3 Key Points for Airsoft Support Gunners
April 3, 2018
What’s up guys, it’s Carl, and if you’re one of the dudes who just really loves carrying a big ol dumb heavy gun that functionally performs about the same as the buzzsaw MP5 with a drum magazine that 12 year old over there just killed you with, boy have I got the video for you!
In all seriousness, today we’re going to be talking about support weapons and their use in milsim oriented games. Personally, I find the light and medium machine gun classes are very interesting, as somewhat distinctly from most other types of airsoft guns, support weapons only really shine with specific rule sets that make them viable – otherwise, what’s the point in carrying one?
That being said, the airsoft machine gunner is another one of those areas where I see some room for improvement in how the vast majority of folks are playing the support role, and much like Al Bundy talking about his highschool football glory days, I’ve got some tips on how I think you can play the role better.
Are you guys even old enough to get a Married with Children reference? What is my life?
1) Y’all probably don’t want to hear this, but guess what? As a machine gunner, your primary function in games isn’t killing the enemy player. I know that probably doesn’t sound like much fun considering you’re likely carrying the biggest, most cumbersome piece of equipment on the field, but that’s the reality of it. An effective machine gunner knows that your number one responsibility is overwhelming firepower and suppression.
Now, more often than not, I generally feel like real world military tactics are very hit or miss in their application to airsoft, but I’ve been on a bit of a Hardcore History WW1 podcast binge of late and there are lots of anecdotes about squads encountering each other unexpectedly in flanking maneuvers away from the trenches, and how the first squad to get their MG up and running was generally going to be victorious – and I feel like this is as relevant to the support gunner’s role in airsoft as it’s proved to be for the past 100 years of actual infantry doctrine.
In the first few seconds of a BB fight, hitting the enemy with an absolute ton of plastic and making them think twice about getting squirrelly or aggressive with you is 9/10 going to determine the outcome of that fight.
And again – we’re talking specifically about milsim games here where the riflemen are limited in their ammo and magazine capacity, so the existence of a gun that ideally is carrying a couple thousand rounds in a boxmag is going to matter immensely. You don’t need to be accurate per se – I mean obviously kill the opposing players if they’re out in the open and you have the opportunity, but your main job here is going to be forcing the enemy into cover, keeping them there, and allowing your riflemen to move in and route them while they’re pinned.
2) This brings me to my second point – the actual mechanics of your support gun and its implementation on the field. How many times have you seen a dude carrying a SAW or M60 or some other heavy gun have to bail in the middle of the game because his gun went down? Probably most of us, and proper gearbox preparation is going to be absolutely crucial to your ability to both do your job as a machine gunner and also stay in the fight. A gun that shoots super dope for a few hours and then grenades itself isn’t doing anyone any favors, and a lot of milsim events are now really opening up the FPS limits on MMGs (something that in real life would shoot a large caliber round like a .308 or 7.62×54) to make them more formidable and actually worth carrying.
When tuned properly, these guns can be downright scary to square off against, but the flip side is that if you’re pushing a high ROF build at 500FPS, you can and maybe should expect that your gun might go down at some point. Make sure your machine gun is reliable before you head out into the field, bring tools to leave back at camp or somewhere accessible, and hell, even having a backup mechbox that you can swap into the gun is honestly advisable. These are machines, and you’re likely going to be pushing them into the red for some of these longer games, but being prepared for that eventuality is going to keep your squad in fighting shape.
3) And here’s a clumsy but necessary segue into point 3 – fighting shape. The vast majority of support weapons honestly suck to carry, especially for longer events or games where you’re doing a lot of rucking, but another part of preparedness that doesn’t get touched on a whole lot is *gasp* physical fitness!
Now, this isn’t meant to discourage anyone or put anyone down, but if you’re thinking about going out to a game with a gun that you can’t actually shoulder or move quickly with for long periods of time, you start to go from being a squad asset, to a squad liability. Best case scenario, you’re maybe holding up the squad a bit and aren’t able to find effective positions to lay down that dominant suppressive fire from as quickly as you should be – but worst case scenario, you fall out of the squad and physically can’t continue or injure yourself and need to be pulled out. Don’t be that guy!
Yes, at the end of the day its airsoft and everyone is likely going to be moving at their own pace and rhythm, but I’m consistently surprised by the amount of players that refer to this hobby as a ‘sport’, but put no time into conditioning for it like you might for baseball, basketball, etc. You don’t need to be Arnold in Predator or some PT super stud, but make sure you can hump your weapon effectively, maybe start doing some casual jogging pretty consistently, and I guarantee you it will make you a better airsoft machine gunner.