How Old Do You Have To Be To Play Airsoft?

Published on
January 19, 2022

As airsoft becomes more mainstream and footage shot by the experienced airsoft player is widely shared online there is a new generation of players eager to take part.

Because an airsoft game is quite physical and uses replica imitation firearms it can appear to be out of reach for most youngsters.

We're here to tell you that's not the case and it's easier to get started than you may think.

Does Airsoft Have An Age Limit?

First things first - there is no law in the United Kingdom that restricts how old somebody has to be to play airsoft.

The only law relating to age and airsoft is how old you must be before you can purchase an imitation firearm (this includes an airsoft replica).

The restrictions are usually enforced by your local airsoft field due to insurance reasons. Because these are not set by the government they can vary from site to site, so it's best to check with them in advance.

Some sites allow players as young as 12 as long as they have the proper supervision.

Why Does An Airsoft Field Have Its Own Rules?

Airsoft fields are a business - and to continue operating they need to have the right liability cover. Because of this, you will find a lot of sites impose additional rules to those outlined in the law.

It's also why they have FPS limits that are slightly below the legal limit.

The vast majority of sites will stipulate that people under the age of 18 must wear safety gear that covers their whole face. This is for insurance purposes but is also good practice as you can never be too careful when it comes to eyes and teeth, especially for the younger airsofter.

Some sites will go further than this and also require parental supervision whilst on-site, so it's worth considering this when choosing a site to visit.

Does Airsoft Hurt?

It all depends on your pain tolerance, if you play close or long-range sites and what protective gear you wear. Airsoft is usually described as being less painful than paintball, so if you've ever played that it should give you an idea.

Since airsoft includes automatic weapons you can sometimes find yourself on the receiving end of several BB pellets within a matter of seconds.

The pain mainly comes from being hit by these airsoft BB pellets.

The more you can do to reduce the impact energy of being shot (such as wearing more layers or keeping a greater distance between you and your enemies) will help to reduce the pain.


What Protective Gear Should Be Worn?

As briefly mentioned above, some sites will require airsoft players under a certain age to wear full-face protection.

This is normally in the form of a paintball-style visor or mesh mask and reduces the chance of any airsoft BB pellets hitting the face.

In addition to this airsoft weapons can be painful up close, so it may be best to try outdoor fields before going to a CQB event. This will help as the kinetic energy held by the BB pellets will have begun to dissipate by the time they hit you, thus reducing the pain.

Most players will also wear some form of body armour or webbing as a way of carrying their equipment, but it also doubles up as another layer of protection. It's worth finding something you're comfortable with that offers the level of protection you're after.

Why Do Airsoft Guns Look Like Real Weapons?

Airsoft is all about realism, so most of the products produced by airsoft model manufacturers are based on genuine firearms.

Regardless of how real they might look none of these airsoft guns are real firearms.

They are classed as Realistic Imitation Firearms (or RIF for short) because of their appearance but none of them can be converted into actual firearms. They have maximum muzzle energy as set out in the law and are less powerful than an air rifle.

Airsoft communities are aware that the hobby uses replica firearms and care is taken to keep these stored securely and hidden, especially when traveling to a location to play, regardless of this being a private game or one that is open to all.


I'm A Parent - What Age Should I Let My Child Play An Airsoft Game?

This is a very personal question, and the answer will differ based on your situation. As mentioned earlier there is no set age that someone can take part in airsoft. Whilst a site may have an age they can begin playing from you will need to be happy they are responsible enough to take part.

Under UK law you are allowed to purchase an airsoft replica to either give as a gift to your child or keep on their behalf.

Alternatively for those just starting, some sites do offer hire equipment subject to availability.

This can be useful in the beginning as airsoft can be an expensive hobby and airsoft electric guns can cost a considerable amount.

Whilst some sites require younger players to have adult supervision, a lot of airsoft enthusiasts are more than happy to guide those that are less experienced through an airsoft skirmish.

This means you may not have to provide direct supervision yourself.

The perks of this mean you don't get shot, and you help your child to develop independence.

I'm Under 18 - When Can I Get My Own Airsoft Replica?

So you're old enough to play airsoft, but not old enough to buy your own gun? It sucks, but the rules are there for a reason.

Because airsoft rifles look so real they are tightly controlled as to who can purchase them.

The good news is anyone over the age of 18 can purchase replica firearms that they can share with you, regardless of type or brand of airsoft replica.

This means you're not stuck using the old, worn-out hire guns for years. They can even gift it to you as there is no law regarding the ownership of replica firearms, only the purchase of them.

You should however be prepared to treat them as actual firearms.

This means cleaning and servicing them regularly; ensuring they are facing a safe direction while doing so, and not taking them out in public unless properly secured and you are on your way to a game. 

Final Thoughts

Whilst it can seem quite daunting and dangerous, airsoft is a great hobby for teenagers and younger people to get involved in.

It provides a range of benefits to a young person's development, such as encouraging responsibility, teamwork, and fitness.

It's also a very personal hobby as there are a wide variety of airsoft replicas to choose from. This allows for people to recreate their favourite assault weapons from a film or TV show, helping to connect with like-minded individuals and form new friendships.

First Airsoft is the go-to source for everything airsoft. We're a small team of experience airsoft players committed to helping you become a better play. Move fast, stay low, aim straight.
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