Tempe, AZ -- (SBWIRE) -- 11/19/2007 --
Christmas 2007 promises a bumper crop of Ralphie Parkers whose Christmas wish for "…an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock and 'this thing' which tells time," will be magnified into thousands of "Airsoft" simulated guns and equipment used in the world's newest and fastest growing combat sport from Japan.
The sport hinges on the development of authentic re-creations of firearms using electricity, gas or springs to shoot a plastic pellet shaped like the familiar BB, ranging in weight from 0.12 to 0.88 grams, the most popular around 0.20 to 0.25 for most applications with heavier pellets used for longer distance "sniping."
Generally divided into MilSim (military simulation,) and police games, Airsoft games are wildly popular throughout the Far East, and have caught on in Europe to the point where normally stringent firearms rules in countries like the U. K. have been relaxed to allow importation of Airsoft simulated firearms. Just beginning to catch on in the United States, Airsoft is gradually replacing paintball games as a combat sport, and the importation of Airsoft guns and gear is becoming a rapidly growing market in those states whose laws allow it.
Nearly as important as the guns themselves is the gear used in the sport. Military and police gear necessary to re-create battles/and swat team action in different eras and terrain is nearly as important to the sport as the Airsoft guns.
Japanese manufacturers such as Tokyo Marui, Tanaka Works, Marushin and Inokatsu tend to be the high-end of the field, though lower cost replicas are beginning to be produced in other areas of East Asia. The emphasis is on authenticity, to the point where games are often limited to weapons and gear from a certain era.
Rinkya, the Japanese auction service, is helping to bring the Airsoft phenomenon to the world through access to the Japanese auction market where many of the best examples of Airsoft guns and gear find their way out of the Japanese and East Asian market.
Though still restricted in many countries and in some U. S. states, Airsoft is increasingly being seen as a safer and more intriguing combat sport than paintball, combining, as it does, military re-creation with the actuality of simulated combat.
The latest innovations in Airsoft which includes such things as Airsoft grenades and increasingly accurate uniforms and gear, successfully combine the combat sport with the sport of military and police re-creations and simulations.
"This year, one of Rinkya's goals is to see that all the budding Ralphie Parkers out there get the 2007 version of "…an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock and 'this thing' which tells time," says Rinkya CEO Heather Russell, "Watch your eyes, guys."