Airsoft Tactics: How to Win More

The airsoft team that utilizes tactics & strategy is likely to win their engagements.

A common question we receive is “How do I get better at airsoft?”

The truth is that there are quite a few components that could improve to get better at airsoft. Some of these things are:

  • Individual skillsets like
    • Familiarity with airsoft weapon systems
    • Ability to hit targets with BB’s
    • Running, leaning, and climbing
    • Cardio and stamina
    • Personal bravery and judgement making
  • Team skillsets like
    • Communication
    • Coordination via verbal and nonverbal methods

So, we are starting our new series of “How to Win More Games of Airsoft” and we’ve included some basic tactics:

Airsoft Tactics - How to Win More Header Image

Individual vs Squad Tactics

The study of tactics is an essential part of the training for simulations. The application of the right airsoft tactics, implemented correctly and in the right context, allows individual operators to maximize effectiveness during combat maneuvers, and teams to prevail over opponents and conquer objectives.

Many tactics must be learned by individual operators, and work independently, while others require the presence of multiple personnel.

Many of the team tactics for airsoft are nothing more than adaptations and combinations of individual tactics. In this article, we will look at some common combat tactics that, with little effort, can greatly increase the likelihood of not being hit, of staying operational, and of eliminating the enemy, and capturing positions and objectives.

Individual Airsoft Tactics

Slicing Corners – Also known as “Slicing the Pie”

This tactic is very useful for cautiously exploring unfamiliar fire sectors: it can be used to clear sectors that are behind walls or bulky objects, in rooms, and around corners. Its greatest application is in room clearing, but it can be effectively applied to any object that can provide cover.

Let’s imagine that we are standing outside the door of a room that we need to enter to eliminate hostile contacts.

The corner slicing is performed as follows:

Starting from the wall outside the room, point the weapon inside the room. In this way, the first “slice” of the room is scanned, and then cleared. Slowly, keeping the weapon aimed at the proximal corner of the threshold, use the muzzle as a pivot point, and move by taking steps in front of the threshold, revealing a new “slice” of the room.

Once the new slice is revealed, it is also scanned for threats.

Once the scan is finished, or the threats have been eliminated, the slice is considered clear, and we can proceed to open a new slice, always keeping outside the room so that we can quickly take cover behind the wall in case of contact, and so as not to set foot in an unexplored area.

How to slice a room for airsoft tactics

We must continue slicing the corner until we reach the opposite wall. This maneuver should be done slowly and carefully, so as not to alert any hostiles within the area to be explored, and to be able to attack or react quickly in case of contact with the enemy.

Once we get on the opposite wall, we only have to clear the two small corners on the far right and left of the room, the ones that cannot be scanned by staying outside the room.

In this case, it will be necessary to enter, of course, but at least most of the area will have already been cleaned in maximum safety, minimizing the efforts and the probability of being hit.

Firing While Moving

Fire While Moving Airsoft Tactic - Starting Positions

This tactic involves a simultaneous fire phase and a movement phase.

Assuming no physical cover, such as walls, bulkheads, trees, or large objects, the operator must create his own cover by opening fire on the hostile contact. Once a hostile contact is detected, if no cover is available, immediately open fire on the hostile position to prevent enemy fire.

Fire While Moving Airsoft Tactic - Open Fire

Once the adversary is forced to take cover, the movement must begin, which can be of advance, retreat, or surrounding. The crucial thing is to move towards cover. During the entire movement phase, it is essential to fire continuously, so as to prevent the enemy from returning fire while you are without cover.

Fire While Moving Airsoft Tactic - Move into Position

The fire should cease only when you reach a new cover.

At that point, if necessary, you must change the magazine, peak, reopen fire on the enemy contact, and repeat the firing while moving procedure until the hostile contact is reached and eliminated, or until you have retreated.

Fire While Moving Airsoft Tactic - Final Position

In this way, the operator can still move around the battlefield without being hit, without the need for an object to cover him and to perform the maneuvers he deems most appropriate to eliminate, bypass or evade the enemy.

Shoot and Scoot

Shoot and Scoot Airsoft Tactic - Starting Position

This is an excellent technique to get opponents into trouble when you have already engaged in a firefight. Basically, it involves leaning out of your cover, and opening fire on the enemy. At that point, he’ll be forced to take cover in turn, to avoid being hit.

Shoot and Scoot Airsoft Tactic - Shoot First

Once the opponent has taken cover, you’ll have to immediately move to a new position. In this way, once the fire has ceased, the enemy will lean out of cover, looking for contact where he was last seen.

Shoot and Scoot Airsoft Tactic - Scoot

But by then you will have already moved, gaining the advantage of seeing the enemy looking for you from a position in which he doesn’t know you are.

Shoot and Scoot Airsoft Tactic - Final Position

Obviously, you must take the right precautions, because the opponent may also move without your knowledge while you change your position.

It is in fact important to keep your attention on the terrain you are exploring as you move, in order to avoid making bad encounters, and simultaneously try to keep an eye on the last position where you have spotted the enemy contact, to be able to eliminate him if he exposes himself or to see him moving if he decides to do so.

Squad Airsoft Tactics

Covering 360°

Covering 360 Airsoft Tactic - Security in All Directions

This is the basis of team tactics. The team’s priority, whether on the move or static, is to cover the entirety of the sectors of fire.

The responsibility for coverage must be equally divided among all team members.

Ideally, you should strive to be “one man, with eyes everywhere,” which means that no matter where enemy contact occurs, the team will notice and neutralize it immediately, because the sector where the contact occurs will already be covered by at least one operator on the patrol.

This is true during movement, in line formation, or even in static formations, such as diamond formation. In any case, it is essential to remember to pay attention to the head of the team, as it enters uncharted territory, to the flanks, to avoid overtaking ambushed enemies, and to the tail, which is a sector often neglected, so it frequently becomes the victim of sudden attacks from the rear.

Firing and Move

fire and move airsoft tactic - starting position

This is the individual maneuver we mentioned earlier but executed with a few differences. Since the team has several operators, you can use this advantage to improve the speed of movement and stability of the shot during fire.

fire and move airsoft tactic - suppression

How? We’ll see right away: let’s assume we are in a team consisting of two operators. Our goal is to move from our current cover to the hostile contact’s cover, to eliminate it.

fire and move airsoft tactic - move into position

To execute the maneuver, proceed as follows: one of the operators leans out and opens fire on the enemy contact, maintaining position on the cover, and remaining mostly covered. The other operator will have to move quickly (no more than a few seconds) to reach cover closer to that of the enemy.

fire and move airsoft tactic - final positions

Ideally, he should seek out the nearest cover. At that point, he will take cover, and open fire on the enemy position. Once this is done, the first operator, the one who provided cover initially, will be able to reload his weapon and reach or sweep over his comrade.

Thus, the maneuver ends, and you will have to repeat it as many times as necessary to complete the objective.

The maneuver can be performed either on approach or retreat. In this way, the enemy will be continually forced to take cover, given the incessant incoming shots, and the team can move freely around the battlefield, lowering the risk of being hit.

The maneuver can also be performed in large groups, taking care that only one operator moves, while the others must take care of providing cover. The advantage, compared to the tactic performed individually, is that you will have to do fewer things simultaneously, being the tasks divided, and the probability of being hit decreases dramatically, being almost always in a position of cover.

Fake retreat (attack to the flank / ambushing)

fake retreat airsoft tactic - starting positions

Starting from the previous tactic, it is also possible to deal with more difficult to eliminate contacts, using a bit of cunning: if you do not want to face an opponent frontally, you can opt to start the maneuver with a retreat, to secure the operators.

fake retreat airsoft tactic - performing the hook

During the maneuver, you can decide to shift the orientation of the movement, directing the team to the right or left, rather than to the 6 o’clock position. In this way, you will slowly move to the enemy’s flank, offering a more convenient angle of attack.

fake retreat airsoft tactic - flanking

The maneuver can also be performed on both flanks simultaneously if the team is large. In this case, a true surrounding is carried out, which will force the enemy to divide his fire-mouths on different angles, while concentrating the allied operators towards a single direction, maximizing offensive power.

Another variant is to hide some operators in the vegetation or behind shelters while retreating. If the enemy is chasing you while you are retreating (again using the firing and moving maneuver), he will be very focused on firing on the retreating operators, and will not bother to look around while advancing. It is therefore easy for him to outmaneuver your retreating operators, finding himself at some point caught between two fires, and having to assume a static defensive position in unfavorable territory.

This is an ideal situation since you will have the advantage of cover and the surprise effect, while your opponents will have to deal with a sudden crossfire.

Conclusion: Airsoft Tactics Must be Practiced

In conclusion, airsoft tactics must be learned and internalized at both the individual and team levels to function properly. A lot of attention must be paid to practice.

None of this will work properly if you are slow to move, slow to change magazines, or if you expose your silhouette, run out of shots, and so on. You need to train continuously, both individually and as a team.

Most of these techniques may seem straightforward and technically foolproof on paper, but things change a lot in the field.

This is why it is important to be extremely consistent and diligent in training. Training not only allows you to execute your tactics in the best possible way, should everything go as planned, but it also teaches you how to adapt to different situations, should something unexpected happen. And in this sport, the unexpected is just around the corner.

  • Speaking of corners: what if the enemy were to be crouching, instead of standing as we would expect, while slicing the corner?
  • What if the enemy moved while we were firing and moving?
  • Or what if the team was covering 360° perfectly, but there was contact over their heads, perhaps in a window?

Ask yourself these questions all the time, while you train. There are so many unknowns, and only with continuous and creative practice can we learn how to best react in difficult situations.

So good study, and good training!

Riccardo "Black" Mariconda
Riccardo "Black" Mariconda

I’m an Italian MILSM and airsoft player, and also trekking and survival enthusiast. I like spending my spare time out in the woods, shooting firearms at the range, training FOF with airsoft guns and learning and training new skills about survival, both in urban and wild scenarios. I’m a Psychology graduate, and I’m studying to get a Criminological and Forensic Psychology degree. I had the opportunity to train with Italian Special Forces during survival courses. I’m also into SERE programs, stealth camping, mantracking and other disciplines of the kind. My aim is to get better and better in those disciplines that I love, helping others to develop their own skills.

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