Airsoft refers to a type of toy and all the sports that use it. It originated in Japan early in the 1970s and came to North America in the '80s and '90s. Today, you will find airsoft in almost every country. It is a growing community of people that spans all cultural, national, political, and social boundaries.
What Sports Use Airsoft?
The way sports and games use airsoft is almost as diverse as the people who play them.
Shooting sports like Action Air and IPSC challenge a participant's speed and accuracy as they aim to achieve a high score in target shooting competitions.
Speedsoft is a team based action sport where two teams face off in a game of tag using airsoft. Canada has its own dedicated sites and internationally ranked teams.
Skirmishing is a common form of airsoft where participants dress up in camouflage and face off in a similar game of tag. They work as a team to complete objectives like capturing a flag or rescuing another player.
Milsim or 'military simulation' is a broad category of airsoft. Milsim takes those same types of skirmish objectives and makes them more complex. They may even take multiple days to complete. They establish formal teams, develop plans, and work to accomplish their challenges, all while scripted events add drama to the experience.
While sport is the primary use for airsoft, it serves other purposes. Historical military reenacting, training companies, self defense courses, and even movie production all use it for various purposes. It is an inexpensive, effective, and safe alternative to a firearm.
It Looks Scary
Players and their toys may look scary, but looks are deceiving. While airsoft can resemble real guns, they're entirely different in function.
Airsoft is just a shell. Inside you'll find a small machine that either compresses or regulates air to push a BB down a tube. Many of these shells look like real guns, while others look like devices from science fiction. Under the surface, they're all the same.
The same could be said about the people playing the game. Airsoft players are just like you. They have careers in all industries, have families, and struggle trying to balance the challenges of daily life. Airsoft is a way for all of them to have fun and stay active. Some people choose to go running or mountain biking, while others choose airsoft.
Is it Dangerous?
Not at all. Airsoft can not be converted to fire a bullet. It's also impossible to be killed by an airsoft BB. Airsoft was designed to be extremely safe because it's used in a game of tag. The only way airsoft can cause a severe injury is if a BB was to hit an unprotected eye. For this reason, all players wear eye protection that meets international certification. Airsoft BBs do not travel far. They lose most of their energy after about 80 meters and won't travel far beyond that. Airsoft games take place in locations that prevent the BBs from reaching anyone not playing the game.
Why Not Just Play Paintball?
People may choose airsoft over paintball for several reasons. Airsoft is cleaner, cheaper, and is less painful than paintball. Players may also prefer the functions of airsoft and the accessories available. Some players enjoy both sports, while others choose one based on what best suits their situation.
I Don't Like It.
That's ok! Sports like paintball and airsoft aren't for everyone. We're all unique people.
All of us are also trying to be less prejudice, avoid stereotypes, and not jump to conclusions about the world around us.
Before you choose to support legislation that ends these games for everyone in Canada, we'd encourage you to challenge your own assumptions about the sport. Ask your friends and family - you may be surprised to find airsoft players among them. Read more about how this sport has been a positive force for people of all types. Read about how it will devastate hundreds of small businesses. Maybe even see it for yourself. Contact us and we can connect you to a local in your area that's willing to show you what the sport is all about.