Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What Do I Need to Start Playing Airsoft?

If you are reading this, you’re interested in playing airsoft. As with most sports, a certain amount of equipment is required in order to play. For the airsoft novice, the diversity and sheer amount of products available may be a bit overwhelming. To make things a little clearer... here’s a ‘quick-start equipment guide’ I’ve compiled, based on my own experience in the sport.

Whether you intend to play simulated close-quarter combat (‘CQC’) in an enclosed complex or engage in extended field operations outdoors, there are a few items of equipment which are mandatory. The first of which, and undeniably the most important, is the use of proper face protection.

You’ve probably seen YouTube clips of airsoft players wearing little more than sunglasses while engaging in airsoft combat. If you care about your teeth or ability to see, this is a big ‘no–no.’ Full-face protection is a must, and that means fully-sealed airsoft goggles with lenses constructed of either impact-resistant plastic or steel mesh, coupled with either a mouth guard or full-face protection (there are several companies which manufacture affordable airsoft ‘all-in-one’ masks which allow for self-contained head and neck protection). Airsoft BBs typically travel at speeds anywhere from 300 to 500 feet per second (and up!), which is certainly enough velocity to cause irreparable damage to one’s vision and teeth. Proper face-gear is a must, not only to protect the player, but also to heighten one’s performance and enjoyment of the game. Bottom-line, face protection, as well as gloves and impact-absorbing clothing (BDU’s and tactical gear provide adequate protection, although a thick sweat-shirt too will suffice), should be an aspiring airsoft player’s first priority and initial investment.

Now on to the fun stuff, and this means one’s choice of airsoft weaponry. With so many airsoft guns available to the global airsoft community, which one will best suit you? After taking into account the feet per second cap at your local airsoft facility (most indoor places will allow players only to use airsoft guns shooting at 350 FPS or less, while their outdoor companions allow generally for 100 FPS above that), one’s choice of weapon still remains open. Your first purchase however will most likely though be your ‘main’ gun: that is the gun with which you’ll engage in the majority of airsoft play, and one which given the world-wide airsoft communities’ current leaning will most likely be an electric air gun (that’s ‘AEG’ to those of you who’ve now substituted your sunglasses with proper airsoft eye protection - just making sure that you’re paying attention).

Electric air guns tend to possess an intimidating rate of fire as well as substantial and effective range, both of which will allow the beginner to compete effectively. Additionally, AEGs are easy to power, and with the amount of airsoft pellets you’ll most likely be initially sending down-range (since beginning players are historically seldom economic when it comes to their trigger-finger), airsoft electric guns are also cost-efficient.

As in real-life combat, you’ll probably need a sidearm. An airsoft C02 or gas blow-back pistol is generally the preferred choice, as they easily put several rounds on target in swift succession. These sidearms are perfect replicas of their real-life counterparts and provide a nice degree of ‘realism'.

A good sidearm will also increase the types of airsoft games you can participate in, whether the event be a ‘pistol night’ or the ever-growing-in-popularity ‘zombie shoot’. AEGs generally are banned from the latter events, because, well, it seems rather unfair to hose down the good-natured players who’ve chosen to be unarmed zombies with hundreds of rounds from a hard-hitting AEG. You’ll want an airsoft pistol in order to participate in either activity, as well as to extend your ‘life-expectancy’ in CQC.

Just make sure to wear your goggles.

About the Author: Mike Zhang is the President and COO of Airsoft Megastore, the #1 fastest growing Airsoft retailer in the nation. Airsoft Megastore offers the latest airsoft guns and gear as well as a 125% low price guarantee on all new Airsoft guns and gear.

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