I posted a video of Project Gecko’s training highlights from 2016. They provide training in Germany and other countries to a pretty good fan base and you will even find airsofters among those students. One of the most interesting things taking place in some of their training is their use of airsoft weapons. At one time the use of airsoft weapons wasn’t taken seriously by many in the military or law enforcement. A good deal of stigma was attached to it for various reasons. Many users earned the derision thrown at them. But that view point is changing and many instructors see the merits of incorporating airsoft into their training.
One of the reasons airsoft wasn’t lauded by realists was a belief that it gave airsoft users a false sense of confidence. The technology was also very limited at first. Pellets weren’t the same as live ammunition and therefore how a shooter responded to stimuli was hugely different from live fire stimuli. There are many reasons for some to dislike airsoft, paintball and even MILES (Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System) gear.
One of the biggest reasons for disliking airsoft is the pellets are lightweight and therefore often affected by strong winds. Working in closed environments is more ideal than the outdoors. Much has changed with airsoft since it first was created and used in Japan in the 1980’s. I’ll save this thought for another article; much can be written on the pros and cons of all of those tools mentioned and the different communities that use the aforementioned items.
There are many benefits to using airsoft. Let’s look at the benefits:
- Weapons used today are usually at a 1:1 scale and can fire a pellet with a good amount of force that provides a level of realism that cannot be had by solely using blanks. Most airsoft guns fire round plastic pellets. Noise amplifiers and smoke caps are available for certain airsoft guns to add realism.
- Using airsoft in place of real weaponry is a good cost cutting measure. Many departments and units cannot afford live ammo. Airsoft is one way around budgetary constraints that can lead to inadequate training and equipment. A lack of training and equipment can cause unsafe working conditions.
- The projectiles are relatively safe.
- The weight is the same or nearly the same as a real weapon.
- Airsoft weapons normally only require an occasional cleaning.
- The key functional controls are identical to the real firearm. (Selector switch, safety, etc.)
- Ammunition is affordable compared to real ammunition.
- Today Airsoft technology is more widely used in military and law enforcement training for force-on-force training drills and airsoft manufacturers continue to develop more realistic equipment for use by these groups. Airsoft is becoming more widely available for purchase.
- Students participating in this exercise while using airsoft weapons are learning to move while handling weapons.
- Airsoft is an excellent tool to build teamwork and practice small-unit tactics while doing CQB.
Let’s look at their video. You will see Eliran teaching a lot of Close Quarters Battle (CQB). Watch how the team moves, particularly when headed down hallways, up and down stairwells, and across doorways or open areas.
Based on what we know, by observing the action in the video, we can see that the students and instructors have a lot of information to observe. Now substitute the real weapons they are using with a milsim type of weapon; has much changed? Yes, and no. Distances of how far the round travels (pellet or milsim round or airsoft round) will be different, the impact felt by a person being hit will be different (based on an honor system). Students using airsoft instead of real weapons might be less risk averse when clearing potential danger areas but should they? Don’t you train as you fight?
The idea I want to impart here is that students led by a good CQB instructor will focus less on the superiority of their weapon and start to think beyond their gun-belt. In their courses where airsoft or a milsim weapon is being used it is clear they are being taught to increase their mental awareness. Students wanting to be proficient with their firearms should consider this simple advice: practice with it. Many manufacturers and retailers suggest treating an airsoft gun like a real gun at all times. Sometimes its a matter of learning how to crawl, walk, run before introducing students to more advanced or realistic weapons. Concepts first before execution.
Airsoft when coupled with good instructors and good training exercises can help students learn practical concealment and sound movement. Students also learn how to be aware of their surroundings while moving solo or in teams. When doing force on force battling there are many people involved and the students get a lot of stimuli; they may encounter injured soldiers while searching for their High Value Target (HVT). They must navigate through various rooms, hallways, stairwells, open areas and finally woodlands in order to make good time for their extraction while remaining tactically sound in all they do. Whatever tool is being used, whether airsoft or real weapons, the idea is that knowledge is power, whether it is good knowledge or bad.
Did you like what you saw and what would you do the same or different?
Relying on tactics and communication rather than superior weaponry is one important part of being effective in a battle-space. Luck aside, constant training improves the chances of how effective someone is because their confidence, competence and ability to communicate effectively improves. Knowledge is power. Any kind of training and education an officer or soldier (any manner of troop) receives can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the team they belong to.
Project Gecko is a company which specializes in the field of Tactical Training & consultant services. Their capabilities ranges from setting up Tactical courses & projects to consultant services. During their courses Gecko instructors give their participants the mental and physical tools for their personal success.
They offer a wide spectrum of programs that take place in one day classes, three-days-seminars, and events up to one week. All those programs are based and created on their knowledge which they unpack and repack in a way that will suit every participant. For Gecko the gear is just a tool and the will is the key. Gecko believes that every person who has the will, will find his place in their seminars and workshops.
The instructors behind Project Gecko are all former military personal with extended training’s and combat experience. Eliran founder of Project Gecko was born in Israel. Before he moved to Germany he served in the IDF in one of the SF units.
Find out more about Project Gecko
Image from Gear Addicts. Check out some really good pictures here.