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Airsoft is a fun sport that brings childhood cops and robber role-play into real life competition. In this sport, you are shooting real-life plastic ammunition that can quickly determine a winner and a loser. With the right equipment, airsoft can be a safe and exciting sport.
This article identify bare essential equipment for a player to be safe and competitive on a commercial field. As the article progresses, it identify additional equipment to make the game more fun and entertaining. It is written for readers who want to get into this sport by owning the equipment.
This article is not written from the perspective from a rental point of view. With rental, the commercial facility will provide the bare necessity. However, cross reference that list with this one will help you determine additional equipment you should bring yourself.
Before committing to buying the equipment, cross-reference the rules at the commercial field you plan to attend to ensure the equipment you chose is allowed. Once you have the equipment, use our Airsoft Equipment Checklist to ensure you bring everything to the field.
This section provides a description of essential items for you to have fun and be safe on the field. Without these equipment, it will be unlikely for you to even get onto a commercial field.
Face masks or goggles and half face masks are essential items for safety. It is not worth losing an eye or a tooth for the rest of your life over a game or a sporting event. Full face masks with ear protection, which provides ultimate safety in airsoft, are as inexpensive as $15. The SCOTT Vectra Full Face Mask with Goggle, for example, provides excellent ventilation, anti-fog technology, and comfort for an affordable price. You can't get into any commercial airsoft field without face protection. And many airsoft fields do not allow blind fire, meaning you have to stick your face out to shoot. So it is definitely the first thing to purchase.
The main course at airsoft is the firearm replica. There is no need for any of these equipment if you aren't there to shoot and get hit. The first replica you get for airsoft should be a semi-automatic or full-automatic rifle or sub-machine gun (SMG) of some kind. Otherwise you just won't be competitive at a commercial field.
Season players can probably get away with a pistol, a shotgun, a low-power electric gun (LPEG), or, even, a rubber combat knife. But let's face it, you are reading this article to get into airsoft. You can add one of these other weapons later (see sections below), but your first airsoft gun should be at least a semi-automatic rifle. An electric gun in the $100 - $150 range is sufficiently competitive. An example of a reliable gun within this price is the G&G CM16 Raider DST Airsoft Rifle, Large.
Most airsoft gun shoots 6mm plastic BB's. Be sure to get 0.2 gram BB's as that is the standard in this sport. Anything lighter is not competitive enough and may cause problems with your gun. Anything heavier and you'll be getting into more advanced airsoft. Pick up some biodegradable ones, such as the Crosman Biodegradable AirSoft BBs (5000 .20G 6mm, White BBs). Might as well be a little more friendly to the environment while you are having fun.
Although not strictly necessary by regulation, recommended items protects you further and makes airsoft far more enjoyable than without. Some of us will not go to an airsoft game without these items. However, the hardcore players sometimes skimp on them.
Head and neck is one of the most vital part of your body. It is also an area with lots of squishy tissues. And it is just not comfortable getting hit in this area.
You can easily remedy this situation by getting a helmet, which costs about $35 dollars. Sinuote Tactical Airsoft Fast Helmet DE TAN is sufficient protection for your head and provides enough rails and mount spaces for cameras, flashlight, and other gadgets.
If you want to conserve cash in this area, you can substitute a baseball cap or wrap t-shirt around your head, under your facemask band.
Wearing a collared shirt or a scarf will protect your neck. Many airsoft players invests in shemagh for protection.
Gloves makes a huge difference on the airsoft field. As small as the hand is relatively to your body, it's the one that stands out the most, because you have to reveal them to shoot around the corner at your enemy. Many beginners are surprised how often they are shot in the hands and how much it hurts. Wearing gloves alleviates the intimation of pain.
Gloves comes in the half finger style, like the Matrix Terminator CQB Combat Tactical Gloves (Black) - Half Finger. Your fingers are exposed for precise shooting and aiming. However, they are prone to BB hits. The full finger style, like the Matrix Terminator CQB Combat Tactical Gloves (OD) - FULL Finger is also available and provide ultimate hand protection at the sacrifice of precision adjustments.
In combat, you'll want to protect the knee from the ground and rough terrains, because you will be kneeling a lot. In addition, being able to kneel on any terrain gives you a huge tactical advantage compared to your opponents. Knee pads are fairly inexpensive. You can find them at your local hardware store. Soft padded ones, such as fabric and rubber, provide excellent stability while you are kneeling. For specialized tactical knee pads, try a pair of Alta Tactical Superflex Knee Pads Black AltaLok.
This section contains equipment it is not necessary in your airsoft game. However, having them helps you diversify into multiple roles, specialize in certain operations, and diffuse a stand off in your favor.
When you sneak up on an enemy from behind, it's easy to put an airsoft pellet in him/her or yell "bang-bang" as a courtesy. But when you are behind enemy lines, your gun and your voice could easily give your position away. The better strategy is to use the rubber combat knife and perform a silent kill; tap the enemy's shoulder with the rubber combat knife.
The Lancer Tactical Rubber Combat Bayonet Knife with Scabbard/Sheath is an inexpensive purchase for the silent kill. It include a sheath for attachment to your BDU. You can even use it as a bayonet knife and attach it to your gun.
A combat vest is an extraordinary equipment in airsoft battles. Now only does it protect you from the pain of BB hits, but it provides a versatility that gives you a distinct advantage. For example, you can carry extra magazines, grenades, claymore, water, or other battlefield tools.
Vests for real military operation can be quite expensive. But airsoft battles are not as intense, so it is sufficient to use the cheaper airsoft vests. For example, the GXG Reversible Paintball Vest/Chest Protector - Camo/B costs in the area of $30, but provides enough pockets for almost every need. Even though it's intended for paintball, its padded protection is great against pellet hits and it's versatility is extremely useful in airsoft scenarios as well.
If you want to be at the top of your game, then you'll need an aiming sight. For close-range and CQB, a red dot sight will help you acquire your target faster and help you shoot accurately. With just iron sights, you have to line up four points: target, front sight, rear sight, and your eye. With a red dot sight, you only have to line up two: target and red dot. The third point, your eye, can be anywhere, as long as it can see the red dot. The Ultimate Arms Gear Tactical 4 Reticle Red Dot Open Reflex Sight with Weaver-Picatinny Rail Mount is a very good one for the price.
For long range sniping function, you may need to get a scope with magnification. A UTAC 1.5x-5x Variable Magnifier For Red Dot Sight with Flip-to-Side Mount could do just the trick for an existing sight you have. Just make sure you adjust your hop-up to shoot straight and sight in your scope after you get one.
Flashlight is a tactical item that could really help you out in critical moments, or it could benefit the other team more than your own. But when you need it, you need it. Most law enforcement personnel agree that its better to have one and never use it than to need it and not have it. They also agree that a tactical flashlight needs be bright as 120 lumen or more. A tactical flashlight that strobes can help you disorient your opponents or even act as a decoy. How you use it becomes a game of mouse and cat.
The Cree 7W 300LM Mini LED Flashlight is a very powerful flashlight. At the same time, it is also very economical. You can have it attached to your airsoft rifle in no time with a tactical mounting ring, such as the Monstrum Tactical 1" Scope Ring Set, Low Profile, with Picatinny/Weaver Rail Mount.
Once you start talking and thinking military simulation (MilSim), you are starting to really get into the airsoft. Many items allowed in a generic airsoft are no longer allowed in MilSim. Many times, you'll also need more supplies.
When you start playing MilSim, the first thing to get is a batch of realistic, or low cap, magazines. Real rifle magazines carries around 30 rounds of ammunition. Your realistic airsoft magazine should carry that many as well. So if you only have one mag, you'll run out quickly. The rule of thumb is to follow the U.S. Army standard, which is seven 30-round magazines (including the one in the rifle). That gives your 210 rounds for your MilSim operation. Hopefully by now, you've also bought a combat vest to carry these magazines.
The photo depicts the DBoys Airsoft 70rd M4 / M16-VN Metal Mid-Cap Magazine. It is specifically for the M4/M16 airsoft AEG, the most popular airsoft guns in the U.S. Be sure to get the correct magazine for your gun.
Once you decided to go with realistic magazines, you'll need to get a speedloader. The realistic magazines do not have winding wheels, therefore, there isn't an opening for you to dump BB's into. Instead, the BB must be fed into the feeding hole, which has the spring as a resistance. The speedloader allows you to overcome the resistance and load BB's really fast. Some speedloaders work with pistol magazines as well, so before you pick on for both rifle and pistol magazines. Luckily, speedloaders are quite inexpensive. For example, you can get Two Pack of MetalTac Airsoft Speed Loader 100 Rds for $1.25 with $2.99 shipping.
Many MilSim games requires you to wear BDU to participate. The team is generally always divided up by the BDU. Even if you don't play MilSim, the right BDU camouflage helps you blend into the environment. BDU comes in woodland, tan, urban camouflages. You may need several different camouflages in order to match the terrain. This Mens Shirt - Military BDU, Woodland Digital Camo by Ultra Force is a good example.
Once you start going through realistic magazines during a firefight in a MilSim operation, you'll wish you have a dump pouch. It's basically a big bag. During firefights, you can stuff empty magazines in your dump pouch, rather than wasting time inserting it back into your vest or magazine carrier. A good example of a dump pouch is the Black 3-fold Mag Recovery / Dump Pouch. You can get dump pouches to match the color of your camouflaged uniform. If you don't have a dump pouch, try stuffing the magazine in a cargo pants pocket.
Many MilSim fields requires the use of red dead rag. Basically, it is a piece of red rag that you carry with you. When you are hit by Airsoft BB, you use it to indicate that you are "dead". Place it over your head, so no one will attempt to shoot you as you head off the field. You can pretty much use any red rag, so look around your home for one. If you can't find one, you can always get the Kill Rag, 24"x24", Red or Tan off Amazon.
Once you really get into airsoft, you'll always want a back-up gun. A pistol side arm is perfect for backup as you move from wide-open field into close-quarter facilities. And if your primary weapon breaks on the field, you'll at least have a second gun to play with. There are also many pistol-only airsoft events, like zombie nights. The CYMA CM030 Airsoft Electric Pistol Metal Gearbox AEP is a replica of the famous Glock, which makes a perfect side arm.
A MilSim operation can happen anywhere, at any time. Sometimes the night operations takes hours to complete. Whether you are a sniper/spotter team or an assault element, you need to scout the enemy territories. A night vision device can help you see the battlefield clearly. The Night Owl Lightweight Night Vision Monocular (4x) is an excellent night vision device for that purpose. Use it and keep the element of surprise on your side.
As you get more involved in airsoft, you will surely start working with others to build a team. Communication is key once you have team mates. It not only allows you to communicate when separated, but also prevent you from yelling out to your team mates, giving your position away.
The best way to stay in communication with your team mates is with two-way radios. The FRS two-way radio doesn't require a license and everyone on the same channel can talk with each other. A good example of such a radio is the Motorola MR350R 35-Mile Range 22-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio (Pair).
Once you have the two-way radio, you'll also want to get a headset so that you can talk discreetly. The Advanced Nipple Covert Acoustic Tube Bodyguard FBI Earpiece Headset Mic PTT/VOX for 1-pin Motorola Talkabout Cobra Radio is a type of headset used by Secret Service of the U.S. government. It will fit under airsoft masks easily.
As you get involved in more intense MilSim, where the area of operation (AO) is much bigger, you might end up on a mission where you have to synchronize your activities. You'll need a watch. Something simple and inexpensive is sufficient. Taking an expensive timepiece to airsoft is not ideal, because airsoft BB can shatter the glass.
The $15 Timex Men's T5K086 1440 Sport Watch with Black Band fits the bill just right. It's cheap. It has an easy to read face with big digits. It's black so it won't give your position away as you sneak through the forest.
In a big AO, especially in the woods, you can easily get lost. You may need a compass to find direction. Or the MilSim involves land navigation. Either way, a good compass will help you out. The Suunto Clipper L/B NH Compass - SS004102011 is an excellent compass that clips onto your watch band. Suunto excels at making compass and watches, so you'll be confident that this compass will give you accurate results.