As with any sport, intermediate and experienced airsoft players can often use terminology which may be confusing for new starters to fully comprehend.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with feeling like a rabbit in the headlights at first, but you’ll need to brush up on your knowledge eventually to keep up the long term players.
134A Gas: A gas used by airsoft players to power their weapons. This gas is not as common as conventional “Green Gas” due to its reduced power; however, it can still be beneficial to players with cheaper weapons as well as for use in hot climates. This gas is a greenhouse gas and was banned from airsoft use in the Kyoto Protocol, however, Gun Gas 144a is an environmentally-friendly replacement.
AAR: After Action Review. Some games will include this post-game review in order to identify the strong and weak aspects of the skirmish in order to be more successful in the future.
AO: Area of Operation. This is the location where the airsoft game is going to take place.
AR: Assault Rifle. These weapons are commonly used by frontline troops due to their medium and long range capabilities.
ASG: Air Soft Gun.
Backspin: The spin applied to a BB from the hop up inside the airsoft gun.
Barrel: The long hollow tube in an airsoft gun which a BB is propelled out through (usually metal or plastic construction).
Battle Brief: Information disclosed to players prior to starting the game regarding the objectives, tactics and best practices.
BB: Small plastic pellets used in airsoft as ammunition. These are stored within a magazine along with a propellant gas and come in a variety of weights to cater for different guns, playing styles and gases.
Bore: The space inside a gun’s barrel.
Calibre: The diameter of a gun barrel.
Camping: A specific tactic whereby players will remain in certain location for an extended period of time in order to regularly engage with the enemy team.
Chronograph: A piece of equipment used to measure the velocity of a projectile. These are used to indicate the power of a gun and, to ensure measurements are consistent; the industry standard is to use 0.2g BBs.
CO: Commanding Officer.
CO2: Carbon Dioxide, a gas used by some players to power airsoft guns.
CQB: Close Quarter Battle.
Dead Man Walking: A player who has been hit and is in the process of leaving the combat zone.
DMR: Designated Marksmen Rifle, commonly used in medium to long distance combat.
Effective range: a term used to describe the distance (usually in yards) in which an airsoft gun can operate efficiently and land accurate shots with relative ease.
ETA: Estimated Time of Arrival.
Flank: To attack an enemy from the side as opposed to head on. This is a tactic employed by airsoft players to catch the opposition off guard.
FPS: Feet Per Second, the speed at which a BB travels when fired from the gun. This is a sign of a gun’s power. A higher FPS mean the shot will take less time reach the target.
Friendly Fire/”Blue on Blue”: This is used to describe and incident whereby a player accidentally shoots a member of his own team.
Full Auto: A rate of fire in which the gun will fire continuous shots until the trigger is released.
Gas Blowback Gun (GBB): An airsoft gun which features “blowback action”. This is common amongst many pistols with a slide at the top of its construction which “blows back” and then returns to its original position.
GL: Grenade Launcher. These weapons are used to fire a variety of grenades including fragmentation grenades and flashbangs and can come as either an underslung attachment or a standalone weapon.
Green Gas: A common gas used in airsoft to power guns, usually comprised of polysiloxane lubricant (silicone) and propane.
Hi-Cap or High Cap Magazine: This term describes a magazine which has the capacity to hold 300 or more BBs.
Honor System: A mutual ethos adopted amongst all airsoft players whereby anyone who has been hit must acknowledge this and leave the game area for the rest of the skirmish.
Hop-up: A mechanism located inside the barrel of an airsoft which applies backspin to the BB. This can be either increased or decreased in order to achieve varying levels of compensation for flatter trajectories and more accurate shots.
Laser Sight: an optional accessory which can be fitted onto most airsoft guns which projects a laser beam at the target (most lasers come in red and green variants). This addition is used to help players successfully target enemy soldiers and achieve more accurate shots.
LBV: Load Bearing Vest. A piece of combat attire which can hold items such as ammunition, small gas canisters and more.
LMG: Light Machine Gun. A heavy weapon which fires BB’s at a high FPS which is commonly used by support roles to suppress the enemy team.
Low-Cap Magazine: A term used to describe a magazine which has the capacity to hold 100 BBs or less.
Lubriant: A liquid which helps mechanical parts move without unwanted friction and improves the firing cycle of a gun.
Magazine: A container used to store both BBs and propellant gas which is inserted into the underside of a gun. This can sometimes be referred to as a “clip”.
Mid-Cap Magazine: A term used to describe a magazine which has the capacity to hold between 100-200 BBs.
MILSIM: Military Simulation. A specific type of airsoft game which is played in an environment designed to accurately replicate real military scenarios. Unlike some other skirmishes, players will have specific objectives to achieve and the games will usually end either once they have been completed or when a time limit has been reached.
Non Blow Back (NBB): Gas powered airsoft guns which do not feature the “blowback” action – for instance, a revolver.
Nub: This is the part of an airsoft gun’s hop-up mechanism which applies backspin to the BBs in order to improve their trajectories.
PDW: Personal Defence Weapon, used by many frontline troops and scouts. Similar to an SMG and also used for its portability and high rate of fire.
POI: The location on a player’s body where a BB has hit them.
Propellant Gas: A specially designed gas used to send a BB from inside the gun towards a target at high speeds.
Real Steel: Used to describe the real military equivalent of an airsoft replica gun. For instance, a true M16A4.
Respawn Point: A location where out of action players must wait until they are authorised to re-enter the game.
Respawn: This is a customary rule in many airsoft games and relates to what happens once a player is hit. Typically, players will make their way to a prearranged location and can re-enter the game after a certain amount of time has passed.
RIF: Realistic Imitation Firearm. A weapon designed to accurately replicate the look and feel of a real military weapon. These weapons are not able to fire conventional bullets or inflict serious harm on anyone.
RIS: Rail Interface System. An accessory mounted to the underside of a gun which allows for larger accessories to be integrated to the weapon’ construction.
ROF: Rate of Fire. Altering the ROF mode of a gun will change how the BBs are fired when the trigger is pressed. Different modes can include Semi-automatic (one shot per trigger pull), Burst Fire (2 or 3 shots per trigger pull) and Fully Automatic (the weapon will fire continuously until the trigger is released).
RPS/RPM: Rounds Per Second/Rounds Per Minute. This is a measure of the speed at which BBs are fired from the gun. A higher number will allow more BBs to be fired from the gun, meaning a higher chance of hitting an opponent but this will also mean magazines will expend ammunition more quickly.
Scope: An attachment used on many airsoft guns which allows for a player to see their target with increased magnification (players will appear “zoomed in”). This helps players achieve more accurate shots at longer distances and is especially beneficial for snipers and players using a Designated Marksman Rifle.
Semi Auto: A rate of fire in which each pull of the trigger fires one shot but no further shots are fired until the trigger is released and then pulled once more.
Single Action: A less common rate of fire in which a single trigger pull will fire one BB but the player must manually ready the gun for the next shot. Most airsoft guns will use Semi-Automatic; however this is still used in some weapons such as pistols and bolt-action weapons.
Skirmish: Another word for an airsoft game.
SMG: Sub Machine Gun – a weapon commonly used by frontline troops who require the most manoeuvrability due to their light weight and typically compact construction. They often feature fully automatic rates of fire and rounds per minute.
TANGO: A term often used for the enemy team.
Trajectory: The path a BB takes when propelled through the air. Players will strive to achieve the “flattest” possible trajectories, meaning shots are more accurate and less compensation is require from adjusting the hop.
UKARA: United Kingdom Airsoft Retailers Association – an organisation formed to help enable the safe selling of Realistic Imitation Firearms (RIFs)
Underslung: A word used to describe a weapon attachment which is attached to the bottom of a gun.
Upgradeability: The potential an airsoft gun has to have additional accessories installed, for instance, laser sights, scopes and underslung grenade launchers. Typically, larger weapons and those fitted with an RIS are more upgradeable than smaller arms such as pistols.
Velocity: The speed of a BB in a given direction.
Weaver Rail: An older rail system compared to the newer RIS standard featuring different sized notches.
Whilst you may not hear these terms used in every skirmish, it’s important to get to grips with how other members of your team may speak.
Many of these phrases are designed to allow players to communicate easily with one another and the use of abbreviations helps to keep conversations brief during the heat of battle.