A friend of mine recently had some questions for me regarding Airsoft. He was interested in becoming involved in the hobby but was not sure if it was for him. I thought these questions were relevant to a lot of new Airsoft players and frankly did not like the answers that he got from others he had asked. So I’ve decided to repeat his questions and my answers to them here.
1) Is there a place in Airsoft groups for somebody who has no interest in firearms, the military, or any related phenomena? Is everyone who plays a gun-nut?
As a person who has no interest in firearms or the military, this is a simple question to answer. I’m just a regular person who enjoys the adrenaline rush and physical conditioning that Airsoft offers. I actually picked up Airsoft originally because I needed a sport to do in the summer when I couldn't ski. Most of the people I know have similar personalities and either picked up Airsoft as young kids or just enjoy the adrenaline.
At the end of the day it doesn't matter if you are into guns or the military or not. The Airsoft community is just like any other sports community. It’s just a group of people that come together and have a lot of fun, and really enjoy a game. If you are there, enjoying the game, then you belong to that group and will be accepted. I've never had anyone be aggressive or really even impolite to me at an Airsoft game. And for what it’s worth, most of the people I know personally who play Airsoft have never even fired a real gun.
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2) Are there some locations / groups / play-styles that are less focused on military simulation and more on just having good fun / more fantastical scenarios?
Technically Airsoft is milsim and you will hear people call it milsim. But unless you are at a scenario game, the games are run basically identically to paintball games. You will see people with military uniforms, sometimes even patches. But you will also see people with patches like "Raccoon City Police Department" (from the Resident Evil video games). I remember one local team was called the "Pansy Boys" and their logo was Duke Nukem holding a daisy. It is also common to play "Zombie" games, Capture the Flag, or "Football" (where one flag is in the center and a team has to take the flag to the opponent's end zone). My local place even does a zombie game every Halloween with people in full zombie makeup.
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3) Are there quality Airsoft guns that aren't trying to look like real firearms?
Not really. There are a few that come to mind, like the Jing GongThunder Maul, but almost all guns you find will be based on actual firearms. For many this is a draw of the sport though and adds to the fun.
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4) What is a good way for somebody brand new to try out the sport? Do Airsoft centers rent out guns/equipment?
The best place to try Airsoft is at a professional Airsoft field, they are all over the US and there is sure to be one in your area. Some Airsoft fields do rent equipment, yes. Call in advance and ask.
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BBs hurt, on average, much less than paintballs. They also only leave small welts instead of massive purple/yellow bruises like paintballs tend to. Just make sure to use common sense and keep a minimum safe distance depending on how hot of a gun you are firing. Safety always comes first, so if you don't know how to be safe with your Airsoft gun, you have no business firing it.
For any further questions about getting in to the exciting world of Airsoft, check out the HobbyTron Forum. We have Airsoft experts standing by and waiting to answer your question, so just post it up in the Airsoft section and we’ll get to answering it right away.