Sunday, September 5, 2010

AirSoft: It's Not Just for Kids!

© 2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

Thinking about AirSoft?

I recently received a very nice email from John Durfee, Marketing Manager for John is a Gulf War veteran and also participates in outdoor and adventure activities. He kindly volunteered to write a post on AirSoft arms, equipment, and activities.

My only exposure to AirSoft has been at the SHOT Show, where I saw many full scale and very realistic AirSoft versions of firearms.I was very surprised by both the level of refinement, and the vast number of manufacturers of AirSoft and number of accessories available to the enthusiast. Since then I have learned that AirSoft originated with the Japanese as a way of collecting firearms. (AirSoft Info: History) There are several different types of AirSoft - spring, gas, and electric powered.

Clubs have formed around AirSoft, both users and collectors. The users tend to play the simulations and tactical scenarios, while collectors can vary from a little of everything, manufacturer specific, or even period firearm collections.

I would like to thank John for offering to write a Guest Post and I invite anyone with an interest in AirSoft to visit!

Survival Adventures

by John Durfee

You've been patiently watching them, they're full of energy but still young, they don't know what to look for. You're staying in the shade of the tree line, and they're out in the open field. It's time to see if they've learned what you taught them.

You crouch low and make your way to their rearward left flank. When you're 7 yards away you draw your Colt 1911 from its holster and get into position. SNAP, you stepped on a twig, rookie mistake. Your son swings around, dropping to a knee quickly, much faster than you thought he could, his M4 aimed right at your center of mass, it takes you by surprise. CRACK CRACK, two shots hit you right in the chest. There's a sting but you're grinning with pride. That was a really good shot kiddo!

What I've just described was the sport of airsoft, and while fun, can be great for teaching kids and families the importance of firearm safety and shooting skills.

What It's About

Airsoft is different from air rifles and pellet guns in that they use standardized 6mm plastic bb's that weigh far less than metal pellets or sabots, and are perfectly safe in a controlled play environment.

Airsoft is preferable to paintball to train with because the equipment requirements and initial cost are much lower. For airsoft electric guns (AEGs), only bb's, a battery, and a charger are needed. With gas powered airsoft, you'll need bb's and green gas (the pressurized gas needed to run the guns) Also, Airsoft is cleaner because you avoid having to wash your clothes after a day of play.

There are an increasing number of airsoft clubs and organizations popping up around the country. Most can be attended for a flat fee. They're busiest on the weekends, when the kids and parents are off from school and work. Usually centered around military scenarios, the core skills practiced are valuable to real world preparedness. There are varying degrees of immersion, ranging from "play and go back to the car for a snack" to full milsim (Military Simulation), where one acts, functions, and performs like a real military force for the entire duration. The former are great for family outings, as you can walk out between games at your leisure. Airsoft also teaches proper weapon usage, maintenance, and safety precautions. Most airsoft guns in the mid-range price look, feel, and function as close to the real steel guns as possible. Some airsoft pistols even disassemble the same way as the real thing! It's an unsurpassed way to become familiarized with firearms and learn how to use them properly in a safe and relatively controlled environment.

Valuable Lessons

Airsoft is safe, but it does require a certain level of responsibility and honesty. People need to call out when they are hit. This is a great structured way to teach kids fair play, gun safety, and sportsmanship. Family ties are strengthened because each member relies on one another to work as a team. With all the running around it provides a great workout for everyone: dad and mom get in their cardio and the kids and burn off their energy. And sibling rivalry can play itself out in new and interesting ways.

For parents it provides an opportunity to train in real self-defense type scenarios. In the event you ever need to use these skills, you'll have practiced it before, which helps to make these skills more ingrained.

For children it's a great segue into teaching them about real firearms and gun safety. You can ingrain muzzle safety, trigger control, and aiming techniques. Many airsoft guns have the same safety mechanisms and levers as their real counterparts, so you can teach your kids where they are and how to use them. You can impart the sense of safety and care needed to handle firearms with the peace of mind they're doing in with a completely safe device

The most important thing these events teach is mindset. You have to work in a team, placing your trust in each other. You have to be constantly aware of your surroundings, as your family trusts you to be a set of eyes and ears. You learn to distinguish between friend and foe. You'll hone your aiming and marksmanship skills on real targets who will react and move. You'll train yourself how to respond - rather than react to surprises and potential threats. You'll be instilling in your children quick decision making skills, gun safety, and a fair amount of athleticism. And if you're "killed" you can learn from your mistakes, and do better next time.

To be honest airsoft bb's can have a bit of a sting to them. But throwing on a heavy sweater or light jacket will make sure you feel them, but it will be more of a poke than a pinch. And remember the cardinal rule, ALWAYS WEAR EYE PROTECTION, while they may not have weight, bb's fly very fast and you need to protect your eyes and those of your family. One last note, you'll want to bring lots of water and hydration. Your family will be running and sweating a lot more than you think!

Where To Play

Most airsoft fields (indoor and outdoor) have an open entry policy, you can play for a few hours, and go home. Many paintball fields are now becoming dual use fields, for both airsoft and paintball so you might want to call any local places to confirm.

Try googling the term 'airsoft' and your state, you'll find forums where people get together and arrange outings. Airsplat has a comprehensive listing of US airsoft fields. So get out there with your kids and have a safe and fun time!

(PS Always check with your local law enforcement about regulations, wear proper eye protection and NEVER try to modify the orange tips on your airsoft gun.)

John Durfee is a Gulf War veteran and the marketing manager for Airsplat, the nation's largest retailer of Airsoft Guns  and Airsoft Apparel.

** * **

Again, allow me to thank John Durfee of AirSplat.Com for writing an informative and interesting post on AirSoft equipment and activities. Should you have an interest in the sport of AirSoft, please contact John, or visit the AirSplat website.

Best Regards,
Albert A Rasch
Member:Kandahar Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles


Feather Chucker said...

Great article, I never knew airsoft originated in Japan. Some of my friends got pretty into it. They were also into paintball. They felt airsoft was more realistic to simiulate combat situations.

Hippo said...

What a coincidence!

I have enjoyed the company of Dominic this weekend and he was rabbiting on about Airsoft weapons and logged on to my Amazon account and filled my wishlist.

Now that I know what they are, I just have to figure out how to get them here.

Got to be ace fun. Maybe I will be able to train the neighbour's chickens not to come into my garden and peck my herbs to shit...

Michael Spinelli said...

Interesting post, I too had no idea that it originated in Japan. I suppose it might become popular here if the magistrates don't have a heart attack over them...

Mike S.
Mike's Travels

Albert A Rasch said...

I'm pretty surprised that they originated in Japan too. And the ones they collect are about as real to life as you can imagine, not the junk toys they sell at WalMart. Those are the ones I saw at the SHOT Show, the realistic ones.

Hippo, might want to check with the local law enforcement fellows and just make sure you are well within the spirit, letter, and local whims of the law...

Just saying...

Best regards,
Every Gut Pile Tells a Story!