It’s been far too long since I posted anything so I’m going ranty. At the last couple of events I’ve been at, I’ve witnessed significant and game changing fuckery, including from so-called serious teams: names you’d recognise.
Why does this matter? Well, it doesn’t really – we’re playing cops and robbers, dressing up with expensive toy guns. But, milsim events run best and are most fun when there’s less faff and where people don’t light up their own team, get lost, where they can communicate effectively and can be quickly ready to get out on tasking. If you want to be taken seriously, don’t do this stuff. It’s basic skills. I’m certainly not perfect – I’m lazy and I love my hammock – but I can navigate, I can use my comms kit and I can tick the rest of the tests I’ll set out here.
Why should you care about this? The main reason I can give you is that when I’ve gone to events as part of a group who have their shit together, we end up getting the best jobs. Show you can be trusted with the small stuff and you’ll soon get given bigger things to do. And big thinks = cool things.
I’m not going to talk fittness but if you’re never going to regreat being more fit and for some sites (I’m looking at things like the Trees here but it applie much more generally), you’re going to be on your feet a while so get some fittness. Racing to a baseline makes a massive difference in airsoft because the team who can concentre fire quickest usually wins and racing means fitness.
Anyway. These are my four common fields of fuckery:
- Positive Target ID/Identifying Friend from Foe
- Harbour Area Admin
- Basic Test – Can you give a grid reference for your current position and can you navigate from there to another given location?
- Advanced Test – Can you do this in the dark, without GPS, and give a good ETA?
- Basic Test – Can you dial your comms into given freqs and then perform basic voice procedure?
- Advanced Test – Can you manage dual comms across your team and a command net?
- Basic Test – Can you positively ID the enemy based on camo and weapons systems?
Harbour Area Admin
- Basic Test – Can you keep your harbour and pit clean and clear and be ready to go before you’re needed?
- Advanced Test – Upon arrival back at your pit, do you fix your weapon and ammo, getting ready to go back into the fight before hitting the Haribo?
Putting all this together – Slightly advanced tests for team leaders
So you and a few mates are taking this seriously and playing as a team. You’ve even got a logo and call sign patches made up. But are you actually an asset to your overall team at a MilsIm? If you’re not saying yes to these, you’re part of the problem rather than the solution:
- Can you nav effectively to a location, choosing an effective route while keeping Comd and other friendly callsigns in the loop and then arrive knowing where you are in relation to everyone else?
- Are you able to mobilise quickly from chilling out to being patrol ready in less than a minute? If you can, you’ll start being your Comd’s go-to call sign.
- Are you able to stay on task? Can you go and do the job given to you, even if it’s a bit boring ,and not deviate from it?
Where am I shit? Well, CBQ isn’t my usual game style so my room entry is slow and I’m not super organised. I’m also working on better calculating ETAs when going cross country (assume 30mins a Km plus 10mins for every 50m of elevation and you won’t go too far wrong: half as fast as Naismith’s Rule). My fine micro nav isn’t as good as it used to be because I’m not out and about as much as I used to be and I use a GPS too often. I also need to work on how I fight at night, using NVDs, lasers, passive optics etc far better. This last bit is probably the single biggest thing I need to develop.
Back then to the four fields of fuckery. What should you do if you want to build skills? My skills and knoweldge article isn’t a bad place to go. I also really rate the Soldier’s Pocket Book 2022 (Amazon etc). Books like the Walkers Guide to Clues and Signs is also good for navigation. Go follow pages like CBRN Dad, Viking Reconnaissence and other accounts on Instagram and then think about how their advice translates for airsoft.
But also, go out, away from your sofa and practise. Nav in particular is a skill you need to keep fresh. I used to be a total ninja and I’m not any more. While you’re practising, you’re also exercising which won’t hurt either. You can combine nav and comms with a friend, or just go out with a chunk of OS map printed from Bing Maps for your local area and practise confirming where you are before checking with your phone’s GPS.
Behind all this though is a desire to want to get better. A huge part of what I enjoy in this hobby is developing my skills. I’m orriginally an HQ creature by training, kept as far away from the sharp end as Lumocolour pens allow. I really enjoy being able, occasionally, to do a decent job playing at the pointy end.
For me, this is what fun looks like. Maybe it is for you, too.