Regular Skirmish Airsoft!
airsoft games involve playing ad-hoc games on privately owned
fields. You will
know a lot of the players on the field, but there’s no pre-defined
teams or camouflage/ weaponry/ loadout requirements. Most of the games
are not pre – planned and include whatever people feel like playing.
Such events are fun and often fast paced. A regular game can last for
an hour or two, with 2-3 games in sequence (~3 hours before break). A
subset of regular games are short elimination or CQB
games which are also fun."Back to basics" - pistols and shotguns games
offer a new challenge to people used to AEGs. For more information, see
the list of airsoft
How much will playing cost me?
are the high level costs associated with getting retail airsoft
equipment. It includes all you need to play safely and comfortably.
Detailed breakdown is provided in the "what will I need?" section
getting into regular airsoft, expect to spend a significant amount of
money on gear. The suggestions below are intended to help you minimize
money spent on shipping and gear that you are not going to use (after
all, most people can only shoot 1 gun at a time and wear one set of
gear) or gear that has low utility.
AEG (CYMA/ Echo 1)
AEG (TM) + Extras
Significant savings can be realized by buying second hand gear at
40-60% of retail price
- What will I need to play?
Below is a description of your options when playing backyard airsoft.
Prices vary depending on your airsoft retailer, brand and quality of
the item. See the terminology
section for acronyms.
||AEG (280-400 with 0.2g BBs FPS)
highcaps (400- 600 BB capacity)
battery for primary
x battery for your primary weapon
(NiMh rechargeable )
||Automatically stops charging batteries. Can
charge various NiCd and NiMh batteries
(200FPS) or Green Gas pistol (GBB or NBB) (<320 fps with 0.2s)
||Cheap, no brand name 100 round speedloader
like a pistol magazine)
(April – October) or Desert BDU
March). Shirt and pants.
|Vest or a chest
||Airsoft tactical vest (Condor / UTG brand) or a no name chest rig,
Olive drab or Tan (based on your camo)
||Specially designed gloves to protect hands
from blunt impact
face paintball mask (new, anti fog) or a full seal goggles (see details
fog spray or wipes
||Anti fog solution + soft non abrasive cloth
or compressed air to clean lenses
||Condor brand (6 rivets), you dont even need
||Law enforcement or military varieties
(assault or tactical boots)
grade BBs 0.2 g or 0.25g . 8k-12k rounds (white)
||Save one that came with your AEG or get one
||Bottled water 10 bottles or a hydration pack
||Cobra or Midland brand, 20 channels with
subchannels and a headset jack
||4x scope with 20mm scope mounts if you have
a rail. May require elevated scope mount to see the scope with a
||~40 deet rating
||Required for all games (4-8 hours of play)
Below is a detailed description of gear involved in most regular
is recommended to get a stock gun in the mid price range. You can try
to go low with a CYMA AK47 or 74 series (100-150$), ECHO1 G36
varieties (140$-170$) or aim for a stock Tokyo Marui (M4/ M16/ G36c/ AK
series) for 200-300$. You can also try to find used airsoft guns of the
abovementioned varieties on Ebay or Craigslist, or better yet your
local airsoft forums. Please note that I’m advocating buying
stock guns with an intention to upgrade them later, as you get in touch
with your local airsoft repair enthusiasts. They will guide you through
the upgrade process. These people offer reasonable prices and take
pride in their work. Sometimes there are guarantees offered for the
upgrades(1-2 games). You can also purchase an upgrade service along
with a gun
from a variety of online retailers.
I’m skeptical of the brand new 375
FPS+ guns sold by some airsoft stores for less than 200$. There’s a
lot of work involved in building a reliable gun at this level of FPS
that will last a while (and chances are, you are not getting all of
this in your 200$ gun):
these upgrades create a consistent propulsion force, which is the
equivalent of using “match grade” ammo in sniper rifles – consistent
power helps with consistent accuracy and makes adjusting your hopup
- Stiffer Spring (M120) provides around 400
- Piston, piston head, cylinder upgrade
- Getting better quality bushings for gears
- Possibly reshimming gears
- Getting a better (High torque) motor
- Potentially replacing crappy stock wiring
and solder joints with thicker wire
- Replacing factory lube
There are 3 types of
AEGs (M4/M16, G36 and AK47) which are probably the most widely spread
models of airsoft guns out there. This means that people may be able to
loan you a spare battery or a magazine on the field in case you don’t
have one (this becomes important if high caps are not allowed in a
specific scenario). Also, spare parts are more abundant and cheaper.
You can buy a “dead” gun if you need to salvage some external parts for
own. Additionally, cheap (<70$) tune up kits (ex: Hurricane) are
available for these models which can save you a lot of money on
Your gun will likely to come
with 1 “high cap” which quality will vary. If you decide to get a CYMA,
Echo 1 or other cheaper airsoft guns, it makes a lot of sense to get 2
spare highcaps - about 40$ for 2 if you go with cheaper brands. You can also buy genuine TM or King Arms or Classic Army
magazines, which are more expensive and I have not seen a significant
difference in quality – about 30-40$ for one or 60-80$ for 2. Players
at your field may also sell you magazines at very reasonable prices.
has a set of safety rules – magazines out, shoot once to clear
the barrel when you are in a safe zone. A barrel plug helps ensure that
you forget to do one of these activities you won’t hurt your fellow
players. A requirement to use barrel plugs can also keep the field’s
insurance costs down. The most common barrel
plug out there is designed for an M4 and will also fit a G36 if some
tape is added. There are no good plugs for an AK series, so you may
need to use
an airsoft barrel condom.
forget to take off the barrel plug before you start playing : )
There’s a host of
battery options out there and this is probably the most confusing thing
to pick appropriately. Because batteries are hidden inside an airsoft
gun, they can assume wild shapes based on space available. The good
news is that most newer guns come with either large or small/mini type
Guns with large stocks (AK47, M16) usually have a
large type battery with large connector (hiden in the stock). CYMA AK47
(model CM028) came
with a weird battery with small connector which caused a lot of
headache and soldering. The stock also had to be modded to accept a
G36c uses Mini type battery with small connector, hidden in the
M4s use Mini or Nunchuck battery, depending on the model. Sometimes M4
batteries are hidden in an external PEQ box
would recommend sticking with Large or Mini battery guns, as these
batteries are the easiest to find. Getting a battery which does not fit
your gun means you will have to deal with external pouches and
extension wires, which sometimes look goofy.
A 3000 mAH 8.4V
rated Large battery offers excellent rate of fire and can last for a
whole day even on a cold winter day when battery performance is
Recommended brands: Intellect
battery type: NiMh (NiCd is the old generation and suffers
the “memory effect”). LiPo batteries and chargers are too
expensive for a beginning airsofter.
A lot of guns come
with a simple wall charger/transformer. There’s no
electronics involved in such charger, so you have to monitor the state
of your battery, otherwise it may leak, explode or catch on fire. You
can estimate the charging time by dividing the mAh on the battery by
the mA rating
on the charger. Substract one hour for existing charge or remove the
battery from charger if
hot. Universal chargers allow you to charge various battery
(most common one is 7 cell 8.4 V rating) at different mA current
ratings (300 mA or
600 mA). Some of them automatically shutoff after the charger detects
There are 3 reasons why you need a backup weapon:
As a new airsofter, you have two "budget" choices of a backup:
participate in CQB if your primary weapon does not meet the FPS limits
(usually 300-325 with 0.2s) (alternatively, you may consider getting a
15$ "muzzle velocity reducer" attachment)
- To engage targets in
close quarters (around/inside buildings, cliffs, etc) where a long
weapon is too cumbersome to use or you need to shoot with 1 hand.
Pistols are also very useful when shooting through "spider holes" -
very tight holes in cover
- As a backup if your primary high cap
misfeeds, battery fails, barrel jams, etc. Some fields require you to
swap weapons if your primary is hit. Having a pistol in this case
adds a good feeling of realism and keeps the fun going.
(CYMA Glock 18c (CM030) or M9/M93R) these cost 40-60$ depending on
retailer or a TM equivalent (~150$). Both shoot in the 180-210 FPS
range, which makes them safer to use in CQB. They come with a
450-500mAh battery which can last for more than 300 shots or 10
magazines. This makes it feasible to use a backup with a single
magazine and reload it on the fly. My biggest gripe with these is the
magazine release switch which can cause the magazine to fall out. It is
recommended to tape the magazine in to avoid losing a magazine and
costly reorders. Also sometimes people cannot feel 200 FPS hits if you
get them in the vest, therefore it is recommended to aim for arms or
-Green Gas GBB
pistol (300-320FPS) or a Non
with 250-320 FPS. These come in many varieties. It is important to get
a gun in the FPS range listed so it would be legal for CQB. Having a
Non Blowback or a CO2 pistol in the 380FPS+ range is a good prop, but
it will not see much field use. Then you will sell it and someone else
will have a good prop. Save yourself 100$ on an over the limit NBB
pistol and stick with a lower FPS version.
Gas pistols have 3 significant drawbacks in terms of TCO (total cost of
operate on Green Gas, which is expensive and you have to discharge your
magazines at the end of the game.Therefor you pay, even if you didn’t
fire a shot. Cheaper camping gas or canned air adapters exist, which
allow you to use cheaper gas, but there’s still issues with
lubrication. The worst thing is that you will have to reorder green gas
and will be tempted to pick up more gear along the way.
- They require more than 1 magazine,
because reloading the gun requires
reloading both BBs and gas, which is not feasible in battle.
(expect 1-1.5 mags of BBs on one gas charge, depending on temperature).
weapons have very low performance in the winter when outside
temperatures are low (below 40). Chances are you will want to buy
something else as a backup during winter months.
As a new airsofter, I would recommend picking one of these camouflage
- US Army Woodland BDUs if you start
during the spring/summer season.
- US Army Desert BDUs (DCU) if you start
during the fall/winter when there are dry leaves on the ground
BDUs can be purchased very inexpensively new or used from army surplus
stores for 20-60$ for both pants and long sleeved shirt. You can also
try Ebay for used camouflage. Woodland camo is probably the most cliché
camo out there and will definitely NOT make you stand out from your
fellow airsofters. These camo patterns offer following
With a little practice it is possible to use them to hide
effectively (don’t be fooled by static images of people standing in the
middle of the woods when comparing camo). At airsoft engagement
distances (less than 300 feet) movement becomes the dominant factor of
target identification, not camouflage.
Woodland and Desert camo patterns are the most common patterns used by
airsofters out there. This almost guarantees that during scenario games
one of these two camo patterns will be on the list of acceptable
loadout (eliminates the need to purchase costly additional camo sets,
and the "it did not get here in time" headache).
If you want something to stand out, try digital woodland or
urban, subdued urban, snowflage, or any camo involving white, as they
are incredibly ineffective in the woods at just about all times of the
year except winter when snow is heavily present. Additionally, they
will not be on the list of allowed uniforms for most scenario games.
Pure black or blue also does not work too well, unless you are doing
indoor CQB with poor lighting. Marpat is recommended over ACU because
ACU is a bit too bright for the woodland setting.
/ Chest Rig
the trickiest part to get right if you want color coordination or if
games require some certain color. Ideally you would want a vest to hold
couple spare magazines, a bottle of BBs and a couple bottles of water
don’t have a hydration pack. A cross draw holster is also very
several variations of an airsoft tactical vest floating out there, now
offered by multiple vendors (UTG tactical
vest with crossdraw holster) for 40-60$. Avoid paintball vests - their
pouches are too large. Some replica
military vests are also available. The MOLLE vest systems offer a lot
flexibility in your loadouts, but are significantly more
you factor in the shipping cost of all of your pouches and attachments.
Plate carriers (can hold body armor plates) are mostly outside of the
beginning airsofter price range.
recommend the UTG tactical vest due to good level of flexibility, 4
magazing pouches, cross draw holster and a heavy tactical belt
included. It also has
2 internal zipped pockets for your valuables like cell phone or wallet
decide to take that with you to the field. (losing stuff at airsoft
games is not fun, getting it shot up is even less fun)
These are a “must have” at the same level as
face protection. If you are using a pistol, a gun with a foregrip or a
paintball marker, chances are your left hand (if you are a righty) is
forward with your knuckes ready to take the full impact of incoming BBs
paintballs. Taking a 280 FPS paintball or a 300-400 FPS airsoft BB at a
blank range to your hands/knuckles hurts like hell. Even in protected
Get these gloves and thank me later. Save money on all other varieties
gloves, as you will eventually gravitate towards the airsoft/paintball
If I learned one lesson about airsoft it is that you cannot go cheap
with the eye protection gear. There are 3 reasons for this:
eye and face protection is essential to have fun in airsoft. The inside
of the lens is where the magic happens – a thin film of a fog resistant
compound is preventing the fog from forming under light
combat, fog may precipitate inside the lens due to all of the
perspiration and adrenaline. Wiping dust/dirt/debris ont the inside of
the lens with your hands/red rag may scratch the thin anti fog coating
and eventually more fog will develop at these scratches. This will
you having to buy a different pair of lenses (not a whole new set of
goggles/ mask!) The good thing is that some goggles already come with a
spare set of lens, reducing the need to reorder.
- You don’t grow more eyes as you age
- Average dental surgery for front incisor
teeth costs more than 2000$
- Fog on lenses is the #1 killjoy of
A full face
mask is always required by insured fields for all players under the age
of 18 (due to insurance terms). I highly recommend a full face (not
full head) paintball mask for all CQB encounters. Chances are you will
be using your pistol or a compact folding stock weapon, so aiming down
the sights is not going to be an issue. Plenty of people may get
startled in CQB if you sneak up on them and instinctively pull on a
trigger, spraying you with BBs. A full face mask is very useful in such
cases, as even 200 fps guns may chip your teeth at short range.
can wear a full seal goggles (no safety/shooting glasses that come with
many guns) to skirmishes if you are over 18. Here the primary concern
shifts to protecting your teeth. I’ve seen only a couple incidents
where people have had chipped teeth from airsoft and I’ve been to many
games.These people threw the 2000$ number out there as the price of
dental surgery. You dont want to verify if this number is
accurate. There are a few simple techniques you can use to
minimize the risk of dental damage if you are using full seal goggles:
If you do get hit in the face with a BB, even a high powered one, it
hurts, but the welt heals in around 3 weeks.
- Dont keep your mouth open or shout a lot
- Turn away from the attacker and yell
"HIT!!!" when you get hit. This prevents generally causes people to
- Use your gun or hands as cover around
your face when you are "dead"
- Put a red rag on your head when killed.
- Play very cautiously around buildings or
money by not buying mesh goggles – they are not allowed by most fields
(probably due to insurance). Full face "slim" or "low profile" cutout
masks often are not made for an average face and are incredibly
uncomfortable to wear. Get a gun with a folding stock if you plan on
using a full face mask.
Some high quality/price goggles
(100-150$) come with an integrated fan that eliminates the fogging
problem. If you have money, get that. The battery can last up to 3
hours. Cheap imitations (30$) are not recommended, as they can be
incredibly uncomfortable and have low quality lenses
Also get a soft cloth. Fog is #1 issue with a
lot of airsoft games.There are 2 ways to handle this:
a high quality paintball mask or full seal googles with good anti fog
coating. Take care of your goggles and do not wipe the inside with
anything other than the softest cloth that came with goggles. This will
preserve the anti fog coating.
an anti fog solution (>20$) on hand or pre-treating your lenses
reduces fog. Buy this at paintball, ski/snowboard shops or online. It is very important to use
non abrasive cloth
and clean the lenses gently (probably compressed air) before you apply
the anti fog solution. Scratched lenses get foggy quicker along the
and significantly degrade visibility.
Save yourself the field
admission fee and
the cost of commute by being prepared to deal with fog if/when
the problem emerges
– this will enable you to actively play for the whole day instead of
defensively or manning some fortification.
This is a very good investment. You can get a
set of “Condor” kneepads
around 10-15$ online. These come in a variety of colors to match your
camouflage pattern. Kneepads definitely extend the life of your camo
make kneeling manageable. During the early mornings or rainy days, the
kneepads will prevent your pants from getting wet, resulting in a lot
comfortable gameplay. I’ve had the same pair of Condor kneepads for a
time and they work pretty well. You don’t even need both of them, as
usually a dominant knee that you use for kneeling. So if you don’t own
or forget them , ask around, maybe someone will be willing to loan you
one. You are not going to be doing heavy work while kneeling, so the
comfort of kneepads is no the primary concern here.
Airsoft is often played on a very rough terrain. Airsoft fields are
known to have areas which are wet/swampy, have jagged rocks and
thornbush, etc. The paths on an airsoft field can get muddy if it
rained the day before. Therefore, a military or law enforcement high
boots are recommended. They can take a lot of punishment and
can also prevent you from hurting your ankles. I’ve never had
a foot injury from playing airsoft.
If you get old hiking or construction (ex: timberland) boots, remember
that these are not water proof, so if you go through a field of high
grass in the early morning or late night, your boots may get soaking
wet in minutes. Same thing may happen on rainy days. Wet
boots can royally ruin your day of airsofting and get you sick the next
day. I had considerable success with using rubber overshoes on rainy
days and/or when I have to go through wet grass.
Try to catch military/law enforcement boots sale (50 -100$) when you
decide to buy. It doesn’t really matter which brand you can use, but it
is recommended to get ½ size larger so you can wear heavy socks during
High Quality Airsoft
very important for everything beyound “backyard” airsoft games. Start
purchasing 8k-12K high grade (Recommended Airsoft Elite) white BBs (2-3
Depending on the game conditions, expect to use up to 4000 bbs in a
example suppressing a fortified position requires A LOT of ammunition).
your gun loadout:
For 350 FPS
and less, no scope, stick with 0.2 gram BBs. Chances are you will be
using the "spray
and pray" approach and accuracy is not that important here.
FPS or if you have a scope, stick with 0.25 gram for tighter grouping
0.25s are usually used by snipers to improve accuracy at very long
distances. The weight of the BB has no impact on the range - the
kinetic energy is the same, but the sideways deviation is
had Airsoft Elite BBs jam in any of my guns and I have a 6.03mm
on shipping and reduce impulse spending on airsoft by reducing the need
reorder BBs, however, avoid the urge to order BBs in bulk before you
know your playing habits, you may stop playing or change your playing
style and be left with a ton of BBs on your hands.
Military Fluid Replacement Guidelines based on the outside temperature
kind of game you are playing:
CQB or short attack/defend games = high intensity activity
Campaign games = moderate intensity activity
Static Defense = low intensity activity, stay out of direct sunlight
Your gear (BDUs, vest, goggles or face mask) will add extra heat.
– carry 2-3 0.5 liter bottles in your mag pouches for short
games, refill in between games (please don’t litter). For longer games
– get a hydration pack, but remember that they require maintenance and
need to be emptied/cleaned in between the games. If you find that your
hydration pack tastes foul and you cant stand that, check your local
Walmart, they started to carry replacement hydration bladders for 10$
in the camping section (to avoid the temptation of buying “extra” stuff
online to qualify for free shipping, etc). In Airsoft, your hydration
pack counts as a part of your body for hit purposes. It raises your
profile by ~4 inches while laying prone and makes you easier to hit.
Finding a hydration pack to match your camo and vest can be a problem,
as a lot of retailers are routinely “out of stock” for the most popular
through radio is a skill and the usage of radio varies greatly in
“pickup group” airsoft games. Having a radio helps you more effectively
coordinate offensive operations and flanking maneuvers and this becomes
more important during scenario games. Due to short engagement distances
players speaking English, shouted communications are not terribly
the enemy can hear you just as well.
recommended to get a Cobra or Midland radio (retail ~50$ for 2). These
have ~20 channels
with sub channels and should have a headset/charging jack. Offer to
sell one on your local airsoft forum if you buy a pair in retail.
don’t have subchannels and may leave you out of the communications
best way to look for a radio is Ebay or your local airsoft forum, where
you can get some great deals –
around 10$ used (ensure the radio has subchannels and a headset jack
(string to tie the radio to your vest) is higly recommended, as most
clips are not designed for airsoft action, causing the radio to get
it is tied to you.
Scopes are optional, but are are a lot
of fun and elevate your game to the next level. Target identification
becomes easier, and its fun to aim at a bunch of enemies
from the shadows through your scope. That makes you feel so much
The issue here is that scopes require mounts, so if your G36 or M4
allows this, go ahead. Hunting rifle scopes (30-60$) look a bit goofy
on assault rifles, plus they adds a couple inches of height to your
gun, making shooting from a prone position less comfortable.
ACOGs and other military scope replicas cost around 100-200$, which
puts them outside the budget of many beginner airsofters.Red dot scopes
are a matter of taste - they look cool, but their use in aiming airsoft
guns is debatable. They are decent for indoor CQB when seeing your
ironsights is difficult.
If you decide that you want a scope,
look for 3-4x magnification and 2+ inches eye relief so you can see
through the scope with your goggles/mask. On a related note, most
Walmart sold binoculars don’t have the sufficient eye relief to be used
for airsoft purposes.
Scope allows you to overcome not having a perfect 20/20 vision.
There are a lot of little creatures out there in the woods. You
probably don’t even suspect half of them exist. Mosquitos can be very
very annoying, especially if your field has a swampy area and you have
to defend something.. Ticks are the #1 concern due to lyme disease.
Therefore it is recommended to get a rating 40 deet bug spray and
spray the following areas:
For heavily tick infested areas, you can use electric tape to tape your
pants to your boots to minimize exposure. If you know that a field has
a tick problem, a hat is also recommended. Google “how to avoid ticks”
for more tips and check yourself after every game. I followed these
tips and found just one tiny tick on me in all of my airsofting
- Your hair and neck
- Boots and socks
spraying your goggles, the bug spray may ruin them!
You can play regular
“pickup group” style airsoft in a variety of settings, the two most
are airsoft fields or
paintball fields. Expect to pay a field fee and
waiver/medical release form. Please verify that the field is on private
and may be insured.
Average field fee is 15-30$ for a day of gameplay