A Basic Airsoft Guide to Being Tactical

By Editor, Oct 19, 2014 | |
  1. Editor
    I have noticed that everything in airsoft is tactical. Tactical vests tactical boots tactical guns, but what is tactical? The definition of tactical is a pertaining to a maneuver or plan of action designed as an expedient toward gaining a desired end or temporary advantage. So, how do you be "tactical"?

    A few ways are:

    1. Hand signals/Communication

    Hand signals are a good way to communicate with your team when stealth is important (which it almost always is). Here is a good example of basic hand signals. Hand signals can be used in a variety of situations, CQB, field, or MILSIM. They can be used for scouting the enemy/enemy territory, charging with your teams main force, flanking (which is one of the best times to use hand signals when you're trying to sneak up behind the opposing team), invading a building where a small team of operatives need to work together as a single unit to get the job done effectively without running each other over, and many more situations where stealth, efficiency, and a certain degree of making yourself feel like an oper8or is needed to get the objective done. There are many guidelines for hand signals on the web and in books, but teams can make their own signals to suit their needs.

    Here are some examples of hand signals. Again, teams can make their own to suite their own needs.

    (This poster is one of the most spoofed on the interwebs)

    Communication is the key to winning an airsoft match, simply because a well-organized team that can communicate with each other will work as a single unit, instead of a bunch of individuals all doing their own thing just trying to survive, all thought of taking out the enemy gone from their minds. Besides hand signals, there is not very many ways of communication unless everyone is packed together. If you are spread out and having to shout battle plans to each other, the other team will hear you, take advantage of your derp, and effectively counter your attacks.

    The most common way is radios, so that you can communicate with your team from nearly anywhere. These also can be used with Bluetooth, enabling the use of a headset for hands free talking.

    As for other ways, there really are not any. If your team usually gets separated or you split up on purpose, up to 50 feet at a time it's a very good idea to have some sort of radio system.

    2. Having correct gear

    Having the right gear is important, you probably don't want a M1, M16, M14, or any longer, bulkier gun for CQB as turning tight corners and constantly running around with one of these style of weapons will be extremely difficult and wear you out much faster than with a CQB style gun because of constantly having to move your gun around to get around corners. Longer style guns that are accurate at a long range are simply not needed in a CQB game, where things like ROF and quickness are king. The same as you probably don't want an UZI or a MP7 for field. Using these types of guns while playing field is like taking a knife to a gunfight. Most sub-machine guns including the MP7, MP9, UZI, and other guns like CQB style AR-15's simply lack the range and accuracy that is standard for field play. Though it is not impossible to make a CQB styled/shorter rifles and shotguns fieldable with the right mods and aftermarket parts, many people play MILSIM and want to keep the game as realistic as possible.

    In addition, loadouts are important. Having the right gear is important because if you are someone who sneaks around, having tactical maracas (high cap mags) isn't very tactical. The most popular forms of gear are MOLLE vests/pouches, chest rigs, and BDU's. Many consider a good set of BDU's to be essential and are very highly recommended, but they are technically optional because you really only have to have eye protection and a gun/magazine/bb's to play. There are tons of different camo options and it is recommended that you do some research on what camo pattern will blend you in best with the area you will be playing most. As far as CQB goes, camo is not as important and some prefer to wear black, while some use any other camo such as multicam, MARPART, M81, and other camos. The point that I personally see with doing this is to have your loadout set for when you play outside (if you do along with CQB), but everyone has their reasons. One tacticool option is multicam black, but it's not essential to have the best camo ever.

    It is a commonly accepted fact that the camo that is currently used by the United States Army, UCP (also called ACU) is absolute crap. That it should be burned with fire, and never seen again. This is simply not true, or the Army would never had chosen it. While the margin of territory that UCP is effective in is small, it's not completely useless. It blends in where it was made for, mountainous areas. It is also a good snow camo due to it's lighter colors/shades of green.

    Many also use a chest rig, MOLLE vest, or some other form of vest/plate carrier. These can come in tan, black, OD, ranger green, coyote brown, multicam, and other colors/camo's. Some good brands of gear are Flyye, Pantac, Crye, Mayflower, AWS, and 215 gear. For a much more in-depth list, take a visit by this thread.

    While chest rigs are popular, MOLLE vests hold the majority of players, hands down. This is most likely because the options on what you can do with a good quality MOLLE vest and pouches are endless. Whether you want a light, high speed, running around type loadout or a good loadout for a DMR, MOLLE vests are very effective and versatile as different pouches can be put on/rearranged in a matter of minutes. Here are some very helpful threads that can help when choosing what gear suites your needs to be tactical.

    Color/camo matching

    U.S. camo patterns

    Gear color comparison (different brands of gear tend to vary a bit on the same basic color)

    2007-2010 Army Rangers loadout guide:

    There is a wealth of knowledge to be found by using Google and YouTube on gear and what types of gear will best suite your needs. However, this is not solely a gear thread so let's get onto the last and most important subject when trying to impress others with your totally tacticool oper8orness, which just so happens to be...

    ...Using correct tactics!

    Wow who would have ever thought that using proper tactics would be more important that getting that uber tactical M4 that shoots like 5000000 fps and 100000000000 RPS with the tactical rails from evike?

    There are different styles of tactics, which can vary greatly depending on tons of factors. So how can you know what to do when there are so many options? You just have to narrow it down. What are you playing, CQB, field or are you participating in a MILSIM event? How big is your force? Are your teammates going to have enough respect to follow strict orders? How many long-range players do you have (if any)? What's the terrain and weather like? How is the bb supply? What objectives are there (if any)? As you can see, all of these factors will sway what you think you should do greatly. There are many other factors also that you should take into consideration, but in the end it comes down to just a few, simple things.

    One, how big is your force/the enemy force (if you are not sure, make a rough estimate. But a good idea is to always prepare for the worst)?

    Two, what tactics will your team be able to effectively complete without getting lots of your teammates hit?

    Three, which tactic that you just thought of would be the most effective and efficient? A very good guideline that I have heard (can't remember where, somewhere on this forum though) is to think of it as a percent. Run through your mind "If we try to flank from the left, what are the odds we win?" then put it in a percent. Say, you figure you have about a 60% chance of succeeding, and then make a choice off that. This is a very useful thing to do even if you are by yourself, because it's a quick method of thinking and if you can use some common sense, very, very effective. It can be anything from "If I sprint for cover behind that bunker about 50 feet away, what's the chance I am going to get hit?" to "What are the chances that our sniper can get position to take out the opposing team leader(s)?"
    Now, there will be times when the odds you come up with are against you, and that's when you imagination comes into play. What are some ways you can improve the odds you just ran through your head? Also when using this method, you *have* to be realistic with yourself. This is not Modern Warfare or COD where a shot to the leg will only injure you, if some annoying little kid with a Walmart springer hits you even once on your pinky toe, you are out.

    I am not going to reinvent the wheel here and list and tell you how to do every tactic for every situation, but as said before there is a great wealth of knowledge to be found on YouTube, google, and books. Here are just some examples of common tactics that have been tried and true and work great, if performed correctly.

    Room clearing-mainly a CQB tactic but can be used in field if there is a fort or building that your force is attempting to take over:


    Field tactics, there are so dang many that there is no possible way to list every one of them, not to mention that many teams make their own tactics based on what their needs are at the time. However, here are some good videos on common tactics that are proven to work in field.

    Communication- one of the biggest factors on the airsoft field, can make the difference between winning and losing very easily.


    High speed- for when if you don't get your rear end out your gonna get hit.


    There are a few good ideas on this thread, so look through it if you are looking for open field tactics. They may seem like noobs but all of the tactics they stated are very practical.

    As far as CQB tactics go, I don't play CQB so I personally do not know much about them. YouTube, however, has lots of good videos. Normally people say "Ohh, that vid is made by GI or AirSplat, its just marketing crap" but they do have some very, very, good tactic videos. Here are some for examples.

    Pistol Tactics:


    How to stack up and move:


    Rainbow Ops also has awesome videos, great tactics, and high quality videos.

    From here on will just be a hodgepodge of links to threads and videos for different tactics, then at the end I will just give some advice from personal experience, as I have been in situations where each little mistake cost me one little bb hitting me at 400 fps.

    How to Corner and use cover (Gameplay videos make a great teacher, as you can see what things actually worked, how they worked, and learn from the mistakes of others.)


    Reflexive shooting and stances:


    No matter what, your are not the most operator person on the planet and you will still get hit sometimes. Just don't be like this guy, or no one will take you seriously.


    -When ambushing, no one cares if you are not comfortable. Stay down, stay still, and be quiet. I once was leading an ambush and it was a small game, 3 people on our team (2 riflemen, 1 shot gunner (I was one of the riflemen)) and we were against 2 riflemen. Well my shotgunner decided that his foot was cramped and we had perfect position, the enemy was walking down a path about 20-25 feet from us and my teammate moved... Long story short we were on the receiving end of the lighting up.

    -Make sure that whatever camo you use blends into your environment. Just because Multicam is more oper8or, if CADPAT or M81 works better at the field(s) you play at, use CADPAT or M81. I can't stress how important camo is enough, just get a good set of BDU's and make sure they blend in well, even if that means you use Realtree or Mossy Oak camo. (Ed- Note that Naval Special Warfare Units used both of these in Afghanistan early in the conflict as it worked better that the standard ACU, desert, and woodland camo of the day)

    -When in an open field, it's usually best to spread out and stay low. I was at a game at a friend's house once when our entire team was caught out in the open, in an empty bean field. We spread and went prone. Held up and picked off people and they didn't know where we were under the cover of darkness.

    -When playing at night, be as sneaky as possible. Darkness does half of the job, so be quiet and use common sense before running around with a spot light blinding everyone.

    -Get higher ground, working your way up is a heck of a lot harder than holding off from behind proper cover.

    -Fitness- In order to keep playing all day and to constantly run and have focus all day long, you need to be in decent shape. You don't have to have a six-pack and be able to do 100 pushups at one time, but eating right and exercising will help more than you probably think. Look at this article for a bit more information on homeostasis.

    And most of all, practice.

    Did I mention that you should practice? In all seriousness though, if you have drilled over snap shooting or keeping prone, you will be able to do it much more effectively on the field. This is most important with snipers and shot gunners, which require very accurate shooting and being able to make very quick snapshots and reload very fast.

    --I hope you guys liked this guide; it is a revision of my original thread that I tried to make when I was a newb. I hope that this one is much, much better as it's over 3x as long. Also, any comments/suggestions are appreciated.

    Thanks guys! (Greyhounds45)

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