Airsoft guns come in all shapes, sizes, and types. But one thing that all have….or at least should have in common is the orange tip at the end of the barrel. This blaze orange tip needs to be affixed to the end of the barrel from the time it leaves the manufacturing company, to the time it is sold. What a lot of airsofters wonder is if you can remove the orange tip or paint it? This topic has created a lot of controversy and missinformation so lets get right to it.
Is it illegal to remove an orange tip on an airsoft gun? NO it is not illegal to remove the orange tip on an airsoft gun. According to federal regulations, airsoft sellers and manufacturers are required by law to have blaze orange affixed to the the end of airsoft barrels. However the buyer of the airsoft gun is legally able to remove that orange tip at their own risk.
It’s good to keep in mind that state and local law and ordinances may differ from federal regulations. It all depends on where you live.
Understanding The Law
When I asked the question on is it illegal to remove an orange tip on an airsoft gun I’ve gotten every answer under the sun. Some say no, some say yes, some say maybe. It’s quite frustrating and I think the best way to understand this is to look at what the law states.
15 CFR § 272.2 (Prohibitions)
15 CFR § 272.2 states: No person shall manufacture, enter into commerce, ship, transport, or receive any toy, look-alike, or imitation firearm” without approved markings.
272.3 (Approved Markings)
Below is a list of approved markings by the Secretary of Commerce:
(a) A blaze orange (Fed-Std-595B 12199) or orange color brighter than that specified by the federal standard color number, solid plug permanently affixed to the muzzle end of the barrel as an integral part of the entire device and recessed no more than 6 millimeters from the muzzle end of the barrel.
(b) A blaze orange (Fed-Std-595B 12199) or orange color brighter than that specified by the Federal Standard color number, marking permanently affixed to the exterior surface of the barrel, covering the circumference of the barrel from the muzzle end for a depth of at least 6 millimeters.
(c) Construction of the device entirely of transparent or translucent materials which permits unmistakable observation of the device’s complete contents.
(d) Coloration of the entire exterior surface of the device in white, bright red, bright orange, bright yellow, bright green, bright blue, bright pink, or bright purple, either singly or as the predominant color in combination with other colors in any pattern.
§272.2 and §272.3 In Simple Terms.
I know the above may be a little hard to understand (the law usually is), so lets break it down a bit.
Simply put if you paint or remove the orange tip you’re not allowed to transport the airsoft gun without violating 1150.2. Some law experts agree that §272.2 is NOT related to airsoft players. It is however for manufacturers, wholesalers, and dealers. So if you’re just transporting an airsoft gun to and from an airsoft event you’re good to go.
If you do transport an airsoft gun (especially if you’ve removed the orange tip), it’s a good idea to do so in a gun case. Airsoft guns are replicas of real firearms and the last thing you want is for it to be confused with a real firearm by local authorities.
In §272.3 the law is referring to Foreign trade and Commerce. This means that airsoft guns may not be sold, shipped, or received without an orange tip on the barrel. Meaning that if you buy an airsoft gun it should have an orange tip on the end of the gun for it to be legal. It is however legal for you to remove the orange tip after purchasing the airsoft gun. However, lets say you wanted to ship that airsoft gun back to the seller, it would be a violation of Federal Law if you shipped that gun without the orange tip.
I know it’s still kinda complicated, but I hope this clear things up a little bit for you.
Know Your Local Laws
Some laws in your lcoal area may have ordinances that restrict the purchase, sale, or possession and use of an airsoft gun. So It’s always a good idea to know if you;re living in a city or area within the United States that prohibits airsoft.
However, most of the airsoft laws when it comes to the orange tip on the end of a gun is for manufacturers and sellers. If you’re just an airsoft enthusiasts who doesn’t want a bright orange tip on the barrel, 9 times out of 10 you;re good to go.
Unsafe Vs Illegal
This goes without saying, but just because it’s not illegal to remove the orange tip on an airsoft gun, doesn’t mean its safe for you to do so. We all know that airsoft guns are replicas of real world weapons. Due to this, this increases the dangers of it being confused by a real firearm.
There are many cases of police shootings in the United States because some jackass decided it would be a good idea to walk around with an airsoft gun with no orange tip. In an emergency situation a police officer’s first response is to react as if it is a real weapon. If you remove the orange tip, it’s pretty much impossible to tell the difference.
In my opinion I just wouldn’t remove the orange tip from the barrel.
How Do I Remove The Plastic Tip?
Ok so now you know the answer on is it illegal to remove the orange tip on an airsoft gun. And by now you should know all the legal mumble jumble that comes with it. Yet you still want to remove the blaze orange tip.
First thing you need to do is know weather it’s a plastic tip or a metal tip. Both processes are similar and pretty easy.
Removal Of Plastic Tip
- Warm up the glue on the inside of the barrel. You can do this by putting the barrel in very hot water or use an open fire.
- Grab a set of pliers, grab the orange tip, twist and pull. It should release.
Be mindful to not leave the barrel in an open flame for too long and make sure to not be too violent when pulling the orange tip off with pliers. You don’t want to mess up your new gun.
Removal Of Metal Tip
- Use pliers, grab the tip and start turning them in the direction of the thread (like screwing off a bolt)
- Make sure you’re going in the right direction and if you are the orange tip should come right off.
This is by far the easiest method and most sniper rifle type guns come with metal tips.
How To Paint The Orange Tip?
Sometimes you’ll come across and airsoft gun where the orange tip is panted on or is permanently affixed to the barrel. If you’re sick of running around with a blaze orange barrel you can just paint it another color. But how?
I would recommend matte black PLASTIDIP. PlASTIDIP is a spray that puts a rubberized coating on a surface that you can later peel off. This is great because it hides the orange tip of a gun without voiding the warranty.
- Tape off the inside of the barrel with a ball of tape or something to prevent spray from entering
- Spray the tip of the barrel.
- Let it sit for a couple minutes.
It’s a pretty simple process. If you get some of the body if your gun it comes off very easily. Just rub it with your thumb and it should come right off.
If I really didn’t want the barrel of my gun to be orange, the PLASTIDIP would be the option I would go with.
Is It Illegal To Remove An Orange Tip On An Airsoft Gun Final Thoughts
Now that we know it is not illegal to remove the orange tip on an airsoft gun…there’s still a question that comes into mind. Why would you want to? Maybe you’re worried people will see it during gameplay and give away your position. Maybe you want your gun to look as realistic as possible, or maybe it just annoys you for some reason.
People have different reasons why they want that little orange guy gone. But my personal opinion is this. Just leave the orange tip on your gun.
So how did you like our article on the question of is it illegal to remove an orange tip on an airsoft gun. Did the answer surprise you? Do you leave yours on? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to checkout our latest article here!