Airsoft Rules & Etiquette

Playing Airsoft Gun Games: Rules and Etiquette


What is airsoft gaming?

The sport of Airsoft originates in Japan and spread to the UK in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Participants use an airsoft gun to eliminate their opponents by hitting each player with spherical non-metallic pellets. A pellet does not mark its target and relies on an honor system as part of the sport. When a player is hit, the person is expected to call himself out even if no one witnessed the hit.

Airsoft Gameplay Arenas, Types and Styles Vary

Airsoft is played on an indoor course or an outdoor field course. There are many airsoft game types and styles made up of many scenarios. Combat strategies may involve military tactics and tactical gear equipment and accessories emulating those used by modern military and law enforcement agencies. Scenarios can range from simple to very complex combat gameplay strategies, ranging from short-term battles to longer scenarios. New game types are emerging often, but there are popularly played course and field games.

Airsoft Rules – Keep it Legal

Whether you are playing on an indoor course, outdoor field, on public property or on a friend’s private property it is important to make sure you are following local laws.

  • Airsoft Skirmish – Is it legal to host on the property? It is not enough to ask for permission from the property owner. Due diligence is required to be positive no laws will be broken. Contact the local police department to check local statutes.

  • For safety reasons laws may have a set firepower limit to prevent BBs from breaking skin or causing a death. Depending on the venue, normal limits are set to around 300 – 450 FPS. Airsoft facilities also have this information available.

  • An airsoft gun should always be transported in a proper case when transported in public.

  • The orange safety tip should never be removed from the airsoft gun.


What is the most commonly played Airsoft game?

TDM (Team Death Match) – Noted as one of the most commonly played – two teams are made up of specific roles and gameplay lasts until one of the team’s players are all eliminated.

Additional Gameplay Types

  • C.Q.B. or C.Q.C (Close Quarters Battle/Combat)

  • Military Simulations (MilSim)

  • Commando Raid

  • Officers

  • Special Forces


  • Historical Reenactments

  • Fort Wars

  • Escort / President

  • Trouble in Terrorist Town

  • Bomb

  • Police Shootout / Cops and Robbers

  • Prison Break

  • Manhunt

  • Turf Wars

  • Traitors

  • Hostage Rescue

  • Sniper

  • Medic

  • CTF (Capture the Flag)

  • Zombie

  • King of the Hill

  • Fortress

  • Save One Bullet

  • Risk

  • Ambush

  • Demolitions

Airsoft Gameplay Roles

There are many gameplay roles throughout the Airsoft sport. Standard roles commonly used in strategies are:

Runner – Designated role preset before gameplay, but a runner must make it through the entire course without getting hit.

Protector – Is heavily armed to aid in protecting the team.

Soldier – Armed with full ammo.

Sniper / Specialist – Snipers need to be knowledgeable of their surroundings and be effective stalkers. Snipers must be masters of camouflage and have speed, patience and stealth to take down an enemy. The most common weapon a sniper uses is a bolt-action spring rifle and some wear ghille camouflage suits.

Communicators (Team Referees) – Is a gameplay narrator that transmits enemy position and hits to the team.

Game Referee – Responsibility is to ensure game rules are adhered to by the game-players.

Medic – The medic is unarmed or may be armed with a pistol, but has no extra ammunition on him at any time and must be protected by the team at all times. If the medic is hit he is down, and out of the game. He cannot be healed and put back into play. A medic may be allowed, or not to use their weapon in self-defense. This rule is set as before the start of gameplay. The medic is notified a game-player is down and rushes to “heal” the downed player to put him back into gameplay.

There are new game types strategies created often and while the role names are common, the responsibilities are many and can be vastly different depending on the game and its objective.

Airsoft Game Etiquette Is a Must

If you are new to airsoft gameplay, there are common courtesy etiquette rules to follow that may not seem so common for the beginner. It is important to know players expectations going in to help prevent rookie mistakes. There are two main types of etiquette, game-day etiquette and in-game etiquette.

Game Day Etiquette

Game-day etiquette is the preparation to step out onto the field to play.

  1. Read the team’s Rules of Engagement (ROE) for the game you plan to participate in. While most teams have similar rules there could be additions to or variations of general rules, or special game day rules for typical scenarios. A player being familiar with all the rules is an expectation.

  2. Be on time, if not early to be prepared to start the game at the set time. All preparation needs to be completed, no one will appreciate waiting for you to arrive or load the mags into your airsoft gun.

Gameplay Etiquette

  1. It is very important to follow all the rules in place for the game of the day.

  2. Set Spawn Time – a preset wait time to re-enter the game.

  3. Ammo limits may exist, if so follow them. Load out restriction limits have been set up to balance gameplay.

  4. Be courteous when taking a shot. Consider how far the target is and aim for an appropriate spot. A center mass shot is the best shot, and a head shot is strongly discouraged.

  5. Keep in mind, airsoft is a team play game. Do not try and be the one to take on the entire opponent team; it could land you back at re-spawn waiting to get back into gameplay.

  6. If asked to hold a player’s gun, be courteous. It is not an invitation to pass it around to other players.

  7. If a player has the drop on you and asks you to surrender, do it even if it is not a set rule to do so. The player is being courteous by not shooting you at point-blank range.

  8. Follow and do not abuse surrender rules. Be sure you have your prey dead-to-rights.

  9. Are there new players? Offer to mix up the teams to make it a more balanced gameplay.

  10. Put your gun into its bag when not in play. Others can become uncomfortable with a realistic gun in view. It can also prompt a phone call to the local law enforcement by those who are not aware you have a non-lethal and legal airsoft gun. Not only is this a good practice, but protects your equipment from damage and is good etiquette too.

Gameplay Tips

  1. Red Bandana – Used to indicate you have been hit, or when out of gameplay and when walking on and off the field. Always carry one with you.

  2. Locate a veteran game player and find out their strategies of play. Use the information to your gameplay strategy advantage.

  3. Leading By Example – Follow rules, use common courtesy and remember there are new players looking to follow your example.

  4. Do Not Criticize – A player is using gear best suited for their gameplay style.

  5. Admins Are the Decision Makers – not all admins will make fair calls all the time, but they have the final call. Accept their decisions.

  6. Respect – Gameplay “smack talk” happens on the field. Leave it there when off the field, be polite and friendly.

  7. Questions – If you have questions about a player’s gear, ask them. Most players are proud of their gear and happy to talk about it.

  8. That Guy – On occasion a field has the guy who does not adhere to the set rules, acts a bit obnoxious or does not follow etiquette rules. Be respectful and do not be that guy.

  9. Have Fun – It is why you are there. Enjoy it.

Airsoft gaming has different rules, but all have basic rules in common and no nonsense etiquette rules. Knowing and playing by these rules, showing common courtesy and respect of the gamers will get you an invitation to the next gameplay day.