OK, now for today's post, my personal rant. Over the past few games that I have participated in, I have seen a trend that really is going over to the “Tacticool Fashion Show” rather than the practical.
There are as many opinions in the sport of airsoft, as there are people playing it. Some are in the sport just for the fun and will play with little more than eye pro and a couple of extra magazines tucked in their pockets. Others will go all out with the most current issue “Real Steel” gear. In the end it really is up to the needs/desires of the individual and their team as to what they carry and why, so for now, I'm going to leave some of my thoughts...
So to start out with, let’s look at some of the gear we wear and why… I’m going to break this out into three lists.
****Please keep in mind that this list is geared towards the casual airsoft player not the re-enactor or hard core MilSim player****
First the basics:
- Eye Protection or Full Face Protection
- Replica (Rifle, Pistol or both)
- Extra Magazines
- Extra batteries, Co2 or gas – (depending on what or if your replica uses it)
- Extra BB’s
- First Aid Kit
Now the add-ons:
- Vest or plate carrier
- Hydration Carrier
- Pistol belt & Holster
- Dump Pouch
- Knife and/or Multi-tool
Now for the questionable list:
- Real Steel Ballistic Vest
- NVG’s (Night Vision Goggles)
- Real Steel Optics
- Smoke Grenades / Thunder B’s
- Combat Knives
- Bolt Cutters
- Breaching Tools
- Cuffs and Restraints
- Medic Bag
Of course this is not an all-inclusive list and based on the “mission”, these items might shift from one list to another – Please don’t flame me because I forgot something that you feel MUST be on the list!
First the basics:
- Eye Protection or Full Face Protection - This should be a no brainer for the list. – You only have one set of eyes, you need to protect them with sealed eye protection! - As one of our community put it, “Do you want to trust your eyes to $1.99 junk?”
- Water – As this is a physical sport, you need to keep hydrated.
- Replica (Rifle, Pistol or both) – Lots of opinions out there but remember that even that Crossman Springer can do the job. We all start somewhere…
- Extra Magazines – Not bad to have an extra couple of magazines so that you can go longer between re-loads.
- Extra batteries, Co2 or Gas – (depending on what or if your replica uses it) – Nothing can be more frustrating than getting to the game then having to drop out because your batteries died or you didn’t have enough gas…
- Extra BB’s – Again you don’t want to have to run out.
- First Aid Kit - You should at least have a few band-ads and some gauze with you.
- Vest or plate carrier - These serve a dual purpose, they give you a level of protection and allow you to carry needed gear on your person.
- Hydration Carrier - These come in sizes from 1 liter all the way up to 5 liters but it allows you to carry water in a readily available way.
- Uniform - I'm just going to say "Just 'cause ya saw it in a movie, doesn't mean that ya have to get it!" Get what works for you or works for your team. IT'S A GAME!!!!! LIFE ON THIS PLANET WILL NOT END, IF IT'S NOT CRYE GEAR!!!!!!! Get what blends in and works for you....
- Optics - In most cases, you will only be shooting up to 100 meters out (at the most), so optics that are made for airsoft are just fine. Don't go for what looks "cool", go for what will do the best job for you.
- Pistol belt & Holster - Again, don't try to make this a fashion statement, get what works for you and your style of play.
- Gloves - These are a good area to invest in. They protect your hands from falls and BB strikes and will improve your grip. Get what works for you....
- Helmet - The helmet protects you from bumps and falls and can be used to mount other needed items such as lights, camera and in some cases, communications. you don't however need to have the weight or protection of real ballistic gear (Unless you think the game is going to get REALLY out of hand.)
- Dump Pouch - If you are going through mags quickly, these are very useful (Also if you are going through mags quickly, consider using semi.)
- Knife and/or Multi-tool - While a knife has its uses, I consider a multi-tool a better choice as it can be used on and off the field.
Now for the questionable list...:
- Real Steel Ballistic Vest - Some would argue that you can't beat the quality (and in many cases I agree), you have to take into account the weight and cost. Also, do you really need it? (See coment on Helmets above).
- NVG’s (Night Vision Goggles) - This is one of the funnier ones to me, how many people have you seen that have NVG's (both real and replicas) and the counterweights, mounted on their helmets but never play in a night game. That goes for weapon lights in many cases as well. If you are going for that "cool" look, I guess that works for you but enjoy the extra weight that you're lugging around and the getting hung up on everything as you "look" cool...
- Real Steel Optics - I my case, I use both real steel and replica weapons so the investment makes sense, but how practical is it to have a mil-spec scope that will range out to over 1,000 meters when your replica only reaches out 100 meters? Again buy not for looks but for what will do the job for you...
- Smoke Grenades / Thunder B’s - I see folks that wear these for each and every game but in almost every case never use them for fear that they will break or that parts will get lost. If you're not going to use it, don't carry it! Ounces = Pounds....
- Combat Knives - Sigh....
- Hatchets - See above...
- Bolt Cutters - I have heard the argument that "real operators carry them". That's fine, they also expect to shoot real bullets and break down real doors in the operating theater (war). Again if there is not a specific mission related reason in the game, why carry the extra weight?
- Breaching Tools - See above
- Scissors - In combat are used for cutting gear and clothing to get at REAL wounds. In airsoft, I guess it would be useful for cutting open that MRE...
- Cuffs and Restraints - Again if it is not mission related in the game, these fall under "tacticool"
- Medic Bag - I have seen the full combat medic bag carried in airsoft games but never used - I do keep an "extended" kit in my vehicle in case of emergency. It's kind of like the argument, "while do you have a fire extinguisher if you have never used it?" What I would say on this is "if you carry it, please be trained on how to actually use it!
For my personal list....:
- Zip Ties - These are great for just about anything that you need to hold. You can use them to keep gear or wires from hanging loose, attaching batteries in a pinch to your replica or just about anything else that you might run into.
- Electrical Tape - From repairs to wiring, to covering that "wonderful orange flashider", to holding that branch out of your way. This is an all around useful thing to carry.
- ROCKS!!!! - I carry one or two rocks with me to use as a distraction when needed. You can toss it CAREFULLY into bushes or trees to fool the apposing team into thinking there is someone where they are not.
****Please be positive that you WILL NOT hit anyone if doing this!****
In the video below, you will see why I carry a rock or two into the airsoft game with me.