Airsoft Loadout Checklist
You’ve likely heard the saying before, and it absolutely rings true for airsoft: “Safety first!” Like many other sports, the excitement of airsoft does come with some potential risks. Guns shoot plastic BBs anywhere from 150 to 600 feet per second – that’s extremely fast. Taking key precautions will keep the game as enjoyable as possible. Furthermore, games take place in diverse environments filled with obstacles and potential hazards. We’re not suggesting you encase yourself in bubble wrap, but consider these basic items:
Goggles and Face Protection
If you don’t invest in anything else, absolutely purchase quality goggles or an equivalent form of face protection. During a match, all parts of the human form are legitimate targets. This makes headshots a commonality in airsoft, which puts your eyeballs in harm’s way. These risks are growing, since many players are gravitating toward inexpensive and powerful gas weapons.
Goggles vary in price and quality, as you’d expect. Find a pair that’s sufficiently impact resistant. Good goggles are ANSI rated to military-compliant safety specifications, and have thus become popular. Players often gravitate towards models like the Revision Desert Locust, Pyramex I-Force, or the ESS NVG. These are highly-rated and protect well against severe impacts. However, ensure you purchase authentic items instead of cheaper knockoffs – those are not always up to par. Besides, you probably don’t want to cut corners when preserving your vision.
Seek options that provide a full seal without fogging in different conditions. This seal is important, especially since BBs tend to ricochet at numerous angles. While we would suggest safety glasses, goggles provide greater coverage without hampering peripheral vision. As an alternative to goggles, you may opt for a paintball face mask. These provide superb protection and are useful during close-quarters battles.
Lastly, avoid mesh around the eyes. BBs may shatter on impact, meaning plastic pieces can pass through into your eyes. Mesh is more appropriate for the lower half of your face, like around the mouth. Players who’ve forgone oral protection have suffered dental injuries.
Adjacent to the face is your head, another vulnerable part of the body. If you’re playing in serious games or with better players, you might consider buying a basic helmet. This will offer superior protection without breaking the bank. Padding level doesn’t have to be exceptional – mainly look for something secure and comfortable. Since you’re jumping into airsoft and will likely play casual games, you might get away with wearing a knit cap or baseball hat. The situation and weather conditions will influence your choice.
Outdoor matches typically carry less risk, since players aren’t as tethered to cover. You’ll present more of your body to opponents on average, making center-mass targeting more favorable. Conversely, CQB matches will often have you peering around corners.
Fingered or fingerless, grabbing a durable pair of gloves will save your hands from painful punishment. There’s very little meat on the hands, meaning impacts will sting quite a bit. This is especially true on fingernails and knuckles. Since your hands hold your weapon, protecting them is key.
While it may be overkill during casual matches, many players prefer Mechanix gloves. Akin to other gear, find something fitted and comfortable. The latter will largely depend on weather conditions and personal preference.
An old saying goes, “Never skimp on anything that separates you from the ground.” Boots are no exception. As your connection to the turf, they should be comfortable, supportive, and offer good traction on a variety of surfaces. Boots are naturally hardy and will thus fend off impacts with relative ease.
For outdoor matches, weatherproof options are always sound investments. Rain, mud, and puddles can hinder an otherwise fun match. You can’t control the weather, but you can take steps to protect your feet from the unexpected. When moving often or across long distances, quality boots will be indispensable.