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Airsoft FAQ

Here are some of the more commonly asked questions about Airsoft.  For ease of understanding answers have been simplified, but this is a good place to start for a basic understanding of what Airsoft is all about.



What is Airsoft?


Airsoft is a sport . . . a game . . . and a training tool.  Airsoft is also a hobby for enthusiasts to collect and display, or simply have fun with.  Airsoft guns are used all over the world for target shooting, firearms training instructors, class III-weapons enthusiasts, motion-picture studios, and most commonly, for tactical and military simulation war games.
What are Airsoft replicas?

Airsoft guns are 1-to-1 scale replicas of actual pistols, rifles, and machine guns that fire a 6mm plastic BB using air to propel the projectile.  Some Airsoft pistols have a blow back action that provides a recoil effect.  In addition to incomparable realism, Airsoft guns are reliable and accurate out to about 100 feet.
Airsoft guns are not toys!  While, Airsoft guns are hardly firearms, they can be DANGEROUS toys if not used properly!  Eye and face protection is a must.  If treated appropriately, like any other 'potentially dangerous' item, Airsoft replicas can be instructional and entertaining.
Are Airsoft guns legal to own and operate?

Airsoft guns are legal to own in South Africa.  
The Firearms Control Act also states that the use of toy or any item that resembles a firearm in any crime will be equivalent to use of a real firearm or weapon.  NEVER, NEVER, NEVER display an Airsoft replica in a public place.

Ensure that you are a member of the National Airsoft Association to ensure that the sport of airsoft is protected. report irresponsable usage of immitations.

Why do some Airsoft replicas have manufacturer trademarks, while others don’t?

By law, manufacturer trademarks protected.  Because most Airsoft products are manufactured and distributed outside the United States, trademark law has generally been ignored.  However, Airsoft products imported into the U.S. must comply with trademark law.  As such, Airsoft manufacturers who do not have licensing agreements with the original firearm manufacturer must remove illegal trademarks from their products before shipping them into the country.  Airsoft manufacturers, who have licensed trademarks, can sell their replicas here with the trademarks intact.
What is the range of a typical Airsoft gun?

Most Spring Guns are accurate at around 50 feet.  Some Gas and Electric guns are accurate up to 100 feet.  However, guns will vary in range and accuracy depending on springs, gas charge, length of barrel, weather conditions, etc.
Can an Airsoft BB penetrate an aluminum can?

While stock Airsoft guns can vary in terms of power, in most cases they will only penetrate an aluminum can at point blank range, if at all.  They will, however, easily penetrate cardboard or paper targets.
What is Hop Up?

The Hop Up is a device inside the firing chamber that puts a backspin on the BB, causing it to fly farther distances with greater accuracy.
How do Electric guns operate?

The highest popularity with Airsoft variant guns is termed "Air Electric”. A battery similar to those used in radio-controlled cars powers the electric mechanisms is utilised.
Other unique selections in this category are the science fiction guns from popular movies and the cute, compressed "Mini Airsoft" toys, which are basically stubby and exaggerated copies of actual rifles and submachine guns. The Mini's are a great start for getting into Airsoft.

The Electric Airsoft BB incorporate a battery powered motor, transmission gearing, and circuit board onto the air piston assembly. Instead of manually cocking the piston head for every shot, the motor and gears perform the cocking action and release of the piston at the moment of trigger pull. The speed at which the motor and gears perform the entire action is within a fraction of a second, allowing for near instantaneous firing response. The circuit board is hooked up directly to the trigger pull for each shot. A constant pull on the trigger with the selector dial at full allows for a constant electrical stream from the battery to the motor, keeping the entire firing system in continuous motion until pressure is let off of the trigger. Airsoft products are legal in most countries without the need for a license, including the United States (except in a few States), England, France, Norway, Sweden, Argentina, Russia, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, and many other places.

How do Gas-operated Airsoft guns work?

Truly the most effective in Airsoft performance runs on a gas driven mechanism.

Sub-categories of gas powered Airsoft toys include "Non-Blowback" and Blowback" models. Non-Blowback is a great entry in the gas because of less moving parts and less to break down. Low-temperature carbon dioxide (CO2), Freon (HFC 134 a) and "green gas" (Propane) are the most popular of gases used. The gas is either injected into a reservoir chamber within the toy or magazine or attached to an exterior assembly containing the gas canister and an expansion tank. Activated by the trigger, gas is released at a valve atop the reservoir or from the expansion

tank, depending on the design. The small amount of cold gas reacts with the warmer atmosphere, expands instantly, and is channelled through a directed nozzle at the BB. The resulting pressure launches the BB out of the barrel toward its intended target. The label "Gas" will be used to address any airsoft product with this type of design mechanism in the Airsoft category.

To load gas hold both Green gas canister and Airsoft gas magazine upside down, insert canister nozzle into the gas charging port on the bottom plate of the gas magazine. Make sure valves match and is aligned. Press down on the gas canister in 3 short jabbing motions. This should adequately charge the gas reservoir inside the magazine. Each charge should be good for 2 - 3 fills of BB’s. Pressurized gas is cold; keep hands away from the immediate surrounding of the gas port when charging. Do not continuously recharge the magazine when it gets too cold. Rotate magazines or let the magazine warm up before recharge. Leak could occur if seals are frozen or cracked.

How do Spring guns work?

Excellent for collecting and recreational use. Because of their maintenance free design and their affordability, these are excellent entry-level Airsoft products to promote and cultivate new hobby enthusiasts. This class of Airsoft products is very durable and have extremely low failure rate.

How do they work..?
Just pull back the slide, which is at the top of the toy for each shot.
With the aid of simple manpower, a piston head within a cylinder moves rearward to draw air into the cylinder and compresses the spring behind the piston. At the end of the piston head’s travel, a hook engages the piston and holds it in place with the spring at full compression. When the trigger is pulled, the sear releases the piston, allowing it to travel forward from the energy released by the compressed spring. The air pressure generated inside the cylinder creates a jet of air that propels the BB and sends it on its way through the “barrel” and outward. A simple process as this, earns the simple designation of "Air" or "Spring" classification in Airsoft. Sizes and materials of cylinders, pistons, and springs will vary depending on the product configuration.
How do I use an Airsoft gun safely?

Airsoft guns are not toys. They are designed to be used only by mature, experienced shooters.  Bodily injury can and will occur if safety precautions are not taken, or if Airsoft guns are used irresponsibly.  Safety equipment such as goggles, facemasks, layered clothing, etc. is essential for protection against BB injuries.  Common sense is essential for everyone’s protection.  Mistaken identification of an Airsoft gun as a real firearm could result in the death of the user.  Be mature.  Be careful.  Be safe.
How do you transport an Airsoft gun?

Because Airsoft guns are indistinguishable in most situations from actual firearms, it is important you treat an Airsoft replica as if it was a real firearm.  Transport Airsoft guns in enclosed containers such as gun cases.  Do NOT display an Airsoft gun in a public place. Displaying an Airsoft gun in an inappropriate location can lead to arrest and/or confiscation by local authorities and/or law enforcement. 
What gun(s) should I first get?

Because all guns function about the same within a weapon type category (i.e. Spring, Gas, Electric), get a gun that appeals to you.  Most beginners go crazy trying to figure out what gun to purchase first.  The best approach is to read reviews, check prices to see which gun fits your budget, and finally, use instinct to get one that’s right for you.
What kind of equipment do I need to play?

At a minimum eye-protection, an Airsoft gun, and ammo are all that’s required.  ANSI-rated Tactical goggles or paintball masks that provide a full seal around the eye are essential to prevent serious eye injury.  Ski goggles, or non-enclosed safety glasses should NEVER be used.  Beyond the safety items, camouflage is recommended, plus you may also want to bring a water bottle/canteen and some food.
How do you tell when someone is hit/dead?

Unlike paintball, Airsoft relies on the 'Honor-System'.  When you get hit (which hurts less than a paintball), you must declare yourself eliminated, and follow the established rules of whatever group you are playing with.