Your Beginner Airsoft Loadout Has Different Priorities Than Other Loadouts
Airsoft is a discipline (or more precisely, a set of disciplines) that mimics real-life combat. It’s very easy to be enraptured by the charm of this sport, but where do you start?
Many novice players struggle to determine what to buy, what to invest in, and generally where to put their money.
The writers at airsoftcore.com have helped hundreds of new player into the sport of airsoft. Most often, they ask “what is the best starter loadout?” In fact, we get asked this question so often that we started a whole series of airsoft 101’s.
In this article, we will highlight how to build an airsoft loadout for beginners.
Clothing for a Beginner Airsoft Loadout
Eye or face protection is used to protect the eyes and/or teeth from the damage that hits can cause.
In fact, although the shot only causes discomfort when it hits the skin, it can be extremely dangerous if it hits the face, as it can damage, even irreversibly, the eyes and teeth.
You should aim for the following ratings for each option:
- ANSI Z87 – this is a common rating you’ll find for airsoft eye pro and is considered the bare minimum. If you take a few direct hits at point-blank you’ll want to consider replacing any eye protection only rated for this.
- ANSI Z87+ – This actually uses a different method for determining how impact resistant the eyepro is. Generally, you can think of this rating as a tiny bit better than standard Z87, but not by much. Once again, consider replacing after a few point-blank hits.
- MIL-PFT-31013 – this is the standard for protective eyewear on the ballistic level. This is highly recommended and you should almost always go for eyepro that matches or exceed this rating.
This most basic option. Similar to other safety glasses in other industries. However, keep in mind that glasses are not rated in the same way as goggles. You should consider MIL-PRF-32432 rated glasses or better.
- Slim and form-fitting
- Allows for great ventilation
- Not intrusive on impression loadouts (and sometimes even enhances)
- Quite inexpensive
- Doesn’t protect your mouth or teeth
- Has gaps for BB’s to enter
- Prone to fogging the more form-fitting it is
- Safety standards are different from googles, and so you’ll need to purchase military rated.
These pieces of eyepro will wrap around your head and are quite stable. They are the middle ground between glasses & a full face mask.
- Elastic band provides a stable platform
- Provides far more protection than glasses
- More likely to be fully sealed, preventing BB’s from entering gaps
- Only somewhat intrusive on impression loadouts.
- Not too expensive
- Can fog rather easily
- Blocks prereferral vision
- Somewhat difficult to get a good cheek weld for aiming down optics
- Does not protect the mouth or teeth
Full Face Mask:
Often used in paintball full face masks protect your eyes, mouth, and teeth. Most are capable of protecting your ears and forehead as well.
- Maximum protection
- Protects mouth and teeth, and often ears and forehead
- A full seal prevents BB’s from entering gaps
- Difficult to get a cheek weld or to properly aim down optics
- Can be expensive
- Can fog up and be difficult to get full breaths of air through
- Doesn’t ventilate too well
Eye protection is what allows you to keep yourself safe from one of the biggest risks of this sport.
I do not recommend you to economize on this kind of equipment.
Try to get eye protection that is certified, fit for purpose, tested, and sold by reputable retailers. Your health depends on them.
Torso / BDUs
A uniform is definitely beneficial to have, though not essential. If you plan to play matches in an urban environment or at a CQB camp, for example, you may consider not buying one, as camouflage loses much of its usefulness in such contexts.
However, you can buy used uniforms at very low prices, so it may be worth considering buying one for a few bucks to increase your comfort and camouflage during matches.
At this point you might ask: Do I need a Uniform?
The answer is: not necessarily, but if the budget allows it is certainly a valuable investment.
Head Wear / Face Wear
When it comes to head wear, it’s certainly not essential to make purchases in order to have a functional loadout.
However, a classic baseball cap or balaclava can provide protection against the elements and give the loadout a more “complete” look.
After all, these are fairly inexpensive purchases, but you can certainly avoid them if you want to keep the starting expense low.
Gloves are part of the safety equipment, as they protect the hands from the cold, vegetation, and in general from contact with anything that could injure or hit your hands.
They are not an indispensable part of the equipment but are recommended.
They increase the level of camouflage (bare skin is extremely recognizable in the woods), protection, and comfort of those who use them.
If you decide to use them, keep in mind that they will end up interfering with the fine manipulation of your gear and airsoft gun. If you’re just going out into a match with a single high-capacity magazine they should work great, though.
Foot Wear / Boots / Kneepads
Boots are one of those items on which it is worth spending a few extra if you plan to do activities in a woodland environment.
Boots cover the feet, keep them dry and protect them, along with the ankle, from the shocks caused by mountainous terrain.
A cheap pair of boots might break during the activity, preventing you from continuing the activity.
Try to buy an entry-level pair of boots, but from reliable brands of hiking, military, or hunting products.
Knee pads can be an added comfort, but they are not essential. Also, choosing them is not easy, as many models are often uncomfortable or impractical, and it may take a bit of research and trial and error to find the piece of gear that’s right for you.
Tactical Gear for a Beginner Airsoft Loadout
Tactical gear is generally the most expensive part of loadout purchases, but also the one where you can range the most between models, options, and individual choices. Let’s take a closer look in detail:
Body Armor / Plate Carrier
Nowadays the market offers many models of body armor and plate carriers designed specifically for airsoft.
There are many valid models suitable for beginners: you can opt for example for extremely economical solutions such as tactical jackets with fixed configurations, which are also easily found in flea markets.
They are certainly the cheapest solution, but also the least practical. You can opt for a low-profile plate carrier, or for a chest rig, which allows you to carry some additional equipment, provide protection from blows and give the loadout a more complete look.
They are a good compromise between expense and performance, probably the best choice for someone starting out.
Keep in mind that if you buy a plate carrier or a chest rig, in all likelihood you will also have to buy the various pouches to attach to it. The same goes for body armor, which is the most complete solution, but often the most expensive.
They allow the housing of a lot of equipment, but being more capacious you usually need more pockets to make the most of them, although nothing prevents you from attaching a few pouches on them and keeping a “slim” loadout.
In any case, remember to buy all the accessories according to your replica and needs. Fill your body armor or plate carrier with equipment that you do not need will only weigh you down and worsen your gaming experience, as well as make you spend more money.
Learn about the differences between an airsoft vs real plate carrier.
Belt / Leg Rigs
The belt can also be a very useful piece of equipment.
It allows you to carry more equipment, a backup weapon, and be able to play with a lighter setup if you don’t want to use a plate carrier or don’t have one. Ideally, the belt should be used in combination with the plate carrier, so that you can better distribute your equipment, but it is definitely not essential: the backup weapon can be put on the plate carrier, as well as additional equipment.
However, the cost of some belts, such as the old ones featuring ALICE systems, is very reasonable, and for a small fee you can take home a useful piece of equipment, however inexpensive. Again, budget is king.
Read more for the best battle belts for airsoft.
What order should I buy my first loadout?
What are some beginner friendly tactical gear brands
When it comes to eye protection, it really depends on the max joule power allowed in your state or area. Ask a local dealer for advice or look on youtube for product tests to make sure they can withstand the shooting power allowed in your state.
With regard to boots, you can find good and cheap solutions at Decathlon stores, in the hunting or hiking department, such as Quechua and Forclaz boots and shoes, or you can look for Magnum boots, which are a good yet cheap choice.
Keep in mind that these boots are unlikely to last long, but they will give you time to figure out if it’s worth investing more in this sport.
Read more about the essential safety gear for airsoft beginners.