Thursday, May 28, 2015

Training: Force On Force and Airsoft

Years ago before airsoft became the “thing” in force on force training, the military adopted this training as a realistic way to train. I had gone through the shooting house and that was heart stopping as it was, but add to that someone shooting back and it became a whole new game. I know that this training is not the end-all way of force on force, but I think there are some things you can learn with airsoft that you can’t learn anywhere else. There are those who feel airsoft is not very real past the first shot. After doing this training myself I can understand their point. The gun does not function the same as a real gun. Shot placement is easier because of no muzzle rise and no recoil. But the realism of shooting from cover under real pressure is priceless. After I was done my heart was racing and I was really sweating even though I did pretty well. I think I gripped the gun more than I would have on the range but my aiming and shooting from different positions was realistic training.
Many courses out there will tell you their airsoft training is the best in force on force. I think they need to re-evaluate to ensure the proper skills are getting through. Otherwise it can be just an elaborate game. I think both students and instructors need to realize the limitations of this type of training. It is realistic to a certain point, but then shooting is still doing things right over and over for muscle memory. I think a good combination should be the norm to give a well balanced training.
Benefits of Airsoft Guns
1:1 replica of your real gun. You can buy airsoft guns that look and feel like your real gun. They’ll fit in your holster. You can also add real-life tactical attachments to them.
Provides near-realistic live-fire experience. Gas blow-back handguns do a good job simulating firing a real handgun. Great for practicing gun manipulation and drawing.
Low cost. This was the big selling point for me. A box of 50 real rounds can set you back $20. I can buy a bag of 3,500 airsoft BBs for $7. The low cost of airsoft allows you to experience a simulated live fire session for a fraction of the cost.
Safe. While you should treat an airsoft gun as if it were a real gun and take the same precautions as you would when practicing, you can rest easy that a BB won’t shoot through your garage wall and kill somebody.
You can do it anywhere. Instead of having to trek 20 miles to the gun range a few times a week, I can go to my garage every evening and practice to my heart’s content.
Provides opportunity for affordable, safe force-on-force training. If you want to practice real, force-on-force tactical scenarios, airsoft can help provide that experience. You can fire it at your buddy pretending to be a bad guy in your house and all he’ll feel is a sting (make sure he’s wearing eye protection though).
Limitations of Airsoft Guns
Not identical to real firearms. Let’s not kid ourselves. While airsoft guns provide a decent simulation of firing a real gun, there’s no way it can replicate it exactly. The trigger pull on airsoft guns aren’t the same as real guns, the recoil is nowhere near the same, and the noise level isn’t the same. You also really can’t practice malfunctions or reloading that well with an airsoft gun. Finally, there’s just a “feeling” you can’t simulate with airsoft. I just feel more alert and on edge when firing a real gun. With good reason — I know that pulling the trigger can have lethal results. I just can’t replicate that feeling when I’m firing my airsoft gun.
Because of this limitation, it’s important that you don’t completely replace live fire training with airsoft. You should continue to get to the range as much as you can to fire your real gun. I like to think of airsoft as a step above dry fire training and a step below live fire. It’s just another tool in your firearm training toolbox.
Some out there will not agree with this evaluation. Some don’t see much benefit in airsoft. I have trained with professionals with airsoft and see great benefits. I no longer do this training but would love to again. I do, however, have a replica that I use to drive fire every day. I think it’s giving the edge that I’m looking for a fraction of the cost.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket though, there is nothing that will simulate what you can do in a run and gun or at the range.
Semper Paratus
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