Just about any airsofter will agree, that the most important thing in airsoft is your primary weapon. But for many airsofters, it doesn’t stop there. Some accessories can help improve your skill and heighten your airsofting experience. While others just make you look cool. This is a list of the 10 most essential airsoft accessories. These are generalized accessories, which are produced by many manufacturers. They are in no specific order, and their use should be based on the individual players surroundings. To make things simpler, items such as uniforms boots will not be included.
Helmets have come a long way in the airsoft community since the beginning of large scale Milsim events like Operation Lion Claws and Blacksheep. In the beginning, many airsofters simply wore paintball masks. And those who did wear helmets, normally went with replicas of the bulky M88 “Fritz,” or the more streamline ProTec helmets like those seen in the movie Black Hawk Down. Since the early 2000s, more and more options have come to the market. Airsofters now wear a number of helmets ranging from the US military current issue ACH, to the Ops-Core ballistic and “FAST” helmets. A helmet is more than a piece of kit used to make the wearer look cooler. The helmet is a vital piece of equipment for protecting ones head from a variety of dangers on the field and in CQB. Items such as low hanging pipes and small branches are no match for a sturdy helmet.
Staying hydrated is not always easy on the simulated battlefield, but having something such as a canteen or hydration bladder can make things a bit easier. They allow the player to keep a source of water on him while in game and can help avoid going back to a staging area.
Load Bearing Gear
This include battle belts, plate carriers, chest rigs, and tactical vests. Load-bearing gear can significantly increase the amount of ammunition that a player can carry on the field, as well s provide extra padding from harder hitting guns.
Most electric airsoft guns come standard with a high capacity magazine. This may work well for the new player but many will soon find that stealthy ambushes and flanking maneuvers are often ruined by the maraca-like sound of BB’s rattling around in a half full hi-cap magazine. Many veteran players will recommend investing in a few mid-cap magazines and a speedloader. For an extra challenge, try running low capacity magazines, which tend to carry the same amount of rounds as the weapons real-steel equivalent.
Less important in CQB, optics can make a world of difference in mid-to-long range engagements. If you find yourself a bit hesitant to invest $100+ on a real-steel optic, many Hong Kong producers make quality replicas that won’t break the bank.
Possibly one of the most basic accessories in airsoft; eye protection is a requirement on nearly any airsoft field in the world. The standard paintball mask is required by many fields and for those that don’t, full seal eye protection tends to be the standard. The player should never use shooting glasses or mesh goggles as these leave gaps were BB’s can still penetrate and damage a players eyes. Some examples of good eye pro include ESS goggles, Oakley m-frames with a helo kit, Boogie Regulators, or Revision Ant Goggles. All eyewear should fall under ANSI Z87.1 standards.
Flashlights / Lasers
These can be a double edged sword. While a flashlight or laser can assist the player in illuminating and engaging the opposing force in low light environments, they can also compromise the users position. I recommend using a model with a pressure switch.
A good pair of gloves can help protect a players hands from BB strikes as well as environmental hazards such as thorns and sharp rocks. The choices range from affordable Mechanix and surplus Nomex flight gloves to the more pricey Oakley and Outdoor Research gloves.
While not necessary, radios can make communication over medium distances less of a hassle. Radios will rarely be a necessity in CQB, but are always good to have when playing on large scale fields.
There is a myriad of airsoft mortars, claymores, and landmines on the market that can be utilized by game referees, field owners, and players. Likewise, devices such as Thunder B’s can do a lot to enhance a players expirience. Few things feel as satisfying as mule kicking a door in at a milsim event, and using a flash bang type device to “bang and clear.” Many options on the market are reusable and refillable.
There are many accessories out there to choose from and it is recommended that you invest in multiple options and decide which ones you enjoy best.
Article written by Frank Ray
Many thanks to Ashleigh Wright for the photos