Airsoft History

War with bullets, 6mm bullets...

Airsoft gun (also known as BB guns) are faithful replicas of weapons usually 1:1 scale, firing plastic BBs with a diameter of 6mm. Fun with that replicsa took the name - Airsoft.

Airsoft Law


Set of Laws was developed to standardize the basic principles of airsoft, yet functioning as an unwritten code of honor of his fans. It is not in conflict with general law and is subordinated to the ordinary law.





Airsoft is primarily a recreational activity where replica firearms shooting plastic rounds are used for personal collection, gaming (similar to Paintball), or professional training purposes (Military Simulations, a.k.a. MilSim, and Police training exercises). A primary difference between airsoft firearms and BB guns is that airsoft uses 6mm or 8mm plastic pellets and have muzzle velocities of typically less than 180 metres per second (600 feet), which is generally considered safe when used in a controlled environment, while BB guns utilize metal ammunition and shoot at higher velocities (120-365+ MPS) (400-1200 feet), making them unsuitable for gaming and training purposes. Another distinguishing factor between BB guns and airsoft guns is that the latter generally uses hop-up (back-spin on the BB) to increase their effective range, since the lower muzzle velocity of these guns shortens their shooting distance. Airsoft games vary greatly in style and composition depending on location, budget, and the quantity of participants but often range from short-term skirmishes and organized scenarios to military simulations and historical reenactments. Combat situations on the battlefield mainly involve the use of common military tactics to achieve the objectives set in each game. Participants typically use varying types of airsoft weaponry along with either real or replica military gear and uniforms.

In the 1980s, Japan made it illegal to own a firearm, though there was a large interest in them. Because of this interest, manufacturers started to produce spring-powered replicas of real guns. These guns fired several calibers of plastic or rubber BBs, but were eventually standardized into 6mm and 8mm sizes. The early spring powered weapons then morphed into gas and battery powered ones, using a variety of systems. The hobby then migrated to North America in the mid 1990s. This is due in large part to the addition of many new AEG (Airsoft Electric Gun) manufacturers in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, as well as many others. Airsoft has also been adopted for training purposes for both military and police units (more often police units).

Airsoft player picture

   Airsoft player



Honor System

Airsoft play employs an honor system whereby the players rely on each others' honesty to admit to being hit, because unlike paintballs, airsoft pellets do not leave visible marks on clothing. The effect of a marking bb on the honor system is an addition to the game but does not remove "honor" from the game as it still remains with the player to choose whether or not to call his or her hits. Instead, it simply allows for verification when the need arises. For instance, depending on the muzzle velocity of the gun and distance from the shooter, the targeted player may not feel the impact.
Players are discouraged from calling out hits on an opponent - instead players are expected to signal a marshal to judge how effectively they have hit their opponent. Simulated 'knife kills' can, at the venue's discretion, be recognized when a player touches or taps an unaware opponent. This prevents the player being forced to shoot him or her at point-blank range. Some sites will allow players to use training knives made out of rubber, plastic or occasionally non-bladed metal to perform a 'knife kill' as long as they do not use violent stabbing or cutting movements. Similarly, a 'courtesy kill' occurs when a player refrains from shooting an opponent at close range while enforcing that opponent's surrender, instead of risking injury. Players are usually prohibited from blindfiring when not able to see their target, especially around corners. In some instances, players do not call out hits they have sustained as a result of this "blind fire". Players are expected to avoid the shooting of an opponent who has already admitted to being hit. Harsh language and forceful physical contact between players is strongly discouraged and even penalized. Players are expected to resolve disputes politely. All airsoft players are expected to acknowledge being hit, even if they are in doubt, by shouting "HIT!" loudly, and raising their hand or gun high and/or displaying a 'hit indicator' or dead rag while walking back to the safe zone. Paintball style "speedball" games may include hit markers. A hit indicator can be either a bright-colored cloth during daytime or a blinker, glow stick or mini-flashlight when playing in dim light or darkness.


Airsoft guns

The guns used in airsoft are typically replicas of real firearms, except that they have a mechanism for pushing out projectiles 6 mm or 8 mm in diameter. Airsoft guns are classified according to their operating principle which can be spring, electric, or gas-powered. An airsoft gun is selected according to the level of performance (battery life, range, rate of fire, accuracy, reliability, customization, magazine capacity, size, and weight) or realism the player requires. Early-generation airsoft guns were mostly "springers." Single action airsoft guns fire only a single bb before having to be manually re-cocked for the next shot. Second-generation airsoft guns had gas-powered mechanisms that required either an internal "Flon" (CFC) gas reservoir or an external high-pressure CO2 chamber. AEGs (Automatic Electric Guns) are now the most commonly used. AEGs have high-capacity rechargeable batteries used to operate gearboxes that displace air and propel the BBs. However, gas powered long guns are becoming increasingly popular, as the increased realism of these guns are now more accessible due to their increasing quality.
Most airsoft pistols which are gas-powered use environmentally safe "green gas". Green gas is propane gas with small amounts of perfume and silicon lubricant that produces a realistic blowback recoil effect when fired. Recently Airsoft manufacturers have begun producing propane adapters that screw directly onto camping grade propane tanks, allowing players to power their gas guns on pure propane, as a cheaper alternative to "green gas". Each pistol magazine contains a small storage gas cylinder with enough power to propel the 30+ BB projectiles also housed in the magazine. Thus a player can realistically load, fire, and unload an airsoft pistol in a similar manner as compared to a "real steel" semi-automatic pistol. A few early-production AEPs (Airsoft Electric Pistols) have been released but these suffer from weaker BB velocities because of the difficulty of fitting a small-enough motor in the housing of a pistol, although the range is sometimes greater than a gas pistol. AEP's often have a higher rate of fire than their gas counterparts.
Most early airsoft guns were completely made of ABS plastic except for some internal moving parts. Newer guns, especially those made in Taiwan and China, have metal internal and external parts. Japan has specific rules about producing airsoft replicas with metal parts. A typical airsoft gun is noticeably lighter than its "real steel" counterpart due to the use of aluminium, alloy, and plastic, though some have weights in them for a more realistic feel. Smoke caps are available for certain airsoft guns to add realism.
Gas hand gun magazines are usually 10-20 in a standard capacity magazine, however some are hi cap (high capacity) magazines which have a winder and can hold 50 rounds or more. In the case of AEG rifles, magazines come in either real-capacity (equivalent to the capacity of its real steel counterpart), low-capacity (low caps: 30-80 BBs), mid-capacity (mid caps: 80-150 BBs), or high-capacity (high caps: 200+ BBs). These magazines are spring loaded. The high-cap magazines often have a ratchet wheel that can be wound up periodically to force BBs up from the holding chamber of the magazine to the feed chute. Due to loose BBs in the reservoir, they often make a rattling noise when running or walking. Some airsoft guns have an electric-powered box or drum magazines that hold thousands of BBs.

Airsoft Guns picture

   Airsoft Guns



Tactical Equipment

Players wear tactical clothing and accessories for the added realism and for the practical needs similar to that of a real soldier. The most common are holsters for side arms, load bearing vests, and modular rigs. Many players also use a hydration system. Equipment for real world soldiers is also often used in airsoft games, such as reflex sights, red-dot scopes, flashlights, Picatinny rails, Weaver rails, and mock sound suppressors. Many Mil-Sim players choose to wear real equipment (not an airsoft replica) and in some cases, real ballistic protective armor - this can raise the price of the game considerably.


The above description comes from an article on Wikipedia - Airsoft on licence CC-BY-SA. Full autors list is here.