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Old October 6th, 2009, 20:15   #1
kalnaren's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Oakville, Ontario
Elitists -Newbies, please read

This is a long read... but I hope it's relevant to what seems to be the current atmosphere on ASC.

The term “elitist” seems to be getting thrown around a hell of a lot on ASC these days. In the last six months I've been called an elitist more times than I have since I joined -actually, I think every instance has occurred in the last six months.

In every single instance, I've been called an elitist by a newbie who has been involved in the community less than a year. And in every single instance, it's either because (with a couple of exceptions -more on this later) I won't recommend anything below Tokyo Marui or Classic Army as a starter gun, or because I won't recommend cheap equipment as starter equipment (also more on this later). I am in no way alone in this group. I can think of more than a dozen members who have been called “elitists” for the same reasons.

In general, there's a couple of things I want to point out here. First and foremost, is that myself and many other players have been at this for a few years at least, and possibly a decade or more in some cases. We know what equipment is out there. We know what is required to play. We know what makes a good AEG a good AEG, what makes a good LBV (load-bearing-vest) a good LBV. We know why you can't use a $10 wall transformer to charge batteries. How do we know? From experience. We've been there. We've cooked $50 batteries using cheap chargers. We've had our guns fail at games because it has shitty internals. We've had to run around all day in wholly uncomfortable vests because we didn't spend the extra dough on a lighter, more flexible set-up. Nearly every game I go to, I see someone roll an ankle because they're wearing runners instead of proper boots. We've been there. Learn from our experience.

Some newbies come here and say they only want to invest $150 in a gun.. and that they only want to do it to “try out the sport” in case they don't like it, or a host of other excuses. Ok... I think at that point, there is a distinct misunderstanding of what airsoft is.

Airsoft is NOT just the gun. It's the whole environment, the experience, the putting on a set of BDU's, boots, tacvest, and going out and immersing yourself in the game. It's that “Oh, fuck!” moment when your mag runs dry in the middle of a firefight. It's the crawling through dense bush, in the rain, to try and outflank your opponents. It doesn't have to be milsim... but a bunch of people running around in shorts and T-shirts with airsoft guns are not playing airsoft. They're playing tag with BB's. Nothing more. The gun is a big part of it, but it's just the beginning.

Now, you don't have to invest in all that upfront. It's great if you can, but not all that realistic. We understand that. We're never going to flame a newbie because they don't want to drop $200 on a vest for their first game. If, after 10 they still don't want to... well... you're a cheapass.

So this comes back to the gun (and, being honest, the gun is what initially attracts most people to airsoft). This has been said time and time again here on ASC -in airsoft, you get what you pay for.

There is usually a line that separates an activity from being something you do with a toy, to being an actual hobby. I'll use radio controlled planes (another one of my hobbies) to illustrate my point. You can go to The Source, and get one of those little foam MiGs with two little propellers on them for about $30. They come with the 2-channel controller -which transmits on the interference-prone 27Mghz “general toy” band-, betteries, etc. They're a complete bitch to control and almost useless for anything other than watching a little semi-scale plane nosedive into the ground. If you're playing with one of those, you're not a hobby RC flier.
Or, you can go to a real hobby shop, and spend $150 on a radio controlled plane, another $40 on a motor and ESC, another $60 on a battery or two, and $250 or more on a proper, 6-channel 72-Mhz or 2.4 Ghz Spread-Spectrum controller and receiver. You can then spend money on the supplies needed to actually assemble the plane. And for those who aren't familiar with R/C, what I listed is an estimated minimum investment. You could spend over $1,000 on the transmitter alone.

What's my point here? My point is, although both those two things technically allow you to play with a radio controlled aeroplane, that's where the similarities stop. They're like night and day.

That is what it's like comparing a shitty, $100 airsoft gun to proper airsoft equipment. Cheap airsoft equipment is exactly that -cheap. It won't last as long. It will most likely malfunction in the middle of a game. You're not going to enjoy using it near as much as proper, more expensive equipment. Hell, it isn't even playing airsoft. You wouldn't show up to an R/C flying event with one of those crappy little planes from The Source... so why would you show up to an airsoft event with a crappy clearsoft gun? It's not airsoft anymore than that shitty little plane is R/C flying.

Back to what I said about not recommending anything below TM/CA (with noted exceptions), there are reasons for that. Bone stock, I put nearly 25,000 rounds through my CA and never had it fail. It wasn't stock after that because I upgraded -not because of failure. I've never had any TM gun I've owned fail (some people have -it's not a perfect world). The external quality on CA guns is miles above anything cheaper, hands down. I wish I'd spent the $100 or so on the clearsoft that I first bought toward saving for a CA instead. Now the average Classic Army gun, new in box, will run you around $600. TM is usually a little less. Expensive? Yes. Worth it? Fuck'in eh.

With the noted exceptions, I'll throw in a few JG models. I have a JG P90 and it's awesome. So if anyone was looking for a less expensive SMG, I'd recommend that. But even then, a JG is going to cost you around $350.

A lot of people recommend Krakens. I won't, simply because a simple search on ASC and a few minutes of reading will tell you they have about a 50% failure rate within the first 2,000 rounds. If you're trigger happy you can go through that in a single game.

If a gun breaks, do you know how to fix it? Do you know what parts you'll need? Do you want to invest the time and effort into doing so? Most new players don't want to be bothered with that. Perfectly understandable. So why not invest some extra money into something that has more like a 5% failure rate? Get a cheaper gun later when you have one that you know will shoot every single time you pick it up (for me, that's my trusty bone-stock TM MP5).

I'm going leave the G&G Halfbreeds out of this because most of the reasons I don't like them aren't directly related to quality.

More on equipment-
I hear a lot of people talk about how small batteries are useless, especially in upgraded guns. That's incorrect. Cheap small batteries are useless, especially in cheap guns. My G36 shoots around 360 FPS, and I can play all day on a single small battery. I also sure as hell don't use $20 batteries. A cheaper gun is going to be harder on the battery as well because, generally, the shimming is poorer (meaning more resistance in the mechbox), they're greased out the ass with cheap, thick goop instead of proper grease (meaning more resistance in the mechbox), and they're usually not wired as well, leading to more electrical resistance.

A large battery may cost upward of $60 or more. A cheap charger may cook that battery. It's worth it to spend a little extra on a good charger that you know won't nuke your nice new $60 battery.

A good vest will be light, flexible, comfortable, and allow you to move. I shit you not, sometimes I play and forget I'm wearing my vest.
A good pair of boots will cost you a lot of money -but they're worth it. My boots cost me about $120, and they're the most comfortable piece of footwear I own. I can run around all weekend in a forest with them and at the end of it my feet don't hurt one bit. Try doing that in running shoes.

Ok.. now I'm going to move onto the use of the term “elitist”. An elitist is not someone who spends a lot of money on gear they actually use because cheaper gear is incapable of supporting what they do. I'll use my tacvest as an example. It's not an overly expensive one (cost about $200, plus maybe another $75-$100 for all the pouches). In a typical game, this is what I carry on me: 6-7 magazines, a canteen of water, first aid kit, pen and notepad (don't ask about that one), snacks, a spare battery or two, a BB loader, extra BB's, barrel plug, and any other required equipment for the game such as a kill rag. I can't comfortably carry all that with a cheap vest. The vest is also MOLLE (it's webbed so I can move pouches around), which means I can reconfigure it depending on my load out. As such, based on my experience, I will not recommend a cheap vest to a new player. As far as I'm concerned, they're too limited. This does not make me an elitist.

Likewise with my gun. My G36 has given me 4+ years of service with very little grief.. and I'm constantly reading about people having their cheap guns fail. Hell, based on my own experience with cheap guns (Army Armament R85), I also will not recommend a cheap gun. The TM and CA guns I've owned (and the JG P90.. can't leave that little gem out!) have worked great, so why would I recommend something that, based on a lot of peoples' experience, is known to be problematic? Experienced players have the knowledge to fix these lower quality guns (and often have enough spare parts lieing around they can do it at no cost). New players don't generally have either.This does not make me an elitist.

What that makes me, and anyone else who recommends more expensive gear, are experienced people trying to spare new players from waisting the money we have already waisted on cheap equipment that won't do what they want.

I ask that you new guys consider that, and the other things I've written here, next time you think we're being elitist pricks for telling you that you need to invest more then $200 to get into airsoft.

As for any discussion that may go on here, please keep it civilized.

"Someone in a Prius tried to race me at a stop sign the other day. I couldn't believe it. I had him for the first 100 feet or so but I can only walk so fast."
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