Monday, May 7, 2012

When friends throw you a line with a hook

Registration and permit not required?!

Last saturday was a truly epic day. The weather was stunningly beautiful and our scheduled EVE Meet turned into a roaring party with a lot of people celebrating a lot of occasions from Ph.D.'s in particle physics to birthdays, also ex-gf's moving out, 100 million skill points in EVE Online (gratz Cartboard Box!), and a birthday girl reaching her 18th year of existance, becoming of legal drinking age in Québec. The party ended at Cartboard's place in the wee hours of dawn, and let's just say I was feeling each one of my 41 years yesterday!

But before I made it to the meet I was given an invitation to go to an event I had never even thought of going to before and I admit I felt slightly out of place; I went to my first ever gun show. Unlike the United States, Québec does not have a huge firearms culture but we do have our own tiny version of the NRA, though we do not have our own Charlton Heston! But no worries, actual firearms wasn't the reason I was going to the event. You see the buddy who invited me owns a company that specializes in a particular hobby and he was at the gun show to show off his own weapons. Although they are sometimes very realistic, the weapons aren't real; Jeremy's hobby is Airsoft.

With a cheaper entry-level price than paint-ball (decent starter guns go for 100 to 200$ CDN, and 5000 Airsoft BB's for 25$), and the guns being sometimes near-exact replicas of the real thing, Airsoft is starting to gain a lot of popularity among not only shooting sports aficionados, but also among gamers bred on first-person shooters like yours truly. I mean, how awesome is it to own an M249 machine gun that's close enough to the real thing that a magazine made for the real one fits the Airsoft gun?! We were quite amazed when a guy from another table came over with magazine in hand and said "OK, I've seen your gun all day now, I gotta try this!" and it fit like a glove. Another funny comment we kept getting was "is that gun real?" on guns like HK replicas, a sweet-looking Galil, and even the M249; yeah, a full-sized machine gun that's not even legal in my country and it doesn't even have a trigger lock XD But in general the feedback was very positive even from what I would call die-hard gun freaks. I did see one exception who was very vocal about saying that these were only "toys from Walmart" but he's been known to have had negative comments for my buddy for a while. Let's just say that the general positiveness over-balanced his views on Airsoft quite nicely. And anyway, the guns can be so realistic that they have to be treated with the same respect as real guns; police forces can and will confiscate guns that are out in the open, and people can get in seriously deep shit. Not to mention all the safety procedures one has to observe. My buddy even went as far as getting a true gun permit, even though no permit required for Airsoft guns.

So to tie in with my title, yes, Jeremy has been trying to get Little ol' Moi on the Airsoft bandwagon for a while now, and for the first time since he first introduced me to his then new hobby about 2 years ago he's coming very close to succeeding. Of course with the side projects I have now may not be the best time to start investing in Airsoft gear but I must say that having spent an entire day checking out the guns and learning about 'em enough to help my buddies answer people's questions towards the end of the day did leave its mark. The main problem I've had is that a lot of my buddy's games are organized either on weekends where I have my boys (they're way too young to play Airsoft and my ex would have my head) or on the same Tuesday nights as my drumline practices. Obviously in that case, the drumline wins. But I have the feeling that now that he knows how close he is to reeling me in so to speak he will schedule an event on my time. At worst, I can go to his place which happens to be about 15 minutes by bike from mine and we can shoot BB's into targets in the basement. But yeah, I have the feeling that Jeremy will be seeing me a bit more often this summer, and I can sense that he's readying his net to take me out of the water and into the boat!

For more information on Montreal's Airsoft scene, visit Taktik Airsoft's website. Keep in mind that most events posted there are for the Montreal region but the site does have some useful links and videos.

Like Internet Spaceships, Airsoft is also serious business!


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