What is an Airsoft Gun or Rifle?

No matter the political discussion that is always going on about gun rights, guns of all kinds are quite popular among both hobbyists and collectors. But those aren’t the only sort of people that guns might seem cool to. Lots of kids like to play pretend with guns as well, and sports like paintball are very popular among all age groups. To cater to the diverse demands for guns, there have been many versions of guns released that don’t fit in to the category of proper guns, but are still exciting enough to be bought by demographics that might not be allowed to own real guns.

Of the many types of non-lethal gun variants released, airsoft guns are a very commonly bought choice. They are similar to BB guns in that they aren’t real guns and won’t end up killing someone by accident, but they’re also not as harmless as nerf guns or paintball guns.Airsoft guns, again much like BB guns, are used in a wide variety of activities. And there are different kinds of airsoft guns that are suited to different tasks.

How Exactly do Airsoft Guns Function?

Airsoft Guns

Airsoft guns function like real guns, because they make use of a trigger to fire and shoot a projectile at a high velocity out of a barrel. However, understandably, they do not fire real bullets. While BB guns are a bit more dangerous because they fire either metal or lead bullets, airsoft guns opt for the much less deadly plastic pellets for ammunition. Airsoft guns often look like replicas of real guns, and thus users should exercise caution if carrying one in public. Some countries have tags on airsoft guns to help law enforcement officials recognize them, but you can never be completely certain that your airsoft gun won’t be mistaken for the real deal.

What are Airsoft Guns Used For?

Airsoft guns initially emerged to fill the wants of people not able to own real firearms but still looking to engage in shooting activities. Initial models were made of expensive metal or wood, and were completely indistinguishable from real guns. As airsoft guns exploded in popularity, much cheaper variants started to be manufactured so that anyone could buy an airsoft gun.

Airsoft guns are used for a lot of different activities. People who cannot, or do not, want to own real firearms buy airsoft guns to engage in harmless battles or target practice. With the right protective gear, airsoft weapons can be used for make-believe battles that have little to no chance of ending up with someone hurt. Others like to spend their time shooting bottles or cans in their backyard on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Some people actually use airsoft guns for small-scale hunting. Though the plastic pellets shot from airsoft guns don’t pose much of a threat to other people, they can still be lethal for smaller animals and birds. Though this form of hunting may not be the best way to go around killing animals, simply because in most cases it leads to a painful death for the animal being shot.

Airsoft guns are also used in military training simulations. Specially designed airsoft guns not available to the public are supplied to military units, that then use them to practice for real warfare. These guns feel, handle, and fire just like their real-world equivalents and simulate everything properly; like magazine size and aim sights. This form of training provides as close an experience to actual war than anything else.

Lastly, airsoft guns are also used in different competitions. These can be as simple as shooting targets, to as complex as having to shoot flying frisbees out of the sky. Airsoft guns are not just available to anyone; different countries (and states in the United States) have differing laws regarding the purchase and use of airsoft weapons. Usually, children are not allowed to use airsoft guns, except in a few places under the supervision of adults. Most places allow the sale of airsoft guns to people 16 years of age or older, but there are also some places that only sell to people 18 or over.

What Kind of Airsoft Guns are there?

Airsoft guns come in a variety of different types, some more powerful and dangerous than others. The type of airsoft gun a person buys depends on what they intend to use it for and their budget.

Spring powered: The spring powered variant of airsoft guns is perhaps the most popular type, simply because of its ease of use and affordability. The types of airsoft guns use manual cocking to shoot, and deliver a respectable punch. If you’re new to airsoft weaponry, you should probably start with spring powered variants.


Gas powered: Gas powered airsoft guns pack a much stronger hit and are mostly used in training or recreative battles and target practice. Gas is used to blow the pellet out of the barrel. Blowback models load the next round upon firing as well, though they use up more gas. When handling gas powered airsoft guns, one has to keep in mind gas levels and be prepared to switch out with spare gas canisters.


Electric powered: Electric powered airsoft guns are the crème of the crop, and are widely popular among serious airsoft fans. While spring powered guns are weak in comparison, and gas powered variants tend to malfunction if the weather is too cold or too hot, electric powered guns surpass all those problems and deliver a strong firepower that functions in almost every condition except wet weather. Electric powered airsoft guns also tend to be configured for automatic or semi-automatic firing, which is of course quite ideal when it comes to battling other people. Like gas powered airsoft guns however, the electric powered ones need to be recharged after extended use.


If you’re new to the world of airsoft weaponry, it might seem dangerous and wild from the outside. Truth is, it is wild and exciting, but it is also quite safe and a very engaging and rewarding hobby to take up. Once you’ve started down the path of owning and using airsoft guns, you’ll very soon end up with a collection of your own and an obsession with owning and using even more. Or perhaps you’ll just get one high-quality trusty gun that you’ll use for decades and maybe one day hand down to your kid. The possibilities are never-ending and super fun in the world of airsoft.