A casual “pick-up” airsoft game can be a ton of fun. I started off in the sport playing small skirmishes with some buddies on their land and it was an awesome experience that kicked off the rest of my airsoft career. That said, not everyone has friends who have their own land, and if you're in an urban or suburban area, you can't just start playing in your backyard without putting your neighbors at risk and possibly breaking the law. If you find yourself in this situation, you'll have to find a field to start playing regular games at. Even if you have your own place to play, if you haven't gone to a top-tier field or at a large organized event, you're missing out on some of the best experiences you can have in the sport! This article should help you learn about what makes for a good field and learn about some of the best airsoft fields in the United States.
- Too Close For Comfort! CQB Tactics [Adapt And Overcome…]
- Mix It Up! 8 Airsoft Game Types [Murder, Betrayal, Total Domination…]
- Getting Started? Airsoft Tactics and Strategy [The Basics]
- How to Organize an Airsoft Team That Will Dominate
What You Need to Know About Airsoft Fields
If you've never visited an organized airsoft field before, it might seem intimidating to go for your first game. However, the best airsoft fields are usually very welcoming of new players and really do want to help you join in the sport! There are a few things you should know before you go, though: the rules that the field's put in place, the minimum safety gear you'll need, and the types of games that you'll be playing!
The best airsoft fields are generally pretty good at setting reasonable rules that keep players safe without being too much of a damper on the fun. There are a lot of different kinds of rules that a field will put in place – some of them are to preserve game balance but most are for your safety.
Every field should clearly state FPS (feet per second) restrictions on how hard a gun can shoot (if the weight of BB used for this test isn't specified in the rules, assume .2g). These limits might not be the same for all types of guns. At many sites, bolt-action rifles are allowed to shoot up to 450 or 500 FPS while AEGs might be capped at 380 and pistols at 350. If the field has a website, you can usually find these restrictions there. Before you drive out to any field, make sure your guns are shooting at the right speed. A cheap and easy way to estimate FPS is to use the “Coke Can Chrono” method, described here.
Additionally, some fields may have other restrictions, including the minimum distance you're allowed to shoot someone from (MED); whether or not you're permitted to use fully automatic fire; or whether high capacity box magazines (1500 to 5000 rounds) are allowed in games. Again, hopefully you can find these on the website or by calling the field.
Mandatory Safety Gear
Additionally, some fields may have other restrictions, including the minimum distance you're allowed to shoot someone from (MED); whether or not you're permitted to use fully automatic fire or whether high capacity box magazines (1500 to 5000 rounds) are allowed in games. Again, hopefully you can find these on the website or by calling the field. Some fields will require additional forms of protection, from mouthguards to full face protection. Keep these rules in mind when you're preparing for your first outing at any field.
What Makes a Field 'One of the Best'?
If you're familiar with playing airsoft, you're sure to know that there are a lot of different factors that go into making an airsoft game fun, competitive, and fair – everything from the size and shape of the fields, to the quality of the referees and staff, to the variety of games they offer. Here are a few of the important things to look for when you visit a field and are trying to decide whether to stick around:
Well-maintained and Safe Fields
If you're familiar with playing airsoft, you're sure to know that there are a lot of different factors that go into making an airsoft game fun, competitive, and fair everything from the size and shape of the fields, to the quality of the referees and staff, to the variety of games they offer. Here are a few of the important things to look for when you visit a field and are trying to decide whether to stick around:thing to make the field fun to play on, and they didn't put any effort into keeping their customers safe. The best airsoft fields, on the other hand, will spend a great deal of time into developing sites that emphasize safety, realism and game balance.
When you visit a field for the first time, look around for tripping hazards, sharp edges, rusted metal, loose rocks or steep dropoffs. While it may be easy to avoid getting hurt when you're paying attention, it becomes a lot harder to keep yourself safe when you're trying to dodge fire at the same time!
Courteous and Professional Staff
There are an enormous number of stories on the Internet about how otherwise great fields were ruined by a bad experience with the staff or referees. This should drive home a point: After safety, the most important factor a field can control is their staff.
One of the biggest things to watch for is the referees enforcing the rules in a way that's both strict and fair. While it might seem kind of cool to not have to chronograph your gun before playing, an overpowered AEG can do some real damage to skin, leaving permanent pitting or scarring behind. Keep an eye out to make sure the referees are doing all chronographing using a standard BB weight. An airsoft gun firing a .20g BB at 350 FPS is a lot less likely to injure someone than a gun that shoots a .3og BB at the same speed.
Additionally, a field should mandate “tournament locks” on guns powered by high-pressure air; these devices lock onto a gun's pressure regulator to prevent unscrupulous players from amping up their gun's power during the game.
While the rules at most airsoft sites are easy to comply with and well thought out, occasionally there are fields that mandate some nonsensical rules. This happens most frequently, at least in my experience, with paintball fields that decide to host airsoft events. Sometimes they may have odd FPS limits (e.g. you're only allowed to use guns that shoot at less than 300FPS). Sometimes they outlaw the use of certain models of guns and sometimes they mandate full-face protection, which is a fine rule for paintball but not for airsoft where aiming down sights is a useful tactic. The presence of nonsense rules isn't by itself a dealbreaker, but it does imply that the field isn't familiar with hosting airsoft games and may be mishandling their events in other ways too.
Another thing to be careful of is a field that mandates you use their own BBs. Most of the time, fields do this for insurance reasons. If they carry a decent brand of BBs with a good variety of different weights (at least .20g, .25g, and .30-.35g for snipers) and they don't charge an arm and a leg for them, it's not a big deal. However, if a field only lets you use one weight of BB (especially if it's .12g), they only sell a brand that gets poor reviews or they charge more than a reasonable price, chances are you'd be better finding another field.
Both Indoor and Outdoor Fields
First off, it's totally possible for an airsoft site to have only an indoor or an outdoor field and still be a great place to play a game. That said, having both types of field is an excellent perk and helps a field become one of the best out there. Not only do you get access to multiple types of gameplay, you also have a place to play when the weather turns bad. Nothing's quite as lame as a rained out Saturday skirmish, so having an indoor CQB field to fall back on can turn the day back around in your favor!
Safe Zone Protection
Any half-decent field should have an intermediate area between the parking lot and the fields proper. it may be called a “prep area,” “DMZ,” or “safe zone,” but the purpose is the same: allowing people to get their gear ready without having to worry about stray BBs flying in from the field. If a field doesn't maintain a properly protected safe zone, that's a major strike against it because it could pose a serious safety issue.
Quality Rental Gear
One of the best ways to get a sense of how passionate a field is about the sport is to see what kinds of gear they sell or rent and to check if they offer gun repair service. Any field that keeps quality gear in stock, and has a good, reliable technician on staff, is most likely managed by someone who loves the sport itself and not just the money they make off it. Most of the best airsoft fields out there, especially player-maintained ones like Bad Karma Airsoft, are successful largely because of their management's passion and commitment to helping new players learn the sport!
As HPA (high-pressure air) airsoft guns become more and more popular in the United States, it's worth it to check and see if a field has the tools and equipment to refill high pressure air bottles on site. It's a great service, especially if you're one of the many players who use an HPA-powered gun. Sometimes fields will even refill your bottles for free if you've paid admission, which is a great perk!
Do Airsoft Fields Run Special Events?
They do! Many of the best airsoft fields either run their own large-scale events, sometimes called “scenario games,” or they'll let outside companies come in and plan events using their fields and facilities. Since events like these are a big deal, they happen infrequently and are a little bit more costly than a regular day of play. Expect to pay at least twice the typical admission price for a big scenario game or even more if special equipment like armored cars or heavy weaponry is brought in to spice things up.
Instead of short-format matches with simple rules, events like these are frequently part of a larger scenario and emphasize teamwork and tactics. In some cases, they're referred to as “milsim” (military simulation) and they incorporate elements meant to make the game more realistic. Magazine capacity restrictions may be enforced to level the playing field and encourage players to be careful about how much ammo they use and for some games, there may be rules on what kinds of uniforms players can wear for each team.
These special events can vary greatly in size. A field's once-a-month scenario game may pull in twice the number of people you'd see on a typical Saturday open game, but one of the large events planned by a scenario game company can draw players from thousands of miles away and you'll see 800 or more players in the game at one time!
What are the Best Airsoft Fields in the United States?
Zulu24 Airsoft & Milsim Tactical Park
Zulu24 Airsoft & Milsim Tactical Park is one of the largest fields in New York. Located in New Windsor, it provides a number of outdoor fields with a large variety in terms of cover and scenery- everything from a Higgins boat assault to a tight “CQB City” field. Most of the fields are cleared, although there is space for some woodlands gameplay!
The field is generally well-regarded by players for a helpful staff and good variety of gameplay options, and they frequently partner with scenario companies to host larger games. In a couple instances, they've even brought in helicopters and pilots for airlift duty! Rules are pretty standard for an outdoor field, with rifles limited to 400 FPS, pistols to 350 and bolt action rifles limited to 500. They're also pretty willing to allow new gameplay elements, including heavy weapons like rocket launchers and support equipment like cold smoke grenades, which is absolutely a plus for experienced players. Note that automatic fire is not allowed for any airsoft replicas except for when using replicas of light and medium support weapons, such as the M249 SAW, RPK, M60, etc. Additionally, box magazines are only permitted on support weapons.
Bad Karma Airsoft
Bad Karma Airsoft, despite the name, is a popular and well-received airsoft field near Lebanon, Tennessee, and is the third largest in the country by area. Possibly the most interesting thing about the field is that is free and open to anyone – no entrance fees are collected! Instead the field's growth and development is funded by annual membership donations. There are also occasional pay-to-play events hosted there, but all standard field game days are free. They get a wide range of ages at the field, and while under 18s are required to have full face protection when they play, they're still welcome to join!
Since it's not charging admission and doesn't have the same insurance requirements as a typical field, Bad Karma has fewer rules than comparable fields, allowing AEGs to fire up to 450 FPS with .2g BBs and sniper rifles up to 550 FPS with .25g BBs. They don't offer much guidance on guidelines for other gear, like grenades, rocket launchers, or smoke devices, other than that they'd have to be approved for play by the referees.
Unfortunately, with free admission comes some downsides. While their fields are well-maintained, they have fewer features and buildings than many pay-to-play fields, and they also don't offer services like rentals, sales, or HPA refill. A small price to pay, honestly, but do be aware of it.
D14 Airsoft, based in Texas, is a 37-acre outdoor field with a reputation for frequently hosting large-scale scenario and milsim games in partnership with several notable scenario companies. They have a number of large fields that include varied elements and a reasonable amount of cover. Unfortunately, at this time, they don't have any indoor fields and Texas summers are pretty hot. If you go, bring a good amount of water with more in the car just in case. Even so, they're definitely among the best airsoft field in the US!
Rules are pretty standard at D14, with basic FPS restrictions on all guns. They allow full-auto fire on any rifle including designated marksman's rifles, but they also have generous and well-enforced minimum engagement distances to keep high-power rifle players from unloading on opposing players in CQB. As is expected for most fields, they ban the use of box magazines unless they're on a purpose-built support weapon.
In a partnership with online retailer Airsoft GI, D14 hosts a brick-and-mortar Airsoft GI Pro Shop with a pretty substantial selection of airsoft guns and gear. It's a nice bonus to have good retail support onsite!
Ballahack Airsoft Field
For a lot of high-level players, Ballahack Airsoft in Chesapeake Virginia sets the standard for what one of the best airsoft fields should be like. Set on nearly a hundred acres, there's a decent mix of woods, open fields, and urban combat sections. Beyond regular field day play, Ballahack hosts larger scenario wargames four to five times a year (and is pretty well-suited for this due to the wide variety of field environments). Surprisingly, their website is reasonably easy to navigate; many other airsoft fields appear to still be using website design from 2002.
Ballahack maintains a relatively lenient set of rules with regards to safety gear and FPS. Pistols and shotguns can shoot up to 400 FPS with no minimum engagement distance (MED) while any standard automatic rifle must shoot under 400 FPS, keeping a 25 or 50 foot MED depending on whether semi or full. DMRs or medium machine guns (they provide a list as to what qualifies) can fire at up to 450 FPS at varying MEDs, and sniper rifles can take shots at 550 FPS from 75 foot or more. Ballahack requires only full-seal glasses for players over 18 (younger players require additional levels of protection depending on age), although they still recommend full face protection to all players regardless of age. Like many fields, they ban the use of pyrotechnics like smoke or blank-firing grenades.
They've also got good on-site support. They maintain their own pro shop by the parking lots, which seems to be pretty well-stocked with competitive prices, selling guns, gear, ammo, and batteries, as well as some repair parts in case your gun takes a nosedive midday. If you're in the area, it's worth taking a look; they're one of the best airsoft fields on the east coast!
High Ground Airsoft
High Ground Airsoft maintains one of the largest indoor airsoft fields in the United States, located in Spring, Texas. The location includes a 27,000 square foot arena, as well as a small pro shop and some space for parties or events. Notably, they've partnered with Evike Airsoft, a large airsoft store based out of southern California, in order to improve the content of their pro shop and bringing new players in. Players seem to rate High Ground as one of the best airsoft fields in the area, although some expressed concern that the CQB-focused rules are a little too restrictive.
Like any CQB facility, High Ground places fairly restrictive regulations on players' behavior and gear. There are no allowances for LMGs, designated marksman's rifles, et cetera: all replicas must chronograph at 350 FPS or below and be used in semi only. Unfortunately, they also mandate that hard full face protection must be worn at all times, meaning steel mesh masks or paintball-style helmets.
Kalamazoo Airsoft, in Three Rivers, Michigan, is a large, mixed indoor-outdoor facility that operates all year round, regardless of weather. With relatively inexpensive free play all weekend (and their trademark free popcorn), they're a fairly popular field and one of the best airsoft fields in the Michigan area.
Their primary gameplay is CQB-heavy, and like many CQB fields they have one FPS limit, 360 FPS, and mandate semi-automatic fire only. Minimum engagement distance is practically nonexistent; you're required to switch to a pistol or knife only when you can reach out and touch the opposing player. Interestingly, they do something many fields do not, and encourage the use of “riot shields”, even offering them as rentals.
They also maintain a small pro shop, have guns available for rental, and also offer a $5 pass for free HPA fills for any HPA guns all day. Worth noting, Kalamazoo limits gameplay to 50 players per period; if you're desperate to play on a specific day, it's worth calling ahead to secure your spot.
Blast Camp, in southern Indiana, may have the best location of any airsoft field. Instead of being built in the woods or inside an abandoned warehouse, it's constructed around a former US Army Nike air defense site. Despite the awesome setting, they're not limited to indoor play: their main focus is on their outdoors fields, and they've turned their property into one of the best airsoft fields in the Midwest.
They aren't all airsoft, all the time; their primary focus is on paintball play, but they offer a reasonable number of airsoft games. At least once a month, they host an “open play” airsoft game using a small portion of the field, but they also host a monthly scenario game! Many of these are hosted by outside production companies and can last an entire weekend.
Weapons restrictions are broken down into three categories: assault rifles, DMRs, and sniper rifles (bolt action). Each of the above has a restriction on their maximum power; not their FPS, but the number of joules (energy) that they can produce on a projectile. The limits are given on their website. They also permit most types of grenades, as well as Nerf or foam rocket launchers, and even player-owned armored vehicles!
Tac City Airsoft
Tac City Airsoft, in Fullerton, California, is one of the premier indoor fields in the southern California area. The field is located fairly close to Los Angeles, which means that if you're in the area, it's a definite must see as one of the best airsoft fields in the area! They've been around since 2012 and have hosted thousands of games since then. They're strongly focused on CQB arena play, using a large warehouse space and plywood obstacles/rooms to simulate urban combat. On occasion, they also host airsoft '3 gun' competitions where contestants try to hit a series of targets, from various firing positions, using pistol, rifle, and shotgun!
Like a lot of other indoor, CQB-focused fields, all guns are kosher on Tac City's fields so long as they fire under 350 FPS. However, Tac City does allow full-auto fire (under 30 rounds per second only), which is rare for a CQB arena. One thing to keep in mind is that they do demand a 10 foot minimum engagement distance, and failing to comply means you'll be called out of the current game automatically. Also, while BB-slinging grenades aren't allowed on the field, you're allowed to use sound grenades so long as you roll them underhand instead of throwing them overhand.
In addition to maintaining their field games, Tac City keeps up a mid-sized pro shop and works pretty hard to feature a lot of airsoft manufacturers' newer releases. In addition, they also have airsoft technicians on staff that can repair a gun, or if you brought a gun that shoots over FPS limits, they'll downgrade the spring for CQB use for a fee.
SC Village, located in Chino, California, is one of the largest combat sports parks on the West Coast, with sixteen separate outdoor fields to play on, many of which are modeled on terrain from around the world. They welcome both paintball and airsoft players for open Saturday/Sunday play on their fields. Price is relatively high at $30 for a day play, but the fields are expansive and reportedly very well-maintained. The focus is definitely on the paintball part of the sport but the field's still well-regarded by airsoft players as one of the best airsoft fields in the region!
Unfortunately, SC Village doesn't publish their rules online, so you'll likely have to call ahead to get the most recently updated copy. Be sure to do this; it's rough to get to a field and find out you'd have to change your gun's spring in order to play!
In addition to gun rentals, SC Village has a small pro shop that offers paintball and airsoft guns and gear for sale, as well as an inexpensive “all day air” for HPA gun users.
Best Airsoft Fields in the United States Final Thoughts
The great thing about airsoft is that it's easy to start playing with nothing more than some land, some gear, and some buddies; regardless of where you're at, getting out and playing airsoft alongside your friends is almost always a great time. That said, if you want to experience a professionally-designed field, learn some tactical tips and tricks, or just meet up with other passionate and dedicated hobbyists, taking a trip to one of the best airsoft fields in your region is a great way to start!
Noah Mains is a writer, an airsofter, and most importantly, he’s stuck in the 80s. From Colt SMGs to David Bowie to brick phones, he has an acute appreciation for the greatest decade, and is more than happy to share his enthusiasm for the ALICE gear system (the superior loadout, of course) with anyone who’ll listen.