Things Parents Should Know About Airsoft Guns

When my oldest son came home at the age of twelve and asked for an airsoft gun, I was like, "What?" I had never heard of airsoft guns, and the only thing that registered in my mind was the word "gun." To be honest, I immediately said no, not bothering to learn at that moment what he was asking for. Needless to say, he was disappointed and mad.

When he came to me a few months later and asked again, I had him explain to me what airsofting was all about. It turned out to be a modern day version of the BB guns I grew up with as a child. I can remember getting into all sorts of trouble with mine, and having it taken away after I shot a tiny hole through the garage window. Those were the days, and as a kid, I didn't understand my parents' concern over the BB gun. But, as a parent, I found myself repeating the same words my mother told me when she took my gun away; "No, it's too dangerous. You could shoot an eye out."

My son and I went round and round about the airsoft gun for several days. I decided I'd do some research on the subject and learn what all the fuss was about. What I eventually learned is that with the right safety equipment and proper training, airsoft guns are a great way to teach an older child about respect for guns and the correct way to handle a gun.

Here are some things every parent should know about airsoft guns before buying one for their child.

  1. Airsoft guns are designed to look like real guns. While they are considered a toy, they should be respected and treated as any other firearm. They are a low-velocity, non-lethal gun that uses a 6mm plastic BB. Although it does sting if you get shot with an airsoft gun, it is not fatal. 
  2. The biggest safety concern with airsoft guns is the risk of getting shot in the eye. Even though the gun are low-velocity, the plastic BB's do bounce off hard objects and could reflect back and hit the shooter. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that while using an airsoft gun, you wear long sleeves, long pants, shoes, and protective eye wear. I cannot stress enough the importance of wearing protective eye wear. 
  3. Because airsoft guns are less dangerous than a real firearm, it is a great way to teach kids gun responsibility and safety. The rules for using an airsoft gun are the same as for a real firearm: 1) Always wear protective gear 2) Know where you're pointing the gun and what's beyond 3) Never look down the barrel of a gun 4) Always have the gun on safety until ready to shoot 5) Never place your finger on the trigger until you're aiming at the target and ready to shoot 6) Always treat the gun as if it were loaded
  4. There are designated airsoft fields (indoor and outdoor) in many communities. 
  5. Before buying any airsoft gun, take some time to learn the laws in your area. Some places do not allow BB guns, including airsoft guns, to be discharged. In Massachusetts for example, it is illegal for anyone other than a parent to give an airsoft gun to a child. Airsoft gun gifts cannot be given by grandparents, aunts, or even well-meaning family friends. If you plan to buy an airsoft gun online, it may be illegal to ship it to your state, so check before you buy.