Given the rise of various different social medias, from Facebook to this very blog, it is easy to imagine how now when someone first finds out about airsoft and gives it a quick google to find out more, might end up being slightly intimidated by what they find before them. Pictures of guys and gals dressed head to toe in gear that in some cases would make some military units jealous and wondering how on earth are they meant to get involved in a sport/hobby that looks so involved and expensive to get even start getting into, let alone carrying on with.
But until you decide to really commit to airsoft, its doesn’t really cost you that much to get involved, as of the 5 things you need, or should have, to get involved at Manx Airsoft Club, 4 of them are completely free:
- A free Sunday when there is a game day on – Free
- A good sense of humour – Free
- A good sense of sportsmanship – Free
- Willing to get stuck in – Free
- A decent pair of walking/hiking boots as you are going to be running around in land with dips, ruts, rabbit holes etc – You could pick something up from Newsons/Mountain Warehouse/TK MAXX for £20-£30 that will do the job, and if you don’t carry on with airsoft, you can use them generally.
Outside of that, you need nothing extra to start. The club will provide you with a rental gun, two magazines, face/eye protection and combats (if required) as part of the package for the day (Package costs: £15 game fee, £5 gun hire fee +£5 returnable deposit and £10 for a bag of 5,000 rounds which will easily last you 3 or 4 game days) which puts on you a level playing field with all the regulars there. All the extra stuff they have is either because they want to replicate the look of a particular military unit, or will give them slight advantages during the game like a couple of metres extra range but nothing that you can’t overcome by getting stuck in with the game. We will also do our best to ensure that the teams are mixed between those with 10-15 years airsofting experience and those who are getting involved for the first time and will happily alter teams or change objectives so that the same team isn’t given a walkover every game.
These 5 things also hold true for any site in the UK as well, although walk on fees and package prices might be a little more expensive because they are run as a business and do need to make the owner a wage too.
Another thing to remember is that you are new to the sport and the venue. If you get stuck into the game rather than hiding away, you will probably find yourself getting hit quite often because you simply don’t know the nooks and crannies of the site, where an ambush works well or how to outflank your enemy and you also don’t know inherently know the abilities and limitations of the equipment you’re using – an experienced player should know at roughly what ranges they can start a fire fight at and they’ll also likely know which particularly impassable looking section of gorse actually has a path through the middle of it. Stick with it and you will start to get more hits and hopefully get hit less but remember there is no reason you can’t wipe the floor with the experienced players if you really get involved and push the tempo as even some of our regulars can be prone to sitting back on occasion and you can catch them off guard.
So once you’ve had a few games and have decided that ‘yeah, airsoft is something that I’d like to get into more seriously’, you’ll probably start looking into buying your own kit and guns and then you have opened up an entire minefield of where to start. The first thing you’ll get thrown at you from most places when looking to buy any airsoft guns is that you need a UKARA number, a PASS number or site membership so that you can buy anything without arriving 51% bright orange. Being on the Isle of Man, you can safely ignore everything as the law that that is all referring to does not apply to the IOM and any of the decent UK retailers know this too. So now that you know you can buy something that looks half decent, where do you start? Well the best place is to ask at a game day. Us airsofters generally love to chat about our guns and kit and will be happy to let you pick up a rifle and see how it feels and you’ll get all kinds of opinions on starting gear and guns all the way up to the most expensive and tricked out pieces on the battle field and you’ll also get opinions on what to avoid, but here’s a few tips to get you started:
- If it came from justbbguns.co.uk it’ll be toss and you shouldn’t even visit that website at all.
- If its made by G&G, G&P, ICS or TM it will probably work brilliantly in nearly all cases.
- If its made by Dboys/Cyma/JG, some of their line up is brilliant but there is a higher chance with these brands than those mentioned above of getting the one that slipped through the QC check or it’ll need downgrading to be safe for use on our site.
- If the opportunity is there to ‘try before you buy’, take it. The function of one gun to the next is fundamentally the same (within the electric gun range) so it really comes down to what ergonomics suit you and between all the guys at the club, one of us will have something that is at least close to the same shape and size as something you are looking at, so ask if you can pick it up and see if it fits you.
- Focus on sorting yourself out a reliable primary weapon before going off and buying more rifles or side arms. There’s no point having 5 rifles if they are all in the parts bin because they don’t work and you can’t attend a game day.
- Ask questions on the facebook page – we’ve people with a wealth of experience nearly all the main brands of airsoft rifle who will be more than happy to tell you if something you’re looking at is going to spend more time in pieces and firing plastic – Just be careful not to go crazy about asking about every gun you’ve see on a website, people’s patience will run out if every other post is ‘well what about this one?….’.
And final, a good airsofter is simply someone with integrity. They’ll take their hits even when they aren’t sure, they won’t resort to calling other people’s hits for them (cheat calling) and they’ll get stuck into the game. Like Icestone’s article said, airsoft is not COD and no one cares that you got 50 kills today, or only got hit twice but took at 15 people because that really isn’t the point of airsoft. You will certainly end up with a few good ‘war’ stories but that is about the firefight and the journey, not the statistics.