“Camouflage is a game we all like to play, but our secrets are as surely revealed by what we want to seem to be as by what we want to conceal.” – Russell Lynes
Welcome back to edition 2 of going commando! Camouflage by definition the disguising of military personnel, equipment, and installations by painting or covering them to make them blend in with their surroundings. Or to hide or disguise the presence of a person, animal, or object by means of camouflage.
I’ve broken down most of the information I’ve acquired over the years into an easy Five steps anyone can follow, however, there is much more than just what is below. So please be my guest and enjoy!
To put it bluntly, the average airsofter utilizing the latest new super engineered camouflage pattern, suited up head to toe knows little to absolutely nothing in the matter. Common excuses are often “We engage to close for it to be effective” or “I don’t want to get my gear dirty”. The general belief is if I buy a camo-set I am therefore invisible; all too often in airsoft the concept of camouflaging is overstated and yet underutilized. I can’t begin to explain how often I’ve gotten the jump on some pour ***tard at point blank because the person couldn’t see me or didn’t know I was there. There is, however, no easy solution to camouflaging but rather a tactical approach to the matter and a lot of hard work and execution.
In the matter of utilizing camouflaging in airsoft takes much from the real world principles and can easily be adapted and practiced more liberally. The concept stems from a smaller force often outnumbered and outgunned facing uncertain odds (David and Goliath). Camouflaging often lends itself to getting the drop so to speak. The latter of using camouflage techniques can put you at a distinct advantage over your regular Run & Gun-er to your geared up Milsim-er.
Know your terrain!
To camouflage movement in any specific area, you must take on the color and texture of the immediate terrain. Use natural or man-made materials to camouflage yourself. Camouflage paint, charcoal from burnt wood, dirt, clay, mud, grass, leaves, strips of cloth or burlap, pine boughs, and camouflaged uniforms are some basics systems which compliment each other if used correctly.
Each climatic condition (arctic/winter, temperate/jungle, or swamp/desert) has color patterns and textures that are natural for those areas. While color is self-explanatory, texture defines the surface characteristics of something when looking at it. Example, surface textures may be smooth, rough, rocky, leafy, or a multitude of combinations. Use color and texture together can camouflage you effectively. It makes little sense to cover yourself with dead, brown vegetation in the middle of a large green grassy field (Simple rule: Use Living vegetation). Similarly, it would be useless to camouflage yourself with green grass in the middle of a desert or rocky area. Attach vegetation from the area or strips of camouflaged cloth of the proper color to clothing and equipment. If you use vegetation, replace it as it wilts. As you move through an area, be alert to the color changes and modify your camouflage colors as necessary, but likely in airsoft you won’t have to do this because we generally operate in a very small area. Lastly, avoid uniforms that lack natural colors in the operational environment.
Patterns and Camouflage Clothing.
The purchasing of a camouflage uniform is the first step to becoming effective. These days we have the luxury of multiple pattern systems to choose from, ranging from basic sold colour uniforms, analogue patterns, digital pattern, snakeskin patterns, and even active camouflage (Ghillie suits). Picking a pattern can be a tough decision primarily because you need to pay attention to the environment. A simple method I use is looking at the three to four primary colours of the area of operation (AO); This will assist you in picking a pattern.
Multicam tropic and Multicam are the two primary camouflage patterns I use. Multicam is an analogue camouflage with smaller blotches overlapping larger cross colours of green of browns. Similar to the German army pattern fleckarn, Multicam utilizes smaller blotches the give a softer look to the uniform and to assist in breaking up the outline of your body.
Apply camouflage to your face & exposed skin.
Start by covering all areas of exposed skin, including face, hands, neck, and ears. Use camouflage paint, charcoal, dirt, clay, or mud to camouflage yourself. Start by covering your face in particular recessed facial features (around the eyes and under the chin), with lighter colors. Then cover high points with darker colours they stick out more and catch more light (forehead, nose, cheekbones, chin, and ears). Be sparing with how heavy you do this or you will get chimpanzee face. Be sure to use irregular patterns like blotches, stripes, or blended. While doing this pull away from natural high points. Refer to the chart below for more info.
I use a camo crème facepaint, the colour scheme is woodland (Green, Brown, Black), and the brand is “Hunter’s Specialties” – good price, good quality and easy to wash off. I strongly recommend this brand over camo-sticks. You can order them online from Cabela’s Here. – If you live in Canada or the USA.
Moving effectively in your environment.
Now assuming you’ve got the equipment figured out and your personal camouflage squared away, your biggest obstacle is movement. Most airsoft-ers who attempt to move while trying to be sneaky do the typical “tree to tree”; unless you are playing speed-soft or advancing to close the distance while under fire, this puts you at a disadvantage. The first thing to take into account is the weather. The weather can be an excellent indicator of your approach to your area of operation (AO). If you are experiencing heavy rainfall visibility is generally low and ambient noise is generally high, thus allowing you to move quietly with ease. If you are experiencing Sunny weather you’ll want to move strategically and generally avoid sun spots and attempt to keep the sun to your back. Windy weather can be a great helping hand while trying to move quickly between positions (move with the wind if possible). Learning to play in all types of weather is a good start.
How to conceal your movements. Concealment is a very basic rule all airsoft-ers should know of. When you’re moving, it’s imperative that good noise discipline is maintained. Turn down your radio or off in general, avoid talking whisper instead. Sound is more likely to compromise your position than anything else. Sound always travels further than you think, which means that moving slowly will work to your advantage; Listen to your surroundings for anything manmade creating noise. One of the biggest fears for most of us trying to sneak around is the “snap” of a stick on the ground. To attempt to avoid this, go heal to toe with your boots. Gently rolling your foot on the ground and then slowly apply your weight to the leg keeping low to the ground with your knees bent with help you keep your balance while testing your footing.
Keep your profile low; weapon at a low ready close to your body to avoid it being distinct giving you away. Keep your head down, or better yet use the brim of your boonie hat to break up the shape of your head. Last bit get close to the ground and avoid being at a standing position if at all possible. The average airsoft player remains standing and looking straight forward if you can stay below standing height you will become hard to spot by principle, mainly because most don’t pay attention to anything under human height. The technique also highlights people who are standing or moving in a linear matter.
The worst thing you can do during movement is using the crest of a hill or “sky-line” yourself. This is a great way to get yourself or your position compromised. Even if your not being attacked doing so, it can compromise you over long distances without your element ever knowing. Using the method the “military crest” is the solution. When walking along the hill side, ensure the crest is well above your head use the hill side to conceal your movement.
Engage ONLY when necessary.
This should be a given to anybody participating in recon, ambushing, sniping, or stealth work of any sort. Choosing when you engage can make all the difference, though airsoft is generally broken down into a “death match” type game. Objective based games can involve more than basic engagements with more team play or objective based actions. this means you need to use your noggin, however, it can be advantageous to practice the notion on your own time on basic game days. This can greatly increase your effectiveness and how you dictate the game in general. Example choosing not to engage when your position will be compromised while maneuvering towards your objective behind enemy lines, can assist you in avoiding detection. A good skill to practice is using semi-auto and tracking your targets and if you have to engage, to be sure you have a sure kill shot. Know that a follow-up shot should be avoided unless it can be quick; using Full-auto is almost an assured action for enemy detection.
Lastly on this note “Silent kills” are generally your best option for this. Using a “hush puppy” as I like to call them or guns/silent options can decrease the chances of detection and assure your target goes out without knowing where the shot came from. Rubber knives are a good idea if you are on top of the target so to speak, or using the “mercy” rule if it is allowed at your field.
In airsoft, the practical matter of using camouflage is a huge advantage to the player who takes it into account. Everything above is information to digest with pointers that can work in your benefit as they do for me. Knowledge is the key to anything scenario and the more you have the better, this is the first major edition of the “Going Commando” Series so stay tuned.
– Schoolboy out