Since being new here might seem a bit overwhelming at first, some of you will ask questions that will get a blunt response. In some cases, it might be warranted, but most of the time the old "Read the FAQs" will be thrown.
After looking over the FAQs, I've come to the conclusion that although it's filled with cool info, having to look through two pages of threads, the newbie tank and the rest is somewhat of a challenge.
I am however greatly in favor of personal research. You'll get a quick primer here, but learning how to navigate a forum will help you hunt down the information you want. It's faster, and good etiquette, to check what's been discussed before to see if it helps than to wait for replies.
Also learn the rules of the forum; a faux pas will get you in trouble. You can read them here:
Si vous préférez le français, n'hésitez pas à l'utiliser. Bon nombre des gens qui fréquentent le forum sont bilingues.
Either way be sure to write coherently, use paragraphs and punctuation, and be mature.
Try to keep your posting in the Newbie Tank (
) for the first few days. There are rules in place to prevent flaming in this section, there are no stupid questions. There are however stupid people, and you want to avoid being one of them. Listen to the replies you get, even though it's not the answer you might want.
Try to ignore conflicting replies from people with a join date (under the poster's name) that's the current month ot with almost no posts. They might have good intentions, but in many cases they are pasing along false or faulty information.
Finally, fill out your profile here
. The information we really need is where you live. Groups and resources are usually organised by province, so it helps a lot to know where to direct you.
Rule #0 Understand that for most of the community, airsoft is 18+
Many of us, myself included, believe that airsoft should be a sport for the 18+ crowd. Reasons include obvious adult themes and concepts, maturity and responsibility requirements and the simple fact that no, hanging around with people 10, 20 and sometimes many more years younger doesn't appeal to most. Understand that this isn't the boy scouts, people drop massive amounts of time, money and efforts into this, no one wants to babysit while they enjoy a rare day off.
From a legal point of view, there is at least provincial legislation in Ontario that prevents the transfer or ownership of airguns to minors. Many local bylaws also restrict use, possession and transportation of airguns and fireams by the general public or minors.
As a community, we decided to restrict the access of airsoft gun from minors. These restrictions are community developed and enforced, so asking for ways to bypass the age verification system is like trying to ask a DMV to issue you a permit even though you don't qualify.
If you are a minor and are serious about participating in this sport, your first step will be contacting local groups to see if you can play. Some will make an exception, but don't take anything for granted.
Rule #1 Don't import guns
It may seem cheaper, faster or easier to try to buy from outside Canada, but it's not. Not only are guns, receivers and others illegal to import, your package more than likely is going to be searched, seized and potential legal issues can arise. They can include a fine, import blacklisting or criminal accusation.
Besides, even if you could, the price of that gun in Hong Kong might be a few hundred less, but after shipping, taxes and insurance, the prices would not be that different.
Some of you, learning that guns can't be imported, will attempt to rally the troops and try to get support to form a lobby or something weird. Know that a great number of very skilled people have looked at the issue and managed workarounds. Also, most of the community feels that gaining too much visibility might attract more and more attention from people who would misuse the gear or want to shut us down.
Here is a good read of what has been done:
Rule #2 Be safe
This is the cardinal rule. Although the sport is quite safe, some precautions have to be taken to keep it that way. We're basically shooting air guns at each other, so protect your eyes. You will need adequate protection. First of all, forget sky goggles, shop glasses and the likes. You need something that's rated to pass at least ANSI Z.87 demands. This includes paintball masks and a lot of military eyewear. Give priority to eyewear that completely seals the eye, as you will not always face fire.
Also take into account the handling of the gun. Even though you think the battery is out and ammo is not chambered, it is, as far as you know. Treat it as such. Keep them always pointed in a safe direction.
Transport them unloaded, in a safe and discreet fashion. Store them securely and out of sight at home. Never show them outside of games, they will be viewed as real by the public and response will be appropriate.
Finally, keep in mind that you will most likely be spending afternoons running around having a merry time, so have good boots or he likes to prevent falls and ankle trauma. Calculate your water needs and figure out how to store it. Frequent visits to a staging point allows you to leave most of it there, but always have fast access to some. Extended outings or hot conditions will require many liters to be carried, so plan accordingly. Adding a Camelback to your load out greatly extends your autonomy.
There are plenty of equipment or situations that demand their own precautions, get informed, use your head and put safety above all else.
How do I find my first game?
If you know people you want to play with, verify that the field respects rule #2. If it does, have at it. If you don't know people or want to find new fields, find the game forum of your province and look around. Read the first post of all game threads twice, and then if you meet the requirements post your intention to attend or contact the host.
You can find your provincial forum here:
What do I need to participate?
Quality eye protection, good boots, water, a battery, BBs and a gun. Before buying anything, get in contact local groups and check if you can borrow or rent equipment. Doing this will allow you to try before you buy and get a look at the guns and gear of others. Most players take pride in their equipment and will gladly explain what they have, give you tips and maybe try it out.
If you do not have access to this option, time to go shopping. The bare minimum you need is outlined above in the order you want to get it.
Research suggestions and review on the forum and on the web. Go with trusted gear; avoid brand new and untested concepts. Expect to pay a minimum of 600$, but prepare for 1000$.
Expand your gear; don't get it all at once. This allows you to put more research and money on each item, so that avoid the headache of understanding and affording everything at once. This might mean you will only get your gun in a few weeks, but it's better to lust after a gun coming soon than have it and not being able to use it before more gear arrives.
How can I find guns if I can't order from abroad?
The best way is right here on the forum. We have a very large amount of retailers and private sellers, which allows you to have access to pretty much everything. To view the ads, you will need to get your age verified by a local ASC rep. You can view them here:
Set a meet, bring federal or provincial photo ID and two coffees, arrive on time and chat a bit. The rep is a trusted and longstanding member of the community and will be able to introduce you to groups.
After researching the models and getting all the other gear, get the gun you want when your age verification kicks in. If you want to see what are the models available, their price and get an overview of ASC's marketplace, click here:
So there you have it, a crash course on airsoft. This isn't by any means complete, but what I feel as the bare minimum of knowledge you need to begin your quest on becoming a competent community member.
How can I add to this?
If you are a seasoned player, feel free to point out other critical knowledge a new player needs to have.
If you are a beginning player, I would like to know what was (or is) your most pressing question or questions after learning of airsoft.