Airsoft Safety Guide: On Field and Off Field Safety Rules

Airsoft is more than only shooting BB’s from your most important piece of equipment. It is also about safety on the field as well as off the field. Airsoft safety is about different things. It’s about the law, knowing the field rules, wearing safety gear, how to treat your replica and Airsoft safety for kids.

This article is about everything you need to know about Airsoft safety. Is Airsoft safe? YES, Airsoft is safe!  As long as you respect local law and field rules, having proper safety gear and treat your gun like a real firearm.

Instead of sitting down behind my computer playing Command an Conquer I now play Airsoft. It’s  much, much more fun and you meet other people with the same interest. It’s awesome!

Airsoft Age recommendations

According to the Federal Law, everyone above 18 year of age may purchase an Airsoft replica. The use of an Airsoft replica is not restricted to any age. However, many states allow the possession of an Airsoft gun under the age of 18 with one condition. And that is adult supervision.

If someone under 18 (sometimes 16) wants to enter a local field, they have to have an adult present. Some fields require even an adult play alongside them, but mostly that applies for players younger than 13 years of age.

On private property there is no restriction on using an Airsoft replica. Only in case you’re not disruptive towards anyone or anything. For example if you want to play in your garage, nothing will happen to you. As long as you do it out of public’s eye.

Backyard Airsoft for that matter can be a different story. It depends on the size, the present of a fence an your neighbors which precautions are needed. At least make sure that BB’s don’t enter your neighbors property. Additionally, the fence of the backyard should block the view of you shooting. Make sure that you worked on the safety of your neighbors as well as a passerby.

Airsoft (safety) rules on the field

Your number one priority is to protect yourself. This is because it really hurts when you get shot and a BB hits you. You even can get injured when wearing no proper safety gear.

  • First you should wear safety goggles during the game. On most Airsoft fields it is prohibited to play Airsoft without safety goggles. I recommend to wear a face mask too. Not only your eyes but your whole face is very sensitive. You definitely feel some pain when you get hit in your face.  Additionally I would even recommend a shemagh.
  • Next up. 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. The same applies to muzzle awareness. Only point your 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.
  • Notify the enemy when you got hit. Shout “HIT” and act like being hit. Don’t cheat here and paly a fair game. Your opponent is considered alive until he announces he has been hit. I someone is cheating then it is it’s own responsibility.
  • After being hit, a medic has 5 minutes to treat you. If a medic can’t make it in 5 minutes the Airsoft player who got hit is considered dead. The maximum treatment time is 2 minutes.
  • If only your replica was hit, you can use your secondary. You only may use your primary after you’ve been through the respawn area.
  • If a player is considered dead, he walks with a dead rag over his head to the respawn area. I know it’s tempting to reveal enemy positions during your way to the respawn area but please don’t. Keep it fair play.
  • As a grenadier you’re likely to use a grenade when necessary. But when is your opponent considered as dead? Well, if a grenade explodes within 3 meters and when there is no obstruction in between.
  • A respawn is considered some sort of Safe Zone. Therefore it’s forbidden to shoot through the respawn area.
  • Let the Off Zone be the Off Zone. Make sure that everyone put his replica on safe.

In my search for field rules I found a great video from Airsplat who defines clearly what is allowed or not. Maybe you’ve seen it once.

Airsoft safety Gear

Face protection should paramount for all Airsofters. We play Airsoft because we want to have fun. What is worse than getting injured while it was preventable? Many Airsofters become aware of safety issues over time. And by experience. To help you further in becoming more aware we discuss the main safety gear to keep you out of trouble.

Airsoft safety goggles

All Airsofters know that you must always wear eye protection. On most fields it’s even prohibited to have no face protection. When looking for the right eye protection, be aware of the difference in quality. Look for eye protection that is impact rated. The ANSI Z 87 is a well known characteristic of an impact rated goggle. In Europe it’s EN 166.

These characteristics are very import because many goggles and glasses which are marked for Airsoft will not provide adequate protection. A mesh mask for example can get fragmented when you get shot and result in shards of plastic that will hit your eye. So be careful in choosing the right face protection.

Additionally look for eye protection that has a fully seal. This will prevent a BB entering into the sides of your goggle causing injury on your eyes.

Airsoft safety mask

To protect your cheeks, teeth and ears use full face mask. Your face is more sensitive than other parts of your body so don’t save on protective gear. I recommend a full face mask with goggle to protect your whole face.

Airsoft safety footwear

One of the most common injuries in Airsoft is rolled ankles. Airsoft fields are pretty hazardous and uneven so it’s easy to lose your footing. We definitely recommend some military boots. Instead, we don’t recommend wearing some sneakers or something similar because these ar not proper footwear for Airsoft.

Airsoft fields are uneven

Good military Airsoft boots will help you provide adequate ankle protection that will help you keep your footing. If you you step on something sharp or uneven, your boots will prevent you from rolled ankles because of their rugged construction.

Carry a first aid kit too

Airsoft first aid kitNot every Airsofter needs to carry a first aid kit. I’d like to see that at least one or two of my teammates has a first aid kit. Before we get started or even hit the field we also make sure that all of or teammates know who is the first aider. We also plan on where we locate first aid kits in case somebody get really injured. Unfortunately carrying a first aid kit is not enough….You should know how to use it. Therefore one or two teammates should best have had a first aid training.

A typical first aid kit contains of triangle and compression bandages, gauze, nitrile gloves, scissors, medical tape and antiseptic spray.

Airsoft safety: How to treat your treatment

One of the most important rules in Airsoft: treat your gun as it is a real firearm and as it is loaded at any time. Draw for Airsoft is it’s realistic nature and closeness of relation to real firearms. Real firearms should be treated with respect and responsibility. The same requires for an Airsoft gun.

In my research to what the law states the word “toy” has been used several times. That surprised me. Is it a toy? Well, I don’t think it’s a toy. In many cases minors need supervision from their parents. You can call it a toy but in fact it’s a “device” that fires a projectile round an with that comes the responsibility that we should all be taking part of. How to take your responsibility?

Muzzle awareness

Be aware of where your muzzle is being pointed. Most beginners are to busy with other things like operating their gun and not being hit. This causes an unawareness of where they point their muzzle.  Never point your gun at anything you are not willing to shoot at. Make sure you have pointed your gun either in the sky or towards the ground. When you’re not playing you can use a barrel sock to avoid potential injuries. Many fields even require them so to make sure that nothing comes out or your barrel when you’re not intend to.

Trigger discipline

Be aware of where you put your finger when you not intend to pull the trigger. Your finger should always be above the trigger on the side of the receiver. Do this with every Airsoft gun and treat it like a real firearm. That way you and others stay safe and get not accidentally injured.

The goal to create trigger awareness is to avoid common injuries. Taking that one step further, eject your magazine when you’re exiting the field or when you’re not in play. Doing that by taking the magazine out of your gun and shoot several times and put it on safety. By shooting several times you make sure that your breech load is clear. So when you exit the field there is no possibility of any accident or mistake happening when using the gun in an inappropriate area.

Storage

Airsoft carrying caseWhen you store your Airsoft replica make sure that it is unloaded, the magazine is released and nog BB’s are left in the chamber. If it’s a gas powered make sure that you expel any gas in the magazines. If you have an AEG always disconnect the battery before you store your replica. Two reasons: it’s better for the battery and it guarantees that it will not fire when it’s stored.

Keep your gun safe in a lockable gun bag / carrying case. Only you have access to your replica. Keep it in a gun case until you get to the field or a gun repair. If you can’t afford an gun bag you can use your Airsoft box that every gun comes in. We wouldn’t recommend to put your gun in a backpack or any other storage compartment. Of course it’s the cheapest option but it’s not prohibited. Besides that, gun bags are very affordable these days. I wrote about an high quality and affordable gun case in another article.

Environmental awareness

Never brandish your gun in public! An appropriate place to have your Airsoft replica out is at a sanctioned field or if you’re on a private property. As long as you’re out of public view and the owner of that property consents you’re allowed to play. If you’re planning to play backyard Airsoft inform your neighbors in case they experience nuisance.

Transporting your Airsoft replica

This is a bit similar to storage however, responsibly transporting your gun is very important. When you’re driving from home to an Airsoft field or repair office keep your gun in the back of your car. That gun should be unloaded. Keep magazines and BB’s away from you replica.

Put your replica on safe

airsoft gun on safeWhen not in use, put your gun on safe. That will prevent you from accidentally pulling the trigger, in the moment your gun should on safe and pointed away from people.

Keep your magazines out

Make sure your magazine is out of the gun when you’re off the field. Unless you are on the field and ready to engage. This reduces the amount of time that you will have an accidental misfire.

And check your barrel / chamber

There will usually be a BB in the chamber after you release your magazine. To clear the barrel and or chamber do this: unload your magazine, fire a couple of times in a safe direction away from others and put it on safe. Clearing your Airsoft replica away from others will make sure that you’re being safe off the Airsoft field. That causes an unnecessary strain on your gears, your piston and your spring. That will result in a lower spring tension has a negative impact on accuracy and FPS. For a full guide on how to maintain your gun check this article: How to maintain your Airsoft replica.

Maintain your gun regularly

Maintaining your gun to prevent malfunction. Maintain it regularly: about every 5000 rounds. Clear the barrel with a rod, lubricate the magazine, go over all the fasteners, clean the outside of the gun.

Relax the spring after each game. The spring is the most important part when it comes to the accuracy and FPS. If you play on auto or full automatic your gear may not cycle completely.

Orange tip

The main reason for the orange tip is to differentiate your Airsoft replica from a real firearm. It is even mandated by the Federal Law that an Airsoft replica is sold with an orange tip. Airsoft replica with orange tipIs it allowed to remove the orange tip? It depends on your local state law. In an article about the Federal law I discovered more about removing the orange tip.

Airsoft  safety tips for kids

Many parents do concern about their kids playing Airsoft. And I totally understand. They keep their kids away from getting involved in Airsoft. They have a lot of questions like:

  • Are Airsoft guns safe for 11 years old?
  • Does it hurt when you get shot?
  • What is the age limit for Airsoft?

These questions arise because their not involved in the Airsoft sport either. So how could they know if the sport is safe for their children? Many parents didn’t even heard of it till their kids ask questions about it.

An Airsoft gun isn’t a toy, although the law sometimes is confusing by calling it a toy but it’s not a firearm either. Airsoft is more like paintball. Instead of shooting paint pallets you shoot plastic BB’s which weight about .20gr and with a 6mm diameter.  An Airsoft replica shoot about 200-400 FPS so it does move fast enough to cause eye injury. Just like any other sport their is safety gear involved. Think about other sports where they use several protection gear too like Ice hockey. How hard do you think a vulcanized rubber puck is shoot? Well, it’s a bit the same in Airsoft. As long as you protect yourself with proper gear your kid(s) will be fine.

Why should your kid play Airsoft?

Airsoft safety for kidsAirsoft is that kind of sport that all the kids should try. It’s fun but it also develops several skills. Many kids are sitting behind their phone screen for hours these days. Instead of sitting the whole day, encourage them to go out there, and being active. That will provide them a wealth of benefits:

It’s like their next work out

Airsoft is an intensive sport. You have to jump, sprint, run and crawl in order to “survive”. It’s like an exercise for most kids who did play Airsoft for the first time.

Besides that, most computer games become reality now. They can play their favorite mission in real life! Not just by sitting the whole day behind their screen but being active and have fun. Give them a change!

They learn to play in a team as well

Airsoft is about playing missions. Often two teams playing against each other. Within that team they can choose what kind of role they want to play. Working in a team requires many skills which they will learn by doing and having fun. Their social skills will improve and they build several skills which they can use later on. Think about shool projects and also their jobs.

To fulfill that mission a team must be well structured and working closely together. That means that someone will be assigned as a teamleader, another as Rifleman and another as support gunner etc.. Read more about Airsoft roles in this article: “What role to play on the Airsoft field“? Each role requires different skills.

When your minor becomes more involved he will grow automatically into a leading role. Knowing how to follow and how to lead are both great skills in daily life.

Do Kids take responsibility?

Does a 11 years old kid can play Airsoft? Or even a 9 years old kid? Well, that depends on how you’re kid is doing and is taking responsibility for situations. But around the age of 10 kids can perfectly take more and more responsibility. So when they first start shooting with an Airsoft replica be sure that there is an adult around. Let these kids at the same time be independently responsible for their actions. Your backyard is a grate way to let your kid practice with an Airsoft gun. But make sure that your backyard has a fence and that your kid is hooting out of public view.

Watch a close eye when they first shooting with an Airsoft replica. Set some ground rules on which they should be responsible for. If something goes wrong, tell them what when wrong and how you would solve that problem or handle that specific situation. This way you get you’re guys ready for when you’re not around.

Start with lower power guns

If you see this as your responsibility to train your kids in a proper manner, you’d best start with a cheap gun with low FPS. Take small steps and give your minor some time to get used to it. The gun becomes automatically less important because you want to taught your minor the basic skills first. Convince them of how important skills are in order to operate the Airsoft gun that they really want. They will understand and will be eager to learn. The sooner they can get the gun they really want…

You can choose a springer or other Airsoft replica for you minor. A springer is that kind of gun where you have to cock a handle and then pull the trigger. These are lower power replica’s which makes them perfect for backyard play. I don’t recommend playing in the front yard because most people are freaked out by weapons these days. Keep your kids out of public view is the best thing you can do in order to avoid somebody calling the police.

Let your minor grow into a next level gun

When your kid shows you how to responsible using his replica you can go to the next level and purchase an AEG. Know that these guns have much more velocity. Shooting within a 10 or 20 meter distance is unacceptable and diffidently causes injuries. They also will damage your property. You have to look for a local Airsoft now. It’s time for your kid to do the real work…

Airsoft cheaters

Fair play is a basic principle of Airsoft. It’s always the cheaters who of kind of ruin the sport. There are several forms of cheating. Novritsch made a video about 10 kinds of Airsoft cheaters which I will be mention here short:

  • Non reactor: Mostly find on one place and does barely move even if he got a hit…
  • Early starter: He always make a false start…
  • Novritsch: Finds himself still in the game even crosses the field marks.
  • Friendly: Thinks he don’t have to call for a hit because he’s a teammate.
  • Godmode guy: finds himself not hit but ends up shooting in the direction from where he got hit and take out the opponent. He stays in the game that way.
  • Blindfire guy: shooting like crazy on every open window, door etc..to take out that building.
  • That was close guy: Got shot because he was not fully behind cover. After all does not call for a hit.
  • Quickspawner: Got hit, walks to the respawn area but turns around half way.
  • Knotholesprayer: Using even the smallest hole to put is muzzle in.
  • Overshooter: Somebody did call for a hit but the opponent keep shooting.

how to deal with Airsoft cheaters?

Well, first you can call yourself out, walk over to the player and ask why is not calling for a hit. Suggest to both walk to the respawn area and continue the game without cheating. I would only would do this if I was close enough to that cheater

Second option is to inform the field operator/administrator. Ask the field administrator to keep a close eye on him. After the game the admin will talk to the player or even ask to leave.

Last  option is to simply keep shooting until they call their hits. You even get some extra teammates to shoot at him. Most cheaters will call their hit eventually.

Conclusion on safety

Is Airsoft safe to play? Yes, like any other sport it is safe as long as you know the law, follow the rules, handle your replica with respect and use proper safety gear.

Unfortunately there is still that stigma on playing with Airsoft replica’s. A lot of people will freak out if they see a child with an Airsoft replica in public. Several shooting incidents in the past are of course the main reason for that. But most of these incidents were caused by confusion with real guns. And therefore I do say it again: DON’T take your gun out in public!

Many parents fear that their kids are going to change in a violent person. Well, it’s actually not the gun that made them a violent person. If they really want to hurt somebody they can do it with whatever they want…So don’t blame this fantastic sport.

Is it safe for you kids? Well it depends. And only you parents know that. Do you feel that you kid has the maturity to be responsible owning and operating a gun, keep it out of public view and wear proper safety gear. It’s up to you parents to judge whether if they can or not.

 

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