How to Build an Airsoft PMC Loadout | Tactical Gear Guide

“You know what they say about tight pants?

… tight groupings.”

If there is one huge component we enjoy about airsoft; it is that you can wear whatever gear you want on any given day and you’d get no hassle. This isn’t like actual enlisted duty where a standardized uniform is required for every operation, if the next weekend you feel like heading out to the field in a completely different plate carrier or clothing you can do that with no issues. 

Take it from someone who has easily been in 1000+ airsoft matches, some days you just wanna throw on mixed-match gear like a battle belt and baseball cap and call it a day. Even the hardest of airsoft enthusiasts occasionally will want to just wear something comfortable and go.

Luckily, you can easily just say that you’re building a PMC loadout (private military company). Now, there are varying degrees of “realism” when it comes to a PMC loadout for airsoft as you can attempt to create impressions of real-life mercenaries, most famously like the Blackwater group.

The truth is, any set is going to be enough to be a PMC loadout so long as you’re avoiding official military unit gear and camouflage schemes. However, there is a certain aesthetic you’ll want to go for, and we’ll lay out some of the different options below:

pmc loadout tactical gear choices for plate carrier

How to build a PMC Loadout for Airsoft

A good place to start is with clothing. You’ll need to know that PMC will almost never use any modern camouflage pattern like Multicam, UCP, OCP, or the digital patterns like MARPAT. These people typically would wear solid colors matching the terrain they’re operating in.

This is both because they want to create a distinct menacing / intimidating look without being mistaken for actual military forces (which operate under a completely different doctrine). Even a piece of load bearing kit like a chest rig, plate carrier, or tactical vest will not have any camo patterns on it.

In the case below we’ll review some of the type of loadouts that a PMC like Blackwater might wear out in a desert environment – but if your field is mostly green then we’ll provide an alternative color in our recommendations. We’ll start with clothing below.

Clothing for a PMC Loadout

Leg Wear / Pants

airsoft pmc loadout example 001

We’ll start with pants. You’ll notice a number of PMC’s wearing jeans. while we think that’s cool and all, jeans will really stick out in any environment, so we don’t quite recommend them.

Typically if you go with any durable tactical cargo pants you’ll be fine. We’re big fans of 5.11 tactical pants, but we’ve got some well-worn LA Police Gear & Propper leggings as well. You don’t need to get fancy here as private military contractors aren’t usually wearing combat pants (these are the ones with integrated knee pads).

You can go with coyote brown, tan, or olive drab for more woodland environments.

Here are some options below.

LA Police Gear Tactical Pants High Value

LA Police Gear pants are a great balance between affordable and durable – very high value.

5.11 Tactical Pants

5.11 is a trusted tactical gear brand. Many emergency service workers & military enlisted trust their lives to 5.11 products.

Propper Tactical Pants

Another well trusted brand – Propper tactical pants typically fit a bit tighter than their main rival: TRU-Spec.

Torso / Shirt

If you’re going to go cheap, but authentic – any black T-shirt or polo shirt here would work. You can go a little fancy and do a button up shirt as well. The main element to remember here is to keep it lightweight and breathable because it’s going under a thick plate carrier or chest rig. Most desert environments are hot and dry so it isn’t unreasonable to have a shirt that is moisture wicking as well.

In colder environments you’ll probably want to go with long sleeves, but ultimately you can wear the long sleeve variant of your button up, or regular shirt.

Sometimes you’ll see combat shirt tops (BDU sleeves, moisture wicking torso), but they’re far more rare and if they do go that route they’re wearing solid colors.

If you want to get fashionable you’d go with a different top vs the bottom. So, if you’re wearing coyote brown or tan pants you might wear a black combat shirt, or if you’re wearing black pants you can wear a olive drab top. The PMC loadout combinations are endless really, just avoid any modern camo patterns like OCP, MARPAT, etc.

Here are some options below.

Head Wear / Face Wear

For most of the photos we’ve seen the PMC’s are wearing some kind of operator baseball cap and a neck cover like a shemagh or recon wrap. For missions where the PMC’s are expecting to see action they may don actual ballistic helmets (although usually surplus ones like MICH helmets or PASGT halmets). You’ll want to stay low tech on that helmets, basically choose one that doesn’t have side rails or NVG mounts.

Also avoid netting or covers for camouflage. Remember that a security contractor usual isn’t intending to blend with his environment.

In terms of eye protection – we think that your airsoft pmc loadout impression should not override what keeps you safe, so wear what eye protection you current have and don’t worry what the contractors wear.

Your clothing, load bearing kits, and things like patches will express that you’re going for a PMC loadout.

Hands / Tactical Gloves

This one is actually quite simple – go with any tactical Mechanix gloves. I’ve seen pictures of PMC’s with higher end Oakley gloves, but Mechanix gloves are just incredible practical and come at a great value. We actually really like the PIG shooters gloves, and it wouldn’t be unreasonable for a private security contractor to wear one.

We feature all of these on our list of the best airsoft gloves.

See your options below:

Foot Wear / Tactical Boots / Knee Pads

Basic comfortable hiking boots are good here. There’s really no standardization for PMC’s in terms of what they wear on their feet or legs. You can check out our guide to safety gear for newer airsoft players for our rundown of what kind of footwear we think is good as we link a few great options for boots there. We also have some great choices for knee pads as well.

One thing to know is that while boots are standard for PMC’s you can consider normal tennis or running shoes as well.

Tactical Gear Choices for a PMC Loadout

pmc loadout tactical gear choices for plate carrier

So there are several options on how to pursue the actual tactical loadout a PMC might wear: Low tech / early PMCs and high tech / modern PMCs. The main thing here is to select a pattern that don’t incorporate any modern military camouflage scheme, so you’ll want to stick completely to solid colors like coyote brown, tan, black, or olive drab green.

Low Tech Mercenary Tactical Gear: Chest Rigs

You’ll want to choose a slick carrier or body armor, and then add on a chest rig or a vest on top of it. Your choice of chest rig or vest will depend on the actual items you plan to carry, although a lot of the writers at Airsoft Core prefer a chest rig as they generally fit better than a vest and also allow us to mount pouches more along the centerline of our torso.

Below we selected a basic soft armor carrier and some load bearing gear, like a chest rig, to go over it. The nice thing to know is that security companies usually don’t care much what any individual contractor brings. So, select anything that works for you.

If we had to make chest rig recommendations, we’d first need to ask about what rifle you plan to carry as that will dictate the type of rig you want. For example, if you’re bringing an AK to the field then a Chicom replica chest rig wouldn’t be out of the question, or if you’re bringing a modernized M4 then you can consider a D3CRM micro chest carrier.

If you have loads to spend you can consider an Eagle Industries multi-mission chest rig.

ThreeH Outdoor Tactical Vest Training...
  • [Adjustable Waist belt]-Vest size: 39x51cm/15.3x20.1in. Waist belt:74-114cm/29in-44in. The shoulder straps and waist strap...
  • [Product Material]-600D Oxford fabric,it is of high quality, durable and can protect you from being hurt in games.
  • [Protection]-Foam padded to give you a better protection in games.
Condor Ops Chest Rig, Olive Drab
  • Padded cross-back shoulder strap with webbing and D-rings
  • (No Suggestions) - Swivel push release buckles
  • Heavyweight webbing for modular attachment
Condor Elite Tactical Vest (Black)
  • Built-in pouches includes 2 utility pouches, 6 M4 mag pouches, and two internal pockets
  • Padded rubberized shoulders with built in shock stop
  • Condor Pistol Belt is included

High Tech / Modern Mercenary: Plate Carriers

Modern PMCs will field some of the more up to date load bearing equipment like plate carriers and battle belts (we actually have a guide on some of the best battle belts for airsoft).

The plate carriers they may wear here are going to be along the lines of CRYE JPC’s, Shellback Banshee, or any other modern PC available. You can really basically choose anything here and you’re good to go.

Now, we know that some of the airsoft players looking to try to build an airsoft contractor loadout aren’t going to have the dough for something authentic like a CRYE, so below we’ve provided some cheaper options that fit the bill. If you’re interested in getting the highest grade tactical outfit, we’ll write up an article for that soon.

These options below will give you the PALS webbing space to place any pouch you want in any configuration.

See those options below:

Tactical Vest + Backpack/Modular Vest +...
  • high quality -Made of 1000D polyester fiber, lighter and stronger, not worse than the famous brand. Good brands also use...
  • Made of high strength MOLLE. Heavy-duty MOLLE loop and webbing with modular attachments. The MOLLE design makes it easy to...
  • Removable anti-slip padded shoulder pads with hook and loop guides. The high-quality padded mesh interior lining allows the...
GFIRE Tactical Vest - Airsoft Lightweight...
  • Precision Crafted, Adjustable Design: Elevate your performance as an everyday hero with our meticulously engineered Tactical...
  • Supreme Comfort for Dynamic Adventures: Embark on your next adventure with unwavering confidence, thanks to our Tactical...
  • Gear Crafted for Heroes, Backed by Excellence: As a testament to our commitment to excellence, our Tactical Gear is designed...
OneTigris DOOM Tactical Vest, Adjustable...
  • 500D nylon construction for long-lasting performance in tough conditions.
  • One-size-fits-most design with adjustable straps for a customizable and comfortable fit.
  • Breathable and comfortable for extended wear, even in challenging environments.

Conclusion: A PMC Loadout for Airsoft is Actually Easy

pmc loadout impression inspiration

Luckily, you can mix and match basically any gear and call it a PMC loadout. There are some specific things to avoid, like modern camouflage schemes and camouflage gear (although the even most modern of PMC operators are getting in on the Multicam tactical gear train), so maybe these days it might be a bit harder to distinguish a military unit from a paramilitary contractor unit.

With that said, it is difficult to go wrong with a PMC loadout (and in fact it is probably the most common type of loadout we personally use at Airsoft Core). You’ll still want to know the differences between a real vs airsoft plate carrier – but you can go with any option.

You’ll notice that we didn’t talk much about an actual airsoft gun, and that is because we’ll go into that in another article coming up. The main thing to know is that a contractor can basically use any weapon they want, but there are certain weapon systems they favor.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a PMC Exactly and how is different from a contactor?

PMC stands for a private military company, they’re basically corporations for providing armed security services for a wide variety of jobs. They’re effectively mercenaries for hire. The individual armed staff are known as “security contractors.” They typically are equipped with a mixture of civilian and military gear, although they usually try to ensure their kits doesn’t appear as if they operate with a specific military unit in the region.

So, a PMC and a contractor are effectively the same thing.

More information about PMC’s can be found here.

Does my PMC uniform matter in an airsoft match?

For the majority of casual airsoft games it doesn’t matter at all. In a lot of games, players are split up into groups and are given bright brands to wear and the teams are called “bands” and “no bands.” In this case, it doesn’t matter what colors you wear on your military gear and you can wear any of your loadouts.

However, some fields may choose to split their players up by “tan” or “green.” In this case, the uniform colors of the airsofter will matter. Additionally, if you plan to play at a MILSIM event you’ll want to review the tacops or manual for what sort of uniforms are required for such events (it often depends on the place). Most of the time, PMC uniforms aren’t allowed at these events unless the organizers plan for a 3rd faction beyond Tan and Green. In this case, they’ll usually lay out the exact specifications of the uniform.

If you end up buying two sets of solid colors for your airsoft PMC loadout you’ll be covered in most cases as you can swap in jeans or a black shirt as needed to give you versatility in choose a dominate color scheme.

Do you recommend specific holsters or tactical belts for an airsoft mercenary loadout?

The awesome thing here is that anything goes. PMC loadouts aren’t restrictive in the actual tactical gear choices. So, if you want to wear a thigh nylon universal holster, or TACO mag pouches, you can. Although we do have some specific recommendations when it comes to holsters: select a hard shell type, preferably kydex. Kydex holsters and others like it help retain your pistol far better than nylon types.

We’ve also had good experiences with Blackhawk Serpa holsters despite some of the controversy surrounding it.

What airsoft guns should I consider to complete the look of an airsoft mercenary?

In general, you can use any of your airsoft rifles and it’ll work for these loadouts. One thing we’ve noted when looking at various photos of the contractors in the Middle East is the lack of NVG items. This means that most of the firearms we’ve seen don’t have any PEQ or laser boxes for night ops.

So to go for the look, you can use any M4 / AK / G36 AEG variant, just don’t include a laser box of any kind. Check out our list of the best airsoft assault rifles to get an idea of what sort of AEG’s you should consider.

In terms of a side arm you’re basically free to use any you want: Glock 17, CZ75, S&W revolver, there is no specific pistol that we’ve ever seen a PMC company require from their employees.

Are there Airsoft Games where I can Role Play a PMC?

Yes, you’ll want to look into the more realistic MILSIM ops like MSW (Milsim West). These airsoft enthusiasts often have ops where there is a neutral 3rd party, sometimes made up of PMC units or freedom fighters. In these games the role you play on your team will dictate the behavior you have on the field.

Learn how to pack for a Milsim event with our guide here.

How do you maintain and care for your PMC loadout gear

Keeping your PMC gear in shape is all about giving it a good clean and a once-over for any wear and tear now and then. Different stuff needs different care, so make sure you’re doing it right.

Are there any legal considerations or restrictions when replicating PMC loadouts in public airsoft events or fields?

When it comes to dressing up like a PMC, you’ve gotta know the rules. Different places have different dos and don’ts about wearing tactical gear, so it’s smart to check what’s cool in your area first by reading the field rules.

How can I integrate communication devices into a PMC loadout effectively, to balance between realism and practicality in airsoft scenarios?

Adding comms to your gear is about finding the sweet spot between looking the part and being able to talk to your team. Pick stuff that works well with your gear and won’t get in the way. Generally, most PMC’s are already wearing some kind of comms, so this shouldn’t be much of an issue.

What are the best practices for color coordination within a PMC loadout to ensure team identification while still adhering to the PMC aesthetic?

When you’re trying to stick with the PMC vibe but still need to tell your friends from foes, get creative with patches or gear that stands out. This way, you keep the look but don’t get mixed up in the heat of the game. It helps to have matching pants/shirts along with matching tactical gear, at the least.

What are the pros and cons between choosing a low-tech versus a high-tech PMC loadout, based on common airsoft gameplay scenarios?

Choosing between old-school simplicity and high-tech gear is all about what you’re into and what the game calls for. Low-tech is straightforward and reliable, but high-tech gear can give you an edge if you know how to use it. We don’t recommend taking this too seriously, though.

Timothy Hackett
Timothy Hackett

Tim has been playing airsoft since 1994. With over a thousand (no lie) airsoft games under his belt he has spent countless hours testing various airsoft guns and tactical gear. He's gotten hundreds (still no lie) of people into the airsoft hobby and is more than willing to spread the love of slinging 6mm plastic to any new player.

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