The usual definition of an air gun is any gun that fires a projectile with compressed gas or air. This includes airsoft guns as well as BB guns that use compressed air. Pump BB guns are extremely common within this category. Many of the rules we will discuss here apply to BB guns, but this article we are going to discuss airsoft safety due to airsoft being a sport where firing at other individuals is common practice in airsoft games. With this comes some further protective guidance.
Airsoft, Airgun, & BB Gun Safety Rules
- Always keep the weapon pointed in a safe direction.
- Always treat the weapon as if it were loaded.
- Always wear eye protection.
- Always keep weapon unloaded until ready to shoot.
- Always keep “safety” on until ready to shoot.
- Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
- Always know exactly what you are shooting at. Ensure behind your target is a safe backstop, and that pellets cannot travel further. Shooting into a hill is advised.
- Always read and follow all safety manual and operation instructions. Know your weapon’s operational procedures before using. Different air pistol types can vary widely in operation.
- Always store your weapon in a safe place. Store ammunition separately from the weapon.
- The weapon should always be operated by an adult, or under adult supervision.
- Do not shoot at hard surfaces, liquids, or surfaces that may cause ricochet.
- Always shoot ammo designed for the weapon.
- Do not reuse BBs or pellets. Do not use damaged or deformed pellets.
- Do not consume alcohol or drugs prior to, or during use of the weapon.
- Perform regular maintenance in accordance to the owner’s manual.
Airsoft Safety Tips
Know Your Firearm Inside And Out
It is critical to acquire extensive practice with an air rifle before using it in the field. Your owner’s manual should be read, and general air gun safety practices should be followed. You may find that the manufacturer of your weapon haa video and written resources regarding the operation and maintenance of your weapon. All of these resources should be read thoroughly and understood. It is advised to use other resources when available, for example, articles online, or videos online for further education.
The more time you spend shooting an air gun, the more natural it will feel in your hands, and the easier it will become to follow proper safety procedures.
Eye & Body Protection Is Essential
One of the most prominent injuries relating to airguns is eye injuries. These types of injuries can be almost entirely avoided simply through face protection. Full face shields are recommended to protect the mouth, face, and eyes from airsoft pellets. Gloves, shirts, pants, neck protectors, and pads are often used by those in airsoft games to avoid welts and injuries from pellets. Goggles need to have protection from all angles. Simple sunglasses will not do the trick. In addition, glass should never be used, plastic should be used to prevent any type of shattering of a face covering near the eyes.
Airsoft Game Safety
Always ensure that everyone in an airsoft game always follows all proper safety procedures, and that your rules are clearly followed. Before starting a game, it is essential to ensure everyone has all of the proper safety gear, a gun that is working properly and is set to a speed safe for an airsoft game, and that the game is taking place in an area where stray rounds cannot cause damage to anyone or any property nearby.
Safety Regulations for Airguns
Many airguns are legally a weapon, and therefore they come with a set of regulations bound by the law and must be followed by everyone who owns or uses an air gun. Airsoft regulations are not as strict. For example, within the U.S., individuals must be 18 years of age or older to purchase an Airsoft gun, but are not classified as firearms, and therefore can be used by all ages under federal law. It is worth noting that certain municipalities and states may have specific restrictions that need to be followed. Be sure to look up the laws in your area.
How Old Do You Need To Be To Use an Air Gun?
Rules and regulations differ depending upon local regulations. In general, in order to purchase an air gun of any kind, you must be 18 years of age or older. Airsoft guns, can be operated by any age, but really this should be up to the parent. Knowing your child’s ability to follow proper procedures and processes is crucial to safety. Parents should help educate the children on these best practices and rules to ensure safe usage.
Weapons of higher power that can cause significant damage or death, like air rifles, or CO2 powered weapons need even more precaution, and often have further local regulations that need to be followed.
Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued his frequent adventures in the mountains, always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about