All About Airsoft

December 10th, 2008 No Comments   Posted in Sports And Fitness
Justin Kander asked:

Airsoft by definition is a sport where players simulate military or law enforcement combat by using airsoft guns (which look a lot like real guns, to add to the realism) and other airsoft gear. The game of airsoft was developed in Japan, where firearms were (and still are) almost impossible to get without resorting to illegal means. An alternative was developed, and that alternative was airsoft. Because of this, it is no surprise that airsoft is actually most popular in East Asian countries such as China, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea (North Korea is more interested in using real guns!)

The basic point of airsoft is to shoot other players with airsoft guns, thereby getting them out and pushing your team closer to victory. Because of the nature of the game, safety items such as helmets and cups must be used (the only way one could get seriously injured in airsoft is if they were hit in the face, especially eyes, and that is why the mask is the most important safety feature). Unlike paintball (a very similiar sport), no splatters are made on the skin or clothes, and unless the person yells that they are out, you will not know if they are hit. That is why the game of airsoft relies on the “Honor System”, where players lift their gun up and say, “Hit”. Also, one player on each team is usually designated as a medic, to revive players so they can resume play. Without medics, people who got hit very early would have to wait for a long time until the next game (with paintball, medics are hardly ever incorporated into play). Weapon hit rules vary depending on the game. Usually, a weapon being hit is the same as the player being hit, but if the person has a sidearm, rules can be modified so that the person just is not allowed to use their primary and must instead only use the sidearm.

The three types of airsoft guns are spring, electric, and gas. Spring guns are usually cheap but can get very expensive if they fire at a high FPS. Electric, also known as AEG, guns are powered by a battery and the main advantage is that they are automatic, but are generally not very powerful unless upgraded. Gas guns are the most powerful, and gases supported include carbon dioxide, propane, green gas, red gas, and high pressure air (HPA). Red gas is not legal in many states because its pressure is so high.

The items used for airsoft extend far beyond just the guns. Grenades, vests, belts, extra magazines, speed loaders, and of course safety gear can be purchased and utilized. The initial costs for airsoft can be quite heavy (depending on how you look at it), but after that, all one needs are more pellets and perhaps grenades, gun upgrades, or extra accessories. When airsoft pellets are bought in the bulk, you can save a lot of money, so it is wise to buy a lot at one time.

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The Airsoft Skirmish Game

December 10th, 2008 No Comments   Posted in Sports And Fitness
Tony Bargas asked:

The Airsoft Skirmish Game has it's roots in the higher-power skirmish game of paintball. There is some contention in the Airsoft community, as to when the first true 'Airsoft' model was marketed, but what is known, is that an American air gun manufacturer, Daisy, marketed what they called a Softair gun in the late 1970s and early 1980s, which fired a miniature 6mm hollow plastic shuttlecock-like projectile, and incredibly low speeds, from a toy gun. The intention, it would appear, was to develop a new market for its products. They succeeded, and a new generation of rifle shooters was born.

This series of softair guns are generally thought, on balance, to be the ancestors of what we now know as Airsoft models.

Shortly after Daisy marketed their softair guns, Tokyo Marui, then marketing self-assembly plastic replica gun kits, modified some of their designs to fire the same form of projectile. Within five or so years, they had all but halted production of the 1:1 replica kits, and gone into full-time production of virtually 1:1 self-assembly low powered 'ASGK' Airsoft kits, firing a new 6mm spherical plastic projectile. Within another five or so years, in the early 1990s, spring powered Airsoft models became 'old news', as the first generation of Automatic Electric Airsoft Guns, or AEGs, were marketed, not as self-assembly kits, but ready to use out-of-the-box models, of remarkable realism and accuracy to the real-world counterparts that they represented.

The rest is history, as well over ten main-stream manufacturers in Japan, Taiwan, and other p art s of the far east, have sprung up to supply a brand new hobby sport, that uses these models in mock-combat games, called Airsoft Skirmish Games.

So, now we know the history of the models, how about the game?

The original hobby sport combat game is, of course, paintball, and this has been so well documented over the years, that it would be redundant to go into its origins here. However, paintball is illegal in Japan , which has probably the strictest firearms laws on the planet. This means that no-one may own any form of firearm privately, without a great deal of red tape to comply with, making it, for all intents and purposes, a non-starter. The same applies to paintball markers, which, as I understand it, are classified as firearms in Japan .

However, the Japanese, due to their culture of group-led activities, do enjoy combat games. How they accomplished this prior to Airsoft models being manufactured is beyond me (do you know? PLEASE tell me!), but the introduction of these models gave them the edge they needed to develop the hobby sport, which they get involved in, in truly massive numbers; it's not unusual for there to be well over 100 players at any given playing venue, on any given playing day, and well over 500 players at a competition/convention event!

The rules to the game originated in Japan . Similar to the Paintball Skirmish game, there are one or two major differences. Firstly, the Airsoft models have a much lesser range than paintball 'markers'; second, there are no paint gel projectiles used in the Airsoft Skirmish game, thus an honor system predominates. The fact that paint is not used to mark your opponent could have been a major problem. However, since personal honor is a way of life and culture in Japan , an d disgrace follows a cheat in that country, they found that to get the rules to work, all they needed to do was rely on their innate codes of personal honor. Thus, if you were hit by an Airsoft projectile in a game, you were required to declare this, and remove yourself from the game. It worked, too, as cheating tends to spoil the fun of the game for every one else involved. The basic rules were, therefore:

You cannot use physical force, as the object of the game is to shoot the opposition, and have fun - it is, after all, only a game.

If you're hit, you're out of the game.

These are the rules that form the basis of the Airsoft Skirmish Game, and, for all practical purposes, have not changed one bit.

The game then grew, moving to Hong Kong , Korea , Taiwan , and the Philippines . It was then only a matter of time before other countries saw, and adopted the game. It appeared in America and Canada at about the same time, and Europe during the mid 1990s, but it is only in the last three to five years, that the hobby sport has started to thrive in the UK.

Now, in mid 2000 AD, there are well over twenty playing sites in the mainland UK alone, and more planned. However, the feature that appeals to the hobbyists most of all, is also the most controversial feature: the realistic nature of the models used in the game. It was therefore paramount to professional site operators that some checks and balances were imposed, in the form of self-regulation. This has resulted in an unwritten code of conduct, that, broadly speaking, mirrors air weapon rules. These unwritten rules appear to be codified into the following:

No one under the age of seventeen (18 in the USA - this text added by Strike Back Now 6-18-04) should be permitted to purchase an Airsoft model.

Airsoft models should NOT be shown in public places, and the Safety rules that apply to real air weapons and firearms should, in the most p art , apply to Airsoft models.

So far, then, this seems to be a good start , and would appear to work in the majority of cases. It remains to be seen if the APAC campaign will result in a more formal code of conduct for the UK Airsoft scene, but one lives in hope.

This, in mid 2000 AD, is where the hobby is at. A minor, but legal (if somewhat controversial to some), hobby sport, enjoyed by hundreds of people around the country. In any event, both the technology, and the hobby, appear to be here to stay - and long may that continue!

How to play:

To get started playing Airsoft all you really need is an Airsoft Gun (if it’s a spring gun) and some BBs. The most affordable guns start at under $20, so Airsoft is a hobby that virtually anyone can afford. Once you have a gun and some BBs, you can practice shooting at home against a target, you can shoot cans in your backyard, or anything like that. Airsoft guns are actually made to be able to shoot at other people safely, when proper safety precautions are taken (i.e. eye protection, body covering).

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