My philosophy on fullauto, hicaps, and the combat psyche
SITREP - OP: Thunder II, 08/29/2005 13:25 Bravo squad
All you can hear is the whining sound of automatic gunfire around you. You see little blurs of white and hear the “swish” of bbs whizzing past you at 400 fps. You can hear bbs pinging off of your impossibly small piece of cover, a tree no more than a foot in diameter. You see your friends just across the path being pinned down behind stumps, some getting blasted in the face with a well-placed group of bbs. You yell over to them, “Cover me!” Unfortunately, there are only two members of your squad left: one has a GBB and a medic kit, while the other has an empty M4. You have no smoke grenades, and you only have one standard mag left. You MUST rejoin the remainder of your team to reach the objective. What to do...
Most airsofters would slap that last mag in, flip their selector switch to full auto, and blindly blaze their way across the trail, hoping for the best. Isn’t it true? How else would you make it to the objective and complete the mission? Although some may deny such tactical decisions out of action, combat makes one forget all aspects of proper weapon handling technique (ESPECIALLY trigger discipline). Perhaps an analysis of common airsoft combat techniques should be noted to see how this situation could be rectified, or avoided altogether.
I’d say that 95% of airsofters who have the capability to use fullauto in their guns use fullauto exclusively. Of the airsofters that have fullauto capability, I’d say that a solid 75% do NOT use short (3-5 round) bursts. Instead, they spray fullauto fire until they are content that their target has been thoroughly saturated.
This is a problem. Although airsoft guns can carry FAR more ammunition than their realsteel counterparts, that doesn’t mean that their ammo supply is infinite. It may seem that way with weapons outfitted with a box or drum mag, but all magazines have their limits. Besides, the more confident a person is in the “infinite” nature of their gun’s ammo supply, the more likely they are to shoot at things that they otherwise wouldn’t waste ammo on.
This explains the trend for milsim teams requiring realcap magazines. If people conserved ammo with box mags like they do with 30rd realcaps, there would be little, if any, problem with box mags on milsim teams. The more stress that is put on magazine capacity, the better one’s technique becomes.
I’ve always considered airsoft a more intelligent and realistic alternative to paintball. That’s one of the main reasons that I started playing airsoft, actually. The paintball scene was turning into a spray-and-pray circus, complete with neon clothing and inflatable obstacles. Airsoft had the fun-factor of paintball, but with the realism and military combat discipline I craved. In my eyes, it was the perfect sport.
I watched the videos, studied the guns, and had even attended a few local GBB skirmishes to get a feel for the game. After nearly a year of research, I’d gotten AEG and upgraded it to a skirmishable level (1.5J); I also purchased a TM M3 Super90 fullstock as an alternate main. Now, I need to find a big OP to really test my equipment and skills.
Fast forward to OP: Thunder II, 08/29/2005. Night after night of fake CQB in my house should be paying off today. I am ready and rarin’ to go on my first big OP! Let’s hope airsoft is really all it’s cracked up to be...
As I walk down the trail to OPORD base, I meet a few friends and decide that we’ll form a fireteam together. We assign each person a designation: SAW, DM, TL, Asst. TL, Point, or Rifleman. We also figure out the chain of command. As we walk in our little group, I spot a sniper performing a communications system check with his spotter while fiddling with his KA Dragunov’s bolt. My fireteam watches in awe as 6 men walk by us in full authentic gear, testing their GPS systems and lightheartedly cleaning mags and headset mouthpieces. I suddenly feel horribly underdressed in my black UnderArmor top, generic woodland pants, and Leapers loadbearing vest; I look away from the “pro” team in embarrassment and make a note to get some good gear before my next OP.
We reach our base and begin a last-minute inventory of magazines, loose ammo, and any other accessories we may need when battling the enemy forces. I check my fireteam, making sure that everything is as it should be; all systems go. I give my TL a nervous thumbs-up and come to low ready, just as I had read in those Army Field Manuals. I place a reassuring hand on the shoulder of Point, who is at high ready in front of me. He is an avid paintballer, and this is his first airsoft game; he is armed with a CA MP5A4 and 2 200rd hicaps.
BLAM! The starting signal goes off, and I provide overwatch as Point scouts ahead. We enter a wide field and are almost immediately engaged by an OPFOR fireteam. I can vaguely see the enemy SAW’s position, and pop up from my cover to take him out. To my surprise, I am not using my scope to aim; as a matter of fact, I am holding down my trigger and guiding the white stream of plastic into my target. Nearly 30 rounds later, I squat back down and do my best to reload my gun as our real SAW suppresses the OPFOR squad. We move into thick underbrush and continue on.
Not ten minutes later, we are pinned down yet again by another OPFOR fireteam. This time, they are well-concealed in the thick underbrush of the forest; no one can spot them. I begin to spray plastic downrange and yell, “Go go go! I’ve got your 6! GO!” Suddenly, I notice that I am dry-firing; even more disturbing is the fact that I’m almost firing from my hip. I frantically try to reload, only to realize that I just wasted my entire hicap in under a minute and a half. I search my vest in a panic, thinking that I am out of ammo. Fortunately, I have one last magazine left; although it’s a standard, it’s a helluva lot better than nothing. I slap it in and begin to feel the gravity of my situation.
My fireteam agreed ahead of time that no one was going to be left behind. Although we did take advantage of the opportunity to quote Blackhawk Down, it made sense to us; a team is a group of people that stick together, and that’s exactly what we were going to do. Once my teammates saw me dive for cover and panickedly search my vest, they knew I wasn’t going anywhere without their help. My TL quickly devises a plan to extract me from my position. Unfortunately, the OPFOR had moved into a good flanking position by that time and started picking off the COs of my team; namely, my TL and Asst. TL. So, I’m stuck with Point, SAW, Medic, and Rifleman. All 4 take up a defensive position and valiantly try to hold their ground. SAW ran out to me, spraying more plastic downrange at my unseen attackers; he was mowed down. Point also tries, double tapping all suspected locations (please note that a paintballer, a dreaded “spray-and-prayer,” was far more ammo conservative than the rest of us) while Rifleman supplies cover fire; Point was mowed down as well, although he got significantly farther than SAW did. Finally, I’m on my own. Rifleman isn’t going to move, because he’s needed back at the defensive position. Medic is too valuable because he can heal us on a limited basis; besides, all he has is a KJW 1911 GBB. I think out my options, slap my standard again to be sure that it ‘s in securely, and go into a low crouch.
‘Cover me!” I yell as I sprint to my team’s defensive position. I hear a series of dry-fires, a mumbled “sh*t” from Rifleman, and the whizzing of dozens of bbs past my head, now unimpeded by friendly suppressive fire. I dive into my team’s stronghold to an odd sight: Rifleman has an empty M4, while Medic is doing his best to lay down cover fire for my approach. I immediately turn around and train my gun on the source of the bbs. Now, I’m using my scope and being very careful to use semiauto only. As I provide precision cover fire for my team, they exfiltrate safely, leaving me to cover my own retreat. I am tagged in the arm on my way out, making it my first death of the game.
What changed from my first 2 magazines? It seems like my last mag was the only one that really made a difference, while all others were simply wasted. Was I made more aware of my surroundings due to adverse circumstances? Yes. Was I concerned that I wasn’t going to make it out of that situation alive? Yes. Well, what made my trigger discipline change so much? The answer is simple: my combat psyche underwent a drastic change.
The combat psyche is something that all airsofters, paintballers, and even those NERF lovers amongst us have. It is the mindset that we have during a skirmish. Each person has a unique combat psyche, although many peoples’ are very similar.
Here’s an example: imagine that you’re at a large OP, about 200 AEG-wielding people strong. There are 2 extreme situations that I can utilize to illustrate the combat psyche:
1. You come armed with a mechanized walker, with miniguns sticking out of every available space. Hits only count on a 3’’ circle on the top of the walker’s body. You have a 400 fps AEG shooting with a cyclic rate of 2500rpm for your PDW, just in case your walker fails. You have Gen4 NVGs and all the other Gucci gear you can imagine if you decide to be a ground-pounder for a while.
2. You come armed with a 120 fps non-hopup springer pistol. You only have poor-quality 0.12g bbs and have no spare magazines. Your gear is very basic, and you lack the “latest and greatest” gear, like MARPAT digital camo, radios, or a hydration pack.
In case #1, you would have a very relaxed approach to the skirmish. Everyone would be horrendously outgunned and you would be basically invincible to all enemy forces. You wouldn’t view the skirmish as much more than a shooting gallery, and would probably be sipping on a Coke while mowing down squad after squad of OPFOR soldiers. Your firepower is unparalleled, so your tactics and fieldcraft are completely irrelevant.
In case #2, assuming you decided to tough it out, your situational awareness would be raised to an incredible level. You would be horribly outgunned by even the most basically armed AEG wielder, and therefore you must rely on your survival instincts and stealth skills first. Your firepower is nothing, so your tactics and fieldcraft are everything.
You might be asking yourself why such extremes were used. The truth is, many people view a fullauto upgraded weapon as good reason to act like case #1: walking around with absolutely NO technique or ammo conservation, spraying bbs everywhere and acting like Rambo. This is a bad habit to get into, as the same firepower with a case #2 mindset would be incredibly effective. The problem lies here: how does one get into such a tactical, cautious, and intelligent combat psyche? The answer lies in firepower deprivation.
Just as described in case #2, reducing one’s perceived firepower can increase one’s situational awareness exponentially. Sometimes, your gun won’t get you out of every bad situation. This is a little-accepted fact in airsoft circles, and it really is unfortunate; many skirmishes can be won through fieldcraft alone.
This feeling of reduced firepower is the exact reason I tout TM shotties so much for use against AEGs. Their range is on par with, if not a bit less, than a stock AEG. Their power is the same as that of a stock AEG. Their ROF is easily a tenth of a stock AEG’s ROF, which makes them a challenge to use successfully in combat. Here is where the elevated combat psyche comes into play. Your mind is much more alert and “in the game,” allowing you to acquire targets faster, compensate for crosswinds more precisely, pick cover and concealment more wisely, and generally stay two mental steps ahead of your AEG-wielding buddies.
The mental benefits of TM shotties disappear when they become the new standard for superior firepower, however. In a springer match, you’re better off with a TM handgun or some other less powerful weapon; again, this makes you rely more on your survival skills instead of your weapon.
For some people, there is no cure for the triggerhappy blues. They will spray, they will miss, and they will run out of ammo faster than you can say “dead battery.” For others, though, tough times call for desperate mindsets, and those desperate mindsets pull the elite warriors out of many of us. I’ve been alongside some truly excellent airsofters who are the definition of “combat effective”; without their fullauto weaponry, they are reduced to combat ineffective shells of troops. Therefore, more power, ammo, and batteries to ‘em; give them what they need to succeed. For others of us, a more primal approach is needed. Going back to the basics can lead to some very interesting and educational experiences.
OP: Thunder II Confirmed kill count -
Upgraded 1.5J AEG: 0 confirmed kills
Stock TM M3 Super90 fullstock shotgun: 7 confirmed kills
Edited by BattlePriest, 04 January 2006 - 10:25 AM.