Do US Marines Actually Use Airsoft Guns In Training?

The US Marines before they train

Have you ever wondered do US Marines train with airsoft guns and what would it look like to compete with or against them in the airsoft field? They are known as masterful and trained professionals with developed combat mindset and strategies, to see one in a field opposing you would certainly be a thing to remember.

I have done some research and talked to some people who have experience regarding this topic and I decided to share a few cool facts about US Marines and their interest for airsoft with you.

US Marines do not train with airsoft guns, but they are usually seen in airsoft fields owning other players. They use the adjusted real steel guns with training ammunition for training because airsoft guns simply do not meet the requirements such as the recoil, accuracy and range or clear indication that someone has been hit.

However, many US Marines just like many other military veterans are used to airsoft guns and there are many other training situations where airsoft guns can be actually used at.

Airsoft guns are not ideal pick for training, but not bad either

Airsoft guns are awesome for games and they are affordable, this is the reason why many people, including some military and special forces like to use them for training purposes.

The real, steel ammunition can become a serious liability with time just as it is the case with real steel guns in some cases. Airsoft BBs and replicas are very affordable for pretty much everyone and in a case that you like to practice shooting a lot, they can end up being a smart option to consider.

I like airsoft guns exactly for this and I can only imagine how much money it would take to target practice with real guns every weekend.

The another great advantage of airsoft replicas is the easier law management. It is quite obvious that the law in any state sees real guns more serious than some plastic toys and legal obligations are quite different.

However, people I know and myself included, are not professionals like US Marines and while we get satisfied with replicas, they require only the best simulations of real firearms.

Airsoft guns may be fine for a budget or to train reflexes, accuracy at short range or for overall mind-muscle connection, however they lack power, range, accuracy and most importantly, the realistic recoil of real steel guns.

Check my post if you want to know how powerful the recoil is on airsoft guns compared to real guns.

They are not even the identical replicas of real guns although some marketers claim them to be. Some replicas are basically identical and that is true, but majority are not.

If a grip is not identical, but has the slight deviations or if magazines vary in sizes, it may not be an issue to a regular airsoft player, but to a professional it may be.

Another great problem that we often see in the fields, is the inability to call hits consistently every time.

 This is not only about cheaters who do not call hits on purpose, but it also happens quite often that a noble player simply does not register getting hit with a very first BB and it is not their fault.

If you get hit with a real bullet, trust me, both you and your ancestors will feel it.

Of course, there had been some cases when soldiers would not register being hit by a real bullet because of a high adrenaline rush, but they would still feel it after some time and face the consequences.

To be properly trained for real life war scenarios, US Marines must take it a step further and leave nothing to chances.

Real steel adjusted guns are a better pick for Marine training

These guns do not differ much from the real guns beside the lack of deadly power which is obviously a must in any training scenario if the trainees want to put what they have learned in the real life scenarios.

Marines can simply take the real guns they own and replace the real upper receiver with the training tailored „blue one“, fill the magazines with the training ammunition also known as simunition ammo and they are ready to go.

However, in reality they do not need to do this because such training guns are already waiting for them on the training field.

The gun that has blue markings including the major blue colored upper receiver is marked so everyone can tell it a part from the real one.

The beautiful thing about this is that the Marines can still experience the similar recoil of real guns, just as the weight, range and accuracy and being able to call each hit.

This is how simunition training works

After the upper receiver has been replaced by the training blue one and the magazine has been charged with simunition rounds, the modified gun shoots the simunition rounds at 300 FPS being powered by the cartridge primer.

Airsoft guns often go above 400 FPS and 300 FPS is certainly considered a low velocity, but due to the bigger and heavier projectiles, a recipient does not have a problem calling a hit. The simunition round projected at this velocity does not have the capacity to seriously hurt someone, but certainly leaves the visible marks on a body.

The simunition rounds are rather similar to the paintball balls, than to the airsoft BBs and are shaped and look like a colored blank ammo.

Airsoft BBs may be dangerous if they hit the eyes, but simunition rounds, just like paintball ammo, are even more dangerous. All soldiers use the protective eye and face gear in order to stay safe.

Marines use M16 and M4 Carbines for these training purposes because it allows them to get in touch with the actual gun they plan to use in real life battle scenarios.

Would airsoft players be good Marines?

To answer this question it greatly depends from person to person. Some guys and ladies are natural-born warriors and with proper training they can unleash their potential.

However, I am a mere mortal and not close to these professionals, so I will not act like I know more than them and will instead just give my honest opinion about this.

What I have learned is that airsoft awakens the warrior spirit in some people and some play it to cut off the time.

 No matters what the case is, the situation in a field is never dangerous and the only danger comes from people not wearing safety eye protection or by accidentally stepping in mud and falling on their nose.

The real battlefield is something completely different and all useful airsoft tactics, aim skills and team cooperation fall in water once the real treat is in front of you. Airsoft players are used to get hit and call hits, but once the real treat hits you there is no respawn.

This makes it a-not-even-close kind of scenario for almost every player.

Therefore, playing airsoft in the open field differs way to much from the real open field battles and the reality is that 90% of airsoft players would die in the very first 5 minutes if they would employ the usual airsoft game approach.

I can see CQB to be a bit different though, the smaller and closer environment seems to be a better place to showcase the reflexes and smart outplays.

Knowing how to properly check the corners and communicate with the team may be of a greater use, but it would still be a big difference.

I remember once that my friends were quite surprised when they discovered that the real bullets can actually penetrate certain walls and doors, who would say that plastic BBs differ that much from the real stuff.

Can airsoft skills translate to the firearms at all?

As I have mentioned before, the skills a player can learn with airsoft guns can translate to the real firearms if the person is focused and disciplined enough, just like as it is mandatory to always seek for more knowledge.

I have written a post on benefits that a person experiences from playing airsoft and one of them is the firearm training benefit. Beside other awesome benefits, in the mentioned section you can find how the Japanese airsoft player managed to surprise firearm instructor with impeccable aiming skills.

It is more than just aiming skills and knowing how to disassemble a gun, most of importance lies in team cooperation, being able to sustain the pressure and being both physically and mentally prepared for various outcomes.

Marines go trough real hell to become who they are and to think that most airsoft players could do that is not likely at all.

I hope you enjoyed this and had a good time!


Dino is a thrill seeker who loves to share what he learns about his favorite hobbies.

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