In Our ‘Women in Airsoft’ series we talk to dedicated female airsofters to get their story and shine a light on the underrepresented female contingent in the community. We spoke to Dionne – who’s been playing for a couple of years – discussed her love of airsoft and the experiences and challenges she’s faced from a women’s perspective…
Hello Dionne, we really appreciate you talking to us today. The first thing we always like to ask people is how they got their airsoft callsign?
My name is Dionne. In my team @team.death.squad my callsign is DS16, so it’s case of me I keeping it simple – or perhaps I’m just not creative enough.
Can you remember your first experience of playing airsoft and how long have you been playing?
Oh yes, I sure can remember. A classmate told me about a game he played in Belgium. So, when it got legal in the Netherlands, they had a practical shooting try-out (iaps/ ipsc air). I signed-up and just really loved the fact I was shooting a pistol. That’s where it all started.
So the next ‘first time’ was like 2 years later and I went to a Skirm. “Little soldier Dionne” came to life. Damn I loved that so much. As a little kid my dream was to join the military, but due my diabetes it’s not possible. Playing as a female soldier made me happy!
It sounds like you were hooked on airsoft pretty much right from the off. What would you say first attracted you to playing airsoft in the first place?
Oh I think you can go back to my previous answer for this. The feeling I have when shooting a gun (whether it’s an airsoft gun a real steel gun) is something I have a real affinity for. Airsoft gives me a safe, fun way to get my shooting fix.
There’s plenty of sub-genres to airsoft, CQB, Speed Soft and Milsim, for example. What have you played, and do you have a favourite? Or do you just turn up at your local game site and go with the flow?
I think I enjoy all the game types to be honest! HAHA! Perhaps just not the real tournament stuff you see like speedsoft. When it comes to a favourite, I would have to say Milsim is the best, especially the longer ones, like 72-hour Milsims.
Each player is different, some think daytime play is best, while others prefer using the dark to their advantage in night games for a totally different experience. What’s your preference?
Night games for sure! But without the nvg (or everyone with… but that’s a little expensive haha). Without and using the moonlight is just awesome and exciting when you can’t see the enemy. The tension is cranked up to 11, where every little sound essentially becomes the enemy.
Totally agree about night play illuminated by the moon. Something very primal about that. So, during your time playing airsoft, what memorable moment most stands out for you?
Haha! I absolutely have. It was also during a Milsim, and I was a villager and of course a bad girl… we’d just robbed a bank and I went upstairs and hid in a room.
When the military fraction came up the stairs, I managed something like 15-20 kills in under an hour. They threw some grenades, but they didn’t get into the room I was hiding in. The boys didn’t like that. Too bad that I got shot in my leg… they send a medic, cuffed me and after I was healed, they captured me and brought me to their base.
Tell us about your finest moments, such as your best ‘kill’ or shot, or perhaps your longest killstreak?
Definitely one of my outdoor knife kills in an field, sneaking-up towards the enemy is just exciting.
In terms of style of play, would you say you are you a lone wolf, or do you prefer safety in numbers and to ‘squad-it-up’?
Definitely love to squad it up! @team.death.squad taught me some badass skills and when we work together it feels really good. My favourite moment is whenever we are ambushing an enemy.
Well, as we always say: teamwork makes the dream work. When it comes to a player’s gear, it’s all about personal preference. Some prefer a classic AEG and sidearm combo, others like dual wielding pistols, and then there’s the snipers among us. What’s you preferred loadout?
I’ve never actually tried dual pistols, but I can definitely see how that would be fun! However, I mainly play in the field with a rifle of any kind (prefer the M4 platform) and back that up with a sidearm.
What’s the farthest you’ve ever travelled to play a game?
England, France, Germany… not sure what was the farthest. Next year I will be able to say Taiwan for sure – HAHA!
Do you think male players can underestimate your abilities as a woman airsoft player?
I don’t just think, I know they do! HAHA! Sometimes, I’m at the training centre and guys are doing a little run-on time. They look at me and think: “Ah that’s just a girl!” but then I do one run and smash their time! You should see their faces! HAHA!
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?
Just one time in the field… there was a guy who didn’t take his hit. I walked towards him, and he had the attitude that ‘I couldn’t have shot him because I was a woman’. Later that day the organisation sent him home because he was fighting with the crew.
What would you say to girls who are perhaps interested in airsoft but are still unsure about taking the plunge?
Don’t hesitate! Like Nike say: just do it! You can always join me in the Netherlands. Otherwise just let me know where you’re from and we’ll look for a girl you can come along with.
Is there anything you would do differently if you could start your airsoft journey over again?
Starting Instagram earlier, I think. I’ve met so many awesome people with the same passion.
If you could change one thing about airsoft, what would it be and why?
The strange and heavy rules… sometimes countries have very strange rules. Just make it easier to visit other countries as well.
It’s been great talking to you today, Dionne. We have one last question for you – In 2023, what do you think is the biggest challenge for a newbie trying airsoft for the first time, and how does it compare for a female player?
I think the distance you have to travel to get to a good field can be a pain sometimes.