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North west newbie

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Hi all, i am not new to airsoft but i have been out the game for 7 years so for all intensive purposes i am demoting myself to a newbie!! I am currently unarmed, i sold all my loadout some time ago :(. I am looking for somewhere to skirmish preferably around the merseyside area but i dont mind a drive. Also as i am unarmed, hows the best way about building a new arsenal? Any help will be greatly appreciated.





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Welcome aboard. Not too far from me then, I'm in Stockport. Take a look at this map for a few airsoft sites not too far away from you:




Most of those places will do hire stuff, which if you've been out of the game for a while, I'd recommend using, since there have been a lot of changes and advancements in the past seven years, and if you use some hired gear just while you get back into the swing of things, you'll get a better idea of what everyone else is using. I'd not played for a similar length of time until fairly recently, and was surprised how much had changed when I got back into it; airsoft is far more professional and better organised these days than it was back when I used to do it years ago, and it's big business in terms of equipment and accessories nowadays.


Of course if you've been away from it for seven years or so, then you might be unfamiliar with the legislation which came in around 2006, which affects airsoft a little bit, this being the Violent Crimes Reduction Act of 2006 (VCR Act). That Act covers a lot of stuff, but where airsoft is concerned, it is principally about restricting the sale and ownership on Realistic Imitation Firearms (RIFs), in other words, where we are concerned, airsoft guns which look like the real thing. So, unlike back in the day (pre 2006) where you could cheerfully buy an airsoft gun in your local high street with no bother, nowadays you are likely to have to have some kind of legitimate defence for wanting one before a retailer will sell you one (so, if you are a re-enactor, play airsoft, work for a museum, make movie props etc, then you are okay to buy them), because retailers are deemed liable if you subsequently pull off a bank raid with a RIF that they sold to you. If you cannot provide such a legitimate defence, you can buy a brightly coloured airsoft gun so that it is obvious to Joe Public that it aint a real weapon, thus you can't hold up a bank with the thing. These things can be physically the same size as a normal RIF airsoft gun, but they have to be painted a bright colour on at least fifty percent of their surface area, as a result of that, they are generally referred to as 'two tones', typically being black and another colour, such as orange, blue, green or red.


Of course we know that all you'd really need to do is nip down to Halfords and buy a tin of black primer spray paint, and your bright orange M16 would look like the real thing in no time, however, geniuses that the Government are, they thought of that, and made it illegal to spray paint your gun if you are intending to use it for criminal purposes, so that's that sorted then, isn't it? because nobody who was planning a bank raid would ever break the law by painting a toy gun up, would they?


So, with all that nonsense in place, retailers of airsoft guns realised that it was seriously going to affect their business, so they got together and formed UKARA - the United Kingdom Airsoft Retailers Association - which has a database or regular airsoft players. Thus if you can prove you play airsoft regularly, you can be registered with UKARA, whereupon you get a UKARA registration number, and if you then want to buy a black RIF airsoft gun from a retailer with access to the UKARA database, all you have to do is quote your UKARA number and they will sell you one no problem, or at least they will until one day in the forthcoming future, when some tosser will get a UKARA registration number, then buy a RIF and hold up a bank with it. When that happens, as it inevitably will one day, doubtless the Government will have a knee jerk reaction like they normally do, and ban everything that even remotely looks like a weapon, including nail guns, power drills, hair dryers, walking sticks, bananas. lego put together in a vague pistol shape, staple 'guns', price ticketing 'guns', grease 'guns', glue 'guns' etc.


But, until that fateful day, if you want a UKARA registration number so that you can buy a RIF easily, what you will need to do, is play at least three airsoft games over a period of two months at a UKARA-registered airsoft site (and they are all pretty much UKARA registered). When you've done that, you'll get a form with a stamp of approval from that site, which certifies that you are a regular air softer, which you then fill out and send off. Note that you send it off typically to a UKARA retailer and not to UKARA itself.


Note that it is not 'illegal' to own a RIF, it's merely possible that you could be potentially prosecuted under the VCR Act if you had absolutely no reason to want to own one, although I'm waiting for someone to go with the defence of 'because I like it', which seems to me as legitimate a reason as any other. So, be aware that UKARA is not 'the law' and a UKARA registration number is not some sort of 'gun license', it is merely a convenient way for airsoft retailers to check that you have a reasonably legitimate reason for wanting something which looks like a real gun, but in practice, it is the way most airsofters accept, so it is kind of an unofficial 'pseudo licence', thus you probably will want to get yourself a UKARA registration number in case the Rozzers pull you over when you have all your airsoft gear in the boot of your car.

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