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Hey everyone, I've been looking to get into the world of airsoft for a while now and I've finally got spare time and money to do it! I'm located in Leicestershire and I can travel a fair way to any sites you might recommend. If anyone can help me with good sites, stores, advice or just a friendly pointer or 2, I'd really appreciate it! Just share anything you think could help!

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Well, the Towers is right on your doorstep. Supposed to be a really good CQB site, but I've not managed a game there yet. http://www.firstandonlyevents.co.uk/locations/the-tower/

 

As for shops - there's a whole part of the forum dedicated to them, but Pro Airsoft Supplies usually comes highly recommended.

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Thanks for that, I've got a friend who recommends the Towers, but I thought I'd get a 2nd opinion on all things Airsoft! Any pointers for a n00b? I've been told not to "Chicken Wing" already xD

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Best advice would be to take your time when deciding what loadouts to go for and use hire stuff at first, otherwise you might buy something you later regret. Although to be honest, as long as you realise that with airsoft, as with everything else, you generally get what you pay for, then it will be difficult to buy something you really hate or have absolutely no use for, since if something is no good for CQB, then it'll probably be good for longer ranged stuff outdoors and vice versa. Even so, it's tempting to get tooled up like crazy when starting out if you have the money, but it's often smarter to keep things simple and think carefully about what you want after a couple of skirmishes with hired gear, since this will also mean that you can mail order black RIF weapons instead of having to buy two-toned stuff if the site you visit helps you to become UKARA registered.

 

Be aware that what goes in the real firearm world doesn't hold true in airsoft much of the time, for example, longer barrels do not mean longer range, nor vastly greater accuracy, nor more downrange speed in airsoft, as they often do with firearms. Similarly, real world combat techniques have a lot less relevance too, since we are talking about much lower muzzle velocities and vastly shorter ranges, not to mention lots of people with no real combat experience, so for example, whilst it is indeed bad practice in real firearms combat to 'chicken wing it' since it exposes more vulnerable parts to fire and hinders safer movement, in practice there's little wrong with doing it in airsoft, other than the fact that people might slag you off for doing so, although to be fair, if you were going to join the military, it might be a bad idea to do it in the sense of it giving your body poor muscle memory for proper military stances when moving about, although if you look at a lot of competition shooters, you will see them chicken winging it because that stance allows better breathing control, so if you want to try sniping in airsoft, you might want to emulate that in spite of what people might say.

 

It's also tempting to 'be different' with your loadout, and whilst there is of course nothing wrong with that in principle, in practice that's easier to do that when you know a bit more about stuff from having a bit of experience under your belt, so it's worth noting that there are plenty of good reasons why a lot of people go for the M4 and the MP5, such as the amount of available spare and custom parts for those two weapons.

 

As it is with real soldiers in real combat, much becomes obvious after a couple of skirmishes, for example, high capacity mags are less likely to leave you hanging out there with no ammo when things get hot, but where airsoft is concerned, they do rattle and make being a sneaky b*st*rd tougher in CQB. Long-length 'banana' mags are handy, but they make lying prone more difficult, which is why you don't see them on sniper rifles, and this is also why bullpup rifles tend to be the thing these days with the military, although the other advantage they confer (a longer barrel on a weapon of conventional length) is not really much of an advantage with airsoft, since airsoft weapons don't have rifled barrels, and a BB travelling down a long barrel does not pick up more energy like a real bullet does with expanding gasses behind it speeding it up. So in other words, you'll do pretty much just as well with a really short MP5K replica as you will with a replica SVD dragunov if they had a similar muzzle velocity. But these things, and what you end up preferring will be best decided from experience and your style and personal preference. Unlike in the army, where you get what you're given, you get the choice of what to use in airsoft, so let experience be your guide.

 

A tactical vest is a good idea. Not simply because it looks cool and can hold a bunch of stuff, but also because there is a good chance it is where you'll get hit with a BB a lot of the time, and so you only have to own up to being hit because you hear it rather than feel it, since a BB can hurt quite a lot and can break the skin and bruise you. A bunch of mags in pockets on your chest will often stop that BB before it hits you and stings.

 

With being hit in mind (and you will get hit), it's a good idea to cover up as much as you can, but don't go mad with that, as you will end up getting very hot, especially on indoor CQB sites, where trust me, you will sweat a lot (carrying water is highly recommended).

 

I'd recommend a decent set of thin gloves (I use modern-day RAF issue pilot goves, which are very nice thin leather designed to enable jet pilots to operate fiddly cockpit controls easily, and being that they are a gauntlet type, they also cover my wrists, although they do cost about 30 quid, so you might find nomex USMC gloves are cheaper to acquire, some people prefer fingerless gloves though, so pick what you prefer). Neck protection is good too, something like an Arabian keffiyah scarf is good for that (most UK soldiers call them shemaghs, even though they really should be referred to as keffiyahs, so if you wanna buy online, you'll get more joy searching for a 'shemagh'). Keffiyahs also have the advantage of looking a bit military anyway. Traditionally, soldiers such as TE Lawrence and the SAS in WW2 are noted for having adopted them, and for a long time this was officially frowned upon, but tolerated, these days British soldiers are issued with them in a tan colour when serving in Afghanistan. US Army soldiers were expressly forbidden from wearing them during the 1991 Gulf War, but they too now are tolerated since they are very practical in desert climates, practical too in airsoft, where they can wrap around your neck and stop a BB from hitting it, which trust me, can really hurt and will bleed if it's anywhere near 300 fps or more, since your skin is pretty thin in that area.

 

Eye protection is mandatory at airsoft sites and even if it wasn't, is a good idea, since a 500 fps BB from a sniper rifle will take your eye out, and even at much lower speeds, could easily blind you, so don't go cheap on eye protection, shooting glasses can fog up in hot CQB, so if you are likely to be doing that, either get a mask with cooling fans or get a mesh mask, which lets the air in and won't fog up. Most airsoft sites will let you skirmish without lower face protection if you are over 18, but all of them will make you sign a waiver anyway, so if you get a tooth shot out, then tough. A 350 fps BB will easily take out a tooth, so I'd recommend lower face protection too, since it's a lot cheaper than major dental work. Personally, I think a helmet is a good idea too, as a BB in the head can hurt, airsoft replica military helmets can be had for about a tenner upwards and can attach a number of accessories too. I use the PASGT helmet (typical in SWAT loadouts), although many prefer the IBH and FAST helmets, which look a bit more modern and can generally attach a lot more gear. A cap will do if you get too warm in a helmet, but at least wear something on your noggin.

 

Some kneepads and elbow pads are not a bad idea, at the very least I would put one kneepad on your 'kneeling' knee for taking aimed shots from concealment, although pads on both knees and elbows will reduce the chance of injury if you dive for cover. Also, being shot in the elbow is very painful, so it'll prevent that hurting you as well. These too are common with the real military anyway, so again, it looks the part.

 

Decent boots are a good idea of course and will protect you when leaping about. Get some proper boots from an army and navy surplus store, they are cheap and designed for the task. Likewise with combat pants, tops etc. Having that stuff adds to the fun.

 

Some sites only let you use a pistol at close CQB ranges or on stairwells, so you might want to consider getting a pistol, as they can't always be hired. Even a cheap springer pistol for 20 quid is better than not having anything at all when things get close and you can't use your rifle, so it doesn't have to be expensive, although make sure you get a holster which you can easily draw and stow the pistol in quickly, or it will defeat the object to some degree. Failing that, you could get a rubberised knife for those up close and personal moments. Again, all these things 'look the part' and make things a bit more fun, in addition to which, a pistol belt or tactical vest will also let you carry a decent water bottle, as they rarely stay in combat pant pockets when you are leaping about all over the place.

 

Whatever you end up getting gear-wise, make sure you are familiar with it and try moving with it before using it in anger at a skirmish, some stuff can be quite constraining and may need experimentation to work well for you. Experiment with different ways of slinging your weapons and find what works for you. But above all, have fun and be honest in calling your hits, airsoft relies on honour in owning up to being hit, and if you don't do that, then it all falls down.

 

.

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Decent sites in or within reach of Leicestershire:

 

MAW Airsoft in Melton Mowbray - mix of woodland and village areas, fairly big site and probably one of the cheaper ones.

The Gaol (can't remember where it is) - old prison complex, very CQB but a lot of fun.

The Towers in Leicester - CQB and a very good site, just a little bit expensive.

The Asylum in Kidderminster - FIBUA and open areas, very good site that pulls a number of people.

 

I live in Loughborough, so these tend to be the main sites I go to.

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Decent sites in or within reach of Leicestershire:

 

MAW Airsoft in Melton Mowbray - mix of woodland and village areas, fairly big site and probably one of the cheaper ones.

The Gaol (can't remember where it is) - old prison complex, very CQB but a lot of fun.

The Towers in Leicester - CQB and a very good site, just a little bit expensive.

The Asylum in Kidderminster - FIBUA and open areas, very good site that pulls a number of people.

 

I live in Loughborough, so these tend to be the main sites I go to.

 

I'd recommend MAW to anyone, based on my experiences there, although, the site has recently changed hands, and I've not been since then, so it may be different/not as good.

I'm yet to go to The Gaol, it's in Oakham, but have heard really good reviews, intend on going sometime in the near future.

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I'd recommend MAW to anyone, based on my experiences there, although, the site has recently changed hands, and I've not been since then, so it may be different/not as good.

I'm yet to go to The Gaol, it's in Oakham, but have heard really good reviews, intend on going sometime in the near future.

It's a regular player who's taken it over - their first game day was Sunday and it wasn't much different to how the previous team ran it.

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It's a regular player who's taken it over - their first game day was Sunday and it wasn't much different to how the previous team ran it.

 

Yeah I thought it was, didn't really expect much change to be honest!

 

I need to go again sometime soon, it's just quite a distance for me. 70 miles from home, and 60 miles from uni...

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