As a veteran, law enforcement officer, firearms owner and airsofter, I see attitudes that are very elitist and opinions that are very negative about other segments of the tactical sports and disciplines.
We are the epitome of tactics, and we have the cool toys. Everyone else is inferior.
We should be the only ones with guns (well, the military can have theirs, but nobody else) and anything approaching tactics should be verbotten for everyone. Airsoft is training the new generation of active shooters.
the military is OK, but it’s not fair we don’t get belt-fed. The cops are out to get us, they can’t handle the guns they have, they don’t have a clue. Airsofters are a bunch of 12 year-olds out giving guns a bad name.
Military is cool, law enforcement is scary, but tac teams are cool, real steel firearms are amazing, but firearms owners are rednecks and can’t be trusted.
Let’s look at the advantages of some collaboration, respect and cross training.
Military and Law Enforcement
Get a RPAL, go to the range, try some shooting sports like IPSC, IDPA and 3 Gun. Get to know firearms owners, and you will have a chance to teach them some stuff, and learn some stuff. Basic things like grip and stance will teach new firearm owners how to shoot better, and to be safer on the range. The shooting sports will help you improve your fire-and-move skills. Go out, play some airsoft, and see how challenging of a sport it is: 2 way range, trying to think like your “enemy”, and figure out how to take them out without losing your team. You will see how important your physical fitness is in any type of engagement.
Work with military and LEO types, get them feeling comfortable with your range. Convince them to try out some practice stages, give them an opportunity to handle different types of firearms. You will help them become more effective in their jobs, and make them realize that gun owners aren’t redneck hunter/survivalists/nut-jobs. Getting them on board will help make further gun laws less likely. Check out your local airsoft scene, and show up for a skirmish. It will give you a chance to see how you perform with the minor stress of BBs coming your way. You will see how important a proper draw, quick sight picture and accurate shooting is, and it’s a great way to get out there and move.
show the value of the sport to the military and LEOs. Learn some tactics from them, let them show you how things are done. Military and LEOs who have played more than 15min will start adjusting their tactics from their training to the limitations of airsoft: shorter ranges, slower projectile speed, and everything is cover. Show firearms owners the benefits of airsoft, and the improvements to their shooting technique: shooting from awkward positions, shooting from behind cover with minor exposure, etc. Finally, try to get out to a local range, and fire some real steel firearms. It will improve basics for you, such as grip, positioning, follow up shots, etc. I guarantee the first time you shoot a 12 gauge pump action shotgun an inch off your shoulder, you will learn to keep the butt tucked in tight, which will help prevent blindfire.
The basic principles and skills in all 4 groups are the same. It’s time to work together to increase our skills, lessen the fear, hate and prejudice, and present a united front to keep all tactical disciplines and sports alive.