Thursday, September 30, 2010

What is Airsoft 'MilSim' and How Do I Play?

Historically military branches and law enforcement agencies worldwide have attempted to offer training to their personnel which mimics as realistically-as-possible the real-life situations they’ll encounter in their respective lines of work, whether that be close quarter combat, hostage/civilian scenarios, full-scale assaults, or otherwise. Referred to as ‘MilSim’, which stands for ‘military simulation’, their focus has always been two-fold: one, in replicating the challenges as humanly possible which their personnel will actually face, and two, to do so in as safe an environment as allowable, which is why airsoft has become the preferred weapon training platform for military and law enforcement alike.

While paintball and the military equivalent of laser-tag have both been used in the past for these purposes, neither was able to lend the authenticity to this training as airsoft. Simply put, airsoft guns mimic their real-life counterparts like no other weapon platform, not only in size and weight ratio, but also in their operation (the difference of course is that airsoft guns fire non-lethal airsoft BBs instead of live ammunition). Additionally, airsoft manufacturers market guns which so closely resemble actual weaponry employed by the military world-over, that in doing so trainers are able to easily and authentically re-create the various theaters of urban warfare and equipment which their trainees will most likely engage in and encounter, whether they be MOUT (military operations on urban terrain), FIBUA (fighting in built-up areas) or OBUA (Operations in Built Up Areas) in the West.

How does all of this benefit the civilian airsoft enthusiast? Quite simply, it renders the airsoft ‘weekend warrior’ the ability to engage in realistic military simulations without having to actually enlist and at a relatively affordable expense. With impressively-sized and carefully-planned MilSims taking place across the globe (Operation Irene in the U.S. employs actual tanks and APCs, Sweden’s annual Berget event runs nearly a week – with no rest periods), the only thing an airsoft player needs to engage in the sport (aside from locating a MilSim near them) is a dedication to the level of play required. This does of course mean accordingly realistic equipment. Airsoft MilSim players are a stickler for authenticity, and therefore ‘fantasy’ airsoft guns and high-capacity airsoft magazines are frowned upon (low-cap airsoft mags more closely recreate the operations of their real-life firearm brethren), MilSim basic supply load-outs of ammunition are adhered to strictly, and player uniform authenticity and a penchant for team-tactics are a must. MilSim airsoft players are often required to remain in the field for the duration of a MilSim operation as well, and are allowed only to return to a ‘safe zone’ for medical emergencies and for other unique circumstances. As such, this also means stamina for the player, although these components also allow for the closest approximation to real-world combat one will find.

Whether you are interested in modern airsoft urban warfare MilSims or military reenactments (there is also a sub-set of airsoft players worldwide who prefer to painstakingly and impressively recreate historical battles to the best of their ability), the benefits reaped and the lessons learned by military and law enforcement trainers alike, via their use of airsoft as a training tool, can be enjoyed by the civilian as well.

Just make sure to wind your gears. Nothing will break the suspension of disbelief required for a MilSim like the rattling around of airsoft pellets in one’s magazine.

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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