“Airsoft this, airsoft that, random gun name…” Parents are always calling us or coming in confused and wondering what this “Airsoft Sport” is that their child is raving about. For many parents, anything that involves groups running around with guns and imitating warfare, can create alot of anxiety and concern. Other parents voice concerns over the “violent” aspect of the sport. This could not be further from the truth and will continue to be an uphill battle for airsofters and retailers.
Familiarizing yourself and others with the sport, will help to relieve concerns and worry as well as ensure your child is playing safely. You may also realize the benefits to airsoft and encourage your player to stick with it! Airsoft builds teamwork, leadership, communication, responsibility and keeps players active!
With the internet and a growing population of airsoft retailers, it has become even easier to familiarize yourself with the rules and different regulations of airsoft. Making yourself aware of these rules will help you extend this knowledge to your children and help them understand the importance of them. There are alot of different rules based on your state, type of field (indoor/outdoor), and the specific regulations of your area. Kids have their own ideas and expectations of the gameplay, so this may mean compromising! You will allow them to play- IF they follow certain rules you set in place.
Don’t let your child overwhelm you! There are a ton of resources available- use them! Gather your information and know where you can turn to for advice, information and to settle your concerns.
Teach your child the importance of the safety switch, where its located, how to use it and pressure the importance of having their guns in safe mode at all times when they aren’t in the midst of game play. Express the repercussions that could occur if they don’t engage the safety and the dangers it incurs.
It is best to employ a supervisor or send your children to a legitimate and sanctioned airsoft field with referees and staff. This will help calm the nerves and give peace of mind knowing your kids will be expected to follow rules and regulations and that safety will be paramount! Legal fields will be able to help new players ease into the sport but still provide a daring experience for more advanced players.
If you don’t have a sanctioned field nearby and most players around are playing in the middle of nowhere, try to learn who they are playing with and that there will be a supervisor to ensure safety gear is worn and worn properly.
When the games are over, make sure they set their equipment up and out of reach of younger children.
THE ORANGE TIP:
The orange tip on the airsoft gun helps distinguish them from real live-fire weapons. Explain the importance of the orange tip to your player and why it is important to leave it on! Most of the stories on the news about airsofters getting shot or mistaken for criminals, is because they were already in the midst of committing a crime, did not obey the law enforcement when told to disarm themselves, or were aiming their weapon at the police officer. Place the importance to your player on listening to law enforcement officers if they approach. This may mean handing over their airsoft gun and not getting it back- but it’s better than getting shot or placed in jail.
While there are some states that only require the orange tip for retail sale, and it can be removed once in personal possession of the player, it is always best to leave the orange tip on regardless.
Eyes, ears, noses and mouths are the most susceptible for injury when playing airsoft, but there is an abundance of safety options for the face- take advantage of them!! There are options in every price range and will help ensure your child will come home intake and you won’t need a trip to the Urgent Care for stitches, or the dentist for a crown.
The first thing to start with when shopping for safety gear is the face protection. A full face mask is the easiest option since it covers all the necessities in one piece of gear. Some players prefer to have sealed tactical goggles (like ski goggles) and a half mask to cover their nose/mouth in either a metal mesh or hard plastic style. Either way will work for airsoft game play.
Inform yourself about the NEEDS of gear instead of the WANTS (“needs”) that your player says they must have. Speaking with an airsoft retailer or doing internet research will help you create a shopping list and know where to start.
Learning your legal regulations about airsoft, will help keep your child safe and help them keep their guns. While airsoft is legal across the U.S., in most states, there is a minimum age for airsoft play. In others, like California, an adult MUST be present for airsoft play to occur. Some states have special laws regarding airsoft play within city limits, like Arizona’s Maricopa County, where airsoft is not allowed within 200 yards of a residential area.
Backyards are a special circumstance, and the laws surrounding playing on your own property change by area. It may not be illegal in your area, but be mindful of your neighbors! It is one of the biggest complaints we hear as an airsoft company, that people are tired of finding piles of bbs in their yard from the neighbor kids. If your child insists on playing in the backyard, or you prefer for them to remain within your yard to play, consider using biodegradable bbs (which disintegrate over 2 weeks).
Check your local laws regarding where players have to play, who has to be there, how old the players must be, if the guns have to be a certain color, or if they can play in certain areas (like backyards).
KNOW THAT AIRSOFT IS NOT DANGEROUS IF PLAYED PROPERLY!
Airsoft is less dangerous than paintball and other sports available to your child. Surprising as that may be. Airsoft bbs have a lower mass than paintballs and travel at a significantly lower velocity. If all the safety gear is worn, rules are followed, laws are abided by, and the guns are cared for properly, airsoft game play can be safer than mowing the lawn!
Teamwork – Communication – Leadership – Friendship – Discipline – Integrity – Exercise