7 Things Every Parent Needs To Know About Airsoft Guns

Often kids come home and inform their parents they NEED an airsoft gun, and most parents then ask, "What is an airsoft gun and why do you need one?"

1. Airsoft Is Older Than Paintball.

A little history, airsoft was invented before paintball back in the '80s. Tokyo Mauri in Japan created the first airsoft gun, about eight years before paintball was invented. The early guns were powered by a compressed air cylinder which was connected to the gun by a hose. They were used for target shooting and playing war games in the woods. It became popular in Japan along with paintball. Years later Tokyo Mauri came out with a M16 replica gun that ran on a battery they called it an AEG (automatic electric gun), and airsoft took off worldwide.

G36C AEG, Sniper Rifle, Shotgun, M4 Commando AEG
G36C AEG, Sniper Rifle, Shotgun, M4 Commando AEG | Source

2. These Are Low Velocity Non-Lethal Guns.

Airsoft guns were created to be low velocity non-lethal guns. This is accomplished by using a 6mm or 8mm plastic BB that is very light (.12 to .45 grams), fired at low velocities 170 to 550fps (feet per second). In Japan, the fps limit is 300fps with a .20 gram BB for all guns. Kids large and small have always wanted to play soldier, and these guns give them an opportunity to do that with the right protective gear. They should not be confused with Daisy BB guns sold in the US for years which at close range are lethal.

3. Be Aware of Safety Concerns.

There are safety concerns that parents need to be aware of. Children need to play with full clothing, long sleeve shirts, pants, and gloves. BBs will only leave a red spot through clothes, but on bare skin it can cause a blood blister and can bleed, if hit at close enough range with a high enough velocity gun. This is one reason airsoft fields in the US and around the world have a 10 to 20ft minimum engagement distance and any gun shooting .20 gram BBs at more than 400fps must observe a 100ft minimum engagement distance. This may sound bad or scary to some, but in reality it is a minor issue, and you find adults (18-22 year olds) on the field all the time in shorts and short sleeve t-shirts. However, this is also why I personally do not allow my children to play in the backyard, unless there will be an adult supervising.

The greatest danger in airsoft is being shot in the eye with a BB. That is why all fields indoor and outdoor require full seal goggles designed for paintball or airsoft. Even if your child is only doing target shooting, he and anyone in the area should at a minimum have shooting glasses on. This is because the low velocity plastic BBs bounce off hard objects, wood, stone, etc. I have personally shot at a wood board 60 feet away and had the BBs bounce back and hit me on the head. The danger to the eyes cannot be overemphasized, and this needs to be communicated to your child, and your child needs to fully understand this before he touches any airsoft gun!

4. Responsibility and Gun Safety Are Critical.

Since there is an element of danger with these guns, this was an excellent way to teach responsibility and gun safety. I have personally found with three of my children that my imposing strict gun safety rules with them has helped them to be safe, mature, and see that they need to be careful even when playing a "game" that is "safe." In fact, they are now actually more careful than I am which is comforting, and yes, I did have to ban them occasionally.

Gun safety rules:

  1. Always wear eyewear when shooting.
  2. Always point the gun in a safe direction.
  3. Never look down the barrel.
  4. Always have the gun on safe (safetied) until you are about to shoot.
  5. Never put your finger on the trigger until you are aiming at the target and are ready to shoot.
  6. Always treat the gun as if it is loaded.
  7. Always treat your airsoft gun like a real gun.

If you follow these rules, you can be safe and have a lot of good clean fun.

5. Airsoft Guns Bear Resemblance to Real Guns.

Like any gun owner, airsoft players enjoy the pleasure of owning a respected gun, whether that is a M16, SCAR, AK47, MP5, G36, etc. Adding rails, handles, barrels, zero-point triggers, etc. All the things that you can do with a real guns are also the rage for airsoft guns. This is what has made the sport so popular. Heckler & Koch makes the guns used by special forces units around the world and some of the most reliable guns in the world; the airsoft replicas perform up to that reputation and are very popular.

There are many countries that ban their people from owning real guns, Japan and England to name just two, so airsoft guns with their close resemblance to the real steel guns is the closest people in these countries can get to owning a real gun.

6. Airsoft Guns Can Be Fun: Target Shooting, Outdoor Play, and Indoor Play.

I have spoken about the dangers involved now let's talk about the fun you and your child can have. Target shooting is where we started, with a spring pistol from BassPro Shop. I next purchased an AEG because I could do target shooting and play on an airsoft field with it (I thought), then a shotgun and finally a sniper rifle. The most fun per dollar has always been using my Double Eagle shotgun and I would highly recommend any shotgun that has an adjustable hopup. For accurate shooting and learning how to apply all the shooting techniques of a real gun the sniper rifle has been the most fun.

Having small skirmishes in the backyard is also fun and good preparation for going to an organized outdoor airsoft field. These fields may be a property owned by the person putting on the game day, or land rented from the county, or state, or a piece of land where the owner allows organized play. This type of play will usually be based on simulated military type missions.

Indoor fields allow younger players to play in a more paintball like way. Games normally last 5 to 10 minutes. Although dressing with layers of clothing would be recommended, since minimum engagement distances are shorter than those in outdoor play.

7. Know Your Laws.

Before purchasing an airsoft gun you also need to find out what the laws are in your city, your state, and for those outside the US, your country. For instance, in Massachusetts it is illegal for anyone except the child's parent to give a child an airsoft gun: grandparents, aunts, or uncles will go to jail if they buy one and give it to a child. In many cities/towns it is illegal to discharge ANY BB gun even airsoft guns, so target shooting in the backyard is illegal. And some states do not allow an airsoft gun to leave the store except in a gun case.

Comments 29 comments

Trisha 4 years ago

Thank you for your article. I found my 6 year old playing with the 10 yr old neighbor kids and had no idea what airsoft was. While I am not still totally convinced this is a good idea at his age, I'm not as put off as I first was. We will be buying some safety goggles.

Eddie 3 years ago

Interesting. Whatever you do, do not buy mesh face masks. If it is shot with an airsoft gun over 400 FPS, it will shatter and get in your eyes.

ethan 2 years ago

I must disagree with the "wood board bounces back bbs at 60ft", I have an Ashbury airsoft sniper that does 530 fps and never once have I been hit even at 40ft.

Mike 2 years ago

I agree with ethan how is that possible

colin 2 years ago

this is a great way to learn the concepts of an air soft gun.

Brony 2 years ago

Ethan, different guns have different accuracy, fps, and many things can be determined by the size of the bullet. It is possible for a bullet to bounce off a wood board and back at you. It has happened to me before.e.

Anyway, good article/post.

Colin 2 years ago

Well as an extreme airsoft player I can safely say that this person (in some places) has no idea what their talking about. It's funny actually. Also there is NO way that they could have shot a board at 60 feet and still have been hit by it. Also double Eagle is terrible, and shotguns are terrible get an echo one Xcr-c, or a G&G combat machine mk18. As a starter weapom

Geoff 2 years ago

^not necessarily. It ask depends on how much you're willing to spend, and your idea of fun. Just do your research before every single purchase, because there's chances you could of bought something better for your money.

Scott 2 years ago

Disagree with the 60' bounce back and laugh if you want, but his point was sound.

BB's bounce. Protect everyone's eyes.

cool 2 years ago

Wait I have glasses will they fit under masks?

larryg2011 profile image

larryg2011 2 years ago from Portland, OR Author

Yes, glasses will fit under masks.

Matt 2 years ago

By the way Real Steel guns ARE LEGAL in England, providing you have enough space to safely shoot away from houses and civilians, and that you have a checked gun locker, you will get your license for up to .22 Semi-Automatics, any caliber over this must be single or bolt action, shotguns require a separate permit and all handguns excluding revolvers are banned except for on a few of the UK's surrounding isles.

larryg2011 profile image

larryg2011 2 years ago from Portland, OR Author

Thanks for the clarifications.

Nate 2 years ago

I'm 12 I've been playing with airsoft since I was 3 really all you need are glasses and my first was a stinger p3 11 at Walmart or anywhere really for about $14

Kevin 2 years ago

Is it ture that your uncle and etc can go to jail

larryg2011 profile image

larryg2011 2 years ago from Portland, OR Author

In Massachusetts it is illegal for anyone except your parent to give a child an airsoft gun.

Craig 2 years ago

This was a good article. I recently went to an indoor CQB arena with my 11 year old son. He had been bugging me for a while, and it sounded like fun. We rented gear, played several rounds, and I think I had as much fun as he did! While there is some inherent risk, the facility was very safety cautious. They do a full safety briefing followed by a facility walkthrough, and while they don't have a set age limit, they were very engaged during the walkthrough and asked my son very specific questions to see if he was paying attention.

Parents with kids who express interest in airsoft, my advice would be to take the time to educate both yourself and your child. Airsoft guns are not toys, and should not be treated as such, but they also are not something to fear. If your child has the maturity to learn the proper safety, it can be a very fun and rewarding activity.

Charlie Leonidas 22 months ago

In the case of California, you're right.. the discharge of airsoft guns is illegal, but only PUBLICLY. Nowhere does it say that discharge in private property is banned. Only if you do not let the public ( your neighbors for example) get offended, or feel unsafe. Check with your neighbors and local laws. But other than that, you should be fine

Brian 22 months ago

I am 11 and ive been playing airsoft for 3 years i have 7 guns getting 2 more for christmas and i love airsoft it is so much fun i go to a place i California and its the same field as levalcapgaming goes to i haven't seen him yet but i hope i will see him sometime in the future. overall airsoft is a fun sport as long as u have protection but if u want to play very serios play paintball it hurts like a b**ch and it can leave big welts

John Doe 22 months ago

I am 23 year old airsofter, at first this sport seemed silly to me up til a few years ago when i started getting interested with the ammo shortages changing my shooting habits. Since the spark of my interest I found myself at a CQB field and decided to look into it and ask questions then came done to trying it. At first I was there just to waste time but after it really changed my view and I'm looking forward to getting more active in the sport. I started out with a WE Heavy Weight CQB Master 1911 (from with a pair of goggles that I liked and did research on (Smith Optics, if you were wondering) and the knowledge that its a good idea to wear a long sleeve shirt with pants ( of course). Starting out, I knew I didn't want to go cheap b/c of my fondness of the realistic weight of the gear tickling my obsession with real steel firearms this sport has taken me by a landslide. A tip for the younger and newer players is to call your hits b/c nothing is more irritating to a regular player than someone who don't take or call their hits (More fun and less arguing with someone else or a referee.

Grayson 19 months ago

I am 16 i have been playing airsoft for 3 to 4 years now i belong to and help manage a small team called woodland rebels airsoft. Overall this article does have useful info but first whenever looking for your first gun think about what you will be doing if its backyard play some .12 gram bbs will be perfect as well as a low powered cheap double eagle or crossman springer or aeg if playing at a field you may want something a little stronger because if you use those guns you will hit nothing for the younger ages 10 and under i would suggest a g&g combat machine and for it purchase .20 gram bbs as well as a 9.6 volt battery for ages above that id go with something a bit better however a little more expensive a we katana works nicely which you would use the same battery and a.23 or .25 gram bb of course you need face protection of any sort some fields require full face protection some do not it is smart to buy a smart charger for your battery. For safety if the player is wearing goggles you should not worry about eye damage most players within a certain range even without a safety rule will not shoot instead warn you that you are out and for you to go back to your spawn (why waste ammo) if you go to a field more times than not you will return with a few whelps but you should not worry too much just keep in mind to be courtious and call your hits also BE RESPONSIBLE WITH YOUR AIRSOFT GUN don't walk around on the street with it in hand reccomended is a rifle bag but most of all have fun and be safe

yolomickswag 18 months ago

i don't want one to shoot just to play with

Yay 15 months ago

Any good fields in Ohio

kevin 9 months ago

just play safe and just have fun

gabrielle 8 months ago

we live in the hastens and my son is 10 and he has been bugging me for a year what age should he get a airlift be he said he would get a pink m4

Yay 2.0 6 months ago

In Ohio there are a number of fields blooming! Fallen Warriors is one. Located in Chillicothe. Their is War Den Airsoft near Cincinnati. And many more. I personally prefer fallen warriors. Airsoft Ohio is a great website for events and news in Ohio!!

Louis 6 months ago

What are the rules for air soft guns in the UK,Godalming???

bgigstead profile image

bgigstead 6 months ago

Great Article. I have been playing with my son for the past 2 1/2 years.

abdul 5 days ago


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