NYC Airsoft

The definitive guide to airsoft for New York.
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 Post subject: Guide: Essential Airsoft Gear List
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:59 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:24 pm
Posts: 4380
Location: New York
by Moondog

These are minimum items you need to play airsoft. Anything less and you could be compromising your safety. If you can't afford to buy safety equipment, you really shouldn't play.

Airsoft is a mil-sim game so BDU's (Battle Dress Uniform) are must. Surplus woodland or desert 3-color is easily found on Ebay, surplus stores or second hand clothing stores because they are being phased out by the US military. There are many other camo patterns you can buy (ACU, MARPAT, CADPAT, MultiCam, 6-Color, Flecktarn, etc.) but woodland and 3-color are still the most popular in general play. Organized airsoft events/OPs may have specific camo requirements.

It's a good idea to buy a 2nd set of BDU's in a different pattern so have a clean backup set and you have more options for games and seasons. For warm climates, there are BDU's with thinner fabric made for jungle/desert use. T-shirts do not provide adequate protection from BB's, thorns, poison-ivy, etc.

Your hair does not blend in well with your surroundings, so wear a hat. Buy a matching camo hat for each of your BDUs or go generic with kahki or OD. Boonie hats provide the best sun shade and some side protection from BB's. Kahki baseball caps are also popular.

Gloves provide protection from BB's and from the cuts, scratches and splinters that you can get playing in the woods or CQB fields. Tactical gloves offer the best durability and protection, though bicycle gloves or fitted work gloves are usable too. Nomex flight gloves are breath-able and they're long, so will cover up your wrists.

Don't wear sneakers at outdoor games. They provide no ankle support and their soles have inadequate traction in dirt and rocks. Wear kahki, leather, or black colored hiking or duty/tactical boots to match your BDU's.

Protective eye wear is a must. See Eyewear Safety article. Buy a good pair of airsoft/paintball goggles (JT, DYE, Guarder) which are generally less expensive. For style points you can buy more expenive tactical googles (ESS, Bolle, Oakley) that real soldier wear.

Dehydration and heat exhaustion are the most common outdoor emergency when playing airsoft. Carry at least 1qt of liquid with you in a canteens, sports bottle or Camelbak.

Face Protection
Bandanas, Scarves, Arab headwraps (shemagh) and ski masks (balaclavas) can also be used instead of hats, providing both head and face protection and concealment. They tend to get too warm in hot climates. A must for CQB fields if you don't wear a mask. Paintball masks provide the most protection for you face. Masks can interfere with AEG iron sights.

These bits of kit are very useful and will earn you style points on the field.

Vests/Chest Rigs
Convenient for storing spare magazines, BBs, batteries, canteens, etc. vests are worn more for style than necessity in airsoft. Army surplus LBV (Load Bearing Vests) are the most common and least expensive. They are being phased out by MOLLE vests which requires you to buy pockets and pouches separately which can get expensive. A few things to consider before buying tactical vests:

1. OD or Coyote Brown solid colored vests match with the broadest range of camo types. Buying black or camo patterned vests limits your mix and match options.

2. Make sure your vest has pockets that can fit your magazines. MP5, AK and G36 mags will not fit in LBV pockets.

Knee/Elbow Pads
Airsoft is a rough and physical activity. Playing in the woods means the ground has rocks, stones, roots, etc. Playing in CQB fields means the ground could be covered with spent BB's. Knee pads are very helpful though some find them restrictive and binding. Rollarblade knee pads can be worn but more style points are given to tactical camo pads. Elbow pads are less useful and more cosmetic.

When climing through uneaven terrain, having both hands free is useful. So having a sling can be vital. Newer tactical slings alow for quick access to rifles from a hanging position.

FRS/GMRS 2-way radios are a required item on some large fields. They are a helpful way to coordinate actions with your team mates. Buy a radio system (Motorola, Midland, etc.) that has the most channels and sub-channels to assure the most compatibility with other players and their radios.

Radios are a liability unless you wear headset or earbud. Otherwise, communications can easily be heard out in the open and can give away your position. Try to avoid Voice Activated radios because they tend to pick up heavy breathing, shooting, loud noises, etc, that tend to clog up the radio channel.

In some large outdoor fields, not only is it easy to get lost but if you're injured or your radio battery dies, you need a way to call for help without losing your voice from yelling. This is a cheap but vital lifesaver.

Some outdoor fields span dozens of acres. Having a small but accurate compass can help you from getting lost. It's also helpful in coordinating your relative position to your team over a radio.

Plastic copies of MICH kevlar helmets can be purchased which provide no impact protection but lots of style points.

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