For anyone who is just getting into airsoft (or has kids that are interested), one question is definitely on their mind: “how old do you have to be to play airsoft?”. It’s a natural question, and the answer may surprise you…
So, how old do you have to be to play airsoft? Legally, most countries do not have a minimum age requirement for playing airsoft. However, because of safety issues, most fields will only allow kids that are 12 or older to play the game. Individual events and fields typically have their own local rules for playing airsoft, hence the difference in minimum age requirement across different fields.
In some situations, players below the age of 12 are allowed to play, although they are only allowed to play under strict adult supervision from their parents or guardian. This means that an available adult must be actively involved in playing with the kid to direct them appropriately.
Structured events will usually require a minimum participation age of 15, while large events and scenarios will require players to be 18 and above. After observing several playing fields, we can tell that minimum field ages range between 12 and 14.
The only area with legal restrictions as far as airsoft is concerned is purchasing airsoft guns and other accessories. An individual must be up to 18 years old to be eligible to make such purchases.
Read on to find the dangers of letting younger kids try airsoft unsupervised.
Why Younger Kids Should Not Play Airsoft Alone
Like most other activities, airsoft comes with its set of dangers. Yes, BB pallets may not be very powerful, but they are not entirely harmless.
Airsoft guns come in different makes and models, and the speed with which they release BBs is typically dependent on the model. High-speed pallets will naturally sting your skin when it hits you, and for kids below twelve, the sting can be very uncomfortable.
Depending on how delicate your skin is, the shot can cause you minor bruises. Kids may not be able to protect their eyes and other delicate parts of their bodies. Allowing BB pallets to hit delicate parts of your body at such speed can result in serious injuries.
Over time, eye injuries have become popular among airsoft players. In fact, studies show that a high number of airsoft players under 18 get eye injuries from BB pallets.
Yes, BB pallets may not be considered strong enough to break the skin, but it’s not an impossibility. A kid’s skin is naturally soft and prone to penetration. Therefore, there could be instances where the BBs will penetrate their skin, and that will hurt.
Apart from injuries, the design of airsoft guns can also cause problems. Some kids may develop panic attacks and anxiety because of how identical these guns look to real firearms. Law enforcement agents can also take action against you when they think you are brandishing a real firearm.
Benefits of Allowing Kids Play Airsoft
We’ve talked about all the potential dangers of playing airsoft above. But there are also benefits. Assuming your child is up to 12, these are actual benefits they can enjoy from playing airsoft.
1. Physical Activity
Today’s kids are so engrossed in computers and mobile devices that it will take extra effort to get them to try physical activities. How do you get them to try some routine exercises?
Airsoft can take them off those screens. The game is so interesting that it’ll make kids forget about their screen for hours. Many kids get so addicted that they’ll beg you to allow them to continue running around the woods after several hours. That will help them catch up with the benefits of physical exercises.
2. Mental Development
At first, when you introduce your kids to airsoft, they’ll probably be okay with running around shooting and dodging BBs. But with time, they’ll want to divide themselves into groups. Dividing themselves into groups means that they have to become more tactical about the game. Of course, that’s a vital life skill.
They’ll also learn other skills like being effective team players, following instructions, exercising patience, and adjusting strategies based on situations. All these skills will help them in other areas of life.
3. Social Development
Despite living in a social-media-driven world, it’s still ironic that the world is becoming more anti-social. These days, it’s become rare to see kids engaging with each other physically. This trend has caused many kids to lack basic social skills.
Introducing your kids to airsoft teams will help to develop these skills. They will get to interact with people both during and after the game. Interacting with people of different ages can help them become more socially aware and active.