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Put your hands up if you ever played “Cowboys and Indians” or, come to think of it, “Cops and Robbers” when you were a kid. Yes of course you did. You might not like to admit it to your mates but I bet you had a great time.

Put in its simplest terms, Airsoft Skirmishing is just that but for grown-up’s or you could even say it’s today’s kids’ perspective.

Yes okay the kit’s a bit more advanced and you’re a bit older now, but the concept is basically the same.

Over the past few years, the team on Airsoft International (AI) have watched the Airsoft skirmishing scene constantly grow and it’s now overtaking Paintball. In actual fact the majority of skirmish sites out there are converted Paintball venues.

Move over Paintball because Airsoft is here!

The concept of Skirmishing is quite simple: two opposing teams (let’s call them the Red and Yellow team) are set a task to achieve. Now that task might be as simple as catching the opponents’ flag (a hangover from Paintball) or a more complex task such as finding and securing a downed pilot and escorting him back to the safety of your base whilst fending off the opposing team of fifty or so players all within a 30 minute game time.

So how do you know you’ve been hit? With paintball it was very easy: a splat of pink paint marked the spot. Airsoft is completely different. Yes the games are heavily marshaled, but they are there really to keep a watching brief. At the end of the day it’s all about honour, knowing when you have been hit and calling yourself out.

That’s when you have to take that lonely walk back to the safe zone, wait around for the next game and start all over again.

You don’t have to be mega fit or cash rich to play, as the majority of skirmish sites will hire you all the gear you need for around 50 quid or so.

You can pick and choose from the different terrains available from the ever-growing list of sites that are popping up all over the place.

Our advice to you is shop around and listen to our team of very experienced players who will guide you through the hot and not so hot skirmish sites throughout the World.

We have to warn you that once you take the plunge there’s no turning back. The worm has well and truly turned. It won’t be long before you find yourself buying your own equipment and becoming a regular at your local skirmish site.

Yes it’s a very militaristic activity with a look to match.

It’s up to you whether you decide to turn up in the latest kit or simply a boiler suit. It’s your choice; Airsoft is what you make it.

I should mention the safety aspect of Skirmishing. One of the main safety issues at all sites is eye protection.

Whether it be full-face protection or a cool pair of ballistic-rated eye wear some form of approved eye wear must be worn.

There are sites out there that cater for the extreme Mil Sim (Military Simulation) enthusiast, but in the main Airsoft Skirmishing will take place either in woodland or urban playing fields that offer a diverse gaming experience

Is Airsoft right for you? Only you can answer that question.

You may be one of the growing bands of people that collect the hardware and display it on your wall at home.

You might become what is affectionately known as a “geardo”. You’ll see them strutting their stuff in the safe zone comparing their kit and showing off their latest purchase. Don’t worry about that lot; throw a bit of mud at them and you’ll soon see them running for cover.

You might want to get your company involved; Airsoft is a great training tool for leadership development and team building or you might just want to become a common or garden player?

Whatever path you take, this is your magazine. Jump on board and enjoy the ride.

Paul Monaf