Adventures In Airsoft: What Is MilSim?
One of the keys to practicing Airsoft is MilSim – the highly realistic military simulations that make for a typical weekend of airsofting. Here we explain the terminology, gear, and what you can expect….
Before we go straight into talking about MilSim we need to determine what it is and why it takes place. MilSim is an abbreviation for Military Simulation and it comes in 2 types: entertainment / war games or re-enactment. Out of the two, war games tend to be the more popular because they don’t require lots of expensive equipment or experience.
MilSim is becoming increasing popular in America and Europe with hundreds of people turning up to take part in the games. I’m not a professional myself, although I do have a love for airsoft, so I’ve decided to share the basics with you about what you need to know, if you decide to participate in any of these milsim uk events.
Time to Gear up!
Probably the most important thing about MilSim is the equipment. Although a lot of people go and spend hundreds of pounds on equipment, it is not necessary for your first time. The best way to approach it is to buy the basics first, and after each event decide what was good, and what held you back during the games. Once you’ve identified these areas of improvement, then you can buy the accessories accordingly and prevent these problems re-occurring.
With that sorted, let’s talk about the basic equipment. Before assembling your loadout, you need to sort out your uniform and one important thing to note are restrictions. You won’t get told off for not polishing your shoes or wearing the wrong belt, but the organizers often put restrictions on the type of camouflage each team can wear. This helps each team identify friend or foe, and generally adds realism to the game. Some events go even further and ask you to match your gun according to the teams, but for lower grade MilSim this is rare.
You Need Good Footwear for Milsim
Don’t underestimate the importance of good footwear. The boots are as important as your BB pellets. I would not recommend wearing uncomfortable boots, or new boots to a MilSim, since blisters are a sure way to halt your fun. Make sure you have a pair you’re familiar with, and happy to wear for long periods of time. Two pairs of good quality walking socks are also something I’d recommend and should see you though the Games.
What you choose to carry is purely down to what military role you want to play. If we’re talking about an average rifleman, you will be carrying around 5-7 magazines (including the one in your gun), an easily accessible radio and water. Most players like to wield a sidearm, typically a pistol but this is entirely up to you. Most MilSim games don’t allow you to reload your mags until you’re at a respawn point so carrying spare BBs is pointless. Finally, grenades are used by a number of players, and generally are fun to use. Again, there is a restriction on how many you carry, which is normally around six, but it’s always best to check with the organizers first.
Your gun is your trusty companion during these few days. There are three types of airsoft guns which include electric (often known as AEG), gas and spring. Spring isn’t used as often since they tend to be weaker and therefore can’t get the range required. Electric and gas are used the most due to their range and power, so if you plan to use these, ensure you have spare batteries or gas cans packed.
How to survive the next few days
Since these events last a few days, you will be required to take all your equipment with you. This includes sleeping bags, roll mats, clothes, grenades, guns, maps/intel etc.
An accessory that I would call a very smart investment is a patrol pack. This is a smaller bag that you can take with you when advancing, resupplying or guarding areas. Within these you typically put the essentials such as water, food and cooking equipment. You can also pack some form of thermals in case of a sudden temperature change.
Water is absolutely essential in these events. It doesn’t matter if the weather is like an Australian summer or a Russian winter you will be using plenty of this stuff, so take it! You will need it for drinking, cooking meals, washing up and cooling off. I would highly recommend refilling your canteens / water bottle at any chance you get and make sure everyone in your squad takes some to reduce the load.
When you take part in Milsim your will be burning a lot of calories and will get hungry quicker than usual. The running around and carrying of equipment soon takes its toll, so it’s best to be prepared. Small cookers are very handy whether they are gas or fuel. It would be wise to find a compact one and take it with you on your MilSim experience. I also pack a mess tin and use it for eating, cooking and washing up. Most people tend to take food packs with them although other alternatives are available.
What to expect on your first MilSim
When you first go to a MilSim event a lot of things will go through your head beside adrenaline. You will be getting briefs, being put into squads (expect to be bossed around a lot by the pros), assignments/missions will be handed out and loads more. This is all part of the fun and realism of MilSim and when all combined it aids the excitement of the event, no matter if you’re a MilSim veteran or a private. Even though these events are very tactical and physically straining, everyone is friendly and there for the same reason – to have a good time! The war games will be played in different areas depending on their location and organizer. Some are based outdoors on large areas of land, some are indoors with built scene and the best sort, in my opinion, are the ones based in abandoned facilities. The main thing to expect is lots of fun, excitement and a whole new experience of war games.
When you first go you will be trying new things, trying to find your role, play style and figuring out what’s going on. This is completely normal for a first timer and isn’t anything to worry about. The more you play the more you’ll learn and find out about yourself. I soon discovered my love for sniping, playing that support / cover role and making key decisions for my team.
The more MilSim events you attend your more people you’ll get to know, more gear you’ll acquire and you’ll start to get a feel for what sort of player you are. The biggest thing I notice is the different paces of these war games. Sometimes you will be stealthy and tactical like a spec ops group or you may just go in all guns blazing. The main things to remember is to have fun, play fair and enjoy this experience of a whole new level of airsoft.
To find a registered airsoft game site near you, check out this list published by UKARA, the British body in charge of the sport.
To check out our range of airsoft gear including accessories, simply head to our Airsoft store, where you can grab airsoft guns, glasses, batteries, silencers, targets, and much more.