Monday, April 14, 2014

Airsoft safety

In a post that I wrote last year, I used the F.I.N.E. rule of firearm safety.,- That rule is a good starting point but, is it enough? I have been to games / fields that I will never go to again because I don't agree with the lack of safety rules - that's my choice. I have also been to a facility where the safety was so highly pushed that the game was no longer fun or worth my time. So how do we come to that middle ground where we are both safe in how and what we do but don't unnecessarily cripple the "experience?"

 Table of Contents
What is safety?
 Rules & Consequences
Engagement distances
Thoughts on Eyewear
Physical contact
 Final Thoughts.

What is Safety?
Safety is defined as: "The condition of being protected from or unlikely to cause danger, risk, or injury." We expect safety in our lives every day - from the cars that we drive, to the food that we eat, to the behavior of society.... For me safety really has to start with the expectations of the individual, setting a minimum that you will accept and weighing that minimum with the potential consequences if something goes wrong. Its a two edged sword, 

"What will keep me reasonably safe?" vs. "What will keep others from being harmed?"

So let me ask then, what are the potential risks in airsoft? 
  • Damage or loss of eyesight.
  • Damage to or loss of teeth.
  • Broken bones.
  • Burns.
  • Sprains, strains and soft tissue injuries.
  • Loss of dignity.
  • Damage or theft of equipment / replica(s).
  • Altercations (fights).
Over the past year, many of us have personally seen or have heard of all of these and more and it most often happened because basic safety rules were not followed

Rules & Consequences
It has been said that "A world without rules is Anarchy" or for the rebels out there.. "The only rule, is that there is No Rules!"  We have rules not only to keep people safe but to also make clear the rules of engagement. Some of them dictate the behavior as well as the safety such as, engagement distances, FPS limits depending of the role that the adimins play in the game. In my opinion, the admins task is to ensure that the game / event is kept safe and moving along. If there is a problem within the game, it should be first tried to be worked out by the players then if the problem continues or is so serious that it can't or shouldn't be addressed by the players, then it should be the duties of the admins to enforce the rules. 

The other side of the equation is the consequences. So should all rule breaking result in being kicked out of the game? I think we all have been guilty of not calling our hits at one point or another because we didn't hear or feel it. But what are appropriate "punishment"? For minor infractions, I like the three strikes your out rule, first time you are talked to to make sure that you know the rule, second time you are put on notice, third time you are sent home. For more serious things such as fighting, I go against the popular line of thought on this one, in the heat of "combat" people can lose their cool and react based on the adrenaline of the moment. First thing I would want on fighting, is for the individuals to be pulled out to have a chance to cool down and find out what happened. However, if one or both parties have a real issue that can't be dealt with by the "time out" then it's time for them to go home. If the fight involve any injury or weapons then I also feel that those involved should probably have a visit with the local police. It is my opinion that if the person or persons involved take it to that level that for the safety of all involved that they need to be banned for a given time from participating in games. I do also believe that on a case by case basis, that they should have the opportunity to be able to come back on a probationary basis after appropriate discussions.

Engagement Distances / FPS
What is the purpose of engagement distances? In a "nutshell" to prevent injuries! Lets face it here, I could write a whole post just on BB weights, FPS, Energy Transfer and on and on....  

Imagine being hit by a:
  1. Spit-wad that was shot at 15 MPH  
  2. Marble that was thrown at 15 MPH
  3. Baseball that was thrown at 15 MPH
  4. Bowling Ball that was thrown at 15 MPH
  5. Car that was being driven at 15 MPH
While each of these "Items" are traveling at the same speed, the heavier the object, the greater the potential damage. Weight = transfer of energy OR The heavier it is (in our case the BB) the more "force" it will have when it hits....
I,  for one don't EVER want to get hit again by a gun shooting 450 FPS with .43's @ 15 feet! 

 There are rules that are in place that are pretty standard - with .20 BB's:Under 10' - no-go with pistol
Under 20' no-go with AEG shooting @ 350 to 400 FPS
Under 100' no-go with Sniper/DMR shooting @ 400+ FPS

Some would argue that "Engagement Distances" don't equate to the real world, I would say that those are also the same people that shouldn't be playing airsoft 'cause they don't care if someone gets hurt IN A GAME.

Thoughts on Eyewear
On the issue of eye protection - each field has its own requirements and such ranging from shooting glasses being acceptable to requiring full seal full face paintball style masks. In my opinion, unless you have a signed release from the parents that anyone under the age of 16 should be in a full face mask. The minimum that anyone playing airsoft should have on is a wrap style anzi rated shooting glasses. The least I would wear is full seal eyewear that is made for airsoft or "real steal." Here is wear fashion shouldn't EVER replace safety! Teeth can be replaced (@ $1,000 and up each), BB's can be dug out of skin but if you get shot in the eye, chances are good you'll be wearing a eye patch the rest of your life...... Don't go cheap on protecting your eyes...

Physical contact
Unless this is part of the scenario in the game, this is an absolute "no go". especially in the heat of the game, it is easy for the adrenaline of the game to take over and for common sense to go out the window. I would even go so far to say that "knife kills" with rubber knive (or anything else) shouldn't be done in games because of the same issues.  If you have a problem during the game, you take it to the admin. If another player has a problem with you during the game you take it to the admin.

Final Thoughts.
When it's all said and done, I think we all want to come home from a game talking about the "Awesome Kills" we made rather than who didn't call thier hits or whose gun was shooting too hot today. We need to realize that Airsoft is in fact a game and not a life or death engagement. And that at the end of the day that we can say that we played with integrity and everyone was safe....

Let's all be safe out there,
Padre' out...

   The Warriors on YouTube

Friday, April 4, 2014

Getting ready for the weekend....

Make sure that all you batteries are charged, keep those replicas in the gun bag until you're at the field and don't forget that eyepro! AND we better not even have to talk about "trigger control"...

For your Friday viewing enjoyment, here is our very own Ikaika Menehune playing at TAC.


Let's all be safe out there,
Padre' out...   The Warriors on YouTube

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Moving forward

Over the past year, the Airsoft Ikaika Warriors have been one of AirSplat’s sponsored teams. It is the decision of the team at this time to discontinue this agreement. We have no ill feelings towards AirSplat and wish them the best of luck.

Padre' out...   The Warriors on YouTube