Airsoft? SOFT?!?!?!

I was sorting my photos out on the PC the other night, when I stumbled across these 2:

They reminded me of many moons ago, when I was into Paintball in a big way.   The pictures you see were from Airsoft, a different kind of game, but more of that later.

I played paintball regularly and had a great time….sometimes painful….but always great.   I do remember the first time I ever went though.   I was going with a group of regulars that had finally persuaded me to go, when one of the lads dropped out.   This meant I was able to save the ?20 equipment hire and spend more on paint and gas cannisters.   Back then the guns were pistol type affairs with individual gas cannisters that you changed and could hold a tube of 10 paint pellets.   I think they called them Splat guns, much better than the bent scaffolding tubes with a toilet cistern on top.   Anyhoo, enough with the older is better malarky….

So I borrow my friends camouflage gear and facemask.   I didn’t really see any issue in borrowing a mask from a regular…who played in a team…whos team were recognisable by the way their facemask was painted… issue at all.

So after I donned my equipment, and went to the instruction area to get…well instruction really, I noticed that a number of people were looking in my general direction and motioning toward me.   I thought nothing of it until I realised that everyone was basically going to take me out first, firmly believing that I was a team member of a very successful team.   Damnit.

My lasting memory of my first ever paintball excursion though, was being chased through the woods, paint pellets whizzing past my ears and spotting an overturned tressle table.   I dived over the table to get to cover, only to land…knee first…onto a rock that nature had chosen to hone into a knee destroying pyramid affair.   The reason that this is so memorable is my reaction.   Instead of screaming (like I was in my head) in pain, I was more focussed on changing the gas cannister and reloading the paint.   Paint!   ffs, you would have thought I was pinned down under heavy fire in ‘nam or something.   I am an idiot.

So, back to the photographs.   No, they aren’t from some sort of terrorist training camp and that is not Colonel Gadaffi on the right.   On the left we have my good self, attempting a menacing look but failing whilst looking at Lee, hidden under a mountain of camo gear and full face mask.   On the right, we have Ross and this was the day I went to Airsoft for the first time.

Now Airsoft (or Softair as it is occasionally known), differs from paintball in a number of ways, firstly – there is no paint, secondly – the guns are replicas of real weapons and thirdly – the name is a LIE.   Whilst paintball is basically shooting balls of paint at each other, airsoft is most definately not shooting soft air at one another.   What you are shooting in air soft are 6mm 0.20g plastic pellets.   You also shoot these in rapid succession as your average airsoft rifle will hold 250 of these things in a single magazine.   A high capacity magazine will hold 500+.

In short, pain.

Imagine the joy of my teammate, when, in a pressure situation I didn’t recognise him…and proceeded to shoot about 200 of these things at the top of his head.   Another joyous moment came when myself and another guy were making our way over to two guys that had reached cover.   They were refusing to admit that we had hit them, which made us apretty annoyed to tell the truth.   So we decided to get closer.   I must explain at this point that their is a rule that says that if you get too close to someone, they will surrender and you shouldn’t open fire.   We definitely got the drop on these two guys, and in fact were the other side of their cover.   So we jump up and start screaming for them to surrender, which makes them panic and the guy holding a shotgun shit himself and pulled the trigger.   Right into the face of my mate…who had chosen that game to go with shooting goggles instead of a full face mask.   I saw the three holes in his cheek start oozing with blood and we both opened fire on this guy.

My fave moment from this day out though, has to be “Defend the base”. The “base” in this sense was a garden shed.   The rules were simple, team A would attack the shed and team B would defend it.   The game was over if all of team A were “dead” or if team A managed to get inside the “base”.   We defended first.

It was decided that I would have the dubious pleasure of being the last line of defence…I would be “In the Shed”.   Lee decided, in a show of solidarity I guess, to put himself on top of the shed…and build what can only be described as a nest up there.   The shed opened away from the attackers and the door was open.   I spent most of my time watching my defense standing up and yelling “hit” and walking away.   It started to get quite lonely in there.   I then noticed a small hole had been cut out of the wall facing the attackers, so decided to poke the barrel through and take some pot shots.   This basically served to highlight where Lee was hiding, and shortly afterwards he was climbing off the roof.

I could see that I was rapidly running out of teammates, and decided to stop wasting ammunition, when I heard a small thud above me.   I look at the hole in the wall, and see a BB grenade teetering and almost entering the shed….WITH ME IN IT!!.   These things contain around 500 pellets and explode with quite a bit of force.   Fortunately for me (and my underpants) the BB grenade fell on the outside of the shed just as it exploded.   It did not, however, place me in a calm state of being.   The shout went up from the marshalls that there was a minute to go.   After they then shouted “30 seconds!” I heard them…the unmistakeable sound of someone charging towards me in my garden shed of fear and doom.   The guy slipped and fell down just in front of the open door….as he was falling, I unloaded a full 500 pellets into his chest.   I seem to recall it took him around 5 minutes to get up again…we had won!

So then it was our turn to attack and lets just say that we started pretty badly.   By the time we had even advanced a short distance…we were already pinned down.   It did not look good.   We countered these tactical bastards by singing…always look on the bright side of life…if I recall.   All of a sudden, Lee decides that he can take some of them out and allow us to move forward, he will run from tree to tree and we will lay down covering fire to allow this to happen.   Good plan.   Lee prepares himself and then runs full tilt at the first tree, skids to a halt and recovers himself.   We lay down suppressing fire and he charges to the next tree…only he actually charges AT the next tree and basically runs full steam into it.   After he picked himself up off the ground, he realised that he had left his guns at the first tree.

At this point it was over for us…none of us could see the opposition because of the tears streaming down our faces.   Still thinking it was a good idea, he now sprints back to the first tree and slams into that one too.

That lad is an accidental comedic god.

So to finish this ramble, we head back to Ross (he of the Colonel Gadaffi pic above).   He has the dubious pleasure of appearing in this blog due to his very own moment of accidental comedic genius.  

Now, I have mentioned that Airsoft guns are essentially replicas of real guns and they look pretty damned realistic….especially to the untrained eye.   Say for example…the untrained eye of a neighbour.  

So Ross and friends are cleaning their various airsoft guns and decide to pose for some photographs.   To do this, they get dressed in all their gear and head into the garden.   Around 20 minutes later it happened.   The back gate was kicked down, the front door smashed open, SO19 (Britains SWAT) swarmed the place.   Ross told me that they were screaming for him to drop the weapon and he froze completely, he couldn’t speak…he certainly couldn’t put the weapon down.  

It was soon put down as a misunderstanding, it would appear that a neighbour had looked out of their bedroom window and saw terrorists in camo gear with a crapload of weapons in the garden.   I think I would have called the police too tbh…. I may call them now :-)

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