Airsoft guns, commonly marketed as “toy guns“, are not toys. They are, however, legal to own and use in the United States (with some restrictions). According to the U.S. Federal Government, they are also not considered firearms, because they do not shoot bullets. But are airsoft guns safe?
So, are airsoft guns safe? Yes, airsoft guns are safe when strict rules are enforced to ensure all players are in their best conduct during games. Players have to also wear proper protective gear to ensure their safety throughout games.
Parents must understand that airsoft guns can prove dangerous if proper attention is not paid to safe game conduct. Airsoft guns are just replicas of real guns, but their ability to shoot pellets at very high speeds can cause some safety concerns. Therefore, it is often advised that parents or guardians watch over their kids when they play airsoft.
Airsoft guns are, by definition, replicas of real, working firearms. Whether you play in a competitive airsoft league or use your airsoft gun for recreational target shooting, it should be treated with care and respect. As with all firearms, airsoft guns represent a serious threat to eye and body safety if not handled properly. What’s more, airsoft guns are not toys, and they are not intended for use by children.
Read on to see a detailed review of common safety concerns in the use of airsoft guns and basic steps that you can take to prevent injuries when using an airsoft gun.
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Safety Concerns of Airsoft Guns
Airsoft guns are marketed and used as toys. Most people that own airsoft guns use them for airsoft games. However, despite being used for play, airsoft guns can still cause some potential dangers. Some of the safety concerns of airsoft gun users include:
1. Eye Injuries
Eye injuries are the most common risk of using airsoft guns.
These guns fire airsoft pellets at high speed. The velocity of some shots may get up to 700 feet per second. If allowed to hit your eyes at this velocity, BB pallets can cause serious eye injuries. There have been reports of partial and complete blindness from airsoft guns.
An essential tactic for playing airsoft is learning how to protect your eyes from potential hits.
2. Skin Injuries
Overall, airsoft games are fun and enjoyable. During games, teams are typically matched against teams. Each team tries to outmatch the other team by shooting BB pellets directly at them.
The velocity of BB shots makes them dangerous to your care skin. People’s skin type and texture generally differ, and the injuries that BB pallets would cause depend on the BB’s velocity and skin type.
3. Other Risks
Airsoft guns are generally designed as exact replicas of real firearms. This means that anyone that’s not familiar with the game may confuse airsoft guns to be real firearms.
There have been several cases where people were mistakenly shot or teased by the police because they believe that the gun career was armed.
Everybody can be prone to this, irrespective of age. Therefore, it’s often advised that airsoft players avoid carrying their airsoft guns around, especially if they are not going for games.
How to Protect Yourself When Using an Airsoft Gun
As always, safety should be your main priority when handling your airsoft gun – both on and off the field. Here are some tips that can keep you and those around you safe when using your airsoft gun.
1. Invest in Good Protective Gear
This is the first and most important thing to think about when taking safety steps. Of course, top-quality safety gear would cost you money, but that would be insignificant compared to the money you’ll spend to treat injuries. Never enter the field without a protective kit. Common protective kits include helmets, goggles, and body armor.
2. Understand How Your Airsoft Gun Works
You don’t need to have expert-level knowledge of how guns work, but a little know-how will help you know when there’s an issue with your gun. Studies show that many airsoft safety issues are a result of a gun malfunction. Therefore, a basic knowledge of your gun will help you address potential safety issues in the heat of games.
3. Know the Local Laws
Like real firearms, airsoft rules vary from state to state. Therefore, it’s essential to research the local laws surrounding airsoft gun purchase in your state before buying one. Some cities still consider it illegal to discharge your airsoft weapon at all. This makes it unlawful to even shoot in your backyard. Understanding these rules will save you from the stress of lengthy court cases.
4. Be a Responsible Player
Being a responsible player requires taking your safety and that of your co-players seriously. Steps like unloading your gun when not in use would help prevent accidental discharge. You should also prioritize body shots over headshots and avoid shooting from a distance closer than 10 meters.
Can You Get in Trouble for Having an Airsoft Gun?
Most states follow federal law, which restricts the purchase of airsoft guns, ammunition, and parts to those who are 18 or older. Since these are not considered firearms by federal law, minors are able to play with and own airsoft guns.
There still remain legal restrictions in their use or possession while in public places outside of dedicated airsoft fields.
States, such as Texas, restrict discharge of airsoft guns to outside city limits; if you live in a city, you would need to relocate out of the city when using your airsoft gun.
Airsoft guns are prohibited on school premises in these states:
In some states you need to have certain coloration or designs to visually indicate it as an airsoft gun, rather than a firearm.
Some states require the orange tip to remain on the barrel, such as Michigan.
In addition, if a crime is committed and an airsoft gun was used in any way, the punishment would be the same as if the crime was committed with a firearm.
Can 12 Year-Olds Play Airsoft? Can a 13 Year Old Play Airsoft?
Legally, most countries do not have a minimum age requirement for playing airsoft. However, because of safety issues, most airsoft fields will only allow kids that are 12 or older to play the game.
Individual events and fields typically have their own local rules for playing airsoft, hence the difference in minimum age requirement across different fields.
In some situations, players below the age of 12 are allowed to play, although they are only allowed to play under strict adult supervision from their parents or guardian. This means that an available adult must be actively involved in playing with the kid to direct them appropriately.
Structured events will usually require a minimum participation age of 15, while large events and scenarios will require players to be 18 and above. After observing several playing fields, we can tell that minimum field ages range between 12 and 14.