Airsoft. Maybe you’ve heard about it, maybe you haven’t. The short version is this: Airsoft was created in Japan, quickly spread Europe, and slowly found its way to North America. But now it’s exploding, and in a few years (probably less), Airsoft will be a household name.
What is Airsoft?
Airsoft can be a game, a sport, or just sitting in the back yard with some friends. Technically, Airsoft guns are toys, according to U.S. Customs. Other groups classify it as a weapon powered by compressed air. There are still debates about the definition, and it probably won’t be resolved anytime soon. Either way, it belongs in a category called “Shooting Sports,” which also houses sub-categories like Archery, Paintball, and Skeet Shooting; there are certainly more sub-categories, but we don’t need to name them here.
So, according to the Federal Government, Airsoft Guns are toy guns. They look real, and that’s why people like them; people are fascinated with guns (who knows why). They shoot a little plastic BB. The BBs are the same diameter (6mm), but there are different weights available: 0.12gram (usually used with spring pistols and rifles), 0.20gram/0.25gram that stabilize better in flight and provide better accuracy, and then there BBs that weigh more than 0.25grams, for the most powerful Airsoft guns.
Is Airsoft Dangerous?
Yes and no, but it’s not a simple “yes or no” answer. Airsoft guns are toys, and by nature, toys aren’t meant to cause any real damage or harm, they’re supposed to be fun. And Airsoft is incredibly fun, in the right environment. And that’s the real key, it has to be in the right environment. That means that Airsoft guns can’t be brought to public places, like schools or malls, because a) it’s illegal in every state, and b) that could just scare people, and especially now, no one wants that.
There is also a definite need for safety gear, especially for the eyes. Always wear safety glasses! Other protection for the face is great for those who want to wear it, but we cannot emphasize this enough, ALWAYS PROTECT YOUR EYES. Also, don’t be careless with an Airsoft gun . Don’t shoot people standing less than 15 feet away, because it will probably hurt more than it should. You won’t do serious damage physically, but they will feel it, and more than likely, they won’t be happy about it. This is especially true if you’re playing in a game; where a code of conduct applies. These things should be explained to you before the game begins, and you would be wise to follow the instructions carefully, otherwise you may not be invited back.
So why would I want to play Airsoft? Or why should I let my child play?
Before we answer that question, We should point out that there are local laws that need to be followed involving Airsoft. Some cities do not allow it, period. In some locales, you must be 18 to play, and some areas you need to be 18 to purchase an Airsoft gun, but you can play if you’re under 18. So, please check with your local police or sheriff’s department, and they’ll be happy to tell you how the law reads in your area. They’ll also be glad you called, because it shows that you care about your kids and your community, and everyone appreciates that.
Back to the original question:
Why would you want to play?
There could be a lot of reasons, actually. Maybe you used to be in the military, or knew someone who was, and you want to get a feeling for what it was like. That’s called Military Simulation (MilSim), and it’s pretty popular with people who play Airsoft. They lay out strategies and set goals where everyone has a particular job (or function), and then you go up against another team, functioning in the same way. It teaches responsibility, teamwork, and trust (in other people, as well as yourself), not to mention gun safety. It will also get you out of the house and put you through some challenging physical tests, which, if nothing else, counts as a really good cardiac workout.
Other people play games very similar to the games people play in Paintball (capture the flag, rabbit, etc). Some people play once a month, once a week, or once a year. It will depend on how much you enjoy it, but you get a lot of the same benefits as above, so it’s certainly worth doing.