Airsoft guns can be distinguished from real weapons by the orange muzzle tip, which manufacturers and law enforcement strongly recommend is not removed. Removal of this cap can result in misunderstandings as the guns are true-to-life and can easily be mistaken for real firearms.
Airsoft guns are the replica firearms used in airsoft matches which are similar in game-style to paintball or laser tag. This sport uses non-metallic ‘bullets’ and relies heavily on the honesty of players to announce when they have been hit as unlike paintball or laser tag, airsoft round impacts cannot be seen on the player and cannot been electronically tracked. This makes airsoft a much harder game than its equivalents.
Airsoft bb guns come in a variety of styles, ranging from true-to-life replicas of military firearms to fully customise – and often custom built – weapons. Airsoft has a huge following around the UK despite being a relatively new sport, having only come to us in the late 80’s from Japan. The sport has become so popular that it is often used in the UK and the USA for military training.
Due to the nature of the guns used, safety regulations are in place to prevent serious injuries from occurring during matches such as the non-metallic rounds used and guidelines regarding maximum muzzle velocity and the distance at which a player can safely fire his/her weapon. The use of protective gear is almost a most due to airsoft guns having a higher velocity than guns used for paintball.
The most popular style of airsoft guns are those emulating military-style automatic or semi-automatic guns but are available as handguns, rifles and even grenade launchers. All fire either 6mm or 8mm plastic pellets and operate on a variety of firing mechanisms. Pellets are fed to the gun via a hop-up system which replaces each pellet as the gun is fired.