That is a question most Airsofters have asked and been asked at some point! Airsoft is not dissimilar to Paintball, however Airsoft is a much more 'tactical' sport , it's also not messy, and you won't need to take out a second mortgage to pay for the ammo!
Imagine a game of 'Call of Duty', but in real life with extremely realistic looking guns, which fire plastic BB's at high speed. Unlike 'Call of Duty' however, the missions are never the same twice and the objective can change at any moment. Almost every well known gun has an Airsoft replica (from WW11 to present day), so the choice is endless, simply check-out the online stores to get an idea.
The world is your oyster
When playing Airsoft you can use any kit or gun that takes your fancy, wether it's a side-arm or a machine gun. It can be powered by gas, electric or a spring. Most sites have separate rules for sniper rifles and they tend to vary from club to club. This is because of the FPS (feet per second – the term used to determine velocity). Individual clubs also have their own rules of engagement with regards to distances for high powered guns.
Take your 'Hit'!
Unlike Paintball Airsoft runs on an honour system, which requires players to raise their hand and acknowledge that they have been hit. This system works well, however marshals are onsite to ensure that everyone plays fairly. On the rare occasion that a player habitually refuses to 'take their hit' the marshal may remove the player from the game.
Who plays Airsoft?
You may be surprised to learn that there is no standard player. Airsofters come from every walk of life, and are all ages. Some sites observe a minimum age rule, so it is always best to check in advance
What is Two-Tone?
Under legal stature airsofters, re-enactors, and military vehicle owners may purchase a RIF (realistic imitation fire-arm). They simply need to provide the seller with their public liability insurance documents to prove their eligibility. In many instances airsofters choose to become UKARA registered, to do this one is required to play a minimum of 3 games in no less than 2 months at a UKARA registered site, again once registered you are entitled to purchase a RIF. For those who do not fall into the aforementioned categories there is the option to purchase (if over 18) a 'Two-Tone' Airsoft gun. These guns have at least 50% of their parts coloured in a non-military colour, for instance bright green or blue. These guns often have the identical internals to the RIF's, however one can tell at a glance that it is a 'toy' and not a weapon.
How do I get involved?
First things first, find your local Airsoft site and read up on their rules.
One of the best places to do this is http://www.airsoftmap.net/Skirmish/
Most sites have equipment for hire, and also issue face masks, however it is always better to contact the site beforehand, as these items may be limited and you may need to book them in advance.