Sunday, September 06, 2009

Want a Ghillie Suit!? I'm Your Man!

For those of you that don't know; I, Kyle Rogers, am addicted to airsoft. What's that, you say? The most accurate description I can give you is to say that it's a bunch of guys playing army, shooting eachother with plastic bb's. Most people say, "like paintball?" Yes, It's like paintball in that you shoot people, but there are quite a few differences. For one thing, airsoft ammo looks like this:
and is made of plastic and is smaller than a pea.
Paintball ammo looks like this:

and is made of colored corn syrup and a plastic shell and is about the size of a grape.
Paintballs definitely bring on the hurt more than airsoft bb's

as you might have guessed, and it's a thousand times more messy. For those of you thinking, "but aren't little plastic bb's bad for the environment?" yes they are, but the demand for Biodegradable bb's is growing and as of yet, no birds seem interested in eating the plastic ones anyways. Even if they did, they're completely non toxic.
So why would guys want to play with guns that don't even hurt the people your shooting? Well, airsoft gameplay is more complex than paintball. Generally airsoft games consist of two teams that must accomplish objectives in an allotted amount of time. This could be anything from a "capture the flag" scenario to a "Search and Rescue" mission. Generally in paintball, it's mostly a "Team A, Kill Team B" set up. Both are fun, but Airsofters tend to be more strategic, team players where as paintballers seem to just like to shoot stuff. Airsofters do to, but we like to be more "proffessional" about it.
Another major distinction between the two is the equipment. Here are some pics, just to give you an idea of what an airsofter looks like and what a paintballer looks like.

See the difference?

Probably the biggest difference between the two is the guns themselves.


See what I mean? Now I guess someone like my wife would look at those to images and say something like, "What the hell Kyle!? There's no difference." Which is exactly what she just said to me. For those of you who are of like mind, airsoft guns are EXACT replicas of the real thing on the outside. Inside they are completely different but put a real one next to an airsoft one and the two guns will look identical. They are so realistic in fact that Military and Law Enforcement trainers use them!

So basically, paintball is all about having fun shooting, while airsoft is more about having fun playing GI Joe and shooting! Let me state for the record that I love both sports and don't mean to convey any disrespect for paintballers out there. I started off in paintball and a good part of my heart is still in it. The only problem is, I show up to a paintball game in my sniper gear and get laughed at, I show up to an airsoft game and get bowed down to. Ok I still get laughed at, but then no one can find me and I kill all ze infidels!

So here's where my addiction has taken it's new turn. Over the past few weeks, I have started doing some work for SAAirsoft at their new shop. I've pulled up tree stumps, done some work on airsoft guns and even spent Saturday at the gunshow trying to sell a few. Mark and Alma and their son Julian are fantastic people and I have had alot of fun getting to know them and learning more about this growing past time BUT, that's not really the "turn" I was talking about. So Mark and Julian mentioned to me that they have alot of kids come out wanting airsoft Sniper Rifles and this got me to thinking. When I was a kid I was obsessed with Snipers. I think it mostly came from having seen the old Tom Berringer and Billy Zane movie as a kid as well as Red Dawn, but also from a love of nature and being outdoors. One of my favorite things to do in Elementary and Jr. High was to play army with my buddies Dan and Chris. We would go out in the woods with our BDU's from the surplus store and spend hours hiding from each other or building forts. Honestly, we spent alot of time playing with GI Joes and blowing up Ken dolls. I should however make a point though that what we played with were a long shot from the cheesy neon crap the kids play with today. Our "GI Joes" were more flexible than a spider monkey and were decked out with accurately replicated gear. The Army Rangers may as well have modeled their gear off of our "toys"! As we grew older though, things evolved. We got bb guns and later paintball guns. We taught ourselves all about "stalking" and concealment and eventually became quite good at moving quietly and unnoticed through the dangerous fields of Suberbia. By 9th grade, we were playing paintball every other weekend and although I'm not sure Dan ever made one of his own, I had my very own, hand made Ghillie Suit. For those of you who don't know, that's the suit snipers wear to help them disappear. It looks like this:

and when a sniper wears one he looks like this:

That's me by the way. Can we say Where's Waldo? ;)

Anyways, after talking with Mark and Julian about the growing demand for sniper rifles, I thought it might be a good idea to make a few Airsoft Ghillie's to try to sell at their store. Now a real sniper spends alot of time crawling around on his stomach, but in airsoft, you generally have to be a bit more mobile and in Texas with our 100+ temps, a full ghillie can feel like a sauna. The perfect solution is the Stalker Poncho. It's a light version of the ghillie suit that helps break up the natural outline of the human body and allows the wearer to blend in but still be mobile.
So here's what I did:
1. Enlist the help of my "enthusiastic" wife.
2. Cut burlap till hands are nothing but blisters and play with lots of paint.
3. Watch paint dry. Super exciting....
4. Assemble ponchos so that Sniper can become one with nature. Be a tree, be a bush, be deer poop, WHATEVER!

4. Test in field. Here's me trying to be deer poop.

So anyways, I haven't made any sales yet BUT I have had quite a bit of interest and hope to get my little operation rolling as airsoft picks up more and fall starts coming back around. So that's what I've been up to lately! By the way, if you are like super jealous of my mad disappearing skills and want to be able to resemble deer poop at will, let me know! I will happily make you a good deal! And, if you want to know more about Airsoft or perhaps get your airsoft on, check out Julian's site at Let him know I sent ya and brotha will hook you up!


kay said...

That's my little "IG Joe"!!
Glad you've found a way to have fun and use your talents. Hope you sell some soon!
Love you,

Elizabeth said...

I love leaving comments!! I clicked on the "hilarious" response, but I like to request an option to select multiple responses, as I may transition from one reaction to the next and therefore experience a wide range of reactions to your post. I would like to report that I also thought htat this was "super duper cool" - very entrepreneurial (sp?) of you, and "crazy" - i do not know anyone else who could have possibly come into this career! nice work :)

Sandy said...

Never heard of airsoft before. But I'm guessing you don't know what deer poop looks like! :-)

Lachlan said...

That was the first article/blog I have ever read and I loved it so much! Oh, by the way, nice ghillie suit and good luck in airsoft :D