If you’re an airsoft fan and have kids you may be wondering when the best time would be to get them into airsoft. The question of how old you have to be to play airsoft isn’t the same for everyone obviously. Kids mature at all different ages, however, the law helps us make this decision for us.
Airsoft Guns are not considered a firearms so therefore airsoft can be played at any age. It is however recommended that nobody play airsoft below the age of 13 and most airsoft fields have this requirement. You must be over the age of 18 in order to purchase an airsoft gun at your local store or online.
I know what you might be thinking….”So If i’m 16 I can play and use an airsoft gun but I can’t go and purchase one?” As many things these days the law just doesn’t seem to make sense. So looks like we’re going to have to dive a bit deeper to answer the question of how old do you have to be to play airsoft.
Is There A Minimum Age To Play Airsoft?
Unlike other countries, In the United States, you can play airsoft at any age. That’s because in the U.S an airsoft gun is not considered a firearm. Anyone can use an airsoft gun as long as they are abiding to the laws of the state in which they reside. Each state has different laws on airsoft but when it comes to age all have the same requirements. That requirement is that you must be 18 years old in order to purchase.
I know at first glance this may not make much sense. I know for me it didn’t and I was left thinking….”well why the hell can a 15 year old carry around an airsoft gun and play with it, yet can’t purchase one!?” Sounds pretty stupid if you ask me. But not so fast!
Although an airsoft gun is not a firearm, it is made to resemble a real firearm and even shoots projectiles. This combination can lead to catastrophic results when left in the hands of a minor. As a result, many municipalities and states have passed their own regulations that do limit the use and purchase of airsoft guns such as: NYC, Washington D.C, Chicago, San Francisco, and Michigan. All of these states outlaw guns entirely.
So Why Do I Have To Be 18 To Buy An Airsoft Gun?
To answer this question lets take a look at a special court case. In September of 2016 Tyre King, a 13 year old child and resident of Ohio, was shot and killed by police when he pulled out what seemed to be a handgun from his waistband. The weapon turned out to be an airsoft pistol which looked exactly like a real handgun.
Unfortunately there’s more cases just like this one, and I would imagine that because of this, the federal government set an age limit for purchasing an airsoft weapon but still allows those under 18 to enjoy the sport.
I know this may put a sour taste in your mouth, but i assure you there isn;t 5 year old’s running around playing airsoft. But since there isn’t really a legal age to play airsoft…..or is there??
Why 13 Is The Recommended Minimum Age To Play Airsoft?
Most airsoft courses have a minimum age of 13 and for good reason. Airsoft guns are not toys and should be handled responsibly. Generally speaking, it has been determined by childhood development specialists that 13 year old people are responsible enough to handle dangerous instruments without hurting themselves or others around them.
I’m sure right now you’re thinking “I know some 10 year olds that are more mature than 18 year olds.” I think I would have to agree with you. However, 13 is just an average recommendation and you should use a little common sense before putting an airsoft gun into someones hands.
Why Responsibility, Not Age, Is Important
You know the saying “age is just a number” and it is so true in many cases. And that remains true when it comes to the question of “how old do you have to be to play airsoft?” We already know you have to be 18 to play airsoft. And in some places like NYC you can’t play or even own an airsoft gun.
But for the other places we know there isn’t really an age limit on playing the sport. This is a grey area and that’s why you need to focus on more about the responsibility of the child rather than the age….while using common sense of course.
For example…growing up my parents let me 14 year old brother play airsoft….but not my 16 year old brother because he was less responsible. In this case it didn’t have much to do with age.
If you’re still not sure if you should let your child play airsoft here’s my opinion based on the average responsibility based on age and my experience.
Airsoft and 10 Year Olds
It’s possible for a 10 year old to be more responsible than the average kid. However, in 90% of cases I would say 10 is too young to start playing airsoft. Most kids this age are just not responsible enough or are fully aware of the damage that an airsoft gun can cause to themselves and others.
Airsoft and 11 Year Olds
Just like the 10 year olds, I think that 11 is also too young to start getting into the sport of airsoft. They generally lack responsibility and nobody wan;t them to shoot an eye out.
Airsoft and 12 Year Olds
12 year old kids are just on the edge of being a teenager and maybe can handle a bit more responsibility. But they are still in their preeteens and some just might not be ready. I haven’t seen many kids this age playing airsoft.
Airsoft And 13 Year Olds
This is the recommended age from most experts and just so happens to be the age I was when i first started to play airsoft with my friends. Being a teenager, you’re already expected to be held at a higher standard than the rest of the school yard kids, and I think it is important.
However with all of these ages, I would recommend adult supervision at all times. Never let a child handle an airsoft gun without running them through the rules of the game and the dangers of an airsoft gun.
Rules And Airsoft Safety For Teenagers
If you have a teenager you probably know that safety and rules aren’t the first things on their mind. Which is why it’s important to know how to stay safe while playing the sport.
Knowing some of these basic rules of the game will help you stay out of trouble while keeping you safe.
Rules For Kids
- Airsoft guns look like real guns. So It’s important to never carry an airsoft gun around in the public eye and only use it on or around the airsoft field.
- Always transport an airsoft gun in a case
- Only load magazines on the airsoft field
- Never point an airsoft gun at anybody who is not on the airsoft field
- Always wear the proper airsoft safety gear such as goggles and vests.
Recommended Airsoft Safety Gear For Kids
Safety comes first and nobody wants to get hurt when it could be easily avoided. But what to wear when you’re going to get shot with a small plastic BB? I recommend the following:
- Goggles or a face mask.
- Pants and a long sleeve shirt
- Tactical Vest (optional)
Keep in mind these are just recommendations, however in my experience it’s always a good idea to play airsoft with all of the above items. Especially something to protect your eyes and face. If you get shot in the eye there’s a good possibility you can lose your eye sight.
Still Not Sure If Your Child Is Responsible Enough To Play Airsoft?
If you’ve gotten to this point and you’re still not sure if your child or teenager is ready for airsoft, you’re probably a little frustrated. I understand the question of how old do you have to be to play airsoft isn’t as cut and dry as one would like.
But to sum it up, I would not recommend airsoft to anyone under the age of 13. If you child is over the age of 13 and can fully understand that an airsoft gun is not a toy and should be used responsibility, maybe he or she is ready. Keep in mind that every child is different. But regardless of the situation adult supervision is always recommended.
How Old Do You Have To Be To Play Airsoft Final Thoughts
Airsoft is a really fun sport and should be enjoyed by kids and adults of all ages. With that being said, make sure your child is over the age of 13 and responsible enough to enjoy this fun sport. Go over the rules of airsoft and make sure your kid is always wearing proper protective gear to avoid any trips to the hospital.
I hope you liked our article on “How old do you have to be to play airsoft.” Feel free to checkout our latest article here and remember to always be safe out there!