When I was younger, I spent a bit of time playing with Super Soakers and other water pistols, and as soon as I grew old enough to have the money and the transportation I branched out into paintball.
I’ve always been very fond of shooting-related sports, and when one of my paintball friends suggested I try Airsoft as well, I gave it a try. Now it is my favourite shooting-related sport, and I never play Paintball anymore.
I think the thing that draws many to Airsoft is the high degree of realism as opposed to Paintball or target practice with brightly coloured BB guns in the back garden. When I played Paintball, it felt very much like a grown-up version of the old Nerf-gun and Super Soaker battles I had as a kid.
The guns were heavy, awkward and unrealistic for the most part, and when played it was generally done on a very unrealistic course and in an unrealistic manner.
Everyone wore bright colors, the use of cover and even basic tactics were much less important than throwing lots of ammo downrange. It was fun, of course, but also childish, and I found that most of my competitors either took the game too seriously or were so immature that they often ruined the game for me.
Airsoft is completely different. There’s no need for an established ring or court, no need to worry about wearing special clothes that can get stained, and other than heavy clothing and eye protection I have no need for fancy gear.
Airsoft guns look much more realistic, and due to the use of smaller, faster moving pellets they behave much more like real guns.
Their nature necessitates real tactics, learning how to shoot properly, and a lot of calm, care and consideration.
It just feels more adult, and it’s a lot more fun for an adult like me.