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Airsoft Honor Codes - How Airsoft Combat Can Teach You A Lifelong Lesson

This photo represents the honor code in airsoft games, man dressed in camouflage wear with gun over his head in a surrendering manner

Airsoft has several advantages over paintball as a sport. The weapons look more realistic (and in some groups are full weight replicas).

The rounds themselves travel farther, and don't spatter. This lack of spatter makes it more reasonable to play in realistic, attractive uniforms (with appropriate padding).

This also makes cheating fairly easy, since there's no record of a hit with the fairly soft plastic rounds.

Getting around the potential for cheating requires a social convention called an 'honor code'. Honor codes originated in the US with the College of William & Mary, proposed by Thomas Jefferson, who also wrote one for the University of Virginia.

They are strictly enforced in the US Service Academies, such as West Point and Annapolis. An honor code is a mutually agreed upon code of conduct, where the people who agree on what constitutes honorable behavior self police each other on violations of the code.

Photo of Airsoft player with hands raised in surrender via the honor code in milsim type games

The basic Airsoft honor code boils down to "If you think you were hit, you were hit. If you are ever in doubt that you might have been hit, you were hit." Once hit, you call out "Hit", raise your hands over your head and walk to the safe area.

This matters because of the tactical difference between cover and concealment. The difference between cover and concealment in close quarter combat actions is that cover would stop a real bullet, and concealment only hides your position, but would not stop a real bullet.

Unfortunately, most concealment will stop (or slow down) an Airsoft pellet to the point where you may not notice the hit.

When leaving the area, you are not to look at the person who shot you, or in any other way indicate to your teammates where they may have been located. Dead men do not talk or reveal tactical information to their team mates.

By adhering to the honor code, and the standard of honesty that's implied to it, you demonstrate that you're a good sport.

The flip side is that if you don't take your hits, you'll eventually get a reputation for being a cheater! Cheaters will eventually get expelled from the play area, and eventually get barred from play in a group.

Learning to extend that concept of good sportsmanship, to never lie, cheat or steal, beyond the play area, you can find that your hobby can improve your day to day life and material business.

This is one reason why colleges and service academies place such a high importance on them - and why graduates of those academies are sought out for in other positions later in life.