Clark Chronicle

Airsofting in Southern California

Airsofting is a fun, but controversial sport

Rafael Aroustamian, Photographer

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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, Evike.com Superstore and Tac City Airsoft Fullerton. You can also buy airsoft guns from online stores, which include Evike.com and RedWolf Airsoft.com. But these online gun stores also have certain restrictions in how many and where they can send these products.

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Airsofting in Southern California”

  1. Patrick Zimmerman on April 18th, 2018 5:32 pm

    I have recently been doing a lot of research on the benefit of Airsoft Guns in our society today. I enjoyed your article very much, because it brought up some very interesting points, in which i havent realized before.

    Do kids really NEED Airsoft Guns?
    Is it damaging their psyche to be playing with a gun?
    Are they responsible enough to handle something which fires protecjiles upwards of 200 feet per second?

    All these questions have been haunting me since reading both your article, and an article at http://airsoft-facts.com/airsoft-toy-gun-or-replica-firearm , debating whether Airsoft Guns should be considered toys or not. I am curious to hear your response to these questions, please get bback to me soon.

  2. Rafael Aroustamian on April 19th, 2018 2:22 pm

    While in the US, there is no set age for airsoft, you do need a parents permission to play on any field. In certain parts in Europe, there are age restrictions. Some countries, like Australia, do not even allow airsoft guns that fire automatically or even resemble real guns. The Parkland School shooter had a BB gun ,which in a way, works the same way as an airsoft gun (it shoots metal bb’s instead of plastic bb’s). An answer to your question on whether or not I think that kids need airsoft guns, I think that the sport should stay the way it is and that its up to the teenagers or pre-teens that want to play to think that they are ready for it or not. Parents should also play a big role in a child’s life. When I first started watching people playing airsoft as a 12 year old, I really wanted an airsoft gun . So I went to my parents and asked them if I could have one. They refused, and I, even knew myself that even if I do get one, I probably won’t have the courage to go and play with older people. An answer to your second question, no, I do not believe that having an airsoft gun is damaging to a person’s pysche. Even though I sound like I am promoting airsoft guns, I DO NOT recommend children under the age of 13 to start playing airsoft. I believe that having an airsoft gun when your a teenager can help you develop some skills that you can use later if you pursue to own a real gun. It teaches you firearm safety, and a sense of independence.If you want to see a real airsoft player in action, I recommend Novosritch. He is an Austrian airsoft player who tries to show all angles of the sport. This is his Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/novritsch. So to sum up, I believe its up to the player and the parent to figure out whether or not that they NEED the gun. Also, I do not believe that the airsoft gun will damage the pysche of a young player, because a gun is just a tool, and it is design to do a certain thing. A certain culture of “guns are bad” just damages society, because being scared of firearms(toy or not) won’t make them go away. Airsoft guns are for entertainment and training. They are misunderstood, but so are real firearms.

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Airsofting in Southern California