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Airsoft is a sport that is similar to paintball but with a few key differences.

Instead of leaving visible markings on their targets, airsoft pellets do not leave any markings and hits are not always apparent.

Although the pellets can leave small bruises or welts on exposed skin, the game relies heavily on an honor system in which players who have been hit are expected to call themselves out of play.

This promotes honesty and sportsmanship.

The airsoft guns used in the sport are mostly magazine-fed and can be powered by a manual/battery motor-powered spring-piston pump, similar to Nerf Blasters, or by replaceable compressed gas canisters.

Many airsoft guns also have mounting platforms compatible with genuine firearm accessories, and most cosmetically resemble real firearms.

This makes them popular for military simulation and historical reenactments.

They are also used in professional gun safety and weapon manipulation training, such as law enforcement training, due to better safety and lower cost.

Airsoft gameplay varies in style and composition, but often ranges from action shooting to short organized live action role-playing scenarios, close quarters battle skirmishes, military simulations, or historical reenactments.

It is played in indoor courses or outdoor fields. Combat situations on the field may involve the use of genuine military tactics to achieve objectives set in each game. Participants may attempt to emulate the tactical equipment and accessories used by modern military and police organizations. A game is normally kept safe by trained professionals acting as supervisors and marshals.

Before gameplay, an airsoft gun’s muzzle velocity is usually checked through a chronograph and usually measured in feet per second or joules, a measurement for kinetic energy. Some countries have set velocity or muzzle energy restrictions; guns shooting over the legal muzzle velocity can be confiscated.

Some playing fields further restrict minimum engagement distances, requiring players to yell “Bang Bang!” or another phrase instead of actually shooting other players at close distances. This is done to prevent any potential injuries from high-energy pellets shot at short ranges.

In certain countries, the use of laser sights of any kind is illegal, including gun scopes with integrated lasers.

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The guns used in airsoft are typically classified as imitation firearms and they fire projectiles that are 6mm or 8mm in diameter.

These guns are classified according to their operating principle which can be spring-loaded, electric or gas-powered.

Electric guns are powered by batteries and are known as Automatic Electric Guns (AEGs) while gas-powered guns are known as Gas Blowback (GBBs) if they have a blowback feature.

Some companies produce replica grenade launchers that fire a projectile spray of 6mm pellets using high-powered spring mechanisms or compressed gas propellants such as green gas, propane, compressed air, or CO2. There is also a type of airsoft gun known as HPA (High-Pressure Air) that is powered by a single tank and a battery pack to power the internal FCU (Fire Control Unit) computer board.

These guns are known for their high and adjustable rate of fire and durability.

Airsoft guns are usually made of aluminum alloy and plastic materials, making them noticeably lighter than their real steel counterparts. However, some airsoft guns have added weights for a more realistic feel.

Japan has specific rules about producing airsoft guns with metal parts while newer guns, especially those made in Taiwan and Mainland China, have both internal and external parts that are metallic.

Smoke caps and noise amplifiers are also available for certain airsoft guns to add realism.

Gas handgun magazines usually contain 10 to 30 pellets in a standard-capacity magazine, but some high-capacity magazines can hold 50 rounds or more. In the case of AEG rifles, magazines come in real-capacity, low-capacity, mid-capacity, or high-capacity. It is common for airsoft gun owners to modify their guns by adding aftermarket upgrade parts or performing DIY modifications.

The majority of gearboxes are made to Tokyo Marui specifications and have aftermarket upgrade parts available commercially. Some gearboxes are proprietary in design.