What about women in airsoft?
Welcome to our new interview section, where we connect with real Airsofters worldwide!
While historically dominated by men, women increasingly get involved in Airsoft and make their mark in the community. In this interview, we represent our first guest – Drew Whyte, a passionate Airsofter who shares her experiences in Airsoft, and perspectives on the challenges and opportunities for women in this male-dominated field.
Grab yourself a cup of coffee and let’s delve into the world of Airsoft through the eyes of a woman player!
What inspired you to get into Airsoft, and how did you start?
I was inspired to take up airsoft after seeing how welcoming the community was and the variety of ways this could be played. Airsoft is a sport that can appeal to anyone and everyone.
How does it differ to be a female on the field? Do you think you get treated differently?
Being a female airsofter can often feel quite isolating and intimidating. There’s an unspoken expectation for female airsofters to not be as effective on the field as a male. This is great fun when you’re able to prove them wrong. This is one of the many reasons why myself and another female airsofter Alex created the UK Airsoft Ladies (UKAL) community. This is to encourage more women to feel as though they’re able to play airsoft just as much as the males. It’s a fully inclusive community where females can feel comfortable talking about issues they face when it comes to airsoft and to gather advice on situations they encounter.
We arrange regular meets to play alongside one another and all the members are encouraging new females to take up the sport. We’ve now reached over 100 females around the country.
Can you describe your most memorable Airsoft experience?
My most memorable experience was when I had first decided to try a sniper and I had a very budget sniper which didn’t have a great reputation for being very good on the field. I had lined up an enemy who was around 70-80m away. I think it was my second attempt, I managed to hit that player who was then out of the game.
I didn’t release but most of my team had managed to see this shot and complimented me for being able to hit that player at that distance. This made me realise that a sniper role was for me and something I may be good at. It was very rewarding receiving compliments from the team and feeling included.
How do you stay competitive in the Airsoft community, and what strategies do you use to improve your skills?
I stay competitive by playing at a wide variety of sites. This helps me learn positioning when setting up ready to snipe someone. I’ve found sites are all so different and it teaches you to adapt to your surroundings and identify where I’d be best to hide and play the objective in the game.
I also maintain good communication with other airsofters who play a similar role to myself and learn and take on board what they do during games to see if I can apply it to my own game.
How do you balance safety and realism in your Airsoft play, and what precautions do you take to prevent injuries?
I wear AimCam eye pro which is a product designed for real life shooting but with a very small built-in camera so I can look back at my actions. I know that my eyes are very safe with these due to them being able to take a stronger impact than an airsoft bb. I also wear full face protection made by Lonestar Tactical.
This is a mesh snood/balaclava but for those who wear ghillie suits. This allows me to still have optimum camouflage. I always wear boots to all sites to give that extra support for my ankles.
What advice would you offer new Airsoft players just starting, and what do you wish you had known when you first began playing?
The advice I’d give is to try a range of ‘styles’ to decide which suits you best, and you enjoy the most. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, this is the quickest and most effective way to learn about airsoft. There’s so much knowledge out there covering pretty much everything you could possibly need to know. There’s no such thing as a ‘stupid’ question as everyone needs to start from somewhere. Before you know it, you’ll be inviting your friends and you’ll be the genius that everyone goes to!
I wish I had known that spending more money doesn’t necessarily mean the better product or performance. Taking that time to learn your RIF and assemble/disassemble can really make a difference to your experience.
On my Instagram page, you can find numerous blogs and reviews on products and airsoft sites which may come in handy so players know what to expect before going or purchasing.
What’s your favorite Airsoft gun, and why?
My favourite gun was the Silverback SRS and the only feature that I didn’t like about it was the recoil being so close to where your rest your cheek leading to the scope often shaking and unable to follow the path of the bb. They then released the Tac-41 and with the assistance of Longbow BB helping me tech and build the ideal sniper, it soon became my ultimate favourite.
I’ve found it’s consistent and easy to do tech work on. It can be modified to suit the owner in terms of length, power and appearance. It’s a sniper that would only need minimal modification to get it performing extremely well on the field. A new spring and you’re ready to shoot.
How did you get into customizing guns?
Before I went into wearing a full ghillie suit, I really like the idea of owning something unique that you wouldn’t see on the airsoft field twice. A close friend then offered to airbrush my Silverback SRS and it was amazing. It had taken a lot of time and effort to finish the final piece and it definitely stood out and was unique!
I now customise my snipers with the SCGhillie rifle wrap. This then matches the rest of my suit and works really well when I’m trying to blend in on the airsoft field. I love the idea of it almost ‘hiding’ the potential of my primary weapon.
What’s your favorite type of Airsoft game to play?
My favourite type is normally fall-back games as I love playing in the defence team, I find this great fun when I can find a good sniping spot where I can hide. This means I can sneakily get some kills and then attempt to keep quiet to allow the team to pass me so then I can take them out from behind! I always enjoy this game and find them a good challenge.
What’s the most challenging aspect of Airsoft for you?
I think the most challenging aspect was finding kit to be comfortable in. Being a female airsofter, there aren’t many options for clothing that fits a female more suitably. With it being such a physically active sport, having comfortable clothing is a big help. Most of the options available tend to be pricier than the average piece of clothing for a male.
What’s your go-to strategy for winning an Airsoft match?
Communication is the key to winning airsoft games. Even if just a small number of your team are running comms, this can lead to that team has the advantage for the game. Also, having a rough plan can really help so the team knows what they’re doing and can do it as effectively as possible.
What’s the funniest or most ridiculous moment you’ve experienced while playing Airsoft?
The funniest moment I’ve come across was there were two teams trying to hit each other but neither team had enough range on their rifle. One player on each team decided to put their rifle down and pull out a rubber knife. They then proceeded to run at each other with their knives to see who would get the first knife kill. This was fantastic to watch as it was a great example of not taking the sport too seriously and everyone was enjoying themselves.
What’s the most interesting location you’ve ever played Airsoft in?
There are two amazing opportunities I’ve come across to play airsoft in.
One was in the UK and in an unused quarry. It was huge! The ground was mostly chalk, and it was a spectacular view. The games were also well run at this site, making the experience enjoyable. It was also one of the first games I took my dog to; he now loves attending airsoft games! He’s great company and is always up for some attention. He enjoys waiting in the safe-zone with toys and treats whilst I go out and shoot.
The other was I managed to play airsoft in another country with completely different rules to what I’m used to in the UK. The team who invited me to play were all very welcoming and explained what airsoft is like in their country. The key part of playing airsoft no matter where you are in the world was honesty and the kindness of the community.
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