Are you new to airsoft or looking to improve your game? You've come to the right place! In this article we will discuss common airsoft tactics players use to enhance how they play.
Check them out and read more below:
Tactic #1: Switching Weapons
I would say this is probably more of a concept than a tactic, but it can be a tactic too. For the totally new players, they often ask us while shopping for their first gun if they need a pistol or what not. For outdoor fields and many indoor fields, your primary gun (a rifle) should be enough.
There may be safety rules in place that state you cannot engage within a certain distance just to maintain safety. They may allow you to use a pistol up close since those are lower in power comparatively. Some places, particularly indoor fields, might have a bang-bang rule or surrender rule which means you can take a player out without having to fire a shot at point-blank range.
That way you don't have to run a different weapon or also not hurt someone badly. So our answer to that is, if it is within your means it can certainly help your experience, but no it is not often required. If you do get one, or carry something else as a secondary, you will have to make sense of how to run it otherwise it will hinder you.
When it comes to switching weapons, this can be considered not only a tactic but a skill set you should add to your tool bag. First of all, if you are of the belief that carrying a pistol or another gun as a backup in case your main one fails then being proficient at switching guns is going to be beneficial.
With that comes some problem-solving because things get tricky when you are fumbling over yourself. If your secondary is a pistol, a good holster is definitely in order. Drawing from the holster whilst slinging your primary and keeping it out of the way is going to be a split-second difference and could mean you getting shot in the game or maybe scoring a sweet kill when the opportunity strikes.
Your primary weapon ideally should have a sling that you can operate smoothly so that you can get the gun out of the way fast. A single-point sling might be good for these quick situations although won't be as secure, but that might be preferred for convenience. A two-point sling will be better at keeping the weapon out of the way and on your body, but the extra sling material in your way means you have to treat it differently when reaching for your secondary. Your secondary isn't limited to just pistols by the way.
It could be a grenade launcher or maybe a compact rifle or SMG even. You could be running a bolt action sniper rifle and an AEG too, for example.
Switching weapons as a tactic is another thing to consider. If you watch a lot of Youtube snipers for example, you'll see a spring-powered bolt action rifle and a gas pistol of some sort, usually a non-blowback with a mock suppressor. Why do they choose this combination?
Well, for these players, though they are primarily going to shoot at people from long range, stealth is a key component to their gameplay. And often times in the field, especially smaller ones, the battlefronts can shift rapidly and one safe position you stay in could easily become contested. Snipers usually have an MED (minimum engagement distance) to play safely, so they cannot engage with their sniper rifle if someone gets too close.
Not to mention sometimes a sniper rifle isn't conducive to quick and rapid engagements compared to an AEG or even a pistol. So if airsoft snipers suddenly find themselves surrounded they will go to their pistols. Some use non-blowback pistols. Why? Some NBB pistols are pretty quiet relative to a full gas blowback pistol.
So while they can engage people, their primary concern is to be sneaky in doing so. Not only that but if they can get some kills without blowing their cover they can go back to picking off people with their sniper rifle in no time.
DMR players face the same problem. They might have an MED they have to work with or let's say you are trying to clear a building. All of a sudden your M16 with a really long barrel extension is going to be very hard to work with and a pistol or something small is going to be what's needed.
These are just things for your consideration if you want to carry a second weapon in the field. There are many reasons to do it and if you do it right and work your skills it will be rewarding. Do it wrong and it can only hinder you with the burden of extra weight, added clumsiness, and adds no value. This could also enhance or add different flavors to your gameplay especially if you are a ranged player.
Tactic #2: Move and Suppress
The tips and tricks we provide are for the intent of being used for fun when playing airsoft out in the field. Real world tactics can translate into airsoft but sometimes not necessarily the other way around, so take it all with a grain of salt and do not attempt anything in a professional setting. Seek real training for that kind of stuff. For us, we're doing airsoft. So let's begin.
Mindset: Get good but also have fun
Our series in tactics is designed to help airsoft players develop and improve your game. Personal matters such as ones marksmanship, physical fitness, and attitude are internal factors that you have to work on yourself and we can't do that for you over the internet. But what we can do is improve your perception of the sport of airsoft and how you can play the game better with others and have yourselves a great time.
So if you have been following our blogs and videos, we have been slowly introducing small bits of tactics that anybody can work on in the airsoft field. As long as you are making friends you will be able to attempt this type of stuff in the field. Be sure that you are amicable about it though, no one likes to be bossed around on the airsoft field either. If you find yourself with some random players who are people you can get along with on the spot to do an objective, then this might be a great time to try and work on certain tactics. You don't even need a team to try it, and no one ever gets mad at a random teammate if that person is working their butt off and hustling to try and win.
If you remember some of the previous tactics videos and blogs we did, you’ll remember we have covered the use of semi auto and full auto and the idea of having battle buddies. Consider that basic bit of information a foundation or building blocks to move into more advanced topics such as suppressing and moving. All these little concepts build upon each other and allow you to try more advanced stuff down the line.
So using a suppress and move tactic is for when you want to bring the fight to your opposition or to take an objective or new position. You are now breaking from your concealment or cover to accomplish this.
Again, going back to our battle buddies tips, when you want to pull something like this off, you’re going to need to plan it out, communicate it with your group, and then execute. So for example, let's say that our objective is to take a particular building or zone.
You have gathered some battle buddies or random people on your team who want to go for this. Some people will have to volunteer to provide the suppressing fire and others will be the one to move. You may have opponents inside a building or around it. With the suppressing fire, you can hopefully deny them the opportunity to fire back at you by keeping their heads down.
And by keeping them preoccupied, your moving element can get into position to assault the target. It is preferable Your team composition is better served with a person with an LMG due to their ability to lay down more sustained fire and ammo capacity, however even a bunch of rifles will work for the same purpose.
So once you’ve established who is doing what, you all need to execute. The plan crumbles very quickly if people don't commit. At the same time, this is airsoft, so dying in a game is not the worst thing in the world so why not go all out?
So while your buddy or buddies lay down that suppressing fire, the assault element need to move, whether it is to bound to the next piece of cover or straight to the objective. Remember that the person who volunteers to provide the suppressing fire is laying down fire and burning through their ammunition to make sure that the rest of the group can advance so the assaulting element should not hesitate or stall on their movement. Be decisive and deliberate with your actions.
Consider the amount of ammo your suppressing teammate has as your window of opportunity to pull off this little maneuver.
Take too long and they will have to reload and that stalls your plan a great deal, and that is enough opportunity for the other team to return fire and take out some of your team. It isn't necessarily the team with the best players or the best gear that wins so much as it is the resolve of the players. We see this over and over again at the field, even from totally new players using only rental equipment.
Keep in mind that the overwhelming volume of fire should keep their heads down or score some hits, both of which are a positive result for our purposes which is to win the game.
There’s not much more to it than that. It’s very simple and you can try it with your battle buddies or even random teammates that you get teamed up with for a pickup game. Good luck and have fun out there.
Tactic #3: Taking Down a Bunker
Welcome readers! Today we're going to talk about some basic tactics you can try out on the field. Today we will talk about how to take a bunker, although this can be applied to any position or field feature of strategic importance.
I've been playing airsoft for a long time and during the peak of my airsofting career I've attended numerous large scale operations, not just in the US but internationally too. I had trained very hard with my team, Swamp Fox 12, and try to instill the same work ethics into Fox Platoon, a local program I had created in my local airsoft community here in Parker to create some of the best players.
Taking down a strategic location takes a couple of things that are important to any situation. And that is to plan, communicate, and execute.
We're going to generalize a little bit here because we are speaking from experience and observation of players at our own local field, FAF Airsoft here in Parker, Colorado. We are by no means infantry tactics experts and there is certainly more than one way to assault an objective so we'll just give you the basics of it based on our anecdotal perspective.
Your squad leader or some player you trust will usually make a call to take down a bunker in front of you. That role could befall you in the middle of the game or you can take the initiative and try to drive your teammates to victory. Whoever that person will be, the "leader" will pick a few teammates nearby to support this action. Some will be charged with providing a solid base of fire and others will be tasked with moving.
The plan and everyone's responsibilities need to be communicated clearly and quickly. You're in the middle of the game and there are a bunch of things going on so it is important to make sure everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing.
When you put the plan into motion, everyone involved should be committed to carrying the assault. The number one thing we see of failed maneuvers in an airsoft game is when people don't commit and all of a sudden only one person is charging the bunker and then getting lit up by a ton of BBs as a result. Be sure you are doing this with your friends and not just getting upset at random players in your team who may be more casual or more passive than you. Everyone should still be having fun and getting them involved the right way goes a long way. Just the same, this is just a game and dying in airsoft is part of it. Don't take it too seriously. Respawn and repeat your assault until you wear down your opposing force. This is an old tactic of Fox Platoon. Even when our plan is not very solid, our persistence allowed us to overcome our opponents, even if they had every tactical advantage.
Example of an Assault
Let's put the plan-communicate-execute procedure into an example.
- Team leader calls for volunteers to take a bunker. Volunteers present themselves. The team leader assigns a few teammates to provide a base of fire. The rest will be pushing once this base of fire is established. It may be handy to find players who carry the most ammo and have a gun that can sustain good volume of fire such as a SAW. This will keep the occupants of the bunker suppressed while an assaulting element moves forward.
- The team leader communicates with everyone to make sure that they know what their role in this manuever is. Once ready, the team leader will issue to execute command.
- The players will execute their respective roles. The players providing covering/suppression fire will shoot as much as needed to allow their teammates to advance. The advancing teammates will push as quickly as needed meanwhile dispatching anything that pops up along the way. You may lose some teammates in the process but it is important to persist and push on through otherwise your plan will fail.
If your teammates get wiped out, respawn and try again. You will eventually cause your enemies to deplete their batteries and ammo by wearing them down so as long as you keep respawning, they have to keep repelling your assaults. Sooner or later, their appetite to hold the position will wane and you will overcome them.
- Your team leader may want to get a grenade into the bunker. It is hard to throw if you are taking fire so the team leader will ask for some teammates to provide a base of fire while someone with a grenade or grenade launcher will send a grenade into that bunker.
- Once again the roles are communicated, with the important task being assigned to the person carrying the grenade or grenade launcher.
- The team leader gives the signal and everyone performs their part. If the throw is good, hopefully you will have eliminated the players occupying the bunker. If not, you will have at least softened up the target for a conventional advance.
And that is the gist of how to take a bunker. I have to reiterate once more that more than anything, airsoft is about having fun so don't take winning so seriously that you are not having fun yourself, nor are you causing other players to have a bad time. With that being said, committing to a plan even if it is pretty simple will be the difference in taking that objective or not. If it does not work, keep throwing bodies at it and you should eventually wear out your enemies position (in a respawn mode game). This might not be advisable in a single elimination game.
Tactic #4: Drawing Fire
In a game where we're all shooting at each other and survival can be important to winning and scoring in the game, it might seem counter-intuitive to stand there to get shot.
Today we're gonna talk about drawing fire. There are two disclaimers I want to make before we begin on this tactics video: 1) this video discusses ideas to use in airsoft, and as such, there is a strong disconnect from reality since we're not going to permadie as a consequence. 2) our videos and blogs are for entertainment purposes only.
There are many differing opinions and ideas out there and we welcome you to check them all out with the main objective being to have fun. Alright, let's get started.
Today we will be talking about a risky maneuver that can be utilized in airsoft and that is drawing fire. Drawing fire means you are acting as a focal point for your enemies to attack and you are using this as a means to draw attention away from another element of your team. This can free up your buddies to maneuver around your enemy, retreat away from your enemy, or create just enough of a distraction for them to push an objective.
Just like in video games or if you have seen speedball/SpeedQB type players, you can run and gun and do all kinds of stuff, throwing caution to the wind, mainly because in a game where we can respawn it's okay to try things like this.
The fun of airsoft is, although it can offer a sense of realism, you can suspend your disbelief and just play it as a big video game and try things that may or may not have a real world tactical value. Exposing yourself to draw fire is one of those tactics.
That sounds simple enough but this is a high-risk move. Although the reward to pulling this off might be lucrative and win you the game, you have to do it right to get results. I'm not saying the success rate of this is very high either. The use of this tactic is purely situational.
Commitment from the player or players acting as the bait as well as commitment from the players you are drawing attention away from are key here. If you concern yourself too much with self preservation you might not sell yourself as a good target to the enemy and your buddies can still get lit up.
So how do we do all that? I'll assume you have a leader in your group, if not, you can try it with some random players and see if they want to try. I've done it both with my team and with random players with good success making the payoff worth it each time. Again, going back to our previous videos for foundation, the key to working with people is to plan, communicate, and execute.
Let's pretend our scenario is to capture the flag. We have pushed up close enough to touch the flag but usually when there are that many eyes on the objective, it is hard to pull off quickly without getting shot and dying. I will let my buddy know I will be drawing fire and distracting the enemy while he can try and go for the flag. He should wait for my signal as I expose myself. I might even combine some suppressing fire in the mix to make it more dramatic. If it keeps heads down or draws attention towards me, then this will work out perfectly. If there are just too many eyes on the flag or too many angles to shoot at that your bait won't work, then it's probably best to not try it.
Setting yourself up to draw fire doesn't mean you have to be still. In fact, you don't have to be stationary to draw fire at all. In fact, you could be moving bait for your enemies and it could prove to be useful. For example, say you and your friend are pinned down and being watched. Perhaps your buddy has a DMR or sniper, something scoped that gives him a range advantage for your squad. But just like you, he is also pinned down. You could consider drawing fire by running to another piece of cover to distract your opponent long enough to buy your buddy time to shoot back.
When is it not a good idea to do this? That is all dependent on the objective of the game modes. Except for helping your team pushing out or around the map, doing this on a normal skirmish/team deathmatch won't do much for you personally especially if the enemies keep respawning in big numbers.
It also doesn't work when there are just too many guns covering the area and stifling your movements. But that isn't to say it's useless. Again, you'll have to exercise some judgment and decide if risking you or your buddy's neck is worth it.
Tactic #5: Squad Communications
Have you ever worked within a squad, whether it be in an airsoft game or maybe even a video game, and your buddy is asking for help but he is confusing the crap out of you with unclear directions? This can be frustrating and I KNOW we've all experienced it at some point. Maybe you're that buddy in my story and you just don't care to admit it...
Today our topic of discussion is communication with your squad. You can have the best gear, a gung-ho attitude, and a well conceived plan but if you can't communicate properly with your team you're going to get wrecked regardless.
The owners of Fox Airsoft and a few of their closest friends were part of a team called Swamp Fox 12 and their dedication to being a well disciplined team really showed when they played at many national ops and taking some titles at some competitive events. I myself was not a part of that team but having played alongside and against some of them, I can see where that communication and clarity come into play. What I observed I want to bring to whatever squad I play in. So even when I hop in and play alongside random players at our local field, the players who communicated properly to their teammates always had a clear advantage over a disjointed team of people who just did their own thing. While I formally don't play on a team myself these days, having the opportunity to play pickup games very frequently has taught me that even as I play alongside more casual players, my teams can STOMP the other team if given some direction backed up by some commitment from my teammates. Keep in mind, leadership is not about barking orders or making players feel bad or feeling superior to the people around you. It's really more about making everyone better. Don't forget this is a game and don't take it too seriously either.
Giving your teammate a clear message will allow them to have an advantage over the enemy player. If your teammate is acting on bad or unclear info, your opponent will get the drop on them.
If you want to elevate your game, improving your communication is just one of the things you can do to get better. This all stems from brevity and clarity.
- Brevity - be quick in delivering the information
- Clarity - deliver the information with accuracy
The most common place I see this break down both in airsoft and team based games is when you are being surprised by the enemy, or see a juicy target. Most people just say "guy over there!" leaving you confounded much of the time as to where is there, what are you looking for and so on. By the time you figure out where "there" is, the other squad will have already opened up on you. Especially in the heat of an ambush where you are taking fire and your squad is getting hit, if the guys who are alive know what is going on, they need to spit out the information so you can lay down a base of fire to repel the attack.
Quick and clear communication will allow your buddies to spot the enemy faster and avoid getting ambushed.
In terms of relaying information on a target, in the spirit of brevity and clarity you really only need to know a few key pieces of information.
- What you see
- Direction - in relation to your squad, though you can take liberties if your team agrees on how this should be handled
Number 1 is what type of thing you see. This is important to let your teammates know the urgency of this message. If you are sneaking around, there is a huge difference between telling your buddies you are making contact (a fight is initiating) or you simply see an enemy (enemy spotted). On the latter scenario you could opt to sneak around or set up a proper ambush. You can agree upon your own terminology for these details if you want to put this into practice with your squad mates.
So what a good call lout looks like is: "Contact! 20 meters! Front!" "Full squad, 100 yards! West!"
In a video game they might give you a compass with numbers indicating bearings. This number is handy if your squad is all close by and can be more accurate sometimes than a simple direction. You can practice this in slower paced games, tactical games, and squad based battle royale games too.
In video games maybe it might be quicker to reference a landmark that everyone recognizes. For example: "enemy spotted, watch tower, 50 meters east", "hospital roof, 3 enemies spotted".
These are good to practice and become better with. Your team can react and understand each other better and this will enhance your abilities compared to your average player.
Give these a try, let us know how they work out. We are not a be-all end-all authority on the subject so please take this as information and entertainment purposes only. Have fun out there and stay safe and we'll catch you next time.
Cover vs. Concealment
Hey guys, welcome back for another edition of airsoft tactics. Today we’ll be talking about concealment vs. cover. The concept is pretty similar to fighting tactics in real life, but there are some small exceptions because we are adapting that thinking to airsoft.
In real gunfighting terms, the difference between cover and concealment is easy. If it doesn’t stop a bullet, it is merely concealment. In airsoft, if it doesn’t stop a BB, it is only concealment. Obviously a BB doesn’t have the penetrating capability of a bullet so there is a wider abundance of field features will pass for real cover against BBs.
What are some examples of cover vs. concealment?
One thing to note about concealment is that if you are hiding behind something, it does little to stop incoming fire. You can return fire too but things such as bushes and other shrubbery would deflect some of your outgoing fire which will make your probability to hit very low. Your best bet here is to use concealment to buy you that second to find some real cover if you don't get hit. If you sit there for too long, the other player will eventually get you so find real cover if you get spotted. Moving through concealment is infinitely better than moving out in the open though so don’t forget that when you are bounding to an objective or seeking cover.
If you are an airsoft sniper, chances are that much of your time will be spent shooting from cover or concealment. It would be too obvious to be taking your shots out in the open. Wearing good camouflage or enhancing your loadout with some sort of ghillie suit will be your own type of concealment too because being harder to spot is just as good because you aren't taking fire and that gives you the upper hand.
Being economical with your movements when you are in your hide is one way to stay hidden. Our eyes naturally tune into movement so being still and silent will be a sniper's concealment.
- Hay bail
Cover in airsoft is anything that can protect you against BBs and keeps you out of enemy visibility. This can be buildings, pieces of furniture, sandbags, bunkers, walls, and trees. Keeping a low profile is important to not getting spotted and gives you the advantage in being able to fire first. Your body type, the bulkiness of your gear, and how you utilize your cover will be important things you should learn along the way. Another thing is how you stand behind your cover as you set up your shot. You'll notice the better sniper style players avoid poking the muzzle of their rifle out from beyond their cover. If you have the space behind your cover to do so, this should make it harder for people to spot you in other angles.
Keeping your body nice and tight to your cover helps so that you don't flag yourself by exposing a limb which can get shot, such as your knee. It take some practice and you would be surprised at how easy it is to spot another player just by having a bit of their body showing
Being able to adapt your shooting technique, grip, and stance can aid in this. This is where being able to shoot off your weak side pays off and worth trying next time you are out playing. If you watch dedicated CQB players on Youtube, they master this as well as all the other aforementioned aspects because the pace of CQB and the distance that players close in on each other is very short, so your reaction and quick positioning is paramount and not flagging yourself keeps you in the game longer.
So you see, mastering the art of utilizing cover and concealment is important for all types of players. It doesn't matter if you are into milsim, CQB, or anything else, the fighting principals are universal.
Even at our local field, FAF Airsoft in Parker, CO, we have a variety of sections of our field that play differently from one another and the best players are quick to adapt. Our field has a CQB section, an urban field, and a large outdoor field so you will see different styles of players interact as well as different types of guns being used.
Tactics, technique, and play styles do change or evolve over time just the way it would in real world fighting. So don't take any one source as the definitive answer but instead draw from numerous schools of thinking and get out there and put some of that to practical application to see what works. If you have anything interesting to share or add we'd love to hear about it! Drop some comments below, maybe we'll turn it into a video of another kind one day!
Tactic #7: The Designated Marksman
Today's blog will be about playing a designated marskman role within your team. We’ve talked about designated marksman rifles (DMRs) as far as equipment goes as well as gave a brief overview of the role in a previous segment. If you’re curious about that you can check back on our previous video and blog.
When you go to your local airsoft field or event, you will be put into a role by default based on how your gun is modified and performs based on the rule set used by your local field or event host. At our local field for example, we have a DMR restrictions built around guns that shoot at up to 2 Joules, compared to the 1.5 Joule limit we have set for riflemen. With the DMR you are allowed that higher velocity, but your gun must be incapable of full auto fire and you must use a magnified optic. You also are required to observe a 75 foot minimum engagement distance (MED) as a courtesy to other players and for safety sake. If you must engage within that distance, you are required a sidearm or another gun that fits within rifleman limits.
Compared to your normal sniper role, the DMR offers a good hybrid of extended range play with some ability to assault objectives. You deliver accurate fire over volume compared to your teammates.
If you build your gun up nicely or have a nice shooting one with just some minor upgrades, you can enjoy fast, crisp, semi-auto laying down accurate fire for your team. One reason we have a magnified optic rule at our local field is because we don’t want to allow someone to play with an inappropriate airsoft gun that takes advantage of DMR velocity benefits and just using it as a platform to spam semi-auto shots. Some guns have really fast semi auto that rivals full auto so we have to draw the distinction there to keep people from breaking game balance. Other venues might enforce the weapon style for DMR classes to maintain a level of immersion for their patrons.
So how does one play the DM for their team?
So let’s say you’re playing with a group where everyone’s gun is pretty much stock or close to the field limit for a rifleman. It’s great to have rifleman class players who are flexible and can be the jack-of-all-trades around because these people will be the tip of the spear for your team. These people will push the objective during a game, deliver suppression, and do other things that your MED prevents you from doing. However, as a designated marksman, your job is to give them support from a distance to make all that happen. The whole point of playing a designated marksman at an airsoft game is 1) you prefer to have more range than your normal players and 2) you don’t mind trading away your full auto capability to get that extra edge. (Or perhaps you are lazy and want to hang back!) MEDs can vary from field to field so check with your venue what their rules and restrictions are before you start purchasing or modifying your equipment.
The first thing you can do is help observe. With a magnified optic you can see further than your teammates and you can call out threats and objectives being moved upon so your team can react. That type of information is very helpful for your team and having that edge can help you crush your opponents.
Another thing you can do is extend the range of your fireteam. You don’t have to have a legitimate team or group you play with. In this instance, you might find some teammates pinned down or trapped. You as the designated marskman can easily help them push up and take more ground with your rifle. That extra bit of range might be enough to outclass your opponents who were keeping your teammates down. If I’m playing a designated marksman, I always find opportunities like this to help out. Likewise, if I am embedded in a group of players and we’re not making progress, I will often single out someone on my team who has the setup that can get us that edge and ask them to put down some accurate fire.
One more thing you can do is provide overwatch. That means you can cover your teams advance as they push up. Or you can watch over an area while your team is trying to accomplish an objective. Since you have your MED you can’t be pushing up that close anyway, but you should be able to form yourself a nice perimeter.
Playing this role, there are many subtle nuances you have to be mindful of like MED and equipment modifications. I think if you put yourself in a position to help your team win rather than just kill farming, I think this style of gameplay is very rewarding in its own right and certainly worth giving a go.