Four things they did not tell you about airsoft…

You’ve been asked this millions of times, I’m sure. But how many of those times have you truly taken the advice and gave something new and different the old college try? It can be as simple as dyeing your hair blonde or it can be something more daring, like bungee jumping. Whatever you choose to do, don’t ever let the words “I can’t…” escape your lips without actually trying it out first.

“Fear, is every problem’s bottom line, and you can’t be afraid to start at the bottom if you want t­o solve your problems.” — I Would If I Could and I Can, James H. Hoke

Fear can cripple you and prevent you from living the life you shoulda-coulda-woulda lived and Hoke further says that “Shoulda, coulda, wouldas are generally followed by ‘still wantas.’”

Now, close your eyes and imagine this…

You crouch low beneath the bushes with your M16 rifle, holding your breath lest you give your position away to the enemy. You hear a burst of gunfire just a few feet away. The urge to run is strong, but your orders were specific: hold your position at all cost! You spot an outline in the bushes… it’s a silhouette of a man! Your heart thumps in your chest drowning every sound around you. The figure you saw was an enemy, his uniform now clearly visible against the foliage. He’s strafing the bushes to your left, and he didn’t notice you. You raised your rifle taking aim – at this distance, it’s impossible to miss. Your finger is now comfortably resting on the trigger, as you savor the thought of a kill. You have him on your sights! You take a deep breath as you prepare to fire…

“Thwap! Thwap! Thwap!” You’ve just been sniped! Someone else has beaten you to the draw! Reluctantly, you switch your gun back to safety, stand up and yell, “Player hit! Coming out!”

This is not your 9-year old kid brother’s Counterstrike, nor your dad’s paintball. This is as close as you can get to shooting a man (or woman) with guns without society hauling your butt off to the lethal injection chamber or stuffing you in the loony bin. This is AIRSOFT!

Airsoft has already gained tremendous popularity all over the world as a sophisticated alternative to paintball due to the more practical appearance and interface of airsoft guns and gears in contrast to paintball’s. Even as a noncombat pastime, airsoft can be a fun way of idling time away with an airsoft gun and a target, akin to tossing darts at a dartboard. To date, IPSC-style of airsoft practical shooting is slowly gaining ground, with international tournaments held regularly.

Airsoft is a live action simulation game where participants enact combat scenarios using replica guns and rifles. While airsoft guns and rifles are toys, from a distance they still look like the real thing. Common sense should be exercised when using airsoft products, especially in the times that we now live in with constant security threats and paranoia and the like.

However, more than the “just play the game” attitude, there are still some ropes that you have to find yourself as you progress well into your airsofting career. Here are stories from four different “weekend warriors” that you might have experienced yourselves, and can relate to.

1. You will look at yourself in the mirror, garbed in full BDU and mumble, “I could’ve been in the military”.

Marco, 24, is a graphics designer and a part-time commercial model that has just recently got hooked on airsoft. In less than six months, he has accumulated over a dozen battle dress uniforms or BDUs and loadouts — from Swedish M90 to Italian “Vegatata” — mostly authentic editions. He doesn’t care much about the game. He’s more worried about how he would look on the field, or whether his Safariland holster matches his chest rig.

Indeed, the airsoft parlance: “If you can’t play, display” holds true for this dude!

2.You’ll need to work harder for those guns, gears and gadgets.

The influx of China-made guns has reshaped the global airsoft community and gave birth to ACM — All China-Made — referring to AEGs and springers made in mainland China. While some people may still refer to ACMs as low-end AEGs or low-powered electric guns (LPEGs), as against TMs, CAs, G&Gs, ICSs, which are high-end or high-powered AEGs (HPEG), the performance gap between LPEGs and HPEGs has drastically narrowed with the advent of next-generation ACMs, such as JG, A&K and D’Boys (BoyI).

Although ACM guns are relatively cheaper than some of their high-end counterparts, James, 38, an IT consultant, found himself $395 poorer after “dressing-up” his baby — a JingGong HK416!

James is only a week-old in airsoft, and has yet to play a “major war”, but has already spent a fortune on his gear  — an Eagle Industries CIRAS vest, an authentic German Tropentarn BDU, Bates tactical boots, and a lot of accoutrements that I cannot even identify.

Well, for most guns and gear junkies, James included, their passion for airsoft is better expressed at getting the latest, more realistic and sometimes, even the rarest accessory, gear or gadget.

But for people like me, who do not have deep pockets, I’ll settle for my old-school Tokyo Marui M733 Commando.

3.You’ll realize that you can only change yourself.

Zombies. Undead. Robocop. These are just a few euphemisms associated with Tigas Ng Balat, a Filipino airsoft jargon, for “thick-skinned” players — those who consciously and intentionally ignore a hit during game time.

Despite putting a premium on principles and chivalry, there are instances where ungentlemanly behavior would rear its ugly head. It is during these times that a true airsofter’s mettle in particular, and his whole character in general is tested.

Carlo, 36, has been playing airsoft since gas gun days. What started out as a prank for him, metamorphosed into a habit, which eventually became a trademark for him, and sadly, for his team — ZOMBIE. For years, he and his team would attend big airsoft games, toting their 500++fps guns, bragging to everyone who would listen that “they’ve been trained” not to show any reaction when hit, not even a wince.

As his team’s notoriety spread, less and less teams or organizers invite them. Some would even go to such extent as ban them from certain game sites. As Carlo’s and his team’s airsoft world shrunk, he lost interest in the game.

After a three-year hiatus, he “resurfaced” as a lone wolf, playing with renewed belief in the dictum: airsoft is a gentleman’s game. Now, detached from his former team, he began to realize that airsoft is indeed about honesty, unity and fun.

4. As you savor that very first sting of a BB hitting you, you’ll know that you’re hooked.

Dennis, in his 30s, couldn’t have said it better when he quipped: people who are into airsoft just to satisfy a curiosity tend to quit after a year or even sooner. He recounts that on the first year of his airsofting career, he’s always present in meetings, games and social activities. It was during these times that he started building-up on his prized AEG, and he has never looked back since. He made a mark as his team’s sniper.

Being an MP (or a moderator in forum lingo) for FilAirsoft for many years, he has observed that most players in their second year in airsoft would, at this stage, be filling their closets with BDUs, gear and accessories, and slowly start building an armory. They eagerly share their opinions, suggestions and comments about the team’s direction, and take an active part in administrative and management tasks.

An airsofter on his third year starts to consider himself a veteran, and develops skills and begins to specialize in a particular game play. Although he may not be present at every game, he still takes time to attend special or big airsoft gatherings. Ties with other teams, groups or individuals are developed.

On his fourth year, an airsofter would have completed his gears and loadout, and would have an armory a newbie would be envious of. Most players reaching this stage evolve to a more specialized “category” — a collector or even a reenactor, and tend to develop a “seen-and-done-it-all-in-airsoft” mindset. For reality check, a “new breed” of airsofters — younger and more agile — will egg him to constantly be on his toes.

Anybody who survives airsoft for over five years will have no problem marking their sixth, seventh, tenth or even twentieth year!

Happy hunting!

“…because a man who does not fight, is never ready.”  Ambrose Bierce

More airsoft stories at popularairsoft.com

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About Seeing with Brahmin eyes
My sense of humor can be keen, sarcastic, silly or corny -- sometimes all at once. I enjoy meeting new people with no preconceived ideas about what or what is not possible. You get much more out of life by being open minded and willing. I'm an easy going, good-natured person who loves life and loves people. I'm both optimistic and realistic and pretty objective when it comes to assessing situations, events, etc. In general I am a very positive person and you'll usually find we with a smile on my face.

One Response to Four things they did not tell you about airsoft…

  1. Clyde says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate your efforts and I will be
    waiting for your next post thanks once again.

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