Airsoft a rapidly growing sport

Airsoft is a sport that has been rapidly growing in the United States in the past few decades. It has become so popular that some schools have airsoft teams as unofficial sports. A close one to Cedar Cliff would be the Penn State Altoona campus.

 Airsoft, a game similar to paintball, was first invented in Japan after World War II. Players are on teams with replica firearms that shoot plastic BBs. If you get hit by a BB, you are out. All players must wear safety glasses.  The object of the game can vary. Some games are called Domination, and the objective is to take out the entire enemy team. Some games are Capture the Flag. And some are King of the Hill. That is when a small number of players must defend a strategic position for a certain amount of time against a larger amount of players. 

Airsoft can be broken down into two different categories. The first is milsim, which stands for Military Simulation. These games are typically longer and try to be as authentic and similar to real-world scenarios as possible. This game form is much more popular and even used by police and military for training. The other form is speed soft, which is much closer to paintball. Games are typically shorter and are played in very small arenas. Players typically wear general clothes as opposed to tactical gear that Milsim players wear, and they often use pistols as primary weapons. Anyone can play. Simon Jameson, a 27-year-old man from Ireland, is wheelchair bound and he plays.

 Anyone interested in this sport should try it out. The best way to begin is to go to an official airsoft arena and play an organized game. Most airsoft places have rental guns and face protection. Experienced players will most likely be willing to help you learn the ropes. This is a good opportunity because the only cost is for the game that day. After trying the sport, if players find that airsoft is not for them, then they do not have to come back, and they have no financial investment in it.

Some good places around Cedar Cliff to play would be Ambush Paintball and Airsoft Park in Conestoga, PA. They have “walk on” every first and third Saturday of the month. The cost is $30 to play, which includes face protection, plus an additional $20 to rent a gun. Another good place to play is Phoenix Sports in Allentown, PA, which is an indoor arena. Every Friday night they have Beginners night, which includes gun, face protection, ammo and four hours of gameplay for $25.

For people who enjoy the sport and want to get more of their own gear, the cost can be daunting. Airsoft can be extremely expensive, with high-powered guns and uniforms, go pros and tournaments all over the world. But airsoft can also be relatively inexpensive and still just as much fun. A bag of BBs, two sets of safety glasses and spring pistols can be purchased for under $50. Two people can have fun with just that. Airsoft can fit anyone's price range.

The most important piece of equipment other than safety gear is the gun. Airsoft guns can be either shotguns, sniper rifles, or assault rifles.  These guns can be powered by a spring, a battery or CO2/green gas. The type of gun someone should get depends on the play style of the person. If they are more laid back, then perhaps they might like a sniper rifle. People who play aggressively and like to be close might favor a shotgun or assault rifle. The type of gun does not necessarily affect the price of the gun. For people who would like to spend under $100, Black Ops Airsoft offers guns that can shoot just as far as any other gun on the market. A good price range is $100 to $200 to get a fairly good quality gun. Many airsoft players use Lancer Tactical. Their guns range from about $120 to $150.

Pistols are also another option. Why would someone need a pistol? They are not always necessary, but some fields require snipers to carry a sidearm for inside buildings and for close quarter situations. Speed softers may like a pistol over a longer rifle. They operate the same way an airsoft rifle works. The two most common types of operating systems are spring power and CO2/green gas. Most airsofters would recommend a CO2. They can be gas blowback, which makes them more realistic but uses twice as much gas. A non-blowback CO2 can cost anywhere from $30 to $100. One tip is not to get carried away with buying upgrades and extra magazines. Beginners should start with finding a good gun.

The final thing to consider for those wanting to start playing airsoft is the outfit. If wearing the particular gear is not important to players, then a sweatshirt and jeans will do fine. Yet, airsoft is all about looking cool. Some people dress like historical airsoft and portray a certain time period. An example would be World War II or Vietnam. Some players want to look like a team and wear matching camo with their friends. Other people try to look sleek and aerodynamic. It all depends on what a player likes. Their choice of clothing is their chance to be creative and showcase their personality.

Airsoft is all about having fun and making friends but not taking the experience too seriously.

Hi, I'm Luke. I run Cross Country for Cedar Cliff and go to the Cedar Cliff FCA. I hope you enjoy my stories. 

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