Written by 2013 3-Gun Nation Champion Keith Garcia.
So you made the jump from pistol matches into the world of 3-Gun. You want to improve but how do you do it? Unless you have a range behind the house and an unlimited amount of ammunition, this sport will be a costly adventure. If you’re looking for ways to improve that don’t include shooting until you’re ankle deep in brass, then airsoft may be right for you.
What is airsoft and what can it offer you?
Most of the rifles and pistols used in the 3-Gun world have an airsoft replica. Airsoft guns are replica firearms that fire plastic pellets by way of compressed gas or electric and/or spring-driven pistons. These guns are designed to be non-lethal and to provide realistic replicas. Depending on the mechanism driving the pellet, an airsoft gun can be operated manually or cycled by either compressed gas such as Green Gas (propane and silicone mix) or CO2, or by compressed air via a spring or an electric motor pulling a piston. The airsoft industry is larger than you might think. For this article I wanted to find out more about the airsoft community so I talked to one of the key players. I interviewed Tim Seargeant, the marketing manager for Airsoft G.I., a retail company that proudly advertises itself as the “The #1 Airsoft Retail Store in America.” I asked Tim for some background on the company andthe community they serve:
KG: What is Airsoft G.I.?
TS: Airsoft G.I. has been in business since 2003 and has grown from a one-man operation to a work force of over 60 employees. We have over 11,000 product SKU numbers for airsoft guns, tactical gear and shooting accessories.
KG: What is the primary use of your airsoft products?
TS: A vast majority of airsoft users are involved in recreational airsoft play. The most primitive form of airsoft is a force-on-force battle where two evenly sized and gunned teams start on opposite ends of the field and shoot at each other until one team is eliminated. Another more advanced form of airsoft is called MILSIM, or military simulation. These games are typically played on a much larger playing field and incorporate objectives for each team to complete MILSIM games will usually draw a larger, more dedicated, airsoft crowd. MILSIM games can range from 100-1,000 participants depending on the venue, the game organizers, and the number of teams, while force-on-force games usually range from 10-150 players depending on venue and game organizers.
Another small sect of airsoft users are military and law enforcement officers looking for training tools.