Airsoft is a lot like paintball, except there’s no paint, and it’s grounded a little more in combat realism. The sport and hobby has come a long way since the first airsoft guns were introduced in the 1970s. You shoot a small plastic BB at your friends, which leaves a light sting. This indicates that you’re out, much like laser tag. This opens a lot of ways to have fun and to be competitive.
“Honestly, airsoft is easier to get into now more than ever. Technology has come so far, that a setup today could be had for hundreds of dollars less than it would have even five years ago,” said Hayden Allen, owner of Advantage Airsoft in Menan.
Airsoft is a hobby that involves a diverse community, including seasoned veterans and police officers, to 12-year-old video gamers. Allen says the hobby can be a way to destress, have fun, train or even deal with PTSD.
“Airsoft is a great hobby, it’s a great casual thing to do with friends or with your family, but it’s also a legitimate training tool … not for all real life scenarios, but for some of them. There are definitely skills that can be gained in airsoft that can translate over into real life situations,” Allen said.
Replicas of real guns are used as the shells for airsoft guns which adds more realism to airsoft and allows people to train with replica firearms. Different scenarios and games can be played among groups, like the one in east Idaho. In more established areas where the hobby is more widespread, there are dedicated fields.
Replicas include everything under the sun, from the classic M1 Garand issued to U.S. soldiers during World War II, to modern M4 replicas, all the way to futuristic project guns.
You can find out more about airsoft by visiting Advantage Airsoft’s website, and you can check out local airsoft events on the East Idaho Airsoft Facebook page.