Meet Mario, an avid Airsoft player from Zagreb, Croatia, who has been passionately immersed in Airsoft since 2018. What started as a journey to find a recreational activity that could counterbalance the stresses of work and improve his physical and mental well-being has transformed into a deep passion for Airsoft.
Get inspired by Mario’s passion and discover the unique community and adrenaline-fueled adventures of the Airsoft world.
How did you get into Airsoft, and when?
I started playing Airsoft in 2018. My physiotherapist got me interested in this topic. In those days, I was looking for some form of recreation that would cancel out the stress from work and do something useful for my psychophysical health. I needed more movement due to the bad condition of the lumbar spine. I was looking for more time outdoors and more activities that would reduce the effects of stress on the body and psyche.
Would you classify Airsoft as a sport, and if so, why?
Yes and no. It has elements of a team sport (individuals are rarely successful in Airsoft). During meetings/training, there are goals and a scoring system for achieving those goals, so there is a competitive component. However, you are often not on the side of the winner. There is a saying, “Airsoft won”(fair play, the team plays, respect for the opponent, and joint socializing and festivities after the match). There is not as much designated role for the winner as in sports.
How do you usually prepare for an Airsoft match, physically and mentally?
I prepare the equipment, make sure that my batteries are charged, and air bottles. I don’t use standard electric replicas like most Airsoft players but systems powered by compressed air. For me, ensuring sufficient tanks and balls, drinking water, communication equipment, and protective equipment (ballistic glasses, face masks, and other protective equipment) is essential.
I don’t need physical and mental preparation. Airsoft training/meeting is physical preparation for a solid body condition (moving, occasionally running, crawling, squatting, walking). Airsoft is essentially an excellent mental preparation for the new working week. After a Sunday spent in nature, with friends and acquaintances, “shooting”, having fun, and hanging out with the team over coffee before and coffee/juice/beer after training, it’s easier for me to tackle the business and personal obligations that the coming week brings. With adrenaline, tension, and physical release of stress through physical and mental challenges during Airsoft, a person can blow off steam nicely and ventilate the problems.
For me, it is also an excellent psychological exercise. Through Airsoft, I learned a lot about myself, my possibilities, and my limitations (physical, mental). All of it can be used for further development, either in the physical or psychological field.
What is your favorite Airsoft gun, and why?
I have several of them. The first one I bought is one of my favorites because it is my first gun. Still, all the others are equally dear to me because I assembled them from different parts (with many trial-and-error situations). All my replicas are M4 (AR15) platforms. One of the two most common platforms in Airsoft (if we are looking at replica assault rifles).
I learned a lot about electronics, mechanics, mechatronics, and other important areas for understanding how an airsoft replica works and what is needed to be efficient so the ball flies as far and precisely as possible.
What is the most challenging thing about Airsoft for you?
I don’t take it too seriously, it’s primarily fun to relax, but sometimes it can be physically demanding and exhausting. But that’s a positive thing.
What is your favorite strategy or tactic in the game, and why?
There is nothing like asking “how to win a war” or “how to defeat a strong opponent”. The point is to analyze your strengths and weaknesses and those of your opponents and find ways to compensate for your weaknesses. In other words, try, analyze the results, change, repeat. As Grunf from Alan Ford said, “If you want to win, the other has to lose”. 😉 The flank attack is often a good strategy (if you don’t have a better one:)).
Have you ever participated in Airsoft tournaments or competitions, and what was your score?
Yes, sometimes we were on the winner’s side, sometimes on the loser’s side. But we always ended up on the same side of the army bean stew. 🙂
Have you ever encountered a team that cheats in Airsoft, and in what way? Can you describe that situation?
Yes, there have always been cheaters, and will be. If you notice it, talk to that Airsoft player. And if they are really “hunchbacked,” warn the game’s moderator. These players are usually registered as persona non grata.
They are rarely welcome at meetings, so they chill and have fun elsewhere. But with good organization and quality moderators, this can be elegantly avoided. You must keep a cool head and resolve such situations without escalating into conflict.
What was your most interesting/fun event while playing?
Once, I stepped on the hand of a sniper lying in the middle of the forest and had the so-called Ghillie suit (a combination of a camouflage uniform with an actual cover made of branches and leaves). I didn’t notice him being in front of me.
What is your experience with injuries?
I regularly get bruises if the balls hit me in a part of my body that is less protected. For example, fatty tissue under the area that covers the vest, under the armpits, lower back, extremities, etc. However, these are neither painful nor permanent injuries. They remind you that you were too slow and that other Airsoft player aimed better.
Once, a sniper hit me in the face, right between the glasses’ lower edge and the face mask’s upper edge. I had a swollen pad on my face for a couple of days, but in the end, it was an interesting story for my work colleagues. Of course, not everyone understood, but hey, who hasn’t tried and felt that rush of adrenaline and simultaneously ventilating and deflating cannot even understand what it feels like.
What advice would you give to new Airsoft players just starting?
Be patient – your situational awareness is zero for the first few training sessions, and you do not notice movements or people around you. It takes time for your peripheral vision to develop and your senses of sight and hearing to become sharp enough to detect even the most minor movements 50 meters in the distance. Be tolerant towards others.
It is possible that the opponent (especially when running) did not feel or hear the ball that may have hit him. If you are 100% sure that you hit him/her, in that case, it is polite to say, “I believe I hit you”. If the person is okay, they will accept it and concede a hit.
However, you are supposed to do the same in the reverse situation. In the heat of battle, all kinds of swear words can come out, so you must control yourself. Most importantly, this is not a party that aims to injure someone. Keep your Airsoft guns slightly below the limit. It will hurt the opponent less and work correctly for longer. Airsoft is a hobby for making friends, not enemies.