Much like choosing your first airsoft gun, picking a specific role to play during airsoft skirmishes is an important decision to make.
This is especially true if you’re planning on joining a highly competitive team which employs specific tactics throughout the skirmish.
Experienced teams will decide on specific roles for individual players to adopt based on a range of factors including their preferences, skills, weight and experience.
For instance, smaller, more agile players can have the potential to succeed in a Recon role as they will be able to sneak around the combat zone and move between cover points more easily than bigger, taller players.
If you’re still undecided on which role is best for you, read this guide to gain a better insight into the world of airsoft roles.
The Rifleman position is up first because, quite simply, it’s the most common position found in any airsoft game.
Riflemen are responsible for pushing their team’s advance through the game both geographically and progressively and are also tasked with completing objectives which is crucial in MilSim. Due to their range of duties, players must be consistently versatile and adaptive in order to succeed.
As their name suggests, these players will rely predominantly on one weapon: the rifle. Assault rifles are typically used due to their appealing medium to long distance effective range and reasonable portability.
The position is open to people of all dispositions and body types and, as they are regularly on the frontline, players can expect to experience frequent, intense engagements with enemy players.
At the opposite end of the spectrum (and the battlefield) is the sniper.
These players can expect a much different experience throughout the game as they will often be situated far away from enemy players in comparison to their frontline teammates.
Snipers rely on remaining hidden for the duration of the game and also act as an additional form of recon as their unique view of the game and equipment allow them to more easily spot opposition in the distance.
Snipers will commonly utilise both a sniper rifle and a secondary weapon (often a pistol) to allow them to engage in close quarters combat, should the situation present itself. This is because, whilst sniper rifles are the perfect long distance weapon, they are much less effective at short range.
More serious players may adorn themselves with highly camouflaging attire called “ghillie suits” which are comprised of various materials, such as leaves and twigs, to help disguise the wearer amongst their surroundings.
Snipers will typically spend long periods of time observing the area and planning their next shot, so players should be patient and methodical in order to be successful.
Perhaps even more stealthy than snipers, scouts are the “invisible” players in the field in that their primary responsibility is to remain undetected by the opposition for as long as possible – ideally the entire game.
This is because scouts are deployed in order to gain reconnaissance information on the opposition, find out their tactics and location and then relay this back to their own team.
Naturally, smaller players who can run for extended periods of time will be right at home here as they can manoeuvre around the battlefield easily and, if spotted by the enemy team, can use their size and agility to reduce the likelihood of being hit.
Scout’s weapons will reflect their duties and, therefore, many will utilise smaller weapons such as SMGs, PDWs and pistols.
A support gunner is a relatively unique position in airsoft.
This position involves the use of large weapons and high capacity magazines in order to provide suppressive fire on enemy positions. The main reason for this is to “support” other players on the team, namely Rifleman.
Continued suppressive fire will cause enemy players to remain in cover for longer and be more hesitant about changing positions for fear of getting shot. This allows other frontline troops to push forward, eliminate the opposition and complete the next objective.
Support Gunners utilise weapons such as LMGs (light machine guns) due to their ability to fire large amounts of BBs continuously and, as a result, players need to be strong enough to hold these weapons over long periods of time.
Particularly in larger games, there can be a significant difference between a sniper and the other frontline troops. To solve this, the Designated Marksman role was created.
These troops still remain at the front of the battle, but are used to hit targets which are out of range of the rifleman’s standard issue equipment.
Much like their intermediary duties, a designated marksman is predominantly equipped with a weapon to reflect their middleman status: the Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR).
This eponymous firearm has an effective range between an assault rifle and a sniper rifle and is much smaller and lighter than most sniper rifles.
This is important for a Designated Marksmen as they will need to be moving around the combat zone regularly, unlike Snipers who often remain in the same location.
Grenadiers use a range of explosive devices in order to both eliminate the opposing team and provide tactical advantages to their team.
The three main types of grenades used in airsoft are fragmentation grenades, smoke grenades and flashbangs. Players can choose to throw these by hand or, alternatively, can make use of an underslung attachment or even a standalone grenade launcher (GL).
Fragmentation grenades are filled with BBs which are then released from the container upon detonation. These are predominantly utilised to clear rooms or bunkers due to their large BB capacity but can also be employed as a scare tactic.
Smoke grenades, are non-lethal explosives which emit large plumes of (often colourful) smoke. This thick fog spreads across the battlefield for several minutes before disappearing and is used to provide temporary cover for friendly players and facilitate flanking movements.
Finally, flashbangs are another non-lethal option which is, instead, used to hinder the enemy’s targeting ability. The explosion causes a loud bang which can disorient enemy players and also provide a distraction by manipulating their point of focus if used correctly.
Depending on the size of the game, teams may not include each and every one of these roles but understanding the uses of each is important for when larger skirmishes permit the use of more specialist positions.
The intelligent allocation of roles to specific players is another tool to add to your arsenal which can give you an advantage over less organised teams.