Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Choose Your Mission: Your Airsoft Role

While many people who play Airsoft like to fly solo, it is far more rewarding, challenging and exciting to play on a team. Like any team, an Airsoft unit has to work together to achieve maximum effectiveness. There are four possible roles you can play in a typical Airsoft unit: CQC/CQB, Field/Woodland, Gunner and Sniper. In today’s post, we’ll explore each of these roles, what they involve and the equipment they require so you can choose your mission and get started right away.

Close Quarters Combat (CQC) involves engaging the enemy and maneuvering within an enclosed space, usually an indoors arena. There is an intensity to CQC games that does not exist in any other type of Airsoft combat: distances are shorter, reactions are faster, and movements are more calculated. CQC equipment is centered on one aspect: mobility. Lightweight weapons are preferable here, as they will need to be brought up and utilized at very short distances. The compact weapons used in CQC are characterized both by a very high rate of fire and a short barrel, often with a lower FPS rating to avoid injury due to the short ranges involved. A common variant of CQC is handgun-only, where a gas blowback pistol is the usually the weapon of choice.

Woodland or open-field Airsoft play is very similar to CQC, but it usually tends to be slower-paced and less intense. There is a slightly different skill set needed for woodland operations, as the soldier must be proficient at camouflage, movement to and from cover, and identifying and engaging targets at distance. The main difference lies in the weapons involved. Because the distances at which targets are engaged are greater than in CQC, the weapon must be high-powered enough and accurate enough to make the shot. A soldier who plays in outdoor or open arenas usually will employ a high-powered AEG battle rifle or assault carbine.

The basic role of a gunner is support - gunners supply suppressing firepower for their team so that they can make advances with minimal casualties. Gunners move and act in unison with the rest of their unit until enemy contact. Upon engagement, the gunner sets up his weapon and suppresses the enemy with bursts of 7-10 seconds (as opposed to the infantryman’s 3-second burst). Simply holding down the trigger not only wastes ammunition but can overheat the weapon. In addition, the gunner can keep his weapon on target better with a shorter burst. A gunner’s weapon of choice must be high-powered, have a very large magazine (usually box-shaped) and be able to sustain an extremely high rate of fire. Gunners usually employ a machine gun AEG Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW).

The role of sniper is perhaps one of the most coveted and most misunderstood roles on the battlefield. A sniper is an excellent marksman, has almost unlimited patience, is a camouflage and concealed movement virtuoso, is usually a bit of a “lone wolf” and, above all, is silent. These skills take a great deal of time and effort to perfect, and being a sniper is not for everyone. A sniper’s equipment includes proper camouflage, a sniper rifle and a sidearm. Proper camouflage for a sniper goes far above and beyond simply donning a ghillie suit. US Army Field Manual 23-10, Sniper Training, has a section dedicated to camouflage – it is a must-read for anyone who wishes to become an Airsoft sniper. A sniper’s weapon must have an extremely high FPS rating and a long barrel for precision. To maximize the effectiveness of the rifle, snipers will usually add scopes and bipods to their weapon. Finally, a sidearm is a necessity for a sniper. This is used for self-defense if an enemy contingent happens upon the sniper’s position and he is unable to engage it with his normal weapon.

Now that you are familiar with the different roles and positions within a typical Airsoft squad, choose your mission, get out there and start practicing your new Airsoft role!

About the Author: Mike Zhang is the President and COO of Airsoft Megastore, an online airsoft retailer offering electric and gas powered airsoft guns, as well as airsoft upgrades and parts. Visit Airsoft Megastore to shop for airsoft AEGs and the latest full metal airsoft sniper rifles for players of any experience level.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Airsoft BB Gun Safety - Protective Clothing, Gear and Helpful Tips

On its surface, Airsoft may appear to be dangerous. It is, after all, a high energy sport that involves powerful gun replicas and adrenaline. But if you follow some basic safety precautions, airsoft is in fact a very safe activity.

Protective Eye Coverings
This is one of the most important necessities for engaging in Airsoft activities as the eyes are some of the body’s most vulnerable points. People should never aim their Airsofts directly at another person’s eyes, but accidents do happen. In order to prevent serious, permanent damage to the eyes, Airsoft participants should purchase protective glasses or goggles from a reputable Airsoft accessories dealer. Eye-protecting accessories range in cover from protective shades to full protective facemasks, so Airsoft participants have a wide variety of protective eye covering choices.

Protective Facemasks

Some facemasks come equipped with goggles, but others are designed to be used in tandem with eye protection. Facemasks protect other vulnerable facial areas such as the nose and the teeth; taking an Airsoft BB to the teeth can cause serious dental damage. Airsoft facemasks also protect soft-tissue areas like the cheeks, the chin, and the forehead.

Protective Helmets
While BBs fired from Airsoft guns are unlikely to penetrate the skull, a direct hit to head can still sting greatly and cause a bump or a cut. Wearing a protective helmet will prevent such things from happening and will, of course, make Airsoft battle participants look cooler than they would without helmets. Protective helmets often come in replica form in typical uniform colors.

Protective Clothing
Wearing a protective safety vest is a sound idea since getting hit with a BB in the torso stings. While Airsoft ammo is not likely to penetrate the skin, getting shot at close range anywhere is quite painful. Many protective vests also have convenient places for storing additional weapons and ammo, so the benefits go beyond safety. Wearing loose clothing all over the body is more important than wearing a protective vest because the baggy clothes will protect all the places it covers from the sting and cut of the BBs. Protective long sleeves and pants come in everything from basic baggy to ghillie-style sniper camouflage.

Protective Gloves
Wearing gloves to protect the hands is a good idea because getting hit with a pellet on the fingers or the back of the hand is rather painful. Good gloves will also help the Airsoft participant better hold onto the gun and other weapons, increasing the Airsoft wielder’s grip. Gloves also look really cool; no Airsoft outfit that includes all the other protective clothing should be without gloves.

Gun Box
Protecting the Airsoft gun is important for both the gun and the gun wielder. An Airsoft gun should not just be left lying around in the garage or the closet; a gun box will keep the gun from getting the wear and tear that anything can get from sitting out with no protection. A gun box can also protect the gun carrier when out in public since even an Airsoft gun could be mistaken for a real gun if viewed from a certain angle.

Other Safety Tips
All Airsoft weapons come with the orange tip that tells everyone who sees it that it is not a real weapon. Removing, painting over, or otherwise concealing this tip is a federal offense as well as a bad idea. Given the amount of high-profile shootings people have seen on the news over the past several years, the public is particularly sensitive to the appearance of people carrying anything that looks like a firearm in public.

Only participate in Airsoft in the proper type of area. Airsoft is best enjoyed from an Airsoft park or on secluded, private property; people should not do Airsoft in crowded neighborhoods.

About the Author: Mike Zhang is the VP of Operations of Airsoft Megastore, an airsoft retailer offering spring, gas and electric powered airsoft guns. Please visit Airsoft Megastore to shop for airsoft AEGs, BBs, and protective airsoft gear.

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