If your children are excited about getting into the world of Airsoft, but you’re still not quite sure of whether it’s a good idea – or even sure of what it is, exactly – you’re going to love this detailed guide below.
We cover the ins and outs of this exciting new sport and hobby, giving you all the inside information you need to know to make smart decisions about getting your kids started in the world of Airsoft today.
Inside this Airsoft for Kids: Full Parents Guide you will learn about the basics of what this sport/hobby is all about, learn some of the big benefits Airsoft brings to the table, and we even dive into important tips and tricks for outfitting your kids on the Airsoft battlefield, too.
Let’s jump right in!
What is Airsoft, Anyway?
Incredibly popular in Japan for a few decades now, the sport of Airsoft has been exported all over the world and is really catching fire here in the United States, too.
A lot like paintball in that it involves a lot of military-like activities outdoors featuring simulated engagements against opposing forces, the main difference between paintball and Airsoft is the type of “artillery” used by each individual player.
Whereas paintball players use paint markers that fire compressed air propelled balls of paint Airsoft guns fire tiny little plastic BBs – often at much slower speeds – making them a lot safer and a lot less painful, too.
Airsoft guns are often designed to look a lot like traditional firearms and usually feature propellant systems that are based off of battery-powered pistons, spring powered pistons, and (some rare instances) can also be powered by CO2 the same way that paintballs are.
Technically classified as a non-lethal weapon, the real risk and danger with Airsoft is similar to paintball as well – potential bruising and breakages of the skin, as well as any obvious contact with unprotected eyes.
There are a lot of safety equipment options available to make Airsoft as safe as possible, though (we dive into those components a little later). At the end of the day, though, getting hit with tiny plastic BBs will always hurt a whole lot less than being drilled by giant paintball fired at top speed.
Highlighting the Benefits of Airsoft
There are a couple of different benefits of Airsoft that parents are going to be really excited about, the kinds of benefits we want to hammer home here in our Airsoft for Kids: Full Parents Guide.
Great Exercise Outdoors
For starters, Airsoft is almost universally played outdoors in the woods, quarries, and open fields.
This means you are going to be getting your kids outside and in the sunshine, enjoying everything that nature has to offer and as far away from digital devices and screens as humanly possible – often for a day or two at a clip.
Kids these days just aren’t getting the kind of outdoor exposure that they used to in the past, and their health and wellness is suffering because of it. By getting your children into Airsoft you’re able to give them a nudge in the right direction to not only get outdoors but also to really fall in love with everything that outdoor adventures have to offer.
Teaches Teamwork Skills
It’s almost impossible to have any real success as an Airsoft player when you “lone wolf” things.
You’ll end up cornered, ambushed, and hit from Airsoft BBs from every corner – but worse than that, you’ll hurt your team along the way.
The way that these Airsoft games are structured is to make them very team-based from top to bottom. When you show up to a match or tournament (or even just a scrimmage) you’ll join a team, then a platoon, then a squad – and every step of the way you want to make sure that you are supporting your team with good teamwork to accomplish the mission and complete your goals.
This teamwork focused structure definitely helps to improve the leadership skills of children that are particularly active.
It’s not hard to become a squad leader, especially if you show up with a couple of friends to play, and as you get more experience and show yourself to be a committed part of the team initiatives the opportunity to “climb ranks” on your team grow exponentially.
Leaders will learn that their decisions have a huge impact on whether or not their squad or their team wins or loses. The lessons here are immediately transferable to all walks of life, helping to shape and build the character of other people that play Airsoft from a very young age.
Gets Everyone Involved
Because the Airsoft guns used in this sport aren’t all that heavy, aren’t super expensive, and do not require expensive consumable “ammunition”, either there’s a lot of opportunities for everyone to get involved in the world of Airsoft the way they might not have been able to in paintball or something similar.
On top of that, because this is such a team-oriented activity there’s always going to be a lot of opportunities for people to come together, to work together, and to communicate and collaborate with groups of people that they might not have in “normal life”.
This sport is a great chance to learn, to grow, and to make new friendships while creating memories that can last a lifetime.
Getting Your Child Ready for Airsoft
Of course, making the decision to help your kids get into Airsoft is only one small piece of the puzzle.
You’re going to need gear to hit the ground running and you want to make sure that your kids are as well outfitted as possible to overcome the opposition that they will face on the tournament field.
Here are some gear fundamentals you’ll want to really focus on going forward.
The Right Airsoft Guns
Right out of the gate, the Airsoft guns that you choose to get for your children are going to make or break the experience that they have.
Super inexpensive, spring operated, and manually cocked Airsoft guns can be picked up for next to nothing online, on eBay, or at pretty much any fleamarket in your local area. They might only cost $20-$50 and are usually good enough to get started in the sport of Airsoft – but they aren’t really what you want to use exclusively in a tournament-style setting.
Instead of going for those inexpensive spring operated (and almost always pistol based) types of Airsoft guns you’ll want to instead focus on getting your hands on battery-operated rifle platform Airsoft guns ASAP.
These Airsoft guns are a lot more flexible, a lot more adaptable, and a lot more consistent when you are playing in a tournament situation. They give your child an opportunity to return fire effectively, they work in a wide variety of different engagements (close range and at longer ranges), and allow them to play a bunch of different roles when they are part of a team.
Gas operated or CO2 operated options are available as well, but these are usually strictly limited to secondary pistol style Airsoft guns or more powerful sniper rifle style Airsoft guns.
These aren’t the best options for a “main” Airsoft gun in most circumstances – and certainly aren’t as adaptable as say an M4 style battery-operated Airsoft weapon – but might be something that you look at with your child as they get deeper and deeper into the sport, develop their talents, and joy real commitment to excellence in the world of Airsoft.
The Right Airsoft Gear
Aside from the actual Airsoft gun itself you’re also going to need a bit of gear, and that means gear that can conceal you when you are out in the elements, gear that can store your ammunition comfortably and securely, and gear that can help you to win more engagements as well.
A basic set of camouflage fatigues from any Army Navy or surplus store is perfect for kids just getting started, and usually you can pick these up so inexpensively that you can get a couple of different sets to accommodate all different kinds of environments that your child might be playing Airsoft in.
Rifle slings and pistol holsters are also key pieces of gear you’ll want to consider, especially if you want to make sure that the sometimes expensive Airsoft guns you are purchasing are safe, tight down to their person, and come out of the woods when your children do as well.
Ammunition pouches, backpacks, hydration kits, and all kinds of other accessories can be purchased as well. There are plenty of opportunities to add to your child’s Airsoft kit after you get the basics down, though.
Start with the fundamentals – fatigues, slings and holsters, ammo pouches – and grow things out from there and you’ll be good to go.
Safety is Everything
Safety gear is paramount, and thankfully the safety equipment designed specifically for Airsoft is much improved today from when the sport really started to take off.
You can buy lightweight foam “body armor” specifically designed with Airsoft in mind to protect your chest and back, slipping it underneath your shirt or your fatigues without adding a lot of weight but also guaranteeing that you feel the impacts of these plastic BBs without getting stung the way you might have otherwise.
Gloves are always a smart purchase, to, simply because there’s no worse feeling than getting slapped on the hand by one of these plastic projectiles – especially since there isn’t a lot of “meat” on our hands to absorb the impact otherwise.
Safety goggles or safety glasses are required safety equipment at EVERY single Airsoft field. You want to make sure that your child as a pair of safety glasses that wrap around their eyes completely, protecting them as much as possible.
It’s a good idea to make sure that they have a second or even a third pair of safety glasses or goggles on hand (in a hard protective case in their backpack, maybe) just to make sure that should something happen to one pair they still get to play without having to sit out because this necessary piece of safety equipment fell apart at the wrong time.
Consider Getting Involved with Your Kids
Finally, it’s never a bad idea to consider getting involved with your kids – especially when it is something as fun, as exciting, and as engaging as the world of Airsoft.
You’ll be able to get outdoors and exercise with your children, you’ll be able to become a part of a team with them, and you’ll be able to show them the ropes and inspire their growth and development as leaders while you are right in the thick of things with them.
Of course, getting involved with the world of Airsoft as your children do doesn’t necessarily mean that you pile on the camouflage and Airsoft guns the way that Arnold did in the movie Commando.
You can also choose to host these kinds of events, to act as a referee and an observer in the field keeping things fair while keeping an eye on your child, or pursue a whole bunch of other support style activities that these kinds of outdoor sports always require.
There are a lot of different ways to get involved in Airsoft aside from just playing the sport itself. We can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt, though, that the more involved you get – and the more excited you get about what your children are excited about – the better time all of you are going to have.
At the end of the day, it’s easy to understand why Airsoft has been getting as popular as it is today.
This is a sport that isn’t showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon, and if your child has caught the Airsoft bug and you’re looking to get started with them hopefully you have found this quick guide useful moving forward.