With the drastic increase of the airsoft popularity, the tactical equipment market enlarges itself greatly and incredibly fast. Even the smallest pieces of gear can be bought in so many variants that it can give a typical player a headache. However, here comes the critical moment of our hobby expansion – the collecting phase. Because there are so many options available in almost every camouflage… why not to make four or even eight configurations of our gear (BTW. check out our entry on Airsoft Evolution of Gear)? Our buddies already had, it’s not time to be worse! And there it is – airsoft arms race.
Nowadays airsoft field is kinda similar to the fashion party, and the woodland tracks or building corridors which we love for CQB fighting are slowly becoming a tactical models runway. The topics on forum boards like the “will the coyote vest look good on my A-tacs?” didn’t come from nowhere. And yeah, if you’re interested in the answer – you’ll better pick up some PenCott Greenzone, because it’s the queen of the current season 😉
The budget gear is incredibly cheap and looks nice on the pictures, so more and more newbies are buying tons of it for their first skirmish, even the gear they don’t need or (sic) now how to use it! There is also a paradox in which richer players tend to buy a lot of expensive gear and wear it like a pride ladies with their new bags. They’re also known for they calls like “I’m wearing same amount of gear on my leg, that you have on your vest”. Their combat efficiency is well… questionable 😉
We are doing this to ourselves and everything goes in circles. We are not the little group of friends having fun on the field every weekend anymore. The social media atmosphere hit us like a heavy brick and now we’re all about showing each other how much goods we have and how great is it. The same thing is with the gear. There are lots of Chairborne Commandos that are intensively criticizing other player online, when their gear just collects dust from one photo session to the next one. Actually, I kinda like them – they often sell unused gear at dirt cheap price, because they need money for something new and cooler 😉
The other thing that everyone is sick about is the producer label on the gear. A few years ago, the standard procedure was to start with a few bucks spent on the cheap replica, a pack of Rockets bb’s and eye protection. But nowadays – oh Lord. If someone arrives in the flecktarn camouflage with a budget vest and Spartac replica – he’ll become an object of less or more loud laughs. It’s a pity, but the snobbism came to our hobby and expands itself every year and we start to value each other by the gear that one wears. Of course, with the time spent with the hobby, the amount of money spent increases in positive correlation (and in quite higher value than you would expect) and at some time we stop looking at the cheap gear, but it’s not a reason to judge others players. The respect is an absolute need.
First of all, we should stop taking part in the airsoft Cold War and engage more in the promotion of our great sport to expand our environment. Young players, instead of being a victims of fun, should be our students and learn how to behave, what to buy etc. We should encourage them to stay in this hobby. It is worth to remember that each of us was a newbie that one day, and new players are needed – they guarantee the expansion of the market which is unquestionably important for us. Unfortunately, when giving our best to improve skills and gear, we forget about the spirit of Airsoft – we must start having a more interest in it too and save it from becoming a toxic and unfriendly activity.
Of course, I’m not trying to judge every airsofter, I’m just talking about the slight changes that are slowly interacting with us in the regional games and can expand to the dangerous level. Each of us should think about it.