A common question, or concern, people have is whether Airsoft is safe or not. The simple answer is yes, it is safe, if the proper safety procedures are followed. This is true of many outdoor activities from riding a bike to swimming in a pool. The key is understanding the risks and learning the safety procedures both on and off the field of play.
On the Field Safety
When playing Airsoft the most important safety concern is wearing the proper eye protection. There are many options but a good rule of thumb is to only use ANSI rated goggles that are full seal, meaning that there is no gaps between the google and your face. Full face masks are not completely necessary but it’s recommended to protect your teeth and mouth. In most cased Airsoft fields will require anyone under 18 years of age to wear a full face mask.
If you are a new player, or sending your children to an airsoft field for the first time, make sure that the field has clear velocity guidelines in place. Velocity means is the speed of the BB as it leaves the barrel of an Airsoft gun (this is often called an FPS Limit or Feet Per Second). The FPS rules for fields can vary depending on the type of gun, type of game play etc… you just want to make sure that the field is chronoing (checking the BB speed) of every gun that is being used on the field
Engagement distance is another important safety factor. This is the distance that players are allowed to shoot or not shoot each other. As with FPS rules, engagement distances will vary from field to field, the key is to make sure the field you visit has engagement distance rules in place. For new players or children, make sure to check that the minimum engagement distance is 10 feet or further away. While they would not be harmed, if there are FPS rules in place, being shot closer than 10 feet can hurt a lot more.
If playing with regulated FPS limits and Engagement distances getting BBs hit they will sting a bit but not hurt terribly. Where it can hurt more is if you are struck in your hands or neck. Good gloves can mitigate most hand discomfort and the use of a shemagh is great for protecting your neck. Thick clothing overall can help protect you from hits to your body, legs and arms.
Wearing the proper footwear for the terrain you plan to play on is also important. If you playing at an indoor field it’s perfectly safe to use tennis shoes. If you are playing outside, especially where there are obstacles to move around you will want to wear footwear that provides more protection for your feet and ankles. Your best option is to use a military, or work, like boot that wraps around your ankle and has a thicker sole.
Off the Field Safety
One of the biggest misconceptions people have with Airsoft Guns is to consider them “Toys”. They are NOT toys. They are Replica Firearms and in many cases indistinguishable from the real thing. This means that it’s imperative to treat your Airsoft gun as would a real firearm when you are not on the field.
Never, ever brandish your Airsoft in public. Not only is it illegal, it is also very dangerous. Law enforcement has no choice to consider something that looks like a real firearm as the real thing. This can lead to life threatening situations that are 100% avoidable by simply not bringing your Airsoft gun out in public.
When transporting your Airsoft Gun it needs to be secured in a gun bag or case. Like with a real firearm it has to be as far away from the driver or passengers of your vehicle as possible. Many Airsoft Fields and/or Airsoft Shops will refuse you service if you do not have your Airsoft Gun properly secured.
Store your Airsoft Gun in a gun bag or case so that casual misuse is prevented. This is especially important if your children are playing Airsoft or you have children visit your home. The idea that your Airsoft Gun is not “real” can lead kids to pointing it as each other which is an extreme eye hazard or worse, bringing it outside where it could be mistaken for a real firearm. Keep it stored and secured and away from curious fingers.