v2 Connecting players, retailers, fields and event organizers all across Saskatchewan.
Airsoft is a game where players engage in simulated combat scenarios with realistic replica firearms that shoot 6mm plastic BB's. It is recreational fun, a valid training aid for law enforcement, military and gaining ground as a recognized therapy for Veterans suffering from PTSD. It's a fun way to stay in shape, make friends, learn teamwork and personal responsibility for everyone from kids to armed forces.
For other aspects of Airsoft such as its rich history to gear and safety there are many great resources online for you to read. The Wikipedia entry found here may be a good place for you to start or check out the Evike videos below.
What you need to start playing. Airsoft can be really expensive but it doesn't have to be if you're just starting out. All you really need is full seal goggles, an Airsoft gun and some BB's.
Eye Protection should be ANSI Z87.1 / CSA Z94.3 rated and have a full seal to your face. This is one thing you do not want to be foolish about. Ski goggles, sun glasses or mesh goggles ARE DANGEROUS and not allowed on the field.
TipIt might sound nuts but if you buy goggles tear out any foam that covers the vents. The foam slows air flow and causes fogging. Then bring some dish soap, a drop or two on the inside and give it a quick buff to prevent fogging.
Ammunition (BB's) should be good quality ammunition with a weight of 0.20grams higher. Decent BB's brands are Elite Force and Mad Bull. Most serious players will be shooting .28 gram to .32 gram BB's in their rifles. Beginner guns won't typically be set up to take advantage of the heavier weights so .25 gram BB's will do. While it might be tempting to buy some cheap Canadian Tire or Wal-Mart BB's don't. They are too light, have terrible accuracy and can explode in your barrel and break your gun.
Tip Consider is the field you will be playing at. Many outdoor fields ask or require players to use biodegradable BB's. These will break down over time so don't stock up right away. A normal 4000+ round bag or bottle will last a fairly long time and best to run out before they start to degrade.
Guns are a vast topic mired in legal issues and technical discussion. Firstly remember Airsoft guns are not legally purchasable by anyone under 18 years of age. If you are under 18 you will need your parents to buy guns and sign your field forms. You can ask them to read our parents guide if they have questions or concerns.
There are plenty of great guns between $200-$300. There are tons of videos on youtube and reviews online showcasing great performing guns for almost any budget. As with anything else do some research before buying.
Typically you will be looking for an AEG gun which stands for Automatic Electric Gun. Gas guns such as pistols do not work well in the cold Sask weather. Budget AEG guns often come with magazine(s), battery, charger and various other things like BB's, jam/cleaning rod and forward grips right out of the box.
If you choose a gun that does not come with all the little starter perks you will need to buy magazines, battery, charger and any other accessories individually. Talk to the retailer about magazines that work with the gun you have chosen. Some guns are finicky and nothing will kill your fun faster than buying accessories that should work with your gun but don't.
If you choose a gun that doesn't come with a battery and charger I recommend starting off with a 7.4v LiPo battery. While LiPo batteries require a smart cell balancing charger and very specific care and storage (LiPo bag) they are well worth the investment. NiMH batteries work and are easy to care for but lack the output power to give your gun a good trigger response. NiMH batteries are also a massive cause of jams and other issues on the field but this becomes a technical discussion. An easy way to avoid the dread NiMH jam is do not shoot full auto. NiCad batteries are terrible and best to just avoid all together. They require special care and tools similar to LiPo's but with none of the advantages. No matter what you choose to buy remember to speak with the retailer to make sure the size and shape of the battery you choose will work with the gun you are buying.
Much like BB's you do not want to buy cheap "Clearsoft" or sub $100 guns from places like Cabela's, Canadian Tire, Wal-Mart, Princess Auto or Peavey Mart. Clear bodies were once a legal requirement to show the gun was a "toy" however this is no longer required and often an indicator of terrible quality. Often the "clear soft" guns also come with plastic gears and cheap parts causing terrible performance and a short life span. When you find something you like or fits your budget check the reviews online to make sure its price isn't a warning sign. As a basic rule though you want a full metal gearbox and gears. Some brands that are safe to start with or even take to extreme performance levels are Cyma, VFC, G&G and Ares.
Where to buy your gear and guns in Canada is a bit tricky. Canadian retailers are hard to find and lack the service, information and selection you find in other parts of the world. Due to this we try to keep a decent list of places to buy in country on our tech and retailers page.
Safety with your Airsoft gun is paramount! They are still dangerous if misused and as such the same rules to handling real firearms apply.
Some key rules to keep in mind are:
- "Finger Control" keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire
- "Sight Picture" be aware of things beyond your intended target
- "Muzzle Discipline" never point your gun at anything you do not wish to shoot
- "Always Dangerous" always treat your gun as if it is loaded and dangerous
- "Safety On" until the game has started keep your gun on safe
- "Clean Gun Safe Gun" learn to care for and maintain your weapon
- "Safe Stowing" transport in a gun bag and never carry out in public
Accidents happen and as such it is good to keep eye protection on even in safe zones. Malfunctions and carelessness can happen at any time and it is our duty to be vigilant about safety for our sake and our fellow players. If you see something dangerous, say something or take action.
Conduct is important on and off field. At games it is important that we be courteous, respectful, safe, aware and good natured. Airsoft like any sport can get heated, aggressive and pain can often flare tempers. Self control is important. You should be aware sometimes things will hurt. If you can't handle the pain perhaps Airsoft isn't for you or more protective gear is in order to have an enjoyable experience.
When you are away from the field it is important to always conceal your Airsoft guns and always apply the same safety rules you adhere to on field. Due to the realistic nature of our guns we as Airsoft players must take extra care to not misuse them or display them in public. The legal ramifications of misused Airsoft guns could destroy the hobby/sport for the whole country. We as players and a community can not control the actions of others, but we must be responsible for ourselves.
So there you have it. It might be a lot to take in when starting out but it becomes second nature over time. Sask games are very different from other parts of the world but that also means things are fairly accessible to people. If you have more questions or think something important is missing please contact me.
Optional Things: Face Protection is not required but is often a good idea so I'm just giving you a heads up. It's totally your choice how much you love your teeth and a lot of basic lower face mesh masks can be found for $15-$25.
Water and snacks are a good idea too. Like any other sport it's good to keep hydration on hand and maybe some sport friendly snacks like trail mix or protein bars.
At some point you will want a gun/range bag to safely transport your guns and gear to and from games. Your choice will depend on how much gear you have and the type of gun you buy. You can always use the box your gun came in as well or simply wrap your gun in a pillow case, towel or old blanket. Anything that will conceal the gun while being transported from your home to the field you are playing at.