Airsoft can be considered a sport or a hobby. People play in operations (OPs) that can be from 20 players to in the hundreds. Also people can play in scrimishes, which tend to not be as organized. Airsoft guns can be operated by spring (air cocking), gas (hfc134a, hfc22/green gas, co2), AEGs or "Automatic Electric Guns" (battery, 7.2-12 volt). The guns are based off of real guns, and in airsoft real guns are called "Real steel".
Hobby airsofters normally collect guns for the close replication of their real steel counterparts, and the normally the only time you can tell the difference is material. Airsoft guns tend to use the real gun trademarks along with the manufactor trademarks.
Operations are military simulation, or mil-sim. Airsofters love airsoft because it is really realistic and why we don't play with markers (a.k.a. hairdryers with a CO2 tank and a hopper). One reason why airsofters don't join the army is when you are hit in the head with a bb, you call yourself out. If you are hit in the head in the army, you don't call anything. You're dead.
Airsoft guns can be relativly cheap if bought at Wal-Mart or a sporting good store, but those guns are of low quality and reffered to as "LPEGs" or "Low Powered/Priced Electric Gun". There are medium quality guns that or normally clones of Tokyo Marui
guns, but never come close to the quality. They are known as "MPEGs" or "Medium Powered/Priced Electric Gun". There are High-end guns that can last years and years and are much more powerful and well built. High-end guns are normally made out of metal and the top 3 brands of high-end guns are Tokyo Marui
, ICS and Classic Army. Tokyo Marui guns range from $190 to $250 and two guns cost over $300. These guns are normally made out of plastic with some metal, but the Type 89 is full-metal. ICS guns differ greatly of price. ICS MP5s cost $220 and ICS M4s/M16s cost around $280. They are full metal and can last a long time. Classic Army guns cost in the $300 range and full metal. Some other high-end AEG brands are Star, TOP, G&G, G&P.
Some misconceptions in airsoft is that police officers will shoot you if you have your airsoft gun with you. The reason why is because not all airsofters are smart and ruin our sport and feel the need to threaten a cop. All smart airsofters know better and this is not a problem if you just don't let officers see your gun. Also people think airsoft guns hurt a lot less than paintball. Airsoft shots are more of a sting and paintball is more of a punch, so it is two different pains and airsoft hurts worse if played with High-end guns. With paintball, the pain is spread out when ball bursts.
Airsoft uses different types of BBs. LPEGs use .12 bbs and sometimes .20 bbs. The .12 bb is very weak and very innacurate but faster. MPEGs use .20 bbs and sometimes .25 bbs. High-end guns use .25 bbs most of the time for their accuracy and distance. Sniper rifles use the heaviest BBs, ranging from .30 to .42.
The power of airsoft guns are determined on the spring it is using. Most out of box high end guns shoot 320-380 fps with .20s. LPEGs shoot 120 fps with .12s to 230 with .20s. Airsoft guns can be upgraded to 450 fps and sniper rifles can be upgraded to 550 fps and even 600 fps, making it as powerful as paintball markers which means it hurts worse since stinging pain is much worse than the punching pain.
I love airsoft because it is fun and I don't die when I get shot, like in the army.