What is Airsoft? Your Complete Resource to the History and Modern Day Game

What is Airsoft?

Airsoft, much like versions of laser tag or paintball, is a more realistic way to simulate military and police operations. 

The use of life-like guns, gear, and tactics make it an extremely popular hobby for all walks of life. 

Keep reading to learn the ins and outs of Airsoft and how to get started playing. 

what is airsoft

History of Airsoft

At the end of World War II, Japan was occupied by allied forces, led by the United States with contributions from Australia, British India, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

This presence of foreign occupation was the first time that the island nation was occupied by a foreign power, this led to a total prohibition of arms in the country.

Airsoft was born in Japan in 1970 due to the strict laws about possession and civil use of firearms. Imitations of real weapons (scale 1:1) began to be an excellent option between those who wanted to shoot and collect weapons without breaking the law, and those with the interest of simulating situations of armed confrontation for recreational purposes.

The use of Airsoft guns was increasing and began to be used as a training measure for military and police officers in the Asian country.

The first guns were spring-loaded and it had to be manually rechargeable in each shot. It was not until the mid-1980s that the gas-operated guns were set, applying with this innovation the semiautomatic shots, so as devices designed to give stability to ammunition. An example of this was the LRB (Long Range Barrel) cannons with the stepped interior.

At the beginning of the 1990s, electric guns began to be manufactured and developed by the Japanese company Tokyo Marui, along with a new device that allowed a greater flight distance for ammunition, known as hop-up. This piece was also designed to regulate the speed related to aim to create a good balance.

The practice of this sport has passed from one generation to another over the years and has reached several countries such as Germany, Spain, Argentina, or Venezuela, due to the realism that it can provide compared to a military combat.

Continents one by one


This continent is the cradle of airsoft as an activity to be practiced or as a sport whose beginnings were set in the 70’s. Because of the weapons-carrying ban, the idea of ​​providing real weapons replicas (at 1:1 scale) to ordinary people started to take place, filling the empty space left by laws.

Airsoft began to grow inside Japan and, in a short period of time, it crossed its borders. In the middle of the 70’s, it enters the Chinese and Russian market and it has stood in there since then. Russia has become one of the greatest references of the sport, either by their high number of players (which is above 40.000) or by the spectacular fields that are used for practice.

The most prestigious Russian weapons factories have sold patents for the reproduction of brands such as Tokyo Marui or System including the popular Russian products in airsoft’s world.

China, Taiwan, and Japan are the founding fathers and main spreaders of this sport since almost all guns and equipment factories are currently created in these countries. Every day more people get to know the sport and, whoever practices it, has a clear idea of the honor system of honor that leads it.


At the end of the 70’s, the airsoft began to have a representation in the United States of America as an American pioneer. A few years after the 90’s, Airsoft began to expand itself to countries like Argentina and Venezuela, and it’s received it more as a sport than as a military practice. Despite this, Latin American countries have found difficulties to practice it because of laws that don’t completely approve it as a sport and don’t allow the totally free use of its weapons.

Nowadays, countries such as Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru and even Chile use this sport as a practice method for their armies or special teams. Most of these countries use USA patents for weapons, so the use of PPT-type replicas (Professional Training Pistol) tends to be the most common one.


The old continent was the next one to host the airsoft as a practice option for its military barracks in the mid-1980’s. When taking a step-by-step perspective, it can be noticed that the armies like Russian’s, Spanish’s and Danish’s were the first ones to take airsoft as the perfect training alternative. Slowly, more countries started to join this initiative.

As high as the speed the sport was having to grow among military forces, it also grew among the general public, becoming a hobby for everyone.

Nowadays, airsoft has a position that seeks full acceptance of legal entities, but this reality does not make their players stop, instead of this, the sport has reached more and more airsofters in Europe. Countries such as Spain, Germany, and Bulgaria have special spaces that are commonly used for practices.

At the first, the sport was allowed without a lot of trouble in most of the European countries, but now, due to the different terrorist attacks experienced in recent times, the European Union decided to establish strong restrictions when it comes to weapons ownership permission.


Asia: Developed in the Philippines Historycon 2018 SIX Airsoft Tournament is the biggest airsoft event in the Asian continent with 3 days of battles, the scenario is simply a wonderful representation of the original military history of the world, in each tournament revives a new war and provides the opportunity for each player to prove even a little what the armies of the world have experienced.

Europe: 24 Hours of Armor is one of the most important games, developed in the European zone of Russia either by affluence, as by transcendence or history Bring together in one place airsofters of more than 12 countries with a capacity of 4500 players, in an event that has more than 10 years of transcendence, the battlefields respect the time and the script of the game using tanks, trucks and real army vans as transport.

America: Known as one of the biggest and most anticipated events in the US "Jack Blood" celebrated on the east coast of the country, has a volume of over 1500 players and a spectacular after party. The used script is of a civil war with more than 6 factions in the Republic of Congo, in the middle of this war there is an outbreak of Ebola, the CDC has the need to take a sample of this new outbreak of the disease for each of the factions send their troops to take samples of the disease, in the middle of this if they cross into, the battle will be unleashed.

Airsoft in the United States

In the 50s, the company Matel designed a product called "Shootin shells", which we can easily guess what it is the first airsoft gun because has the same functional principle of a gun, although is not until after the 70s that the airsoft begins to have a presence in the United States.

Due to the great success of airsoft in Asia, in short time began to be noticed in the American continent, in the 80's Daysi BB Gun company begins with the project to manufacture Replisoft and Soft Air spring guns that as a projectile handled spheres of 6 mm also known as bbs, but it is not until the 90s when the airsoft takes the big push to be what it is today in the nation, in this period it began to proliferate but the organization and the birth of teams, so that in 2003, airsoft was seen in every corner of the country.

From this date, Daysi's company was not alone in the project. The biggest manufacturers began to acquire patents on weapons used by the country's army, this added to the interest of the player in search of more realism and quality of guns for an adequate simulation, increases each day plus the competition in the improvement of replicas either for the training of troops or for the total enjoyment of the airsofters. This extends to a large number of replicas of firearms available in the market. There is a multitude of manufacturers that produce incredibly realistic imitation versions of many weapons used in real military conflicts like AK-47, HK416, SCAR-H and many more.

At the same time born the military campaign uniforms for different kinds of players, real accessories or simulating the real ones as tracer or telescopic sights among other things, the inclusion of spear grenades, smoke grenades, fragmentary grenades of bbs, reaching the point of making claymore mines among other things.

Taking into account the number of terrorist attacks in the country, the airsoft receives in some cases rejection of the population, for this reason, teams do charity work to achieve create a degree of awareness in which the sport is seen as another sport.


The airsoft in our country came to stay, from its beginning allowed to the general public to resort to a sport where they can learn, practice and enjoy the world of weapons without lethal danger, more than a sport is recognized as an extreme sport because it can take the physical and mental state to the limit of being necessary.

The airsoft is no longer a boom is an established sport, recognized and allowed in almost all corners of the country, enjoys a legal freedom in which the only way to incur in a crime is if a gun is used for a crime, automatically it will be taken as a real firearm, for example: If a robbery with an airsoft weapon is captured, the aggressor will be taken as a lethal firearm and will be penalized with the same severity.

In most counties, the use of a gun as a sports item as its only limitation is the use of a bright orange tip to identify

Below you can see how the legality of airsoft is taken in some states:

New York City: All realistic or imitation firearms must be made clear with brightly coated plastics or colors. Brandishing airsoft guns, or any unlawful motions are considered illegal.

Washington DC: All replica guns are considered illegal under Washington DC airsoft gun law

Chicago: All replica guns are considered illegal under Chicago airsoft gun laws

San Francisco: All replica guns are considered illegal under San Francisco airsoft gun laws

Michigan: The purchase of airsoft guns is legal, but all replicas must contain an orange tip on the barrel.

Texas: Allows airsoft guns to be purchased, but most cities permit discharge outside city limits.

Minnesota: Airsoft gun laws state that it is illegal for any child under the age of 14 to use.

Minneapolis, it is illegal to carry an airsoft gun unless the replica is brightly colored or has an orange tip. It is also illegal to fire an airsoft gun within city limits. Any airsoft gun with a laser attachment is considered unlawful to carry. Transporting airsoft guns must be done in a concealed and unloaded manner.

Arkansas: Recently outlawed use and possession of all airsoft guns.

Understanding the legality of sport is a fact and that the population has a high acceptance, opens the mystery of where it is practiced? In the country there are more than 50 certificated places for the practice of it and can be seen below:

Places where you can practice airsoft

Check out this list of places to play Airsoft in the US

On the other hand, for some the sport is not just a sport, security agencies such as marines or navy seals, use airsoft as a source of realism in training, manufacturers of gun manufacturers use the professional training pistol, including the company kwa.

This ending it refers to a gun that takes the simulation to an almost identical state, applying the blowback function to simulate the pounding of a gun or pistol, this added to the adequacy of the weight to be as the same as a loaded real weapon, looks to give the airsofter the sensation of firing a 9 mm or an M14 rifle at the time of training, in this case these guns cannot simulate the shooting distance but if the rate of firing, the level of stress generated by listening or firing guns PPT in training seeks to partially emulate real combat stress.

The public enjoyment in general derives from the sensation of having in hands a gun, also of the situations that arise during a game, deciding between hiding or attacking, surprising or simply running shooting as Rambo symbolizes the fulfillment of a dream that many airsofters have, the power to revive this every weekend is a plus that the sport provides, so today the list of teams and players grows rapidly without stopping in our country.

Airsoft basic principles.

Basics of the game:


One of the bases of the airsoft is the confidence and honesty of the player since there is no way to check if someone has received an impact. The airsofter that receives it has to shout an agreed word (for example: Eliminated, Dead, Low, Hit, etc.), it is advised to raise the weapon on the head, because sometimes the fallen person remains in shooting range and can be easily confused with some active player during the play and it could be shot again.

Another way to quit from the field of play when being hit is to use a red cloth to signal at long distances that player was left out of the game. This form is very used in championships to avoid the sound and thus the dismissal of airsofters when listening to a rival or teammate be eliminated.

The worst viewed players in this community are the so-called "immortal", for obvious reasons, and the "infallible", as they always claim to have hit the enemy, whether or not true. In various teams, it is advisable to use videos to expose this type of players.

However, in Japan and Italy have developed bulletproof vests and helmets with electronic devices which to being impacted by the bbs emit a signal that indicates the elimination of the player, even disabling the airsoft replica. At the moment these accessories have not been widely disseminated by distributors and local stores because of the high cost and the limitations of use that entails.


Regardless of the game mode, an airsofter never plays alone. Being part of a team is the first step to practice. Team members are those in charge to train new players with the basic rules, to teach them how to wield and maneuver weapons and to instruct them about the different strategies that can be run. They’re also the main responsible for the fulfillment of honor policy.


Protection norms are the first ones that must be set, considering BBs can be shot with a speed higher than 700 fps in some cases. It is obligatory to use certified specs and masks that can resist hard impacts so your eyes are always safe.

Since during the game players may have different physical challenges, it is imperative to have a complete protection source, such as thick gloves to guard your hands against BBs and to climb when necessary. It will also be needed knee and elbow pads, because of the possibilities of falling down and having to hold painful or uncomfortable positions for a long time.

Learn basic rules.

Each play has a series of rules, but the general guideline is formed this way:

1.         It is a must to protect your eyes during the whole tournament. There is usually a player in charge to verify that everybody is following the safety parameters.

2.         Any kind of impact the BBs may have against any part of the airsofter body and uniform is enough to be out of the round.

3.         The gun is a body extension, so any impact on this one will eliminate the player who holds it.

4.         When hit, a player must go to the “dead zone” previously agreed upon by both teams and will wait there until a new game starts.

5.         It is forbidden to poke out the gun when shooting the opponent and hide the rest of the body. The players have the right to see who’s shooting.

6.         The minimum shooting distance is 5 meters.

7.         When the distance is less than 5 meters, the player must apply the “photo elimination”: they must say “photo”, “eliminated” or “out” while pointing at the opponent, but never shoot. If they are less than 1 meter of distance, the player with the advantage can whisper in order to not reveal their position.

8.         When two players find themselves face to face, the one who points with their gun in first place is the one who will survive. The honor and honesty play an important role in these cases.

9.         While the game is running, players in the “dead zone” will not be able to shoot from their position nor to talk to active players.

10.       The environment will be always respected. No damage shall because in order to preserve nature and to guarantee a good place to play.

11.       Guns can only be activated when the player is either inside the established safe zone or during the game.

12.       Before each game or tournament, each weapon must be used by respecting the limits and agreements set by organizers.

Security List according to the type of marker.

Type of airsoft gun.

Speed (feet per second or FPS)

Safety distance (in meters)



5 m



5 m

Submachine gun


5 m

Assault rifle


5 m

Support machine gun


15 m

Designated Shooter Rifle (DMR)


20 m

Sniper Bolt


30 m

All of them measured with balls of 6 mm and 0.2 g of weight.

Fundamentals of operation.

To explain the functional principle of how the bbs is triggered we will use the Daniel Bernoulli principle, which explains that in an ideal fluid (without viscosity or friction) the circulation regime by a closed conduit, the energy that the fluid possesses remains constant throughout of its route, in the case of a replica the fluid is air.

The replicas used in this game usually include a system called HopUp that causes the ball to be projected making a circular effect. This circular effect has positive direction to the direction that the wind travels inside the cylinder of the pipe, which decreases friction and provides greater scope and precision. This effect is known as the Magnus effect, the rotation of the ball causes the speed of the flow above it to be greater than below, and with it the appearance of a difference of pressures that creates the sustaining force, which makes the ball take more time to fall.

Who can practice airsoft?

One of the first thing that must be considered before practicing airsoft is age. An important amount of countries tend to ban airsoft practices for underage people. In some cases that age limit can be obviated when there is an adult who also plays and represents the teenager.

In the United States, the minimum age for the practice of airsoft is established at 18 years, although in some states the rules are more flexible and can be practiced at ages from 16 years, whichever the case is recommended the supervision of a representative when playing.

On the other hand, it is necessary to consider the physical condition to understand the limits each player should place and what position should they take, since there are a variety of roles that can be adapted to each case. For example, some roles need a clever mind who can perform a proper camouflage that will make them be more lethal to the opponents than other players running through the battlefield.

Which are the basics to practice it?


The glasses: they are a priority of the game implements, the reason why they cannot miss is that the greatest danger when practicing airsoft is the damage that eyeballs can suffer due to the impact of BB’s.

To choose the best kind of glasses, the following factors must be taken into account.

Optics Quality: It uses the numbers 1, 2 and 3, being 1 the optics of greater quality (They are those that should be used in Airsoft) and 3 the one of "worse" quality being inadvisable for common use.

Fogging resistance: identified with the letter "N", although it is not mandatory, it is advisable, since the safety glasses should not be removed at any time since an impact on the eye can have very serious consequences.

Protection against scratches: identified with the letter "K", although it is not mandatory, it is advisable since in principle it increases the resistance to scratching of the lens, thus increasing its useful life.

Particle impact velocity: To this end, among other letters are used: F (Low energy impacts, up to 45 m / s), withstand an impact of up to 0.875 joules. They are not recommended to play Airsoft since in many cases the replicas have powers of 1 joule or more.

B (Impact of medium energy, up to 120 m / s), withstand an impact of up to 6,201 joules. These are the recommended minimums to play Airsoft.

A (High energy impact, up to 190 m / s), withstand an impact of up to 15,605 joules. They are only used in face screens.

Keep in mind that in Airsoft can reach kinetic energies of up to 2.8 joules with replicas of 550 FPS using balls of 0.20 grams as you can see in this table:

Bbs weight




0,20 g

 200 fps (60,8 m/s)

 0,370 joules

27,75 meters

0,20 g

 250 fps (76,0 m/s)

 0,580 joules

34,29 meters

0,20 g

 300 fps (91,2 m/s)

 0,830 joules

41,02 meters

0,20 g

 350 fps (106,4 m/s)

 1,132 joules

47,90 meters

0,20 g

 400 fps (121,6 m/s)

 1,478 joules

54,74 meters

0,20 g

 450 fps (136,8 m/s)

 1,871 joules

61,58 meters

0,20 g

 550 fps (167,2 m/s)

 2,795 joules

75,27 meters

Airsoft Gun: your weapon cannot miss, otherwise you cannot practice airsoft, there are different types of weapons, everything will depend on your taste, and there are pistols, rifles, assault rifles, shotguns, sniper rifle, and more.

If it's your first time in airsoft and you don’t know whether to start with a pistol or a rifle, we recommend the use of a long gun as an assault rifle, this gives you shooting distance and cadence, something that guns do not provide mostly as a secondary option it is good to have a gun when you already have a little more experience.

Helmet: this will protect your head from any impact or fall that may occur during the game, the helmet stands out as an important item because it provides protection and is functional for the use of cameras or binoculars during the game.

Gloves: The use of hand protectors is essential for the practice of airsoft, one of the most exposed areas during the game are the hands because they are the most exposed part of the body, the tapping of a bbs on a knuckle, can numb and sometimes until injuring the finger, added to this it is necessary that the fields where it is practiced are full of abrupt surfaces where the hands can suffer damages.

Tactical Gear/Apparel: The uniform is used as a protective item to protect the soft parts where it can impact the bbs, but it is also used as a weapon because the right uniform in the right place would symbolize a camouflage without equal.

Each team has its uniform, but if you are starting to play the most common is that you should use a report consisting of simple items such as brown pants and a green flannel, which will identify that you are aspiring to join the team.

Those are some of the basic things you must possess to start practicing airsoft.

Types of games.

CQB (close quarters battle).

The acronym CQB (Close Quarter Battle), is used worldwide to define close body combat, which is the same as closed combat. It also uses the acronym CQC (Close Quarter Combat), which is basically the same. One of the main differences between this type of game among others is that there is no regulation of ammunition during the game.

The CQB is an operation that takes place in urban or similar lands. The "terrorist", would be the enemies to be eliminated. These are usually within a building, or it can be carried out in fields with established limits, and sometimes fields built as favelas. The team of counterterrorists should enter and neutralize this threat, which difficult because the combat in open terrain and this one differ a lot.

This type of game gives the airsofter the opportunity to improve its qualities such as aim, speed, reaction speed, emotional intelligence among others. It is very important that the airsofter plays with honor because, in spite of being a close body combat which should allow players to see if they’re hit or not, the speed of the game makes it difficult or not possible.

Besides being a game, it is a very good activity as a training. The strategy when going inside a structure, when dividing people into teams to attack, or basically when trespassing the terrorist base line are fundamental knowledge for any member of a special forces and assault team.

CQB Tips.

  • CQB is a game of quick fire, therefore never go through the center of corridors or structures, because you will be an easy target.
  • When moving from one space to another with small steps and doing the proper coverage as a team instead of individually, the snipers will have less time to react and attack. Consider each coverage as a place where the enemy can hide. There is no way to know what is behind a corner in a CQB.
  • Avoid windows and doors. Remember to duck when you pass a window, and avoid going through doors, if there is an alternative.
  • If the only option is to cross a window or a door, we advise you to use a secondary gun (pistol) that is usually closer to the body and it makes it easier to move.
  • Duck and stay low. Most people point above the stomach, so don’t pass by corners walking straight. Lie on your belly, so you will be a smaller target.
  • If you have a smoke grenade, use it to cover your movements.
  • When you move down a street, place the support team on the side with more coverage. The movement must be done over short distances, while windows, doors, and roofs are covered.

CQB Rules.

The CQB regulation is based on the general airsoft regulation of airsoft, with certain adjustments.

Knives can be used in short-range objectives. If you do not have one you could touch your target’s back to let them know they have to go out.

If the two rival face themselves, the one who’s not pointing at the other one with a gun will be the eliminated one. If they both have their guns up, they’ll both have to go out.

The use of burst shots is banned in order to keep a longer game and to avoid any damage players can suffer.

Milsim (Military Simulation)

The term MILSIM comes from the fusion of the abbreviations of two English-speaking terms: Military and Simulation. Because it’s the hardest modality, the MilSim style seeks a realistic and physically demanding gaming experience. The players use real strategies and tactics, often complemented by original military equipment. The games usually have a more elaborate script and some more complicated objectives than a standard game.

In order to create a simulation as close as possible to reality, real cap or mid-cap magazines are used, which means real capacity or average capacity. It indicates that the airsoft gun has the exact amount of ammunition than the original weapon.

MILSIM requires a special commitment from the player, an attitude, and predisposition to live the simulation from any role that is assigned to them. The activity will provide sensations and circumstances of fun, recreation, teamwork and simulation according to the player’s attitude.

It means that players must assume their roles as a team, with discipline under a chain of command. It is common to adopt the roles of rifleman, radio operator, among others.

Obviously, it is also contemplated that these units or players have an adequate physical and psychic training to withstand night combat, inclement weather, lack of food, guards, raids, lack of ammunition (or not having them) and some other actions related to the game as it happens in real combat.

Milsim Tips.

  • In Milsim, lives will be limited. There will be no time for eating, recharge, rest or hydrate. The teams will be separated by uniforms.
  • The ammunition will be a real or mid-cap, this will be established at the beginning of the game, so it is advisable to have at disposal a significant amount of refill cartridges.
  • The role of the doctor is mandatory within the teams, the person who plays as a doctor must be quick to arrive on time to rescue their colleagues.

It is common for teams to split into units:

Reconnaissance patrols and RECON missions,

Combat units and combat missions,

CSAR (rescue in combat) patrols and missions,

Special operations units and missions,

SERE units (Evasion Teams) and missions,

Being clear about your virtues is crucial to be part of any of these divisions.

Milsim events tend to be long, in some cases up to more than 3 days, so it is advisable to use camelback during missions.

On Milsim, players will have the possibility to surrender. The conditions to surrender will be as follows;

Surrender of your unit.

Personal surrender.

Being isolated, without ammunition and without the possibility of support.

Milsim Rules.

1- Because the game demands reality, during milsim the use of mid-cap or real cap chargers is mandatory, which are established at the beginning of the game.

2- It is a long game that takes days, for this reason, players have a limited number of lives.

3- Each airsoft gun must be properly timed and have the required characteristics for the game.

4 - In most of these games there is the figure of the judge. If a player is hit and does not leave the game, the judge has the will to expel him from the game.


Airsoft is a non-lethal extreme sport that provides you the opportunity to produce a huge amount of adrenaline during its practice while using airsoft guns. It also makes you release all the stress that’s in you.

So if you want to belong to a team that becomes a family, to use tactics clothes and to turns yourself into a war hero, you just meet with the most important requirement as an airsoft player: to be honorable.

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