Choose Between Two Options
Airsoft may be a game to most, but its realism has made it popular with everyone from police chiefs to U.S. Army battalion leaders. Check out Groupon’s guide to the sport to take aim at the facts.
Airsoft: Plastic Combat
Laser tag and paintball are both pulse-pounding tactical games, but for those who thrill at the idea of replicating a military experience, space-age laser guns or splotches of neon color might pose a distraction. Airsoft uses weapons that have the look and weight of military guns, and they fire plastic, often biodegradable, pellets as players dodge enemy fire and strive to be the last person standing. Matches range from capture-the-flag scenarios to single-combat contests, any of which may send players ducking behind obstacles such as giant barrels, fortress walls, and ancient school-bus burial grounds. Outside recreational matches, airsoft guns can also be seen at historical reenactments as a safer alternative to authentic antique weaponry. Because the pellets can sting upon contact, combatants wear goggles or full-face masks and, often, thick or padded clothing that covers exposed skin.
Airsoft clearly owes a lot to military technology and tactics, but the exchange has gone the other way as well. Beginning in 2009, the U.S. Army picked up on the trend and began to test airsoft as an alternative to the laser beams and paintball pellets it had used for tactical training in the past. Battalion leaders found that the pellets gave members of their units a more realistic sense of when they were actually being hit. Although paintballs can cause a similar effect, they’re more expensive, and it can cost significantly more money to outfit replica weaponry for paintballs as well.