The first article on getting MilSim ready covered how to choose the kit you need to stay comfy and to be effective. The second article went into a slightly unusual but really important place – food for events. This article covers the final prep in the days before the event to make sure that the kit you pack is what you actually need, and that it’s ready to use. The final article will cover some ideas on skills and *shock* non-kit stuff to think about. I’ll also do a baseline kit wrap-up as well…
Starting from my main point: this is all about having fun at a game where you’re playing expensive cops and robbers in the woods- as I’ve said elsewhere, you’ve virtually zero objective risk. This is a good thing. If it gets too grim, you always have the option to sack it off and walk back to your car (although getting off-site might take a while if you’re on a MOD training area). My point is, don’t necessarily take all this too seriously.
Choosing kit means thinking about a lot of the same things I talked about in Part 1:
- Role and tasks
- Uniform and equipment rules
- Sleeping arrangements
- Food and water
Role and tasks
By now you should have an idea of what you’ll be doing – is it CBQ door kicking, quiet recce, patrolling, full force or force etc? From this, you should get an idea of how to set up your RIF. To give an example- for pure recce, compared to CQB, I’ll strip off some bit from my rifle to keep things light and simple.
The things I’ll remove might include the torch (got one on my PEQ which also give me visible and IR lasers), the remote switch for light/laser (I’ll activate the PEQ manually) and perhaps anything like a vertical or angled grip. This all lightens the weapon, keeps it simple and has less to snag and make noise. In this example, I’d also mount my ACOG magnified scope rather than a simple red dot. For recce, this means I can see further without getting out bigger optics.
In a more extreme example, considering my role and tasks would also mean perhaps choosing an AK over my L119A2, or an SMG over a DMR or sniper (if I had one).
Another aspect of this is your load bearing kit- for recce and patrolling may favour belt kit over a plate carrier, if you’re going to be in vehicles, a chest rig might be best… you get the idea. At this stage, it’s about fine tuning rather than anything else.
Bottom line- think specifically about what you’ll be doing and arrange your weapon system and personal equipment around it.
Basically, look at the forecast. Use the Met Office and BBC news, as well as other options like TheWeatherOutlook.com. At 3-4 days’ out, you should know if you need to be ready for monsoon, heatwave or snow, or whatever combination the British climate wants to throw at you.
So what? Well, hot means a lot more water and making sure your food replenishes salt as well as sugar and carbs to fuel you. It could also mean goretex or a warmer jacket in the right colour/cam. Not rocket science but keep an eye on it.
Uniform and equipment rules
One massive change you’ll see from skirmishing when you move into MilSim events is the strictness of uniform and kit rules. I’ve played events where one team had to wear desert DPM, end of discussion and at another where weapons had to be Russian. Now, I chose these teams and roles but when you book on, make sure you know what you’re signing yourself up for.
Simple one – how long is it? How much food and water will you need? How much pyro, batteries, BBS etc.
While it’s tempting to go all ninja and think you won’t bother with sleep, if you’re at a full Bank Holiday weekend game from Friday night until Monday morning, you will need to sleep. You’ve also got to drive home safely afterwards so make sure you’ll be fit to do so.
You’ll have to kip somewhere, and you might as well be as comfortable as possible. The game might even stop overnight, opening up options of a nice comfy tent. But, usually, you’re on some bashsa/bivi bag combo, or sleeping in a building. If you have the option of a camp bed rather than a crap foam sleeping mat, do it.
Read the event blurb, joining instructions etc, chat on the forum/Facebook group etc and see what others are expecting, and then choose accordingly.
Hopefully you ordered this in advance, or checked that there will be shop, because there might not be. I tend to go heavy on smoke (as you can see in the photo below) because airsoft doesn’t really suppress in a fight: if you can’t keep their heads down, you need to screen (and flank; always flank). Check pyro rules though, you can’t always take everything you’ve got.
Food and water
The last article on this was on what food but you need to avoid just having sugar, and make sure you get carbs and protein to sustain you. And you’ll need plenty of water, at least 3-4L per day. If you’re not drinking at least that much, even on minging wet days, you should be. Your kidneys will thank you.
Get your kit ready
This is all about being able to get to the event, to load up and go. Zero faff. This isn’t rocket science but just think through what you’ll need and make time for it the week before.
In the week before:
- Print out your kit list
- Check your kit (including BB and pyro supply) and place any last minute panic orders
- Charge AEG batteries or clean your GBBR
- Clean your pistol, check optics etc
- Clean optics
- Charge radios
- Check batteries in PEQ, Headtorch, Weapon Light, Night Vision Kit etc etc – if it’s got a battery, check it (and have spares)
- Print maps and briefing and laminate the map
- Check orders, your team structure, callsigns etc
- Load frequencies into your radios
- Check the gas/fuel for your stove
At a day or two before:
- Go shopping and buy your food
- Fill your water bottles
- Break down food, remove packaging etc
- Load your plate carrier, chest rig, belt kit etc
- Load mags (rifle and pistol)
- Pack your bergan/day sack etc
- Fill your pockets with whatever you need in them (for me, it’s a variation on notebook, compass, maps, head torch, dead rags, in-game bandages, spork, leatherman)
Getting all this right will make you more comfortable, better prepared and more effective. And that means you’ll have more fun.
And, at the end of the day, I’m reminded of the immortal words of advice on focused to me at Phase 2: “Any c**t can be uncomfortable. You don’t want me to think you’re a c***, do you?”