Airsoft drone

[How-To] Catch Airsoft Cheaters

Pretty much nothing is more frustrating than a cheater, and if you came here looking for tips to help you cheat well–sorry, we’re actually going to talk about how to spot and handle players who aren’t playing fair.

Airsoft players preparing to breach a building
Friends don’t let friends cheat!

It’s a lot easier to cheat in airsoft games, as opposed to something like paintball or laser tag, simply because there’s no visible paint splatter or flashing lights to denote a hit. It’s on you, the player, to be a good sport and call your hits. And let’s face it–some people just aren’t all that nice about it. 

So, what are you to do?

Luckily, there are a few ways to spot someone cheating, and a few things you can do to handle the problem. Let’s talk about what types of cheating commonly happens and what you can do if you see it in your game!

MilSim airsoft player
Looking for those cheaters!

Why Cheat?

The obvious answer is that you want to win, but that isn’t the only reason why people may fail to call their hits or abide by respawn rules. Airsoft is an honor-system game, and a lot of people take that very seriously. 

no cheaters

That’s not to say that there aren’t people out there who are knowingly cheating and spoiling the fun for everyone else, but before you get angry at someone who is cheating–make sure it is what it looks like, first!

So what are some other things that can look like cheating or cause accidental cheating? Let’s look at that.

Didn’t Feel It

When the adrenaline is pumping and a player is all armored up, it’s super easy to miss a little .20 gram BB bouncing off you. There’s also a chance that the BB in question ran out of energy before impact, making it hit with a lot less force. 

exorcist I don't feel anything

Point is, they might not be calling their hits because they might not even know they’ve been hit.

They’re New

Look–we’ve all been there. You’re new, you’re a little confused about some of the rules or what’s going on so you wing it and hope for the best. Mistakes happen, and next thing you know, someone’s mad at you for cheating. 

Oops.

You Didn’t Actually Hit Them

Listen, if they’re 75 feet away from your target and you think they’re not calling their hits… you might not actually be hitting them. Know what your average range is and assume that if they’re beyond that, it’s you, not them.

Angles and perspective also play into this — you wouldn’t believe how many times I thought I was landing hits only to find out that it only looked like I was. It’s embarrassing.

lasertag cheating
Some of these problems definitely could be solved by some flashing lights…

They Didn’t Chrono Right

There is a pretty serious amount of physics involved in airsoft. Even a small variation can cause significant changes in BB speed, range, and energy. 

Krytac Trident SPR RPS Test
We use a chrono around here a lot!

Fields use chronometers to check that your gun is in the appropriate range of power to prevent injury, but there are ways to mess up your chrono results… intentionally or unintentionally, such as playing with lighter BBs than you tested. 

Heavier BBs are slower, so using these to test your gun’s FPS before switching to a lighter BB to play means that you will be shooting at a higher FPS than reported. It can be an innocent mistake if you don’t understand the physics… or it can be intentional.

Type of Cheaters to Look Out For

Now that you know some of the reasons accidental cheating can happen, let’s talk about what actual cheaters tend to look like! These are the people who aren’t playing fair and don’t want to — AKA the people we want to catch and call out to the referees. 

Airsoft drone
I don’t even know what’s going on here, but that’s cheating.

The “That Didn’t Hit Me”

These are some of the most frustrating because they’re so blatantly in the wrong. These players don’t call their hits so they can keep playing, even when they’re obviously being hit.

matrix stop bullets
You’re not Neo, my dude.

If you think you have one of these on your hands, you’ll need to check that it isn’t a case of one of the scenarios we mentioned above since it’s very easy to misjudge!

The “I’m Dead… JK!”

On the other hand, players might call hits that didn’t happen to divert attention away from them so they can jump back in once they’re not being shot at. Playing dead is for possums, not for airsofters.

possums eating
Okay, but look at how cute they are!

The Premature Spawner

If there’s no one monitoring timeouts, you might get a player who happens to respawn a little prematurely. It’s important to wait your full time before jumping back into the game.

Sometimes, we can forgive a few seconds or the occasional indiscretion (we are all excited to hit the field again, too!) but repeat offenders or players who shave minutes off their time should be reported.

The Spawn Camper

These players hang out near spawn points and hunt players reentering the game. Is it a way to get easy kills? Yes. Is it totally uncool? Also yes.

spawn camping is without honor

The Friendly Fire

Some of these are excited newbs, some of these are honest mistakes, but most of them are trolls. Some fields require friendly fire victims respawn, some don’t — know your field’s rules, and don’t be afraid to report the obvious jerk on your team.

The BB Sadist

There is no one look for these players. The only thing they may have in common is that they like to inflict pain or humiliate other players.

paintball gatling
We get it. You’re only here to hurt people.

How they do so can appear a million different ways: shooting an out player just because, cheating chrono tests, using a sniper rifle for medium-to-close engagements, targeting heads and sensitive spots purposefully… and worse — it can be hard to catch them in the act!

The Full-Auto Rambo

Full-auto is fun. There’s no denying it. But full-auto isn’t appropriate in most CQB situations and can even be downright dangerous. When in doubt, don’t full-auto.

full auto rambo

The Out of Bounds

Every field outlines what is considered “in bounds” of the game. Players who step out of bounds to escape being hit or in order to hit others are cheating. Sometimes, the rules specify that you can’t take certain positions, like hiding under something. People who do this are also out of bounds!

The Aggros

You may not intend to piss one of these players off, but it usually isn’t hard. They’re looking for an excuse to take out their aggression on someone, and you might just end up in their crosshairs. These players may argue, get physical, or just act like a giant a-hole… but they also can engage in some of the other cheating behaviors. 

airsoft argument
Yelling gets you no where.

They’re not in charge of their attitude or themselves and that can be dangerous.

The Personal Space Deniers

There is a minimum engagement distance (MED) for a reason. Under 10 feet or so, it’s simply not safe to shoot someone with a BB. You need to know what your field’s MED is, and how to eyeball it — and if there isn’t one, you still need to try to minimize the pain and injury.

Mistakes happen, yes, but rather than actually shoot someone from that close, the accepted practice is to verbally tell someone they’ve been hit or to touch them. Players who shoot when you’re too close to them usually want to inflict pain.

boop
The safer way to signal to someone they’re out… boop!

The Blind Fire

It’s no fun being caught in a hail of BBs, but if you are — don’t poke your barrel out and blindly shoot back. You cannot see where your shots are going and it is way too easy to cause injury. Be responsible, don’t do this.

blind firing
This is a no.

How to Handle Cheaters

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to cheaters, especially since there are so many ways to cheat! 

Probably the most common cheater you’ll see is a player not calling their hits, and that isn’t too hard to handle. Many players recommend shooting cheaters repeatedly until you are certain that you a) are hitting them and b) they’re really just not calling it. 

cheating airsoft gun
It’s frustrating, but uh… not the answer. You guys okay over there? (BachBio)

Some also recommend aiming for painful spots — like the neck, hands, and uncovered joints — to make them call their hits. Personally, I don’t recommend that because you could injure someone, and it’s just not necessary, even if it is satisfying.

Instead, alert the referee, who will follow them around and make sure they call their hits. Alternatively, you can call yourself out and go speak to them and encourage them to just call it and respawn with you. This is especially effective for new players, who might be too caught up to realize they’re not playing fair. A little kindness goes a long way.

The field referees, marshalls, judges, etc. exist to watch for cheaters, so don’t be afraid to call them over and point out someone you think may be a problem. Chances are, they’ve already noticed them, but if they haven’t, they’ll coordinate to make sure that the problem player is watched.

southpark turd in the punchbowl
Trust me — they know.

Some fields even embed undercover marshalls in player teams, so be on your best behavior — you never know if that friendly teammate is actually out there looking for cheaters.

Conclusion

Airsoft is an honorable game that relies on everyone doing their best to be truthful and play by the rules — and that’s why we love it! There’s nothing better than a clean game with amazing players who go above and beyond to create a fun experience.

Don’t let the fear of cheaters scare you away from meeting all of the upstanding players out there who want you to have a good time. Similarly, if you’re worried about accidentally cheating, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification! Any player should want to help you out.

Have any other tips for spotting and handling cheaters? Any juicy stories of spectacular shenanigans and cheaters getting their comeuppance? Share with us in the comments below! Check out our Airsoft Basics page for more beginner-friendly information!

Milo Harrison

Milo's a desert rat by birth and grew up in the shadow of Nellis AFB. He first discovered paintball in high school, but quickly switched to the world of airsoft when he found out how much less it stung. He still loves a pickup game in the backyard, but these days, you'll usually find him at airsoft LARP events.

View all posts by Milo Harrison →

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