Different Take on Airsoft

Josh has a different take on my Airsoft post earlier in the day.  I should note that when I was saying airsoft wasn’t a shooting sport, that wasn’t meant to suggest that airsoft guns don’t have utility as a training tool for shooting sports, or as a substitute for real guns in societies that don’t allow firearms ownership.  I own an airsoft Glock 19 that I use to practice quick draw.

When I said airsoft, what I mean is the game, similar to paintball, where you don equipment and shoot at other players.  The key component to a shooting sport is marksmanship.  You can mix up conditions by adding speed and tactical elements, you can even score based on these, but at the end of the day, a shooting sport should involve aiming at a target, and being scored based on your ability to hit it.

I should add that I’ve never played Airsoft the game, so maybe it’s a bit different than paintball, which I have played.  But the reason I don’t consider paintball a shooting sport is because marksmanship doesn’t matter.  Paintball guns just aren’t accurate enough to rely on anything other than volume of fire to hit something.  When I play paintball, I don’t even use my sights, I aim roughly, and just saturate the area the other player is in with balls, and hope one finds its mark.   To me a shooting sport depends, at the end of the day, on being scored based on your marksmanship ability.  I have little doubt, given my experience with airsoft guns, they could be use in shooting sports, but I’m not sure I’d consider the tactical game of airsoft one.

5 thoughts on “Different Take on Airsoft”

  1. the problem i have with them for training even is that hits from the guns have no real consequence… there is no danger from getting killed by the rounds, so there is much more bravado and less hesitation in tactical situations than there would be if it were real and the fire was live…

    in a training situation this is ok… but for people that might have to use that training, their instincts will take over and they will fall back on training… their training taught them that incoming hits from fire are not real and no all that painful… so they might charge headlong into a situation where taking cover would be a much smarter idea…

  2. With spring airsoft pistols and rifles, accuracy matters. I’ve got a Tokyo Marui pistol that’s nearly as accurate as a Bersa 380, in the right hands, and that’s not even particularly high-grade compared to anything but the WalMart crap. Some of the higher-grade rifles are good enough to do basic marksmanship in, although they’re not as well-off from a ballistic viewpoint as a .22 or the heavier metal target BBs.

    Since you have to manually recock between firing each time, there’s a lot of incentive to aim carefully.

    Unfortunately, the majority if not the vast majority of the games are played with battery-powered AEGs or CO2 canisters, which make it pretty equal to paintball in tendency to ‘win’ by spraying the most area the fastest.

    That’s not much of a problem if you’re just using it to shoot at a paper bag, since you’d want the el cheapo springer anyway, but I’m not sure I’d consider that either Airsoft the Game or a shooting sport, for the same reason I don’t tend to think of an EasyBake Oven as haute cuisine.

    I think it’s a useful training tool, but I don’t see el cheapo airsoft 15′ as making it into the competition range anytime soon.

  3. I’ve taken self-defense training classes that use gas airsoft or simunition glock 17s for force-on-force role-playing and although the airsoft pellets sting a bit if you get hit in the fingers (which was really common when trying out different methods of holding the gun and flashlight when doing low-light/flashlight drills), but the simunitions left nice welts that lasted for days.

  4. Paintball guns just aren’t accurate enough to rely on anything other than volume of fire to hit something. When I play paintball, I don’t even use my sights, I aim roughly, and just saturate the area the other player is in with balls, and hope one finds its mark.

    How about firearms that are horribly inaccurate? If a guy plinks with his Chinese SKS at the range or in his backyard, is he participating in the “shooting sports”? Isn’t basing the definition of the “shooting sports” on the accuracy of the weapon like saying car racing only counts if your car goes over (say) 150mph? If I enter a chess tournament but lose all of my games badly to ten-year-olds (like I might), did I still play chess?

    To be clear: I’m not arguing that airsoft and/or paintball are “shooting sports”. I think they might be, and that they’re definitely closely related even if they aren’t “true shooting sports,” but I don’t like the “accuracy” test to define “shooting sports.”

  5. I’m not suggesting an accuracy test. An SKS or AK isn’t the most inherently accurate gun in the world, but it can shoot better than most beginner shooters. I wouldn’t put one up against a Remington 700 and call it fair, but one could imagine someone shooting an SKS in a military rifle match.

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