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NEED HELP CHOOSING A GUN?
If you are just venturing into the world of airsoft, choosing your first airsoft gun is the first big decision that you'll need to make.
We distill through thousands of Airsoft guns to highlight the absolute best ones you can buy today, regardless of platform or model.
Looking for a good pistol or handgun to start your airsoft adventure? We recommend a few that you should consider. Read our blog too.
An airsoft rifle is the staple of any loadout before you join an actual skirmish. Check our top picks and read our updated blog post.
Our top picks of the best airsoft shotguns including pump action spring, gas powered, CO2 powered, & electric powered shotguns.
Want to play sniper and need to get your hands on the most accurate and long range sniper rifle? Watch this video for our picks, and read our updated blog too.
FOLLOW US TO LEARN MORE ABOUT AIRSOFT
What Is An Airsoft Gun?
Airsoft guns serve similar purposes as a paintball gun, specifically for gaming purposes with friends. But while paintball guns do not look like real guns and are called markers, Airsoft guns are intentionally made to look exactly like a real gun, despite firing non-lethal and non-marking 6mm round plastic BBs. Airsoft guns were invented in the 1970s in Japan as a way for enthusiasts to play realistic wargames, with faithfully replicated models appealing to collectors. Airsoft guns look very real and replicate the overall appearance and function of their real counterparts to satisfy the players fantasy of operating a real gun. Airsoft guns look so real that some countries classify Airsoft guns as Real Imitation Firearms or Replicas, which is strictly regulated and may require a license to own. Apart from their gaming and fantasy appeal, Airsoft guns are also widely used by movie companies. They are also very popular as training weapons for military and police, because they are identical in appearance, size, and function. Airsoft guns are available in almost every popular real gun model.
Airsoft guns are generally made of plastic and metal, and are powered by a spring that is manually or electronically actuated, compressed gas or high-pressure air. Airsoft is a healthy sport that promotes fun, teamwork, tactics, and excitement. Airsoft has officially sanctioned Airsoft events throughout the world with established teams and league play. Airsoft is also recognized by International Practical Shooting Competition (IPSC) as a competitive sport, and is also popular just for casual plinking.
What Age Is Appropriate For Airsoft?
Airsoft is enjoyed by people of all ages, with a range of Airsoft guns that cater to different roles and player abilities. Twelve years old is usually the minimum age to play at airsoft fields, but children can start earlier with proper adult supervision, or if they can understand and adhere to muzzle discipline and avoid pointing an airsoft gun at anybody without their consent. Many younger players graduate from playing Nerf once they can handle more range and accuracy. Airsoft is quite safe when played properly with the correct protective equipment, most importantly for the eyes. A full face mask is recommended to protect against chipping teeth should a BB inadvertently hit someone in the mouth. Read more aboutHow old to play airsoft: a guide for parents and kids.
What Do Airsoft Guns Shoot?
Airsoft guns shoot 6mm round plastic BBs. They are very light and range from 0.2g to 0.5g in weight. Lower power airsoft guns generally shoot 0.2g or 0.25g BBs, while more power and upgraded airsoft guns can shoot heavier weights over 0.3g. Heavier BBs will be less affected by wind, and will be more accurate. Airsoft BBs are available in regular plastic, bio-degradable materials, and a special glow-in-the-dark material called tracer BBs. Tracer BBs must be used together with a tracer unit, that resembles a suppressor. It is screwed onto the threaded barrel of an airsoft gun, and exposes any BB traveling through it to a strong flash of light. Tracer BBs will absorb this light and glow in the dark as they leave the barrel and fly towards the target. When fired in full auto, tracer BBs can look like a laser beam.
Airsoft BBs should never be reused since they may deform or crack after being fired once. Reusing an old BB may cause damage to your airsoft gun. Airsoft BBs also come in many different quality grades. Don’t be tempted to buy cheap BBs because they may not be balanced due to manufacturing defects and quality control issues. This leads to inaccuracies or even barrel jams that can be very costly and even destroy your airsoft gun. High quality BBs will help you enjoy the maximum performance that your airsoft gun can offer, while giving you peace of mind that you won’t jam your gun and destroy internal components.
Why Do Airsoft Guns Look Like Real Guns?
Yes, Airsoft guns are legal in most countries but the laws regulating them can vary. Airsoft is outright banned in a few countries including Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, and China for example. In New Zealand, you need a permit to import. In the UK, you need to be a member of the UKARA association to own a replica in its original form, or else you need to have it 50% painted in bright bold colors. It is completely legal in most countries within the EU and the United States, although the US and Italy require a permanently affixed orange to differentiate them from real guns.
California residents require additional blue tape affixed to a combination of the grip, trigger guard, stock and magazine. Many countries also impose maximum power limits on airsoft guns, including Japan and Korea where they are completely legal but heavily regulated. US residents can read our article on Airsoft gun Laws by State.
Are Airsoft Guns Legal?
The concept of airsoft guns was invented in Japan in the 1970s to satisfy the fantasies and desires of gun lovers who could not easily purchase a real gun. This is true in many countries outside the United States, where personal gun ownership is strictly controlled or banned. Playing airsoft games with realistic airsoft guns adds a lot to the experience. As the airsoft hobby grew to different parts of the world in the late 1990s, manufacturers started making more replicas of different real gun models, including many that are restricted to law enforcement use and not available to the regular US citizen. Airsoft is all about realism, and manufacturers strive to make their guns look and function in exactly the same way as a real gun. Gas blowback pistols (GBB) and gas blowback rifles are the most realistic category of airsoft guns available, and many field strip just like their real counterparts. Read our guide of the Best Gas Airsoft Guns.
For the very reason that airsoft guns look very realistic, great care should be taken never to use or display them in public in ways that may threaten others. A police officer will not be able to tell the difference between a real gun and airsoft gun, even from very close range. In fact, airsoft guns are often indistinguishable from real guns even after you pick them up in your hand. Police may shoot to injure or kill anyone they believe is holding a real gun and causing a threat to public safety. So please be careful and enjoy airsoft in private fields, your home, or other officially approved sites. Do not ever point or shoot an airsoft gun at anyone unless they specifically approve of you doing so in a gaming environment.