Been meaning to post this for a bit...
This is a summary note targeted at newcomers to ASC.
Don't know how useful it'll be to everyone, but hopefully it'll spare a few headaches for some. I'm sure that most of this stuff has been posted here and there before...but let's face it...there's a lot of stuff here and it's not always easy to find it.
I'll repost this (or bump it) every week. I'll update the first posts to reflect more info as I find it. To the regular guys...if you find a good link...post it up formatted and I'll link it in where it makes the most sense. I.e. Yuxi's Gear Information Collection
So you've found out about airsoft from some buddies or from the Internet and are all jazzed up about it.
But lost as to where to start since when you walk into a sporting goods store or a toy store they just look at you funny when you ask for an assault rifle.... Or you've seen a couple of Canadian websites (retailers) and are thoroughly confused by all the terms/models/makes/options...and don't want to piss your money away.
What to do?
1. Read and research.
Read the FAQ's and some of the stickied posts on this forum (I'll add others as I find them)
If you've already narrowed in on a specific item...search
for it. Either at the top of the screen, or with the other "Search this thread" drop down when you're in a thread already (i.e. you're in the Gun Doc thread and want to find all references to "M4A1"...or "MP5"...or "ICS"...or "Well L96"...etc.) Chances are EXTREMELY high that your question has already been asked...and answered.
2. Getting ready to play
Before you even buy anything...look at the games going on in your area. Games and Events
. They're sorted by province. Find a game close to you and get out to it. Post in the thread that you're a first timer, that you want to see how things are run, and that you want to be shown how to safely work an airsoft gun.
It's likely that you won't be charged the game fee if you're just watching. If you post up like that, it's likely that guys will offer you a rental/loaner...because it's more fun to play than to watch. ***EDIT*** Remember to ask to get Age Verified at the same time...it's likely that there'll be an AV'ing Rep there and you can kill two birds with one stone.***
If you're level headed, polite and coherent
(i.e. not some drooling spaz)...you'll find that A LOT of players are more than happy to show you what's what and help out
. You've got to ask though...that's the first step. (note: some games start early...and guys are grumpy...so offering a large Timmy's in exchange for a couple of answers go a long way! Sha Do will pretty much do anything
for a coffee...
Keep your eyes and ears open to the expected conduct and safety guidelines.
EVERYONE expects you to hear it, understand it...ask questions if you have any...and then, most importantly, you're expected to abide by them without fail. Take it seriously...everyone else expects you to.
After you see what local guys are running, how they're geared up, hear first hand what's good and what's a waste of money...then you're on your way to picking up your own stuff.
3. Getting Ready to Buy
If you're Age Verified
, you gain access to other parts of this forum and to the classifieds (person to person private sales/buys). It's worth doing.
Now that you have a good idea of what you want (if you don't...go back to step 2 and then step 1), you'll be even more confused as to all the options out there. What's a version 2? How's it different from a version 3? Are mini-batts ok? What weight BB's should I get?
Again...go back to step 1 and search. All those questions have been answered.
So...let's say that you've got an idea that you'd like an M4A1. There's over a half dozen manufacturers of that model...there's several dozen variations of that model...what to pick, how to pick, WTF?!?! This is a tough question, and there's no solid answer....it also changes as time goes on and new models come out.
But here's some guidelines that will help you choose (and they're applicable to any make/model):
Q. What feels good in my hands? Does it fit my body well?
- some rifles are really freaking long, making it tough to get through brush. If you go to one knee and plant your slung rifle right into the mud...that's not a good thing. You need to feel comfortable with it...or else you'll hate it after stuggling with it for 4-8hours straight at a game (which should be fun...not a pain).
Q. Is it a common item that I can get parts for? Upgrades? Help from others?
- Most often, this won't be an issue. But if you pick a Maruzen MP5K GBB or a Piper Precision Vulcan...you might be on your own...
(again...go to step 1 and search...it will become apparant which ones are common)
Q. Do I have a favourite?
- some guys have always wanted a specific weapon. That's part of the fun of airsoft...you can get ones that look just like something that otherwise you'd never get. If you do...start reseaching the different manufacturers and looking for reviews of that specific make/model.
Q. What else am I going to need?
- for an AEG (automatic electric gun)...you'll need:
* some kind of case/bag to transport it (carrying it open in public is a bad, bad idea and just not acceptable)
* loader for your mags
- for a GBB pistol...you'll need:
* gas and adaptor
* case/bag to transport it
* silicone oil (see www.gungas.com
for the oil and adaptors...and a very scientific explanation of why propane is Green gas)
- for yourself, you'll need (at a minimum):
* some kind of way of carrying your mags/stuff
* some way to carry water/snacks
* good boots
* BDU's (because you're going to look like a freak all dressed up in public...and you'll be all dirty after the game if you're fighting hard)
**** there's a billion other things that you could get...but that will come in time.
4. FINALLY, Ready To Buy!!!!
Well...sort of. First, do yourself a favour and do a reality check on how much is this all going to cost.
Can you afford it? Because it really sucks for you and for everyone else if you're only half assed prepared.
That doesn't mean that you have to be gung-ho geared up to the tits...but you have to be ready to support yourself and be ready to conduct yourself properly (that's again why step 2 is so important). Guys that show up without a charged battery...or can't play by the rules of a specific game because they don't have enough mags...are just an unwanted burden on the game host and are an annoyance to everyone else who has put in the time/effort to be ready for the game.
Here's a sample tally for the minimum amount that you'll need:
* rifle - $300-900 (yes...they can be that expensive or more)
* mags - $60
* BBs - $20
* loader - $20
* charger - $150
* battery - $35
* rig to carry stuff - $60-200
* boots - $50-200
* BDUs - $60
* Goggles $100 (I'm still using the first pair of JT Flex 7's that I bought years ago...can't remember how much they cost)
* hydration pack/insert - $20
Add in games fees and transportation to the games later...but for now you're looking at around $1000 to start out. A lot of that is reusable and will last a long time...but if you can't afford it, save up...buy it bit by bit to spread out the pain.
5. Ok...I get it, search first....but now I'm really ready to buy
Well, sorry...can't say much else but to get Age Verified (step 3). You'll find stuff in the classifieds and links to retailers there. But here are some general tips:
- Buyer beware. When doing a person to person deal, try your utmost to deal with someone local. Whenever possible, try it out first before you buy it, buy it face to face, cash in hand. Look up that person's Trader Rating...cross check who is providing those references...look at some of the Seller's other posts (with some exceptions...if they write like a prick they're probably going to be the same to deal with). You can search for stuff from a specific person by putting in their ASC name in the top right of the Search
- Somewhat the same with retailers....do your homework. Several retailers start out great and then self-destruct. You don't want to jump onto a sinking ship. Step 1....SEARCH, it's really that important.
- Looking for used stuff in the classifieds can pay off huge. The item may not be listed for much less than buying it brand new...but often the item has a slew of upgrades, extra parts, mags, batteries and stuff added in. The savings in shipping, running around getting all those parts and time really start to add up...being able to scoop up a "package" all at once is sometimes way more attractive than saving $50.
- Sometimes you can put together the history of a certain item...if you find a bunch of posts from the seller asking for help on why his thing isn't working...and then you find a for sale post of that samething...you might want to give some careful thought as to how good a deal it really is.
* DON'T try to order airsoft guns from stores outside of Canada.
It is extremely likely that Canada Customs will seize it and you'll be out of pocket.
* DON'T try to bring it across the boarder yourself...taken apart, declared as toys or whatever.
It is extremely likely that Canada Customs will catch you. The best that happens is that everything of everyone with you is searched for hours and you'll be marked on the boarder list to be searched every time forever.....(and that's the best thing....). Smuggling Prohibited Devices does not sound good on your record when applying for jobs...
* Wondering what you CAN order and what you CAN'T?
- CAN'T - rifle/pistol receivers, grenade launchers, magazines with fake bullets in them
- CAN - pretty much everything else....but Customs is goofy and some officers interpret things differently. Basically if they think it's a gun they'll take it and let the appeal process sort it out (takes multiple weeks...to months...to never). I know a guy who ordered a scope that got held for inspection...for over a year...go figure.
So there it is...you've figured out what's what. You've figured out what's expected of you and how you're going to prepare for it. You've figured out what to buy and where to buy it. Now you've just got to decide if you're going to put your boots on and hit the fields this weekend!
Have fun...help others out when you can,