What is Airsoft?
Airsoft is a game usually played outdoors between 2 teams of players involving toy guns and firing small 6mm plastic balls at each other, these BB's are about the same size as a million sweet. Airsoft is based on honesty and replies on the player acknowledging when they have been shot. Most games give players multiple lives which lets each game run for anywhere between 15 minutes and a full day!
How do I get into Airsoft?
The best way to get into Airsoft is just get out there to your local site and get playing! There are 100’s of Airsoft sites in the UK and nearly all will offer rental packages. If you have a friend or two that fancy joing you, great! If not don’t stress, the Airsoft community is renowned for being open, diverse, inclusive friendly and above everything else, very very chatty! Players and staff will see you’re a beginner and will automatically look out for you, pointing you in the right direction and making sure you’re safe, looked after enjoying yourself.
Once you have played 3 times (or more) in over 56 days you can apply for a UKARA click here for a full UKARA guide, which means you are able to buy your own gun from one of the 100 odd Airsoft shops in the UK. (As long as you’re over 18)
What to buy first?
In our opinion this is a simple one…. Eye pro, eye pro, eye pro!
If you are shot unprotected in the eye there is a risk of serious injury, or potential blindness, Airsoft guns and safety must always be treated as if they are live and eye protection MUST ALWAYS be worn when in a live area or when handling an Airsoft gun.
Airsoft eye protection comes in various forms, from goggles to glasses and lenses to mesh, it’s worth mentioning under 18’s MUST have full face protection at all times when in the game zone.
Mesh is favored by some as there is never an issue with steaming up which can make it impossible to play until the fog as gone (fogging is caused by heat from the player leaving a mist on the inside of the lens)
The downside to mesh and the reason lenses are favored is due to a risk of a BB shattering once it has struck the mesh covering the players eye and can still result in eye injury.
Players over the age of 18 are only required to protect their eyes, there is a divide in players choosing just glasses with either lenses or mesh, mesh or lens glasses with mesh face protection or full paintball goggles offering the most protection possible. This comes down to players preference although we would always recommend a full-face goggle to ensure maximum protection.
Next we have, GUNS!
Airsoft guns or RIFs (real immitation firearms) fall into 5 main categories and these depend on the type real gun they are based on:
There are two ways to power the working parts of an airsoft gun, either batteries or HPA (high pressure air). The pro’s and con’s can be found *here*
Some guns have a ‘Blow back’ feature, this can be found on both battery and HPA guns and gives the gun a more realistic feel when shot. The blow back makes the gun kick when fired, simulating a real gun.
Pistols are always ***
There are various terms for different types of gun, these depend on the method of power, type of gun and if it has blow back or not.
Batteries, what's the difference?
There are various different types of batteries available for airsoft guns, each have their own positives and negatives
Batteries generally will hold their charge as long as they are left disconnected from the RIF, if left connected the charge will slowly deplete from the battery. Most players will have a few batteries for each of their guns, if one runs out whilst playing they can still use their weapon of choice.
NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride)
NiMH batteries are a cheap and reliable way to power your airsoft gun and generally give a good charge although they may slowly discharge over time. Unlike some others NiMH allow you to recharge the if the battery is only part drained, without decreasing the overall capacity. Although slower to charge than LiPo batteries, a NiMH battery offers the safest option on the market resulting in worry free combat. If you are just getting started in airsoft a NiMH battery is perfect for you!
Lithium Polymer (LiPo)
Offering the highest voltage supply Lithium Polymer batteries are a great upgrade for users with advanced airsoft guns. LiPo batteries allow for the highest charge in the smallest possible package and can be charged at an incredible speed. LiPo batteries have absolutely no memory issues and can be charged from a partially full state without negative effects. Although dramatically increasing capacity and voltage, LiPo batteries are less durable than NiMH batteries and are prone to failure due to charging issues. LiPo batteries are an incredible upgrade, however experienced airsoft players with upgraded airsoft guns are ideal candidates for this battery type as they often require gun upgrades such as MOSFET units to run larger capacity LiPo batteries. If your gun does not have a MOSFET and you wish to run a LiPo battery the maximum voltage that should be used without causing harm is 7.4V.
Nickel Cadmium (NiCAD / NiCD)
An obsolete design, Nickel Cadmium batteries are no longer used in current airsoft builds. Nickel Cadmium batteries suffer greatly due to the need to discharge the battery completely before recharging. If this isn’t completed correctly a portion of the storage capacity (memory), will be lost during each charge. With the risk of exploding when charged too quickly and a tendency to slowly discharge over time Nickel Cadmium batteries should be avoided at all costs.
Battery Connection Types
A Tamiya Style connector is the most common design on the market and will be found on most stock wiring configurations. Although Tamiya connectors come in two sizes; small and large, most airsoft guns will require the smaller variant. Full stock guns such as the RK47, GR25 and GC7A1 will use large Tamiya plugs so users must be aware of this difference when purchasing a battery.
Deans Style connectors offer a spring loaded, flat blade connection providing an increased surface area, less resistance and improved energy transmission. Although offering improved performance a user must modify their gun, battery and charger to allow for compatibility when performing a Deans conversion.
How important are goggles/face pro
Buying a good set of googles and face protection is the most important piece of equipment, the eyes temples, mouth should be protected. Do not buy cheap googles or eye pros on ebay stick to a recognised brand your eyes are far to valuable to buy cheap rubbish you do not want to go blind!
Why should I wear mesh goggles or lenses
This is hotly depated in airsoft, mesh is lightweight and does not fog up, but bbs can shatter personally we recommend dye i4s or I5s, its important to have good protection and double glazed lens lens if you are wearing more of a paintball style of google.
Is it expensive to play
Airsoft is incredibly cheap a day of airsoft if you have your own equipment is £25 plus your bbs, guns are equipment are also very reasonable you can purchase a good M4 such as a Tippmman commando from about £140, Need to add in a few extra good starter guns to recommend.
How old do I have to be to play
12 years old is the minimum age, although there are restrictions which vary from site to site and you will if under 18 have to wear full face, temple and ear protection with your eye protection.
Is it kids game
No, yes there are younger players but its mainly men escaping from there wives and girl friends to hang around with other like minded men, most people who play airsoft are 25-50 years old. Airsoft is a community and a family so do not think you need a grope of friends to come along and join in, airsofters are very friendly, helpful and accommodating it is a create community.
Is it good for mental health
Yes, no I am no scientist and not I am not even saying you need to play airsoft to improve your mental health but I am a firm believer in any activity outside with like minded people, which will make you fitter is a massive help for mental health I have seen many men comment how it helped with there depression. Airsoft is very social and you will burn off a surprising amount of calories playing for the day. Its also surprisingly satisfying and stress relieving shooting at other people. The good things about activitys/ sports like Airsoft, paintballing, Bootcamp, OCR they all attract a like minded person so you tend to filter out people and ended up surrounded by good people who you will naturally become friends with the nature of the actvirity acts as a filter.
Is it good exercise?
Like most of us I hate the gym, airsoft offer a great alternative will you get ripped no, but you will improve core muscles and improve your anaerobic fitness, there are different forms of airsoft which are faster, slower and will offer different benefits, Most of all though the main thing is to have fun and get moving. Loosing weight is not rocket science if you burn off more calories than you consume you will loose weight, most people eat 200 cals a day to many which in the course of a year is one stone in weight so playing airsoft once a week and training a couple of times will make a massive difference to your life.
Does airsoft hurt?
The bbs are quite light and over distance loose there power, compared to paintball airsoft does not hut much at all, with the low impact and real looking guns and equipment it has a massive appeal. If you are worried about the impact wear an extra layer and make sure you wear senslible face and eye protection more like a paintball goggle / mask rather than eye pros which are like sunglasses
Do girls play airsoft?
Yes there are more and more women starting to play airsoft.
How to get in to airsoft, buying guns, sites, tips.
There are lots of shops in the UK, who do a great job, I would suggest finding a good venue and renting equipment first and seeing if you like it, if you want to buy a gun you need to be 18 years old, if you want to buy a non two tone gun, a real looking colour like black or tan you do need a UKARA. (MAKE UKARA A LINK TO THE UKARA page)
Ukara, what does it mean, how to get one!
in short it’s a sensible way to police the sale of airsoft guns and Rifs, you need to have played 3 times over 56 days minimum to buy a black or military coloured (non two tone) gun. if you go to (the full ukara page for more info)
What to wear
Benefits and cons of HPA
What do you need for HPA
Reviews on guns
How to guides on playing
Recommended gun techs
Being a sniper
DMRs Designated marksman rifle, in between a standard rifle and a Sniper, it’s a mid to long range weapon, for airsoft they have to be Semi automatic, and ideally need optics, at most venues the chronograph limit is 450 fps for a DMR with a 0.2 gram bb. Semi-auto and a extra 100 fps you have to wonder why the DMR is not more popular personally I would put this down to the exclusion zone it keeps you in the range of snipers, however you cant get to close to the action!