Airsoft pellets, or BBs, do not typically mark their target, and hits are not always visibly apparent. Though the pellets can leave red marks or “welts” on exposed skin, the game relies heavily on an honor system in which the person who has been hit is responsible for calling themselves out. Airsoft guns are typically magazine-fed, with some having replaceable compressed gas (e.g. propane, 1,1,1,2-Tetrafluoroethane/”green gas” or CO2) canisters. Many airsoft guns also have mounting platforms compatible with genuine firearm accessories, and more closely resemble real guns. This makes them popular for military simulation and historical reenactments.
Airsoft originated from Japan in the early 1970s, trademarked as “soft air guns”, tailoring to the needs of shooting enthusiasts while conforming to Japan’s strict gun control. The name “soft air” referred to the compressed Freon–silicone oil mixture (known as “green gas”) that was used as a propellant, which was significantly weaker than the carbon dioxide used in proper airguns. Originally designed for target shooting, their plastic pellets can be shot at humans without causing injury and this became popular for casual war-games. Airsoft guns spread to the UK in the late 1980s and early 1990s with a company called LS. The guns were sold in pieces and had to be assembled before they were capable of firing pellets. Airsoft equipment was designed to closely emulate real guns. Since the mid-1980s, airsoft guns have been adapted with a purely recreational application in mind, and the sport is enjoyed by all ages. Airsoft replicas are produced globally, with the majority being manufactured in Asia. Many law enforcement agencies and military units within the United States now use Airsoft for force-on-force training drills.
Many manufacturers and retailers suggest treating an airsoft gun like a real gun at all times. This will help alleviate safety issues resulting in an accidental/negligent discharge to an unknowing target or an airsoft gun being mistaken for a real firearm. Most manufacturers include an orange tip on the barrel of the airsoft gun for safety purposes. Manufacturers and retailers urge consumers to not remove the orange tip of the airsoft rifle as it is used to help distinguish them from a real firearm. The orange tip serves many purposes, one of them being for law enforcement to help discern airsoft guns from real firearms.
The minimum safe level of gear required to participate in most games includes a pair of ballistic eyewear ANSI Z87.1 (impact-rated) goggles to protect participants’ eyes. Traditional prescription glasses and sunglasses, or goggles not designed specifically for use with airsoft or paintball marker, may break or shatter upon being struck, causing injury to the eye. Airsoft guns are not to be confused with BB guns, which fire 4.5 millimeters (0.18 in) metal ball bearings.
Air soft & Military
Airsoft technology is used in military training and law enforcement training. Due to airsoft’s realism, relatively safe projectiles, and economical ammunition, it is well-suited to war games and scenarios to train troops. Multiple airsoft inventions were developed originally for military and law enforcement use.
Marking rounds were invented by Kerry T. Bowden to allow trainees to see where each projectile landed. Much like paintball and simunitions, these marking pellets would break upon impact, marking the target with luminescent liquid. Unlike traditional plastic pellets, marking rounds are heavier to ensure breakage of the shell on impact. The weight can be adjusted by adding heavier liquid.Marking rounds are critical for trainees because they allow the shooter to see exactly where they hit the target. This allows them to extrapolate their mistakes and improve their aim.