Is there a minimum age in airsoft?
Having kids or if you are a kid, you may ponder about age requirements in airsoft. But if there was, how old do you have to be to play airsoft?
Though technically airsoft guns are not firearms, so in theory, any age is suitable to play airsoft. With that being said, to play at an airsoft field the recommended age is 12. If you live in Sweden or Norway, then legally you need to be at least 18 years old to purchase any Airsoft gun. Elsewhere in the world, there are few restrictions. In most cases you can skirmish with your buddies on the field, that's if the local airsoft field permits it.
But what does this mean? You're under 18, unable to buy an airsoft gun but allowed to play airsoft? Confusing right? Imagine being told it's illegal to buy a car if you're not at least 18 years old, but you can get a driving license at 16 in the US. To truly find out the answer to 'is there a minimum age in airsoft?' we have to check the legal issues in airsoft. Fear not we at Redwolf will show you the way!
To play airsoft in the U.S, there's no minimum age required. The reason being is that airsoft guns are not classified as firearms. If they are not doing anything illegal, anyone can have an airsoft replica or gear. In this modern-day and age, it is a modern shooting sport in all states. Airsoft gear and airsoft guns are legal in many countries. For example, California explicitly states that people of all ages can play airsoft. However, if your under 18 most California airsoft fields require a signed waiver from your parents. With other airsoft fields, this is the case, not just California.
Isn't it strange that a 15-year-old unable to purchases an airsoft gun but allowed to shoot one? We need to understand gun laws and how it applies to airsoft guns. Airsoft guns are subject to regulations of both state and federal laws, just like any other potentially lethal weapons. So you don't have to fill any paperwork like a real gun. It's as easy as pie, to walk into any airsoft store and purchase an airsoft gun.
With that being said some laws restrict purchasing, transportation, or even storage of airsoft weapons. Being a bit of a restrictive law, this is because airsoft guns can shoot projectiles regardless of being seen as a toy. Airsoft guns appearances resemble very much like a real firearm and may lead to unfortunate outcomes.
There are many stories in the US where a teenager was shot to death by the law after they brandished what looked like a real gun. In most cases, the weapon recovered from the body turned out to be an airsoft gun with a suppressor attachment and no legally required orange barrel tip to warn police that it was an Airsoft gun.
This is the main reason why the law sets an age limit for buying airsoft guns but allows kids to participate in airsoft. Kids as young as three years old won't be on the airsoft field, so there must be a minimum age, right?
In reality, there actually is a recommended legal age for playing, that is 12 years old. So why 12 and not 15 you may wonder?
A 12-year-old doesn’t want to be labeled as a preteen according to human development experts. Emulating older teens and young adults, it is during this stage that they want to prove they can be responsible. This means being critical of themselves and their appearance, they'll more likely to exercise responsibility in life. Every now and then there are exceptions, like the case mentioned above with teenagers being shot by officers.
Any 12-year-old can play airsoft safely and educate themself with the right parental supervision. So buying a replica and gear for your 16-year-old son or daughter is not breaking the law. But you'll have to sign a waiver every time they go out skirmishing, keep that in mind!
Safety checklist for playing airsoft?
To make sure you or your kids are safe we have devised a safety checklist for playing airsoft. This will ensure safety and keeps everyone as safe as they can be on the field.
1. Protective gear worn at all times
Whenever your child or yourself is on the field make sure your protective gear is on and securely fastened. Just wearing eye protection can be ok for an adult, but if they are kids then they need more. For maximum protection, we suggest wearing a face-mask and eye protection together just in case. There are face masks with built-in eye pro or the mesh ones which require an additional eye pro. Whichever style you chose is perfectly fine as they do a great job in protecting your face. Face masks also prevent their teeth from getting knocked out or busted lips.
Wearing only a long sleeve shirt and gloves is adequate, and should protect you most of the time. It can sting if you're running around the field with your hands exposed and shot at! That's why the gloves are there to protect them but can limit weapon manipulation depending on the style of the glove. For additional protection to the body, you can opt for body armor such as a plate carrier, elbow, and knee pads! If you play at close range indoors, then the more protection the better.
2. Obeying and understanding the rules
To keep yourself or your kid safe out there it's a good idea to learn the rules of the airsoft field. Just equipping safety gear is not enough! It is also important to teach them safe-engagement distances. Engaging at a distance of 15 feet or more to avoid accidents or injuries is what most airsoft fields allow. If it's less than that, then just tell them to shout 'bang bang' or 'bingo' instead of shooting someone that close.
Learning common signals to communicate with other players on the field is quite important! To avoid being shot multiple times, these signals let others know that they're out. Holding your gun above your head and yelling 'I'm out!' should be enough to let the opposition know.
Selecting the first airsoft gun for a kid
Finding an airsoft gun for an adult is slightly different from selecting a replica for kids. Shopping for an airsoft gun for your kid there are a few things to keep in mind.
Not all airsoft guns are small, so you have to consider the physical size of your child. If it's too big or heavy then that's going to have a big impact if it's difficult to manipulate in the field. So, don't give in to little Jim Bob if he is asking for that shell ejecting sniper rifle or an M1919! Those with a small frame should avoid using big guns, so something like a pistol or submachine would be more suitable. Be honest to yourself, how mature is your kid? Think about if there's a chance they might take it to school to show off or pretend airsoft replicas are real. If there's a chance they might, then you shouldn't get something that looks like the real deal. To avoid being mistaken for the real thing, there are transparent or colored airsoft guns.
The location of where they will skirmish is a factor to consider. If it's close to public areas or a dedicated airsoft field it's best to get transparent or colored airsoft guns. Just be sure the orange tip is securely fitted in, as it's the only way to know it's a toy.
That's all there is really, we hope this article gives you an insight into the minimum age to play airsoft. As well as a handy checklist to keep your little one safe whilst pew pewing! But is there an age limit for participating in airsoft fields? No, not really! If you're fit and able to move without issues then you should be able to keep up with the younger players.
Keep in mind, some fields do have a maximum age limit, as well as other requirements such as existing medical conditions. This isn't to give you a hard time, it's to protect you and everyone else in the field. To be honest it's very difficult to get denied admission to your local airsoft field!
If you're within the minimum age limit, you can skirmish as much as you like. But taking the kids out for a weekend skirmish, be sure they understand the rules. Understanding simple things like the etiquette of handling airsoft guns to avoid mistakes that can lead to injuries.
Have fun out there and stay safe! There's not much else to it once you get a grasp of all this information. The most important is to have a safety mindset and enjoy the sport in a healthy and positve manner.