Airsoft Rifles are replica weapons used in airsoft sports. They are essentially a special type of low-power smoothbore Airsoft Rifles designed to pressurize air within an internal chamber to shoot non-metallic spherical projectiles (often incorrectly referred to as BBs) typically made of (but not limited to) plastic or biodegradable resin materials. Airsoft guns and pellets have significantly less penetrative and stopping powers than conventional Airsoft Rifles, and are generally safe for competitive sporting and recreational purposes if proper protective gear is worn.
Depending on the mechanism for propelling the pellet, an airsoft gun can be operated manually with a spring-loaded air pump, or on an automatic cycling basis which is implemented either pneumatically with prefilled bottled gas (such as compressed green gas or CO2), or mechanically driven by an electric motor gearbox.
As toy weapons, Airsoft Rifles can often be designed to realistically resemble genuine firearms in appearance, and it can be very difficult to distinguish from one. It is notable that despite their appearance, airsoft guns cannot be adapted to use deadly ammunitions.
Manufacturers of Airsoft Rifles
Currently, a large army of Airsoft Rifles manufacturers are on the market, these include 6 mm Proshop, AGM, ARES, ASG, A&K, APS, Army Armament, ATS, BG Tactical, Bolt, Both Elephant, Classic Army, C-TAC, CYMA, Cybergun, D-Boys, DeepFire, Double Eagle, DYTAC, Echo 1, EMG, T.I.E.R., G&G Armament, G&P, GHK, Ho Feng Corp, ICS, Jing Gong, Jin Peng, Galaxy, King Arms, KJ Works, Krytac, KWA (which is OEM for KSC), KWC, Lancer Tactical, Lonex, Lucid, Mad Bull Airsoft, LCT, Marushin, Maruzen, Magpul PTS, Matrix, Modify, Pro Arms, RWA, Silesia Factory, SRC, Systema Engineering, Tokyo Marui, Umarex (Elite Force), VFC, WE Tech, Wei-E Tech, Well, Western Arms, Crosman, and WinGun.
Other companies, such as Aftermath, Crosman, Echo 1, Matrix, and UTG, re-brand and distribute guns, sometimes with other accessories in countries where some manufacturers may not have an established distribution network.
Many of the best-selling airsoft guns are highly detailed replicas of real firearms, which are manufactured and designed by companies headquartered in East Asia such as Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong and China, however, European and North American brands exist also. Beyond airsoft guns proper, those companies may produce other items like BBs, airsoft grenades and airsoft landmines (like Airsoft Innovations and S-Thunder), as well as spare parts and a varied range of accessories for the replicas, like scopes, mounts and suppressors.
Usage Of Airsoft Rifles
Airsoft in the past was used almost solely for recreational purposes, but in 2012, gas blowback (GBB) airsoft technology became adopted by US federal and state institutions as an affordable and reliable tactical training tool for close quarters battles. The GBB guns allowed for correct weapon manipulation drills, muscle memory training, stress inoculation and force-on-force simulations for a fraction of the cost of conventional bolt conversion kits that use marking cartridges from training ammunition manufacturers such as UTM™ and Simunition®. Airsoft guns also allow basic and advanced shooter training in a safer environment by reducing the risks of accidental injury or death from a negligent discharge.
There are clubs, teams and even athletic associations devoted to airsoft events around the world. Europe is home to some of the largest events, with skirmishes of over 2,000 people participating. In North America, in 2012 alone, Fulda Gap Airsoft Game in Taylorsville, North Carolina had over 1,100 participants, and Operation Lion Claws Military Simulation Series (OLCMSS) had 800 people attend at George Air Force Base in Victorville, California. American Mil-sim, Black Sheep, and Ballahack also host large games. The attraction of the larger games is due to the intensity and variety in equipment that is used, ranging from small arms to armored vehicles.
In many countries, every airsoft gun owner and active enthusiast must be affiliated with an accredited airsoft association or federation. Most airsoft players host games at a registered field where combat situations are simulated using airsoft weaponry like replica pistols, submachine guns, carbines/assault rifles, DMRs/sniper rifles, light machine guns, grenades and landmines. Great variety and profusion of militaria is usually used. Historical reenactment of famous war situations is another favorite of many airsoft players and clubs. In addition, a number of companies such as Systema Engineering and Celsius Technology manufacture ultra-realistic high-velocity airsoft rifles designed specifically for the police and military for non-lethal training purposes. People today can also use it as props for film making.