Beginners' Guide: Airsoft - What you NEED to know!
What you NEED to know!
Choosing your first Gun and Gear!
What to expect from an AEG out of the box
As a baseline, you should expect around 30-50m accurate range, and the ability to give harassing fire at slightly beyond that with your HOP up adjusted properly. Accuracy-wise, being able to hit an A4 piece of paper at 20m from a standing, unsupported position 9/10 times is considered to be "combat accurate" in Airsoft terms. Your AEG should fire with around 10% of its velocity in variance shot to shot at maximum, for example, a 330fps AEG should have all its shots between 300fps and 360fps approximately. Your rate of fire will vary depending on the motor type, gearbox internals, and size of the battery (both Voltage and Amperage), but a minimum of 10-15 RPS (rounds per second) is what to expect from using the batteries we recommend on our website. Forget about the lackluster performance of cheap BB guns, this is Airsoft, our guns shoot straight and true!
Your First RIF
Probably the most popular assault rifle in the world, in Military service, with civilian shooters and amongst Airsofters is the M4 / AR-15, a platform that offers unrivaled modularity while remaining flexible, to the point where an M4/AR15 can be used in almost any role on the Skirmish field.
We often recommend M4s to the newer players due to the wide availability of essential extras, such as spare magazines, and the M4’s inherent ability to take 20mm Picatinny accessories. Not every M4 comes with a rail system, but any M4 can have one added easily, allowing tactical flashlights, lasers, and grips to be added with relative ease. There's plenty a new player can easily do to make their M4 unique!
The performance of your Airsoft gun is not related to its looks, and one of the most important aspects of Airsoft is playing with the kit you like. Other AEG platforms will shoot just as well as an M4/AR15, but may require more additional parts to add accessories. If you want an AK, SMG-5 or AR36 AEG, feel free! While they may not have the plethora of parts available that the M4 does, they still benefit from a massive Airsoft aftermarket allowing you to trick out your setup to suit you!
Batteries & Chargers
So you've decided on your first gun, great stuff! But you're going to need a battery & charger to get it running! Batteries and chargers are generally not supplied with AEGs, and when they are we advise that you do not use the included batteries. It is important that your AEG gets the fuel it needs, and a good battery will keep your AEG running well for the whole skirmish and avoid the disappointment of relying on a poor quality battery which can cause sluggish performance.
To help you make the best choice and ensure you get the correct battery and charger for your gun, we've created a dedicated Buying Guide specifically for them which covers the different types of batteries, why they're different and what kind you'll need. You can view the Buying Guide by CLICKING HERE.
BB's / Ammunition
BB's are the ammunition of the Airsoft world, they're typically white in colour and roughly 6mm in diameter. They're available in different weights, types and coatings all of which serve a unique purpose on the Skirmishfield. It is important that you feed your Airsoft gun properly. We advise that you only use high-quality BBs in your Airsoft gun, low-quality ammo can cause misfeeds and damage to the internals of your gun. Here at Patrol Base, we do not sell any low-quality BBs, so when stocking up with us you can be sure your Airsoft gun is getting the BBs it needs to stay healthy!
There are many different types of BB's and it can be a lot to take in, so we've put together a dedicated buying guide to ensure you're getting the right ammunition for your setup. You can view our BB Buying Guide by CLICKING HERE.
Possibly the most important piece of equipment for Airsoft: Eye Protection. Protection for your eyes is Mandatory at all Airsoft sites and we always HIGHLY recommend wearing Eye Protection at all times when handling and shooting your Airsoft Guns.
BB's can reach velocities of up to 500 feet per second (FPS), which is around 340 miles per hour! Now I'm sure you don't need us to tell you that is rather fast! Whilst the velocities used in skirmishes are considered to be “non-lethal”, they still have the capability to take out teeth! Such projectiles have no business being anywhere near your eyes, which is why we always recommend investing in high-quality eye protection.
All protective equipment, including goggles, glasses and masks sold at Patrol Base are impact-rated and safe to use for Airsoft. One of the leading brands in the eye protection game is BOLLE, specialists in ballistic rated eye protection, you can browse our BOLLE section by clicking HERE.
Eye Protection can come in many forms, from steel mesh goggles to full seal ballistic rated goggles, it's important to find a pair you find comfortable. If you're not sure which eye protection to go for, or what the differences are between them then you can take a gander at our dedicated Eye Protection Guide by clicking HERE
Face Protection is another important piece of equipment. Many Airsofters choose not to wear face protection, which is understandable, as at times it may interfere with weapon handling and comfort. However, often these are the Airsofters leaving the game with a face looking like a pepperoni pizza.
The perk of full-face protection is not just safety and staying pretty, it also increases shooter confidence, making you more willing to stick your head out into the action and get some kills! Those face shots hurt, as do surprise dentist bills, so we recommend always wearing some form of face protection. Either a full face paintball-style mask or mesh lower face mask combined with full seal goggles will provide optimum face protection, and provide you with the 'cajones' to put pressure on the opposing side whilst exchanging fire.
So you've got your Gun, your Eye Protection, Face Protection, and Ammo, meaning you're all geared up & ready to get stuck in! CLICK HERE and let’s head on over to our guide for your First Game Day and run you through what to expect at your first Airsoft skirmish.
Your First Skirmish
Before the game
Before the skirmish officially begins, you will be divided into teams and given a safety brief. Magazines will be kept off weapons (including pistols) and safeties engaged until you are in the game zone, where eye protection is mandatory. It is of the utmost importance that you listen closely to the safety brief, which will outline not only the safety-related rules of the game but the scenario, any advanced rules (medic rules, respawns, etc), and give you a rough idea of the layout of the site, which is important if you don’t want to wander around the woods looking for someone to shoot! There are also those hard-nosed marshalls who will stop the brief and start from the beginning every time they catch someone talking, you don't want to upset these guys, the more time you spend re-listening to the briefing the less time you get to skirmish!
How much will getting shot hurt?
If you have ever been pinched or flicked hard, you know what to expect when hit from a distance or over clothing. At extremely close range or on bare skin, taking an Airsoft BB feels like a Bee sting but the pain lasts less than a second before it becomes dull. Airsoft guns can cause welts and marks on the skin, meaning it is important to wear protection if you are bothered about having small marks here and there. I'm sure many of you have been paintballing before, a single impact will hurt considerably less than a paintball marker. The flip side being Airsoft guns are considerably more accurate and have a higher rate of fire than a paintball marker, meaning you will generally get hit several times. Despite the Paintball markers using frangible ammunition (it breaks when it hits you), Airsoft is considerably safer, with the Airsoft legal limits of muzzle energy being approximately 1/14th of the average paintball marker. If you are afraid of getting hit it that is understandable, it hurts! To enjoy Airsoft it is important to accustom yourself to getting hit; being willing to take hits will give you an advantage on the field, allowing you to be aggressive and strike the opposing force in a manner they may not expect. Who dares, wins.
What clothing do I need?
Our Airsoft Skirmish Staff Tips
Don't be the type of skirmisher that thinks tactics are a mint used to freshen one's breath. The following three points are examples of mistakes new skirmishers make and how to avoid falling into the trap!
Keep your head on a swivel. It's easy to get tunnel vision when you are pumped with adrenaline and gagging for that kill, but be aware, more experienced players will use your single-mindedness against you. Make sure you are not only aware of your current target's location but also their teammates, be sure to have a good look around and either watch your own back or have a teammate cover the flanks and rear of the patrol whilst you take point up front.
Communication is key. Make sure when you identify a target or take fire from somewhere you immediately inform your team of the direction and range of the target. Dead men tell no tales, if you get hit before you can tell your team where the incoming fire originates from you will have to watch in silence as they struggle, lest you draw the attention of a marshall and get a rightful telling off.
Avoid the temptation to run back to where you last got shot. Unless it is key to achieving the objective, this is a surefire way to get yourself hit again. Most experienced Airsoft skirmishers know that there's a high likelihood that the guy they just sent back to respawn will return for revenge. They will be expecting it. Don't give them an easy time, if you are going back to the same location head there via a different route, and expect that the enemy has relocated in preparation for your return.