(Frequently Asked Questions)
- What is Airsoft?
- Is it a firearm?
- Are they legal?
- What is the power source for these guns?
- Can paintballs be shot from these? or Are there paintball rounds available?
- How fast do the BBs go, and does it hurt?
- What do you do with these things?
- What is MILSIM?
- What about cheating?
- I'd like to play, where do I buy these?
- What do I need to play?
- How old do I have to be to play?
- Which is better, gun X or Y?
- Should I get an upgraded gun?
- How often do you play and where?
What is Airsoft?
Airsoft refers to airguns which are replicas of firearms that shoot 6 mm hard plastic BBs. For more information, click here.
Is it a firearm?
No. Airsoft guns are TOYS. They cannot fire firearm bullets nor can they be modified to do so. The internal design and workings are totally different from that of real firearms.
Are they legal?
That would depend on where you live and the laws that govern you. Some countries ban it altogether (Canada and Australia). With regards to the US, airsoft is legal in Florida, and in other states. Airsoft (and ownership) is illegal in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York.
Rules in the sales of airsoft dictate that the tip of the barrel must be coated in blaze orange paint and any product trademark not approved of by the original manufacturer (ie. Colt, Heckler & Koch, Smith and Wesson, etc.) must be removed. Retailers comply either by covering trademarks with black electrical tape, putty (slightly harder to remove than tape), or by defacing or erasing the trademark altogether with a dremel or similar tool. Lastly, purchase of airsoft guns may be limited by age: some retailers may allow minors (under 18 or 21 depending on where you live) to purchase but only with a waiver signed by a parent or guardian.
Remember that even if they may be toys and legal to own where you live, our current culture and attitude towards firearms makes it undesirable to brandish these guns in public. These guns are realistic looking enough to evoke the same response as a real firearm from the general public, and law enforcement. Crimes committed with replicas are treated as if committed with the real thing.
What is the power source for these guns?
Airsoft guns are air guns. The air pressure needed to expel the BBs can be generated 3 ways:
- manual spring cocking
- external gas power source
- electrically driven spring
Some guns are also capable of full auto fire. For more information, click here.
Can paintballs be shot from these?/Are there paintball rounds available?
Yes. However, USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Definitely NOT RECOMMENDED. Paint BBs may break while inside the gun and possibly damage the internals of your airsoft, specially those driven electrically.
How fast do the BBs go, and does it hurt?
Stock guns shoot from as low as 100 FPS(feet per second) up to about 280 FPS. Upgraded guns can reach velocities of around 550 FPS. Being hit by a BB from a stock gun can be compared to a light sting. Not terribly painful, but still noticeable, even through regular clothing. At point blank ranges however, they can and will break skin. Eye protection is required as they will put out an eye.
In terms of kinetic energy, the lighter airsoft BBs don't compare to the amount of energy a paintball can impart. A BB traveling at 300FPS will only impart .8J (Joules) of energy on impact. A paintball traveling at 300FPS on the other hand, will impart 12J of energy.
What do you do with these things?
Airsoft guns can be used as a conversation piece, for plinking, target shooting, or skirmishing. They lend themselves well for "playing army" or "cops and robber" type games. (See MILSIM)
What is MILSIM?
MILSIM stands for MILitary SIMulation, a style of gameplay where players try to imitate military/commando situations. Uniform emulation is part of the fun. Players gear up (or try to) with the same equipment as the units they try to copy (Army Rangers, Special Forces, Navy SEAL, etc.). MILSIM also extends to the kinds of game played: instead of capture the flag, games are mission oriented (demolition missions, reconnaisance, raids, etc.).
Other related styles include TACSIM, which stands for Tactical Simulation, closely related to MILSIM but focusing on shorter duration CQB (Close Quarters Battle) scenarios (SWAT style play). Yet another is COPSIM -- cops and robbers.
What about cheating?
Since BB hits leave no distinguishing mark, the only way to play is with HONOR. It's a seldom used word in today's world, but it's crucial in our games. Contrary to the intitial response to this concept, players DO call themselves out. Most of the time, players are eliminated with bursts of full auto fire. A stream of BBs hitting and bouncing off a player is hard to miss for the player at the receiving end. However, at times, single hits may not be felt and are understandable -- to an extent. The benefit of the doubt is always given to the target. If he/she can't feel the hit(s), they can't call it. However, here's a tip for any player: If you even think that you got hit, call yourself out. That said, CHEATERS ARE NOT TOLERATED. If a player has consistently displayed this type of behavior, then the player is barred from playing forever. Robbing a fellow player of a legitimate elimintation is not worth it!
I'd like to play, where do I buy these?
Check out the Retailer sections (both domestic and international) in our links page.
How old do I have to be to play?
Florida Airsoft limits its participants to be at least 18 years old for a number of reasons:
- Current culture and environment towards guns or anything that "promotes the gun culture" is frowned upon. In light of recent violent incidents involving minors, the less airsofts in the hands of minors, the less chance of undue exposure related to "bandit play" (play in unauthorized playing areas).
- We believe that if anyone of us were to be the focus of (unwanted) attention, then let it be on those who can be legally responsible.
- Most retailers will not sell airsoft to minors. Events run by Florida Airsoft sponsored by these retailers are held to the same age standard.
- The hobby is expensive. Not only the guns, but also the necessary equipment to support MILSIM style play. Unless your parents will fully support an expensive hobby, we feel that this is best suited for working adults.
If you are under 18, be patient. Airsoft is a game of honor. If you cannot honor the rules or be patient enough to wait, then this may not be for you.
Which is better, gun X or Y?
Typically, the question compares two guns of the same class/type; example: electrically driven guns (AEGs) -- MP5 vs. M16. Unlike real firearms, guns of the same class will typically perform similarly. Some performance differences do exist. Guns with longer internal barrels will have slightly longer range and better accuracy than those with shorter barrels. In terms of durability and reliability, airsofts manufactured in Japan (Tokyo Marui, Maruzen, Western Arms, Marushin, KSC, etc.) are typically better than those made in Taiwan or Korea. Manufacturers with proven track records put out a better product (as in any industry) and also perform better.
Should I get an upgraded gun?
Most beginners want a top of the line supergun off the bat. Stock AEGs are excellent performers to begin with. A beginner shouldn't fall into the trap of believing that an upgraded gun will compensate for lack of experience or magically improve your game. It's the pilot, not the plane. Consider upgrades once you're well into the sport and understand which upgrade will make a difference in your game. If a few months down the road you decide that airsoft isn't for you, then you haven't invested as much as you would have.
How often do you play and where?
Florida Airsoft hosts games every third Sunday of each month at ThunderBay Paintball. Occasionally, we will host games at other locations at special times. In these cases, watch the website for announcements!