When I started Airsoft I did not realize how important camouflage actually is. Along the way we’ve seen many situations where camouflage would have make a huge difference in being hit or not. You just realize it when seeing it. It took me a few years to realize but I now can say camouflage makes a huge difference.
Unfortunately, most Airsofters approach it kind of the wrong way. They forget the basics but instead, wearing a super fancy ghillie suit. That makes no sense. First start with the basics. After all, a ghillie suit is barely assigned for Airsoft.
Every time when somebody spots you and shoot you, ask yourself this question:”what went wrong” and “why am I being hit”? There are 2 major reasons for that: either it was your movement or your camouflage. It’s not easy to improve how you move and where you move. You have to practice it. Instead, camouflage is easy to fix. How? By learning the basics.
The Basics of Camouflage and Concealment
Starting with the basics, there are a couple things you should know otherwise you may be seen by your opponent.
Personal camouflage applies to your face and neck, the tone and colors of your hands and the silhouette of your equipment. Use camouflage face paint to camouflage your face and neck. You can use the face paint from the brand “Hunter Specialty” which is handmade and good quality stuff.
Carrying equipment will not contribute to break up the outline and the shape of your silhouette. When standing behind cover you may still be visible. For example you wear something on your back that peaks out. Or you have your Airsoft replica in high ready and you elbows are peaking out. You can solve this issue by tying some string across equipment. You can also tie it to hold foliage.
Your Airsoft gun needs camouflage too. You can wrap some hessian or scrim around it to hide the metal surface and break up the outline.
The purpose of concealment is to blend in with your surroundings. Therefore, you must be aware of “little mistakes” that will give away your position. You blend in with your surroundings by(1):
- Don’t look over cover by peaking out your head. Look around or through cover like sitting between bushes
- Do not skyline yourself by bringing yourself upfront. Always use some cover.
- Match with your surroundings. Your surroundings should have the same patterns like your camouflage.
- Don’t pick an object that stands out. A tree for example is some piece of isolated cover. Instead use bushes if there are more bushes on the field. These look more natural and provide better cover.
These are basic rules that you can apply immediately in your Airsoft play. Remember these rules when you’re on the field next time.
Different camouflage patterns are available to Airsofters. As these are the most common used, I think one of these will fit your surroundings. Start with the basics. Don’t go fancy with it. Appropriately coloured clothing that suits your environment is one of the basics to start with.
The Multicam pattern is used by US Special Forces. This pattern is a multi environment pattern en can be used for different purposes.
British Multi Terrain Pattern (MTP)
This camouflage pattern looks very similar to MultiCam. Therefore these 2 patterns are commonly confuse. This multi terrain pattern is designed to use in multiple terrain. However, there are better patterns out there for specif areas
The British DPM camouflage pattern is mostly used in woodland. Main variants of British DPM are a four-colour woodland pattern, and dersert pattern in two, three or four colours.
British desert DPM
This camouflage pattern is used in the Middle East and surrounding areas. It can be used in other countries, especially in dusty parts and warm climate.
United States Army Combat Uniform
This camouflage pattern is grey in color and works well in urban environments. This pattern is not suitable for a woodland type of Airsoft field.
This list of camouflage patterns may not exhausted but I think are the most common used. All camouflage is used to protect personnel and equipment from observation by enemy forces.(2)
This is a sandy looking pattern and therefore suited to warmer climates or urban environments. It is mostly used by the US Navy Seals.
This camouflage pattern is also used by the US Navy Seals. This one is different from the first one as it is green/woodland looking pattern. This pattern is suited for woodland or urban environment.
In order to play Airsoft you need at least some sort of camouflage to conceal yourself whether it is a BDU (Battle Dress Uniform) or only a tactical camouflage T-shirt. It also depends on what kind of Airsoft role you play and the vegetation of your environment. So don’t make it too hard for yourself. Search on internet for a field map and see what kind of environment you’re dealing with. If you still don’t have a clue ask the field administrator for advice.
Camouflage and concealment techniques
Now that we know the basics of camouflage and concealment let’s dive a bit deeper in some camouflage techniques which will give you even more concealment.
Every time when somebody spots you and take you out, ask yourself and that person what went wrong. It’s always due to your movement or your camouflage/concealment. So why not focus in improving those two? We start with camouflage and concealment.
Camouflage your face and head
Your face is something that stands out so you definitely need to camouflage your face. A round object is not natural and so that’s why it attracts your opponent’s attention. How actually do you camouflage your face? Well, it’s not as simple as that. Let me explain.
The main goals of camouflaging your face is to cover all exposed skin. So that includes your eyes, lips, ears, behind your ears and your neck. Not every brand suits face camouflage. There is a lot of crap out there. I suggest you use Hunter Specialty. It’s manmade and doesn’t reflect or shine when you sweat. If you want to do it right you all three colors: green, black and brown. There are also kits on the market which mud brown, flat black, and bark gray. Choose the camouflage kit that suits your environment. For my example on how to face paint I will use green, black and brown.
Face painting is not like real painting. You smear it in. We just start with the basic green color to expose all the white skin. That way you gonna blend in the green. Once you covered all the white skin you go over and use some black camouflage painting. Use the black camouflage paint to cover the high points of your face: ears, nose, chin and the points of your cheek bones. Just apply a little bit on those points. The result is only a few stripes to cover the high points of your face, including the forehead. Finish with the brow color. Put just a few stripes next the black stripes to break it up a bit. That is the basic of face painting.
The main disadvantage of of face painting is that you don’t have any protection. Safety is always first so if you can, use a mesh mask or scarf.
Camouflage your hands
We move on with arms and hands. They should be covered too. Many of you have their sleeves on their elbow. Roll those sleeves down to cover the white skin. For me those sleeves were an unimportant factor but betrayed my position several times.
If you don’t use gloves camouflage only the top of your hand. You don’t camouflage the back of your hand.
Camouflage your head
Now your head is still not finished. Your head will still be outstanding and attract people’s attention because your head’s form is not nature. Therefore use a Boonie. This hat is designed to break up the outline of your head. As you can see on the image, a Boonie has some loops around the shield. Use the small loops on the head to ad some vegetation to better blend in your surroundings. Don’t let it stick out too far. It only has to cover the hight of your hat.
Another way to camouflage your head is to use a mesh mask. This is actually the most practical and easiest one. Face painting requires a lot of work and maybe some of you won’t any paint on your skin. And unlike face painting a mesh mask is also safety. In addition to that mesh mask you can also use a scarf.
Miscellaneous camouflage techniques
Your gun is a shiny piece of metal in the woods, so it definitely can give away your position. Therefore it’s not a bad idea to camouflage your gun. The easiest way to do that is wrapping the gun with camouflage tape or spray the entire gun. Another way to camouflage your gun is to wrap some vegetation around your gun. A disadvantage of vegetation around your gun is that it will limit the function of the gun and your scope view. A ghillie rifle wrap is easier to adjust.
The camouflage of your head, hands and gun are the basics. You can go one step further by wearing a Battle Dress Uniform or ghillie suit. A ghillie suit is in every Airsoft sniper’s imagination but is actually not really assigned for Airsoft. Besides that, it can be really hot and sweaty in a ghillie suit.
Other ways of camouflage you don’t think of are the noise of your equipment and how you inform your teammates. When you sneak around close to your opponent, it will attract people’s attention when they hear some magazines clicking against each other. There is many more equipment that can make an unnatural and unusual noise that will attract people’s attention. So before you enter the field jump a few times on your feet and hear if some of your equipment makes noise. If so, use for example tie raps or something else. Try to avoid noise.
How do you get people’s attention? Don’t do that by shouting or snapping your fingers. Again, this is an unusual sound that will attract people’s attention. Instead, use a simple ssst, as if your tire is flat … It’s not something that grabs people’s attention and doesn’t sound manmade.
Painting Airsoft Sniper(rifle)
One way to camouflage your gun is to wrap it with camouflage tape. The other way is to paint it. What is the best way to paint your Airsoft sniper? The easiest way to paint your gun is hanging your gun and not put in on a flat surface. That is because you doubling or even quadrupling the time it takes to paint your gun. The other thing is that you can’t see how one side looks versus the other while painting.
Necessities to paint your replica
What do you need to paint your gun? Well, it doesn’t have to be complicated in the first place. I see many painting guroes at Youtube on how to paint an Airsoft gun but all that I see is a sniper that’s painted on a flat surface instead of hanging. And I don’t know why. It’s far more easier to paint your sniper when it’s hanging because you can paint both sides at the same time and you can connect the tops and bottoms of the patterns. With that being said…. let’s move on… What do you need?
- Your sniper 😉
- Spray paint – flat camouflage paint from Rust-Oleum
- Some vegetation
- Blue painters tape
- Knife and scissors
What are the steps to paint your replica?
Step 1: Remove or cover things
Several parts on your Airsoft replica you don’t want to paint because that causes malfunction or bad performance. These are the lenses of your scope like your front glass and rear glass, behind the trigger, your (inner) magazine and your chamber (hop up) or bolt. Put a plug in your barrel to avoid inner paint.
Step 2: Hang your replica at eye level
Hang your replica somewhere outside and keep your stock at about eye level. I don’t recommend painting inside because you spray your gun and otherwise breath in some particles.
steps 3: Wrapping the surface
If you just bought your (sniper) rifle use some find sandpaper for wrapping the gun to give to paint something to grip on. You can buy some fine sandpaper in a local paint store or a another big retailer. Otherwise you have to clean your gun an make sure that it’s free from dirt, dust and fat. You can use some cleaning petrol or turpentine.
Step 4: Start with the lightest color
If you bought a Rust-Oleum painting package, start with the sand color. You use just a soft dusting. Don’t go full auto because you will definitely spray to thick. within a few minutes the first layer is dry. Start over again. With 2 layers sand color the paint cover the whole gun now and you don’t see the original color anymore. Again, don’t do it too thick. Just let it dry for a few minutes. It’s possible to put wet paint on wet paint but I recommend to let it dry for a few minutes.
Step 5: Move on with Army Green
Now you start the real painting. You apply the green color and use some vegetation or some wide netting to create some camouflage patterns on your replica. If you didn’t hang your gun then you can use some vegetation and put it on your gun. Otherwise you can use some wide netting.
Before using some vegetation or wide netting you spray some diagonal stripes on you gun that you can use later as a guide when you work with the tools I mentioned. Use the Army green to apply some diagonal stripes on the gun. It’s like if you wrap your replica with a rope. Four stripes on each side is enough.
Step 6: Move on with deep forest green
After you put some diagonal stripes on the gun with army green, take the darker green – deep forest green- and some wide netting or some vegetation. In this case I prefer wide netting because then you can see the diagonal stripes that you applied in step 5. Wrap some wide netting around your gun on places where you applied the diagonal stripes. Use again a soft dusting. Be sure that tops and bottoms are connected. That way you create a sequence of camouflage patterns.
Your replica is now pretty much broken up after applying these camouflage patterns using a wide netting. But there are still some blank spots that you need to further cover up with some extra camouflage patterns. Therefore you can use some local vegetation/ foliage. For example hold a branch with leaves on the blank sports and use the deep forest green color to get the patterns on your replica.
Unfortunately your replica will still attract people’s attention because it doesn’t blend in enough. In steps 7 we reveal what we do about that.
Step 7: Finish with earth brown
To blend in a bit more, we’re going to use a thin netting and earth brown paint spray. We use these tools to cover the previously blank spots – described in step 6 – a bit more. You cover these spots by spray painting in the direction of the diagonal stripes. As this is the final layer you want the patterns come out quite clear. Therefore you need to hold the thin netting tighter to the surface of the replica. The contrast is a predominant brown/dark green color. Your gun will blend in very well, especially in woodland.
Using these colors will also give you a better change to survive in CQB playing. Both CQB as woodland are suitable with this pattern and color combination.
Step 8: Take the tape of and replace parts
When your replica is dry you can take of the tape and replace some parts from which you didn’t want that they got painted. So take the tape off of the hop up adjustment, scope lenses, back of the trigger guard and the magazine.
This whole process takes about 20 minutes. The great advantage of hanging your replica is painting both sides at the same time. You don’t have to wait until one side is dry to go over to the other side. Moreover, the left side does not differ from the right side. If you paint your replica on the ground you don’t see what you did on the other side. Therefore you’re not able to connect top and bottom of your camouflage patterns.
So if haven’t done it this way, I would definitely give it a try the next time.
Airsoft camouflage gear
As you know by now, camouflage is very important. You will be seen from a long distance if you camouflage is not right. So it makes a huge difference on how you choose your camouflage. Your camouflage gear should blend in the environment. I would like to discuss the most important Airsoft camouflage gear with their pros and cons.
Airsoft camouflage clothing
You can go as far as you want with camouflage clothing but they should have at least some tactical purposes. At all cost you want to be able to move freely without unnecessary ballast.
Boonie or helmet
A Boonie or helmet will break up the outline of your head because of the shield. Nothing in nature has a round shape like your head. If it is a Boonie or a helmet, you should consider to carry one. A camouflaged helmet is more functional because you can put a camera on it you are better protected against BB’s.
Camouflaged mesh mask
A camouflaged mesh mask will camouflage the biggest part of your face. So if you don’t paint you face, a camouflaged mesh mask is a good way to break the outline of your face a bit more.
It’s unbelievable what you can see from a 100 yards if somebody is not using camouflage. Even some in-camouflaged hands can attract someone’s attention. Wearing some gloves are a kind of protection but are also great to conceal your hands. Choose some gloves with knuckle protection and good grip.
Instead of painting your replica, you can use some Multi-functional camouflage tape. It’s more a temporary solution but is really worth it if you do not camouflage your gun. You can use camouflage tape for basic covering of items like your replica, tactical knife. This tape can also dramatically improve grip and insulates hands from hot or cold surfaces.
It depends on what you want in Airsoft but if you really want to get into this sport I recommend wearing a tactical combat uniform with some good military boots and knee pads. This kind of functional apparel has many functional pockets and is made of 50% polyester and 50% cotton. Choose a combat set with removable knee pads and a low profile waist adjustment system. The better combat uniforms has 10+ velcro pockets.
If you don’t use a mesh mask or face paint you have always the option to wear a balaclava. Your whole face is covered which give you a great advantage. However, a balaclava provide you with minimum face protection. As safety is always first, this is not what I recommend as a replacement.
Do you have other camouflage suggestions? Leave your comments down below.
Camouflage is important in Airsoft. There are many things you can do due to camouflage and concealment. As I mentioned before, start with the basics. Know the basics of camouflage and concealment and you are far ahead of those who don’t. Even without camouflage. You have to find out by yourself how important camouflage and concealment actually is. Practice it on the field. Start with basic camouflage techniques and basic camouflage gear. Don’t go out there in black sweater or blue jeans. Try to get some camouflaged clothing. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s more important to choose the right camouflage pattern and be sure that you blend in your environment. Ask your local field administrator if you not sure which pattern to choose.
I hope this article brings you a bit further in you journey. Good luck on the field!
(2) wikipedia.org/list of military clothing