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 ’CharleeQuinn’ and discussed her airsoft journey, what she enjoys about airsoft plus the experiences and challenges she’s faced as a female player…
Hello CharleeQuinn 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?
I got my callsign due to my obsession with Harleyquinn and the fact that Harley and Charlee sound very similar. I also may be a little crazy once you get to know me!
Talk us through the first time you played airsoft and how long have you been playing?
I remember my first experience very well; I get crippling social anxiety and I was fine until the safe zone got busier and I had a panic attack. I also had all different types of weather that day starting with a thunderstorm, then rain then sunshine. I was wearing a lot of layers! I’ve been playing Airsoft now since May 2018.
Fantastic! That’s certainly a case of overcoming your fears. Wearing lots of layers also helps with subduing the impact of the BBs! So, did you know anything about airsoft prior to playing and what first attracted you to it?
At first, I’ll admit I wasn’t interested, it was my partner’s hobby, but he insisted I went to one game and used his birthday to get me to go. Once I got past the anxiety I had a great day, I thoroughly enjoyed the team work to complete different objectives.
You say you enjoy the teamwork needed to complete objectives. What type of games have you played and what’s your favourite? Do you prefer simply to turn up at your local game site and go with the flow?
I’ve played CQB and Skirmish. I prefer Skirmish but also really enjoy woodland where I find I can hide in all sorts of unsuspecting spots. I can be as involved as I want to being in a CQB village or on the outskirts, stationed behind a large tree. I love the variety.
Each player is different, some like daytime play, while others prefer using the cloak of darkness to their advantage in night games, supplementing their style of play. What do you enjoy most?
I have never played a game at night, in all honesty I think I’d struggle to see, so I’m definitely more of a daytime player.
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.
My most memorable moment must be when I took out a sniper in a ghillie suit, he had just knocked out about 6 people and it was only myself left, but he obviously hadn’t noticed. So, when he was least expecting it, I was there – he moved, and I shot him. I didn’t think my aim was that good at that point!
We’re well impressed you not only spotted a ghillie-suited sniper but took them out as well. That sure gets the ‘thumbs-up’ from us. Going from one extreme to the other, can you recall an embarrassing situation you’ve had while playing?
Very recently, actually. I left my gun by a tree as I could see a teammate needed a medic, I ran over to medic him and just as I approached, I rolled my ankle on a thick bit of twig. I then proceeded to hop back to the tree and hold onto him, but he was pretty much dragging me at this point. I then had to leave the game as we suspected a sprain. I was devastated, especially as everyone heard me laughing about it until I dropped to the floor and couldn’t walk!
It’s sad to say that Injuries while in the heat of battle can come at the most inopportune moment. 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?
My most memorable ‘kill’ is definitely getting a couple of Ghillie-packing snipers, but particularly the one mentioned previously as he was so close. He spotted the rest of my teammates but not me!
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 a little of both. If I see an opportunity to be sneaky and get a good ‘kill’ then I’ll go lone but I’m also a team player and sometimes get very enthusiastic and try to get a plan with team mates to meet objectives.
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?
Single AEG and a sidearm. Although I’m currently in the process of trying to find a sidearm holster that suits me best.
Have you tried or successfully modified your airsoft guns?
I want to modify and experiment with my airsoft guns, but I’m also terrified, especially as I’m so heavy handed. I’ll leave that bit to the professionals unless someone has time to teach me the basics, even just changing the hop, I don’t trust myself.
What’s the farthest you’ve ever travelled to play a game?
Furthest I have travelled is probably to Selby, which is 4.5 hours away from where I live. It’s actually my favourite site to play at so we go there regularly but stay the night before game day.
Do you think male players can underestimate your abilities as a woman airsoft player?
100%!! BUT, having said that I’m also very quiet to start with, plus have very little knowledge still on guns and tech etc. It’s a different story when I’m on the field.
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?
I’ve actually been very lucky with this, having not experienced too much of this. But it helps that I always go airsofting with my partner, who is very outgoing and makes friends with everyone, therefore he wouldn’t allow anything like this to happen.
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?
Take the leap!! I was so nervous of every aspect of the game, I had my social anxiety, I was worried I’d find it too painful, and I was scared I would look silly. Please don’t be as scared as I was, the females in this sport are the best people you can find, and we want so many more of us on the field! Let’s show the boys what we’re made of.
Is there anything you would do differently if you could start your airsoft journey over again?
I would have gone much sooner with my partner and wore less layers on that first game!
If you could change one thing about airsoft, what would it be and why?
I would change the stigma around females of airsoft. There’s so much said about us, even as far as other females judging those that have made a career out of it. I think we should all support each other, we’re all teammates. That’s female supporting females and males and females too. Everyone is welcome.
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?
There are some sites I have been to a few times that I would not go back to because they were very ‘cliquey’. Due to us not going there often I found we were almost ‘penalised’ constantly throughout the games, despite not breaking any of their rules. I would certainly like us all to be more encouraging and supportive.
I’d say females do suffer slightly more with this, because either men will see us and can tell we’re new and try to ‘help’ by taking over and doing it for us or leave us completely to see us fail at times.
It has been great chatting to you, Charlee. Do you have any shoutouts you’d like to give and how can women wanting advice about getting into airsoft, get in touch?
I would like to give a massive shout out to all my girls at UKAL for creating a team where all UK female airsofters are welcome from all backgrounds and experience. I would also like to shout out Halo Mill Proving Grounds (and all the friends I have there) for being the best site I’ve played at to date. They’ve always been supportive and helpful, plus they provide a provide a great game day!