Airsoft is becoming an increasingly popular sport throughout the US, allowing shooting enthusiasts a safe way to enhance their training in the use of firearms and engage in casual war games.
Learning how to hold your airsoft gun properly can be useful not only in helping you achieve better results in competitive matches but drilling into you the proper gun discipline that is vital for safely using real firearms.
How To Properly Hold Your Gun
In this guide on how to hold an airsoft gun, we will be covering:
As you go through the guide, you will learn not only about the proper ways to hold airsoft guns but also useful tips and info on the various holding techniques.
First, of course, a quick go through the very basics.
Handling a quality airsoft replica is much like handling the real deal, the only major difference being the lack of a strong recoil and loud noise.
Just like on the real gun, build a habit of keeping your finger off the trigger when holding your gun, be it at rest or ready.
This ensures there are no cases of misfire before or during an airsoft match. Sure, direct shots from airsoft are not lethal but can be injurious, especially if it hits vulnerable parts of the body, such as your eyes.
The second basic rule to follow with airsoft is to always keep your gun in firing position when sweeping through corners or hallways. This will reduce the chances of your opponent getting a drop on you before you have the opportunity to react.
Third, to prevent such mishaps as friendly fires, lower your gun while reloading or when a teammate crosses in front of you. Drill this habit into your head; lest your friends stop inviting you to their next match because you accidentally kept shooting them.
Lastly, if a gun feels heavy, then you shouldn’t be using it. You should only handle guns that you can lift properly with ease, and run with. No amount of instructions will help you properly hold an airsoft gun if it is too heavy for you to carry.
The Shooting Stance
How accurately you can fire your airsoft will depend greatly on your shooting stance.
You won’t go around getting good results in matches holding your airsoft unprofessionally like a “gangsta.” Just like with a real gun, balance and proper posture are crucial to shooting effectively with airsoft.
Ideally, the weight (both yours and your airsoft’s) should be vertically and directly over your feet to prevent the risk of off-balance.
Since recoil is minimal with airsoft, there is little need to push your weight forward to counteract the backward push from the gun, but it is advisable to do so if you want to build a habit of properly handling real firearms as well. Both arms should be utilized to keep your airsoft balanced.
With handguns, both arms should be fully extended when possible.
In tactical situations, holding it to your chest when not firing may be more effective, given that such scenarios require faster reaction time, and such a stance additionally helps minimize fatigue.
There are two main shooting stances when it comes to handguns. First is the isosceles triangle stance, in which your feet, width apart, should be lined up with your shoulders, and your knees should be slightly bent.
The second, the Weaver stance, the strong-hand side leg should be rearward of the other leg, on which most of the weight will be distributed.
This stance was invented in the late 1950s by Jack Weaver, the Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff of the time.
With rifles, you should adopt a bladed-off stance – with your weaker shoulder facing the target and your cheek firmly planted on the gunstock, allowing for more precise shooting.
For more tactical scenarios, a squared stance is better– with your shoulders squared up with the target, and the butt of the rifle planted firmly near the centerline of the upper chest. In both cases, your shoulders should be relaxed and not locked up.
If you want to fire while standing, your legs should be at least hip-width distance apart with the strong-hand side leg rearward of the other leg, distributing the weight equally.
Lastly, it is vital that you should NEVER bend backward when handling and firing a gun. Drill good firing habits into yourself and make sure to keep your shoulders forward of the hips.
The Firing Grip
Again, while airsoft guns don’t have that much recoil, it is good practice to carry it like a real gun so you can develop proper habits when it comes to handling guns, as well as to ensure consistent accuracy when firing.
Unless you are John Wick, always use both your hands for precision and stability when holding a handgun.
The thumb and index finger of the trigger hand should be used to grip the gun high on the blackstrap while the rest of the fingers should be used on the pistol grip.
The other hand should be used as support on the hold, and for keeping the majority of the tension on the grip. This will allow your trigger hand to be more relaxed and make it easier for you to pull the trigger. Both your hands should fit perfectly together like a puzzle when gripping a handgun.
For increased steadiness, while aiming, make use of isometric tension in your grip.
This implies simultaneously pushing your trigger hand forward and pulling your support hand backwards on the grip. As mentioned above, the majority of the tension should remain on the support hand.
For airsoft rifles with pistol grips, use the same technique as above for your trigger hand, while in case of airsoft guns that feature no grip, use your trigger hand to grip the nook behind the junction of your index finger and thumb.
The other hand must be used to grip the handguard of the rifle and to keep it stable. For guns without a handguard, it is usually best to grasp the forestock midway.
Aligning the Sight
Proper alignment of the sight, referred to as Sight Picture, allows for more accurate shooting as you know exactly where the pellets will hit.
To achieve sight picture, grip the gun and maintain the same posture as in the previous steps. Using your dominant eye, visually align the front sight post with the rear sight notch, ensuring that they are kept vertically at the same level and that the front sight is at the very center of the alignment.
You can determine which one is your dominant eye by making an “OK” sign with your hand and holding it at arm’s length. Choose a distant object and frame it within the “O” of the sign. Look at the object with both your eyes open, slowly bringing your hand toward your head. Your hand will naturally move toward whichever is your dominant eye.
Having done so, move the aligned sights at the target you want to shoot.
Moving with Your Gun
Now comes the hardest part – how to properly hold your airsoft gun while moving?
If you just go at your target without maintaining proper form and shooting wildly, chances are none of the shots will hit.
When walking with your gun, maintain the grip and upper body posture as instructed in the previous sections while keeping your legs slightly bent and take small balanced steps. Care should also be made that the gun sight stays aligned as you walk.
If your gun has a scope, don’t look through it while moving.
This will cause tunnel vision, alter your depth perception, and compromise your situational awareness. Instead, proceed with the gun while in a low or high ready position.
Of course, in practice, it isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Maintaining a stable, forward-facing upper body posture isn’t natural for us. However, with enough repetition, it can become a habit, and you would eventually be able to keep your gun and upper body steady without having to exert too much effort.
Should I Always Align My Sights While Shooting a Target?
For most matches, yes, that is recommended.
However, in some cases, the desired target may be too far in range. In such cases, the velocity, weight of the projectile, as well as outside conditions can impact the accuracy of the shot.
Typically, with an airsoft rifle, accuracy tends to sharply decline after 100-150 feet, though electric-powered replicas tend to maintain greater accuracy for longer ranges compared to their gas-powered counterparts.
Should I Practice Strafing?
Strafing (side-to-side walking) may look nice and dandy in videogames.
In reality, it is highly impractical. It is always faster to go from point A to point B by simply facing the direction where you need to go and sprinting to it instead of awkwardly sidestepping your way while facing your opponent and risking getting off-balance.
Should I Always Maintain a Proper Posture?
A proper posture is essential for allowing accuracy while shooting.
However, in some match situations, such as when you have lost contact with your team or the opposition is too severe, dashing away may be more effective.
In such cases, the objective shouldn’t be to score a shot but deny your adversary a chance to do so while you make your escape. Furthermore, NEVER blind fire with airsoft gun.
You may not know who or what you may be shooting at.
Can I Adopt the Chicken Wing While Firing?
Chicken Wing is a shooting stance when your firing elbow is raised high so the gunstock can be tucked into the hollow of your shoulder.
This is actually an effective shooting stance for accurate standing rifle fire despite what many may claim.
However, in tactical situations, your elevated elbow makes for an easy target.
Additionally, as answered in a separate question, most airsoft rifles don’t have much range, to begin with. This, coupled with the fact that you are most likely to be firing from cover in a match, makes this shooting stance pointless in the case of airsoft guns.
We are pretty sure you will find what was written in the guide to be useful.
Having said that, it is important to remember that solely relying on this guide would not suffice in helping you achieve the proper intelligence of holding airsoft guns.
There is no universal best way to hold a gun.
The ergonomics of the design, the weight, or even the setup of the gun can influence how it should be held.
Therefore, proper training and practice are essential. Use this guide instead as a means of reference for familiarizing yourself with the fundamentals of how to handle an airsoft gun. The more knowledgeable you are about the skill, the easier it is for you to master it.