Airsoft for Under 16s - How to Run with the Big Dogs
So, you’re interested in getting into airsofting but you’re young and you have no clue where to begin. In this blog we’ll let you know step-by-step what you should be doing to prepare for your first game, how to help your parents understand the sport, the costs of the game and how to act when you’re on the field.
Before you get too carried away, it’s important that you understand the sport, what it’s all about and whether it’s right for you. After all, there’s no use in putting all the effort in only to find out that the sport isn’t what you thought it was.
Airsoft is a kind of sport known as “war gaming” and “combat simulation”. Players dress (for the most part) in military accurate clothing and teams engage in combat with each other using Imitation Firearms that shoot plastic BBs. Combat can be outdoors in woodland or in a more urban or indoor setting, with engagement distances ranging everywhere between 5meters to 100meters.
The sport is focuses on honesty. Unlike paintball, when you are hit with a BB there is no visible mark that identifies you as ‘out’. It’s down to the honesty and integrity of the player to call themselves out by shouting “HIT” to signify their status. The player will then leave the game area to the respawn point.
Airsoft games vary from site to site; some sites may only allow you 1 life per game, some may allow infinite; some may require you to wait 10 minutes in the respawn area before entering the game again, some may allow you to respawn instantly. It’s entirely down to how they decide to run the game and site that day, all sites are different.
The games are often fast paced, stressful and physically intensive. They will require you to think quickly in intense situations, make you to think and act under pressure, and get your heart pumping.
Most airsoft sites will require players under the age of 18 to be accompanied by an adult during their game. Some may only require an adult to be present (on site whilst you play); some may require the parent to be with you at all times throughout the day, even whilst playing. Check with the site you intend to play at before arriving.
Getting parents on board
Getting your parents on-board with allowing you to play a military focused game in the company of strangers can be a difficult or simple task, depending on your parents. If your parents are sceptical or apprehensive about allowing you play, show them our recent blog titled “A Parent’s Guide to Airsoft” where we outline some of the important things they should understand about the sport (and things you should understand also), to help them understand it better.
There is nothing but positivity in the sport of airsoft. The game is focussed around fun, honesty and integrity. It keeps you active and builds an amazing sense of teamwork and social skills – in this sense it’s similar to a club like cubs, scouts, cadets etc.
Naturally, your parent’s may be more apprehensive about having to join you at airsoft themselves, just so that you can go. However, many sites will simply allow you to be accompanied by an adult. If you have an older sibling who’s over 18 or another family member, they can be your guardian for the day and your parent can stay safe at home.
Costs of airsoft
A great aspect of airsoft is that it’s not as expensive as paintball. However, if you’re young and without a job, the costs may still be daunting, so here’s some of the costs that you can expect on a day of airsofting and an average cost to expect. The specific costs should be clearly displayed by your local site on their website or social media pages, or can be found by contacting them directly.
Walk on fee – The walk on fee is the price that each person pays to play for the day. Think of it as your ticket to the site. The cost of this is often between £15 to £35.
Weapon Rental – Assuming that this is your first time airsofting and you don’t have any gear, you’re likely going to have to rent something to shoot with (the game is kind of boring without that part). The standard rental package is an electric airsoft gun with 1 high capacity magazine, limited ammunition, a battery, often some kind of overalls to wear and – most importantly – eye protection. This package will usually cost around £20-30 and may have a returnable deposit associated as well.
Ammunition – One of the greatest things about airsoft is how cheap the ammunition is. Paintball is the closest comparable sport and the ammunition costs close to £10 for 100 paintballs. In airsoft, you can expect to pay around £10 for 3000 – although typically they’re sold at £15 for 5000.
Key Hints for a new young player
If you’ve got this far, you’re probably pretty interested in getting into the field and laying down some fire. Before you go, understand these key hints to help you on the field, to have an enjoyable time, get treated like an adult, and to ensure you stay within the rules.
1.Always call your hits.
It’s a simple premise: if there’s even the slightest chance that you might have been hit by a BB, call the hit. It’s not worth the risk of cheating, annoying other players or risking getting kicked out.
2. Get stuck in
Throw yourself into the game with full gusto, enjoy the moment and don’t be afraid. The minor pain of being shot is minor and temporary, but the memories and enjoyment you have will last much longer. By getting stuck in, you become a valued member of the team.
3.Read the moment
If your team is patrolling and everyone is silent except you shouting and joking, it’s time to be quiet. Airsofters love a laugh and a joke but they also love the sport and the serious tactics behind it. Pay attention to when the group wants to laugh and when the group wants to play it serious.
4.You don’t have to take orders
Just because you’re the youngest, doesn’t mean that you have to be pushed around or ordered about. There’s very rarely an elected leader of the airsoft team, don’t be afraid to offer suggestions on tactics, strategy and routes of attack. However, if the group decides on a plan, respect that plan.
5.Listen and learn
One of the greatest qualities a new player can have is the willingness to learn and the attitude to listen. Pay attention; learn from the players that have been playing for years.