Airsoft guns are all the rage among hobby gun enthusiasts. It is almost impossible to distinguish them from real weapons and are highly sought after by people world-wide. Airsoft guns are pure fun, 100% recreational toys for big girls and boys who enjoy firing a weapon in a fun, safe atmosphere. Strictly for the fun of it.
There are those who have heard of airsoft guns and have seen them in action but confuse them with BB guns. There certainly are many similarities, as they both look remarkably like the real deal. However, there are distinct differences between the two types of faux-weapons that set them apart.
Firstly, airsoft guns are a relatively new type of gun having been developed just 30 years ago in Japan. Guns were not allowed in that country, despite the demand. So manufacturers developed a spring-firing type weapon, which evolved into a gas firing device. By the time these realistic guns, used strictly for recreational purposes, arrived in North America about 15 years go, an electric-firing model had been developed. These are also referred to as AEGs.
Conversely, BB guns have been used for over 100 years. They became quite popular in North American when publishers of the 1940's western comic Red Ryder promoted BB guns as an advetising gimmick. BB guns are not used recreationally. They're used to shoot targets and to hunt small animals such as squirrels and other rodents.
Airsoft guns shoot relatively harmless plastic pellets, which are 6mm in size. These pellets don't cause any injuries. A BB, or small metal ball or pellet, fired from a BB gun can definitely do some damage. BB guns fire at 91 to 152. 4 meters per second which is much more powerful than an airsoft gun which fires, at most, 91 meters per second. BB guns are not to be used as a toy. They should be treated as a real weapon.
Similarities of the two guns include the firing mechanisms. Airsoft guns use either compressed gas, electricity or are powered by springs. BB guns are almost exclusively air or gas powered. Real guns use neither of these systems.
Both are manufactured to replicate the look, feel and weight of real weapons. If it wasn't made known that one was handling an airsoft gun, one would never know the difference. Just for that very reason, the U. S. Government, along with along countries such as the U. K., have made it mandatory that all airsoft guns be sold with an orange tip which is illegal to remove. It's this bright orange identifier, referred to as a blaze, which should alert the public to the fact that the gun is nothing more than an elaborate toy.
As a closing note, airsoft guns are not the same as their messy cousin: paintball guns. Frequently, a paintball facility will offer airsoft as an alternate activity but the two guns are very different. Paintball guns don't look like real weapons. They are very simple in design, with a canister filled with gas or air mounted on top of the gun. A paintball gun shoots paintballs, which are larger than airsoft pellets and full of paint that explodes on impact. If fired at close range, a victim of a paintball shot may experience pain and bruising. These types of guns are rarely confused with authentic guns.
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