Are you interested in playing airsoft for the first time or you’ve already done it before? Either way, you may still have some questions about the sport.
It takes time to get to know the game and its rules, but almost anyone can give you those answers. It’s important to know all the details so you can progress and improve your skills in the shortest time.
In the article below, you’ll find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about airsoft. We’ll cover everything from questions about its rules, weapons, gear, BBs, weather conditions, safety and more.
What IS airsofting?
Airsoft is a realistic shooting game used for recreational purposes, as well as target shooting practices. Because it’s so realistic, it’s now used by armed forces and police, too.
The game involves replica guns powered by batteries, gas or springs. It’s played in a professional airsoft field where you’re expected to wear a specific type of protective gear.
It’s ideal as a form of workout, team building and bonding with your friends. Many people confuse it with paintball, and although it has some similarities, it also has some significant differences. The main differences are:
- Paintball hurts more
- Airsofting is generally more expensive
- Paintball is more for ‘one time weekend warriors’
- Airsofting is more realistic
- Airsofting involves more tactics
Airsoft relies on an element of honesty too, since there aren’t any markers involved that could prove whether you’ve been hit or not. Unlike paintball, where it’s pretty obvious if you’ve been hit.
Airsofting can be a really fun game and a day out for everyone, even children but it’s important to wear the right safety gear. It’s less painful in general than paintballing, but it can still hurt if you get shot in sensitive areas or on bare skin.
Who invented airsofting?
It was first invented in Japan in the 1980s when citizens were forbidden to own any real firearms. Still, replicas weren’t banned which resulted in these guns being everywhere around Japan.
The guns quickly became very popular, and Japan started exporting them to other countries. Countries like Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, the UK, the Philippines, North America, and Europe were quick to follow the craze.
Now, most of the airsofting guns you can buy originally come from China or Japan but there are more and more factories springing up in Europe too. There’s also various laws and rules that have come in, which can vary depending on where you are in the world. Make sure you research and check the rules and laws of the place you’re playing airsoft in.
In some places, for example, you can actually get into trouble just for importing or ordering airsoft guns to arrive at your house.
Who plays airsoft?
Airsoft is usually played by enthusiasts that are into shooting weapons and recreating battle scenarios. People who want to experience life like situations in which they could shoot and train are often found in airsoft fields.
It’s also very popular among gamers because it’s so realistic, and it’s a great escape from normal life. Most people who play like to go with a team of friends, but you can also turn up to random zones and just play on your own.
In fact, I’ve seen a lot of people especially snipers and lone wolf type players just turn up and vanish into the woods for the day, rarely appearing in the ‘dead zones’.
However, SWAT teams, police, military, and other Special Forces recently began using airsoft as a form of training. It’s a great form of training because it’s almost exactly like real life, same guns, same tactics and roughly the same range (Maybe less).
What guns can I use?
Airsoft guns are special replicas that fire BBs at a certain speed. These are the only guns you’re allowed to use when playing the game on a professional field.
The most significant difference between them is how they’re powered. Guns are typically powered by batteries, gas or springs, making them shoot at different FPS rate. In most cases, the gun you use significantly impacts the quality of the game.
How do they work?
All guns work by firing BBs through air compression. However, they can achieve the compression in different ways; by gas, batteries or a spring.
While most weapons are similar, they all have their benefits and setbacks. They work the same but offer different features to choose from. Most players like to stick to one or two types of guns, and just upgrade and modify that weapon.
A common choice is a decent assault rifle like a G36 or Mp5, or for snipers something like a bolt action that can be modified and upgraded. This is how airsofting can get expensive however, because the upgrades and extra parts you can get for your guns are limitless.
You could have thousands of different variations and versions of your favourite gun, and each version might require maintenance and upgrading from time to time. The guns work by firing a BB pellet down the barrel, using either electric or gas power.
The electric rifles tend to be better, because they can fire at a rapid rate, while maintaining power. Gas tends to perform badly in the cold and the power you’ll get can vary too. Also you have to keep buying new gas canisters and refilling them, whereas electric you can just charge or bring spare batteries.
Is airsofting legal?
Airsoft IS legal in most countries, but it’s up to you to check what’s the case in the area you live in.
Some countries like Australia only allow government agencies to use airsoft guns for training. Civilians are forbidden to use them. I’m not sure about the future legality of airsofting, and I think there will be more regulations bought in for places like Europe.
This is because it’s so easy to modify airsoft guns and make them super powerful. That, along with the fact that they look EXACTLY like the real guns make it a legal nightmare for governments to regulate.
Countries like Canada and the United Kingdom allow you to play, but some restrictions apply. In both countries, you have to have a specific kind of weapon which is only one of the many rules you must follow.
Is airsoft dangerous?
BBs are made of plastic, and none of the guns can shoot them fast enough to penetrate human skin (well.. some can). Luckily, it’s pretty much impossible to kill someone with such a weapon.
However, a BB pellet to the eye can be quite dangerous, as it could permanently damage your sight. It can literally make you blind, which is why it’s SO important to always wear eye protection. If you shoot someone in the mouth, you might cut their lip or chip a tooth.
In fact in almost all airsoft centres, you HAVE to wear at least eye and mouth protection. Of course, it’s down to you if you take it off during the game and it’s very hard to enforce that you wear it, but think about it:
Why would you risk it? When you can get such good eye protection and gear nowadays, it’s absolutely stupid to go and play with no eye protection. You literally never know when a stary pellet will hit your eye, they could bounce off trees and things, and from certain distances it’s hard to aim for only the body.
I’ve played quite a few games and been hit in the eye MANY times (on my eye mask of course) and that just enforces how important eye protection is. Same goes for mouth protection. I’ve seen people lose teeth and cut their lips from getting hit by stray pellets.
It’s just not worth the risk. So yes if you don’t wear protection, it’s very dangerous but with proper eye and face protection, not really. In fact if you get hit on the face when you’re wearing an airsofting mask, you won’t really hurt at all.
Bruises and red spots are mostly all that’s left after you get hit and even that depends on the type of clothing you wear.
What are the safety precautions?
Most fields have their own rules and safety precautions you have to follow in order to be allowed in. In general, you’re advised to wear a full mask, but that’s not a must if you’re older than 18.
Still, you’ll probably be required to use some kind of goggles to protect your eyes. Certain fields will also limit you as to what maximum velocity you’re allowed to use.
It’s best to check with the field of your choice what are their precise rules and regulations regarding safety precautions.
What should I wear?
This is mostly up to you as there aren’t any regulations that require you to wear a specific type of clothing. Most people like to stay authentic and wear military style clothes.
Whatever you opt for, make sure it’s protective and thick, but also comfortable. You’ll run and jump, so you want clothes that will allow you to do so. However, don’t go with anything too thin if you want to prevent a BB leaving a bruise on your skin.
Another few items you should consider are a neck protector, hat, and gloves. We have a post about the best airsofting gear for beginners if you want to learn more.
Why do some of the guns have an orange tip?
Federal Law in America requires all airsoft guns to have a permanently orange tip. This makes it easier for people to tell that it’s a replica gun in your hand and not a real one. This is probably because in America the police have permission to shoot to KILL if they suspect you’re carrying a deadly weapon.
The orange tip is a required mark on a replica gun that you must not remove. Anyone who alters, changes, removes or obliterates the required coloring and marking is violating the state or federal law.
In other words, this means you’re breaking law if you try to make your replica look more like a real firearm.
Can BBs break glass?
This mostly depends on the FPS of your gun, as well as the thickness of the glass. For example, a spring-loaded firearm that shoots at a low FPS probably won’t break thick glass, but it might do damage to a thin window. It might crack it for example.
However, a gun that shoots at 400 FPS or more will most likely break thicker glass, for sure. For this reason, be extra careful when shooting near any kind of glass because small pieces of it might fly all over the place and back at you.
For the most part, you shouldn’t be anywhere near glass when you’re playing airsoft. There’s always the chance though, that when you’re unloading and testing your weapons in the car park you’ll accidentally hit your car window.
Make sure you only load up and plug in an airsoft gun to the battery when you’re at the firing range or on the battlefield. I’ve seen a few people crack their car windows by accidentally popping a few shots off.
What’s the difference between spring, gas, and electric powered guns?
Guns differ in accuracy, ammunition, performance, realism, and ease of use. Probably the most significant difference is in the way they’re powered, and you can choose between those powered by a spring, batteries, or gas.
A gas weapon has a gas propellant loaded in the magazine. The gas is released the moment you pull the trigger after which it launches the BB. These guns have a feature known as Blowback that gives the highest level of realism.
Beginners mostly use spring guns. Their slide must be cocked before every shot, so there’s quite a delay. These are the most durable since they have the least parts that could break. In most cases, they’re also quite cheap.
Electric guns work on batteries that power the motor. The most popular choice is AEG, a fully automatic gun. This type is simple to use and maintain, and it’s also easy to upgrade.
Which gun should I use?
The choice comes down to your skill level and budget. These weapons can be expensive, but you should also think about if they are for beginners, intermediates, or professionals.
If you’re a beginner, it’s best you go with a cheaper spring-loaded gun. People at the intermediate level can use gas-powered pistols that fire at higher FPS.
However, you are the only one that has the final say as there aren’t any regulations that determine what weapon you should use.
How are airsoft guns made?
The manufacturing process of most high-quality airsoft replicas can be quite complicated. The process usually involves making the actual gun before checking its quality. The guns then go for sub-assembly and then assembly.
Some brands assembly by hand while others use machines to do that. There are lots of ways of making an airsoft rifle or sniper. Most of them are made in similar factories in similar ways though.
Can an airsoft rifle break?
Most can be broken, but it depends on their overall quality. If it’s a more durable material, it will be harder for the pistol to break upon falling. Cheaper models aren’t as resistant and might break easily.
To be honest, most things can break. Airsofting guns have a lot of moving parts.
It’s much more common that the internal electrics or things like the barrel/hop system will break. The actual framework of the gun (The bits made of solid metal) are very hard to break.
It’s super common for BB pellets to get jammed in the mechanism, or for cheaper BB pellets to smash in the barrel and cause tiny fragments of plastic to jam up the hop system and mechanism. This can easily be fixed though, and most airsoft guns come with long thin tubes to remove these types of blockages.
What’s the average range of an airsoft gun?
Most weapons have an effective range of about 55 yards. There’s a slight difference depending on the type of your weapon and its quality.
Spring-loaded rifles can shoot up to 40 yards while electric shoot up to 70 yards. Most gas-powered models shoot up to 60 yards. This can MASSIVELY cary depending on the weather, conditions of the spring or battery, the hop system and how it’s set up and much more.
Average ranges are about the same though. Also, if you use certain BB pellets, that can make a big difference. There’s a golden ratio between the power of the gun and the weight of the BB pellet which determines what can fire the longest distance.
What’s the difference between automatic and semi-automatic?
The difference is in the frequency that the gun fires the BBs.
A semi-automatic will fire only ONCE, after which you’ll have to pull the trigger again. When you pull a trigger of a fully automatic, it continues to shoot BBs until you release it. This means basically that you can ‘spray and pray’ with automatic, but with semis you’ll need to aim much more accurately.
Once you’ve fired once, you’ll have been heard by the other players and they’ll know roughly where you are. This means before you fire a semi automatic, you should be fairly confident that you know you’re going to hit the target, and that you won’t be seen by any other players.
I’ve seen MANY people take a shot with a sniper, MISS the shot and then get lit up by a couple of players with fully automatic weapons that the sniper hadn’t noticed, to their side. So be careful. A semi automatic weapon is harder to use in a game, for those reasons.
Another difference is that a semi automatic weapon USUALLY can reach further. This isn’t always the case, for example with pistols, but for snipers it’s certainly true.
What are the numbers on my BBs?
These numbers tell you the weight of your BBs. All weight is measured in grams on all types of BBs and guns.
Every type of weapon uses a specific weight of BBs. Spring-loaded and other entry-level weapons use a .12g BB. It’s the lightest weight BB pellet available on the market.
Gas and electric guns use .20g BBs which is a medium weight. Only the highest grade electric and gas rifles use .25g BBs that are also the heaviest you could get. In general, the heavier the pellet, the further it will go, the more it will hurt, and the more powerful your gun needs to be.
Make sure to check the weight, and the weights that your gun is designed to handle. If you get it wrong, you could damage the gun, the BB pellets or both.
What are the best weather conditions for airsoft?
In most cases, the weather shouldn’t impact your game if you want to keep things as realistic as possible. Dry weather conditions are of course the easiest to play in, so choose a sunny day for shooting if you’re a beginner.
However, rain shouldn’t stop you either, especially if you’re no longer a beginner. A little bit of rain creates different conditions and can be quite a challenge if you’re up for it. It’s also more exciting when there’s bad weather. Snow airsoft days are super interesting too!
The only time you should avoid playing is in lightning storms.
These are the times you shouldn’t be outside at all, let alone shooting guns on a field. For this reason, most professional fields close their doors when it’s lighting anyway.
But, essentially, it’s your own decision as there are no weather conditions that are good or bad for playing airsoft.
Can I play in my backyard?
Not usually. Firing airsoft weapons anywhere but in a professional field, is considered dangerous.
Not only you could break a window or a car, but you could also injure an animal or a person passing by. You just don’t know what could happen. A pellet could bounce off something, and hit something you weren’t even aiming at.
Or your pet could run into the line of fire. Or you could damage someones property etc. It’s not worth the risk unless you have a MASSIVE area like a field or something, with no other people or buildings around for a mile or so.
It’s not safe, and it’s also not allowed in some countries. Most states forbid firing and discharging any type of firearm in public. This is only allowed when it’s supervised by the competent authority and done in a specially marked and certified place such as an airsoft field.
How to transport an airsoft gun legally?
Unsurprisingly, there are law regulations about this as well. In most countries, you have to carry your replica as if it was a REAL weapon.
It has to be out of sight, so the case you carry it in can’t be translucent. It also has to be protected from potentially firing if dropped or banged on a wall, for example.
You probably won’t have to own an actual gun safe, but you have to make sure that nobody can see or steal your replica. So essentially, you’ll need a black, NON see through carrying case with padding and ideally straps to secure it to something solid in your car.
It’s best you check the law in your country just so you’re sure what are the regulations you have to follow. This way, you’re sure that you’re not breaking any law when going to or from the field.
Can kids play airsoft?
Most fields allow children to play only if they’re older than ten years, in which case a parent or a legal guardian must sign a waiver before they can play. All kids younger than that aren’t allowed or recommended to participate in the game.
It’s also recommended for at least one parent or legal guardian to be present each time their kid is on the field, but that’s not always required.
Do make sure that your child carries the signed wavier at all times. It’s highly possible that people working in the field will want to look at it each time before the child checks in.
Learn more about airsofting
I’ve written a lot more posts about airsofting, which you should read if you’re thinking about getting into this action packed hobby:
- How to be a better airsofter: 26+ pro tips and tricks to help you enjoy the game more and get more out of it
- Airsofting VS paintball: Some people are unsure of the difference between airsofting and paintballing. You might be much better suited to paintballing, so read that post!
- The best electric airsoft rifles: A comparison of the best airsoft rifles that you can buy online in 2019
- The best airsoft snipers: The best airsoft snipers compared, and explained, because it’s a bit more complicated buying a sniper (More things to consider)
- Mistakes airsofters keep making: Some common mistakes that airsofters often make, and how you can avoid them to enjoy the game more