Vest/Rig Kit Set Up
Let's focus on magazine load out. With kit setup, it really comes down to personnel preference but I will explain how I setup mine, along with my reasoning. You can choose to try my methods, or if you have something that works for you, stay with what you've got and treat it as advice as how others do it.
I will kick this off explaining the picture of my setup. When I refer to directions I am referring them as if the vest is being worn on my body, not directions in the picture. So when I say “left” I mean the left side of the vest as worn...not the "LEFT SIDE FACING".
The vest itself is an Alauda Centurion TAC SF 2. It is made of Dyneema instead a Kevlar which is a fiber a lot stronger and a lot lighter than Kevlar. The outer shell is ACU, of course, and it has a Gel pack located in the back of the vest that sits against your kidneys, you can freeze the gel pack to keep you cool in the heat. It also has the top half of the MOLLE webbing lined with soft Velcro, so you can easily put any patches or flags where you’d like. I helped design this vest and it is a beautiful accomplishment for Alauda Centurion. I would not recommend it for milsim Airsoft, because a ballistic vest is not really needed in the game, but I am in talks with the owner of the company to make a version that has no Dyneema in it, for the milsim Airsoft Community. The shell would probably be fairly cheap at about $100 or so.
Off of my left side I have my two “Quick Reload” Magazines. I keep these positioned low and right on the left hip. Why? Well when you hold you weapon at the high ready (up like you’re aiming), drop you left hand. It swings naturally to your left side! So if you need to be quick about reloading, put your magazines in a place where it feels perfectly natural for you to grab. I have the curve of the magazine facing backwards also, just because that is always how I have trained to reload, and my muscle memory is set in the exact rotation that has to occur from the mag being in that position. This may be different for others. Some may need their mags to face the other way that is all personal preference.
On the left half of the center portion of the vest, I have what we refer to as; “Shingles”. They are single Magazine pouches with additional MOLLE webbing on the front face of them so you have the option to add other items to to your kit such as a single pistol magazine pouch. I carry a total of 5 magazines on my front and one inside the weapon. With Airsoft Magazines that hole hundreds of rounds, this is more than enough for a game.
BUT: that brings me to an additional point. I carry 6 magazines on my back, in three 2x mag holder pouches. So does everyone else on my team. This is not for you, but to re-supply your buddy. If we all have 6 magazines on our backs, this means at any given time, with anyone on the team, you can run up behind them and grab some fresh ammo. I will get into this more and harp on it greatly when I talk about SQUAD composition and duties.
On my front I ONLY use single deep mag pouches. WHY? Because when you start slapping 2-3 mag holding pouches on your kit you become very bulky and wide. Soon you will have trouble fitting into doors, ducking into the prone, or having decent mobility. SO KEEP YOUR KIT SLEEK AND COMPACT!!! That is my biggest point I want to get through to guys: you need mobility, so don’t sacrifice it just to have 100 things mounted to your chest.
Other stuff on my kit: a utility pouch for whatever else I need, a Radio pouch on the far right, a knife, my GPS on the upper left, medical sheers (good for just about anything), a compass, a second chance line and finally my sling.
This brings me to another trick I have come to love, but again, it may not appeal to everyone. I HATE wrapping a sling around my neck. No matter which one you get it will always work its way around your gear and start rubbing on your neck. The solution was I attached a Single point sling by T.A.G. (Tactical Assault Gear) to the vest itself. It is routed to my back and connected. This puts my weapon at a near perfect resting place when I let go, allows for smooth transitions into my pistol which is in a SafariLand Drop Leg holster. It also distributes the weight (of a real M4) beautifully. I recommend trying this, but you need the Single point ring for your weapon if you plan on doing so.
Keep your gear tight and synched, and stay away from sagging and dangling kit. Airsoft Mil-Sim requires maximum freedom of mobility, so match your kit to suit those needs. Set your stuff up to movement that comes natural to you. The one thing that drives me nuts, is when I see a right handed shooter with Magazines on his right side, I am curious to see how he plans on easily reaching those, having to reach under his weapon.
Well, I hope this helped some of you decide on how to make a good setup and if you need any additional advice on pouches and gear feel free to email me. I will be happy to assist you personally to find stuff that fits your needs.
Of course, without a primary weapon, your kit will have little to be based on. This section will focus on what you should carry. I use the word "should" lightly since everyone has their own preference. We will categorize different "classes" of airsoft guns. For example, MP5s, MP9s, MP7, P90s and other guns of the same size will be classified as "sub-machine guns, or SMGs. Next, we'll create a new class. This will include any M4s, AKs, G36s, HK416s, etc. that have barrel lengths of 12" and under, so basically an a short-barreled rifle, or SBR. Essentially these guns are based off standard platforms, but feature a shorter barrel length and smaller profile. Of course, naturally we will have the full length, carbine length and mid-length type rifles. We will generalize them in the categories of just plain old "rifles". Of course we can't leave out the miscellaneous, or specialized classes that include launchers, support guns like M60s, M249s M240Bs, shotguns, and sniper rifles. Each of these are a class of their own.
Remember that these classifications, SMGs, SBRs, Rifles, Launchers, Support, Shotguns and Sniper Rifles are not all "official" classifications, but for the sake of coming examples they're created for the reader to relate and understand the types of weapons used in certain scenarios.
In extremely organized milsim airsoft, weapon selection is pretty important. We'll get to this later. If you're playing at a CQB arena or any ordinary walk-on airsoft field, we only need to go over the basics. In extreme milsim scenario paintball, some players will have paintball equivalents as well.
In any indoor games, milsim event or walk-on, you'll naturally want to use something a little more compact, something shorter. Therefore, the SMG and SBR categories will do just fine for these types of games. Why? The first thing that people get into their minds is that CQB is close quarters, it's indoors, it's in tight spaces. So naturally a smaller gun will allow better movement, and maneuverability through the field or arena. This is true. However, you also want to consider that a shorter barrel is much easier to control. This means you're able to snap from one target to the next very fast. This is important since in CQB play, everything is very fast paced. Also, if you're forced to jump to your secondary, the smaller primaries are not too bulky or heavy to sling immediately and go to your pistol. Some places have a rule that gun hits count as hits as well. Having a smaller gun in such a confined space and close ranges minimizes gun hits, giving you more time in the game.
For any open field walk-on type of game, the sky is the limit. You can essentially use whatever you want. Of course the SBRs and SMGs have a slight disadvantage since their short barrel lengths limit their effective range at a distance. Since there really is no command structure, or organized teamplay, you can use whatever you want. Still, longer barrel lengths reign in field play. By longer, I don't mean to find the first 24" barrel gun you can find. Usually standard 14.5" to about 20" is fine. Anything bigger, you sacrifice movement and maneuverability, anything smaller, you sacrifice effective range. Each aspect has its benefits and disadvantages. It's up to you to decide which perks you want and which you can do without. It's also up to you to find out whatever gun you feel will work with the way you play, and what you prefer.
As mentioned in the earlier sections on teams, using special jobs such as grenadiers, support or snipers, will require specialized weapons. This is pretty self explanatory. If you're playing a support role, you'll want to get something that resembles or functions like a support weapon. You can go all out with an M249, M60, RPK, or any "specialized" support weapons. In all honesty, with airsoft, you can get away with a plain old M4 with a box magazine. The important thing is that you have the capability to produce long sustained bursts of suppressive fire.
Shotguns in the real world are usually used for breeching and clearing rooms. Generally, in airsoft, they're used mainly in a CQB scenario or game. If you're looking for a challenge, I suggest trying to play with just a shotgun. The multi-shot airsoft shotguns are a blast to play with, pun not intended.
We've already gone over the role of a sniper, if you missed it, check a few sections up. Choosing a sniper rifle is more important than choosing any other weapon for any positions previously mentioned. They should be comfortable being held for long periods of time. You should not feel discomfort from simply holding the gun in the way it is designed. Some models offer the traditional straight stock, some the pistol grip. I prefer the straight stock since you can get much lower to the ground, and they're generally much smaller in terms of profile. Accuracy is key in a sniper rifle. Do not skimp on BBs. Using heavier BBs such as .28g or .30g BBs will increase your accuracy extend your effective range. Of course, the FPS will suffer, but higher FPS does not make a better gun. With that being said, most sniper rifles currently used by players are bolt guns, just as they are in the real world. However, in the real world, the theory is, the less moving parts, the less chance of variation, resulting in a more consistent rifle. In airsoft, that does not apply, so choose whatever you wish and are comfortable with.
As stated before, stealth is an important part of the role of a sniper. Naturally, hi-caps are out of the question. Plus, as a sniper, you shouldn't need to carry thousands of BBs at a time. If you intend to do so, don't play as a sniper. For this reason, low and mid-cap magazines are the way to go. Since you now have a reduced rate of fire, and limited magazine capacity, it's a good idea to carry a secondary sidearm. Chances are, you'll never really need to use it. However, in the rare cases that you do, it's better to have it and not need it, than to need it, and not have it.
MAXSPLAT DEMONSTRATES VARIETIES OF AK47 AND DIFFERENT GEAR SETUPS
Uniform & Camouflage
Just as it is important in the real world to have proper attire for battle, the same general rules apply for airsoft. What is a uniform? A uniform is just that, uni, meaning one, form. One form. It is a set of standard attire for an organization during the organization's activities. Best Buy employees wear the standard blue polo and khaki pants uniform to perform their activities. The same goes for our troops in the ACUs, ABUs, MARPAT etc. for use in battle, and formal attire for official events. Each uniform serves a purpose. In the case of battle, this purpose is to help you identify your friend and foes, as well as to keep yourself concealed from the enemy.
Although it is not a requirement, it is preferred that the members of your team wear a standardized uniform. Many major events sort their forces based on the uniform the players decide to wear to the scenario. For example, light colored uniforms one one side, which includes tan, desert, or ACU patterns. On the other side, you may have dark colors such as woodland, MARPAT, German Flectarn, or OD. This makes it so much easier to identify who is on your side, and who isn't. This prevents friendly fire and allows team commanders to see the progress of their forces.
Another advantage, and the reason why we have camouflage, is to conceal our position from the enemy. Basic theory indicates that you can't shoot what you can't see. By making yourself harder to see in your environment, you make it more difficult for the enemy to pinpoint your position and fire on you. This is why most branches of the military have different camouflage uniforms for use in different environments. For example, if the marines were deployed to a tropical or heavily vegetated area, they would use their woodland MARPAT MCCUUs. In a desert environment, they may use the desert MARPAT MCCUUs, and for snow, they might use a snow patterned MARPAT MCCUU.
In the same way, you should dress yourself accordingly to the environment you're playing in. The same concept applies in airsoft. If you're playing in the woods, use a woodland type uniform. The digital patterns seem to work well. If you're playing in an urban environment, try to find something that will blend into the buildings. If you're playing indoors, try a dark color like black or dark blue and use the shadows to your advantage. However, remember that unless you're playing the role of a sniper, there's no reason for you to dress like one. This means, no ghille suits unless you really need one. Camouflage uniforms are meant for both utility and concealment. You need to be able to move if you are fired upon. This is a bit different from a sniper's role, who is to not move at all, or move very slowly.
One last consideration is the color and profile of your weapons. Even a sniper in full ghille can be discovered if their rifle is completely black. The profile of a gun or rifle is unmistakable. It's not a bad idea to blend and color your gear to your uniform. This is why colored furniture like grips and rail covers are such hot sellers. People understand the advantage of blending their weapons and their loadout. This doesn't mean you need to completely spray paint your M4 desert tan. A few colored parts of the gun will break up the profile of the gun. At a distance, your enemy will be unable to tell that it's a rifle. AIRSPLAT TECH TIPS - HOW TO TIE A TACTICAL SHEMAGH SCARF
Often times you'll have more than just your guns on the field. Special gear can include communications equipment like 2-way radios, to distraction devices like flashbangs. Depending on the style of play you are engaged in, some of these special tools can help significantly. In any organized game, radios are a must. A commander will not be able to direct his squad leaders to move their units into position without a line of communication. Radios and com devices are also a great tool when it comes to organizing ambushes and deploying advanced tactics.
Other special gear like grenades, land mines, claymores, flashbangs and launchers are also very useful when needed. In many scenario games, tanks are used. As a general rule, tanks cannot be taken out by small arms fire. This means you can't simply take it out by shooting at it with conventional airsoft guns, not even grenades. For this exact reason, the airsoft launcher was created. Its basically an adaptation from scenario paintball. These launchers, usually homemade, are created specifically to take on tanks. They shoot NERF projectiles such as foam footballs or rockets. These are a very effective tool in scenario play since they're the only thing you can use against tanks. Not every unit will have one, but there will be special support teams tasked with the exact purpose of tank busting.
Grenades and flashbangs are also great tools for team play. They are able to take out, or distract multiple targets at once. They can also be used to take out targets without exposing yourself to fire. For example, for room clearing, instead of putting yourself in danger of being hit, you can simply lob a grenade in there. Of course this is not a good practice for every single room you're clearing, but for the entries that you absolutely know there are hostiles inside, it's always safe to drop a grenade or flash bang prior to your entry. Most people try to avoid using grenades and flashbangs outdoors. They effectiveness is limited. You can always run away from a grenade in open space. Inside a room, its much more difficult to run anywhere, especially since the exit is where the grenade came from. Plus, many grenades have pieces that fall off upon detonation and can get lost.
Grenade launchers can also be pretty useful. However, like grenades, their effectiveness outdoors is limited. Sure it acts as a giant shotgun, putting out a lot of BBs in a general direction, but their range is limited. Indoors these are a very deadly tool. Imagine you have a team coming down a hall to your position. You don't want to expose yourself too much for fear of getting hit. You have no grenades on you. However, you have your trusty M203 mounted on your M4. Peek out the corner, and let a round off down the hallway. You're bound to tag at least one or two people.
All these special tools serve their own purpose. It is up to you to decide when and where you should employ their use.
Although "proper" grip is not as important with airsoft, at least not for accuracy and effectiveness, it is generally a good idea to use proper grip. First of all, you won't look like a newbie. Second, you'll be able to move more effectively and get on target much better with proper grip. And lastly, if you ever want to shoot real guns, proper grip with airsoft will help you out with the real thing as it will generate muscle memory. We'll show you the most basic styles of gripping your pistol or rifle.
We'll start with rifles. What seems to be most popular, due to the introduction of Magpul Dynamics, is the "thumbs forward" grip, much like the Modern Day Isosceles stance for a pistol (which we will get to). The image on the left demonstrates the proper grip according to this school of training. Some people prefer not to wrap their thumbs completely over the top, which is fine as well. This technique works well as it aligns your gun intuitively towards whatever you're pointing at. Another popular method is the magwell grip, shown here on the right. This method is good for keeping your hands tight to your body. The only downside is that for longer barrels, are a bit harder to control than a short barrel.
MAXSPLAT goes over the basics of Pistol Training and Positioning
Moving on to pistols, this is where most of the bad techniques arise. Many people who shoot airsoft pistols with improper grip often times bring their poor technique over to real shooting, resulting in very bad shots. Often times, you'll see people "tea cupping" their pistols. This leads to poor shooting habits and overall inefficient and ineffective shooting. It's called "tea cupping" because it looks like you're about to have a cup of tea, holding the saucer underneath the cup and all. Now the proper way to hold and shoot a pistol, for the most part, is the modern day isoceles stance. Instead of the uneven stance of the obsolete tea cup position, this stance puts you square with your target. This means your shoulders and feet are perpendicular to your line of sight, facing your target. It also works off of the "thumbs" forward principle, again, for intuitive and instinctive pointing. It also allows you to get much more of your hands on the surface of the gun. This results in better recoil management for much faster follow up shots and muzzle control. The only downside of this technique, is that it teaches you to have your arms nearly at full extension. This can be a problem in extremely tight spaces. However, since it is a pistol, 95% of the time, you should be fine using this technique just about anywhere. For those 5% of instances, an alternative method is Paul Castle's Center Axis Relock system, or "CAR". The CAR system has been adopted by many law enforcement agencies. It focuses on keeping your pistol close to your body for maximum weapon retention and mobility. There are four firing positions from within this technique: High, Combat High, Extended, and Apogee. Check out the picture on the left from left to right for examples. In the world of real firearms and tactics, many say that this bladed stance, where you have your weak shoulder pointed towards your target, exposes the unprotected areas of those wearing armor. However, this stance is perfect for airsoft. The bladed stance allows for a smaller profile, meaning you're a smaller target. Of course, armor is not a big deal in airsoft, since if you're playing it right, it doesn't matter where you get hit. If taught properly, the CAR system can also allow the user to switch from strong side to weak side without rotating your body, resulting in a much quicker response to a threat coming from opposite of your line of sight. Of course, all these techniques are just suggestions and tips for you to use on the field. It is up to you to decide which method you should employ in the given situation or scenario.
When placed in a force on force situation, in order to prevent getting hit, you need to get behind cover. The term cover means just that, something that "covers" you, shielding you from enemy fire. However, not all cover and barricades are created equal. Some are big, some are small, some are cars, some are walls. The point is, with any piece of cover, you need to know how to get behind it completely, and how to keep yourself from being exposed to enemy fire. The majority of the time, you will be in the standing shooting position. This is the most basic, and most frequent position. This simply means you're shooting from a standing position, both feet on the ground. Now lets say you're now outside, and there is a low wall, maybe as high as your waist. For obvious reasons, the standing position is no longer a viable option for sufficient cover. This will put you in the crouched or kneeling position of fire. Now if you have an even lower barricade, you can try the urban prone, which is another gem from Magpul Dynamics. In the all to common occasions when there are no barricades at all, the prone positon is the way to go. Why not the urban prone? The urban prone puts your body on the ground sideways. This leaves your entire side of your body exposed to enemy fire. The standard prone position makes you a much smaller target. Again, these are simply tools on getting the job done, and staying in the game.
Moving With Your Weapon
Now if you're doing it right, the only time your sights are lined up is when you have a target you're actively engaging. When moving with your weapon, inexperienced players will want to keep that constant state of alertness a little too much. Walking around with the gun sighted is not only inefficient, but it can be dangerous. To sight down your sights, you need to be focused. This can make you unaware of your surroundings, other than that is in front of you. Your arms and weapon may also be blocking your view of the ground in front of you, causing accidental trips and slips. The two best ways to maneuver around with a weapon are the high ready and low ready. High ready means you have the rifle off your shoulder, with your muzzle pointing up. This is the more comfortable of the two positions. Then again, in high-risk sittuations, your muzzle or barrel may obstruct your view. In this case, the low ready is preferable. The low ready allows you to keep the muzzle pointed down, while having the stock on your shoulder as you move. This allows you to bring it up very quickly, and will not obstruct your view. Each method has its benefits, and you should learn to use both methods to fit your needs in a given situation.