Beginner’s Guide – Start-Up Cost of Airsoft
How much does it all cost?!
So you are currently looking into starting airsoft for the very first time! However, all you are bombarded with on social media is players suited up in their operator loadouts, carrying guns with customised sights, lasers and all the rest of the gadgets. You think to yourself – “That’s exactly what I want to look like!”, but when you begin to look for airsoft gear online and price things up, you become a little overwhelmed. If this is something you can relate to, then this is the article for you!
Your First Game
Airsoft might seem expensive, but I’m here to debunk that myth for you! It doesn’t have to be that one-off, “stag do” event you attend once every few years, airsoft can actually become an affordable, regular hobby if you know what to look for. Most airsoft sites based in UK offer hire packages that vary between £35 – £50 for a full day game; those packages usually include:
- A Hire Gun
- A Bottle of BBs (2500 rounds which should easily last you the day)
- Eye Protection or Full Face Protection
- Camo Clothing/ Overalls/ Boiler suit
- Tactical Vest
- Tea/Coffee All day
- Lunch (Although not always included in the price)
These of course vary from site to site, however you can see what is on offer on most airsoft websites or their social media pages; see our list of UK and USA airsoft sites to find one near you:
This is exactly what I did when I first started; I began by finding a site nearby and booked my first game through their website for the price of £45, which included the mentioned hire package. All I had to do, was turn up with a good pair of boots and clothes I didn’t mind getting dirty; this worked out great as I already owned a decent pair of waterproof ankle boots. However, if you don’t own a pair yourself, that is something we all recommend first investing in at Airsoft Ranch; you can find full leather boots for no more than £30-40 and that is essentially all you need to start.
Moreover, I recommend bringing a pair of gloves; as long as they are not too thick and you still have enough dexterity to operate a gun. These will keep your hands warm and more importantly protect you against scratches when you lean against trees, bushes, buildings etc. Also head protection is really important – trust me, you want to have something protecting your head when you’re crawling through shrub or running through branches to get to an objective. Anything ranging from a beanie cap, hoodie to a baseball cap will do, although the harder the head-wear the better protection against knocks and scratches; any of these are all great initial protection for your head to get you started .
Another thing people often worry about when joining new communities is going to an event by themselves. I’ve been there myself, no one would come with me and I worried about the atmosphere whether I would easily fit in. However, once I got there, everyone was incredibly welcoming and instantly made me feel part of the group! Over the last few months I have made genuine, amazing friends that share the same passion for airsoft and now we get to travel around UK to try different sites.
So my recommendation is don’t think too much about it and simply get yourself to your local site and see how you find the game; play one or two skirmishes before you think about investing a lot of money into the hobby. Make sure this is something you enjoy and would like to carry on doing in the future. Remember to ask questions, speak to fellow airsofters and mingle with the crowd; it’s the best way to make new airsoft pals and get advice! Every airsoft site I’ve been so far, I have found that people are very eager to talk about their own gear and answer any of my questions. They might even let you have a got at their gun if you ask them nicely! I hope this will motivate you to book your first game that you’ve been thinking about for a while; I promise you, you will not regret it, it was the best thing I did in years!
Buying Your First Gear
So at this point, you have played a few games and you’re starting to itch for your own gear and you just happen to have some spare funds. On top of that, you want to blend in with the rest of the players… and more importantly the surroundings. Now’s the time to start thinking about what sort of game play and play style you prefer and start planning your wish list accordingly.
Most players opt for the standard Multicam (MTP) Uniform or choose the darker Woodland (DPM), others go for black and custom loadouts. The range of camouflage is simply enormous and remember – on top of being absolutely tactical, part of the fun is looking like your favourite hero!
There are so many retailers available online where you can purchase military surplus and other military related gear. The best place to start browsing, I found to simply be Ebay. Plenty of ex service men and women sell their old uniforms that are often kept in excellent condition. I picked up my British issued army pants and a UBACS shirt in multicam for about £40; here’s what they look like:
UBACS Shirt – £20
MTP British Issued Army Pants – £20
Now I had my uniform, it was time to get extra gear. Continuing in the same fashion, all of my accessories were bought on Ebay as I didn’t want to spend lots of money when I first started airsoft; yet everything I bought from there was brand new, decent quality and budget-friendly.
Tactical Gloves (Touchscreen) – £10
Face mask – £6.99
Leg Holster (For a pistol I already owned) – £10
I recommend purchasing a face mask with soft padded nylon fabric cheek sides in order to ensure comfort throughout the day.
Next on the list is a tactical vest. This will become an essential part of your loadout when you become a regular player. Playing a full day without a vest can be a nightmare especially when you don’t have enough magazines to last a full game without topping up. Also carrying a bottle of BBs in your pants all day can become somewhat cumbersome and uncomfortable to say the least.
You don’t have to search for long to find a good quality vest that will suit your loadout; just make sure to type in the correct camouflage abbreviation you are looking for, such as “DPM” to narrow down your results. Similarly, I promptly came across a brand new vest that had everything I needed: utility pouch, perfect for holding extra BBs or a drink, magazine pouches in which I can fit three Stanag (M4 Type) magazines and extra pouches for other things you might need like a smoke grenade or a radio.
Tactical Vest (MTP) – £20
Now don’t get me wrong, it is far from the best vest on the market, but it is good enough to get you started. I am still currently using mine six months down the line; I’ve dragged it through mud, ran through branches in it and it’s still doing just fine. Great value for money!
As mentioned before, good head-wear can become an important part of your airsoft journey especially if you rush into buildings, objectives or to find cover. I personally banged my head on a doorway running into a building on my first game and that’s when I realised that these are not made just for aesthetic purposes in airsoft.
Helmet – £14
Helmet Cover (Patch not included) – £10
Helmets are certainly important to protect you from knocks and bangs when you’re at the height of adrenaline and momentarily lose balance or fall by an accident. Not to mention well aimed BBs that can leave a lump on your forehead, beware of those!
One of the first things that is often mentioned to new players in airsoft is to invest in a good pair of boots that are above ankle height and preferably full leather or waterproof. I cannot stress enough the importance of that particular advice. Most of the injures in the sport are ankle related due to people not wearing correct footwear during games. You have to remember, that when you play in woodland, you will be running through mud, stones and wet patches and it doesn’t take much to misplace your footing and do some damage.
Military Boots – £20
Wearing ankle high boots can help reduce the chance of any unfortunate incidents with the extra protection and extra deep grooves on the soles to improve grip when running on uneven terrain.
Last but not least and in fact the most important of them all, and I can’t stress this enough, is eye protection. When it comes to protecting your eyes from BB pellets flying at 350 feet per second, you just cannot go for the cheapest product on the market. Unfortunately there are goggles and glasses out there with low quality and will break upon impact, so please be careful when buying eye pro and always test a new pair by simply shooting one or two BBs at the lens from a close distance. The worst case scenario, they break and you lose some cash, however you get to keep your eyesight. Also most sites will lend you a pair of goggles with little to no extra charge if necessary.
Buying adequate eye protection was very important for me and I took my time to conduct some proper research and asked about at my local airsoft site and airsoft groups on social media. I was advised to use ballistic type of goggles which are used in the army, so upon further research I came across a company called Revision which is used by the British Army. Some of their products can be quite expensive to buy, however they are worth every penny. I was lucky find a second-hand pair of Revision Sawfly Glasses in perfect condition along Revision Wolf Spider Goggles which were brand new on Ebay. I cannot recommend these enough, absolutely amazing Eye Pro with no concern for fogging. However, if you ever find yourself dealing with fogging issues, check out our 5 tips on how to prevent and fix this particular problem: Click Here to read our article on Airsoft Ranch.
Revision Sawfly Glasses – £20
Revision Wolf Spider Goggles – £26
There is a lot to consider when purchasing new gear for a hobby and it might feel a little overwhelming, but I hope this article has cleared things up for you and it helped you as much as I’ve been helped by other players when I first started out this amazing hobby! If you have any questions write them below in the comments or contact us or use the Airsoft Ranch forum.
Written by Ryan Gee
Edited by Kamil Turecki
Follow Ryan on Instagram @airsoft_gi.gee