MilSim, short for military simulation, refers to people doing live-action simulations of armed war scenarios for entertainment, athletic, or sentimental purposes. It has been described as an “extreme sport” and a historical re-enactment.
MilSim activities include those that aim to give a combat experience, model battlefield tasks, or replicate military service-style training. The training is simulated because participants engage in pretend scenarios rather than fights or using real armaments.
What is Milsim?
MilSim can be classified into 4 types:
- physical shooting sports (e.g., airsoft, paintball, or laser tag) with an emphasis on realism based on military scenarios and team tactics;
- historical re-enactment of famous battles;
- stylistic imitations of a specific military era or focus, such as cosplaying; and
- military-themed e-sports (e.g., video games).
Airsoft guns are popular in MilSim because of their aesthetic realism, acceptable exterior ballistics, interoperability with authentic firearm attachments, and low-cost ammo.
On the other hand, mock weapons that shoot blanks and blank guns can be utilized to increase immersion at events like MilSim West. MilSim gamers who reside in countries where airsoft firearms are either limited or prohibited by law also utilize gel ball blasters.
MilSims are dramatized situations with a realistic goal; they might involve hostage rescue, defusing a mockup bomb, fictionalized clashes, and law enforcement or militia scenarios. Above casual airsoft, these foster a “tactical playstyle.”
Players are frequently given a detailed briefing that includes stories, mission strategies, and rules of engagement. Most simulations aspire for player involvement and tension. MilSim simulations are often more frequent and smaller than re-enactments.
We are here to focus on Airsoft Milsim only and will guide you on how to go into one and have both fun and success!
Why Play Airsoft Milsim?
Milsim is a completely different environment and has a more organized framework than your typical skirmish; it may frequently be much more intense with fewer breaks and pauses. It’s a lot more task and team-oriented, and it’s not for the faint of heart, to say the least.
It is better suited for experienced players who desire a bit more realism and organization in the game we love and enjoy.
Attending your first milsim might be an intimidating prospect. If you have no previous military or airsoft experience, it might feel like a minefield of the unknown, with all the things you need to worry about that you wouldn’t normally think about on a Sunday skirmish.
There are people who overpack as if they’re going away for months, and there is the reverse when individuals take hardly anything and are left in a pickle over the weekend.
First-time Airsoft Milsim – What do I need?
Before we get into the list of all the items that you will need to participate in a Milsim event. We urge everyone to READ THE REULES of the event. Regardles of if you’re just starting out in airsoft or are a seasoned veteran. There are numerous different airsoft milsim events being held all around the world.
There are also dozens of different types of events that you might be participating in.
All of them have some core rules that are a no-brainer – but some might have some specific requirements that you miss out on. You will either cause problems for your co-players, you will have a bad experience, or you will straight up not be allowed to play.
The last one is a bit harsh and rarely happens, but sometimes, it does happen – and all those issues can be easily avoided by reading the rules of the event. Even if this is your 20th time reading the rules. One thing might have changed, and you do not want to be that guy that missed it! It can be restrictions on the age limit or limitations for snipers in the field.
Here is a short list of the essentials that you need to be able to participate in a milsim event. While you might get away with not having crossed each item from the list below, we highly suggest you make sure to have all of them, and we will go into detail and tell you why.
What you need for your airsoft milsim event:
- Appropriate camo
- 2x Replicas (back-up is necessary)
- Combat equipment (plate carrier, radio, etc.)
- Pyro and BBs
- Eye and face protection
- Food and water (24hrs worth)
- Toothpaste / toothbrush / baby wipes / toilet paper / deodorant
- Additional funds (just in case)
- 100% effort, a positive mindset, and a desire to win
Most Airsoft Milsim events divide people into two groups where one group must have one type of camouflage, and the other is required to have another. For instance – one group wears standard NATO colors, while the other wears Russian colors.
Having the right camouflage on your uniform is essential so your teammates know that you are one of them from far away. Also, the enemy must know you are not one of them as well.
Unless you are a spy. But that one is a different topic that we will discuss in a later article.
There are usually 3 types of military boots that you can use. Low, mid, and High ankle boots. They all have their own advantages and disadvantages, which heavily depend on which ones you should use based on the terrain you’ll be on.
We always suggest that you wear high-ankle military boots because they protect your ankles the best. And a twisted ankle can be game over for you, plus a potentially expensive medical bill and recovery time.
Always protect yourself as much as you can!
2x Replicas (back-up is necessary)
Having two airsoft rifles, guns, or whatever type of replica you might be using is a must. At some events, you won’t even be able to show up without having a backup. The reason is that some of these events go on for 20, 30, or 40+ hours. And if you do not have a gun, you cannot participate.
It doesn’t matter how much maintenance or upgrades you put into your replica – you might fall and get damaged, submerged into water, get mud in it, and lose it. All kinds of crazy things happen in a warzone. And while it is not an actual warzone – once you are there – it sure feels like one. With the tension and adrenaline in your head, you will sometimes make mistakes that cost you your replica.
And let’s not ignore the fact that replicas often jam, stop functioning properly, or get damaged in one way or another.
If you have 2 replicas, even if you lose one, you can be back in action in no time. And that is crucial if you are in the middle of a battle or are surrounded by the enemy.
Pyro and BBs
Having ammunition is as important as having a functioning airsoft replica. Having a replica and no ammunition means pretty much game over unless you can work out a deal for someone to share.
And saying this sounds a bit harsh because the atmosphere at Milsim events, while heated and competitive, people are still there to have a great experience and fun.
We’ve seen enemies exchanging ammo just so they could stay in the game for longer. BBs, airsoft pellets, replica ammunition – or however else you might be calling it – are key to having extra.
The worst situation you can be in is that you are alone, with no allies near, and you are out of ammo while you hear the enemy creeping near your position.
By ‘Pyro’ we basically refer to grenades. Flash Grenades and Smoke grenades are the most common type used.
While you do not have to use grenades in Milsim events – they do add to the experience. It is not the same as having them and not having them. Also, the enemy will take you more seriously if they see some pyro on your body carriers.
If it is your first time participating in an Airsoft Milsim event, or you simply cannot afford them at this moment – then we suggest skipping them. But still, make sure to stock up on ammunition!
Combat equipment (plate carrier, radio, etc.)
You need carriers for all the things that you’ll be carrying with you. That will either be a backpack or a chest rig. If you are a beginner or are on a budget, then we suggest you stick to a backpack. But a chest carrier or extra pouches go a long way in the ways of accessibility and comfort.
There is a massive difference between requiring 2 seconds to draw that pistol replica, getting a grenade in one quick hand movement, or getting that protein bar without having to take off your backpack, dig through it, and potentially reveal your location via sound or some awkward body positioning.
Also, distributing your carry load in a more balanced way will make your back hurt less, and you will not fatigue as quickly.
Eye and face protection
When it comes to airsoft – eye protection is a MUST. There is absolutely no way around this. If you get a pellet in your eye – you lose your eye. That’s it.
If you do not have eye protection, you have no business playing airsoft at all, let alone participating in a military simulation event where BBs will fly all over the place.
Face protection is not essential, but we highly suggest you get some. Protecting your face is more of an investment in how you will look after the event. Having a bruised face or potentially getting hurt is unnecessary if you can prevent it.
Food and water (24hrs worth, *or more)
Regarding food, you can either bring food that needs preparation. Likely that food will be prepared in your base. But that will also mean that you will be out of commission and unable to participate during that time.
Therefore, we suggest bringing protein bars or food that is ready to be consumed, such as sandwiches. Again, be mindful that you will not have a fridge, so bring food that can stay safe to eat for more than 2 days. Peanut-butter sandwiches are a common consumable that we often see in Milsim events.
Water. If you don’t have drinkable water, then you’ve already lost. Make sure you bring enough water for the whole duration of the event. You will be drinking more water than usual because you will be active more than usual, so take that into consideration.
You can bring water containers or bottles, but we suggest getting a hydration bladder for your water. The reason is that a hydration bladder is created for combat purposes. It is there, ready to use, and you do not have to adjust your body position or neck position at any point. Bite on it, take a sip of cold water when you need to, and carry on doing whatever you are doing. It is simply much more convenient than carrying around a bottle.
Toothpaste / toothbrush / baby wipes / toilet paper / deodorant
Many Milsim events are 48 hours long. That means that you will either: A) be sleeping in a nearby hotel at a breakpoint or B) sleeping in a tent or a sleeping bag. If it is a), you will likely have access to a shower – and that one feels amazing after a day of rolling in the dirt, mud, and sweat.
In some types of events, such as MilSim West, option B) is all that you will get. You will be sleeping in a tent in the middle of nowhere or in a sleeping bag.
Now, we do not know if you’ve ever been to an Anime convention. But trust us – you do not want to be smelling other people’s body odor after 24 hours of battle.
Especially if it is summertime. While the cold air during winter tends to tone down nasty body smells, it is still a good idea to take care of that issue regardless, just in case.
A little deodorant goes a long way in having a nicer experience for both you and your teammates.
The same logic goes for toothpaste and toilet paper. Clean your teeth after eating because no one wants someone talking to them face to face with bad breath. It is distracting and uncomfortable and generally takes away from the overall experience.
You need toilet paper, for obvious reasons. You can also use baby wipes. And baby wipes are extra handy because they come in small packaging and are wet. This makes it easy to clean equipment or your face or your hand, etc.
Most Milsim events will cost you between 50 and 200 USD. That number can vary depending on where you live and the event you attend. But once you take care of that cost, it is always good to have some extra money just in case.
100% effort, a positive mindset, and a desire to win
We will end this guide with this one because we think that it is a hidden thing that not everyone thinks of but is very important.
If you try to immerse yourself into the event, do your research and get hyped. That mentality will rub off onto your teammates and will positively affect them, as it will on you.
The main point of Milsim events is for you to have fun, never forget that. A positive mindset and the will to win guarantee that no matter what happens during the event, you will take home a great experience that you’ll be happy remembering and sharing with your friends and family.