Dual Wielding in Airsoft

Not on about twin pistol setups, this was a discussion in one of my groups last week regarding carrying two weapon systems. Firstly, as a CQB player carrying an assault rifle with either a second assault rifle or an SMG as a backup. And secondly, the age old question of a sniper carrying some kind of automatic weapon to back up the bolt action.

Gotta have at least one pic.Guns upon guns.

I know there are some players who love to go all out on kit. Drowning in it almost. There are those who perhaps feel a bit more powerful carrying an AK with an M4 slung on their back. Or the indoor player who remembers that line from Gaz in Modern Warfare – “Switching to your secondary is always quicker than reloading”. There are a few practical considerations first though. Let’s imagine running a bog standard M4 for a cqb game, and you want to carry an MP5 as a secondary, instead of a pistol, because it has that full auto capability if you need it, and you’ve undoubtedly slapped an optic and a torch on it. It’s probably more a hindrance than a help, and here’s why;

  • Weight – an MP5 is still a hefty thing to have bouncing around on your back, or hanging on a single bungee sling and smashing into your legs. And they’re bigger than most people realise.
  • Fragile – airsoft guns aren’t as robust as we’d like them to be. They cost money, rather than being issued (unfortunately) and you’ll find yourself constantly trying to be careful not to clatter it into anything, which slows you down. That’s especially distracting in a fast paced CQB arena
  • Mags – not only do you need load bearing for your M4 STANAG mags, you need a second setup for those MP5 mags too. It’s a lot of extra bulk when you’re trying to go high speed, low drag. Additionally, if you do have to burn through that much ammo in a short space of time because you don’t know how to aim properly, imagine all the extra mags you could carry in the space that second weapon is taking up.
  • Swapping hands – we’ve all seen Travis Haley showing speed reloads. It’s pretty quick. Less quick is having to sling that primary weapon first, carefully so you don’t smash your accessories, then getting the second gun back up without getting tangled in the two slings. Of course, you could just duck into cover for a second for a tidy reload without making a big target of yourself.

It’s much the same argument for the sniper. I know it sounds ideal to be some kind of “complete warrior” by backing up your sniper rifle with some full automatic, short-range capability in case the enemy gets too close. An M16 for argument’s sake. It’s a lot of bulk to carry when you’re trying to snake your way around the site undetected without catching on branches and bushes. It’ll stop you lying against a rock when you need to reduce your profile to avoid being seen. And if you’re not slinging it, intending instead to just carry a rifle in each hand to a final firing position, then you’ve got no hands free to deal with anything else or navigate the terrain.

More importantly though, if you need to shoot your way out of a situation with a fully automatic weapon as a sniper, ignoring the noise and attention it brings, then you’ve made a mistake – you’ve been spotted. If you haven’t, then hold tight and let your camouflage keep you hidden, and don’t try to solve it by reaching for the trigger. Alternatively, if you have been spotted and are coming under fire, either retreat if you can or take the hit and learn from it. A good sniper shouldn’t be spotted in the first place, as harsh as that may sound. And the way you learn this is by accepting that mistake and working out what you did wrong, to put it right the next time. Whether it’s too close to a path or well used route, or you got too bold and exposed yourself, or too trigger happy that the enemy worked out where you were, you learn from it. Even if you sneezed or farted and that gave you away, look to improve on it the next time.

A full auto weapon is a safety net that lets you think you can always shoot your way out of mistakes, instead of not making them in the first place.

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