Airsoft Disclaimer: Airsoft does NOT recommend, condone, endorse or encourage anyone to use its product to shoot any person or animal. There are direct and explicit warnings on NOT to point, aim or shoot a person or animal with their product. If you do, you ARE NOT using their products as the products were intended to be used and are in direct violation of how the products uses were intended.
It’s A Christmas Story all over again; you get that awesome toy that “can put your eye out”. The difference is, now you are an adult. Most people learn and are introduced to the world of firearms through cap guns and BB guns. All of my friends and cousins had them growing up and we would spend countless hours honing our skills shooting stuff in our garages, basements and empty fields around our homes. Then one day, as you are in the fields with your buddies, you decide to play hide and go seek with your BB guns. We called it “BB gun wars” and soon kids from the neighborhood you didn’t normally play with were involved. Little did you know you just entered into the world of “man hunting”.
What’s Out There?
Fast forward to present day. BB guns are still around and they come in all kinds of variations. You have metal and plastic BB’s, different diameter of BB’s and pellets. The guns themselves are also different; you have spring actuated, electric and compressed air. The guns are also made differently. You have metal frames, plastic frames, cartridges to load, detachable magazines that feed and blow back action. They have revolvers, semi-automatics and even select-fire guns. There are some new “BB” guns out there that cost as much as their gun powder brethren. Some of the new Airsoft / BB guns pump out FPS (Feet Per Second) equal to real bullets!
We are going to focus on Airsoft guns today. These guns use plastic BB’s. The guns can range in cost from $20 to as high as $1,200. The least inexpensive guns will be spring operated; you have to chamber to fire (rack the slide) for each round. If it is just going to be you and your family training in your home you can get by with these. If on the other hand you are with a group of guys that want to do more realistic training, then a higher end gun that is a semi-automatic will be more of what you are looking for.
Training with Airsoft
Airsoft is an excellent “force on force” training medium. The higher end guns give you blow back / recoil and are close to the actual weight of the firearm they replicate. The Airsoft guns our department had, you would charge the magazine with compressed gas and load the magazines with BB’s. You also had to work the action for the first shot as if you were charging the weapon. When the magazine ran out of gas, you had to do a magazine change (if you purchase these kinds of guns, do not let the mags hit the floor during a magazine change or you will eventually damage the mags). This gave the officers real life training in weapon handling. With a realistic gun, limited ammo and a projectile that fires, the only difference in training is that you are not using lead bullets. Let that sink in.
Make the training realistic, see how long it takes you from you hearing the noise until you reach your defensive position.
Airsoft is an excellent tool, but it does have its limitations.
- Not as accurate as a real firearm.
- Does not have the distance as a real firearm.
- Does not have the exact same recoil as a real firearm.
- Does not have the same noise or muzzle flash as a real firearm.
- If used outdoors environment and weather will play a critical role in how the BB’s perform.
Airsoft Safety Equipment
Remember, this is NOT how Airsoft intended for you to use their product. Depending on the FPS, Airsoft hurts when you get hit and will leave red marks/bruises. For home training with family do not exceed 250fps.
At a minimum you will need:
- Safety mask with eye, face and ear protection.
- Thick/heavy long sleeve shirt.
- Gloves to protect the fingers and joints.
- Thick/heavy long pants.
- High top shoes/boots for traction and ankle protection.
Since you can now play grown up “hide and go seek” with a gun, your training possibilities are left only to your imagination. Home defense, building searches, Active Shooter, vehicle assaults, low light training, weapon retention, off duty survival, etc. Just about any scenario you can dream up with the use of a firearm, you can use Airsoft.
Home Defense Training
With airsoft you can get your whole family involved. You can teach your children and your spouse how to move in, through and out of your home with their firearm. Things that can be covered are:
- Where to go for the best defensive positions in the home.
- How to get to that defensive position.
- How to use your home/terrain to your advantage.
- How to work together to get to the intruder/defensive position/escape route.
- How to use angles to your advantage while clearing.
- How to keep your firearm in a firing position at all times.
- Weapon discipline at all times.
- Weapon safety at all times.
- Crossfire situations.
- Backstop issues (bullets penetrating walls & windows).
- Weapon transitions – left, right, on handed left and right.
You can even use a family member as a referee or coach that video records the event, so that you can then critique what went right, what went wrong, why it worked, why it didn’t work, and/or how you can improve on what you had done.
We will go more in depth on Home Defense Airsoft Training in a follow up article: Defensive Weapon Training The Airsoft Alternative Part II.