How to start playing Airsoft
Looks like you are having a little bit of a hard time getting started with airsoft. Don’t worry you’re in good hands now, trust me I’m a professional.
Let’s get this started shall we. A lot of people are asking me that they want to start with Airsoft but they don’t know how to go about doing it so in this article we will be discussing that very topic and I think that a lot of you guys will actually discover that it is a lot easier to get involved in We are actually going to break this article into multiple parts such as:
- Where can I play airsoft?
- How can I get involved in airsoft?
- What kind of equipment do I actually need in order to play airsoft?
Alright guys let’s go ahead and get started. So the first step in getting into airsoft is finding a place to play. For this, you basically have two options:
- Finding a local field/arena
- Playing backyard airsoft
Let’s first go ahead and talk about playing at an airsoft field or arena. Going this route what I would personally recommend for people looking to get into airsoft and in my opinion this will be your best option for playing for a multitude of reasons. For example there will be a lot of other people there to play competitive games with.
These places have really cool layouts, obstacles and designs built into them for your entertainment and potentially there will even be vendors out there for BB (ball bearing) ammo, goggles, face-masks, guns, tactical vests etc for you to purchase. All these details and more just ultimately add up to make a great airsofting experience overall.
Now how do you find a field in your area? Firstly I would highly recommend checking out this website called https://airsoftc3.com/ this website will list all known airsoft fields, stores and teams in the United States, state-by-state. On this website everything has just been consolidated into one convenient place.
Now let’s talk about backyard airsoft and I know for affect that a lot of you guys including myself kind of first got a feel for airsoft by playing in the backyard so some of you may be asking yourselves why I would recommend fields and arenas over backyard airsoft and it really all boils down to safety.
Many years ago I was playing airsoft in the backyard with some of my friends. Now, I live in s pretty secluded area and I don’t have a lot of neighbors but apparently one of them saw us playing around in the backyard from a distance with these toy guns and from that far away or even up close for that matter these airsoft guns look exactly like real firearms so our neighbors unfortunately called the police, and surely enough they showed up with real shotguns and rifles in tow. They obviously did this because they thought that they were actually responding to an active shooter situation.
Thankfully, we weren’t outside at the time that they actually showed up. We were inside on a little lunch break, but we had to go out there and talk to them and assure them that everything was alright. They were very professional to us and handled the situation very well. Thankfully, there never was a situation presented where we could have been mistaken for an active shooter otherwise it’s very possible someone could have gotten seriously injured or maybe even worse. This was our fault entirely because we made the mistake of not informing our neighbors of what we were doing in the first place.
The blame lies entirely on us. However, it just goes to show that if someone sees you in public with an airsoft gun there’s a very high likelihood that they will mistake it for a real firearm and maybe even potentially call the police.
It’s mainly for this reason why I don’t really recommend playing backyard airsoft now that being said if you live in a very secluded area with a lot of land to play on have no neighbors or have talked to them about playing backyard airsoft and you are very careful about brandishing your guns, only then backyard airsoft can actually be a very viable option for you.
Also some advantages of backyard airsoft include playing at any time of the day on your own terms. You don’t have to pay the local airsoft field a fee and you can even make up your own game types with your friends. But whatever you do and wherever you choose to go just be cautious of brandishing airsoft guns in the view of the public.
Now that we’ve gone over where to play airsoft let’s talk about how you can actually get involved and some of the requirements that come along with it.
- How old do I have to be to play Airsoft?
There are no age restrictions on playing Airsoft in the United States. More often than not you will see the age of 12 is a commonly accepted minimal age requirement at most places. Over in Europe and other countries you will likely have to be over the age of 18 in a lot of cases or even obtain a license in some circumstances in order to play but here in the USA it mainly depends on the rules, case-by-case of each field you go to. Just remember to check the rules online of the field you plan on attending.
- Do I need to join a team to play airsoft?
Another question that I often get is how do I sign up or how do join this field. Do I need to be a part of a club or something like how does this work and trust me it’s way more simple than you would think. Actually all you really need to do to participate in airsoft games is go to the field’s website checkout what days they’re hosting games. Just Show up on game day pay the fee and play airsoft. Now of course you will need some equipment in order to actually play airsoft but more often than not it will actually be available for you at the field or arena. We’ll talk more about that in the next segment.
I also get questions asking if you need to be part of an actual airsoft team in order to play and the answer is NO. Again you can simply show up all by your lonesome if you so choose to do so and play. I will say that is a lot more fun to play with friends or are on a team with squad mates but it is certainly perfectly acceptable to play by yourself. However, more often than not that will not be the case. When you get out there and start playing you will quickly start chatting and working with other people on your team and link up with some other guys. Hopefully that answers some of those questions but realistically again all you need to do to get involved in airsoft is just show up on game day. It’s really that easy, no clubs, no secret handshake, you just show up and play, it’s really simple.
The airsoft community is very welcoming and extremely friendly I’ve made some of my best friends in the past five years playing airsoft and have encountered countless other great individuals throughout the sport who just make playing the game so much more fun and enjoyable. So don’t be afraid to get in there, get involved with the community and have fun.
- Do I need to be fit to play Airsoft?
Another thing I want to mention quickly about airsoft is that this sport is very physically demanding. Please make sure that you are in a fit enough condition to play and stay safe and make sure to bring plenty of water to hydrate throughout the day.
- What kind of equipment should I buy?
Now on the off chance that you can’t obtain what you need to play at the field. Where can you go to find and purchase airsoft related equipment? For this you can actually go to an online or walk-in airsoft store I would personally recommend going to a walk-in store if you are able to, so you can get hands-on with the equipment that you plan to purchase. If you aren’t near any walk-in stores then online stores are also great option. There are tons of great airsoft stores out there for you to choose from.
Now for the fun bit the guns and gear. Let’s start with the guns first, obviously to play airsoft you’re going to need a gun but before you go out and buy any type of weapon I would first check and see if any of your local airsoft fields and arenas rent out guns to play with. A large majority of these facilities will have this option available to you and I think it’s actually very smart to try using different rental guns before going out and buying anything for yourself. This way you can try different gun models to see which one suits you and what aspects about that gun.
When you are ready to make your first gun purchase you’ll already have a great idea of what you want. However not every single airsoft field out there will have guns available for rental so on the off chance that that option of rental guns is not available, you will need to bring your own gun to the game. For those of you who will need a gun to play or are already sold on the idea of getting your first airsoft gun I will be writing another article and going completely in-depth on this very topic. It will cover just about everything you need to know about purchasing your very first airsoft gun as well as some other helpful information. I’ll leave a link to that article here in the future if you are interested in checking it out.
So that covers guns, now let’s talk about apparel. There’s this big misconception out there that you need a whole bunch of gear and tactical equipment in order to play airsoft. This is not the case at all. You can actually play airsoft with a very minimal amount of gear and equipment. It Is perfectly acceptable at most facilities to play with regular attire. Some places may vary on what is required of you to wear but for the most part at least in my experience they are actually pretty lenient.
Now considering that airsoft is a very physical sport I would personally recommend wearing a bare minimum of jeans and some sort of jacket or long-sleeve shirt in order to cover up your arms. So what you wear to the field will likely be what you wear for the game. If you want to purchase your own camera or the fancy tactical gear, I would recommend actually checking out an army-navy store. They have great deals on tactical gear and will often have good quality used stuff that is extremely affordable for beginners. If there unfortunately isn’t one nearby you could also try going online or go to an on-site field vendor. My recommendation in picking a gear would be to get something that blends in with your terrain for example being here in Portland there’s a lot of jungle like environments and a lot of greenery around here so what we commonly will wear will be something along the lines of this woodland type pattern. You can get decent camouflage patterns in the army navy stores and you will also see a lot of other airsofters wearing this camouflage, very classic works really well and is actually very cheap. Just keep in mind what kind of terrain you’re going to be playing in and what kind of camouflage will blend in best with the surroundings to give you the best advantage possible.
The advantage of this is when you are hiding from your opponents they’ll have a hard time spotting you. You can get the drop on them before they get the drop on you. In other specific circumstances camouflage can actually be used to identify which team you will be playing for. A lot of these games will actually split up teams and sort out players depending on the camouflage pattern that they are wearing.
You may also want to consider some boots and gloves while both of these aren’t really mandatory in most cases, but they are definitely a nice level of protection to have and obviously make you look super cool.
Another really cool accessory you can consider is buying some of your favorite patches. You can attach the US flag patches on your gear and sleeves. If you are forming your own team you might want to consider making custom airsoft patches for your squad members. You can get creative when creating patches, like come up with a unique team logo or a slogan to go with it. You can customize the patch and choose your colors, shape and borders. You can also select what kind of material you want your patches to be customized in, like embroidered or PVC. Patches are a great way to motivate your squad members and have an identity for your squad on and off the field. You can also use a series of rank patches to accordingly rank and promote your team members as you gain more experience.
- Safety and Protective Gear
Now let’s go over protection which is the most important thing to consider in airsoft. When making your gear selection the most important thing will be your eye protection gear. When playing, BB’s are actually flying through the air at speeds exceeding 400 feet per second. If one of those somehow manages to sneak through your eye protection and into your eye you are likely going to end up at the hospital. So unlike most of your gear which you don’t necessarily have to spend a ton of money on you can instead spend on some good eye protection.
I cannot stress that enough; you can generally get a good set for around a $45, $50, $60 maybe even $70. I would personally recommend a brand like revision but whether you are renting eye protection from a field or purchasing it please make sure that they are rated ANSI Z87.1 and are full seal. What does this mean? well basically the ANSI Z87.1 rating assures that even if you are hitting the lens with a really high speed gun they will not shatter or break full seal.
Full seal is when you have a protective lining in your goggles or face-mask that lines all the way around your face it’s a protective lining that basically assures that knob’s coming in from the side will not be able to sneak through and potentially get into your eye. There is a little rubber lining that goes all the way around the edge of the goggles so when I have them on my face and even if you shoot me from the side, there’s no way the BB is going to sneak in and hit me in the sides of my eyes.
Sometimes you will see mesh goggles out there on the market and I would personally not recommend those because if a BB hits that mesh, it has the potential to shatter and you can get fragments of that BB in your eye. A lot of fields have already started to ban the use of mesh goggles at their facilities so I would personally just stay away from those for safety reasons.
One last thing to consider for eye protection will be whether or not you want to implement face protection. Face protection is commonly used to protect your lower face and teeth from strikes because more often than not if you get hit in the tooth with a BB it can get chipped or even worse they can fall off, although this doesn’t happen very often but we’ve actually already had two guys in the team who didn’t wear lower face protection and have had their teeth shot out which resulted in a very bad dental fee. Let’s be honest, nobody wants that now.
For a lower face protection you could either go the route of a full face mask. I would highly recommend paintball dye masks. They’re little more on the expensive side but they provide great protection over all. Realistically though as long as you don’t go insanely cheap like below $30 you can find really great paintball masks that will work really well for you.
Lastly, let’s talk about tactical equipment and this will mainly come in the form of your tactical vest. In order to play airsoft you actually aren’t even required for the most part to even have a full set of tactical gear.
- Tactical Vest
Tactical gear is mostly used to hold other equipment and extra mags for your guns but for most people starting out you will most likely be running. Considering that airsoft games will only last around 15 to 30 minutes, if you have a high-capacity magazine which by the way will likely come with your gun, it will hold in the reservoir more, just one or two of those will likely be more than enough to get you through an entire round. So realistically for those of you who are just starting out and just getting into the game you don’t really even need to have an insane amount of tactical gear.
Now I will say that having the equipment does definitely help out and it provides an extra level of protection as well as the tactic coolness you get with it but you can still absolutely play with a bare minimum of course like with the guns and eye protection. Most fields will again have gear for rental so if you want to try out what they have to offer I would most definitely recommend going that route for those of you who are looking to buy a vest.
I would steer you in the route of a cross draw vest these vests are extremely affordable and come in different colors and styles but what’s cool about them is that they already have all the mag pouches built into them and sometimes in addition to that have pistol holster and mag pouches for your pistol as well. This is really convenient for beginners.
For now, what we would recommend is not spending a ton of money on gear, be conservative with your purchases in the beginning and as time slowly progresses you will discover what works best for you and what kind of equipment you will want to start investing in. This tactic will ultimately prevent you from wasting money on gear that you potentially don’t like, thus saving you money down the road.
So in conclusion you don’t actually need ton of equipment to play airsoft. You can actually just play with jeans, a long-sleeve shirt, a gun, and iron face protection. If you choose to get tactical gear and the like if the option is available to you I would highly recommend renting it first and trying out before you make a finalized purchase in order to help you save some money.
That’ll about wrap things up for this article, hopefully you found it useful. If you have any questions comments or concerns please feel free to leave them in the comment section down below and I’ll get back to you as quickly as I can. Happy airsofting guys.