Airsoft Guide For Beginners
Airsoft can be quite overwhelming for a person that is trying to enter the sport. It is a wonderful game but the abundance of knowledge can be quite intimidating. Nobody wants to buy from a low-quality brand or be clueless when putting into an action-packed field. Just like how some hobbies require an educated approach, you might want to start Airsoft with that same learning mindset! The goal of this Airsoft Beginner’s Guide is to turn the reader from a beginner into an intermediate player so that anyone who reads this can enter the sport without any worries. So without further ado, let's begin!
Airsoft For Beginners
Airsoft is a sport that can come in many variations. There are many creative modes that a player will be experiencing but the general idea is that you are trying to accomplish a goal with your team. Whether it be completely eliminating your opponent or planting a bomb, you’ll need to work together with your team to accomplish the game-winning task. Before the game, players equip themselves with whatever gear they have bought and use it as best they can in the field. Airsoft can be played indoors or outdoors. Where you play will depend on what field is available in your area but the experience can be different. Indoor fields tend to be more close combat oriented and you’ll find that a lot more players are running around with mobile guns. Outdoor fields tend to be slower due to the space and distance between each team. It opens up a new shooter class called the Sniper or the Designated Marksman and pushing objectives can get very tedious. But newer players should not concern themselves with class roles at this moment. In fact, your field might not require it or MIL-SIMs (Military Simulator) just aren't your style. Newer players should always start off by playing some pickup games where it's more casual and lenient. Lastly, before you choose which type of field you are going to, try reading some of the opinions in this Reddit thread. You’ll find that players have varying experiences when comparing pick up games (PUGs) to MIL-SIMs.
In terms of gameplay, a newer player should not expect to get a kill in every game. Airsoft is not very close to any action-packed shooters and leans towards a more tactical and strategic approach. If you are curious if there are many online first-person shooters that mimic this sort of Airsoft experience, you can try Rainbow Six Siege. With how it leans toward tricky angles and unique ways to frag, you’ll experience many of the same elements of this in Airsoft. Airsoft can also be quite costly and knowing this, players want the most efficient and effective gear. But before you try to research equipment, know the importance of safety. Check out Eagle Six Gear for the best military apparel.
Just like in science, safety is the number one priority! Airsoft safety is extremely enforced due to the dangers that the gun
s can bring. Not only can Airsoft guns permanently damage an eye but anything face-related can seriously be dangerous. No one wants to deal with an easily avoided injury and fields want the players to have the most fun along with being as safe as possible. This means following the rules of the game, respecting the rules of the field and also protecting yourself. With that being said, never cheap out on safety equipment. You won’t regret it and you’ll feel less paranoid thinking about the reliability of your equipment.
Since the intended audience of this article would be new players, here are some equipment recommendations that you cannot go wrong with. This mask is still being used and I’ve not had any problems with it. It is flexible and can be mended with your face. It can also be compatible with any ear accessories you might want to attach later on. Another recommendation would be for eye protection. This goggle is infamous in the Airsoft community and is known for being reliable as well as budget-friendly. I can say with certainty that each product has been battle-tested heavily by me and if you have any questions on these products, feel free to ask any questions. If you are also looking for other equipment ideas, check out this Reddit thread where other airsoft players showcase the equipment that they use.
One thing to note is that Airsoft is played with referees wandering around the field. The purpose of the referee is to catch cheaters, provide information and to be able to react quickly to any unexpected situation. Before an Airsoft game starts, there will always be a game briefing. This briefing is coupled with a safety brief and you’ll be fed info on how to play and how to be safe. There are usually cameras on the field and more than one referee on at a time so accidents that occur can quickly be resolved. There is also an Airsoft safeword that fields use in case an accident does occur. The safeword can change but the one in my field is called “NO DUFF”. The definition is that whatever is happening is not a drill or an exercise. Once heard, players that hear it will also start to shout it so that the message can be spread across the field instantaneously. This stops all gameplay and players will return to the lobby. It is a good safety measure to keep in mind and most of this will be mentioned in your field safety brief.
All in all, remember that Airsoft is played to have fun. This seems like a no-brainer but I’ve seen many players get caught up in the moment as well as fights breaking out. Try to avoid anything that might spark a conflict because no one wants to be banned from their local field.
Due to the nature of the sport, Airsoft has specific laws made for it so it can help prevent any sort of confusion. Airsoft contains many realistic themes of the military which can cause problems if you don’t know what your country allows. In this section, we’ll cover the basic Airsoft laws that exist in the USA together with our brothers in Canada.
United States of America
Our website does contain another article where we go into more depth of this here but generally, the laws are based on common sense. First and foremost, know that Airsoft guns are not treated as firearms and are legal for all ages. Legal in the sense that any age could use them without getting into trouble. However, buying an Airsoft gun becomes quite difficult as you need to be over the age of 18 to purchase one. If you’re looking to sell an Airsoft gun, there are no restrictions but to be on the safe side, it is recommended to attach an orange tip on the barrel indicating that it is not a firearm. Last but not least, note that you cannot have an airsoft gun in public. The consequences of breaking these laws can be quite severe and if broken, can produce lots of confusion for your local law enforcement.
P.S. If you’re looking for an answer on whether you can remove the orange tip on an Airsoft gun you just bought, you’ll have to research it yourself since the law varies depending on what state you are in.
Just like the United States of America, Airsoft guns are treated as replica arms which means they are prohibited. You can only use them in an Airsoft field and cannot be taken out in public. Likewise, you also need to be 18 to buy an Airsoft gun but in Canada, the orange tip is not needed. If you are under 18 and you want to use an Airsoft gun, you need to be supervised by someone over 18. Lastly, taking an Airsoft gun out of the country will render it unable to come back.
If you’d like to look into Airsoft laws with more depth, look into our Airsoft laws article where every crucial detail is explained. Also, here is a cool infographic from OttawaAirsoft, which tries to simplify Canadian laws through visuals. You might find this helpful since it can be quite tiring reading immense walls of texts.
How To Get Started
After knowing the general basics of Airsoft safety and laws, you’ll want to know what you can do to get started. Airsoft is a game where the goal is to have fun, but if the necessary precautions are not taken, you might have a bad time. From my own Airsoft experience, I know what shots hurt the most which helped me optimize my equipment setup. So just like how we start our day by getting dressed, let's start with choosing our clothes!
My first painful shot occurred when I forgot to bring gloves. I was shot in the nails and it hurt so much that I could not pull the trigger of my own gun. That being said, I highly recommend that you purchase or bring gloves with enough padding to dampen a potential nail shot. You should also keep in mind how you approach the set up of your headgear. Another painful shot I endured would be in earshot. Generally, anything exposed to the head will be painful. This includes your neck. Make sure you have a flexible mesh mask that can bend according to your face along with goggles that are ballistic rated. Your neck should be covered by a scarf or any type of clothing that can dampen a shot. Protection around your face does not mean to completely negate all feeling of a hit but to protect. You’ll still need to feel hits but you’ll also need to maintain perfect protection around your vitals. All in all, the point I was trying to get across is that safety is extremely important but to keep note that it isn’t to make your head a complete block of steel.
Many players opt for rental gear to see if they like the sport or not. This is an excellent choice because you’ll be able to use guns coupled with protection without having to invest tons of money. However, if you can, try finding a friend that has his/her’s own gun since some rental guns have been through a lot and it can really tamper with your experience. In one particular anecdote, a newbie that was trying to enter the sport couldn’t because the rental gear at my field was just horrendously bad. If you do plan to rent which is recommended for the first time, note that the gear you are using will not be up to par with store-bought weapons.
So many people forget how important water is to an Airsoft player. Just like any other sport that involves running, an Airsoft player needs a water bottle to last the entire day. You’ll also be sweating a ton so make sure you bring a towel too. It also helps to buy some anti-fog on your goggles and 0.20g BB’s. At this stage of the game, you don’t need higher weight BB’s as they are more expensive and in indoor fields, size doesn’t really matter too much. I should also bring to your attention that many players order pizza for lunch and dinner. If you bring your own food, you won’t have the hassle of moving the gigantic pizza box or scrambling to find any sort of cutlery. Bringing a snack or a meal can be extremely convenient. If not, delivery should be your last option.
After listening to the safety briefing and game information, you’ll head into the field with everything you prepared. This includes your guns, magazines and protection equipment. At this point, you’ll be assigned a team and then there’ll be a brief 1-5 minute session where you can plan your strategy. You’ll soon find yourself slinging BB’s in the hopes that you accomplish the game objective.
Keep in mind that when you play, always keep track of your lives and whether or not you can be shot or not. Due to the nature of the sport, it is entirely possible for you to be hit by a ricochet BB which is an invalid kill. After being shot, see if you can spot your killer as it’ll help you in your next respawn or to confirm if it was indeed a ricochet. These types of KOs are usually obvious and most hits do not ricochet but it is a good note to keep in mind.
If you really want to up your game, consider implementing real military tactics in your play! For example, knowing how to lay down suppressive fire can help your teammates advance the battlefield. Knowing the airsoft field by heart can also aid you since you’ll know the best ways to flank your enemy. Generally, you’ll want something called “Game Sense”. Game Sense is a term used in many online games to dictate a common understanding. For example, if you play a lot of MOBA style games, you’ll know the importance of a real-time map. In our case, knowing when to push and where to move is something developed through a strong game sense. If you notice someone laying down suppressive fire at your position, you should know that there is a reason for it. Knowledge of the game can help immensely and everyone will use all the advantages they can get. Last but not least, you’ll always want to work together with your team. Airsoft is a team sport (usually) since most game modes will be standard elimination. Communicating with your teammate will be key for victory and if you don’t, you’ll be put at a huge disadvantage from those that do.
If you want some quick tips for improving your game, I recommend that you read these three articles that go quite in-depth on strategy and most importantly, improvement.
If You've Enjoyed Airsoft
If you’ve played your first game of Airsoft and realized that this sport is the one for you, let me introduce you to the vast world of its knowledge. In this section, I’ll help you get started on what brands you should buy from and also brands you should avoid. After using rental equipment, you’ll now want to purchase a gun that works just for you coupled with some equipment. After that, I’ll briefly introduce you to how Airsoft guns mechanically work so that if anything goes wrong, you’ll be prepared.
There are many things that are “must-haves” in the airsoft community. These things can include simple utilities like a speedloader to specialized weapons like grenades. After completing your head setup, you’ll be itching to buy your first Airsoft gun. Experts at Airsoft squared suggest that your first weapon should come from these manufacturers. Tokyo Marui, ICS, G&G, and KWA. These brands are reputable and known to have great quality control. They are also known for making guns that are extremely upgradable and durable. Although the price of these weapons might not be so budget-friendly, spending a couple more dollars for these brands can save you lots of money in the long run. Gun’s aren’t something that Airsofters buy every month or so. They are usually bought for its quality rather than its quantity. To find a gun that you like and try to match the brands that were provided. No one wants to buy from a low-quality brand and have their gun break on the field. Invest in yourself and you’ll be rewarded. Here is an airsoft sniper guide for both beginner and advanced players!
There are lots of brands that specialize in making a certain type of weapon. For example, CYMA specializes in making well-polished AK47’s but fails to deliver the same type of quality to other gun variants. To find out more about this, check out some of our best articles since they’ll provide all the information you’ll need on a specific gun or part that you are looking for.
Airsoft equipment can be a very broad topic. In our case, I am referring to the gear you are bringing into the field. First and foremost, you’ll need a tactical military vest to hold your magazines and grenades. Depending on your field, you should find the appropriate camouflage and the number of pockets. Make sure you have enough pockets to store your magazines as well as quick and easy access to whatever equipped. After the vest, I wouldn’t worry too much about your pants unless you’d want to match the camouflage of your torso. Later on in this mega-article, we cover game-changing attachments that can give you pinpoint accuracy. But for now, explore and see what type of clothing you’d like to wear.
I also highly recommend that you buy at least one Airsoft Grenade. You’ll find out shortly, how useful a grenade can be when all your options force you to the peak. It can eliminate players in tricky spots or you can fake them out by throwing a dud. When purchasing a grenade, make sure it's reusable and within field limits. You can also invest in smoke grenades, but they are all one-time use and could get quite expensive if you're using them constantly. Fancy gadgets like claymores, thermal vision, etc are quite gimmicky and are not practical. Unless some manufacturer decides to truly perfect the product, grenades are the goto specialized tool that is relied upon.
Airsoft Tech is a term used to describe all technical aspects of Airsoft. It refers to the tinkering and upgrading of an Airsoft weapon. You’ll notice that some stores in your area offer a “tech” service. These tech services can range from upgrading the FPS of your gun to even repairing it. These fees are usually expensive but if you're scared to open your gun to upgrade/repair it, you can always get a guarantee from those professionals.
I learned how to tinker with my own guns by opening them up by myself. I searched countless youtube videos and tried to put it back together. Although, I failed many times but soon eventually got it. After doing this through countless failures, it actually becomes quite fun once you know what you are doing. Upgrading and repairing guns can be hassle-free and even you can be an Airsoft tech. You can help out those on the field with gun problems or even charge a fee just like the people at the store. Airsoft Tech will always be something important to Airsofters since upgrading and repairing will always be vital.
Another thing to add is that, on our website, there is an article dedicated to learning about Airsoft tech and gearboxes. I highly recommend that you read it if interested since it simplifies things so much that teaching becomes an easily attainable skill.
Pause Before The Deep Dive…
The first part of this article is meant to serve as an introduction to those that have just started the sport. If Airsoft isn’t your thing, you wouldn’t find the need to keep reading beyond this part. However, if Airsoft is something you wish to pursue as a fun hobby, the next couple of parts will provide you with extremely helpful information that I wish I had when I started Airsoft. I’ll talk about important attachments that can influence the game modes completely, strategies/tactics that you can use to improve your play, Airsoft tech, and notable brands. If you already know about Airsoft tech, the article will be sectioned off so that it will be easier to find the specific information you need.
Gear & Brands
In this section of the Airsoft Guide For Beginners, I will indulge myself by introducing all the brands that I hate and love! Brands that have treated my peers fairly and brands that have not. The goal of this article will be to find the perfect Airsoft equipment for you and the knowledge to accompany it. Just like you, many Airsofters don’t want to waste their money on a bad purchase. There are just so many things to know that it can get hard to choose the right type of equipment. Knowledge is power and in Airsoft, you’ll want all the advantages you can get whether it be in battle or the armory. So now, let us begin.
Types of Airsoft Guns
AEG (Automatic Electric Gun)
AEG’s are guns that operate on electricity (duh). They require the user to buy a battery along with a charger so that it becomes incredibly cost-efficient. The electricity that runs through the gun cycles a gearbox which shoots out a BB. Due to the fact that these are easily upgradeable, affordable and extremely cost-efficient, AEG’s are the top recommendation for any new airsofter looking to enter the sport.
GBB (Gas BlowBack)
GBB’s are guns that use gas as a resource. They operate by using gas as a means to launch the BB and are bought mainly for its recoil. Although the recoil of GBB’s is not as strong as the real firearm counterpart, they do provide a very realistic feel when used. On the other hand, they aren’t very budget-friendly and usually sought after by veteran Airsoft players. Not only do you have to worry about having spare gas, but magazine capacity heavily decreases. This means investing in more magazines and a vest that can store more. So in terms of a recommendation, I strongly advise against getting a GBB as a beginner’s first Airsoft gun.
The only competitively viable spring guns in Airsoft snipers and shotguns that are heavily upgraded. Since these Airsoft guns operate by resetting the spring in the gun, the shot that you fire has to count. It also means that you’ll have to invest in the proper upgrades and BB’s so that you can get the BB where you want it. For this reason, bolt-action sniper rifles and pump shotguns are not recommended and I would advise against it. However, if you really want to use a sniper or a shotgun, it becomes almost definite that you upgrade it to the max.
What Airsoft Equipment Do I Need?
First things first, an Airsoft player should know what type of gun they are getting. Whatever Airsoft gun you choose, has to be able to complement with how you play and how you maneuver around the map. Players that want to focus on positioning and map awareness should opt for long-range weapons. Players that want to be quick and agile should opt for pistols/submachine guns. It all depends on what type of player you are so think long and hard before you read on.
Once you’ve decided on a gun that fits your playstyle, we can start thinking about what the gun needs to be able to accomplish. Budget will be your main concern since depending on how much you pay, it determines what you get. Things like the replacement of parts, durability, quality, and upgrades will all be factored into the money you first spend. You’ll also want to consider what brand you are purchasing from because some are mod-friendly while others are not. So to simplify things, you should now think of a budget that factors in the cost of an Airsoft gun. For reference, take a look at what the experts at Airsoft Station suggest when recommending a high-quality gun. Unfortunately, you’ll find that some guns can be quite an investment so remember to spend wisely.
After identifying the type of gun and playstyle you use, you’ll want gear that can further improve your play. This means having an optimized set-up so you can have quick reloads coupled with easy accessibility. Having a vest or a belt that can store magazines is a must-have. If you aren’t looking to buy military shirts or pants, just having a chest rig should be fine too. All you really need is a way to carry your equipment into battle. So concerning money, you’ll want to factor in a chest rig of some sort that is of high quality. You do not want your magazines or side arm’s dropping on the ground and you want it to be comfortable. Hence, for clothes, make sure they are suited properly and flexible.
Tokyo Marui is a distinguished Japanese company that manufactures extremely reliable guns straight out of the box. Almost all of their guns are known to be incredibly accurate and easy to upgrade. The only downside that Tokyo Marui brings is that due to the nature of being based around Japan, they create the Airsoft Guns with externals made out of plastic. This does not mean that the guns are flimsy and weak though. Knowing this, Tokyo Marui creates their guns with the highest polymer plastic so that it can live up and compete with other manufacturers on the market.
ICS (I Chih Shivan)
Famously adored across the Airsoft world for providing reliable and accurate Airsoft guns. Many users on the web can vouch for ICS as a brand. They make it a point to try and replicate the real-firearm counterpart by licensing the correct trademarks as well as the material. Externally, the guns are full-metal for increased realism and performance-wise, extremely reliable. Knowing that not all Airsoft players can afford such high-end guns with trademarks, ICS has introduced a budget Airsoft series where they create guns with plastic. The plastic is made out of high-polymer material and just like Tokyo Marui, is made to compete with other manufacturers.
G&G (GUAY & GUAY)
G&G looks to make as many guns and takes on challenges to create these guns as realistic as possible. G&G has made so many variants of replicas that you can probably find your favorite style of gun on their store page. Externally, the guns are made out of metal. They don’t usually have trademarks but what they do offer is different operating systems for the guns. For example, G&G utilizes the Top Tech blowback system which is essentially an electric blowback Airsoft gun. In hindsight, G&G makes guns for every level of Airsofter. They have perfected their budget line so much that it has become the norm to purchase the GR16 if you are starting out Airsoft. Almost every Airsoft player can vouch for G&G and you wouldn’t be disappointed for putting your trust in them.
Like Cyma, this company is infamous for making extraordinary AK-47 replicas. The selling point of most Kalashnikov-style weapons that Real Sword provides is reliability, externals, and accuracy. Many Airsofters on the web like the users in this Reddit thread all agree that Real Sword AK’s are simply the best there is. Not many(if any) manufacturers are able to top the level of quality that Real Sword puts into their Airsoft guns. With that being said, some of their guns can get quite pricey but you’re definitely getting more than your money’s worth. As a new Airsofter with a high-budget, getting a Real Sword AK would make you set for life.
When people buy VFC guns, they are usually buying it for high-quality externals and trademarks. Most trademarks are unobtainable by other manufacturers which allows VFC to truly take replica-making to the next level. Regarding performance, you won’t have any issues but there is room for improvement. Upgrading is incredibly easy with VFC guns since most of their parts are compatible with other manufacturers. All in all, there is not really much to say about VFC. If you want extremely close one to one realism on your replica, I would only recommend VFC as they’ve never disappointed anyone with their trademarks.
Classic Army is reliable. Most guns that they make can be used for a lifetime. However, you might want to look out for some of their guns. Make sure that the gun you are buying from Classic Army is a gun that many people have bought and reviewed. There are many people that have had negative experiences with the brand, describing it as a hit or miss. Externally, the guns that I’ve felt in real life feel great. They do not feel as realistic as VFC but they definitely are still made out of metal. Internally, however, most Airsofters would comment on the mediocrity of these guns. Not particularly accurate nor strong, the guns are quite average. If your budget isn’t as strong, you can definitely go for the Classic Army. Most airsoft that buys from Classic Army uses the external models for its looks. They then most likely intend to open it up to upgrade the parts inside of it. So if you cannot afford a high-end brand, going with Classic Army is a good bet to take.
Cyma is a brand that is known for making great budget AK’s. So much so that like G&G, the recommended starter gun becomes debatable as Cyma puts out a great product in defense. Many of their AK’s are durable, reliable and easily upgradable. Airsofters of all skill levels buy Cyma AK’s then improve them later on if they wish to pursue Airsoft more seriously. Unfortunately, not many can say this about Cyma’s other guns. Other manufactured guns of Cyma seem to lack externally and internally. Unlike their AK47’s, I personally recommend that you stay away from Cyma unless you are buying one of their AK’s.
King Arms is a brand that hasn’t really impressed airsofters but also hasn’t disappointed them either. In fact, most of their guns are above average but never over the top. They are a great mid-range Airsoft manufacturer that you can use to buy low-budget guns to further upgrade later on. They make many models of different guns so if you are looking for a unique look, King Arm’s might just have it. Externally and internally, the gun material become what you pay for. Usually, their more expensive guns lean toward metal while their low expense guns lean toward polymer. All in all, for King Arms, they are a great mid-range company available to new Airsofters.
KWA is a great manufacturer that tinkers with pistols and AEG’s. There AEG’s are great beginner weapons but they lack a little quality externally. They produce many variants like the M4’s, M16’s and even the g36’s. One thing that deters people from buying KWA guns would be the proprietary parts. Some of their guns have proprietary parts which mean that only KWA guns would be compatible with it. This makes upgrades extremely hard and sometimes impossible. However, the guns that they make are good and beginners would not find much of a difference when comparing their M4 beginner AEG’s to G&G’s combat raider. All in all, KWA is a great company but you might want to do additional research on the gun you are getting for information on potential proprietary parts.
JG (Jing Gong)
Known to make extremely durable guns. The G36’s that Jing Gong manufactures are a clone of Tokyo Marui’s G36 but at a much lower cost. Externally, the guns are made out of high-quality polymer and unlikely any metal. Jing Gong is a clone company that tries to mimic other manufacturer’s guns but at a much cheaper cost. What you are sacrificing here is quality and reliability. If you buy from Jing Gong, you must have the intention to open it up as its performance might hinder you. Fortunately, these guns are clones which means that the upgrade procedures would be exactly the same as a Tokyo Marui gun. For this reason, Jing Gong is a great company to start off an Airsoft career before you see whether or not you desire any upgrades.
WE Tech is a bad manufacturer simply because of the horrible designs and failure rate that the guns have. Although they have definitely improved, buying some of their guns can still be a risk. On the other hand, they have cool designs and decals for guns that most manufacturers don’t have. Mostly, the designs of these guns are based off Tokyo Marui but it seems like WE misses the performance element that Tokyo Marui guns have. All in all, I wouldn’t advise WE because there are definitely better companies to buy from. In other words, it is simply not worth the risk.
Chinese clone company that is not really sought by Airsofters. Unlike Jing Gong, the clones that Dboys make are just horrendously bad. Externally and internally, the company underperforms other clones which makes it a bad option for Airsofters looking to purchase a new gun. Luckily, the guns that they provide are quite cheap so if you like experimenting or are interested in tinkering with your gun, you can use this to your advantage.
Coupled with shady business practices, Valken rebrands all of their products. Most products are usually low quality or taken straight from other manufacturers with the brands renamed. Hence, it becomes a risk to purchase any sort of Airsoft equipment from Valken marketing strategies are quite unethical. With the recent events involving Odin M12 speed winders, Valken is not a company you want to support.
Another company that simply rebrands other manufacturer’s guns. Like Valken, most products are taken from other manufacturers so you can never be sure about the quality. To be on the safe side, I would not purchase from any branding companies so that you know what you are paying for.