Landmines are a much older concept than most people think.
A highly effective area denial weapon, mines have been used as far back as the Civil War and were really put into use during the bloody battles and sieges of World War One and Two.
Their military use has only recently seen a decline in recent years due to various popular international treaties and agreements banning their use, a direct result of the horrific toll their indiscriminate nature can take on civilians many years after a conflict ends.
In airsoft, however, things aren’t necessarily so grim…or deadly.
While they’ve never become really all that commonplace on the field, airsoft landmines can be a very interesting and potentially powerful addition to any game.
If you think you might be interested in exploring the world of airsoft mines, or you just need to add a touch more realism to your next game, then read on as we explore these rather niche items in a little more detail.
What Kinds of Airsoft Mines Are Out There?
Throughout the last couple hundred years or so, militaries have experimented with all kinds of different landmines to suit different needs.
With Bouncing Bettys, shaped charges, claymores and much, much more, armies the world over were really spoiled for choice when it comes to landmines.
When it comes to airsoft, however, things are a bit different.
There aren’t generally a lot of manufacturers making these and, being a niche item, they’re not exactly pumping out a wide variety.
As a result, there are only a handful of landmines that are really available.
Airsoft Claymore Mines
Much like the real-world version, an airsoft claymore is a directional anti-personnel device.
Generally spring-powered, when triggered these release a cloud of plastic BBs in (roughly) a sixty-degree arc, eliminating anyone in that area.
By and large, these tend to look like the real world versions – essentially a little metal box with legs that should have “Front Towards Enemy” molded across its front.
Unlike what you might think of when you think of landmines, claymores aren’t triggered by a pressure pad.
Instead, better quality ones are activated by remote control (which allows for line of sight activation), by sensors or by tripwire, which can be a lot of fun if you’re into setting airsoft traps.
How airsoft claymores work:
Airsoft claymores can be built in different ways, but they generally work using the same principle.
Inside is a slingshot-style mechanism that holds a number of BBs and is folded and held shut by the front of the claymore.
The front of the device is then held closed by a spring-powered clasp of some kind.
When the device is tripped (either by a tug via a tripwire or electronically via radio-control detonator or motion sensor) the clasp releases and the front opens, the slingshot quickly unfurls and hurls its contents towards the enemy.
Being relatively simple devices, other than the detonator malfunctioning or things getting gummed up by dirt and debris, there’s not a whole lot that can go wrong with these.
Airsoft Blast Mines
What you might think of when you think “mine,” airsoft blast mines are activated by pressure pad, releasing their payload when a pressure pad is activated much like a real world landmine.
These can be filled with a variety of materials, such as water, smoke, powder or just a loud noise, that are blasted out of the device with an ejection of compressed gas, usually CO2.
For safety reasons, these tend not to be fillable with BBs, as (because of the upward angle of ejection) these could feasibly travel underneath face masks and eye protection.
How airsoft blast mines work:
The device itself is something like a big can that holds a CO2 cartridge, usually in some kind of specialized holder.
As we mentioned, generally speaking there is a kind of pressure mechanism at the top of the device (like a button or the top of the device itself).
When depressed (by say an errant foot), the Co2’s holder is compressed and its design punctures the CO2 cartridge, which expels compressed gas through pre-drilled holes located at the top of the device, making a loud sound.
Anything else inside the device (like water or powder) will be explosively forced outwards, as well.
Why Use Airsoft Landmines?
There are a few reasons why you might want to pick up an airsoft mine.
Area Denial and Traps
For one thing, just like in the real world, they can make for effective area denial tools.
A couple of airsoft mines hidden around an open field or wired up as a trap can prevent your opponents from charging through the area.
Even if it doesn’t stop them entirely, once a few of their teammates have been eliminated by, say, a well-placed airsoft claymore mine your opponents will definitely slow their roll to avoid further surprises.
Another benefit is that airsoft mines can be used as a kind of alarm.
Airsoft mines can be surprisingly loud (especially the gas powered ones), so you can generally hear them go off from quite a distance.
This means that would-be flankers and ambushers can suddenly lose the element of surprise.
This can be an especially handy tool for snipers, who sometimes focus a little too much on their scope and not enough on their surroundings.
A clear warning that someone is creeping up on them can be a big help and if that weapon also manages to take out some attackers, all the better.
Finally, airsoft landmines can add greater realism to a game.
As we’ve mentioned, a good number of conflicts around the world in the 20th century made at least some use of mines, which more often than not shaped battlefield tactics.
This can make picking up a couple airsoft landmines a good idea for those interested in milsim.
What Are Some Downsides Of Airsoft Landmines?
Of course, there are also some reasons why airsoft mines have remained something of a niche accessory item.
They slow play
Once an airsoft game starts introducing landmines, things will slow down quite a bit.
For the side facing them, airsoft mines mean you can’t just rush forward.
Instead, once you know you’re facing airsoft mines, you have to at least watch your step and look out for wire traps.
Airsoft mines can turn a quick skirmish into a slow, methodical slog….which really is kind of the point of them, when you think about it.
The side deploying them doesn’t have it much easier, either.
Setting up airsoft landmines takes time.
Finding the right spot, setting the mine, arranging concealment… these things take time and effort.
And remember, there are still individuals out there running and gunning and messing around with any equipment can leave you exposed.
And that’s assuming you can do it, many fields don’t particularly appreciate people digging holes into their property to set a mine.
Another downside is that airsoft mines are often a one-use-per-game thing.
Once set off, it’s unlikely that you’ll have the time or ability to double back and reload, which can itself be fairly time consuming..
Further, once an opposing team has been caught by one, the proverbial cat is out of the bag and they’ll be more cautious and be less likely to be surprised again.
Additionally, keep in mind that (like airsoft grenades) not every field allows the use of airsoft landmines, so you will have to check the rules before you go.
Finally, because they are an unusual item and because of the way they’re deployed, airsoft mines are more vulnerable to theft than other airsoft equipment.
They spend most of the match unattended (unless you’re camping by it), so if you’re playing with strangers, one of them might just choose to walk off with your trap.
If you want to be sure that you’ll be able to keep them for the long term, you’ll have to stay reasonably close by or (better yet) only use them when playing with people you know.
Not Everyone Is A Fan
Much like how not every airsoft player out there is a fan of grenades and pyrotechnics, not everyone is a fan of airsoft mines.
Some airsoft mines are configured to spray water or powder (think flour or cornstarch) on other players, which can be annoying to those who aren’t expecting them and to those who don’t necessarily feel like getting their gear unduly dirty or wet.
Nor is everyone necessarily a fan of sound-based mines, which can startle unsuspecting players to a fair degree.
Using an airsoft device against those who don’t agree to their use can be a good way of making enemies on the field (and making you a prime future target) or, worse, being banned.
In general, airsoft mines are treated similarly to airsoft grenades – if a player is caught in the blast zone they’re hit.
That’s nice and simple in theory but it can lead to arguments if you intend to use smoke or sound-based mines.
As with airsoft grenades, there’s always at least one player who refuses to accept that they were caught in a blast and refuses to call hits.
If your field has a cheating problem, we’d suggest going with BB showers and/or powders as they don’t leave a whole lot of room for argument.
Tips For Placing Airsoft Mines
Where and how you place your airsoft mine will depend on what sort you’re using.
As these are activated by pressure plates and work best when concealed (few people are willingly going to step on a large plastic device they can see), blast mines are generally best reserved for larger, outdoor games.
The idea with these is to prevent your opponent from seeing them, but without making an obstacle that people will go around or obvious ground disturbance that will tip people off.
Burying these is usually the go-to solution, in real life and in most larger airsoft games played in casual environments (like a milsim event), and doing so isn’t all that difficult as long as the ground isn’t frozen or too rocky.
Unfortunately, quite a few airsoft field owners don’t really want people digging up their property so you might want to call ahead or check your local field’s rules ahead of time.
If you don’t have an opportunity to bury one, you can try and use local soft moss, soil or leaves, scattering it around the area in question as well so as not to make things too obvious.
It is critical, however, that you never cover your mines with anything hard or pointy- no gravel, no rocks, no trash or what have you.
A mine going off does so with a good deal of force- even an airsoft mine- and anything on top of it will be turned into shrapnel that can cause severe injuries.
In airsoft, claymores tend to be a little bit more straightforward to use.
As we’ve said, they are spring powered and, when triggered, fire out a spray of BBs or other materials from their front.
As with airsoft blast mines, concealment is the name of the game with these but, since they eject from the front, they really don’t need to (or should be) be buried.
Generally speaking you’ll want to hide these in bushes, heavy undergrowth, tall grass, leaf piles, poorly lit areas, dark corners of a room and more – really anything that won’t let them be seen or that will block their field of fire.
Let the dark and gloom be your friends.
What We Look For In An Airsoft Landmine
There are a few specific criteria we feel airsofters should look out for when it comes to an unusual device like an airsoft mine.
Even more than most other airsoft weapons, an airsoft mine has to be reliable.
This is because, unlike most other weapons, there’s a good chance you’ll be leaving your airsoft mine alone while you go somewhere else, even if that’s just a few dozen feet away holding a remote detonator.
If the device fails to go off…well, you can’t just rush over and fix it and chances are that the moment has passed.
For that reason, if you’ve brought one of these to the field you basically have to trust that your landmine will work properly every time.
As with airsoft guns, spring power is probably your best bet when it comes to reliability, although certain brands of CO2-powered blast mines can work reliably as long as the pressure pad is kept clean and in working order.
Airsoft mines are reusable and will take a lot of manhandling, either being stepped on, yanked or otherwise tripped by some control.
In other words, a good airsoft mine has to be built tough.
This means that its construction should be made out of tough plastic and its mechanism of action (spring catch or gas release mechanism) should be able to withstand repeated use without cracking or jamming.
The last thing you want is an anemic landmine.
What you want from your mine is maximum spread and/or sound.
With claymores, the blast area should be wide and the amount of BBs ejected fairly impressive, ensuring that as many players as possible are caught in it.
Blast mines, in contrast, should at the very minimum be loud- both to alert you that your trap’s gone off, and to psyche out the other team.
Beyond that they should offer a healthy spread of whatever it is you’ve filled it with, be it powder or water.
In the end, an airsoft landmine isn’t really something you’re going to pack in your typical loadout and is really something of a novelty.
While you obviously will have to shell out a few bucks to make sure the thing actually works, you also don’t want to blow your entire budget on something that you might use a couple times a year.
By and large, we’d suggest keeping your budget at sub-$50 for pressure pad-based blast mines and around $100 for a good quality claymore.
Some Airsoft Landmine Recommendations
As we’ve mentioned, by and large there isn’t a huge selection of airsoft mines available.
A product with limited demand that people aren’t really willing to spend hundreds of dollars on isn’t exactly most airsoft manufacturers’ dream product.
Nevertheless, there are some interesting options out there that we’ve found.
MadBull Powder Puff Airsoft Landmine
|Versatile, can use different powders and gasses||Doesn’t contain a huge amount of powder|
|Gives fairly wide spray|
|Nice loud sound (with CO2)|
|Small and easy to hide|
The MadBull Powder Puff (also known as the Powder Shot) is what most people would think of when they think airsoft landmine – a flat disk with some holes drilled in it that goes off when stepped on.
It may look generic, but trust us there’s nothing generic about how it performs – the MadBull Powder Puff is a decent little airsoft mine.
The device is only about 5 or six inches in diameter and only a couple inches tall, so it is easy to conceal/hard to spot, even if it’s simply placed in moderately uncut grass.
The Madbull is designed to work with CO2 (being filled with Madbull’s portable CO2 charger) and to emit a puff of cornstarch or fine powder when stepped on.
It will, however, work with green gas, red gas and even duster, which is a nice bit of added flexibility that can be a real boon for users who don’t have a portable charger (or use CO2) and makes it really easy and cost effective to refill.
Keep in mind, however, that the use of lower pressure gasses generally will result in a quieter and less explosive effect.
When triggered, the Powder Puff emits a fairly loud pop and lets loose a wide circular spray of…whatever it is you’ve filled it with.
By and large, the device is pretty durable as well, being made of nylon-reinforced polymer and the mechanism is pretty simple and less prone to wear and tear than many others.
On the downside, the device is pretty small and doesn’t really hold a ton of powder, but it does work pretty well and, if the powder is colored, should let everyone know just who stepped on the mine.
Pricewise, at just under $50 the MadBull Powder Puff isn’t the cheapest landmine out there but it’s also not terribly expensive.
Given its good functionality, high build quality and flexible gas use, we’d say that the Madbull Powder Shot represents pretty good value for money.
Matrix M18A1 Claymore Airsoft Anti-Personnel Mine w/ Trip Wire
|Can use tripwire or remote control||A little pricey|
|Great for traps or ambushes||Some reported issues with remote detonator|
|Can use different types, sizes of ammo|
|Shoots out good-sized cloud of BBs|
|Fairly durable housing|
|Inbuilt stand w/ sturdy, pointed legs|
|Very realistic design|
|Tripwire mechanism quite reliable|
If you’re more interested in an airsoft claymore, the Matrix M18A1is probably the one to look at.
For one thing, the Matrix M18A1 is a highly realistic replica of a real Claymore mine, making it a great choice for milsimers and enthusiasts alike right off the bat.
For another, the Matrix M18A1 has a great effect, launching a veritable cloud of BB’s once triggered and to a good distance for such a small device.
The Matrix M18A1 operates via tripwire or remote control, so you can use it to set a trap or set it off yourself before running away cackling to yourself in glee.
This gives the device a good degree of flexibility, as it allows you to fit it into a greater variety of playstyles and situations, such as milsim, CQB games, outdoor skirmishes and more.
In additoin, the M18A1 is quite flexible when it comes to ammunition.
It’s essentially a large box so you can use all different sizes of BB without much of an issue, since they’re essentially just held in a net inside the mine and fed through a fairly wide square up front.
Some users boast that they’ve swapped in other forms of ammunition, such as foam and paintballs, which means it can be used for other hobby sports as well, although we haven’t tried it ourselves.
In terms of durability, the Matrix M18A1 holds up pretty well.
It’s frame is made from reinforced polymer that should allow it to survive the knocks, falls and bangs you would expect when using such a device.
The spring mechanism itself is fairly hardy and should stand up pretty well over time with regular maintenance and cleaning.
While we, and really the majority of users out there, have had no issue with the device’s remote, some users have complained about getting one that worked sporadically or not at all, which is something to keep in mind.
That said, when working the remote control function works quite well and can activate the device from a fair distance, so you won’t have to endure unnecessary risk.
It can, of course, be used with a tripwire, which (being quite a simple mechanism) worked reliably and quite effectively in pretty much all conditions..
One last feature we liked was the inbuilt stand, which we found to be weighty enough to keep the mine from just falling over in the wind and quite easy to plant it into the soil for added stability.
In terms of price, the M18A1 is a bit steep at around $100.
That said the Matrix M18A1 is reliable and well built overall, quite true to life, versatile and potentially quite devastating to use, and so remains our top choice for an airsoft claymore.
Airsoft landmines aren’t the most practical airsoft devices out there, but they can be a fun addition to a loadout for the right person and can add a little spice to your next game.
Ted Clark– Hailing from Florida, Ted has been an avid airsoft enthusiast since he was in middle school. When he’s not checking out and reviewing airsoft guns, he enjoys picking off his enemies one by one on the field as a sniper.