What is Airsoft?

How to play

How expensive is Airsoft?


Legal Status

Why play Airsoft?

Does it hurt?


A pile of airsoft replica guns

What is Airsoft?

Airsoft is an active, mostly outdoor sport played with replicas of real firearms, which shoot 6 mm round plastic BBs. This sport exists primarily for 2 purposes: to collect replica firearms and to employ tactics and show your skills on the playing field. A lot of game variants exist, all of which involve shooting opponents. .It is important to note that airsoft replicas are not the same as air rifles.

How is it played?

"Imagine you are in the middle of a forest on a nice summer day. Except you are not hiking. You wear camouflage and military gear and grasp a replica assault rifle in your hands. It is quiet and you slowly advance forward, trying to avoid stepping on twigs. You are on point, and a squad of 5 other players follow you towards an objective. You are looking for a stash of ammunition, but so are 8 other teams. You feel like danger can be around every bush..
All of the suden, your eyes gravitate towards movement, you definitely saw a head about 200 feet in front of you. With a hand motion your signal your squad to stop and point towards the enemy. They understand.
Keeping a low profile, you slowly advance forward and take position behind a mighty tree. Seconds stretch as you hastily conceal yourself.
By now the enemy squad has advanced closer and stopped mere 70 feet away from you, yet they are unaware of your presence. Your heart begins to beat faster and adrenaline begins to surge. You  can feel your heartbeat just by holding your weapon.
Peeking around the tree you identify the enemy squad leader - you saw him at the mission briefing. The opponents wait for his directions. He stops his squad and advances even closer to you. He begins to peer in the direction of your squad. Time slows down again as thoughts begin to race through your head - "engage or let him go?" The enemy is mere 40 feet away now and you decide to engage. Slowly you raise your gun and let a burst out. The enemy squad leader is caught by surprise as he's hit in the chest by a shower of BBs. "Hit" - he yells and the previously serene forest now is full of  thumping and whirring of replica weaponry as your squad unleashes a volley of BBs at your opponents.
As your teammates supress the enemy squad, you withdraw from the front line. Your teammates follow. Together you share a few laughs over a well executed ambush and proceed towards your objective."

The above is an example of an airsoft patrol game with 9 teams attempting to search for two ammo boxes hidden on the field. The event is a combination of squad tactics and stealth.

The game is played mostly in woodland setting, but other varieties also exist. Players split into teams and proceed to engage each other with replica firearms at ranges of 20-300 feet. Based on your budget and age, there are several distinct varieties of airsoft which you can participate in :
Small backyard games
Regular skirmishes, as in the example described above
Organized scenario games
and Military Simulation (MilSim) scenarios

Be sure to check out these airsoft videos on youtube to get a feeling of how the game is played.

How expensive is playing Airsoft?

Airsoft is an expensive sport with steep upfront costs (at least for a college student). A lot of equipment involved in the sport is imported with shipping and customs fees adding up to the costs.  In the recent years, a variety of chineese manufacturers started to produce affordable AEGs, comparable in quality to the more upscale models. Buying a 120$ gun to check out if the game is for you is a lot more appealing than spending 300$ on a similar gun.
This website attempts to demonstrate that through effective budgeting and having a clear direction on the kind of gear you may want to use, you will get a lot more for your buck. Please consult the links at the top navigational bar for a more detailed breakdown of costs involved in playing Airsoft.

Is it safe?

As any sport, airsoft is only as safe as the players make it. The good news are - reckless behavior is corrected quickly and a variety of safety measures are in place to prevent injuries. Statistically, serious accidents are rare, and you will have to sign a waiver detailing the kinds of accidents that may occur, and says that other players may shoot you. Here are some safety highlights:
  • Safety equipment (goggles, masks, head wraps and gloves) are available to protect your most exposed body parts from BBs.
  •  All legitimate or insured fields enforce a limit on kinetic energy of the projectiles used in skirmishes 
  • Games are governed by rules of engagement which include a significant focus on safety

Is Airsoft legal?

For the legal status of airsoft, consult the wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_issues_in_airsoft#United_States

  • Airsoft is a sport played on privaty property with all players providing consent, signing waivers and medical release forms. 
  • Thousands of people around the world enjoy playing airsoft
  • The biggest risk involved is - an airsoft weapon being mistaken for a real one. There are tips available to minimize this risk
  • Do not shoot passerbys or animals to avoid getting in trouble.

Why play airsoft?

Starting to play airsoft involves some money and a learning curve. Why bother with this?
  • Airsoft is fun. Many kids play "war" or "cowboys and indians" with their friends. Airsoft is an opportunity to have similar experiences as an adult. 
  • It is sport revolving around community - there are many opportunities to find friends from diverse set of backgrounds and ages. 
  • Airsoft revolves around values such as honor, integrity and teamwork. The honor system is in place at all games 
  • Airsoft is a very active sport which helps you quickly get in shape and tone your body. After your first game, you will feel sore all over your body with some muscles that you did not even suspect existed. After a few games you will find it easier to play and have enough endurance for a whole day of games.
  • It is an opportunity to get outside your home to enjoy fresh air and outdoor exercise
  • If your kids play airsoft, it is an opportunity to bond with them by sharing a common interest. There are  plenty of teenagers playing airsoft alongside their fathers. 
  • It is an exciting opportunity to collect replica firearms, gear and learn about infantry tactics.

Does it hurt to play?

Being shot with airsoft weaponry stings, but the pain doesn't last long. The impact is blunt and rarely penetrates skin. Clothing softens the impact significantly and face masks protect your most sensitive areas. It is possible to get a few minor welts from close quarters shootouts, but these heal in a matter of days. Shots to the exposed areas of the face heal within 3 weeks and give you a reason to brag about your manly experiences : )  

Consider the following table comparing the muzzle kinetic energy of an airsoft projectile compared to other projectiles out there. 
Gun Muzzle kinetic energy
Airsoft gun @ 400 FPS with 0.2g 6mm plastic BB  1.8 Joules
Air Rifle @ 950 FPS with .22 Caliber lead BB  24 Joules
9mm Glock18 Handgun 440 Joules
5.56mm M16 assault rifle 1700 Joules
7.62mm AK47 assault rifle 2000 Joules