Airsoft is a type of a combat sport which is played for recreation as well as training purposes. In this game the participants try to eliminate each other by hitting them with airsoft pellets fired from airsoft guns. The weapons look very similar to real firearms. Tactical gear and other accessories are used as well by the players.
Airsoft has its origins in Japan where real firearms were difficult to procure by common people. Hence they resorted to replicas of real weapons and soon the market spread to nearby countries of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Today there are Chinese guns domination the market as they are easily procured. Reputable companies manufacturing airsoft products are Classic Army, ICS and Tokyo Marui. Interest for the sport is spreading to other continents like Europe and North America.
The sport is usually played outdoors though it can be played indoors as well. One can play a variety of games like organized scenarios and military stimulations like war. Airsoft has been used for training military personnel and preparing them for real time wars. The main purpose, as mentioned before is to eliminate all the players of the opposite team. Unlike paintball there are no visible marks left on the clothing and so when a player is hit with a pellet he has to declare himself out according to the rules of the game.
Airsoft was invented in Japan while paintball finds its origin in the United States. Paintball is more popular than airsoft in the United States but airsoft is quickly picking up. In East Asia airsoft is more popular than paintball. As mentioned before airsoft is used in Military Stimulation (also known as MilSim). Certain ammunitions are provided to each team. The ammunition includes batteries, rations, pellets, rifles and other accessories like a vest. The team will have to be on the field at all times, only returning to the safe zone in case of medical emergencies. The game may last for several days depending on the rules.
Airsoft is today used widely in the police department for real life stimulations. Police use airsoft weapons which are similar to M16 and M9 guns and also use replicas of pipe bombs. The players might introduce some special rules to make the game more interesting or longer. It is necessary to follow an honor system in airsoft where the players admit honestly when they are hit by the opposition member. This increases sportsmanship and helps to conduct the game in a fair manner.
An air pellet travels at a velocity of 300 feet per second similar to the velocity of the paintball. Most of the airsoft guns shoot at 150fps to 400 fps. There are upgrade versions also available that can shoot at 500fps. In terms of the cost of hardware, airsoft is cheaper than paintball. The prices are the same for both when it comes to apparel. Low quality electric guns that cost $10-$60 can be used for airsoft. Medium priced guns come at a cost of $80-$180 while high priced guns start from $200. Custom made guns can cost upwards of $2,500.
It is necessary to follow all safety precautions while playing airsoft. Precautions like keeping the gun pointed away from anything that is not intended to be shot at should be taken. Protective goggles and clothing like vests should be worn at all times as shots taken from near distances can be very painful. Keep the trigger locked when you are not playing the game. There are protection masks also available that protect sensitive areas on the face such as eyes, ears, chin, nose, neck and cheeks.
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