(A few considerations on kit choice)
Greens vs Tans. Probably the easiest way to split teams at big events. I think also it’s a divide between mentalities which is more apparent now than when I first started airsoft in 2012. In a short space of time (I’m no veteran player) there’s been a huge increase in the popularity of airsoft globally and this has fuelled the growth of replica kit manufacturers and the ease of online shopping has opened the doors to cheap imports. You can get a lot of kit now for very little, but does this change the way we play?
Let’s picture a typical Tan team player. I know this doesn’t apply to all of them, but it’s to highlight a point on kit. Crye Multicam pants and shirt. I think they’re too good for what we do but let’s go with it. Maybe a real steel plate carrier, loaded up with 6 m4 magazines, a handful of grenades, admin pouch, radio pouch, couple of large utility pouches under the arms for “stuff” and one of those molle bacpacks. Let’s add a belt rig with a dump pouch, a medic pouch, pistol and two mags, and another three m4 mags for those tactical weak side reloads. Plus a helmet with sordin headset, GoPro, counter balance on the back and maybe a head torch. It’s a lot of kit to carry, and I’ll admit to having tried it. Feels great putting it all on, but I’ve seen players wilt in hot weather and personally felt a lot of it got in the way, with excess stuff clattering about all over the place and generating a lot of noise. Some people will have the bank balance to go all real steel with it to create that “look” (all important for social media), and for the newer player it is possible to buy cheaper replica kit from ebay and amazon to match it. From skirmish Sundays to national events spanning full weekends, you do get the feeling however that a lot of airsofters now are relying on their kit rather than their soldier skills, and are more about the shopping and posing for photos than playing the game. All the gear, no idea…
I’ve done both sides, and I’m not knocking Multicam as a camouflage, but I’m absolutely sold on my surplus green kit, and as little as I can get away with. Obviously in a Sniper role, I generally have much less to worry about in terms of mags and ammo; I’m barely using any. I don’t need masses of protection because I don’t cry at getting shot, although I do swear a bit at close ranges. No YouTube channel = no cameras, because gameplay videos don’t really capture the experience properly. I like old surplus webbing, which is picked up for very little and has stood the test of time – I’d take a dpm chest rig for £20 and have much more faith in it than some cheap chinese molle plate carrier replica for the same price. At the moment I’m using a genuine US army webbing set which can be picked up for under £20 and gives me more than enough load carrying for the day (Thanks to Kicking Mustang for the tip on that, an excellent choice for sniping). Other than my camouflage, which allows me to do my job, that’s it. On a standard skirmish day, or even the Ai500, a bag at the respawn will do for food, ammo, spares etc. Obviously a Milsim might change that requirement, but if you’re into Milsims you probably shook your head and closed this page halfway through the article.
Airsoft doesn’t need to be expensive, nor does the kit you carry. As long as you can get yourself and your gun out onto the field with a spare bag of ammo, and you’ve learned a bit about how to play, you’re more than a match for any SEAL wannabe. Less is more.