AIRSPLAT AIRSOFT UNIVERSITY™
ALL THE AIRSOFT INFO YOU NEED TO KNOW!
Airsoft Terms, Terminology, & Definitions
Definition of Airsoft: The hobby of collecting realistic, non-lethal, shooting replicas of actual firearms either for display or for the purposes of skirmishing in friendly competition. For more airsoft terminology and definitions please visit our Airsoft Definitions Page.
Airsoft History: The sport of Airsoft started in Japan during the early 1980s. It was illegal to own firearms in Japan but there was a significant interest in them, so a company started producing spring-powered replicas of firearms that fired 6mm, plastic BBs. During the latter part of the 1980s the sport migrated to neighboring countries such as Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines. Airsoft started appearing in North America and Europe during the middle of the 1990's.
Airsoft Gun Safety & Precautions: Airsoft Guns are by nature safe and not-lethal. However, there are many precautions that should be followed. Please refer to our Safety Manual.
Airsoft Guns: This is essentially what attracts players into the sport. Airsoft guns are 1:1 scale replicas of actual firearms that fire 6mm, round, plastic pellets commonly called as "BB's" which are propelled out of the guns by compressed air. In most cases, Airsoft guns mimic the looks and functionality of it's real-steel counterpart. By that, meaning Airsoft guns look, feel, weigh, and functions similar to the actual firearm. Often, the only way you can tell apart a "real steel" firearm and an airsoft gun is the blazing orange tip and when you pull that trigger .
There are 3 major types of Airsoft guns: Spring-Powered, Gas-Powered, and Automatic Electric Guns (AEG's).
Spring Aisoft: First, spring-powered Airsoft gun, the perfect entry level choice. Spring-cocking guns are true to their name in that you cock the spring first, and then fire. Cock spring, fire, cock, fire, cock, fire, etc. These guns are usually magazine fed and semi-automatic, but they must be hand-cocked after every shot. This system is very cost-effective, and the guns are surprisingly sturdy. Every Airsofter, in his lifetime, has owned at least one spring-powered gun, either a pistol or a rifle. Due to it's relatively cheap price-range, this is usually the gun of choice for the person just starting to play airsoft. A spring-powered handgun can be purchased for as little as $20.
Gas Airsoft: Another popular type of an Airsoft gun is the gas-powered. While there are several types of gas-powered airsoft guns, the most popular are the Gas-Blowback guns (GBBs). The GBB allows a realistic, semi-automatic firing of the gun by employing either an on-board, or magazine-stored gas storage system. Basically, the same compressed air that propels the BB out of the bore is harnessed to cycle the slide back (hence: blowback). This creates the realistic "recoil" by cycling the slide/upper receiver back-and-forth while firing the gun. To see an example of this, click G17 and USP. This system gives the hand-held gun the capability to empty a magazine as fast as you can pull the trigger, and just as easily reload the gun by inserting a fresh magazine. Needless to say, this feature holds tremendous appeal for the "simulationist".
Electric Airsoft: Lastly are the Automatic Electric Gun. The creation of the AEG is partly responsible for Airsoft's "boom" during the late 1990s. Basically, an AEG is powered by an on-board battery (similar to hobby R/C Cars), which operates a motor that turns gears inside the gun to compress and release a piston, which in turn creates the blast of air needed to propel the 6mm BB through the barrel of the gun. This system allows the gun to efficiently generate the power needed to support the fully-automatic features of most AEGs and the result is a realistic Rate-Of-Fire (ROF) of anywhere from 600 - 900 Rounds-Per-Minute (RPM), once again mimicking the capabilities of real steel firearms. This is the airsoft gun of choice for most skirmish veterans.
The Appeal: Airsoft gives people the ability to own a shooting version of their dream gun. Due to the law and the cost, people cannot always own their dream gun, and Airsoft provides you with a realistic replica, and on top of that allows you to be able to shoot that replica (albeit: non-lethal).
Often, people would watch movies and TV and say, "Wow, that gun is awesome, I'd like to get me one of those". Actually, what you may be seeing in those movies and TV shows, ARE, in fact, Airsoft guns. Due to their relatively cheap price tags and precise realism, movie studios often employ Airsoft guns for it's production work. They simply digitally alter the images to incorporate the muzzle flash, sound and effects to mimic the real firearms.
Generally speaking, most of the more popular real-steel firearms has an Airsoft gun counterpart. The MP5 series, to include MP5A4, MP5 SD5, MP5 PDW. The venerable G3 Battle Rifle series. Colt M16s. Steyr AUGs. SIG 550s. FAMAS. AK-47s. Machine Guns like the M60. Sub-machine guns such as the IMI Uzis and Ingrams. Pistols such as the famed Berettas, Colts, SIGs, and Glocks. Shotguns such as the Benelli M2 and Remington 870. Sniping rifles such as the PSG-1, M40A1, Blaser 93R. Even the "Hollywood" guns like the RoboCop auto-pistol and the M134 Vulcan (6-barrel gatling gun) made famous by the Predator and Terminator movies. The list of Airsoft guns is quite sizeable, and growing with each passing month.
The ability to own and play with these "dream guns" are in and of itself appealing enough to enthusiasts. The added advantage of being able to take these guns out to a local playing field and "shooting" your best friends with it in friendly competition is a hands down selling point.
Another appeal with Airsoft is the ability to "role-play" with them. There are countless clubs, teams and organizations devoted to the sport of "waging war" with airsoft guns. Known throughout the world as Skirmishing. In essence, role-playing allows people to fulfill their fantasies, which (due to physical disabilities or circumstances) they never got the chance to. These people may be bankers, insurance brokers, secretaries, students, computer programmers by profession, but for 1 day a week they can be Green Berets, Assassins, SWAT members, Navy SEALs, whatever. Their mind is the only limit. This role-playing ability is enhanced by the fact that Airsoft guns are extremely realistic. After all, it's rather difficult to play the part of a Navy SEAL when you're holding a neon, orange-yellow-colored, Super-Soaker squirt gun.
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