It's a fun tactical game, a technical/modeling
hobby as well as an intense martial sport.
One could compare it to Paintball but would be
overlooking a number of factors that ultimately
make the two activities quite different, specially
in the kind of people that participate in each activity.
It all started in Japan. After the end of WWII, civilian
gun ownership was prohibited and the law still remains in
place as of today. As Japan reached it's peak in economy
and technology in the past decades, and the public's urge
to own weapons of some sort reached it's climax, toy manufacturers
started signing agreements with real gun manufacturers to
copy their designs and use their trademarks to make these
innovative replicas that shoot miniature plastic balls that
would be safe AND legal for the Japanese public to use.
Thus, Airsoft came to existance and it's now one of the
fastest growing sports/hobbies worldwide.
Airsoft could be very broadly described as a military combat
simulation played with airsoft gun replicas that propel
minuscule 6mm round plastic pellets called BBs. These
rice-sized rounds are pushed by air or special gas powered
mechanisms encompassed in the airsoft guns. The guns themselves
-unlike paintball markers- bear unique resemblance to their
real steel counterparts and typically are 1:1
replicas of great detail. They can shoot BBs quite far and
with relative accuracy, depending on the type and quality
of the gun (about 50 meters in average which is also the
average engagement range in real combat).
|There are three major types
of airsoft replicas:
Automatic Electric Guns. Most commonly known as AEGs, are mostly assault rifles
that rely on special batteries to compress air and
feature both semi and full-auto capability. AEGs are
nowadays considered the standard on airsoft gaming
and can be heavily modified/upgraded both infernally
Gas Operated. These guns (mostly
handguns, though submachine guns and sniper rifles
are not uncommon) operate with special gas. Certain
gas guns have blow-back capability, meaning that the
slide blows back and forth at every shot just like
the real thing. These are commonly known as GBBs and
are a thrill to shoot. Some models kick as hard as
an actual .22 pistol! Highly realistic.
Spring Operated. These need
to be "cocked" every time in order to load
and shoot a BB. They tend to be on the lower end of
the airsoft guns scale as they are cheaper, more widely
known and easier to acquire, even in Greece where
one could buy a cheap "springer" on the
newsstands. There are however some high grade spring
guns out there as well as high end sniper rifles that
cock while cycling the bolt. These can be very powerful
(up to 150 meters range) and very accurate.
Airsoft games can be small skirmishes of people or teams
firing at each other or can become as tactical and large-scale
as it gets. The realism factor is immense. Airsoft has been
successfully used as an actual training tool in many military
and law forces worldwide. There are fields In the UK where
Airsoft is taught by former SAS members. Without ever putting
aside all the fun and pure joy of gaming, adrenaline pumps
in high levels. In woodlands or in Close Quarter Combat/Battle
(CQC/CQB) the scenarios and simulated situations are infinite.
One can choose from an extremely wide array of weapons and
accessories (like scopes, red dot sights, rail interface
systems, flash lights, etc.) and assume the role of a reconnaissance
commando, special ops infiltrator, support gunman, stealthy
sniper or front line strike force.
Gaming is quite safe as BBs can hardly become harmful.
A pair of safety glasses or goggles are the only mandatory
precaution need taken. People tend to get loads of tactical
and military gear like vests, BDUs, helmets, knee and elbow
pads, etc., but none of this is really necessary to train
The above is by no means a comprehensive guide to Airsoft.
Beginners are strongly encouraged to join our forum to ask
the experts and search the web for FAQs and stick to it
until they know better. Airsoft can get quite technical,
especially during the first steps. The reward is truly worth
the ride. Enjoy!
Acknowledgments: A special thanks to Angel for supplying this article.
For a more detailed and extended explanation of Airsoft
and its origins, visit Wikipedia at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airsoft