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Unleash your ninja! How to prepare for Airsoft night games
Airsoft night combat is fun
Night assaults, ambushes, fun!
Airsoft night games generate a lot of buzz when they are first announced. People are very excited about an opportunity to sneak up on the opponents or fire fun tracers. Many people go out of their way and buy expensive night vision equipment and other fun stuff.
The most fun kind of airsoft night games are long patrols and flanking maneuvers
Night combat video. Scroll to 3:16 position
Generation 1 night vision binoculars
Night vision equipment
The video above is an extreme example of airsoft. Generally, most night games are played by starlight and moonlight and not using night vision goggles. However, if you are looking to purchase night vision, here are your options:
- Generation 1 night vision goggles or scopes. This is the cheapest technology available on the market and it works by amplifying existing light. I've checked out a couple Gen1 scopes on the field and generally they are not very good, as they cannot let you see in the treeline or bushes. A cheap generation 1 scope or monocular can cost as low as 150$.
- Generation 2 night vision goggles or scopes. These cost a lot of money (for airsoft purposes), but amplify light a lot better and have a lot better resolution than Gen1. I have not played with these, but I know that they cost between 1000-3000$
- Generation 3 night vision. This is the best night vision that you can currently buy. Gen III+ and Gen IV exist, but cost over 5000$ new. I would not dare to bring a piece of equipment so expensive to an airsoft game (Unless I hit it really big with hubpages :) )
- Infrared illuminators. These are not exactly night vision, but they are often marketed as such. These devices use infrared LEDs to shine light similar to LED flashlight and have a range of no more than 40-50 feet due to light diffusion. Wearing an infrared illuminator makes you visible to other infrared illuminator users, as if you were using a flashlight.
An important thing to remember about all night vision devices for airsoft purposes is that you are not exempt from the face protection rules. This means you are going to be looking through the mask or goggles. This is why you need large eye relief (1-1.5 inches at least), otherwise you wont be able to see through the night vision device
Night Play accessories - tracers
If you have watched the awesome video above, you will see the airsoft tracer units in action.
The airsoft tracer unit has been invented by Tokyo Marui a long time ago. It is a silencer like tube with 4 AAA batteries and a flash. As glow in the dark BBs fly through, they are each flashed, which makes them glow for a few seconds. These come with a variety of adapters, so if you got threads on your barrel, chances are you can mount a tracer unit.
Tracers are spectacular at night engagements, but as you have seen in the video, they are relatively easy to dodge, because you see them coming. Therefore, it is recommended to mix them with other ammo to truly use them as "tracers".
Most tracer ammo is mid grade and may jam your gun easily. I have not seen any tracer ammo heavier than 0.2gram, so plan accordingly. These come in a variety of colors, including green, orange and red.
LED flashlights and other accessories
Low tech night fighting accessories
There are other options available for night games.
First of all, everyone is required to have a flashlight to find their way around the field. This is where your inexpensive flashlight comes in. I owned a couple of the "tactical" LED flashlight, and they are terrible for woodland engagement, because the light diffuses after 30-40 feet. The only flashlight that may stand a chance at night games is Surefire G2 and G3. Those are pricy (100$ or so)
People are required to have a red glow stick to signify they are dead. Get an electronic one at walmart for 3$.
Lasers are generally frowned upon in airsoft, but at night games they may be rather useful for target designation, especially if your teammates don't have night vision.
Surefire G3 on Amazon
Surefire G3 at 105 Lumens. This one will require a tactical mount
Surefire uses CR123A batteries, which are ridiculously overpriced at retail stores, because they only carry brand name batteries
Night games tactics and tips
Night airsoft scenario games are fun and to maintain this fun, here are some tips:
- Always play safe and avoid getting into the line of fire of your team. It is common to get hit from behind, because people often fire blindly
- Get a flashlight and a red glow stick to find your way to the respawn when dead.
- Close one eye when using a flashlight to preserve night vision
- Maintain noise discipline - jump in your airsoft vest to ensure nothing rattles, keep your highcaps wound up.
- When advancing through the woods, keep your gun in front to move away branches and clear spiderwebs.
- Bring hydration, just like for a day game
- Get a radio with a headset, because night games get very confusing very fast
I don't own night vision myself, but I had great experience with a monster car spotlight like the one below. This one uses 12 volt battery and can run for about an hour. This kept the night game going for quite some time and prevented many sneaky people from flanking across an open field!
Budget nightvision - Spotlights
Spotlights on Amazon
The exact spotlight that I used at a couple airsoft night games. Extremely effective up to 200 meters/600 feet, allowing you to shine it from safe distance away.
A cheaper version of a spotlight at 10mil candlepower. Such spotlights are very heavy and are best used for defense or attack on fortified locations