Airsofting in Southern California

Airsofting is a fun, but controversial sport


My nerves were on high alert as I stepped out onto the Mojave Desert. Rocks and desert sand chipped my military boots. As I gripped my Sig Sauer 556 airsoft gun, I was afraid I might break it. Our squadron was dispatched to scout the area. Knowing we were in enemy territory, we decided to do a quick area sweep and get out of there.

Seeing (and believing) that there were no enemy squadrons in the area, we radioed Mother Base and decided to leave the area. As soon as our squad leader radioed in, our comms jammed. Knowing that whenever comms go down unnaturally, and that it was probably the enemy team trying to disable our communications, we decided to take shelter in an abandoned cluster of buildings.

Spotting an enemy convoy with two trucks, we quickly rushed ahead to plant some ATEE mines. A loud bang came from the underside of the two trucks as the mines went off. Knowing that the enemy team would stop and investigate the area, we decided to ambush them. Creeping quietly behind a bush, I waited for my team’s signal… There it was. A single flare. Mission accomplished.

Airsoft, known in other countries as Softair, was invented in Japan in the 1970s for the military and police to practice with their guns in a safer way. After that, the sport caught on quick. Although everyone in the public does not consider airsoft as a sport due to the fact that it is not in the Olympics, some people who play the sport consider it one.

There are many game modes, but usually they last about three to four minutes. There is also Milsims, which is short for Military Simulations, and are based on simulations in the real world. They are known to last several days.

Some people who try the sport find it to be addictive and fun. Michael Graveley, a 17-year-old airsoft player who has been playing airsoft for two years, said that he enjoys the sport for its uniqueness. “Also, like other sports, you lose weight as you play,” Graveley said. The thing about airsoft is that it is nothing like the other sports and it gives more freedom toward the player.

Like all sports, safety is a number one priority. Whenever participants first step into an airsoft field, they are met with a barrage of safety requirements. First, they have to go through a chrono test where a gun is tested through a chronograph (a device that measures the gun’s feet per second). If a gun has too high fps, the participant cannot be allowed to play with that gun.

Also, players are required to watch a safety instructional video if it’s their first time playing. All of these rules come into account whenever somebody is playing a game. If they break any of these rules, the severity or the situation can make that certain person  be kicked off the field.

Airsoft guns resemble real firearms, and some people have gotten into trouble playing airsoft outside the fields. That’s why airsoft is such a controversial sport. Some airsoft players like Jackson Perry, an airsoft player from Inglewood, said that airsoft guns are not the problem. “Whenever something bad happens that involves an airsoft gun, the gun is not the problem,” he said. “The person wielding the gun is the problem.”

Although he was a particular that believed that banning guns would solve any problems, another airsofter named Harut Ghazaryan looked at it in a different view. “I feel that airsoft guns are a bit too realistic, and I can imagine what it must feel like for a policeman to see an underage person with an airsoft gun,” Ghazaryan said. “I believe in that the orange safety tip should never be removed.” The orange safety tip comes with nearly all guns sold in California. In an event where a police officer checks the gun, the tip will be orange, so they will know it’s an airsoft gun.

Playing airsoft involves a learning curve. You get better at it with time. Unlike other sports, you don’t have mentors on the airsoft field. The mentors on the airsoft field are former and current players. When I first started playing airsoft, a person who played before taught me tips and tricks. That’s why airsoft is based largely on teams.

Airsoft fields are not that hard to come by. They are typically found branched together with paintball fields, since both are labeled as “military simulation sports.” Fields can range from small indoor fields to whole fields and valleys. Most of the fields are public, and all public fields around here are managed and owned by Southern California Airsoft Fields. If somebody breaks a rule on a SoCal field, the mark can follow them into other SoCal fields.

Airsoft and paintball are two different military simulation sports. Airsoft was invented about ten years before paintball and focuses on military simulation, while paintball focuses on mostly having fun. Both guns shoot projectiles, and both hurt when they make contact with the skin.

Airsoft guns shoot plastics pellets.They usually concentrate their power on one point, so they leave welts and and they sting on impact. They can also cause bleeding. Paintballs, however, are bigger and leave large bruises. They hurt immediately after impact.

Both of these sports are known to cause controversy, due to the fact that the guns they use resemble real firearms. Paintball is a more known sport, but considered less safe due to the fact that it was invented later and there are fewer regulations.

Nearby fields include Hollywood Paintball & Airsoft Park and Glaze Sports Paintball & Airsoft. Airsoft supply stores across Southern California supply local airsofters with gear. Some include Airsoft N More, Superstore and Tac City Airsoft Fullerton. You can also buy airsoft guns from online stores, which include and RedWolf But these online gun stores also have certain restrictions in how many and where they can send these products.