What Is “Airsoft”?
Airsoft is a growing sport that is somewhat of a cross between airguns and paintball. Airsoft consists of airsoft guns and can be used for target practice or games where players shoot each other. Airsoft guns shoot pellets, much like airguns, only plastic and smaller in diameter. Airsoft guns also have a much lower velocity than airguns; while airguns reach 1000+ FPS, or feet per second, airsoft guns only average at around 350-400 FPS. Airsoft guns are much less painful than airguns, or even paintball guns. Airsoft guns also tend to look much more realistic than paintball guns, some looking identical to real weapons apart from the orange tip on the front of the barrel.
Is it a sport or a hobby?
Airsoft is looked at differently by many people. Some are only aware of the guns that are available at places like Wal-Mart or Dick’s Sporting Goods. What most people don’t realize is the immense size of airsoft. Airsoft is used by the military and many police forces for training, because of its realism, and the inexpensiveness of airsoft rounds compared to blanks for real weapons. Amazingly large games are hosted annually at fields, one of the largest having over 1000 players last year. Some look at airsoft as a hobby at most, but I look at it as much, much more. Airsoft is just as much a sport as soccer, or baseball. It teaches players respect, as they listen to their commanding officers. It teaches strength and speed, as lugging guns and gear across fields for hours can get demanding. Airsoft improves reaction timing and strategic thinking, having to react to unexpected situations in short amounts of time. Airsoft guns are built much more advanced than the guns in Wal-Mart or Dick’s Sporting Goods. There are websites that sell airsoft guns and gear, such as Airsoft ‘R Us Tactical. Fields such as Paintball Central also do airsoft games, and websites such as Airsoft Society provide forums for players to discuss game modes, weapons or technical difficulties. To me, airsoft is more than a hobby; airsoft is a sport.
Is it safe?
Some people know what airsoft is, but aren’t sure if they want their kids playing it, or even themselves. They don’t know if it’s safe. More injuries occur in football or basketball than in airsoft, by far. The only safety issue has is being hit in the eye by an airsoft pellet. All official airsoft fields have heavy requirements and restrictions on the type of safety goggles that players must use. To start off with the average safety rules for goggles; all players must keep their masks on while they are present on the field at all times. Goggles must be full seal, to prevent ricochets inside the goggles. Fields make sure to inspect your goggles, and keep referees on field to make sure players keep their masks on at all times. Airsoft has very few safety concerns, and they are easy to solve with a bit of common sense.
Should you play it?
Airsoft isn’t only played by children; it is also enjoyed by many adults, military veterans, and police force officers. If you like strategy, enjoy games like paintball, or ever wanted to play Battlefield/Call of Duty in real life, then here’s your chance! Get a gun and some goggles, and find a field near you! Help share the sport of airsoft!