With millions of enthusiasts around the world, airsoft is a popular sport in which participants eliminate one another by shooting opponents with guns that expel round non-metallic pellets. Airsoft guns can be powered by gas, electric gearboxes, or manually spring-loaded.
The sport of airsoft consists of three fundamental components:
- The participants
- The equipment
- The scenario/staging area
Practically anyone can enjoy airsoft. It doesn’t matter the age or gender, as long as participants follow the safety protocols and step onto the field with a good attitude anyone can participate.
You may be wondering what makes airsoft so appealing to so many different types of people? That’s simple; warfare has been a part of human history since antiquity. Over the centuries, mankind's fascination with war has led to the creation of war games and simulations. Airsoft falls into the category of “war simulation” where individuals emulate military scenarios and police actions with realistic replicas of real-life firearms. Keep in mind, that airsoft is a fun and physically demanding sport when performed in a designated area (such as an airsoft field). However, there have been individuals who chose to brandish their weapons as real firearms and were killed as a result. “Never” take your weapon into a public area no matter the circumstances.
These images illustrate how realistic some airsoft replicas can be:
Imagine if a police officer were to pull you over and one of these weapons were sitting in the passenger seat. Unless an individual were to examine your weapons closely, it’s safe to assume that they would think that it’s real. You don’t want to even consider the scenario of such an event.
As the owner of an airsoft gun, it’s your responsibility to use common, sense. Always treat your airsoft guns as if they were the real thing. Common sense dictates to NEVER point a loaded airsoft gun at another person, NEVER take your weapon into an environment where it can be mistaken for the real thing (such as a public area), ALWAYS engage the safety on your weapon when you’re not on an airsoft field, ALWAYS keep your weapon pointed at the ground unless you’re ready to engage a target. These rules don’t just apply to airsoft pistols and rifles, but also to grenades, mines, and rubber knives. Maintaining this type of mindset will help you to avoid misfires and will keep you and everyone around you safe.
Airsoft is a fun activity that’s available for everyone to participate. However, the rules must be observed for the safety of both yourself and everyone around you.
When it comes to airsoft, safety is the name of the game. There are many rules and guidelines in place to ensure that you’re as safe as possible while you’re out on the airsoft field. A large part of airsoft safety is the type of gear that you bring onto the field. With that being said, wearing a mask (such as the one below)
is absolutely vital. You can run around bare-chested if you’d like (not recommended), but it’s crucial that your eyes are protected at all times. Check out this mask for excellent protection for the face (insert image and link). Also, check out these goggles if you’re looking to just protect your eyes.
Before we go any further on the subject of safety let’s break down the safety ratings you’ll typically find in the world of airsoft:
- The ANSI z87.1-2003 rating denotes protection from a 6.35mm steel ball traveling at 150 fps
- The ASTM F-1776-99 rating denotes protection of at least 11.8 joules of impact (about the same as a .68 caliber, 2.84-gram paintball traveling at 300 fps).
There are many different weights for airsoft ammunition, but by far the most popular is arguably the .20g round. Let’s say, for example, that a .20g bb shot from a rifle travels at 300 fps. This will exert approximately 1J of force. If this bb were to strike your goggles or face mask, you would want something that would be able to take the hit. airsoft goggles that meet either the ANSI or ASTM requirements are more than enough to handle most rounds fired from airsoft guns.
There are many laws and regulations in place to ensure that airsoft guns are used in a safe and respectable manner. In most cases, these laws are common sense and simple to uphold. With that being said, here’s a list you should examine closely before engaging in actions that may get in trouble with the law concerning airsoft guns.
- As mentioned previously, you should always treat your airsoft equipment as if they were the real thing. It doesn’t matter if you’re handling a handgun, rifle, hand grenade or rubber knife always keep safety in mind. Your finger should be off the trigger and pointed away from other people with the safety engaged.
- To get your weapons from one place to another, you’re going to have to transport them discretely. When moving your airsoft equipment place them within a bag or discreet case. This will avoid bystanders (they have no clue whether your weapons are real or not). Also, make sure to keep your weapons unloaded at all times when traveling with your airsoft equipment.
- The moment the police become involved cease all activities. Slowly lower your weapons and raise your hands into the air and do whatever the officers tell you to do. Trying to hide your guns or lying about what you’re doing is a fantastic way to get yourself shot by the police
- When engaging in airsoft activities you should only play on private land. It’s highly illegal to engage in an airsoft game in a public location (such as a public park). That’s a sure fire way of getting the police called on you. No one wants to be rounded up by a SWAT team over a game.
- Never point your weapon at an unarmed individual (unless for self-defense purposes). In many states, shooting or merely pointing an airsoft rifle at an unarmed individual (not on an airsoft field) could be considered assault with a deadly weapon.
- Silencers that are not registered are illegal.
About Propane/Duster Gas
One of the classifications of airsoft guns is “gas powered” in which compressed gas is filtered into a gun. One of which is “Green Gas”. As a side note, the owner of the company Airsoft Innovations, Carl, made a discovery that changed that the game was played; “Green Gas” was advertised as having a chemical composition of CH2FCF3CH3, but Carl discovered that it was composed of C3H8, AKA propane.
Despite this discovery, there have been many who remain skeptical of the safe use of propane in airsoft guns. Propane is indeed flammable, but it’s completely safe to run through a gas powered airsoft gun. In its gaseous form, propane is non-toxic and only becomes lethal when it’s inhaled in large quantities (in which propane suffocates the victim by displacing the air in the lungs). Though this sounds dangerous, this can only happen if an individual were exclusively inhaling large doses of propane. Also, this is much more then what you would need to fire an airsoft gun.
Typically, propane will combust to form CO2 and H2O. However, this is not always the case. If there is a lack of oxygen, carbon monoxide, or oxide an incomplete combustion may take place. As an airsoft player, you shouldn’t have to worry about this happening. This type of situation shouldn’t occur in an airsoft setting.
There are two major dissimilarities concerning Airsoft “Green Gas” and commercial propane:
- Propane contains a harmless odor that alerts the user that there is a leak (“Green Gas” doesn’t have this feature)
- “Green Gas” contains a silicone lubricant that propane doesn’t
Because propane is a refrigerant, NOT adding silicone lubricant may cause the gas operated weapon to “dry out” which may lead to performance problems. To fix this problem, add silicone lubricant to the neck of propane bottles.
There are several reasons that propane is more appealing than “Green Gas”. For one, propane is far more readily available. Because of the weak canisters that they are housed in, “Green Gas” is illegal to transport through regular shipping. Propane is also very cheap. You can typically buy them at $3 per canister as opposed to paying $12 per canister for “Green Gas”. Propane is also easy to transport. Furthermore, some players prefer the smell of the leak detection odor as it simulates a gun smoke sell and helps to add realism to the game.
There are also “duster gas” adapters that further innovate the game. Simply attaching a duster gas adapter to a compressed gas canister that you’d use to clean your electronics will provide you with a viable substitute for HFC134A gas.
Airsoft Rules & Etiquette
In the realm of airsoft, rules and etiquette are king. Because airsoft rounds don’t leave a physical mark when it strikes its target, it’s expected that every player will abide by the “honor system” in which individuals are expected to call themselves out when they’re eliminated from the battle. In many cases, judges will be present to assist in this process.
The honor system is the lifeblood of the airsoft community. Plastic bbs don’t leave brightly covered marks on an opponent’s body like their paintball counterparts. Thus, it’s expected that every player will abide by the honor system at all times no matter where you play the game.
The honor system is rather simple: the moment you’re hit call yourself out and exit the field (unless otherwise directed). In many cases when players don’t call themselves out it may be because they didn’t feel the round hit them. Many players come equipped with heavy body armor that repels plastic bbs with ease. However, instead of screaming and arguing with someone over the subject, it’s best to keep shooting them until they call themselves out. That may sound cruel, but airsoft ammunition is cheap and overshooting a target is a better alternative to starting an argument that ruins the experience for everyone else!
If your opponent makes a habit of breaking the honor system, you should strongly consider banning that person from the game (and perhaps future activities as well). Airsoft is a game for honorable players who love having fun and who are honest. Breaking the honor system ruins the game for everyone.
You’ll find that rules vary depending on the scenario of the game as well as field to field. Despite this, there are a few rules that are mandatory no matter where you go or who you play with.
- Wear eye protection at all times. Eye protection isn’t a joke on the airsoft field. You should NEVER EVER go onto the field without eye protection. Furthermore, you should never remove your eye protection while engaging with other players. If you need to remove your eye protection for any reason while playing, raise your hand and let all other players know (in a loud voice) that you’ll be removing your eye protection.
- The honor system is non-negotiable. If you’re hit, call yourself out. Otherwise, you’ll just ruin the game for all of the other players. Also, due to the aggressive nature of the game, you may end up getting overshot or worse yet end up in a fistfight.
- Airsoft is all about honor and respect. Never trash talk your enemy with malicious intent. It’s one thing to engage in playful banter with your friends, but it’s another to bully a player for any number of reasons (gear, play style, etc.). Remember, airsoft is just a game. Don’t ruin the atmosphere by disrespecting your opponent.