So, What within Airsoft could be considered a force multiplier? Let’s look at the definition of Force Multiplier first, Try and look at what could be seen as a legitimate inclusion to the list…
Ok, so with this in mind, Airsoft is generally not a fair fight… One person will often have a natural advantage over another. It can cover a great deal of things:
- Mental advantages such as Individual And Team Morale, Adaptability, Morality, Experience and Intelligence.
- Geographic imbalances such as Terrain bias, Prior site knowledge.
- Equipment… Communication, Camouflage, Special equipment and vehicles.
- Effectively employed weaponry… Snipers, Support weapons, Indirect fire, Remote Dets/Tripmines, Simulated support
Lets start with the personal aspect first, The biggest Force multipliers are often those that have no physical form. A great deal of the time it’s the team that has the will to win that overcomes a better equipped side. With Airsoft, generally the events will be balanced as far as possible… Bearing in mind that there is only so much an organiser can do. The moral choices we make within the game can also have a massive impact, Taking that hit that your not even sure was an actual hit, Making sure to call out team mates who may have not felt theirs, Wandering outside the agreed play area and how we act within not just the Black and white of the rules but within the spirit of the game.
Experience plays a part as well, A seasoned player should know his and the oppositions abilities… He’ll know the effective ranges and abilities of what he has and what he’s up against (I say he, It could be she… Just assume I’m being non gender specific) although assumption should only provide you with part of the picture and if in doubt, overestimate their ability or willingness to win. In addition to this, Direct experience in how a certain game mode works can prove invaluable… understanding the mechanics of it and having seen the results before can prove a massive asset.
Next up… The location itself and where you are in it is a massive Multiplier, Each and every site will have an area that allows an advantage to one team of the other. Sometimes it’s something as simple as the ability for a certain camouflage to blend in, other times (And all too frequently) its the prior knowledge of the site by the regular players. I’m as guilty of it as the next guy, I have my little places I like to get to at the sites I play. I covered the importance of organisers knowing and adapting the game to their site in Part One.
Equipment, A big impact on the outcome of many a game has been due to the effective use of certain equipment such as Night Vision and Radios, Used in the right way they will offer a massive advantage. But like with all things, Its user dependant… An idiot with £6k of NODs is still an idiot. Owning the same gear as an operator doesn’t make you one and its important to understand that although that guy in the FOB might look and sound like a certified “Pipe Hitter” he’s actually a Pipe Fitter from Dudley with a healthy amount of expendable income and a little knowledge of military jargon.
Know your gear, Understand how its used effectively and for fuck sake… Make sure you know how to use your radio. Hearing someone pant into their Z Tac sordins because they don’t understand how to mount a PTT correctly is a massive issue for most games, I generally ditch radios midway through a game because the chatter is either pure garbage or no ones bothering to communicate properly.
“No Comms, No Bombs” might have all the kids excited but I’d much rather people turned theirs off if they’re not going to learn how to use them properly. Digital Radios are starting to kick off in a big way for some of the more experienced teams… I know of one or two guys that are ditching their 148/152 replicas and Baofengs in favour of a system that is clear, encrypted and probably most importantly, free of the endless nonsense of 446 PMR.
Weapons such as support guns and sniper rifles… Generally the first thing that comes into mind when thinking about force multiplication. Sniper rifles with an effective range outside of an AEGs envelope, And support guns with the ability to lay down hundreds of rounds without pause. However… Do they offer enough to outweigh their own drawbacks? I’m not so sure.
I can tell you this much, in my own experience its down to the game type itself and the way in which they are used… I’ve only ever felt truly pinned down by either in a handful of situations. Most recently on Sunday with a guy who actually took the time to learn the true art of sniping… Something I’ll put my 2p in a post at a later date.
The other time that stands out was during a game at Copehill Down a few years ago with myself and a team mate being taken out at a range of about 75m. I don’t want to cause any arguments about what ranges people can get, But if you think you can consistently hit a man sized target at 75m then fair play, Its probably as close to the limit as your going to get.
Apart from this though, Snipers are generally too slow… Too heavy for what they achieve. A well set up AEG can often get much the same accuracy, 80% of the range and the ability to keep putting rounds on target whilst on the move and without pause. There is no MED (Minimum Engagement Distance) to worry about and with the right optic you can engage at any range your likely to come up against within the game. DMRs can bridge this gap, but as a rule we don’t really know how to classify DMRs… Everyone seems to have different rules on them and its often just not worth the hassle to go down that route if your a “one gun guy”
Support weapons… Again, what do they offer above the ability of a well set up AEG? well… Not much. The event staff can make allowances to increase their effectiveness but for the most part I’d rather stick with an M4. Midcaps for the most part hold 100 or so rounds… plenty enough to suppress someone, With a Support gun your limited on what is actually allowed to be used in such a way and those choices are often heavy, bulky and without the option for single shots… making them next to unusable in CQB.
TAG rounds and other indirect fire weapons… Very much a case of horses for courses. At my local site they’re banned (Understandably, There’s little need for them within the type of game played)…. At others they’re used with the same rules as any other pyro with a 5m kill radius. However it comes into its own within a themed game, Halting the advance of vehicles… Making that £30k land-rover with a minigun on its roof a 2 ton roadblock… Not bad for a £6 projectile.
I’ve used TAGs for a long time (Although i’m currently without a launcher for the foreseeable) and its been an instrumental tool in winning battles. Some epic moments at Caerwent, Popping off an impact one handed and scoring a bonnet hit at around 200m on a Task force WMIK was probably the craziest shot I’ve ever done… But it does come at a cost of, well… Cost. Each and every projectile costs £6 (Even at bulk your unlikely to get them cheap) The tubes are £60ish each and you need a suitable launching platform… The Iron Airsoft/Guarder M320 is an outstanding launcher, Probably the one most often used… Its the one I had up until about a year ago.
Mortars, another expensive way to spend your weekends… One hell of a way to wake people up though… not quite the range and accuracy of a TAG but with more punch. Certainly a great way to multiply your force… Either of these two can create quite an imbalance, I’ve set out with 2-3 guys on many an occasion to give the opposition an early wake up call. 4 guys waking up 30 and depriving them of sleep… If thats not force multiplication I don’t know what is.
The key thing to force multiplication is that its mostly within your ability to use it effectively, Learn how to work with your team… Communicate effectively and learn how those NODs work and know their weaknesses.
With weapons platforms, Have an expectation of what the mission requires, Tailor your loadout to its need. I’ll often take several platforms to a game and tailor my loadout to the specific tasking. There is however a reason why the average attendee at a milsim will be wearing the same generic Plate Carrier and Cryes whilst using the same generic M4/416 SBR… It works.
Practice… Massive in whatever you do, Whether its horse riding, Practical Shooting or simply moving around in your gear. I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to shoot regularly, I take the time to shoot 2-3 times a week, putting rounds down a 50m range in my garden. Practice may not make perfect, But it progresses your ability.
The best force multiplication is sometimes to just be a jack of all trades, work with your team and let your instinct and ability to adapt be your force multiplier.