What Is Airsoft? Airsoft History, Community and Types

What Is Airsoft: Airsoft is a command military tactical game in which pneumatic weapons are used to defeat an opponent, shooting 6 mm or 8 mm plastic balls (the so-called “soft” pneumatics).

The term “Airsoft” itself is an adaptation, by analogy with the word “Paintball”. Abroad, this military-tactical game (after this VTI) is called “Airsoft” (“soft air” – that is, “soft” pneumatics in contrast to the classic “Airgun” pneumatics 4.5 mm).

What Is Airsoft

Airsoft History

Airsoft guns appeared in Japan in the 1970s under the trademark “soft air guns” – “soft air guns.” They ran on a freon-silicone gas mixture, which was later supplanted by a propane-silicone gas known to us as “Green Gas,” which was weaker than CO2. The pistols fired plastic balls (BB’s) and were intended for recreational shooting enthusiasts. Due to the strict restrictions of Japan’s weapon legislation, this was one of the few ways to have a pistol, and even more so to shoot from it.

Later, at the turn of the 1980s – 1990s, “soft pneumatics” came to Great Britain, which began to be used as a game weapon. Currently, Airsoft / Airsoft, as a hobby and leisure time, is widespread throughout the world, and airsoft equipment is used, among other things, for training military personnel and law enforcement officers.

Purpose of the Game

The main goal of airsoft, as a form of leisure, is indicated in the very first paragraphs of most of the rules:

“The meaning of the game is a collective rest in the bosom of nature, neutralization of negative emotions and aggressive aspirations, the joy of mutual communication of worthy people.”

Despite the variety of forms, scenarios, and varieties of airsoft, perhaps this particular point is indestructible and briefly expresses why exactly it is needed.

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Basic Provisions and Rules of Airsoft

There are several editions of the Airsoft Rules. They can have cosmetic differences or vice versa; they can be very different.

We will not give the full texts of these collections within the framework of the article; we will list only the main provisions:

  1. As a “weapon” is used, “soft pneumatics” shooting plastic balls 6 mm or 8 mm with shot energy of no more than 3 J, as well as pyrotechnics and cold weapons made of rubber.
  2. It is imperative to have glasses of the proper level of protection, which can withstand hitting point-blank from the “weapon” with the maximum initial speed of the ball. It is forbidden to take off glasses anywhere in the landfill.
  3. The game is played on fairness. The player who was hit by a ball, next to which a grenade exploded, or who was struck with “melee weapons” must independently acknowledge the hit and designate himself “dead”. Then he must go to a specially designated place – respawn / starting point.
  4. Participants must show respect for each other, which is manifested in following the rules and avoiding conflicts and disputes.
  5. The game is played according to a pre-agreed scenario and rules.
  6. Only adults 18 years of age or older are allowed to participate.
  7. Participation of persons in a state of alcoholic or drug intoxication is prohibited.
  8. A military uniform or a similar camouflage suit is required. Frankly, civilian equipment is not allowed.
  9. Disputes with the organizer and ignoring his orders as part of the gameplay are prohibited.
  10. The use of elements of hand-to-hand combat is prohibited.

Equipment and Weapons for Airsoft

There are a very large number of different models of uniforms and weapons for airsoft. Here we will briefly highlight the main points.

The weapon shoots 6 mm plastic balls, 8 mm caliber models (mostly Japanese) are very rare. The first copies were made in Japan, but now the market is flooded with products from Asia (China, Taiwan), which first copied Japanese models, and now have seriously expanded the range. The market is constantly evolving. Weapons are:

  • spring (manual spring cocking before each shot)
  • electro-pneumatic (EPO / AEG, the most common type)
  • gas (powered by green gas or CO2)
  • HPV (high-pressure air, compressed air – the most advanced and expensive system)

Various certified pyrotechnics are also used: hand grenades, booby-traps, smoke bombs, under-barrel grenade launchers, RPGs, and mortars, which add variety and entourage—also used “cold weapons” – rubber knives and axes.

The variety of equipment is very large, so we will not even try to write about it in this article. To get goggles, a uniform, a vest, a mask, gloves – these are the first steps and then grow overgrown and overgrown with equipment.

Airsoft Community and Teams

The most important thing in airsoft is, of course, its participants. The impression of the game directly depends on them. Airsoft was conceived as a game of friends and worthy people. This is not surprising because honesty is at its core, which means that an opponent is a priori respected, who is not an “enemy”, but a hobbyist, even if he acts as an opponent.

However, due to the massive development, many participants come to airsoft, and it happens that individuals come across who do not follow the rules and do not respect other players and themselves. Players caught in violation are subjected to general ridicule and ostracism, are not allowed to play (receive a “ban”). The organizers monitor compliance with the rules, but this should also be done by any participant who is not indifferent to his hobbies.

At the emergence of a hobby, the main platforms for communication were Internet forums, which were created by regions, teams, parties. Now the era of forums has passed, and all communication has smoothly flowed into social networks: groups of organizers, teams, events, directions.

The airsoft team is the basic unit of the community. She has a commander, a uniform, symbols ( stripe, flag), often a certain weapon. A team in different editions of the rules is a combination of 5 or 10 people. The team can adhere to the image of real/existing military formations (modeling or reconstruction) or not do it, but use various equipment to their liking.

Of course, any player can participate alone, and many do this quite deliberately. But the majority of players sooner or later conclude that playing in a team is more interesting. Concerted actions, tactics, mutual assistance, and camaraderie – all this constitutes a completely different level of the game. And many join teams or create new ones from like-minded people.

Read More: Basics of Airsoft Tactics

Airsoft Polygons

The variety of polygons used for games is quite large. And if earlier these were mostly “wild” sites, where airsoft players ran without any notification of local authorities, then with the development, more and more events are held at specialized sites or in agreement with municipalities or landlords.

Generally Speaking, the Following Types Can Be Distinguished

No Man’s Land

Wilderness is just a piece of territory where a group of players gathers and holds an event. It can be woodland, hills, mountains, or other terrains. It is selected according to the principle: “fewer strangers, interesting relief.” As a rule, local authorities are not notified, or the police department is informed that an event is being held here, and there is no need to come to the calls of vigilant citizens. Such polygons are not equipped; they are used by small groups of players for training or small fighters if there is a shortage of polygons in the region.


Any abandoned and conditionally nobody’s (because, as a rule, the owner of the land is) a complex of buildings, a former military unit, a factory, a pioneer camp, or an unfinished / abandoned village. Polygon, which is interesting for its buildings. As a rule, it is quite dangerous since there is a risk of injury if you are not careful. Events are held by agreement with the owners, or the players simply come as “savages.” In the latter case, there may be problems with the locals/police/owners.

Polygon Cqb (Close Quarters Battle – Close Combat)

A place where battles take place only inside the building. This can be an inactive factory floor, a hangar, a large warehouse. The battles take place at short distances, so the dynamics are very high. If this is an inhabited polygon, then the organizers equip it with various objects and shelters, there is recreation – it is convenient and comfortable to play on such polygons.

Military Training

Events at such training grounds are held in agreement with the command of the military unit. These are mostly big and significant events. The polygons are equipped for exercises and are operating facilities in the state. providing. The saturation of the polygon depends on the affiliation to the department – it can be large military training grounds with trenches, dugouts, and buildings, it can be the territory of military units or small training camps.

Read More: The 10 Best Air Rifles for Hunting Small and Big Game

An Extremely Rare Type

A specialized training ground for airsoft/paintball fights created by the owner. It features a good and well-developed infrastructure, which was created for the convenience of customers. Objects and fortifications at the training ground were built and located, taking into account the specifics of military tactical games and in such a way as to allow options for different scenarios and dispositions.


This content has only scratched the cover of the basics of airsoft. Of course, the topic is extensive, and we consider various aspects in more detail within a series of articles.

We hope that the material was useful to readers who first encounter the concept of “airsoft” and would like to get a general idea of the subject of the conversation.


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