Here at the Surplus Store, we’re all about trying to introduce new people to the sport of airsoft, however, something that seems to be tripping a few new players up is the diverse and sometimes confusing vocabulary that the sport has adopted. A combination of words that have been given new, airsoft-specific meanings and seemingly endless acronyms have resulted in a new language spoken by airsofters. To help unravel the mysteries behind this foreign dialect, we have composed a two-part series that breaks down all the need-to-know vocab from the sport of airsoft.
Please feel free to leave any suggestions in the comments below of any that we have missed off. We’d also like to know of any words or phrases that are unique to your airsoft site and not said anywhere else!
Automatic/Auto: When a gun is described as automatic, it means that rounds are continuously fired as long as the trigger is held down and rounds are in the chamber/magazine. See also “Full Auto”
Automatic Electric Guns (AEG): One of the key terms and abbreviations in the airsoft community, AEGs are guns that are powered by electricity and can offer high rates of fire and high velocities.
Automatic Electric Pistol (AEP): First designed by Tokyo Marui, these guns offer full automatic capabilities packed into a pistol design.
Back Spin: This is the kind of spin applied to a BB round by the hop-up when fired from an airsoft gun. Backspin means the pellet is spinning back towards the user and helps it to fly through the air on a straighter trajectory for longer. See also Hop Up, also known as Spin Up & BAX.
Bullet Ball/Ball Bearing (BB): In airsoft, these are the 6mm plastic balls specifically made for the sport in a variety of weights and are what we fire at each other. Only ever use high quality BBs specifically made for airsoft!
Blank Firing Grenade (BFG): These are grenades that use a blank round to create a loud bang without exploding or causing any physical damage. These are popular in airsoft, especially indoors, for taking out multiple targets. See also Solid State Grenades…
Blowback: This is a feature added to airsoft guns to make them more realistic. Blowback is a simulation of the cycling of a real gun, this can range from something basic such as showing a moving bolt, all the way to including full recoil experienced by the player when the gun fires. These guns can be gas or electric powered.
Camo/Camouflague: Anything that’s designed to make it harder to see you, usually patterned clothing or painted airsoft guns, there are lots of military styled camouflages to choose from right up to a full ghillie suit! See also ghillie Suit.
Carbine: These are shortened versions of full-length rifles that have been adjusted in length at the barrel. In the real steel world some carbines shoot rifles ammo whereas others can shoot pistol ammo. In Airsoft it doesn’t make a huge difference, although a lot of people seem to believe that a longer barrel means a longer range this is not necessarily true and a carbine length rifle can be more effective with a higher range than a full length…
Close Quarters Battle (CQB): This is a scenario that has recently become popular within the airsoft community that focuses on accuracy and speed of play. Close quarters often relies on objects and cover, with few open spaces.
Close Quarters Combat (CQC): See CQB…
Dead Men Don’t Talk: A specific rule that once you are hit and taken out of the game you don’t have any effect of the game i.e. you don’t tell your mates where the shot came from, you don’t take a wander through the opposing team’s lines to scope out their positions and no hand signals either! See also: “Dead Man Walking”.
Dead Man Walking: This is a limbo state of play for a player that has been hit and is walking off of the field. They cannot be shot and cannot influence the game in any way. See Also “Dead Men Don’t Talk”
Defence: In Airsoft (in the UK) you need a defence to purchase your guns in their realistic forms. This usually comes from being a member of an airsoft site and having played 3 or more games in no less than 2 months. See Also “UKARA”.
Effective Range: This is a combination of the shooter’s ability and the gun’s accuracy and the range at which the two can land an accurate hit.
Feet Per Second (FPS): A divisive topic in the airsoft community, FPS measures the velocity that the gun fires at (how many feet the BBs travel per second). This doesn’t necessarily increase the range of the gun.
Full Auto: This is when a player squeezes and hold the trigger of an automatic weapon and continuously fires at opponents.
Ghillie suit: Usually worn by snipers, ghillie suits are designed as the ultimate camoflague and sometimes customised with the local flora at the beginning of the game day, think a cross between a Wookie and a tree!
Green Gas: This is the propellant used in gas blowback weapons that provides the recoil when the gun is fired. Typically the gas is a combination of silicone oil and propane. Green Gas as a name is used to denote a gas that can be safely used with most metal slide pistols. There are many other strengths of airsoft Gas, but Green Gas is the most well known.
Hi-Capacity/High Cap: These terms can be used interchangeably for weapons that have higher capacity magazines, typically containing 300 to 5,000 BBs. Usually fed from an internal reservoir using a wind up spring and cog mechanism. Although increased capacity is typically an advantage, some competitive events don’t allow higher capacity magazines and the sound of the BBs rattling in the magazine reservoir can give your position away when trying to move quietly! See also Mid-Cap & Low-Cap.
Honour System: This is the ethical conduct system that all airsoft players should adhere to when playing. When a player is hit, he/she should acknowledge and call that they’ve been hit, eliminating themselves from the game.
Hop-Up: This refers to the backspin applied to the BB in the chamber of the gun barrel. Most airsoft guns have a hop-up chamber which allows the BB to fly a further distance. Learning to work your hop up correctly can be the most important thing to getting your effective range up!
Imitation Firearm (IF): These are products designed to imitate real life firearms, but not too closely; they are mostly two-tone. The Imitation Firearm differs from the Realistic Imitation Firearm in that it will be either predominantly a different colour (Two Tone) or an unrealistic size for a firearm.
LiPo: Lithium Polymer, a modern type of battery that comes from the remote control flying world (and it will be what’s in the phone in your pocket!). With higher discharge rates and more unique shapes they’re an ideal fit for Airsoft, however, they do need specific LiPo chargers and need to be protected from impact. LiPo batteries can fail spectacularly (and dangerously) if shorted or damaged. See also NiMH.
Loadout: Anything that you wear in the game, sometimes including your chosen airsoft guns. Some players will have woodland loadouts and CQB loadouts, tailored specifically to each style of play and requirements for camouflage. The difference in mag sizes can also lead to different loadouts for each airsoft gun!
Magazine: This refers to the compartment that holds the gun’s ammunition which is either fixed to the gun or that can be disconnected.
Mid-Cap/Low-Cap. These are magazines that usually have a capacity below 150 BBs and are fed by a single feed stacking all the BBs in a row. They don’t rattle like Hi-Caps do and quite often can feed better and faster. Low-Cap mags tend to be a more realistic capacity, so 30-50 BBs. See also Hi-Cap Mags.
Military Simulation/MilSim: This is a branch of airsoft which sees players engage in realistic military role-playing settings. Teams will remain on the field until the objective has been achieved or the time limit has been reached. Usually with a much more restrictive rule set that the usual Sunday Skirmish!