At Socom Tactical Airsoft we all ways find newer players have questions that need answering! Below is a list of the most common questions.

Do you need a UKARA licence to buy an airsoft gun?

UKARA (United Kingdom Airsoft Retailers Association) isn’t actually a licence at all. It is a database that is shared between sites and ships where players who have completed the requirements (under the VCRA) are entered. This then allows sites and shops to be able to verify the players can legally purchase a RIF (Realistic Imitation Firearm).

UKARA membership is one of the more straight forward and widely accepted methods to get your RIF bit not the only way. A Site membership from an insured airsoft site will also allow you to purchase a RIF – There might be a little more delay in getting your RIF as the shop will need to get in contact with the site manually.

If you have not completed the required criteria (in line with the VCRA 2007) you will still be able to purchase an airsoft gun, however, this would need to be a Two Tone Airsoft gun and you must still be over the age of 18.

How old do you need to be to play airsoft?

Some sites will allow players on the field as young as 12 (with a parent or guardian), however, it does depend on the sites insurance. It’s always a good idea to call or email the site first to check the age limit before attending the game. o play it depends on the site you are visiting some sites go from 12 years old but the most common is 14 years old.

To purchase an airsoft gun, pyrotechnics or any other replicas you do need to be over 18.

What is the max FPS to Airsoft guns in the UK?

The legal limit for an airsoft gun that is capable of firing more than one shot with a single trigger pull is 1.3joules (375 FPS). The legal limit for an airsoft gun that is capable of firing only one shot with a single trigger pull is 2.5joules (518 FPS) – all choro readings are done with a 0.20g BB.

Please note that whilst these are the legal limit for airsoft guns in the UK most sites have different limits that are allowed to play on their fields. A large majority of the sites in the UK have a limit of 350 fps on a 0.20g bb for rifles that can fire more that one BB with a single trigger pull (AEGs, Support Weapons etc) and a limit of 500 fps for rifles that are only capable of firing a single shot with each trigger pull – Most of the higher-powered weapons are subject to a MED (Minimum Engagement Distance – Normally 30m).

Its always a good idea to check with your site before attending to ensure that your airsoft gun is within the limits to play at that field.

What is airsoft?

Airsoft has many different sub-genres such as MilSim (Military Simulation), Speedsoft, Skirmish, Roleplay, LARP and post-apocalyptic to name a few – Most of these groups still have Airsoft aspects to them use Airsoft replicas at their core – some other sports and hobbies that are compared to airsoft are paintball, Tag Archery, Lazer tag and Nerf.

Airsoft (at its core) is an honour based, combat sport where participants use pneumatic, spring or gas-powered replica weapons to fire 6mm plastic ball bearings at each other with the goal of removing another player from the game and sending them back to a spawn point. When asked to explain the sport, players will often compare it to “paintball but without the paint” or “Call of Duty but in real life”.

Is Airsoft dangerous?

Airsoft guns, if not used in the correct manner and with the right safety equipment (ballistic rated eye protection) can be very dangerous. The ammunition they use may not be lethal and they do fire at relatively low velocity, however, they can cause major harm or serious injury if not used responsibly. Although an airsoft gun can cause severe pain if the bbs are fired at a high velocity they are not lethal so can not kill you. 

Airsoft guns should be treated with the same respect as their real counterpart and eye protection should be worn at all times, even if you believe the replica to be unloaded – Don’t assume, make sure its safe!

How Much does airsoft cost?

Airsoft is a relatively affordable hobby compared to other shooting sports (Real firearms, Paintball, Archery etc).

The cost of an entry-level paintball marker can be in the region of £199 to £270. A comparable airsoft gun could be in the region of £80 to £150 (maybe even cheaper if you know a buddy who is selling some of his/her old gear)

If you look at the cost of the ammunition for example 2000 Valken Paintballs are £39.95 (1.9p per shot) and are very sensitive to weather conditions and need to be stored correctly (turned on a regular basis), however, 5000 Valken Accelerate 0.20g bb’s are only £9.95 (0.01p per shot)

Like a lot of hobbies where you need to get some equipment to get involved – once you have the kit Airsoft is a very affordable hobby with games typically ranging between £15 to £30 for a whole day

Does Airsoft Hurt?

The short answer to this is no! – All airsoft guns are non-lethal and are shooting at pretty low power compared to something like an air rifle. Its more the shock of being hit that surprises players – Its akin to being “pinged” with an elastic band. Of course, everyone feels paint differently so if you are worried about it hurting then its a good idea to wear long sleeves and trousers, plus a decent pair of gloves might be a good idea!

What Equipment is Needed for Airsoft?

In airsoft, like a lot of other sports you don’t need a lot of kit to play or take part. At the very basic end of the sport you are going to need a good set or eye protection (that are ballistic/safety rated) your airsoft rifle or pistol, something to power it (so a battery or some gas), some ammunition and a decent pair of footwear with good ankle support (boots are recommended). That is it! – there are of course a million and one bits of kit that player take with them from multi-tools to military night vision but all that is not necessary to play and is more a “nice to have” than a must.

If I doubt then follow the golden rule – KISS – Keep it simple stupid!

Where Can I play airsoft?

There are a huge number of airsoft sites in the UK and they all offer a very different airsoft experience from classic woodland fighting to a more up close and personal CQB indoor site.

Check out Airsoft Ranch’s Airsoft site map for more info on a site in your local area:

What are the different types of an airsoft gun?

Airsoft Guns are normally broken down into the following categories:

AEG – These are automatic electric guns, battery-driven and capable of a range of fire modes from single shot to automatic

Support guns – These are normally much larger than AEGs but work in the same way and using the same battery power source. These guns will normally have large, box or drum magazines and will usually be capable of sustained automatic fire – designed for suppressing enemy positions on foot or mounted to a vehicle.

Gas Blowback Pistols – These are normally much smaller and can be used one-handed. These use compressed gas to fire the bb out of the barrel and can also feature a reciprocating slide for added realism and recoil. The gas these guns can use can vary I’m pressure and makeup (including CO2 and Propain).

AEP – also known as an Automatic Electric Pistol these are just like mini versions of AEGs with all the system shrunk down to fit into a much smaller package. These are battery-powered and capable of automatic fire – These are a great option for players who do not want to run compressed gas due to cost or performance and can be a reliable option for winter.

Shotguns – These can be powered by compressed gas or by springs and are normally capable (like their real-life counterparts) of firing more than one BB at a time.

Sniper Rifles – These are large, long-barrelled rifles designed to fire heavier bbs over a greater distance. These rifles have traded the ability to shoot more than one BB for range and precision – Sniper rifles can be powered by high powered springs or compressed gas.

Gas Blowback – These rifles are very similar to AEG’s however these are powered by compressed gas. These are known to be a little more specialist and not as reliable as their electric cousins. These are more suited to advanced players who are interested in tinkering and maintaining the rifles.