Airsoft for Beginners: A Comprehensive Guide

Airsoft is a $313 million dollar industry. It's a game that was invented in Japan in the 1980's, making it even older than paintball.

Airsoft guns can be used for target shooting, in organized outdoor and indoor games as well as unorganized games between friends and enthusiasts. If you're new to airsoft activities, there are a few things you should know to get started on the right foot. Airsoft can be a ton of fun for people of all ages, genders, and skill levels. With a few tips on safety, basic rules and etiquette, and what gear you need to get started, you'll be a veteran in no time.

Before you step on a field or even buy your first bit of gear, read this airsoft for beginners guide and familiarize yourself with the game you're sure to love.

What Is Airsoft?

Airsoft can be as simple as target shooting, but most enthusiasts prefer to play airsoft as a war simulation game.

Played on teams either indoors or outdoors, various military and police scenarios can be enacted and played out. Airsoft guns that release non-metallic, soft pellets replicate real-life firearms. When an opponent shots a participant, they're eliminated from the game.

Airsoft Field Rules & Guidelines

Airsoft On-the-field Rules

Most airsoft fields enforce strict rules that make the game fun and safe for every player.

  • 1
    No blind firing. This means you can't fire from behind an object without looking and aiming at what you're firing at.
  • 2
    Wear eye protection. Whether you're wearing a google or a mask, you must protect your eyes and never remove that protection. If you have to remove your eye protection then raise your hands and make sure all players are aware.
  • 3
    Don't fire at a point blank range. This can injure someone with or without protective gear. Instead, give them the opportunity to surrender or finish them with another weapon.
  • 4
    No pistol whipping. You'll get yourself banned from play if you resort to this. It's absolutely illegal on all fields and shouldn't be allowed in unorganized games either.
  • 5
    No smoke bombs. Most fields will allow grenades but won't allow smoke bombs or any bomb with a flash. This distracts judges and marshalls and can also get teams mixed up.
  • 6
    Point your loaded weapon at the ground. For safety, keep your weapon pointed down until you're engaging a target. This avoids the risk of misfires and should also be applied to other airsoft weapons.
  • 7
    Keep your finger off the trigger. Similar to rule number 6, this will help avoid misfires that could potentially hurt another player.

Airsoft Off-the-field Rules

If you're an airsoft gun owner, you need to act responsibly and safely when you're off the field and handling your weapon. There are even some legal reasons for this.

  • 1
    If you're an airsoft gun owner, you need to act responsibly and safely when you're off the field and handling your weapon. There are even some legal reasons for this.
  • 2
    Don't point your airsoft gun at someone off the playing field or outside of a game. In some states, this is considered assault with a deadly weapon.
  • 3
    Don't remove the orange tip of your airsoft gun. Removing that safety feature is against the law.
  • 4
    When you're off the field, always make sure your safety is engaged.
  • 5
    Don't take your gun into a public area. They look like real weapons and can get you in trouble with the law. In California, for example, it's illegal to brandish an airsoft gun in a public space.
  • 6
    Transport your airsoft gun properly. That means using discretion by placing them in a case or bag, engaging the safety, and making sure it isn't loaded.
  • 7
    Only play airsoft on private land that's designated for the sport. It's illegal to play airsoft in public, including parks.
  • 8
    If in case a police officer shows up in an airsoft game, lower your weapon, raise your hands, and listen to the officers.

Airsoft for Beginners Etiquette

Beyond following the rules and legal restrictions, airsoft is a game of honor, respect, and unspoken etiquette. If you want to enjoy the game and improve your gameplay, follow the rules.

  • Don't cheat - It is easier said than done, but don't cheat. Airsoft is about having fun and if winning is that important to you, you should win because you deserve it. Besides, if you get caught cheating, you're sure to be kicked out of the game.
  • Be a Good Sport - Behave in a sportsmanlike way. That means don't cuss or bully the other team members. Playful banter is acceptable and even encouraged, but keep the environment a friendly one so everybody can have a good time. 
  • Don't Camp - Although not always against the rules, camping is discouraged by serious players. Camping is sitting in one place and waiting for the other team to walk by. It defeats the purpose of engaging in a military or police simulation exercise.
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    Follow the Honor System - It goes without saying, but one of the most important rules is to abide by the honor system. When another player has eliminated you, you're expected to call yourself out and to leave the playing field. 

Sometimes there are marshalls and judges that will enforce this rule, but they can't be everywhere at once. When you've been hit, play the game the way it's meant to be played and leave the field. If you don't follow this basic best practice, it's likely that you'll get banned or lose your airsoft companions.

What Do You Need for Airsoft?

All you need to play airsoft is an airsoft gun, ammunition, eye protection, a place to play, and people to play with. Vests, body armor, and additional weapons are nice-to-haves but not necessary.

The Right Clothing

Airsoft pellets can cause blisters and even break the skin, depending on the power of the gun and the distance from which it's shot. Short of protective body armor and vests, younger players should play in long sleeve shirts and pants. Gloves will serve to protect the hands. Adults can get away with t-shirts and shorts, but they'll still be prone to blistering.

You might also consider dressing for the place you're playing. If you're playing in a forest or swamp, wear boots and camouflage. If you're playing indoors, wear light clothing that will protect your skin and bring running shoes so you can move around easily.

Complete Airsoft Gear

Safety Gear

When playing with airsoft guns that release pellets, eye protection is really important. Although the pellets are unlikely to break skin when shot at a safe distance, they can cause eye damage from any range.

The first thing you should buy before playing is an airsoft mask or airsoft goggles.

Picking and Caring for Your Gun

Airsoft guns come in many forms: pistols, rifles, sniper rifles and shotguns. They can be gas, electric, or manually spring-loaded. There are also a number of brands to choose from. The top airsoft brands are Winchester, RWS, Crosman, Gamo, and Beeman.

When choosing an airsoft weapon for beginners, you don't have to buy a top of the line gun. Start with a decent gun and find out if you like the game first. Once you're committed, you can use that gun as a sidearm and invest in a better airsoft.

Airsoft Type of Guns

When choosing for airsoft gears, don't cheap out. You get what you pay for. A decent beginner gun should cost between $35-$100 and should shoot 300 feet per second. For more experienced players, a good airsoft gun will cost upwards of $250.

To keep your gears efficient and working at peak performance, you should care for it properly. That means cleaning the gun regularly. After you've played a game, clean the gun with a good lubricant and a silicone spray made specifically for airsoft guns.

Ammunition

Make sure you're using the right ammunition for your gun. Do your research and be sure you're picking the right ammo for the gun that you choose. Failing to do this risks damaging your weapon.

Remember to never run out of ammunition. Always have extra with you, especially if you're playing in a tournament.

Non-Firearm Weapons

There are other weapons that can be used in airsoft tournaments and organized games that can make the gun more exciting - and your chances of winning higher.

Grenades. Powered by compressed gas, multiple or single-use grenades can be used on most fields.
Mines. Used for ambushing your opponents, minds can be a fun and tactical weapon that tip the scales in your favor.

Knives. Real knives are not allowed on the field, but rubber knives can help force an opponent to surrender in a close combat situation.

How to Find a Playing Field

Finding somewhere to play can be as simple as playing in your yard or going to a field equipped for this kind of battle.

When playing in your yard, make sure there's plenty of room. Players should also be using the right gun for such close quarter combat. In backyard combat, the rules are what you make them. But for safety, you should use the same rules that you'd use on a private field. You can also search the web for airsoft fields that are close to you. There are both indoor and outdoor fields available for play.

As mentioned, don't start an airsoft game in a public space.

Ready to Get Started with Airsoft?

Airsoft for beginners is as simple as knowing the right rules and etiquette, having the right equipment, and knowing how to have fun and work with a team. Have fun and be tactical!

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