Airsoft Jargon Buster


Airsoft is full of jargon and acronyms – we’ll help you get your head round some of the things you are likely to hear!

CQB – Close Quarters Battle – a military term for fighting in a built up area where extreme close fighting is likely and a front line is not clearly established.  Other terms used are CQC (Close Quarter Combat), FIBUA (Fighting in a built up area) and the less official term of FISH (fighting in somebody’s house.)

BB – Ball Bearing.  Airsoft BBs are made from plastic, and we allow up to a maximum BB weight of 0.25g on site (it is possible to buy up to 0.4g but these are expensive and frankly unnecessary.)

FPS – Feet Per Second – a measurement for testing how powerful a gun fires.  All airsoft sites have a FPS limit – ours is 350 feet per second.  This is when the gun is tested on one of our chronographs, whilst firing 0.2g BBs (which we will supply.)

Chrono – Chronograph – a device that can measure the velocity of rounds fired by an airsoft gun – a bit like a speed camera for BBs.

AEG – Airsoft Electric Gun – Pioneered by Japanese company Tokyo Marui in the early 1990s – these guns use a rechargeable battery pack to enable self loading (which, depending on the weapon allows semi, burst and/or full automatic fire)

AEP – Airsoft Electric Pistol – similar to AEGs, AEPs use smaller components to pistol sized firearms.  These tend to be low energy items that have a fixed slide so the slide does not operate per trigger pull like a real firearm.

GBB – Gas Blow Back – applied to all weapon types from Pistols to Carbines to Sniper Rifles, these use compressed gas to fire a BB and to cycle – which also chambers the next round allowing semi, burst and automatic fire.

Non-Blowback – usually applied to Pistols where gas is used to function the gun (like in a GBB) but the slide is fixed and doesn’t cycle every time a round is fired.  This makes the weapons quieter and reduces gas usage at the cost of realism.

Co2 – Co2 gas comes in small metal cartridges and certain gas weapons use these instead of the traditional approach of having an internal gas reservoir inside the gun or the magazine.

Propane – an alternative to 134/144a, Ultra, Green and other airsoft specific airsoft gases for guns / magazines with a reservoir – usually sold in camping stores this gas has a strong odour, is higher power but does not contain lubricating agents normally found in airsoft specific gas.

NIMH/NICAD – older battery technology found in older airsoft weapons and sometimes supplied as with airsoft weapons when bought new.  Majority of players replace these with more modern LIPO or LIFE batteries.  Commonly in 8.4v and 9.6v varieties.

LIPO  – in our experience the most popular airsoft battery technology of modern times – these are cheap, and can be made small – commonly used in 7.4v form in standard weapons and 11.1v form when weapon upgrades have been applied and a high rate of fire is desired.  Lipo batteries are delicate to overcharging and cannot recover from being drained completely so must be treated with care.

LIFE – an emerging airsoft battery technology – that boasts most of the benefits of LIPO but without any of the drawbacks.  LIFEs tend however to be more expensive and larger in size (more in line with NIMH/NICAD sizes.)  Commonly found as 9.9v packs.

Polarstar – a brand of HPA (high pressure air) system where a weapon (usually an AEG) is converted or built specifically to work with the compressed air.  This requires an air tank to be carried (usually in a rucksack or backpack) and an airline to be constantly connected to the gun to feed the system.

Bolt Action – a weapon (usually a sniper rifle) that requires the user to cycle a fresh round into the chamber by operating a bolt.   These weapons are of extremely limited use at The Depot but are common on higher powered sniper rifles.

Springer – a weapon that does not chamber the next round automatically.  Commonly found on very cheap pistols and rifles and best avoided.  Used in cheaper shotguns – these are the exception to the rule and can be used very effectively at our site!

Full Metal – often used to describe the construction of an airsoft rifle to confirm its made of metal rather than abs plastic.  These tend to be more sturdy and often more realistic but are often heavier than their ABS counterparts.

ABS – A common plastic compound used in airsoft weapons – sometimes in place of where metal would be on a real firarm to save weight and cut cost.

TM – Tokyo Marui – an airsoft weapon manufacturer from Japan that invented the modern day AEG.

PTW – Professional Training Weapon – a high end airsoft weapon system with greater realism built in with functioning bolt stop pioneered by a company called Systema but also offered by other manufacturers.

LMG – light machine gun – support weapon that offers massive magazine capacity but usually only capable of full auto fire.  These weapon systems can be very useful in open woodland combat but are not permitted at The Depot.

High Cap – A high capacity magazine for AEGs that holds usually between 200 and 600 rounds depending on the magazine type.  These can usually be filled by pouring BBs into a hatch, and then winding a wheel on the bottom of the magazine to allow the BBs to feed.  As rounds within the magazine are used up, more winding has to be done in order to keep the BBs feeding.  The main advantage to these are the high capacity – the disadvantages are they reduce realism (because you rarely reload) and as you run the BBs inside the magazine can shake and rattle, giving your position away.

Lonex Mag – a brand of high capacity magazine for AEGs where the winding wheel is replaced by a cord which is pulled to add magazine tension, otherwise the advantages and disadvantages remain the same.

Mid Cap – a magazine type for AEGs that typically offers capacity of between 80 and 160 rounds.  These need to be loaded with a speed loader but as a result tension is added and retained automatically meaning the player need do nothing else until the magazine is empty and requires reloading.  These are popular as it strikes a good balance between practicality and realism.

Low Cap – a magazine type for AEGs that typically has a magazine capacity of 20 to 40 rounds that match the capacity of magazines for the corresponding real firearm.  These are not regularly seen in use at airsoft skirmishes.

Pyro – pyrotechnic grenades that work in a number of ways to initiate a bang – with a fixed “kill” radius these can be used to clear rooms and doorways.  Come in “disposable” (one use – shown below) and “reusable” forms.

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Frag – military term for a grenade, leading to the common shout of “Frag Out” which means “I’m throwing a grenade!”

BFG – a reusable grenade that trigger a blank cartridge (eg a 9mm blank) on either impact or on a timer.  These are more expensive to purchase but over time become cheaper as blanks are significantly cheaper than regular “disposable” pyro.

Mk5 – a common airsoft “disposable” pyro also referred to as a thunderflash.  Usually the cheapest version available and come in a thin stick format.

Thermo – Thermobaric grenade – these are another type of “disposable” or one-use pyro – tend to be more cylindrical than Mk5s and come in single and multi bang variants.

Skirmish – a casual, usually regular airsoft event for walk on and hire players.  Usually teams are split into two teams for the duration of the day to play a varied selection of short games

Milsim – a more structured, themed airsoft game.  Usually does not accommodate hire players.  Teams book into certain teams and adhere to camouflage rules so team tape is not used.  Can often be 24 hour, or longer.

EOD – Explosive Ordnance Disposal – military term, used in one of our games at The Depot

Sangar – a military term for Watch Tower, usually boasts an elevated position with commanding views – we have one of these at The Depot on the upper floor.

Webbing – think of it as a belt and braces set that you can attach pouches to to carry stuff – largely outdated by modern chest rig and plate carrier systems.

Chest Rig – a removable rigging system that allows the carrying of pouches and other attachments.  Can be worn on its own, over soft armour or in certain applications by attaching to a plate carrier.  Early versions came with fixed pouches but more modern alternatives tend to make use of the MOLLE platform that allows the user to customise the platform to their mission needs.

Plate Carrier – a removable military “vest” worn by soldiers of most main armies. They are called plate carriers as they physically carry the kevlar armour plates that protect the wearer from small arms fire and shrapnel damage.  Whilst these are of course not needed in airsoft the vests (minus any kevlar plates!) are a popular choice in airsoft as they give both the look, and some welcomed torso protection – but as most come with the MOLLE attachment system (see below)- they allow a customised set of pouches to be attached so the vest both protects and provides easy access to magazines, ammo, frags etc as required to the user.

MOLLE – stands for Modular Lightweight Load Carry Equipment and is pronounced “Molly” like the girls name.  It is an attachment system used by most NATO forces and is commonly found on Plate Carriers and certain Chest Rig systems.  It allows for MOLLE specific pouches to be attached where ever the user wants – giving great flexibility.

RIS – Rail Interface System – think of it as USB for guns – but instead of being a power and data source its a common “ridged” rail system that is commonly attached to rifles and some pistols.  It allows the user to attach any RIS compatible accessories to the weapon – commonly items like red dot sights, magnified gun sights, torches and foregrips.  Largely standardised around the NATO designation MIL-STD-1913 (Picatinny Rail System.)

RAS – Rail Attachment System – same as a RIS, just a less commonly used acronym for it.