1 Firing Methods, For AEG users on Wed Apr 22, 2009 4:31 am
Where to point your gun, when to point it, where to fire it, how to fire it, when to fire it, are all extremely important to understand. Beginner airsofters have the tendency to ignore these concepts. This article is to show the different methods of firing your AEG. This first section will explain some rules that would be beneficial to follow.
WHERE TO POINT YOUR WEAPON
IN A NEUTRAL SITUATION
It seems simple, but it is harder than it sounds. If you are walking in formation, you do not want to have your barrel be sticking into the guys back in front of you. Your gun should be pointed towards the ground with safety on. Note that your weapon should not be pointing at your feet. If you have a sling, use it.
If you are moving through dangerous territory, you may point your weapon outwards to cover the formation’s flanks. Do this only if there are no teammates in a 90 degree angle of where you point your weapon. Your weapon should never be aimed in the vicinity of your team.
REACTING TO FIRE
Here is where a common mistake is made. Your formation is traveling in a split column down a path in enemy territory. You are covering the left flank with your weapon. Suddenly, your team takes fire from the right flank. The natural reaction is to swing your weapon straight across towards the enemy. Wrong. You just muzzle sweeped your entire team. Instead, keep battlefield awareness and swing your weapon down to the ground first then towards the enemy (if appropiate, next part deals with that). This prevents any casualties that may result from an itchy trigger finger, and will make for a more smooth aiming action. Also, if you are in a crowded environment, it is very easy to swing your weapon straight out and ding it on the corner of a wall/door/branch/tree etc. Kudos to Graham for pointing this out.
WHEN UNDER FIRE
This article assumes you know the basics of taking cover. Situation: you and your team have taken cover and are returning fire at an enemy also in cover.
When returning fire, point your weapon at the enemy obviously, the rest of the article will deal with how you return fire. One common mistake is when in a firefight someone’s weapon will be sticking out of cover, revealing their position and possibly getting them out, depending on field rules. Make sure your weapon is behind cover as well.
The rule about aiming at teammates still applies. In a firefight situation however, the rule is relaxed. If a teammate has taken cover behind a tree in front of your position, you can fire past that teammate, but make sure that that teammate knows you are doing so, or they may lean out or run into your fire.
There are several different methods of getting a quick shot off at your enemy without drawing fire to yourself. Here is a method that I find especially useful, especially if your AEG outranges your opponents. Retreat fifteen to twenty feet back if possible keeping your initial cover between you and your opponent. Then take your AEG and aim it directly at where the enemy is, and then lean out of cover and immediately fire several bursts. One, your opponent will not expect you to appear further back, two, you have more room to maneuver your weapon and yourself, and three, if you outrange your opponent there shots will be inaccurate and you will be able to dodge them instead of getting popped in the head the instant you leave cover. I have heard some call this the "snap shot" which was a term originally used in paintball, but it works in airsoft as well.
WHEN TO POINT YOUR WEAPON
Your gun should be slung or pointed downwards in neutral territory, it should be shouldered or at least readied in dangerous territory, and it should be shouldered and pointed to a flank or front or back if you are in enemy territory. The time you save from having already shouldered your weapon could save your airsoft life. As long as you follow common sense and the rules above, this is pretty self-explanatory.
SEMI-AUTOMATIC Semi automatic is used for more precise shots, usually to suppress (in the case of a DMR, single shots are meant to eliminate an enemy). The advantage it has over full auto is that it uses less ammo for the same effect. An easy way to suppress an enemy is to simply fire one shot every second at their position. You can keep this up for a long time, long enough for a team to either flank or eliminate the targets.
You cannot suppress an enemy only using semi, first you have to get their heads down. If you are ambushed and you fire one shot at a time into the bushes, well… you are dead. That is why you use full auto….
FULL AUTO Full auto is effective when your goal is to hit someone or temporarily keep their heads down. If an opponent ducks out of cover to fire at you, you want to hit them. If you fire one shot, you have one chance at hitting them. If you fire a full auto burst, you have 5-10 chances at hitting them. Most often auto is used in bursts of 3 or 4 shots. Using full auto you can also “walk” your bbs to your target which is useful when you don’t have the time or ability to aim.
As said above, full auto is useful when initial contact with the enemy is made. You want to gain the upper-hand first by suppressing them. Automatic is great for that, however ammo isn’t infinite so that is why you switch to semi auto to maintain it. If you gain an advantage over the enemy in the first 30 seconds of battle, you are likely to win.
Remember this is for AEG users. Snipers do not apply here. These are all tactics some of use without thinking, others simply blind fire. You should use all of these to their full extent, and the battle will undoubtedly be yours.
CHOOSING YOUR SHOTS Not necessarily a tactic, but it deserves a good explanation. If you spot an enemy but they do not spot you, it is instinct to immediately open fire on them. Most of the time, we see the enemy before they are in range of our airsoft guns. If you open fire as you spot them, the likelihood of your bbs actually hitting them is very very small and you will reveal your position, therefore you lose any element of surprise. The temptation to open fire is very strong, it takes practice and restraint to be able to wait for a better shot. The ideal shot would be one from cover and concealment into the enemy's flanks, but it heavily depends on the terrain.
COVERING To cover a teammate that will be exposed to enemy fire, you need to suppress the enemy so that your teammate has a minimal chance of being hit. To do this, you should use automatic bursts to keep the enemy down. If the enemy is spread out, you should fire in a sweeping motion to suppress as many as possible. Covering should be done by a team, not an individual. If you are the one moving out of cover, then make sure you do so when the enemy is suppressed.
BLIND FIRING An unconventional tactic that is discouraged in airsoft. Blind firing is where you stay behind cover but stick your gun out around your cover and fire blindly. This is dangerous. Someone might be under the minimum engagement distance and get shot 10 times and the blind firing person wouldn’t know. It is unsafe, cheap, and rarely works. DON'T do it.
SUPPRESSION You have heard it a lot in this article, but how to do it? Tactics may vary, here is one way. The goal is to keep your opponent from returning fire so that you may maneuver around them. If you can achieve this first in a firefight, you are most likely to win. To do this, long bursts of full auto and rapid movement towards the enemy does wonders to intimidate them. Your fire should be directed at the enemy but balanced so their whole team is suppressed. Instead of making sweeping motions, it is best for one man to concentrate on one position. Have each team member concentrate their fire on each position the enemy holds, or your fire is wild and unorganized. Once they are suppressed, go ahead and switch to semi-auto and keep a constant stream of bbs landing around them. By now a team should be moving up or flanking them to finish the job.
FIRING WHILE MOVING This should be used if you do not have sufficient cover from your team when moving. If you do have enough, you should run as fast as you can to your next position. Otherwise, you have to help and cover yourself. Depending on the situation, you can concentrate on the enemy that is most likely to hit you, or their whole team if you so wish. Long and accurate bursts of full auto should be used here, but do not sacrifice speed for accuracy, keep moving at a good pace.
ELIMINATING A TARGET Everyone’s favorite thing to do. However it is slightly different in airsoft, a bb travels much slower than a bullet. You will have to predict when your enemy is out of cover and fire a split second before, or they will see the bbs coming and dodge them. When you see an enemy, fire as long as possible as accurately as possible. Remember, AEGs do not have any recoil, so you can start firing even before you raise your weapon to aim. If your enemy is constantly dodging your fire, you need to get closer. There are many ways to draw your enemy out of cover, but that is not the purpose of this article.