AAR: Airsoft As Training - Part I
From a reader over the transom:
There are some good points and some bad points to using airsoft as a training tool.
1) Rifles have very short range, allowing people to walk around with impunity past distances of 40 to 60 yards, depending on the weapon. Obviously, this leads to a bad feel for the need to keep under cover. This can also develop a willingness to ignore proper movement tactics.
2) Just about anything will stop an airsoft BB, creating an artificial feel of cover when use of such “cover” would result in instant death in the real world.
3) Almost all have full auto, resulting in poor fire control and a very unrealistic view of what is possible in the real world.
4) When you get into the game, you tend to ignore injuries, thereby aggravating them.
1) It is great exercise and very fun. Even people who dislike exercise will enjoy doing it.
2) It easily shows certain weaknesses and observations in field operations which I will go into detail below.
Observations, the vast majority of which are old news but a good way to show new guys reality:
1) If you get into close contact with people who are properly equipped, you are dead.
2) Old people who do PT can keep up with young people short term but will feel the pain after a period of time.
3) Rapid movement is easily spotted.
4) Slow movement with well chosen routes will keep you hidden. Always stay out of the light when moving if possible.
5) THE BIG ONE: Force identification is extremely difficult. We had 3 teams and it was very difficult to tell who was who.
6) Friends will betray friends. (This was part of the scenario.)
7) Armor (and aviation) will be a big problem.
8) Amateurs tend to bunch up and do not move tactically.
9) Command and control (C&C) at platoon level is difficult, at best. Company level C&C may be possible, but extremely difficult. Anything larger is impossible.
10) Without training, C&C breaks down easily. Even with people who have worked together before, C&C falls apart easily. With a scratch force, C&C will disintegrate immediately. Good C&C will be require constant, frequent training. The team I was on consisted of a core of people who worked together before, including several military veterans and police officers. Attached to that group were several of us who had never worked with them before of vastly different skills and age levels. The core group made up the leadership. Even in these ideal circumstances, C&C broke down frequently, largely due to overall lack of training. The other groups who had no such advantages lost C&C completely. Good C&C and ability to move quickly helps a lot.
11) Even simple chemical weapons such as CS will be a problem.
12) We had some people using FMRS/GMRS radios. The radios frequently failed to work, causing additional problems as there was no plan for runners. In addition, hand and arm signals were not in use. In a real scenario, all commo would be intercepted in addition, giving the opfor full knowledge of plans.
I’m leaning towards brown as a good color for clothing. Black stands out. Camo will be widely used by .gov forces, as will green and black.
See Part II for further insights.
AAR: Airsoft As Training - Part II
More from the reader who previously filed this report:
Having caught a little more rest, I’ve got a couple of more observations from yesterday’s activities.
1) Rifles with vertical fore grips are a real PITA to carry and don’t help shooting. They also hang on brush constantly, as do big mags like AK mags.
2) In order to use cover properly, be prepared to shoot weak hand 50% of the time.
3) Often, a good shooting stance has to be sacrificed for cover and concealment. To offset this, however, the rifle usually can be braced against something solid to compensate for the poor position.
4) Rifle mags tend to get lost easily, as do pistols. If you have a pistol, you had better wear a lanyard loop for it.
5) PT is worth its weight in gold. The better your PT, the more you can think about other things while on the move.
PT is worth its own discussion. The most important thing is, of course, to do something strenuous regularly. As it stands, I see a need for a blended approach. We’ll take my fat ass as an example of OK, but with some obvious weaknesses.
First, given the circumstances, one must be able to cover a long distance, a/k/a bugging out. Note that the US Army, until recently, put an emphasis on this aspect. This means distance running and hiking. This endurance will also carry you through a long day of other activities. It also burns calories efficiently. I’ve got this part down OK.
The next area is sprinting, from distances of 20 to 200 yards. I haven’t practiced this one enough. I was fast enough at first but slowed down as time went on.
Crawling is an undertrained area. I’ve practiced this some, but need to do a lot more. It is hard physically and will wear muscles that you never knew you had. The best place to practice crawling is in the field.
High and low crawl theory should be used as the basis, but in the real world a blend of the techniques work best. A true high crawl is too high in woodland and will get you shot. A low crawl is too slow and will not allow you to see what is going on in a wooded environment.
Also, I rolled from my front to my back constantly, depending on what I needed to do.
Bet the enemy will find a pretext to ban airsoft as despite its flaws provides valuable close in tactical training and plentiful opportunities to practice marksmanship. Buy now, buy the airsoft that looks like your weapons and practice DAILY.