While there are many things to consider when playing airsoft, whether it's the type of tactical gear to wear or airsoft gun to carry, it's always important to keep minimum engagement distance (MED) in mind, regardless of where you decide to play.
Airsoft is a growing sport that attracts players of all ages and backgrounds, but despite its popularity and its affinity for action, safety will always be the name of the game.
MED requires all players to follow the predefined distance a player can fire at an opponent. This rule is enforced at all fields (regardless if it's indoors or outdoors) in order to prevent serious injury. Although combatants wear eye protection and protective gear, injuries can still be a real risk if players break the rules and act carelessly. As a general rule, most indoor fields enforce a minimum engagement distance of 10 to 15 feet, and limit the AEG's muzzle velocity to 350 FPS. Even with these rules in place, you still have plenty of tactical options for CQB play.
From short-barreled carbines to pump action shotguns, these guns close the gap perfectly without shooting too hard. A fan favorite for close quarters battle would include rail-equipped AEGs like the M4 CQC RIS by Elite Force, which is a lightweight alternative to larger rifles that measures 23 inches long fully retracted and is equipped with a CNC-machined quad rail.
However, there will be times when you get up close to an opponent that makes it impossible for engagement without breaking the rules. That's when melee weapons can be used to your advantage. Training rubber knives can come in handy for executing "knife kills" to effectively tag players out of the game, using the training knife. But if you want something a little bigger, Cold Steel has you covered with their selection of polyurethane swords, rubber tomahawks and axe gang hatchet trainers. Distraction devices like the Hakkotsu Thunder B sound grenades are also popular picks for indoor room clearing situations.
On the other side of the spectrum, outdoor fields usually allow airsoft guns that shoot no more than 400 FPS and engagement distances between 10 to 20 feet, depending on the field. Designated marksman rifles and full-length AEGs are best here. Whether you choose to pick up full-stock M16 AEGs to modular sniper rifles like the Mk14 EBR by CYMA, you're safe as long as your gun's specs fall within the rules. While rifles can be cumbersome and ineffective choices for close-range engagements, some outdoor fields allow players who carry pistols or sidearms to engage opponents at least five feet away, though this close-range MED is not permitted at all fields.
Make sure to double check with your field to make absolutely sure you don't break any rules and maintain a safe environment to play.
Airsoft players who have maintained the level of safety that is required - and is expected - in any airsoft game, battle or skirmish have kept this sport safe and fun for all players. But it only takes one person to make one bad call to ruin the whole thing for everyone. Don't let the general public see it the other way around. This is the reason why fields enforce a maximum FPS limit and minimum engagement distance, a simple concept that most new players breaking into the sport are not familiar with, but will work well in the long run if we all follow the rules.