Can Airsoft Skills Translate To Shooting Firearms?

    @liku_tactical on the left is an airsofter in Japan. Next to Lucas from TRex Arms on the right.

    Back in June, Lucas Botkin of TRex Arms and 37 freedom-loving Americans helped @liku_tactical achieve a dream. @liku_tactical is a Japanese citizen who loves guns in Japan. For the past three years, he has been soaking up videos off YouTube and practicing what he sees using Airsoft. TRex Arms helped bring him to America to shoot firearms for the first time. Can Liku’s airsoft skills translate to shooting firearms? Absolutely.

    For the past three years, Liku has been practicing drills he has seen online using airsoft in Japan. He is 100% self-taught. His performance is very impressive. Take a look at this video below.

    You will notice that Liku has copied a certain look. He is emulating Lucas Botkin of TRex Arms. Liku has copied the same gear setup and even the same fashion sense that Lucas has. But that is just cosplay aka “costume play”. What matters is the time Liku has spent honing his airsoft skills. Take a look at his Instagram account to see some of his practice runs.

    Often we see a sort of firearm elitism in the firearm community when airsoft is mentioned. Many people look down on airsoft as a silly kid’s toy. However, there are some who are more open-minded and use airsoft as a legitimate training aid. Airsoft is great for force on force training. While it does not give you quite the feedback as simunition training, airsoft has its uses. The same can be said for using competition, like USPSA, as a sort of training tool. What matters is how the end user treats these training tools and puts them into perspective.

    Liku has taken airsoft, which is his only option in Japan, to practice firearm drills and basically dry fire more than anyone. Yes, airsoft is not the same as a firearm and I am not saying it is. Airsoft guns do not typically have the same weight, recoil or trigger feel like real firearms. While some airsoft guns try to mimic some aspects of firearms like some do have last round bolt holds and the gas blowback pistols do cycle, it is not the same feel as a firearm. Other than the lack of any real recoil the recoil springs themselves are a lot lighter. You can rack an airsoft gas blowback pistol slide back with just a pinky finger and not a lot of effort.

    However, manipulating a firearm like pulling a charging handle or slide on a pistol back is not a critical skill. Running drills like Liku and practicing all the time to develop airsoft skills based on solid firearm drills can pay off and we see it in this video that TRex Arms posted the other day.

    They started Liku off with some basic firearm handling drills so he could get accustomed to the recoil and physical differences in manipulating a firearm. But once Liku figured out those basic firearm fundamentals his honed airsoft skills took over. He was getting first shots off a shot timer in less than half a second.

    In some scenes of the video above it is a little confusing sometimes to know if I am watching Lucas or Liku until both of them are in frame and I can see the difference.

    Lucas helping Liku's update his airsoft skills for use with real firearms

    Liku on the left, Lucas on the right.

    In some parts of the video, you can see some training scars that Liku has developed from practicing with airsoft. At around the middle of the video at 16 minutes Lucas has Liku run a drill where Liku shoots one round, reloads and fires a second round. At first, Liku has some malfunctions on reload. He hits the bolt release too soon and doesn’t strip a round out of the magazine. However, his airsoft skills did kick in and he performs a simple malfunction drill flawlessly and gets the gun back up and running. Lucas notices he had been hitting the bolt release too soon and once Liku adjusted accordingly he was doing this drill in under 3 seconds.

    Once Liku got firearm handling down he was running drills almost neck and neck with Lucas.


    Here is a video of Liku shooting a 22422 drill for the first time.

    In the YouTube video, you can see Lucas’ and hear some guys off camera express their amazement of Liku’s airsoft skills. Like clearing malfunctions and his speed at which he can run drills. I do not think these were skills he developed in the short couple of days he was shooting firearms in America but rather his training regimen has carried over and he was able to manipulate these firearms rather expertly.

    Whether it is constant dry fire or in Liku’s case practicing with airsoft, all that matters is the quality of the training. We got to see someone who practices all the time with just airsoft and having never fired a real firearm before in his life, apply what he taught himself and it translated into shooting firearms extremely well. Good job Liku, that was awesome.

    If you want to learn more about Liku, then check out his Instagram account @liku_tactical.

    Nicholas C

    Steadicam Gun Operator
    Night Vision & Thermal Aficionado
    Flashlight/Laser Enthusiast
    USPSA competitor

    Any questions please email him at [email protected]