It’s been my experience that just about every male under the age of 30 today has played a first or third person shooter on some sort of console. Because of this, many new airsoft players enter the sport with unrealistic expectations and some quit because airsoft doesn’t live up those expectations. While games and airsoft are both types of “pretend” wars, they are far from the same experience.
Teams vs. Individuals
Are you really ever on a team in the majority of shooting games? My thought is yes, you may be in on a team but you are not really part of a team. Think about it; do all members of the team work together, using unit tactics and supportive fires to accomplish their objectives? Very rarely! Most often all your gathering points is on an individual basis, with very limited scoring according to how you helped out your team.
In contrast, in airsoft everything is team based. With the exception of some “free” or “open” games I would say you are at a significant disadvantage if you wander off by yourself rather than sticking together. In Milsim this is even more so! Milsim games have specific objectives for specific teams. You are scored on whether (or not) your team accomplished the objective given and nothing more. No kill counts, no multikills, no jet strikes to call in. There’s a big difference.
Going back to gaming, in it your character has freedom to run, walk, sprint, stand, crouch, go prone, and sometimes a few more movements. In real life, there are infinitely more ways you can move and manipulate your body- both while on patrol and in a firefight. It takes time to learn how to use this increased maneuverability to your advantage and how to integrate tactics- such as noise and light discipline, hand signals, radio communications and navigation- effectively.
How often will you find yourself in a squad formation in a mainstream shooting game? If you want to make the most of being part of a team, then you’ll need to learn how to fight as part of one. The old cliche of “There is no “I” in “Team” rings true here; It is much more complex than simply moving in a group and everyone shooting the bad guys.
A Comparison of the Gear Weights
In video games I can carry a lightweight machine gun with 400 rounds, a pistol, a grenade and 6 anti tank mines with no effect on my movement speed. This equates to over 200lbs pounds of gear in real life! Imagine the difference! Even more unrealistic is the fact that I don’t have to learn any of the different weapons in the game as they all use the same exact control buttons. In real life it takes months to master a single firearm let alone the numerous types and styles of weapons available on games today. Are you having a light-bulb moment yet?
Important: You do not need to be a master of multiple weapons to be effective in airsoft! I see too many players toting extra weapons and devices that they have little to no practice with. This is painful to the eyes! If you are going to carry a gun, practice with it at real engagement distances before fielding it.
You Can Do It!
I realize that this may all be a little overwhelming – and that’s okay. Today there are resources out there that I would’ve loved to have when I started airsoft that can bring you up to speed quite quickly. In the same way that you memorized all the maps and what gun is best for each of them on your favorite game, you will also learn how to be effective in airsoft if you seek out the knowledge and then use it. Don’t forget, even the most experienced players started out with absolutely no knowledge at one time or another.