About Airsoft

Airsoft a fun military inspired sport incorporating teamwork and honesty

Airsoft is a modern combat sport or recreational hobby in which participants eliminate opponents by hitting each other with spherical non-metallic pellets launched from a compressed-air gun (or Soft Air gun) powered by gas, manual spring-load, or an electrically powered gearbox. Airsoft participants organize meetings, either indoors or outdoors, at dedicated airsoft battlefields to play a variety of games ranging from short-term skirmishes, organized scenarios, military simulations, or historical reenactments. Combat situations on the battlefield often involve the use of common military tactics to achieve the objectives set in each game. Participants typically use varying types of weaponry designed as replicas of real firearms, tactical gear, and accessories used by modern military and police organizations.

Is Airsoft like Paintball?

Yes and no. Unlike paintball, Airsoft lends itself to more realistic military style gaming due to the authentic looking firearms (airsoft guns) and military style gear worn by airsoft enthusiasts. Games can vary from simple capture-the-flag scenarios through to long military style campaigns with multiple team objectives. The airsoft guns fire a much smaller projectile than a paintball gun making them considerably safer and much less painful when hitting a player. The projectile is a 6mm plastic BB which hits with only about 10-20% of the energy of a paintball.

The Honour System

Airsoft play employs an honor system whereby the players rely on each others’ honesty to admit to being hit, because unlike paintballs, plastic pellets do not leave a surface mark distinguishable at a distance. Depending on the muzzle velocity of the gun and distance from the shooter, the person on the receiving end of a shot will usually feel the impact, but the pellets may sometimes not be felt by a player at very long ranges, when distracted, or when running strenuously. Hence, marshals or referees are important to fair game play.

Different Taggers (Guns) for different Jobs

Even though all Airsoft guns fire a BB at a target, the means they employ to perform this function can vary. There are several different configurations of Airsoft gun, and each has it’s good points and bad making certain types of gun preferable for certain game roles.

Spring Powered

Spring guns use a basic cocking mechanism which compresses a spring powered piston. These guns tend to be relatively affordable but slow to fire as typically only 1 BB is loaded per cocking. The exception to this are several models of pump action shotgun which may load 2-3 BB’s each time.

Spring pistols are not considered suitable for Airsoft gaming as they leave players at a disadvantage on the field.

Spring rifles are a popular choice for snipers as they are quiet and do not rely on batteries or gas to be carried.

Electric Powered

Automatic Electric Guns (AEG) use a hobby motor and gearbox to crank back a spring loaded piston. The mechanism allows fully automatic and/or semi automatic fire modes depending on the model of gun.

The motor is powered by a rechargeable battery (NiMH / LiPoly) which is housed within the gun body or fitted to the outside of the gun in a piece of external mock-military attachment, such as a laser designator.

AEG’s are fairly reliable but can be complex and beyond some players’ ability to service. This is why it is a good idea to meet other Airsoft club members in your area to ensure you have people willing to help you service your gun and offer advice.

AEG’s are the most commonly used type of Airsoft gun and are used in every style of game play from CQB to open field.

Gas Powered

Gas guns use a much simpler system than AEG’s and the extra kick, sound and realisitc magazine capacities make them popular with military purists. Gas guns use a variety of propellants from specifically formulated Airsoft gas to CO2 and even Propane (camp stove gas). Due to the flammable nature of some of these gases precautions must be taken around their use.

Gas pistols are popular sidearms for most veteran players, offering a compact and reliable secondary weapon where a primary is too big or too powerful.

Gas rifles are less common. This is in part due to the variations that occur with gun power relative to the changes in ambient air temperature. As gas expands or contracts depending on the temperature of the day it can affect your gaming experience.

Gas rifles are popular with snipers as they are easier to cock than spring rifles.

Want to know more?

For more info about the sport of Airsoft, clubs and businesses in New Zealand, visit the NZ Airsoft website.

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