Airsoft rules are important to cover before playing airsoft. These rules help to define how the airsoft game is played, what players are allowed to do on the airsoft field, and what specific guidelines help to keep players safe during close engagements. Because of this, these rules are sometimes called "rules of engagement" or just "rules of airsoft games".
About Airsoft Rules
Airsoft rules can come from a few different places depending on who is setting up, hosting, or running the airsoft game. The important part to understand is that these rules are in place for people to follow. Players should not intentionally avoid, break, disregard, or try to circumvent the rules in any way, shape, or form. Doing so can be dangerous and can cause players to not have fun, become frustrated, or possibly even become injured.
Airsoft Field Rules
If you are playing airsoft at a field, make sure you understand the field's rules. These rules are enforced by game staff and the referees, and not following the rules will cause trouble. Extreme cases of airsoft rule breaking and safety concerns may prevent you from playing at the airsoft field for the day or being "banned" from the field entirely. Airsoft field rules are usually nonnegotiable. These rules are usually set for risk, insurance, and liability reasons and are not open to change. You simple need to follow them or find somewhere else to play.
The airsoft field rules are usually posted on a prominent rule notice board at the field. They are also usually covered verbally by game staff during the safety briefings. Be sure to pay attention and remember the rules. If you have questions about the rules and specifics, ask game staff. The old adage of "ask for forgiveness and not permission" does not fly when it comes to rules at airsoft fields.
Private Airsoft Game Rules
Private airsoft game rules are usually set by the game host or consensus of the players. This usually means the person in charge of the game set the general airsoft rules and guidelines. Players have to agree to these rules to play. If anyone has concerns of questions, they can ask the host about them. Airsoft rules during private airsoft games are sometimes open for discussion and can possibly be changed if the airsoft players and host agree.
Airsoft Rules of Engagement
The following rules are some general guidelines which are good to follow when planning airsoft games. They govern safety, eye protection, field emergencies, "hit" rules, close proximity engagements, respawns, and other details. Many airsoft fields have similar rules as well, so check out the specifics below if you are looking for a general idea of what airsoft rules of engagement look like.
General Airsoft Rules
These airsoft gun rules and guidelines are used by many airsoft teams and MILSIM (military simulation) groups across the country to govern the use of general airsoft play.
- Airsoft is a game of honor and players need to call their own hits when tagged by airsoft BBs.
- Avoid calling opposing team players out after hitting them with airsoft BBs since this is considered to be poor sportsmanship and is the job for game staff and referees.
- Players caught attempting to cheat, avoid, manipulate, or circumvent airsoft game rules may be asked not to play in the airsoft game and possibly banned from future games or events depending on the severity of the event(s).
- Players who attempt to steal from other players (or the airsoft field), intentionally cause or try to cause bodily harm to other players, or engage in unlawful activities will be referred to local law enforcement authorities and banned from future airsoft games and events.
- Full Seal eye protection must be worn at all times by any person while playing airsoft and while being in, on, or near areas in play.
- Airsoft BB hits count if a player is hit anywhere on their body, gun, or gear.
- Players hit by airsoft BBs will show opposing players they were tagged out by displaying a red "dead rag" and calling out "hit".
- Players within 15 feet (5 yards) of each other must avoid shooting each other and use the "bang bang" rule.
- While the "bang bang" rule is in play, the aggressing player (ready for action with their gun up) survives will the other players are "hit" - if both players meet barrel to barrel, both are "hit"
- During airsoft events, command staff should do their best to make the games interesting and enjoyable for their team's players by setting realistic objectives, missions, and goals
- Players must be able to see and clearly identify their targets before firing.
- Medics are able to heal and revive players according to mission or game rules.
- On-field emergencies can be declared by any player on the field by saying and repeating "real world" which pauses all game play.
- Players having eye wear malfunctions or problems with their goggles tell other players with a "blind man" command after which players must not shoot at the affected player.
- Players must repeat global game and emergency commands to ensure all players on the airsoft field hear and understand them.
- Players must not use any of the above rules for a tactical advantage which includes moving, repositioning, or changing positions during pauses or lulls in the game play.
Example Detailed Airsoft Guidelines
The next set of airsoft guidelines are examples of detailed rules and information airsoft fields and arenas may use. Players must read and understand similar rules for specific fields where they play games.
BARREL COVERS: All guns are required to have barrel covers on while in the staging area. Covers can be purchased at any major airsoft or paintball website or specific airsoft pro shops for several dollars each. This is a MANDATORY requirement. Please come prepared. Gas pistols can bypass this rule by removing the magazine from the gun before entering the staging area and holstering the weapon.
WAIVERS: A waiver must be on file for each participating player. For persons under the age of 18, a parent or legal guardian must sign the waiver before the player can play on the field. Each waiver is good for 5 years, so returning players do not need to fill out a new waiver. Click on the waiver tab at the top to fill out it out before attending or fill it out at the facility at one of kiosks or tablets.
AGE REQUIREMENTS: Because of the nature of the sport or airsoft, most fields require you to be at least 10 years old to play.
SAFETY FIRST: Full seal goggles are mandatory, and strictly enforced. It is not required, but it is strongly suggested to cover your face, neck, forehead, and knuckles with protection as well. Any player’s eye protection not meeting the minimum requirements will not be allowed on the field. Full seal airsoft or paintball goggles must be worn at ALL times when in any play area, or non-safe zones. When on the field, either indoors or out, NEVER lift your mask or goggles for any reason. If you have a fogging problem, have an itch, etc., you must return to the safe zone before removing your mask or goggles.
NO SHOOTING: No shooting of any airsoft gun around the field parking lot, air house or shoot house indoor arena safety zones, or in the staging area. Your magazine shall not be in your gun until on the playing field. The ‘Staging Area’ is a NO FIRE ZONE. If you need to test-fire your gun, go out to the game field. This is the only designated area that you may shoot your gun. Approved eye protection is required anytime you are firing your airsoft gun. When in the chrono area, there must be a referee present. Magazines must be removed, chambers cleared, safety’s on, and barrel covers on, before entering the staging area. Be warned….You may be yelled at for not following these basic safety rules.
TRANSPORTING YOUR AIRSOFT GUN: During the transportation of your airsoft gun(s) from your car to the staging area or vice versa, you MUST use a gun case or bag. If you don’t have one, use a jacket, blanket, towel, or something to cover it up. The parking lot areas, streets, and frontage roads are in plain view of the public. For public safety reasons and in compliance with local area laws, your airsoft gun(s) must not be visible to the public.
ANNOUNCING YOU ARE DEAD: It is very important that every player designate themselves as being dead when they are shot in several ways. First, when you are hit, immediately extend your arm in the air and yell “Hit”. Yell “Hit” repeatedly, until the enemy stops shooting at you. At that point, keep the arm in the air, and announce, “Dead Man”, repeatedly, all the way back to your spawn. This minimizes the chance that you will be shot while you are dead. Please understand that you may be accidentally shot while being dead, but it may not be intentional by your enemy. The fog of war is not always your friend.
AIRSOFT GUN FPS SPEED LIMITS: Prior to play, game staff will chronograph every gun. All airsoft guns must be at, or below, 360 fps with a .20 bb. Random chronograph checks will be performed throughout the day. Depending on the model of your gun, airsoft gun techs may be able to do a spring change for you to get you within the legal limit. This is for everyone’s safety. Please understand if game staff restricts your gun from being used on the field because it is shooting over the posted FPS limit. Keep in mind that the game staff wants you, and everyone else to be safe.
ENGAGEMENT DISTANCES: For any airsoft gun, the minimum engagement distance is 3ft from the end of your barrel (this rule varies by airsoft field). Once the minimum engagement distance for the primary replica airsoft gun is compromised, the player is required to transition to a pistol or knife.
NO BANG KILLS: A player cannot run into an area and yell “Bang, you’re dead!” Each player must be directly hit by a BB to be considered dead.
RICOCHETS AND GUN HITS: Ricochets and gun hits do not count at the air house or shoot house indoor arena and do not properly simulate real-world physics. Only a BB traveling from an airsoft gun directly to the body counts as a “hit.” If you are unsure whether or not it was a ricochet, call yourself dead and respawn.
SEMI AUTO: The entire air house and shoot house buildings are limited to semi automatic fire only.
FRIENDLY FIRE: If you are hit by a friendly, you are dead. If you friendly fire another player, you are also dead. Play by this rule with honor.
GRENADES: Grenades are permitted on the Field. In order for a grenade to count as a kill, a BB must hit a player. In other words, Tornado grenades may kill a player, but concussion grenades, such as Thunder B’s, will not count as a kill.
RIOT SHIELDS: The use of personal defensive “shields” are permitted. Shields must be 40″ x 20″ clear plastic or smaller. When using a shield, the user can carry no larger firearm than a pistol, or fire a rifle on semi-only, and must lean his body and arm outside the shield to fire. There cannot be more than 1 shield per team on the field at any given time. Riot shields are available for rent at certain fields.
DEAD MEN TALKING: Dead men to NOT talk. When you are dead, do NOT talk in any way to other players, except to designate yourself as being dead. Simply spawn back into the game, and then talk.
KNIFE KILLS: The use of training knives, or home-made replica training knives are permitted on the field. The knife must be flexible plastic, soft rubber, or foam construction. No hard knives are allowed. All knives in use must be inspected by field refs/game staff. When conducting a “knife kill” on your opponent, touch them with your replica knife, and say “Knife kill”. Do not use excessive force, or throw the knife. To get a confirmed knife kill, you must use an item that resembles a knife.
KNIFE KILL LEADER BOARD: Getting a knife kill is difficult and prestigious, so some airsoft fields track and record them with awards like plaques and patches given out at the end of every month. If you get a knife kill, let management know at the end of the round. The person who got knifed may be asked to let management know for it to be confirmed and posted. The only exception to that rule is if a field ref witnessed the kill, then it is immediately confirmed.
BLIND FIRE: Blind fire is defined as simply firing without recognizing what you are firing at. Blind fire includes, but is not limited to: firing around corners without aiming; ducking under a window while firing through it; using a team member as a shield while shooting. In essence, if you cannot put physical eyes on the target and its background, you are blind firing. You must present yourself as a target to your opponent(s). Always aim down your sights and acquire your target through those sights before firing. Hip firing is allowed, as long as you can acquire your target.
RADIOS: All players on the field may be issued a radio. Supplies are limited to around 20 per team. Radios are optional and not required. Personal radios are allowed. Channel 1 is reserved for Yellow team and Channel 4 is reserved for Red team. Airsoft games of more than two squads must be on radio channels separated by several channels. Squads may use sub channels under those channels. Tuning into the enemies channel is considered cheating and will be disciplined as such.
NO CONTACT: There shall be no physical contact from any player, EVER while playing airsoft. This includes, but not limited to; shoving, pushing, knocking your opponent down, hitting, kicking, or throwing things directly at other players. The sport of airsoft is a non-contact sport. Physical contact is subject to removal from the facility with no refund. Just don’t do it. Potential other criminal liability exists depending on the type and severity of the contact.
CHEATING: DO NOT CHEAT. Airsoft fields are very proud that their communities are honorable, and game staff very rarely suspects people of cheating. Being a fair player gains you respect amongst your peers, while being a cheater, gains you disrespect. There is no prize at the end of the day for honor. Just the satisfaction that you did the right thing. Play honorably. People will respect you and enjoy playing with you.
UNSAFE MANEUVERS: Airsoft is not parkour or Ninja Warrior, so do not try any moves that may be unsafe. This includes climbing on things outside of playing areas, trying to maneuver outside of game boundaries, and other unsafe actions like hanging on things.
REFEREE AUTHORITY: Field Refs and game staff are the authority while at the air house or shoot house indoor airsoft arenas. Do not argue with any field ref. His/her/their job is to monitor the play area and make the game as fun and fair as possible. Their decisions are final during game play. If you have a serious issue, it can be appealed to the field general manager.
SHOW GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP: Respect other players, animals, buildings, civilians, etc. Using foul language and excessively taunting other players will not be allowed. Pick up your trash and place it into the proper containers. Please keep the field, and staging area clean!
BUILDING LIGHTS: Help keep playing prices and fees down by not shooting at the lights in the building. Any players shooting at lights or intentionally causing any other damage to the property of the airsoft field or other players will be immediately removed from the building without a refund.
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