Army Integrates Airsoft into Pre-Deployment Training


FORT JACKSON, S.C. — What began as a popular form of civilian entertainment is being tested on Fort Jackson as a possible new way to train Soldiers preparing to head to a combat zone.

The 187th Ordnance Battalion is operating a pilot program designed to test the feasibility of using Airsoft weapons to train Soldiers to cope with real-world combat situations such as forward operating base operations and force protection.

Airsoft weapons are replicas of their military counterparts, but fire plastic pellets instead of bullets. Airsoft is widely used by civilians who enjoy organizing military simulations and historical reenactments.

Training cadre with the unit are finding that Airsoft is an ideal way to teach Soldiers valuable lessons about combat.

“It gives them more realistic, outcome-based training,” said Sgt. 1st Class Richard Hunt, module chief for the battalion. “Now they know when they get hit during a training exercise.”

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