Airsoft is a popular competitive team shooting sport whereby participants’ main aim is to eliminate opposing players. Participants tag opposing players by launching spherical plastic projectiles through replica air weapons known as airsoft guns in order to eliminate them.
It is very similar to paintball, especially in concepts and gameplay. The main difference is that airsoft pallets never leave any visible markings on any of their targets. Besides, hits are not often apparent. Even though there are sometimes welts and bruises left by pellets on exposed skim, which is protective gear, the game heavily relies on an honor system, whereby the players can call themselves out when they are hit.
The history of the airsoft
Airsoft is credited to an ardent shooting enthusiast, Ichiro Nagate, who started to make model guns which shoot real objects but could not kill. This was in the 1970s. The main reason airsoft began was because private individuals were not allowed to own firearms.
The airsoft guns that were first available were basically spring-powdered replicas of real firearms that fired 6mm, BBs or plastic pellets. The gun then started spreading to Korea, China, Philippines, Taiwan and Hong Kong and become very popular mainly because these countries had firearm restrictions.
The original airsoft guns were those spring driven pellet guns, cap-type guns and air driven pellet guns. The first air driven pellet guns in Japan were based mainly on semi-automatic pistols, and they were spring powdered. On the release of spring piston, the air propelled the plastic pellet. A powerful explosive cap was used in the early cap-type guns to make the actual sound of gunfire and to also eject the spent cartridge. The spring pellet guns used a spring to propel the pellet that was held between some two small locks.
Tokyo Marui later introduced its new electric motor-gear box design that uses rechargeable batteries and allows sustainable rapid-fire. This made soft air guns very popular, particularly for casual wargames, known as survival games according to the Japanese.
Airsoft in the USA
Towards the end of 1980s and in the early 1990s, airsoft guns spread rapidly to the UK through a company known as LS. Airsoft guns were sold in the United Kingdom in separate pieces and users had to assemble them in order to make them capable of shooting. It were these that become available to North America and other remaining parts of Europe before gaining popularity in all parts of the world.
Since the mid-1990s, the airsoft has been very popular and has been adopted in the United States and worldwide as a recreational equipment. Airsoft is currently being enjoyed as a sport by people of all ages. There are many military units and law enforcement agencies within the United States that are currently using airsoft for the force-on-force training drills.
But even before then, Mattel, the popular to company of the United States, had already marketed guns that resembled the spring driven pellet guns in the 1950s. Mattel marketed these guns under the product name “Shootin Shells”.
Daisy BB Gun Company had also been manufacturing spring gun models known as Soft Air and Replisoft in the 1980s.
Since airsoft guns started becoming popular in the USA, there has been a continued growing interest across the country. Daisy began to manufacture and promote airsoft guns again under the brand name “Powerstrike” across the United States in 2003. There are also many other manufacturers and a number of models that have now entered the airsoft gun market of the United States.
Airsoft associations in the USA
There are several airsoft associations in the USA. One of them is the .Veterans for Airsoft. It is an organization which provides ex-military men and women an active outdoor weekend experience via milsim and airsoft.
Another one is the American Airsoft Club, which is based in Washington, and runs a full-on airsoft club. Other notable ones include Airsoft Atlanta, Elite Airsoft, RPC Airsoft, Steel City, and DI4 Airsoft.
Airsoft is a popular game in the United States. The airsoft guns and equipment are readily available in the market and can be legally purchased and used by individuals of all ages.