I’ve noticed for a while that there seems to be a want within the airsofting community for gear and weapons to look worn and battle used. I’m guilty of this myself, even in the army, anyone with shiny new kit was labelled a NIG (New In Green or New In Garrison). And on the flip side of this, strangely, when it comes to clothing within airsoft, there seems to be more of a concern over combats keeping their colour. I then also hear of people complaining that their clothing, gear or boots aren’t lasting them very long. So what should you be doing, post game, to ensure the best life span from your gear.
Your Airsoft Gun’s
The first thing to look at is your airsoft gun. Wipe down any dirt and if you have any exposed metal area’s that have become wet you may want to wipe down your gun with some basic gun oil or something like WD40. Only a small amount is needed to prevent rusting. Clean your barrel if you feel you need to. There are many methods to do this and everyone has a different opinion on the best method. Some say to use rubbing alcohol and a cut down J-Cloth whole others say to dry wipe or use silicone spray. Personally I use silicone spray and a J-Cloth and then ensure the barrel is nice and dry and clean afterwards. Also ensure there is no damage to the body of your guns to prevent any catastrophic failure.
Your Airsoft Gear
A lot of airsofters like their gear, such as their plate carriers or chest rigs, to look battle worn. I’m guilty of this and have sprayed my chest rig seen in the picture to the right to make it less green. Cleaning your gear should still be a priority though. Allow your gear to fully dry out and use a dry stiff brush to brush it down. Your main focus though should be the inside of your magazine pouches. Dirty magazine pouches mean dirty magazines, which means there’s a strong possibility of dirt getting inside your magazines and onto your bbs. This in turn can cause all manner of problems inside your gun ranging from lost accuracy right through to part failures and damage. Hold your gear upside down to allow any dust and dirt to fall out and if need be hose out your pouches with water to ensure the insides are fully free of dirt and debris.
Clothing is a funny one within airsoft. Everyone seems to want to have their MTP’s or Multicam trousers and tops looking as new as possible, and I can only assume this is because of the price of them. I’ve heard people say they never wash their clothing which is just madness as this can cause health issues from bacteria. At the very least you should be hosing them down with plain water, get in the shower, if need be, wearing them. Use a little bit of shower gel and your hands to rub them down and free them up of any dirt and rinse thoroughly. Obviously washing them properly is the best method here, but I can understand why some would rather not have their expensive combat clothing fade. Cleaning the effectively will stop bacterial or mould problems cause from sweat and other stuff you may have crawled in. It will also stop your clothing from rotting.
Combat boots are a very personal thing in terms of what people want and need, but the care for them remains similar. Many times I’ve seen someone turn up to a game with their boots covered in crap from last week or last months game, and this is fine if you’re not bothered about them lasting, but they won’t. The first thing you should do, if they’re covered in mud, is hose them down at the earliest opportunity, and then leave them to dry for a day or so. At this point you should brush any left over loose dirt or dust off with a dry stiff brush. If they are just dusty because it’s been a hot and dry day out then use a dry brush to brush off the loose dirt and dust. At this point, if you have leather boots, you should apply boot polish. Apply a thick layer and really work it into the leather with either a cloth or a brush. Don’t polish it off and just leave it to sit and absorb into the leather for a day. Now you can either polish it off, and if need be, repeat the process or leave the layer of polish as it is. Keep doing this until your leather looks healthy and a solid colour. If you have desert or suede boots then you should apply a waterproofing treatment. These vary in application, for example the one I use for my Hi-Tec Magnum desert boots calls for you to make the boot damp first and then spray on the waterproofing protection. Look after your boots and they will last, the LOWA’s you see in the above picture have lasted me since 2009 and have walked many, many miles!
A brief breakdown of how to ensure your kit lasts, more aimed at the newcomers to the sport but hopefully everyone can take something away from this. Yes it does look more realistic to have battle worn gear but that should not be achieved by negelect for your gear. You spend the money on it, so look after it. And as the old army saying goes, “look after your kit, and your kit will look after you”!