Airsoft guns are toy guns or gun replicas that shoot plastic “airsoft” BB’s. Airsoft BB’s tend to be less dangerous than traditional metal BB’s. Even at high velocity they are unlikely to penetrate someone’s skin or break a window. Airsoft guns use one of three types of propulsion mechanisms: spring power, compressed gas, or electric battery power. Many of the nicer models, particularly those from Japan, China, and Taiwan, are highly accurate replicas of real firearms, making them popular among collectors, especially in countries where owning real firearms is prohibited.
1. Research the different types of airsoft guns. The spring powered guns generally have low muzzle velocity and are usually made of cheap plastic. These guns are generally marketed as toys. Gas power is the standard for high quality airsoft pistols. These guns are powered either by compressed Carbon Dioxide or propane. Guns using this mechanism typically have medium to high muzzle velocity. They are popular among adults who enjoy serious target practice, or war games, as these guns tend to be the most accurate and have longer range. Battery powered electric guns are more popular for long guns and has the advantage of being easily designed for full-auto fire. The batteries are rechargeable, and these guns typically have a medium muzzle velocity of around 200 feet per second.
2. Decide if you are looking for a toy or a serious replica. Toy plastic guns are usually cheap and very light weight. They are usually spring powered. This make them more appropriate for children since they are less dangerous and are unlikely to be mistaken for a real gun by adults. Replica guns, which are usually gas or electric powered, tend to look and feel like real guns. They are usually made with metal parts and are close in weight to the real thing. The better examples have moving parts, may be realistically disassembled, and often have authentic manufacturer markings and serial numbers.
3. Decide where to buy your airsoft gun. This decision will largely depend on the type of airsoft gun you want. Spring guns, and some basic gas powered and electric guns may be purchased at sporting good stores. If you are looking for serious replicas, however you will have to buy them from a specialty store or website. Most of these guns must be imported from Asia and usually cost in the $100-$200 range.
4. Learn about safety. It is highly recommended that shooting goggles be worn during target practice, as ricocheting BBs can bounce back and hit you. If you intend to engage in war games, join a reputable club rather than going it alone. Also wear protective clothing as high powered BB hits can injure you, or badly sting if you are hit. Many communities have organized groups with large scale war games where safety is emphasized.