what is airsoft

What is Airsoft? (Airsoft 101)

You might think of airsoft as a game played by kids in the woods, but it’s much more than that. Airsoft is a full-contact sport played by professional teams in a variety of leagues, and it’s played in airsoft fields and airsoft parks all over the world. (Although, looking at some of the massive fields and layouts, we can see why it’s called an “airway”.)

What is Airsoft? Airsoft is a competitive shooting sport, where teams use military tactics to eliminate the other team. Players use airsoft guns to shoot small plastic bullets (BBs) in lieu of real firearms and bullets. Teams can play a variety of game styles in different indoor and outdoor settings.

To read more on what airsoft is, where it is played, the necessary equipment, and what gameplay looks like, continue down below!

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what is airsoft

Airsoft Meaning and Definition (Why is it Called Airsoft?)

The term airsoft is a marketing term used by the Daisy BB gun manufacturer to promote their new line of softer shooting air guns.

What is the Point of Airsoft?

Airsoft is a competitive sport in which players simulate military gun combat using airsoft guns and projectiles. In most situations there will be two teams located in the same arena, at a dedicated airsoft field or even in their backyard.

Airsoft is a game that pits two or more teams against each other in a game of paintball, only without the paint or the pain. Instead of being shot with a (gun), players get hit with (weapons) that shoot plastic (pellets).

There are no referees or time limits, and each team gets points for shooting the other team (players) with pellets, whether they’re hit in the head or the foot, and they can call for a medic to heal them mid-game.

Teams will have a basic set of rules they are following whether it is to eliminate the entirety of the other team, Capture the Flag, President, King of the Hill, etc.

Also, unlike paintball, you can wear street clothes and regular, non-tactical (guns).

Airsoft History

The sport of airsoft has been around since the 1970s, but it wasn’t until the late 1990s that the modern version of airsoft began to emerge.

The sport was developed in Asia, and it started to spread across the world thanks to globalization and the Internet.

Today, almost anyone can play airsoft!

Airsoft Locations

Airsoft can be played both in indoor and outdoor locations, in small or larger spaces.

You can look online to find any airsoft arenas near you and determine which type of location you would like to play at. Often the type of location and size of arena will determine the type of gameplay you can engage in.

In some states and regions you can play outside in your backyard, but be sure to check with local and state-level laws to ensure that it is legal to do so.

Airsoft Equipment

In airsoft sports, each player should be equipped with:

  • At least one airsoft gun
  • Accessories
  • Ammunition
  • Safety gear and clothing
  • Other miscellany

Airsoft Gun

Each player will need at least one airsoft gun. Airsoft guns are replicas of firearms that shoot non lethal pellets (known as BBs), categorized into electric, spring-loaded, or gas-powered types.

Be sure to research the abilities, how each of the airsoft works, and what situations it is best used in. Different airsoft guns include but are not limited to:

  • Pistol
  • Rifle
  • Shotgun
  • Submachine gun

Often players will have more than one airsoft gun in game for varied situations that might arise.

Airsoft Gun Accessories (Batteries, Gas Canisters)

In addition to the airsoft gun, you will need different accessories that pair with it.

Depending on your airsoft gun you may need a charger, batteries, gas canisters, pellet loader, sights, or magazines and clips.

Airsoft Ammunition

To play you will obviously need ammunition to shoot from your airsoft gun.

Airsoft guns utilize non lethal plastic pellets or BBs that come in different sizes, weights, and colors, depending on the needs of the airsoft gun or the desire of the player.

Protective Gear and Clothing

In addition to offensive gear, it is important for you to wear defensive gear.

While the pellets are nonlethal, they can seriously injury you if you are not wearing the correct protective gear. Getting hit on bare skin by a BB will feel like a pinch or rubber band snap. It doesn’t hurt much, but it still can hurt!

At the bare minimum it is necessary to wear goggles and masks to protect the eyes and face. This eyegear is similar to the eyegear you would use for paintball.

In addition to eye gear it is recommended to wear long sleeve shirts and pants as well as padding to protect you from the pellets. Additional protective gear includes: helmets, gloves, and knee and elbow pads.


In addition to the equipment mentioned above, there is even more gear that is optional, but will improve your airsoft game tenfold.

Paired with your protective gear, you can add on tactical gear, such as tactical vests and holsters to carry extra gear that would hinder you during a game if you had to either go without or carry in a different way.

Beyond using airsoft guns, there are non-pellet based airsoft weaponry that you and your team can incorporate to get an edge over the opposing team. These types of weapons would be grenades, launchers, and claymores.

Airsoft Gameplay

A team typically will consist of at least 4 players, each of which have different assigned roles, such as squad leader/captain, rifleman, sniper, etc..

Depending on the game that you are playing the number of players, teams, and types of roles on a team may differ.

There are different versions and takes on airsoft games.

Most traditional games would be two teams facing off against each other in a last-team-standing scenario. Variants on team based games, such as Capture the Flag and King of the Hill also exist for airsoft players to complete in. Additional airsoft specific gameplay would be CBQ (or Close Quarters Battle) and Speedsoft, which are based on quick and close proximity combat.

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