Over the years, laws surrounding the use of Airsoft in the United Kingdom have evolved. This article, based on over 20 hours of research, aims to provide the most recent information on the age limit for playing with airsoft in the UK and what is legally considered an airsoft gun.
Minimum Age Requirement for Playing Airsoft in the UK
In the UK, the legal age to play airsoft is 18 years old. This means that anyone under the age of 18 is not legally allowed to purchase or use airsoft guns. However, there are some exceptions to this rule:
- If you are under 18 years old, you can participate in airsoft games as long as you are accompanied by a responsible adult who is over the age of 18. The adult must have full control over the airsoft gun.
- It is not an offense for anyone over 18 to gift an airsoft gun (realistic or otherwise) to a person under 18.
It’s important to note that if you are caught using an airsoft gun illegally, you could face severe legal consequences, so it’s crucial to follow the rules and regulations surrounding airsoft carefully.
The Violent Crime Reduction Act (VCRA) and Anti-Social Behaviour Act (ASBA) impose certain restrictions on airsoft replicas. Minors are prohibited from purchasing airsoft guns, but they can receive them as gifts from an adult. Additionally, individuals under 18 years old cannot buy realistic imitation firearms (RIFs), but they can be gifted two-tone airsoft guns that are marked as imitation guns with bright colors. It’s crucial to adhere to these rules to avoid any potential legal consequences.
Safety Considerations for Airsoft Players
Safety is a crucial aspect of airsoft, and players must adhere to certain guidelines to ensure a secure environment for everyone involved. This is especially important for children. All players, regardless of age, must wear appropriate safety equipment at all times. Additionally, all airsoft guns must be chronographed at the start of the session to ensure they are firing within the legal limits.
Junior Airsoft UK
For younger enthusiasts who have a keen interest in airsoft, there are clubs like Special Ops Airsoft Junior that provide an exciting day of airsoft for individuals as young as 10 years old. These games are tailored to younger players, ensuring a fun and safe environment. With their offering of high-quality AEG rifles, full-face masks, and other essential equipment, these clubs ensure that your child can enjoy this thrilling sport safely. Membership costs can vary, and there are different packages to choose from based on how often your child wishes to play.
However, the minimum age requirement does not absolve the need for parental guidance and consideration. Parents must ensure that their children are mature enough to understand the responsibilities associated with playing airsoft, such as adhering to safety rules and respectfully interacting with other players. As a parent, it’s crucial to evaluate if your child is ready for this commitment. If you’re unsure, don’t hesitate to speak to the event organizer.
What Type of Guns Can People Under 18 Use?
While anyone under 18 cannot purchase any kind of airsoft gun, someone over 18 can gift a two-tone airsoft gun to someone under 18. Two-tone airsoft guns use bright colors like blue, green, and orange that mark them as obviously imitation guns rather than real firearms. Repainting these to look like real firearms is a criminal offense.
Airsoft FPS Limits UK
In the UK, the specified muzzle kinetic energies for airsoft guns are 1.3 joules for any automatic gun (which is capable of discharging two or more missiles successively without repeated pressure on the trigger) and 2.5 joules for all other guns.
In the UK, airsoft guns are regulated not just by age but also by the force they can generate, measured in Feet Per Second (FPS). Here’s a simplified breakdown of these limits:
|Type of Gun||Maximum FPS|
|Bolt Action Single Shot Sniper||500 FPS|
It’s important to have your airsoft guns chronographed at the start of each session to ensure they’re within legal limits. Any gun exceeding these limits won’t be allowed for use in the game.
Failure to adhere to these limits can lead to the gun being disallowed from use in the game. Notably, velocity reducers are not permitted, as they only reduce the velocity of the first couple of shots of a burst. If you’re planning to upgrade your AEG, a 1-joule spring should keep you within the 350fps limit.
What is Considered an Airsoft Gun According to the Law?
Following an amendment to the Policing and Crime Act 2017 which came into effect on 2 May 2017, airsoft guns (realistic or otherwise) are defined in UK law by the muzzle kinetic energy with which they are capable of firing a projectile, and are exempted from firearms legislation. An airsoft gun firing a projectile with a muzzle kinetic energy greater than the ones outlined in the PCA 2017 is no longer considered to be an airsoft gun and falls under firearms legislation.
Playing airsoft in the UK is governed by specific laws and regulations. The minimum age to play is 18, but there are exceptions for younger players when supervised by an adult. Safety is paramount, and all players must adhere to guidelines to ensure a safe environment. The type of guns that can be used by people under 18 are typically two-tone airsoft guns, and all guns must adhere to specific FPS limits. Finally, the law defines an airsoft gun based on its muzzle kinetic energy. Understanding these rules and regulations will ensure a safe and enjoyable airsoft experience.