What is Airsoft? A Complete Guide to Airsoft

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What does Airsoft mean?

Airsoft is a real life game/sport that mimics shooting scenarios where you have to “kill” your enemies using replicated guns. The ammo used is mostly plastic non-metallic balls of various dimensions. In this article, I will only describe what airsoft means. If you want to know the differences between airsoft and paintball scroll down to the end of the article and click the link.

Airsoft players really like to dress up and create a very realistic environment. This is, of course, the case of those with a great experience in the airsoft field. There are however plenty airsoft clubs for amateurs and beginners depending where you live. In the US, the UK, and most of Europe, airsoft became increasingly popular over the years so there are lots of businesses specializing in airsoft. In many cases, you won’t even have to come with your own equipment or gun.

The orange tip specific to airsoft guns

Most airsoft guns are so realistically manufactured these days that they come with an orange tip on the barrel so that they can be distinguished from real guns. Although some go as far as removing those or spray paint over them because there is no clear regulation saying that airsoft guns should have orange tips or other visual identifiers. Some argue that people with bad intentions might intentionally paint the tips of real guns in orange so there is no real advantage of regulations making orange tips mandatory.

Believe it or not, the first idea of airsoft as a sport originates in Japan. In the 1980s the Japanese came with the idea of using their plastic projectile training weapons to shoot themselves. This gnarly idea became so popular that in the 1990s the UK market was already flooded by a couple of sellers and distributors.

That being said, let’s get to some of the basics of airsoft. Do’s and don’ts, rules and other information that you might be interested in about airsoft.

What is FPS?

Feet Per Second or simply FPS represents the velocity or if you prefer the speed of the projectile shot from the airsoft gun. Regulations vary from state to state on the maximum legal FPS. As a rule of thumb, most guns have FPS from 200 FPS to 600 FPS. Most guns beyond 600 FPS are classified as air guns and can shoot metal projectiles, so they are not suitable for airsoft.

There are three major types of airsoft guns:

  • Spring-powered guns
  • CO2 guns
  • Electric guns

CO2 and electric guns are probably what you will use most of the time if you want to get serious about this sport. Spring-powered guns are often less reliable and do not deliver the same results but are good for beginners.

Are Airsoft Guns safe?

I can tell you airsoft guns are much safer than paintball guns and if you wear protection gear, like goggles, and thick clothes, your safety won’t be under threat 99% of the time. So to answer the question, airsoft is a pretty safe game to practice if all team members follow basic common sense rules like not aiming to the eyes.

Is Airsoft a sport?

Define sport first. In my opinion, airsoft is a sport as much as it is a game. Since the way I define a sport is an act of practicing an active, organized game with rules that all players follow strictly then my answer is yes, airsoft is a sport. The same way as organized paintball is also a sport in my opinion.

How much do airsoft guns cost?

Airsoft guns, pistols, rifles, snipers and other categories range from $10-$20 dollars to $500 dollars or more. Good metal airsoft pistol replicas are around $100 and high-quality guns/rifles are usually from $150-$200 dollars. However, if you are new to this sport you probably don’t need a high-quality replica to practice so you can start with a plastic one until you decide whether you like airsoft or not. I actually do not recommend it to newbies to invest large amounts of money in fancy airsoft guns because some might not like the sport and abandon it.

Where to buy good airsoft guns?

You can find plenty of good airsoft guns on amazon.com. Check out my articles to pick a high-quality one that I reviewed so you don’t have to waste your time searching.

How to play airsoft?

The way you and your friends decide to play airsoft is entirely up to your taste and needs. There are some rules without which playing airsoft would be a chaos like not recognizing whenever you get shot since the pellets do not leave any mark on the clothes. You can find the rest of the basic airsoft rules below.

Basic Airsoft Rules:

  • Since airsoft pellets called BBs do not leave any mark on the enemy, this is mostly a game of honor. You have to be honest and recognize whenever you get shot and wait for the next round. I would say that this is one of the most important moral rules of the airsoft game because it can make the difference between a correct and honest game and a children’s game where no one admits they got shot.
  • Protection for eyes and other sensible parts of the body must be worn at all times. Seriously, if you see a member of any team playing without protection stop and make them wear it. Some guns have very high FPS rates so I doubt you want to injure someone or be injured yourself.
  • Take your basic safety precautions like unloading the gun whenever not in use, not pointing it to other people while practicing outside the real game and so on. Mostly common sense will tell you what is ok and what is not in these situations
  • Most regulations prohibit the use of guns with an FPS of over 600 on regular airsoft games.

An aspect that many people get excited over when they hear is that airsoft technologies are used in real military training. When I first discovered airsoft I had the impression that it is just something similar to those laser tag or paintball games so I was quite surprised to hear that airsoft guns are so realistic that even soldiers use them for training.

That’s pretty much all I can think of. I hope I gave you an insight on what airsoft is and how you can begin practicing this great sport.

If you would like to know more about the differences between airsoft and paintball check out my article: Airsoft vs Paintball or What is Paintball?

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