analogous to real combat environments.

Airsoft games vary greatly in style and composition depending on location, budget, and the quantity of participants but often range from short-term skirmishes, organized scenarios, military simulations, or historical reenactments.

Combat situations on the battlefield often involve the use of common military tactics to achieve the objectives set in each game. Participants typically use varying types of non-lethal weaponry designed as replicas of real firearms, tactical gear, and accessories used by modern military and police organizations.

In the 1970s Japan made it illegal to own a firearm, though there was a large interest in them. Because of this interest, manufacturers started to produce realistic looking spring-powered guns. These guns fired several calibers of plastic or rubber BBs, but were eventually standardized into 6 mm and 8 mm sizes. The early spring powered weapons then morphed into gas and battery powered ones, using a variety of systems. The hobby then migrated to North America in the mid 1990s. This is due in large part to the addition of many new AEG (Automatic Electric Gun) manufacturers in Japan, China, Taiwan, as well as many others. Though the origin of the actual game is unknown, it is easy to see that now airsoft has exploded in popularity and has had the highest rise in popularity from 2001 to present time than any other outdoor sport in the world.

Methods of play: MilSim
"MilSim", short for Military Simulation, generally combines airsoft play with some military live-action role-playing elements. This type of play may be considered "hard core" by many players because of the heightened amount of involvement required. Several goals or missions may be assigned to each team, along with a basic load-out (i.e., supply) of ammunition, rations, explosives, and radios.

A key element in MilSim games is the use of low-capacity magazines, replicating the actual magazine capactity of the 'real-steel' firearm the airsoft gun is replicating. Examples of these include the 30 round STANAG magazines of the M4, M16, Type 89, SCAR-L and several others.

Teams will remain in the field for the duration of play, only returning to a staging area or "safe zone" for medical emergencies and for other special circumstances. Military simulation games often last several days. For example, the large Berget annual event in Sweden lasts for six days with no breaks. In large scale MilSim operations, players often use vehicles such as painted vans and trucks. In some cases, such as Operation Irene (an annual MilSim held in the midwest U.S.), real APCs and tanks are used. Such large scale events can take place in MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain) facilities.

True MilSim requires players to adhere to an agreed level of uniform authenticity and to play as part of a team. Open days or skirmishes where sides are nominally identified by colored armbands but where players dress in a variety of military or paramilitary impressions is not MilSim. These events are sometimes known as SISK (Skirmish In Silly Kit).

Airsoft games are not limited to MilSim or "skirmish" modes. There is great versatility and flexibility in play syles.

Honor system
Airsoft play employs an honor system whereby the players rely on each others' honesty to admit to being hit, because unlike paintballs, airsoft pellets do not leave visible marks on clothing. However, there are 6mm paintballs, but most airsofters prefer not to use them as they can ruin an airsoft gun and void most warranties.

The effect of a marking bb on the honor system is an addition to the game but does not remove "honor" from the game as it still remains with the player to choose whether or not to call his or her hits. Instead, it simply allows for verification when the need arises. For instance, depending on the muzzle velocity of the gun and distance from the shooter, the targeted player may not feel the impact.

Players are discouraged from calling out hits on an opponent - instead players are expected to signal a marshal to judge how effectively they have hit their opponent. Simulated 'knife kills' can, at the venue's discretion, be recognized when a player touches or taps an unaware opponent. This prevents the player being forced to shoot him or her at point-blank range. Similarly, a 'courtesy kill' occurs when a player refrains from shooting an opponent at close range while enforcing that opponent's surrender, instead of risking injury. Players are usually prohibited from firing blindly when not able to see their target, especially around corners. In some instances, players don't call out hits they have sustained as a result of this "blind fire". Players are expected to avoid the shooting of an opponent who has already admitted to being hit. Harsh language and forceful physical contact between players is strongly discouraged and even penalized. Players are expected to resolve disputes politely and with proper decorum.

All airsoft players are expected to acknowledge being hit, even if they are in doubt, by shouting "I'm hit" loudly, and raising their hand or gun high and/or displaying a 'hit indicator' while walking back to the safe zone. Paintball style "speedball" games may include the aforementioned hit markers. A hit indicator can be either a bright-colored cloth during daytime or a blinker or mini-flashlight when in dim light or darkness.

There are many organized teams, of varying sizes, all over the USA and in various countries. Some prominent teams have 50 or more players, and are able to send delegations to regional or national events. In the Philippines, there are many amorphous groups of airsoft players loosely organized into "teams" of varying sizes. There have been attempts to create large nationwide organizations of airsofters but these have neither succeeded nor persisted in the past, although regional organizations have been able to sustain a significant membership.

Ballistics and speed
Kinetic energy is the energy that is transferred from the pellet to its target upon impact. One joule of energy will be transferred by a 0.20 g BB at 100 metres per second (330 ft/s).[4] A typical set of limits on guns might be 100 m/s (330 ft/s) for CQB, 125 m/s (410 ft/s) for outdoors, and 175 m/s (570 ft/s) for bolt action sniper rifles, all measured with a 0.20 g BB. The amount of kinetic energy depends on the weight of the BB and how fast the gun can propel it. Certain places play "no velocity limit" games.

In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the energy limit for Airsoft guns is usually one joule (100 m/s with a 0.20 g, 6 mm BB) regardless of the type of game play. Though semi automatic weapons only are allowed up to 400fps and single action are allowed up to 500.

Most Airsoft guns are capable of shooting from 50 m/s (160 ft/s) to 125 m/s (410 ft/s), though it is also possible to purchase upgraded internals for some Airsoft guns that will enable up to 180 m/s (590 ft/s) projectile velocities.

A hop-up unit, if present, puts backspin on the BB, generating lift and giving it a greater effective range. The range of any Airsoft gun depends on both the muzzle velocity and the amount of hop applied. Airsoft guns can have a range of 75 metres (250 ft) or more with the right combination of power, barrel, and ammunition as well as a good hop-up unit. A good hop-up unit can sometimes double the range.

The longest recorded hit on a man sized target with an Airsoft gun was 400 feet (120 m) from a bolt action sniper rifle shooting 7.5 joules. The gun was shooting at a velocity of 637 feet per second (194 m/s) with a .4 g BB, equivelent to 901 feet per second (275 m/s) with a .2 g BB.

Safety: Eye and face protection
The minimum safe level of gear required to participate in most games includes a pair of impact-rated goggles or shooting glasses to protect participants' eyes. Traditional prescription glasses and sunglasses, or goggles not designed specifically for use with airsoft or paintball guns may break or shatter upon being struck, causing damage to the eye.

Many airsoft groups and fields require that eye protection fully seals the area around the eyes, and also meets or exceeds ANSI's Z87.1-2003 goggle standard for eye protection, namely, the ability to absorb 3 joules of impact energy without damage. Some players instead opt for paintball goggles, which are held to a higher impact rating standard, ASTM's F1776.

The best overall protection is offered by paintball masks. These masks protect the face, teeth, and ears. Some airsoft masks are made with mesh screens, though there is debate that fragments from lower quality or bio-degradeable BBs may pass through the mesh and enter the eye, although there have been no recorded incidents of such an occurrence.[8] While masks offer superior protection, they can interfere with the use of scopes and in cheaper masks, condensation inside the goggles can reduce visibility.

Safety: Unprotected players or bystanders
At most airsoft sites, any player or observer is required to keep their face mask, goggles, or shooting glasses on at all times. All players must immediately stop shooting when a person without eye protection is encountered in the playing area. One common practice is for players to shout words such as "Cease-fire, Blind Man!" Any player hearing the words must stop and repeat the alarm, alerting the whole game. If a player is hit and is wearing their death rag so that they can go to the respawn point and spawn, he will often say "Dead man walking!". This indicates to the opposing team that the person is not a threat.

Safety: Community safety precautions
Some other rules such as a maximum BB velocity and distance guidelines are used by different groups. Some organizations have created common safety rules and guidelines.When not actively playing, some fields require "barrel bags," also known as barrel stoppers, which were first introduced in paintball. The magazine is usually removed as well, and the gun fired to clear the chamber. Most fields also require players to leave their guns set to the safety position when they are not shooting, a practice common when using real firearms. In certain countries, such as the Philippines, additional special rules have been adopted.

All "real steel" firearms, explosives, and bladed weapons are banned at any airsoft battlefield to prevent harmful accidents or confusion between real and simulated weapons. Players are expected to be discreet in transporting their gear and uniforms so as not to alarm the public or police. Pyrotechnic devices may be allowed, but are rarely employed, because of the added danger. When they are allowed there are usually legal limits on the effect of the device, e.g. amount of smoke, volume of sound or brightness of flash.

Legal issues
Airsoft guns and playing airsoft is legal in most parts of the world. Some countries have specific restrictions such as maximum muzzle velocity, aka FPS (feet per second), rules against using the trademarks of real firearms, and 'unrealistic' coloring to distinguish them from actual firearms. They are legal throughout the U.S, but restrictions exist in certain cities such as Camden, Newark, NJ, Chicago, IL, New York City and Detroit, MI. The states of New Jersey,

New York and Michigan, however, do not allow airsoft guns to be used and handled publicly, because of the resemblance to real firearms, although Federal and State laws generally regard airsoft guns as toys and in the United States the muzzle tip must be orange.
Classic Army M15A4 Automatic Electric Gun.

In the United Kingdom, airsoft replicas are classified as realistic imitation firearms or RIFs. The sale, manufacture or importation of RIFs are restricted to activities that are exempted or have been granted a defense by the Home Office under the Violent Criminal Reduction Act. Airsoft has been granted a defense and a skirmisher as defined under British law is allowed to purchase, manufacture or import airsoft replicas. Usually, the only accepted method of proving entitlement is to be a member of a site that holds public liability insurance. A scheme set up by UK retailers, called UKARA, recommends that an airsoft site only give membership to a player who has played at least three games over a period of no less than two months but you can also get a reenactors membership meaning you never actually have to play airsoft.[citation needed] The right to own a RIF is still reserved to over 18's. Many retailers will only sell airsoft replicas to UKARA registered players. Also, the use or possession of any kind of replica weapon, loaded or otherwise in a public place is an offense under UK law and can carry heavy penalties.

Some airsoft players inform local police where and when airsoft games will take place, so that misunderstandings can be avoided.

Due to a steady entry of lower-cost airsoft guns from abroad, the Philippine National Police issued in December 2007 its Circular 11 (Airsoft Implementing Rules and Regulations),[14] regulating the ownership of airsoft guns by Filipino citizens. Only airsoft guns with a muzzle velocity of 550 feet (170 m) per second (ft/s) or less using 0.2-g BBs can be registered. The PNP AIRR also regulates the operation of airsoft playing fields, teams, and the standardized rules and codes of conduct among airsoft players.

Airsoft guns
The guns used in airsoft are typically replicas of real firearms, except that they have a mechanism for pushing out projectiles 6 mm or 8 mm in diameter.

Airsoft guns are classified according to their operating principle which can be either: spring, electric, or gas-powered. An airsoft gun is selected according to the level of performance (battery life, range, rate of fire, accuracy, reliability, customization, magazine capacity, size, and weight) or realism the player requires. Early-generation airsoft guns were mostly "springers." Single action airsoft guns fire only a single bb before having to be re-cocked for the next shot. Second-generation airsoft guns had gas-powered mechanisms that required either an internal "Flon" (CFC) gas reservoir or an external high-pressure CO2 chamber. AEGs (automatic electric guns, such as assault rifles) are now the most commonly used and have high-capacity rechargeable batteries to operate gearboxes that displace air to propel the BBs.

Most airsoft pistols which are gas-powered use environmentally safe "green gas". Green gas is propane gas with a hint of perfume and sometimes silicon lubricant and produces a realistic blowback recoil effect when fired. Recently Airsoft manufacturers have begun producing propane adapters that screw directly onto camping grade propane tanks, allowing players to power their gas guns on pure propane, as a cheaper alternative to "green gas". Each pistol magazine contains a small storage gas cylinder with enough power to propel the 30+ BB projectiles also housed in the magazine. Thus a player can realistically load, fire, and unload an airsoft pistol with similar realism as a "real steel" semi-automatic pistol. A few early-production AEPs (Airsoft Electric Pistols) have been released but these suffer from weaker BB velocities because of the difficulty of fitting a small-enough motor in the housing of a pistol, although the range is sometimes greater than a gas pistol. AEP's often have a higher rate of fire than their gas counterparts.

Most early airsoft guns were completely made of ABS plastic except for some internal moving parts. Newer guns, especially those made in Japan, have metal external parts. A typical airsoft gun is noticeably lighter than its "real steel" counterpart due to the use of aluminium, alloy, and plastic, though some have weights in them for a more realistic feel. There are smoke caps available for certain airsoft guns for added realism.

Gas hand gun magazines are usually 10-20 in a standard capacity magazine, however some are hi cap magazines which have a winder and can hold 50 rounds or more. In the case of AEG rifles magazines come in either standard (equivalent to the capacity of its real steel counterpart), low-capacity (low caps: 30-80 BBs), mid-capacity (mid caps: 80-150 BBs), or high-capacity (high caps: 200-500+ BBs). These magazines are spring loaded; the high-cap magazines often have a ratchet wheel that can be wound up periodically to force BBs up from the holding chamber of the magazine to the feed chute, due to loose BBs in the reservoir they often make a rattling noise when running or walking. Some airsoft guns have electric-powered box or drum magazines that hold thousands of BBs (up to 5000).

Some players, especially those participating in MilSims, wear military clothing consisting of various forms of camouflage. Some players will go as far as to use a ghillie suit, which breaks up the human outline by having sticks, leaves, and similar items in the fabric/netting, as well as its own camouflage leafing material all over it. Aside from the advantage of camouflage, some participants aim to faithfully replicate a specific combat unit such as the SAS, Spetsnaz, or police, particularly in games such as MilSim.

In some countries, such as the Philippines, airsofters are not legally able to wear official uniforms. In Sweden, for example, it is illegal to wear both rank insignia and Swedish flags on civilian uniforms at the same time. It has become popular among civilians and airsoft players to wear only the upper garment or the pants, but not both.

When not wearing full paintball-type face masks, many players wear neck armor such as a balaclava, scarves and Shemaghs, and military-style helmets. Players generally wear combat or hiking boots (not just ordinary athletic shoes) for safety in harsh terrain. They also wear padded gloves, elbow pads, knee pads (not to protect the body from pain of getting hit by pellets, but to prevent pain and injury from performing physical actions, such as crawling and kneeling) and protective vests for additional protection, realism, and for conventional reasons such as holding magazines of ammo.

In some cases, rules are adopted that allow only casual clothes in an effort to encourage realism because players will more actively avoid being hit.

Tactical gear
Players wear tactical clothing and accessories for the added realism and for the practical needs similar to that of a real soldier. The most common are holsters, load bearing vests, and modular rigs. Many players also use a hydration system. Equipment for real world soldiers is also often used in airsoft games, such as are sights, red-dot scopes, flashlights, picatinny rails, and mock silencers.

Many Mil-Sim players choose to wear real gear (not an airsoft replica) and in some cases, real ballistic protective armor - this can raise the price of the game considerably.

Game variants
Elimination — Generally the most common variant of airsoft played, and again mostly among new-comers to the sport. Elimination rules can be played by two or more teams. Essentially, teams engaging in combat until there is only one team left still in play, or as in FFA (Free For All), one player left.

Surrender - Same as elimination, but when a player is hit he/she is not out, instead they are out when they surrender. Most of the time airsoft fields do not allow this, so this is not a game played by veterans, most of the time. This can applyed to almost any game type.

Capture the Flag (CTF) — While the primary objective in Elimination is to eliminate as many enemy players as possible, the primary objective in Capture the Flag (sometimes abbreviated to CTF) is to capture the enemy flag instead. This is a very popular game type, second only to Elimination itself..Often in CTF, there are two flags - one for each team. Each flag would ideally be situated in a base, bunker or some other such defendable position, which is then called the 'flag station'. The enemy team must find the opposition's flag station, seize the flag, and return it to their own flag station. Once the enemy flag is in one's own flag station and one's own flag is still there, then victory may be claimed. A one-flag variant has one flag situated in a mutually agreed upon position, and each team attempts to bring it back to their base, or the opponent's base.

Assault, or Siege — Assault is a fairly common game variant where the players are divided into two equal teams. One team — the 'defenders' — must hold a fixed location on the field. The other team — the 'attackers' — must attempt to completely eliminate the defenders, while the defenders must elininate the attackers.

Protect the President - Protect the President is a completely unique form of airsoft. Although not very popular due to being a mostly unknown form of playing, it gives each game a prominent objective; making the game extremely fun. The objective of the game is to protect the president (hence the title). At least two teams are formed. Each team chooses a President. From this point on, each team may devise their own strategy, but the objective is always constant. Kill the enemy president while being sure to protect your own. If the president on either team is eliminated, the game is over. Another form of Protect the President is to divide into two teams, a Secret Service and Terrorist Factions. The Secret Service team has an unarmed president or lightly armed, and the terrorist's job is to kill that one person. The Secret Service is to either eliminate the Terrorists or move to a certain safe-zone or Landing Zone on the map.

The Infected- There are two teams, Humans and infected. Anyone the infected eliminates become infected, while if the infected is eliminated, he is out for the round. Game ends when either team is completely eliminated

Commando Raid- There are two teams: Commandos and Rebels. The Commandos must bring three or more items back to the extraction zone, while the rebels must stop them. Anyone who is hit is down for the game. The commandos must have half of their guns ammo capacity and a spring pistol, while the Rebels can use as much ammo as they want.

Forts- There are two teams and six or more small forts scatterd in the field. the goal is for each team to capture all the forts. if someone is hit, they go to their respawn point well away from the forts. The first team to capture all the forts or has the most forts after 20 minutes, that team wins.

Enemy Territory- This is best played on a huge field. there are two teams, each team with their own commander in their teams base. The goal for each team is to place three of their flags in the enemy's post about 20 feet from the enemy base and then eliminate the enemy commander. The commander can only be armed with a spring or gas pistol. Two people can stay with the commander, but can only use shotguns. There is also a medic or two with the infantry to bring them back into play. Once the medic is out, than players are out for the round if they get shot. When infantry players on one team eliminates the enemy infantry, then the commanders guards must attempt to finish the job. If all guards are eliminated then it's sudden death. This is when both commanders engage each other untill one of them is out. then the other commander must place his team flag in the enemy base. The game ends when one team eliminates the enemy commander and takes the base. The commander may use a walkie to notify the infantry on his team if he and his guards are under fire.

Tag Out- This can be played on almost any terrain. It is most commonly played in the sense that, if you get hit you stand still for however many seconds was agreed on. while you are still, if you are tagged by anyone else your are out for the game. if nobody tags you, you can resume fire after your time of stillness is up.

Source: wikipedia

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