In recent years, airsoft has grown tremendously due to the user friendly game play, no matter the skill level.
From backyard skirmishes to full out MilSim, anyone can learn how to play. Like any sport, some "pro" players are competitive, yet some very helpful to new players.
Personally, I wasted $150 over the course of two years before I actually got into the sport. That's why I am here, to help you avoid those fruitless wasted years of airsofting, and jump right in with the regular players.
Becoming a "pro" takes skill, and skill takes time, so lets not waste time.
Step 1: Buying the Essentials
Here are the essentials to get going on your first real game.
- Googles/Face mask - Never airsoft without proper eye protection, meaning full seal goggles. Safety glasses may fall of and do not cover your eyes from all angles. Sunglasses will shatter, and mesh masks may break. A general full face mask ($20) is worth it, trust me. If you want something more comfortable, get individual googles and a lower face mask.
- A primary weapon - Your main weapon in the fight, take care of it and it will take care of you.
- A smart charger - AEG's usually come with a standard wall charger which takes 8 or so hours to charge. A smart charger will not only charge your battery in 1 hour or less, but it can charge different types, monitor the temperature, and automatically shut off when the battery is charged.
- A spare battery - Around $20, a great investment.
- Ammo, and lots of it - In a good battle I go through around 2-3000 rounds, so buy extra. A bag of 4000 Goldenball .20g ammo goes for $8.
- A sling - Guns can get heavy, especially full metal guns, so get a sling and give your arms a break.
- A sidearm - For a starters even a spring pistol will do, anything to defend yourself if your primary goes down.
Step 2: Where to Buy
My personal favorite store is AirsoftMegastore, because of how much they care for their customers, and I love to see how much bigger they grow each week. Here are some good stores, bad stores, and mediocre stores.
Stores I neither like nor dislike
- Amazon.com (sometimes great, sometimes rips you off, just remember to compare prices)
- Shopko (they sold me a $20 gun for $90)
- Any other sporting goods store
- Any other major retail or toy store
Step 3: Noob Mistakes
- FPS does not mean how good the gun is, it simply shows how fast the bb moves to its target (in Feet Per Second). FPS is often exaggerated, and Field limits are generally between 350 and 400 FPS.
- NEVER use .12gram bbs, these bbs are inconstant, don't fly straight, and will damage your gun because they are poorly made. Use .20 gram or heavier.
- Treat it like a real gun, an airsoft gun can and will chip a tooth, take out an eye, or make you bleed. Only aim it where you intend to shoot, don't look down the barrel, and don't shoot animals with it.
- A tighter barrel (I.E. 6.01 mm) does not mean better accuracy and range.
- Plastic Guns are not always bad. Hard or high quality polymer is lightweight, corrosion resistant, and durable, cheap plastic (such as Crosman) will break.
- Metal guns are not always good. A "full metal" gun usually is a cheap plastic gun with metal weights inside. Metal can rust, and after a long day becomes very heavy.
- Don't buy Crosman. They rip you off, all of their guns are overpriced and perform horribly, also stay away from most all Walmart and Sporting Goods Store airsoft products.
- Don't buy cheap gear; Go for the best gear for your price, not the most gear for your price.
- Don't get cocky about your good gun. True Pro players help others out and play fair, it is the people who brag, cheat, and misuse their guns that are disgracing airsoft!!
- Removing the tip is not illegal in most states. This does vary by state/city, so check your local laws. Only the end user can legally remove the tip, so assuming you do not sell it without the tip, brandish it in public, or transport it without a gun case, removing the tip is legal. Just remember to not take it out in public, always transport it in a gun bag or case, and always comply fully with law enforcement!
Step 4: Choosing a Gun
Very choices, Much Airsoft, So Guns, WOW!
Picking a good gun can often be the hardest step when getting into airsoft.
- Select your role: Sniper, CQB (close quarters battles), or Rifleman
- Choose your gun type, stay away from exotic or weird guns
- Sniper; MK96 and VSR-10s are good guns to start with because upgrade parts are common.
- CQB; M4 CQB, Ak-47 Spetsnaz, MP5/MP7, Mac11/Uzi, are all good close quarters rifles/Sub-machine Guns.
- Rifleman; M4/M16, AK-47/AK-74 are the 4 most common gun types.
- Sniper; Camouflaged and hidden, you want to get a gun with long range and good accuracy that is quiet. Bolt actions are the most reliable and consistent.
- CQB; Lightweight and Mobility are key. You need to keep moving, be able to maneuver fast, and take down targets as need be. Compact, accurate (at short range), quiet, and fast firing guns are key.
- Rifleman; You must stay partially concealed, carry lots of ammo, move relatively fast, and be accurate. Medium range guns with good accuracy are best, maneuverability is generally not much of an issue, nor is range. Your job is to lay down fire, let the snipers snipe, and the cqb people storm buildings.
- For a starter gun I don't recommend spending over $150 on the gun itself. Remember, the best guns are built, not bought, so buy a gun that looks good, feels good, performs decent, and will last a while. You can always upgrade the gun later.
- I also would not recommend buying a full size rifle for less than $60, as you are probably buying junk. Anything less than $30 will be junk.
- Sniper; A speedloader, A scope (at least 4x zoom), A small bag to carry gear in (don't need to buy one), A bipod, Camouflage Clothing, and 1-4k rounds of good quality ammo (.28 or heavier).
- CQB; A chest rig, spare magazines, a flashlight, a sling, 4-10k rounds of ammo (.20-.26), a spare battery or two, dark or Camo clothing depending on the area.
- Rifleman; A chest rig, spare magazines, a bipod, low magnification scope (2-4x), A spare battery or two, lots of ammunition, a sling, camouflage clothing.
- Tons of batteries, 20k+ ammo, full out camo everything, illuminated scope, red dot (I use iron sights up to 200ft), camera and camera mounts, gun accessories such as foregrips and new stocks, hydration carriers, plate carriers, gloves.
- General rule, if you really want it and are sure you need it, don't get it, eventually you will feel as if you need everything, in reality, the basics will get you through without burning a hole in your wallet.
Step 5: BBs
Momentum = Mass x Velocity:thus heavier bbs carry more energy than lighter bbs at the same velocity. Which weight you use depends on the gun, its barrel length, FPS, and air output. As a rule of thumb;
- 280-300fps - .20, .23 for a good hop up
- 300-350fps - .20 or .23, .25 if your hop up can handle it
- 350-400fps - .25 - .30
- 400-450fps - at least .28, .36 max
Stick to Goldenball or Elite Force in most starter guns. If you are playing outdoors, buy biodegradable, it not only helps the environment, but looks better to see those white specks disappear from your yard. In an indoor arena, use whatever suits you, and do not buy cheap brands, they may shatter or jam your gun. KWA and Javelin make good bbs, but price wise I would save those for high end guns.
Step 6: How to Win
Don't expect to win right away
At fields with "pro players", let them lead and learn from them, if you always get killed you will burden your team
For Backyard wars, don't get cocky because your gun is better, also don't complain about it being unfair. Period. When someone says it is unfair they are usually jealous, lacking skill, or a sore loser. If you need to, make the teams unbalanced to give the lesser players a chance. Just don't be THAT guy!
Remember, play your role, don't get cocky, be nice, play it safe (don't go rushing around corners), and most of all have fun.
Step 7: Game Modes and Rules
Bang Rule/Minimum engagement rule - reflex shooting may still happen.
- For low fps guns (300-), when within 3 feet you must yell bang kill rather than shoot.
- For Mid FPS guns (300-350) when within 10 feet follow the same.
- For high FPS and Snipers (350+), 25 feet no shoot zone.
- Yell hit and raise hand, lower weapon to signal you are dead
- With respawn, count to 10, then you may walk to respawn or be healed by medic.
No blind firing - you must be in line with your sights to shoot.
No physical violence such as choking, punching, etc.
No shooting through small gaps or cracks that your gun wont fit through, such as space between floorboards. The enemy may shoot in through from a distance, but you may not shoot from up against it.
Gamemodes - You decide respawn/medic, and points/duration.
CTF - An object or flag is placed in each base, teams split evenly.
KOTH- Everyman for himself, one player in an elevated position or "hill". The others must kill the "king" and take the "hill".
War - (country) vs (rebels) - Two bases are set up, two teams made. Each team must try to capture/hold the enemy base for 10 minutes, capturing the enemy base before theirs is captured.
Hunger Games - do I even need to explain?
Zombies - 2 Zombies, the rest humans. Humans get guns, zombies don't. If a zombie tags a human, the human becomes a zombie. Zombies have infinite respawns. The humans have 10 minutes to find the cure (A random object)
Step 8: Conclusion
Sorry for the lengthy instructable, but there is just so much to learn in the exciting world of airsoft!
Remember: Play your role, stay in your price range, wear the proper protective gear, and don't be a jerk.
Airsoft is an honor sport! Don't be the one to take away the honor.
Please favorite this, share this, and comment any fixes/guide ideas. Also, I will try to post some version 3 gearbox tutorials and modification/upgrade tutorials!