Going into battle in airsoft means being fully prepared for anything and having the right gear is the best way to start.
For beginner airsofters wanting a successful match, you need to know about the essential equipment that this game requires and why exactly each piece matters so much.
What are the exact items you’ll need for airsoft and why are they so important?
To make assembling your gear easier, consider the general categories required to play airsoft, and then explore each of them further for a precise list of essentials. Protective gear, clothing, weapons, ammunition, and other accessories will all impact your performance and are the staples of a prepared airsoft player.
This guide can walk you through those categories and show you exactly what’s required, and what additional items could help your performance in a match if you choose to use them.
Being prepared is all a matter of having reliable gear and airsoft is a game where you want every piece to be reliable and have a purpose.
If you’d like to see a graphical breakdown of the essential airsoft gear, we got your covered:
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What Gear Do You Need For a Game of Airsoft?
Most people start out in airsoft by buying their weapon of choice and then building up the other essentials as they learn more about the game.
As a base, these are the items that you’ll need for a game of airsoft to play your best:
- Protective gear: A mask and eyewear are the most minimal protection you’ll require.
- Weapons: Have at least one main firearm and a sidearm if required.
- Weapon accessories: Sling and holster can make carrying and retrieving weapons easier.
- Ammunition: Adequate ammunition for the length of the match to cover every weapon.
- Clothing: Comfortable and durable clothing choices that cover as much skin as possible and protect against the weather.
- Additional gear: Some players bring along a compass, binoculars, food and water, or other miscellaneous items to a match.
Every game of airsoft is different and what’s required for each of them will differ.
To be a good airsoft player, you need to have a basic set of gear that will cover you for almost anything, and be prepared to equip yourself with more if it calls for it.
Just as every match is different, so too is every player, and what each of us requires might also be unique. Your age, body weight, skill level, position on a team, and how often you play can all determine different gear, but having the basic supplies ready to go will get you the best chance at success.
The Essential Protective Gear
Assuming that an airsoft gun can’t do serious damage isn’t smart, and your protective gear is the most crucial thing you’ll rely on in this game.
The force of an airsoft BB is enough to pierce the skin, and when you consider how much damage one could do to your eyes, you’ll see why this gear is so important.
The most obvious place we want to protect in airsoft is our eyes and you have a few options when choosing gear. There are both full-face masks and half face masks, each offering something different.
- Full face mask: A full mask is either one or two pieces, with one section for eyes and the other for the rest of the face down to the neck. Usually made of neoprene or other breathable materials on the bottom half.
- Half face mask: Protection in the form of goggles of eyewear that just covers the eyes. Can be made of a hard plastic or wire mesh.
Other protective gear will depend on how much coverage you want. If you’re new to the sport you might feel comfortable with more protection, or you could have experienced the pain of being shot before and want to increase your personal shield.
These are some other items commonly found on airsoft players:
- Hats and helmets: Protecting your head is a smart idea in a game of airsoft due to the physical nature of the game. In addition to being safety gear, a tactical helmet also has the option of attaching other gear like cameras, flashlights, and patches.
- Gloves: Cuts and scrapes are common in airsoft, as is taking fire on your hands from a BB. Gloves are designed for protection and comfort, with styles including fingerless and full finger.
- Safety pads: Protect your knees, elbows, and chest with padding to keep sensitive areas safe from fire.
- Barrel blockers: Protective gear for your gun, designed to stop accidental shots from firing.
None of these items are considered a necessity like your eye protection, but after experiencing what an airsoft pellet can feel like you might want to reconsider.
You want to feel covered but also have a good range of movement and agility, so use that as a guide.
Weapons Choices in Airsoft
To play the game of airsoft, you’ll need at least one primary firearm to take into a match.
It all depends on your position in the field, what you’re comfortable using, and how much versatility you want with your shots.
There are a few things to consider when choosing your weapon with many variances available. These are some of the key features an airsoft gun has that can point you in the right direction of your preference.
- Weapon style: Modeled after real firearms, you can choose between semi-automatic and automatic airsoft guns. Styles include pistols, rifles, and shotguns. Additional weapons like claymores and grenades are also possible but not used in every type of match.
- Power: Electric, gas, and spring powered airsoft guns are the three main categories that these weapons come in.
- Velocity: Most airsoft guns can shoot from 200 FPS to 550 FPS depending on the capabilities of the weapon and what upgrades they’ve had.
- Range: This determines how far you can fire an airsoft gun with accuracy, measured in feet.
- Materials: Cheaper weapons are made of plastic and more durable options with full metal construction are also possible.
Airsoft guns are designed as replicas of real firearms and the quality ones will look and feel like the real deal.
The key difference with an airsoft gun is that they shoot plastic BBs and are equipped with an orange tip.
This orange tip is to help people identify them from a genuine firearm due to how realistic they can look, with military and police training programs even using them as practice.
Airsoft Weapons Accessories
There are many additional accessories you can use with your weapon, whether it’s an upgrade to the gun itself or something that makes it easier to carry.
Airsofters sometimes base their weapon choice on the additional accessories it permits, and there are many forms of upgrades you can provide to a gun both internally and externally.
As with real firearms, using a holster in airsoft gives you somewhere convenient and safe to carry your weapons. Holsters are especially ideal for people carrying more than one gun at a time.
A sling is used specifically to carry a rifle and they’re ideal for airsoft due to the long periods of running that it involves.
With a sling, you’re able to let go of your weapon and have your hands free for whatever else you need to do.
External upgrades to your airsoft weapon include rail systems and attachments, stocks, pistol grips, adaptors, and conversion kits.
Your gun model and design will specify what types of upgrades are possible.
Upgrade your gun, fix something that’s broken, make it more powerful, or tinker with its capabilities using internal upgrades like gearboxes, barrels, and pistons.
A recent innovation in airsoft guns is the introduction of HPA systems, or high pressured air.
This modification allows your gun to shoot in an electric pneumatic mode by using pressurized air.
Sights, lights, and lasers
Designed to help you find enemies in poor lighting or get a better aim when you’re in close quarters.
Most can be attached to the gun and some can be wired to the weapon and turned on or off through there.
Gas and CO2
Gas powered airsoft guns will require refills on gas in order to work and they’re better purchased in bulk so they’re ready to go.
These come in green gas or CO2 cylinders, usually 12g in size.
Airsoft guns fire plastic BBs and each weapon is designed to work with a specific weight and size of the pellet.
An airsoft BB can be identified by its diameter, weight, and materials, all of which will affect the speed and performance of it once fired.
A standard airsoft BB is 6mm in diameter but they are also made in 8mm sizes. This general size works with most spring, gas, and AEG powered guns and the pellet fits inside of the barrel which is slightly larger than the BB.
The weight of a BB varies but there are a few common weights you’ll notice.
When you get an airsoft gun, it will have a recommended weight you should be using which enables it to achieve the highest velocity possible.
These are the options:
- Light: Average weight of 0.12g, these BBs are better suited to close range setting. This size is commonly found in spring powered guns and they’re capable of reaching up to 250 FPS when used in the right weapon.
- Mid-range: These are the most common BB found in airsoft guns because they’re capable of both short and long-range shots. With weights between 0.20g and 0.28g, they aren’t ideal for extreme long range use like sniper rifles.
- Heavyweight: The best choice for long range and extreme long range like sniper rifles and AEGs with lots of power. Heavyweight BBs weigh 0.30g to 0.40g so you need a gun without enough force to fire them.
The materials used to make BBs also differs and will have an impact on its performance.
The two common categories these fall into are biodegradable and nonbiodegradable.
Biodegradable BBs are made of PLA plastic which makes them more environmentally friendly but they’re also more expensive, and many outdoor playing fields require you to use them exclusively.
Nonbiodegradable BBs made with ABS plastic are durable and cheaper to purchase, but may not be permitted for use everywhere.
The Right Clothing for the Game
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to clothing choices in airsoft.
Most players will opt for something that provides full coverage of their skin, is comfortable to move around in, and is easily camouflaged when they’re out on the playing field.
When you’re starting out in the sport, wearing regular jeans and a t-shirt is acceptable for some people but you might want to upgrade as you figure out what works for you and makes you a better player.
Many people opt for military or tactical clothing because it gives you everything you need to work in these conditions, and is usually camouflaged.
Your footwear will be crucial to your success and agility on the field. The most common choice is either a sneaker or boot that is comfortable for long periods but can assist in moving stealthily throughout a course, in the hopes that you won’t draw attention from the enemy.
Some airsoft facilities will have requirements about player’s apparel so it’s important to make yourself known of the rules and respect whatever they have in place.
A minimum requirement is usually protective eyewear and a face mask but there could be additional rules about not wearing bright clothing or obscene costumes, while some places welcome it.
Other Gear You Can Use in Airsoft
With the basics covered, you can then go wild with other gear and accessories that might help with your performance and comfort level.
Bags and cases
There are various backpacks, bags, and cases to carry your guns and ammunition in. Many areas require that airsoft guns and other replica weapons are concealed in a safe case, so check where you live about the local laws.
Gun bags should always be used for safety but as a way to protect your airsoft weapons from damage.
Packs and hydration
Taking a backpack or bag onto the field is a smart idea so you can carry all of the necessary gear with you.
Hydration packs, food rations, ammunition, gas cylinders, and other accessories can be transported with you so there’s no need to return to base to get the essentials.
A dead or kill rag is a red or brightly colored piece of cloth that signals to other players you’ve been hit and are either out or in a respawn stage.
Many arenas require the use of kill rags for better communication but may provide these to you before you play.
A ghillie suit is perfect for when full stealth is needed, and they’re better suited for serious matches and competitions. There are different colors and styles to suit the terrain you’re in and are what snipers use to blend into their surroundings.
Patches can be added to your clothing and accessories for flair, or to help identify you. It’s common for teammates to wear the same patches so you can tell who’s on your side and who’s an enemy.
With the right gear, you’ll be equipped to play in any position and any type of airsoft match.
There are rules in place about what’s allowed and what specifics you should pay attention to, so consider this additional information about the airsoft equipment.
What’s Not Allowed at a Game of Airsoft?
Before playing at an airsoft facility, check with their specific rules on what gear is and isn’t allowed. Items like riot shields, obscene or distracting clothing, or inferior protective eyewear usually won’t be accepted in a game of airsoft.
How Much Does It Cost to Start Playing Airsoft?
The total amount of the basic gear you’ll need to begin playing airsoft depends on the quality of the materials.
You can purchase a starter airsoft gun for around $40 that comes with BBs and full seal airsoft goggles that meet all regulations retail for around $20, with the cost increasing depending quality.
Can I Buy Second Hand Airsoft Gear?
The airsoft community is a large one and people often sell their unwanted gear at a discounted price. When it comes to an airsoft gun and protective wear, it’s recommended to buy this new as it will come with a warranty and new working parts.
You might choose to purchase second-hand clothing or accessories to save some money, though.