Are Airsoft Replica’s Safe for 13 Year Olds?

As a parent it’s hard to see that more and more teenagers sit in front of their screen which causes many issues on the posture later on. So actually you are quite happy that your kid wants to go out with friends and do something to learn and get skills from. Social skills and working in a team are very important later in his carrier. Nothing to worry about so far, right?
Well not exactly. They decided to play Airsoft and now your teenager is asking for an Airsoft replica. Should you allow your  13 year old to use an Airsoft replica? Is it safe? 

So is an Airsoft replica safe for your 13 year old? Yes, an Airsoft replica is safe and is not a BB gun. Airsoft is safe for teenagers as long as they’ve been taught about handling and safety. As a parent you need to judge your kid’s responsibility level as well as their ability to follow rules and instructions. Kids can perfectly take more and more responsibility around the age of 10.

So before allowing your kid to start playing Airsoft, you need to consider handling & Safety, what the law states and how your kid is taking care of things and also their responsibility level.

Handling & Safety Should Be Taught First!

The first serious problem here is that kids are not being educated on proper handling & safety. In my opinion, this education should be part of American Life. We should educate them about firearms as we do educate them on several other topics in primary school. Unfortunately, our kids are still being taught about how dangerous firearms are instead of being taught how to deal with them…

Airsoft team

That being said, its important as a parent to know what kind of rules teenager needs to learn before being allowed to play Airsoft.
Get informed about what is acceptable and what isn’t. Do your own research and use common sense.

Don’t worry about what other parents are doing and what your teenager says about it. Be informed and know the basic rules and procedures that are involved when playing Airsoft.  Mistakes in Airsoft can lead to injuries so by following these rules for Kids & Airsoft replica’s your kid will probably be safe!

Safety Rules and Procedures

Airsoft replica’s are not the same as BB guns. An Airsoft replica fires small, close-to-harmless plastic BBs. An Airsoft replica can be battery powered, spring powered or CO2 powered and are non-lethal.
Only when shooting within the minimum engagement range will break the skin. Actually the Airsoft sport is one of the most safety sports out there when using the right protection gear.

Keep it safe

An Airsoft replica should be cased when moving to a playing area. Even when going there by car! We all know the situation in Santa Rosa,  California,  where a police officer decided to shoot on a 13 year old teenager with an Airsoft replica.
I can hardly believe that this would have happened when the Airsoft replica was carried in a proper Airsoft replica Case

Don not Remove or Paint the Orange Tip

As it is allowed to remove the orange tip, I would not recommend allowing to remove or paint the orange tip on your teenager’s replica.
I know that it’s part of the game that these replica’s look like real guns but those without an orange tip need to be handled off the playing field and in front of people who don’t know as well.
With time comes more responsibility so later on they can decide to remove or paint the orange tip. At that time they know what they’re doing and can take their own responsibility.

An Safety Observer to Oversee the Airsoft Game

When your son or daughter is playing on the field he / she is much less likely to react inappropriately to their commands then someone who is observing the game and keep an eye on what is going on around the game.

Your teenager will be focused on tactics to win the game so my advise is to appoint a parent –  wearing an orange safety vest and proper protective equipment –  who can oversee them. It doesn’t work when one of the kids rotates in and out of the game to keep an eye on what is going on around the game.

Play in a Controlled Environment

Don’t let your teenager play in the neighborhood. Always be sure that they play in a high fenced (back)yard, out in the woods or on a known Airsoft field. They may find it difficult to not play on a college campus or in the neighborhood because of the “COOL” factor. But know that such circumstances are a recipe for disaster.

Kids playing Airsoft. source: wikimedia

Wear Proper Equipment

Safety first! Be sure your teenager  is wearing proper equipment for protection.
BBs can hurt especially when shot within the minimum engagement range.

It’s without doubt that your teenager needs good quality protection gear in order to protect him from loosing an eye or choking to death on a BB to the face. I always suggest to wear ANZI rated and full seal goggles, full facemask and a helmet.
A helmet is not very popular but it may be very well the deciding factor in how people react. For an outsider it looks more like a game instead of thinking something else and force a very different initial response.

Airsoft Marksmanship

Although Airsoft BBs can’t kill, they can hurt instead. One of the greatest dangers in Airsoft is being shot in the eye with a BB. Even if your child is only doing target shooting he can be injured on his eye. That is because the low velocity plastic BBs bounce off hard objects.
The danger to the eyes can’t be overemphasized so you need to communicate clearly with your child about this. You can do this by teaching him how to handle and treat an Airsoft gun properly.
They need to be drilled with strict gun safety rules before even touch an Airsoft replica!

Airsoft Replica Safety Rules

As a parent I remember that my teenager was very excited after he had his first Skirmish. It gives us a nice feeling when knowing he had a good time. However, the excitement could be a disadvantage in terms of safety. Teenagers can be so excited that they sometimes don’t know what they’re actually doing. Their responsibility level is not fully developed yet…

To avoid injuries welts and bruises – not only to them but others too – I’d like to mention some Airsoft replica safety rules in order to help them to be safe, mature and careful even when playing a “safe game”.

  1. Always protect your eyes: wear proper eye wear when shooting / attending an Airsoft skirmish. This is very important and even required on most Airsoft fields!
  2. Practice safe trigger discipline: Hold your finger on the side of the lower receiver at all times. When you are ready to fire, only then bring your finger to the trigger. Always have the Airsoft replica on safe until you are about to shoot.
  3. Muzzle awareness: Only point your Airsoft replica at whoever you’re aiming to actually fire upon. Only in that instance you should have your finger on the trigger when you’re on the field.
  4. Do not look down the barrel: This is part of muzzle awareness and seems to be quite logical for us but not for a teenager. They tend to challenge each other a lot and come up with the most ridiculous tests…
  5. Treat your Airsoft replica as if it were loaded: That means if you are exiting the field or when you don’t play you eject your magazine and shoot several times and put in on safety. When you not intend to pull the trigger, your finger should be above the trigger on the side of the receiver.
  6. Don’t brandish an Airsoft replica in public:  It’s hard to distinguish an Airsoft replica from a real gun. Therefore it’s dumb and even illegal to brandish an Airsoft replica in public. Even if your teenager is just driving to a field or friend. Make sure that he uses a gun case when moving to another area.
  7. Respect the safe area: This area in the field is a safety and in there you should be safe from attacks of your opponent. You can respawn to this area if you have a problem with your gear, are injured or just got hit. Again, somebody should be safe there because he may not have the necessary equipment! 

Trustworthy and Responsibility

When your teenager came up with the idea to play Airsoft you need to be one step ahead before he takes the next step…

It’s my experience that they immediately want to buy their favorite Airsoft replica and forget about safety and responsibility. Of course you may buy their favorite Airsoft replica but before they go to play, learn them about safety and responsibility. Or ask other parents for help if you don’t know how to handle this situation.

Responsibility Level

You know exactly how your child is reacting in different situations. How responsible is your teenager when giving him duties? How does he treat his stuff? Does he take care of his stuff or is he not careful at all? Those are early indicators on how responsible he is.

And what about following rules and instructions? Does your child listen when you explain something important? Or does he takes things for granted without thinking about it? Only you as a parent knows what kind of responsibility level your teenager has and if he is willing to listen to authority.

On the Airsoft field he probably has to listen to people training him how to play and how to stay safe. So it’s important to know how your teenager will react and how he will absorb that information. Only you as a parent can judge that!

In my opinion, kids can perfectly take more and more responsibility around the age of 10. When they first start shooting be sure that and adult is around. Let them immediately be responsible for their actions. Your (back) yard is a great way to let your kid practice. Make sure that your backyard has a fence and that your kid is shooting out of public view. Always check local law and what is allowed or not!

Know the Law

I hate to say it but it depends on your state, city or country (outside US) laws what is illegal or not. For instance, in some states it is illegal to give a child an Airsoft replica. Or in other states it’s illegal to discharge an Airsoft replica even if it’s target shooting in the (back)yard.

Always check local laws. Or call the manager of the nearest Airsoft field or store and ask what is allowed and what not. They should know the actual law and what is allowed or not. 

Many fields have an age restriction of 12 years. They may allow younger ages but you may need to accompany your child in the field for them to be allowed to play.

Airsoft Laws Regarding Minors

California Airsoft law
California Law…

Airsoft laws in California:  Minors can’t buy and minors can’t carry. The California Law prohibits the sale of Airsoft replica’s to minors (below 18 year). For a minor it’s illegal to furnish an Airsoft replica without being accompanied by an adult.

Airsoft laws in Florida: For minors under the age of 16 it’s not allowed to purchase or use an Airsoft replica unless he his supervised by a parent. The law allow minors to use Airsoft replica’s if they are used for competition or hunting. If unloaded, minors are allowed to transport an Airsoft replica if supervised by a parent.

Airsoft laws in Indiana: If an Airsoft replica is handled by a child it need to be supervised by a parent to prevent injuries and incidences.

Airsoft laws in Michigan: It’s not allowed to enter a public school with an Airsoft replica. So don’t let them carry an Airsoft replica to school even if it’s because your child is going to  a friend afterwards. An exception to that is when you are an adult (above 18) and transport your child to or from school. Always be sure to carry the replica in a case!

Several jurisdictions within the state prohibit the sale of an Airsoft replica to minors.

Airsoft laws in New Jersey USA: It’s prohibited to sale an Airsoft replica to a minor. Instead a parent can buy the Airsoft replica  but not without a license.

Airsoft laws in New York: The law prohibit the possession of an Airsoft replica under 16 years.

Airsoft law in Pennsylvania: It is not allowed to sell an Airsoft replica to a minor (under 18 years). This law also applies to renting or giving out the Airsoft replica to anyone younger than 18 years of age.

It’s also not allowed to carry an Airsoft gun in public unless your teenager is accompanied by an adult. Last it’s not allowed for any person to discharge an Airsoft replica in public places.

The good news is that it’s allowed for a minor to use the Airsoft replica on their own property without any restrictions. As long as nobody gets hurt and BBs do not get outside the boundaries!

Airsoft laws in Wisconsin: it is illegal to carry an Airsoft replica to a school or within 1000 feet, recreation area and non Airsoft playing fields.

Final Word

Safety first! As you can see it’s all about safety in this sport. Teach your teenager or let them be taught about protective gear. Also talk about other people’s safety. Teach your kid about safety regulations and how to store their Airsoft replica. In house or anywhere else. Also teach them how to use their replica. That will improve their skills.

As long as they learn basic marksmanship skills  – handling and safety – before going out and play, your teenager should have tons of fun in the field.

Now you know that Airsoft is safe for your teenager, you will have to know what kind of Airsoft replica is best for your child. So I’d like to advise you to navigate to my recommended product page where I put together a top 3 of best Airsoft replica’s for Kids. (scroll down the page to see Airsoft replica’s for kids…)