Airsoft is much like paintball, but no visible mark is left when you hit an opponent. This is because airsoft is played with guns that shoot small plastic 6mm BBs. All airsoft guns propel their plastic BBs from compressed air, but the air can be compressed in many different ways.
Some of the airsoft guns compress their air using an electronic gear box system, which simply pulls back a powerful spring/plunger (which then compressed the air). Then there are the single shot (usually airsoft sniper rifles) that use the same concept, but have no electrical gearbox (they simply need to be manually cocked for each shot). Lastly, some airsoft rifles use pre-compressed air (C02), or even compressed propane gas to fire.
The single shot spring powered airsoft sniper rifles are the cheapest of the 3 different types of airsoft guns, while the electric AEG airsoft guns and the C02/Gas airsoft rifles are far more expensive. Generally spring airsoft rifles cost about $80 – $130, while the electric and gas powered airsoft rifles tend to cost about $100 – $200 or more.
As far as the battlefields that airsoft is played in, they are usually very realistic. For example, many airsoft battlefields provide walls, bunkers, tactical towers, and in some cases even buildings. This makes for a very tactical experience, where it takes more than just good aim in order to win.
The role that you play in the airsoft games (or scenarios) generally depends on what type of airsoft gun you have. Airsoft snipers use powerful airsoft sniper rifles, while those who like to move around more (and get more action) use automatic electric airsoft rifles (also known as AEG airsoft guns). The most popular electric guns are the airsoft AK-47, airsoft M4, airsoft M16, and even airsoft M249 SAW rifles (which are used for heavy support).
The types of airsoft games can vary quite a bit, based on the location and amount of players. The most popular type of airsoft games are short matches (or “skirmishes”). However, military simulations are also pretty popular, along with a few other types of organized scenarios. Also, another fairly popular thing that airsoft guns are used for is reenactments of historical events (for example, a reenactment of Vietnam).
The rules involved with airsoft games are straightforward and simple. The main rule is simply to admit it when you have been hit by your opponent. There is actually an honor system that is used; you are expected to always call out and raise your hand when you know that you have been shot.
Being hit at close range can be painful. With that being said and done, if you sneak up behind an opponent you can just tap them on the back to get your kill, rather than blasting them from a few feet away. This is basically another part of the honor system, but it isnt a necessity.
All in all, airsoft is a sport just like any other, and is all about having fun, and being respectful to others. But rather than kicking or throwing a ball around, players shoot each other with plastic BBs. Strategy and using terrain correctly is essential, which makes airsoft a very realistic war simulation.