ASG has been reaching out to female players across the airsoft community to discover more about what it’s like for a woman stepping into a male-dominated hobby for the first time. We spoke to Sophie, aka @airsoft_sophie, a German female airsofter – about her airsoft journey, what she enjoys about it and the experiences and challenges she’s faced as a female player…
Hello Airsoft_Sophie and thanks for taking timeout to talk to us. The first thing we always like to ask people is what’s the story behind their airsoft callsign?
Well, my real name is Sophie, my username is airsoft_sophie and my callsign, which is rarely used, is Pinkfluffy_SoSo, because I love everything with pink, unicorns and so on.
Talk us through the first time you played airsoft and how long have you been involved?
I´ve been playing airsoft for a year now and I can remember my first gameday very well. Especially all the crazy people are met and played with/against.
This is why we’re big advocates of sites ensuring the make the whole experience for all. Keep it fun and inclusive and people return. So what first attracted you to airsoft in the first place?
It´s the combination of movement, teamwork and concentration that made airsoft so appealing to me as a hobby. Plus, a great bonus is you get to know so many great people.
What type of games have you played and what’s your favourite? Or do you prefer simply turning-up at your local game site and going with the flow?
I usually take part in gamedays at my club´s field. There´s a mix of many modes and different types of players, so it fits well. I prefer events with Milsim elements, I really enjoy a combination of Milsim and LARP because there’s always action.
Each player is different, some like daytime play, while others prefer using the cloak darkness to their advantage in night games, supplementing their style of play. What do you enjoy most?
It’s definitely daytime games. I am not yet equipped with night-vision technology.
Have you ever had one of those ‘pure adrenaline, heart-in-the-mouth moments’ playing airsoft? Absolutely any situation that you’ll that you’ll never forget.
Yes, now this may not have been the most important or successful moment, but I still remember a scene from my first event. We started an attack on a building in the dark and entered the ground floor. We combed the rooms, and some strong strobe lighting came into play, but otherwise it was absolute darkness. More and more people joined the exchange of fire, the tension was simply indescribable.
Going from one extreme to the other, can you recall an embarrassing situation you’ve had while playing?
I wouldn´t call this moment embarrassing as such – but it’s definitely a bit shameful. When I wanted to reload with a magazine as normal at the last event, I wasn’t able to get it in. I tried it a number of times, from different directions and so on. After about four attempts and when I was already swearing, another player took the magazine and turned it around. I had just tried it with the bottom-up the whole time.
Now that’s a classic, rookie mistake – we promise not to tell anyone! Okay, let’s put those bad memories to one side and instead focus on your best moments, such as your best ‘kill’ or shot, or perhaps your longest killstreak?
An example of the kind of kills I love happened in one of my early events. Some of the enemies came under a pretext and talked to my teammate some distance away. I didn´t suspect anything good and literally had them in my sights. Luckily, when one of them pulled the gun, I was faster.
In terms of style of play, would you say you are you a lone wolf or do you prefer safety in numbers and ‘squad-it-up’?
I´m definitely a team player through-and-through.
The gear a player carries depends on their personal preference, many go for the classic AEG and sidearm combo, others swear by the sniper rifle – what’s your favourite loadout?
I have an AEG as my main gun and a pistol as backup when it’s needed.
Have you tried or successfully modified your airsoft guns?
Just a little bit. I replaced the mosfet in my main gun with a better one. And the usual stuff: I added a red dot and a front grip. If that counts as an upgrade, I did a leaf paint job on my first gun as well. At least everyone was excited about that.
What’s the farthest you’ve ever travelled to play a game?
The furthest I have travelled so far was to Brozek in Poland to a Milsim event. I drove for almost five hours to get there.
Do you think male players can underestimate your abilities as a woman airsoft player?
Luckily those who have met me don´t. I don´t want to claim that I´m insanely good, because I know I have weaknesses. But sometimes guys are surprised when I get in the dirt, run up hills and carry heavy things like a plate carrier or backpack, but they shouldn´t be. Or when I talk about dream airsoft guns some say things like ”You have to be able to carry them too”.
Most sites we know of are genuinely good-natured for all, but at times you get instances of players showing a lack of respect to others – male or female. Have you ever experienced any hardships due to the fact you are a female player?
Nothing serious, fortunately. On a personal level, I think it is sometimes difficult to find suitable clothes in such a small size. And sometimes get some low-level messages on social networks, but I can handle that.
From the outside, airsoft could be seen as intimidating arena to enter for anyone – what would you say to girls who are perhaps interested in airsoft but are still unsure about taking the plunge?
Don´t be afraid to become part of the community, you will quickly be accepted and make friends. Everyone used to be a beginner and most of the players are very helpful and nice. Airsoft connects people and you can clear your mind with movement and concentration and just have a lot of fun. You should really try it!
Be brave, trust in yourself, meet new friends and just have fun. Airsoft is a hobby where everyone is welcome, and you get a lot of support
Is there anything you would do differently if you could start your airsoft journey over again?
Yes indeed, I would certainly spend less money on things I don´t need. By that I mean buying cheap things that will disappoint me later. Instead, I would form my own opinion, get better information and make the right investments right away, instead of trying everything multiple times. Now I am satisfied – but I should have trusted myself a little more.
If you could change one thing about airsoft, what would it be and why?
It´s a pity that the laws are so hard on airsoft players, especially in Germany. Safety is important, but you are very restricted sometimes and have to be very careful and overly cautious. At the same time, some people have a very wrong image of airsoft and I wish society would see more advantages in emerging hobbies instead of just stereotypes.
In 2022, what do you think is the biggest challenge for a newbie stepping into the airsoft hobby for the first time, and how does it compare for a female player?
One of the big challenges is figuring out what style you want to go with, and your gear and armament. It takes some time to find the way that works for you. And it´s perhaps not that easy to find a team that suits you in terms of character and goals.
It has been great chatting to you, Sophie. Do you have any shoutouts you’d like to give and how can women wanting advice about getting into airsoft, get in touch?
I´m very grateful for every gameday, every event, having found a great club and for all the people I´ve met. Anyone on the fence about airsoft that wants some advice, feel free to get in contact @airsoft_sophie