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What is Airsoft?
Airsoft (or SoftAir) is a term applied to replica firearms that shoot plastic BBs. These products range anywhere from $10 clear plastic pistols you'll see at your local sporting goods store, to $1200 full scale/weight fully automatic training tools. They're all powered by air; some cycle a piston with a battery, some run on compressed air and gasses, while others manually cocked.
What do Airsoft Replicas Shoot?
Airsoft replica guns usually shoot 6mm or 8mm plastic BBs. BBs can range in weight from .12 grams up to .4 grams or even more, but the more commonly used weights in competition grade AEGs are .20 and .25. BBs also vary in their ability to bio-degrade.Most manufacturers are creating biodegradable BBs these days, we suggest using them in outdoor environments in the least.
How did it start?
Airsoft started in the 1970s in Japan where gun laws prohibited citizens from owning real firearms. It was later brought to America by BB gun manufacturer Daisey in the 1980s. The style of AEGs that most players use today weren't developed and made popular until the early and mid 1990s. Before that there was a mix and match of spring loaded and gas operated Airsoft guns, now known as Classics. Some classics today demand a pretty hefty price!
What is mil-sim?
Mil-sim or Military Simulation is all about military and tactical simulation. Much like civil war reenactors, we strive for a realistic wargame environment while keeping the activity as safe and professional as possible. Participants in Airsoft games try to replicate the load-out of a real operator as closely as they can. For most people, the realism is the most important aspect of the game.
How do you know you're hit?
The honor system. When you're hit, you know you're hit, so you call yourself hit. The game has never been much about direct competition, or about specific players and the amount of kills they got. Rather, Airsoft is about the objectives at hand during the specific operation or game. All teams and players understand the reason to be honorable on the field, and those who don't are quickly alienated from the game.
How does Airsoft compare to Paintball?
Airsoft is generally a different type of game. Airsoft is more geared toward reenacting and realism in the event. Airsoft players typically aim with iron sights, red dot scopes, or magnification scopes just as you would with a real weapon. Airsoft replicas also use "hop-up" which puts a backspin on the BB to allow it to fly strait for a further distance. It's not unheard of for a basic assault rifle replica to hit a target at 125 feet with no arch and some tuned sniping platforms can achieve this at 300 feet or more. This affords us the ability to have different roles in our scenarios like that of a sniper, squad support, and your basic rifleman.
You can also carry on your person all of the equipment that you would normally carry, instead of a hopper and pods you'll be loaded down with spare magazines. While there's arguments on either side as to which is better, it's really like comparing apples to oranges. In our eyes, Paintball is more like a sport while Airsoft is more like a hobby.
Is it safe?
There are many safety concerns to keep in mind before purchasing Airsoft equipment or participating in Airsoft gaming. Above all else, the most important rule being that you always wear ANSI Z87.1 standard or better safety eye protection when playing Airsoft or operating an Airsoft replica gun. To see a more complete set of rules, please visit our Airsoft safety rules page.
Should I allow my child to play Airsoft?
We often receive e-mails from concerned parents who want to know more about Airsoft and whether or not buyingan Airsoft replica for their child is a wise decision. Our answer to this question directly relates to how much time you have as a parent to regulate your child's participation in the activity. If your child is under 16 and you have absolutely no interest in Airsoft yourself, you might think twice about purchasing a realistic looking weapon replica for your child. We advise parents of younger teens and pre-teens to participate in Airsoft with their children and find out what it's all about.
If you have a child over 16 who demonstrates responsibility in his or her actions and truly wants to pursue Airsoft as a hobby, we advise you see that he or she gets involved in a team and attends organized events. Accidents happen when Airsoft replicas are used outside of organized competitions and games where they aren't supervised.
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