Women In Airsoft – Pyro_Ginge

We sat down with airsoft Instagram influencer Becca aka @pyro_ginge during her recent visit to the ASG office, and chewed the fat about her airsoft journey, what she enjoys most about it, and the experiences and challenges she’s faced specifically as a female player…

Hello, Becca. It’s great having you in the UK office, we hope you’ve enjoyed yourself. First off, we always like to know the story behind a player’s callsign – how did you get yours?

It’s been great, thanks for inviting me over! Well, my name is @Pyro_Ginge on Instagram, and it’s the main social media platform I use. I started off as @Callsign_Ginge when I first started playing, however I found a real love for the pyrotechnics you can use. There’s something about looking at the enemy team’s faces when I throw something loud in their direction or deploy smoke for some cover and a good advance. Pyro is always in my rig, and a few people like to ask questions on it too!

The “Ginge” is pretty simple, I’m ginger. Red-headed. Fiery tempered. People call me that more than my real name at airsoft!

Can you tell us a little bit about the very first time you played and how long you’ve been involved in airsoft?

I can! I’d played paintball once and knew it hurt, but I wanted to impress my boyfriend at the time (we’d just started dating) and said yes to a game. I wore an Adidas t-shirt, mesh goggles with lower face-pro, a pair of black skinny jeans and some Dr Martens. I counted 56 bruises on my first game day, and still went back after!  I’ve been playing airsoft for just over three years now, and I’ve been a Marshal at Dirty Dog Airsoft for the last year.

That definitely sounds like a baptism of fire for you there, Becca. So, what was it that first attracted you to playing airsoft and did you know anything about it prior?

I’d seen photos of people playing airsoft before, as well as videos on YouTube. What appealed is that unlike paintball, you were out but then back in moments later after going to regen/respawn point. It also seemed like a good way to let off some steam. I work in a high-level complaints department for a telecoms company (leaving for pastures new in September), so I thought there was no harm in giving it a go! I’ve loved it ever since.

For you, is CQB, Speed Soft or Milsim more your thing – or do you simply turn up at your local game site and go with the flow?

I tend to play CQB and I also like to go with the flow at my local site. Because it’s a 20-minute drive from my house it’s in an ideal location and there’s always loads going on in terms of game modes and site changes. My site has a lot of outdoor woodland areas, however “The Village” is the best spot for some CQB action. I love getting stuck in and getting objectives completed. There’s a certain fear-factor in CQB that can’t be achieved in wooded areas!

I’ve not attended a Milsim yet as I’ve always felt a little intimidated by the playing style that’s usually required. I did however speak to a few close friends recently who play and gave me reassurances that everyone is there to have a good time. The tip was also to opt cartel if you’re wanting a more relaxed Milsim experience!

Each player is different, some like daytime play, while others prefer using the dark to their advantage in night games, supplementing their style of play. What do you enjoy most?

I prefer games in the daytime. I find that a lot of players will have the Full Monty in terms of kit on night games (night vision, tracer units, flashlights, PEQ boxes etc.) and that’s totally fine because it’s what they enjoy and what they want to use! The problem I find is that a small minority of players think we can’t see BB’s plinking off their helmets and clothing when it’s darker, and some are more prone to trying to cheat. It can take the fun out of it. I do however like getting the jump on people in containers when it’s pitch-black or throwing pyro in the dark!

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.

I would say it’s when we had a “Special Team” game at my home site last year. It worked out that we were outnumbered 6-1 (there were just under 250 players that Sunday too, for context). Despite this, we did really well as a team, and got most of the objectives. It was amazing being a part of such a close-knit team and even though we lost, we pushed for a solid hour to get objectives completed.

There’s nothing like being outnumbered in a match to get the blood pumping. Okay, do you have any recollections of embarrassing moments you’ve had in a game?

There’s some cracking footage of me taking a tumble. I’d noticed a sniper on the embankment at my local site which I was going for. As I started running, I tripped on a shoelace that had come undone, and fell into a car (I also did a barrel-roll on the way down). I was fine, and the players that saw were all checking to make sure I was okay. I do have a lot of clumsy moments!

Okay, let’s put the embarrassing memories to one side and instead focus on your best moments, such as your finest ‘kill’ or shot, or perhaps your longest killstreak?

It was more a massacre than a memorable kill! We were playing a game mode in the village at Dirty Dog Airsoft where you had one life. Once you were hit, you’d wait with the rest of your team, and we had to defend a bomb. I managed to get into a very sneaky position when defending near the bomb. There was only one walkway to get into the room, and I must have seen the same people two or three times in repetition trying to clear me out. A grenade did it in the end; I was the only one left!

That is quite a skirmish, we’re getting flashbacks to ‘Nam! In terms of style of play, would you say you are a lone wolf, or do you prefer safety in numbers and to ‘squad-it-up’?

To be completely honest, I love working in a team. Even if it’s a duo going for an objective, I find it much more fun. It’s being able to push each other out of your comfort zones and getting stuck in for me.

I don’t mind going lone wolf if I’m sniping, because it keeps you concealed and you can manoeuvre around without being spotted as easily.

I also think it depends on who you team up with, I’ve got a close-knit group I’m always down to push objectives with. Sometimes rentals can absolutely smash it!

What’s your go-to loadout? Single AEG and a sidearm? Sniper and a pistol? Dual pistols??

My preferred load out is my Tokyo Marui HK16D (Next Gen Recoil System) and a sidearm, unless I want to use my sniper (it’s then VSR-10 and pistol). I do have an ASG (B&T) MP9 I’d like to use, but I still need to get the CQB bolt to lower the FPS on it so I can use it at my local site. I like manoeuvrability in a game, rather than running about in a lot of heavy kit. A light sniper rig for pyro, a belt to carry mags and I wear a cap rather than a helmet.

Ah, a solution for any occasion, then? We like your style! Have you tried or successfully modified your airsoft guns?

It’s not something I do often but I do like to tinker about with changing internals and externals. My most successfully “modded” gun is my sniper, the Tokyo Marui VSR-10. I installed a W.A.S.P piston, Action Army Hop-Up Chamber, a 50-degree Maple Leaf Bucking and a Rapax 2 Joule Light-Pull Spring. It’s lifting 0.43’s nicely now and it can hit 70-80 metres with ease. It’s safe to say, I’m pleased!

What’s the farthest you’ve ever travelled to play a game?

The farthest I’ve travelled so far is to Alpha 55 in Wales, just over 3 hours to get there, then I travelled back afterwards. I typically travel just under two hours on a morning to play at Halo Mill: Proving Grounds (first Sunday of every month), then I have the drive back home after. Because of my current working pattern, I can’t stay overnight prior to a game, or after. I’ve been invited to play at The Gaol in Oakham, which is 2 and a half hours away and hoping to get there at some point. Who knows- after that I might see if I can get abroad for some games!

Do you think male players can underestimate your abilities as a woman airsoft player?

I absolutely do! Sometimes I can turn up and rental players will just think I’m there to marshal. When I get kitted out and play games, they soon get a shock when they realise that I’m going all out to get an objective done! There’s been many a time where I’ve recommended a tactic in a game to aid players, but they won’t listen because I’m female. I just let them get on with it and brush it off. To their surprise they might see me smashing the objective before they even get there!

Most sites we know of are genuinely good-natured for everyone, but there can be instances of players who show a lack of respect for each other in the heat of battle – whether it’s male or female. Have you ever experienced any hardships due to the fact you are a female player?

The only hardships I really find are getting clothes that fit my waist, hips AND thighs, if you’re a slightly curvier player like me. Everyone has a different body type, but with it typically being a male-dominated hobby/sport, you can find yourself struggling to find a perfect fit for trousers.

I think the only other issue a female player can experience is that people don’t follow you for your content, but for the way you look. There seems to be an idealistic type of female player that people look for, or social media can set expectations that all women want to post “lewd” or “provocative” airsoft images for likes. Some women like to post content like this, and kudos to them for having the body confidence to do it, but don’t be a creep on social media about it if they do.

I can say 100% that it isn’t the case, and we just want to be recognised for what we do in-game. We don’t want preferential treatment, and we don’t want a fuss made over the fact that “women play airsoft too”. We’re there for the exact reason everyone else is, to let off some steam, get shot, and have a laugh with some friends.

From the outside, airsoft could be seen as an intimidating arena to enter for anyone – what would you say to girls who are perhaps interested in airsoft but are unsure about taking the plunge?

Go for it. Get stuck in, and just enjoy yourself. There are different Facebook groups for women who play airsoft, from getting started, to recommendations and tips on kit. There’s plenty of female airsofters that are there to help you start your journey, as well as others! Don’t be afraid to ask questions, as daft as they may seem to you, or just drop one of us a message on Instagram if you need help.

The community and the games have also been a godsend with my mental health. Everyone is open and honest, and support is there if you ever need it. I find the Airsoft community to be very inclusive, especially if you end-up becoming a regular at a site. I’ve got a fantastic group of friends now at my local site, and across the UK, and they’ve been absolutely amazing when I’ve been struggling with my anxiety and depression.

Is there anything you would do differently if you could start your airsoft journey over again?

It’s something I’ve never thought of before now if I’m honest. I think I should have gone with a more open mind with what to expect because even though people are kitted out in gear, it’s nothing to be afraid of. I didn’t really want to approach anyone with questions or problems with my RIF at the time and ended up having to skip a game.

If you could change one thing about airsoft, what would it be and why?

I think the stigma that it’s a dangerous sport needs to go. There’s a LOT of people that play now and it’s becoming more-known globally, not just in the UK. People think it’s dangerous or hazardous, however it’s a very well-regulated sport. We all know the rules, follow health and safety and if you’re a marshal like me, you’ll know how seriously we take the safety of players. Also, airsoft shops will require you to present your UKARA (in-store or online) for any RIF that isn’t two-tone, to show you’re a member of a local site. We all look after each other and safety is at the forefront of everyone’s minds!

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?

I think the biggest challenge is finding out what you’re comfortable with. I suggest starting off with a rental package at a local site before buying all the fancy stuff. My first time playing was daunting, but you soon get over it and realise everyone is there to have a good time. Anyone will give you a hand and some well-needed advice, I still ask a lot of questions now.

I think it’s amplified for female players to an extent, because it is primarily a male domain, and as I’ve mentioned, getting kit that fits can be a pain for women. I think a lot of people are a bit shy turning up to a site, or even an airsoft shop not knowing what to do. Just ask questions, be inquisitive and be yourself!

Well, Becca, we’ll leave it there. Thanks again for coming over and doing this interview. Finally, do you have any shout outs you’d like to give and, if there are any would-be lady airsofters out there that want to know how to get into airsoft, how can they reach you?

There’s a LOT of shout outs I’d like to give, but I imagine there’s a limit on space! I’d like to give a shout to the teams and players at Dirty Dog Airsoft and Seal Team Special for being the best home sites and family you can get. (Especially the lads up at the Cheeky Nandos Airsoft Cabin!).

I’d also like to give a massive shout-out to Kate (@1legion.uk_kitty) for helping me get into airsoft as a female player and giving me the support, I’ve needed. I also want to give a shout out to anyone who follows me on my Instagram. Although I’ve not met most of them, they’ve been so supportive of my journey and my mental health, and they’ve helped me at points where I’ve felt my lowest. I’d love to meet more of you in future as well.

For anyone who wants to get in touch with me about getting advice on starting out in airsoft for the first time, or anything else for that matter, you can catch me on Instagram @pyro_ginge


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