Airsoft for Training?

Airsoft for Training?

This is a discussion on Airsoft for Training? within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; My friend is trying to get me to invest in Airsoft products to do some training. I'm not convinced. I think that $ is more ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array WonderBra's Avatar
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    Airsoft for Training?

    My friend is trying to get me to invest in Airsoft products to do some training.

    I'm not convinced.

    I think that $ is more worthwhile for real firearms training.

    Any experience or views on this? I'd be willing to invest if it is worth the training, but for "fun" I'd rather paintball.
    "One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them."
    -- Thomas Jefferson, Letter to George Washington, 1796. ME 9:341


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Harryball's Avatar
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    For FOF training there is a benefit. My little brother and I do it a lot. If you want PM me, Ill give you the info on what we do.
    Don"t let stupid be your skill set....

    Never be ashamed of a scar. It simply means, that you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you......

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    Array WHEC724's Avatar
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    There is a distinct difference between pretending and training. Airsoft is just another tool that can be used for either.
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    well, the Military has started using airsoft,use good equipment and it's beneficial.

  5. #5
    Distinguished Member Array TSiWRX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WHEC724 View Post
    There is a distinct difference between pretending and training. Airsoft is just another tool that can be used for either.
    ^ Exactly.

    If you're thinking that "playing" airsoft - even something like truly "serious" Mil/Tac-Sim - is going to be good for training, that's unfortunately not going to be the case. In gaming, the mentality is different: even if your mentality is to use it as training and you take proactive steps to allow you to shift your game-time into true training, the problem is that unless everyone else is on the same wavelength as you, you're going to find your efforts to be futile. The "superhero" effect is quite prevalent in gaming, with the simple cause being that the risk-reward ratio is so distorted. Even if you participated in a manner which was a good simulation of Force-on-Force, the effect of others simply not calibrating themselves to such rules will make light of your efforts.

    However, if your intent - and that of all the other participants - is true Force-on-Force training, then yes, airsoft and other training tools like it (i.e. the RAM simulation tools) can be quite effective.

    Similarly, there's uses for airsoft outside of Force-on-Force, too. In 2004, Tatsuya Sakai won the Steel Challenge - 11 months out of the year, he shoots airsoft. I removed myself from the airsoft hobby shortly before that fateful event, but IIRC, there was *A_LOT* of talk on the various gun-Forums about how this came to be, and again going by-memory, I do think that those who mentioned his hardware compatibility (airsoft-to-real-steel 1911s) as well as those who made mention of the specifics of the hardware/setup of the Steel Challenge gaming genre (i.e. relatively low recoil) were very spot-on (also, don't forget, it was said that he did have about one month's worth of training with the real-deal, here in the States, prior to the match).

    Airsoft as IPSC practice - or BB-IPSC - certainly allows the shooter to practice the same skill set that they'd need for IPSC-type competitions regardless of their shooting platform. I started looking into BB-IPSC back in the 2001 or so, with my research into IPSC eventually leading to hooking up with members on Brian Enos's Forums as well as trainers like Karl Rehn, consulting with such individuals on the use of airsoft replicas for Force-on-Force training. Like I said before, I reluctantly left the sport/hobby at that time, but I'm still a big proponent of using it as a training tool (my posts on various gun-Forums will testify to that): as long as one keeps in-mind the limitations of the tool.

    Accuracy can be spot-on within about 10 to 15 yards, especially with the better replicas (my 5 and 1/2 year-old was able to punch the center out of my 16-oz. RedBull can at 10 yards, using my Tanio Koba 10/22 replica; handgun replicas can easily do the same), and getting a proper sight picture/sight alignment will be the same no matter what. Depending on the replica used, the action and feel of the trigger may even be quite accurate, and dimensionally speaking, again, the replica can be spot-on, aiding in overall manipulations and handling.

    On the other hand, recoil-management may or may not meet up with the replica's real-steel counterparts - and the balance of the replica may differ significantly from that of its real-steel counterpart, as much of the replica's overall weight/mass is contributed-to by the magazine, which contains the pressurized gas from which the replica draws power to both propel the BB as well as cycle the action.

    That heavy magazine also imposes another limitation. Although dimensionally the same as that of its real-steel counterparts, the fact that the magazine is so heavy makes it a hazard to drop during reloads. Similarly, the fact that damage to the magazine is often catastrophic (simply warping the metal at the right areas will make it leak gas - and thus not able to support the function of the replica any more - and that's quite easy to do, if you're dropping the magazine from chest-height onto hard surfaces) makes reload drills that do not include retention oftentimes a singular event. Additionally, due to the way the replicas feed and load BBs, there's no way to properly simulate an autoloader's malfunction drills outside of the simple failure-to-battery (the rather lazy slides on these replicas also makes for all-too-easy powerstroking, which again can make for unrealistic training).

    Airsoft is a tool - but the tool can only take you so far, there are limitations.

    And all that said, yes, I'm eagerly awaiting the SIRT XDm as well as the Marui XDm.

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    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    I would agree with the very good treatise above by TSiWRX with one supportive and one new comment.

    The key to successful FoF with airsoft is that everyone agree and act within scenario or other guidelines for the greatest training benefits to be acquired.

    One item that I consider a significant training benefit is the practice it allows from the holster, if a replica of ones carry weapon is acquired. This allows draw and fire practice from the holster, with a tool of similar weight and operation of ones carry weapon. Even if one frequents a range that allows work from the holster, time, weather or other factors that might not allow a range visit, often allow a few minutes to go to the garage or other practice area and work the draw. The benefit is enhanced even more if one is a proponent of half hip fire from the draw. I consider the proprioceptive imprinting invaluable.
    "I do what I do." Cpl 'coach' Bowden, "Southern Comfort".

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    VIP Member Array zonker1986's Avatar
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    personally think Airsoft in general is a bad idea. Seems like a violation of safe gun handling practices: "Never point a gun at anything you do not wish to destroy". Regardless of the fun factor, what is to keep a young kid from learning Airsoft (things look real) ......and then graduating to the real thing. I see the little thugs and thuggettes at Walmart drooling over the latest offerings like they are real guns. Just gives me an overall uneasy feeling knowing that some types will always learn to abuse anything FUN.....JMO.
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  8. #8
    Distinguished Member Array TSiWRX's Avatar
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    ^ Indeed, that is the case - you're pointing what is, by all observation, a loaded firearm at another human being: but that goes for Force-on-Force training, regardless of the tool used. SIRT, the RAM training devices, laser-based simulations that our own military uses, Simunition...all such training entails some level of abridging what may well be the cardinal safety rule of all gun safety rules.

    But alas, it's a must-do, if we expect to train in such a manner as to reflect reality.

    The safety involved means that those participating in the training as well as the trainer(s) must take critical steps to insure that no live ammunition is used.

    And towards such ends, as Guantes so well pointed out, the more realistic you can make the training, actually, the better.


    ----


    As for kids and airsoft?

    Again, it becomes the duty of those instructing/participating to teach the proper principles.

    My daughter's firearms training is beginning with airsoft: the replicas are as real as they can be, and thus allow proper teaching of gun safety and manipulation. The sights are a direct-copy. Lacking the loud report of even the smallest caliber real firearm, it allows my daughter to build her confidence level without un-necessary distractions, and the fat that it is not a firearm does add an extra measure of "safety" to the lesson, for someone so young (yet, focusing specifically on safety, one is able to take double advantage of the fact that the replicas completely and fully duplicates the functionality of their real counterpart).

    It's all in how the tool is used.

    Kids (and adults) have open access to any number of "toy guns" and treat them as-such - while firearms safety rules must be inviolate, there is no way to treat true toys as-such, and furthermore, in specific, safety-minded/assured training atmospheres, sometimes, we must seemingly counter them, in order to receive benefit which is, in many ways, even more important.

  9. #9
    VIP Member Array Harryball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TSiWRX View Post
    ^ Indeed, that is the case - you're pointing what is, by all observation, a loaded firearm at another human being: but that goes for Force-on-Force training, regardless of the tool used. SIRT, the RAM training devices, laser-based simulations that our own military uses, Simunition...all such training entails some level of abridging what may well be the cardinal safety rule of all gun safety rules.

    But alas, it's a must-do, if we expect to train in such a manner as to reflect reality.

    The safety involved means that those participating in the training as well as the trainer(s) must take critical steps to insure that no live ammunition is used.

    And towards such ends, as Guantes so well pointed out, the more realistic you can make the training, actually, the better.
    You have hit the nail on the head, It is a must do.. Good post Bro...
    Don"t let stupid be your skill set....

    Never be ashamed of a scar. It simply means, that you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you......

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array zonker1986's Avatar
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    I was not referring to the professionals that use Airsoft for training....I was at Sports Authority Saturday night and they have a selection of Airsoft pistols that would rival most large gun stores. And I didn't see any LEO or Military drooling on the latest SIG airsoft pistol.....but rather some young punks that don't need the "encouragement", if you know what I mean.
    Kimbers are the guns you show your friends....Glocks are the ones you show your enemies.

  11. #11
    Distinguished Member Array TSiWRX's Avatar
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    ^ True, airsoft - typically the low-quality type - are sold at many sporting goods and toy stores across the US as simple toys.

    But that's just as true of virtually any "traditional" BB/pellet gun, many of which now are appearing more and more "realistic," and are modeled towards military firearms.

    The same trend has existed for the past half-decade or so for paintball as well.

    Kids' toys are kids' toys. They're kids.

    Kids need adult guidance to help them make the right decisions, to mature into adults who are responsible, good people.

    Airsoft gaming has atrracted more than one interested child to later enter the Armed Forces or seek a career in firearms engineering. As a legitmate hobby, it encourages safety (knowing about eye protection, muzzle velocity/energy control, etc., in conjunction with firearms safety ["range safety" actually is in-use at regulated games, as there are designated "safe zones" for player refreshment, medical care, etc.) as well as discipline (to stay within the gaming "reality" bounds, honor in sportsmanship, etc.).

    But as with virtually any amusement device, it can be corrupted and abused.

    Heck, it's not likely the last time we'll ever hear of someone robbing a store with a "realistic looking water-gun" either, right?

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    Distinguished Member Array TSiWRX's Avatar
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    To-add:

    When I said before that I "consulted" - I should clarify, as I did not and do not want anyone to think that I am anything more than just the average run-of-the-mill Joe that I am.

    I was, in the early '00s, a known airsoft hobbyist/enthusiast, and served in the "consultant" capacity only as a totally unpaid/un-compensated voice regarding hardware.

    At that time, in most of the US, you'd be lucky to find your local Wal-Mart or sporting-goods store carrying even the el-cheapo single-shot spring-powered airsoft replicas, and the use of airsoft as a valid firearms training tool was virtually unheard of in much of the country. Most trainers, instructors, as well as individuals who simply wanted a way to practice their IPSC skills in the down-seasons had not even heard of airsoft or were just beginning to explore its use, and had questions as to the devices' durability/reliability, as well as care and safety.

    That's where I bridged the gap, and helped them with their hardware concerns.

  13. #13
    Member Array WonderBra's Avatar
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    You guys are great! Thank you TSiWRX for all that feedback. Your points are super valid and I can see a lot of usefulness in using these "tools" properly.
    Based on the feedback here, I can see myself using one for IDPA practices.

    Thanks again!
    "One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them."
    -- Thomas Jefferson, Letter to George Washington, 1796. ME 9:341

  14. #14
    Distinguished Member Array TSiWRX's Avatar
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    NP. Best of luck!

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    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WonderBra View Post
    My friend is trying to get me to invest in Airsoft products to do some training.

    I'm not convinced.

    I think that $ is more worthwhile for real firearms training.

    Any experience or views on this? I'd be willing to invest if it is worth the training, but for "fun" I'd rather paintball.
    The question is simple: What are you training?

    If you are looking for shot to shot speed, distance marksmanship or things of that nature - wrong tool.

    If you are looking to enhance you ability to get a gun out in a grappling situation in which your friend is actively trying to stick you with a rubber training knife (or as Lima & JD use, a spatula...) as he's pinning you on the ground, and you are defending yourself as if it was a real knock-down-drag-out-stick the gun in his belly and pull the trigger fight (with a gun present)...Ace tool.

    If you want to practice interacting with an unknown, processing the situation and having to make a chocie between tactics, conversation, evading, unarmed defense, looking for the other gun and if you decided shooting is the right answer, drawstroke practice and shooting a moving target (the partner...) - airsoft if the thing.

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