What you need to know about airsoft rules
Airsoft is a team sport and, like all sports, it requires rules and regulations. The purpose is to eliminate the opponents by firing spherical pellets with replicas of real guns.
While some of the rules are set by the airsoft community, various associations around the country can add or adapt rules for their members and sanctioned fields.
So if you’re about to get into an airsoft battle, here are the rules you must follow.
All participants must have full-face protection and goggles. The goggles, shooting glasses or safety glasses should be tightly sealed, so any incidents can be avoided. Mesh goggles and prescription glasses are not allowed since they’re not safe.
Both players and visitors have to wear full-seal eye protection and it’s forbidden to take it off on the battlefield.
In case a player has to take the goggles off, they should seek assistance from another player. Once escorted to an area designated as a safe zone, they can take the goggles off.
Removing the eye protection in a live fire zone results in immediate removal from the event.
Whatever happens on the battlefield has to be approved by the person usually referred to as ‘game moderator’, ‘field ref’ or ‘marshal’.
The game moderator has the authority to approve field decisions, call the games and offer solutions to all the conflicts or issues. When disputes and discrepancies are hard to solve or become detrimental to the game, the moderator can stop the battle until he reaches a resolution. His decisions are final.
Those who do not comply with the decisions or argue with the game moderator are going to be removed from that day’s event.
The moderator is entitled to set down the borders and boundaries and all participants must follow his rule. Violations of such decisions result in the player being declared KIA (killed in action) and sent back to the safe zone.
A game moderator has the obligation to check all the airsoft weapons.
A ‘safe zone’ or ‘no fire zone’ is a designated area in the battlefield where it’s forbidden to fire any weapons. When you’re about to enter a safe zone you must remove magazines from your weapons, clear the chambers and put the safety lock on.
Pistols can be kept with a magazine as long as they’re holstered and remain that way while you’re in the safe area.
Dry-firing is also forbidden. Whoever fails to follow the rules of the safe zone is going to be expelled from the day’s game.
Any game can use a Medic rule. Players can be designated as medics and that gives them the ability to ‘heal’ other players. The ‘healing’ takes place by maintaining physical contact with the ‘wounded’ participant and count a number of seconds.
During the healing process, medics cannot shoot or move. Wounded players cannot heal other wounded players.
Games can set different rules for the medics. Some can be played without any medic while others can be so that all players can act as medics. This must be made clear before the event starts.
Players must agree on a number of times that a person can receive first aid before being considered KIA and sent to the safe areas.
Re-spawning depends on the scenario, but it usually implies that the ‘dead’ player has to go back to a re-spawning point before returning to the active fire zone.
Camping near the re-spawning points is forbidden and can be sanctioned by the moderator. The same rule applies for shooting freshly respawned members of the opposite team. To avoid this, it is recommended to place the re-spawning positions on the outskirts of the battlefield.
All weapons must be approved by the field stuff. While transported to and from the field they should be cased in either a gun case or the original factory box.
To encourage safe conduct and prevent accidents, all airsoft weapons are to be transported to and from the battlefield in closed cases or their original boxes.
Each field and game have specific sets of rules concerning the airsoft guns, including the use of grenades, grenade launchers or land mines. The most important set of rules is the one referring to pellet weight and firing speed expressed in feet per second. Never overstep the limit or you’ll be banned.
Any pellet that hits the body, clothing or weapon is considered a ‘hit’. The player is then under the obligation of raising the weapon above their head and shout ‘Hit’. If a participant doesn’t call the hits or is reluctant to do so, they are going to be removed from that day’s event.
When the opponent has acknowledged the situation the player has to walk to the safe area or respawn location with the weapon over their head.
If you’re moving through the battlefield it’s customary to announce that by shouting ‘Dead man walking’ or ‘Dead man coming out’.
All interruptions occurring because of real world injuries or emergencies have to be announced by shouting ‘Blind man’. When you hear the ‘Blind man’ signal, you must holster your weapon and keep it on safe until the game can be resumed.
A safety kill range is in effect. Going from 10 to 35 feet depending on the field regulations, it offers protection from close range shots.
Players that perform safety kills will say the words ‘Bang, Bang’ or ‘Safety Kill’ instead of firing their weapon. They can also use ‘Knife Kill’ when they’re in MED (Minimum Engagement Distance), which is 10 feet distance or less.
‘Soldiers’ using rifles with over 400 fps are snipers or DMR (designated marksmen). They must have a sidearm as all actions carried at less than 60 feet should be performed with a weapon that provides less power.
Unless you can engage in battle with a sidearm, you have three options. You can call a safety kill, wait for the enemy to get to a safe distance or move to a safe range yourself.
When you shoot through a small crack or niche or from behind an object and you can’t see the enemy, you’re using blind fire. It is usually allowed at over 30 feet distance, but otherwise, most fields consider it a violation, and the authors are kicked out of the game.
Inside any structure, all participants are required to set their weapons to semi-automatic. Masks, long sleeves, long pants, helmets, and gloves are strongly recommended. Safety kills are not in use, but surrender is allowed.