You’re Hit! What’s Next?
While the specific rules may change at different events, in order for any game to work, it must have rules that are adhered to by the players. Since we are not playing a video game, the rules cannot be “enforced” automatically; hit players don’t act out some “death script,” their fire does not show up on your “HUD,” nor do they just disappear off the field once they are hit. The players themselves have to know, and be willing to self-enforce the rules for an airsoft game to be fair and to flow right. Let the “unfair” part of your fight be in superior tactics, not skipping out on the rules. Anything else wastes the other players’ time and money, and burns up your reputation fast.
Now, in real gunfighter training, one trains to never give up even when shot because doing so may prematurely take you out of the fight and that is essentially “training to die.” However, we put that aside for a relatively safe game of tactics and enjoyment, where the outcome of the game goes to the harder, smarter, and faster fighters in a fair contest where everyone calls their hits. “Pain” or “submission” rules are not common for a variety of reasons, so we’ll put those aside for now.
For the safety and comfort of the hit players, the trust that everyone is playing fair, and for the honest outcome of the game, most organizations around the country have some system for illustrating that a player is currently “out” of play. As such, players have a responsibility to each other and to the game to VISUALLY and VERBALLY declare when they are hit, in accordance with the event’s rules.
I’ve seen schemes as simple as players putting their hands and or guns above their heads once hit, to white socks on gun barrels, to red rags on the head. For night play I’ve seen most events use some chemlite or commercially available chemlight/personal strobe solution like the V-lite or the Manta strobe. There are even cool solutions out there like the RAGPUL- where you have a large and bright flag on a cord that folds into your pocket. Once hit, you shout out that you are hit, and then wave the RAGPUL by the cord around your head, very clearly announcing your hit status to everyone. Red shop rags are available at every Walmart and auto parts store in the nation, often for as little as 30 cents each.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, or new to airsoft, I will illustrate a simple basic system we use in many locations in the northeast (and at all of my events). Every player is responsible for visually, and verbally calling their hit.
I’m hit. I immediately shout three times that I am HIT! HIT! HIT! (I also immediately let my weapon hang and if possible, I move to the left or right to get out of the lane of fire of my team or the OPFOR.)
I produce a red rag from my left pants pocket and immediately begin to wave it above my head a few times. (Your personal red rag location may differ, but I strongly recommend you find just one place and always use it so that muscle memory helps you when you are stressed out and under fire.)
I then begin whatever casualty scheme that the event requires.
It’s that easy, and it is not an act to be ashamed of as it does not make you a bad player. In my opinion, players should train to rapidly and consistently produce their red rags like any other piece of game equipment so that they can be more effective as players.
Sound counter-intuitive? Think about it. Many rule sets do not let hit players talk or give out tactical information, so the faster you rag-up, the faster your guys can react and bring you back or avenge you. Furthermore, consistent red rag use engenders trust with the regular players you interact with, because they will know that you’re willing and able to play fair and you’re not a cheater. Putting your red rag on today? Relax, you’ll get them better next time.
When wearing a helmet, put a strip of 4-inch long and 2-inch wide loop Velcro on the center of your lid for electric chemlites or strobes, and then line both sides of this strip with .5-inch strips of hook Velcro to grab red shop rags. You now have a trusty way to avoid losing your hit rags and consistent placement of your chemlites/strobes. Let muscle memory work for you, even when you’re down for the fight.
Text By: Gordon “Cobalt-IROPS” Smith
Photos: Jimmy Beckett