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jxm

What IS airsoft?

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I'm just googling around about airsoft and I can find lots of information and discussion about the purchase of airsoft firearms, both as RIF and brightly coloured. But none of the information I've found actually seems to adequately define what airsoft actually is.

 

For example, it seems perfectly legal to just walk into a shop and buy a very realistic looking co2 pistol that fires BB's with out being a 'skirmisher' as it's apparently not an "airsoft" gun. So does the violent crime reduction act only apply to weapons that are officially "airsoft", and if so what is the definition of an airsoft gun (and how does it differ from air pistols/rifles and co2 powered weapons)? Is it the ammo? or the power source?

 

Apologies if this is something really obvious to airsoft people, but to non-airsoft people all the airsoft sites seem to assume that everyone knows what "airsoft" is before they get there or give a vague description about BB guns...

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No need to apologise, the best way to find out is to ask or play. airsoft is a Sport/Hobby

 

the general idea of airsoft is that people use BB guns to shoot each other in a scenario d game. Basically if you have ever played Paintball its the same thing but with BB guns.

 

thats the fundamentals of it but it does become more in depth as people dress up in Military uniforms to make it more tactical. the weapons tend to look more realistic and are more accurate. the scenario become more in depth and complicated.

 

The Law is not very clear, there is no offical airsoft guns but what are described as RIFs- Realistic Imitation Firearms (BB guns that are very realistic to their real life counter parts and would be hard to tell the difference). IFs Imitation Firearms (Basically they are RIFs but have 51% painted a bright colour so as to make it not look realistic and obvious that its not a real gun). so basically if it looks real enough its a RIF.

 

It is perfectly legal for you to walk in to any airsoft shop and buy any RIF, the law comes into effect if your purpose for that RIF is not the use in airsoft or another legal function.

the function. To check people are going to use in for airsoft purposes the UKARA was invented which is a Retailers Association which you sign up to after you have played 3 games at the same site so they can vouch for you as a legitimate player. other Associations are currently being formed.

 

I think thats answered the questions. Im sure other will weigh in if i missed something. but feel free to ask as many questions as you want.

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So then I guess my question is "what counts as an 'imitation' firearm"? I assume air rifles are classed as 'real' firearms so are not covered by this, but I'm still confused as to the status of co2 pistols/rifles - some of which fire 'proper' air pellets, and some steel BBs.

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Guns that don't fire bb's are not airsoft weapons. Any weapon that fires a 6mm plastic BB is considered an airsoft weapon. This includes sidearms/pistols and rifles. If they fire a .177 or .22 (or any other) pellet then they are air guns and can be purchased without the need for a Ukara/Airsoft membership, you may need some other license/membership though (correct me if I'm wrong on this).

 

Any airsoft weapon that is not two tone, and looks like a real firearm, requires a legal defense for purchasing the weapon, hence the airsoft/ukara membership requirement to prove that you are an airsofter and have a reason for purchasing such weapon.

 

Again, weapons that fire anything other than BB's are NOT airsoft weapons.

 

With regards to guns that fire metal BB's, I'm going to take a guess here and say they wouldn't be airsoft guns as they would generally be firing above 500fps, and can cause some pretty hefty damage.

 

(anyone with more knowledge please correct me if I am wrong on any of the above)

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An imitation firearm is anything that is over 50% brightly coloured, an unrealistic shape or unrealistic size. An RIF is basically the opposite.

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An imitation firearm is anything that is over 50% brightly coloured, an unrealistic shape or unrealistic size. An RIF is basically the opposite.

 

I may not know much but I'm pretty sure that's wrong. A RIF is also an imitation firearm, that's what the "IF" in RIF stands for...

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RIF means realistic imitation firearm in which it looks basically llike the real thing. An imitation firearm basically "imitates" a firearm, but does not look like the real thing. So brightly coloured, stupidly small or looks like a water pistol.

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'BB guns' is an inaccurate term to describe airsoft RIFs.

You may have seen it by certain retailers with that in their name, who should be avoided!

A BB gun is chambered for 4.5mm steel / lead BB pellets and not 6mm plastic.

 

Anyway, as a description of airsoft, as much as I don't like to talk about it, think about paintball.

It's a similar concept but with much better skirmish sites such as a whole woodland as opposed to little arenas. In addition the guns are more realistic and players like to dress authentically (although this isn't a requirement and you don't have to take it so seriously)

The players are generally more mature rather than the stereotypical paintballer.

 

If a gun is brightly coloured, unrealistic looking it's an IF. Anybody over 18 can buy one.

If a gun looks realistic, it's a RIF. You need to be 18+ and have a UKARA defence. To do this the basics are you need to go airsofting three times, it should be at the same place and within a year (but not within 2 months)

 

I hope this helps, welcome to the forum by the way, and don't be afraid to ask questions. It's what forums are here for! Everybody started out as new to the hobby / sport, some with more knowledge and experience than others.

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Mr B that is incorrect. You dont NEED a UKARA defense. the UKARA is a defense. im not having a go im only pointing it out for the purpose of giving people the right information. Membership to a site is considered a defense. proving you play the game is a defense its just harder to prove.

 

air rifles come under the air weapons part of the UKVCRA.

 

the IF and RIF difference will make more sense when you have a look at two tones and non two tones. Its suppose to be that a RIF would need someone who knows what Firearms look like to know its a fake where as an IF most people would look at and say oh thats a toy.

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Why is it that you want to know ? what is your objective ?

 

This is an airsofting forum and although its reasonable to expect airsofters to know what airsofting is, people here will be a bit hazy about the other aspects of the VCRA.

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I can't tell if the OP knows what he's doing or not, but, purposely or inadvertently, he's drawn attention to another one of the odd parts of UK law.

 

A gun that fires metal pellets using powerful CO2 capsules and is externally exactly the same as a real firearm (thus making it a Realistic Imitation Firearm, surely?) requires you simply to be over 18 to purchase it. However, an 'airsoft' gun that fires plastic pellets with weaker gas and looks mostly like a real firearm is far harder to purchase.

 

There's actually no such thing in law as an 'airsoft' gun, but there is de facto since any gun made for the sport of airsoft seems to be governed by entirely different laws to all other RIFs (which are apparently not even classed as RIFs).

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I can't tell if the OP knows what he's doing or not, but, purposely or inadvertently, he's drawn attention to another one of the odd parts of UK law.

Yes, that is what is confusing me - to buy a realistic looking "airsoft" gun I need to prove why I need it, but at the same time I can buy an almost identical looking co2 pistol that is more powerful and fires more damaging ammunition apparently without any need to give any reason or prove anything or belong to any club or organisation...? Just seems very odd.

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Thank the home office for that :D The VCRA act is full of so many loopholes and things that don't make sense

 

PS. Why on earth is the quoting system not working for me?

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