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Safety in Airsoft

It’s true that airsoft is an inherently dangerous sport.  While we’re slinging small plastic BBs towards each other at great speeds (400 FPS is 273 MPH!), we are well-protected from those impacts, specifically the most crucial exposed parts of our bodies: our eyes and faces.  That’s why we require ANSI Z81+ eye protection and full face protection for players under 18 years old.  Once you’re older, you’re welcome to lose teeth if you so choose.

Since SAASMaine has a wide variety of terrain, from the flat open field to marshes, woods, bogs, rocky paths, a player is more likely to slip and fall, or trip over a root.. something that could and would still happen if they weren’t playing airsoft.

Speed notwithstanding, it’s the impact, the kinetic energy of the projectiles that concerns us the most.  This is one of the reasons we chrono using joules (which is literally the measure of kinetic energy).  Sure, we can post charts outlining maximum FPS for each weight of BB, but when it all comes down to it, it’s easier and more consistent with other Maine fields to just post our joules limits.

1.86j is the field limit for non-specialized replicas like DMRs and BASRs.  Could we raise this limit?  Absolutely.  This is our field and we make the rules.  Although, anything beyond our current field limits would disqualify us from being listed as an Airsoft Maine field, and that wouldn’t be an asset to the airsoft community, either locally or statewide.

This is another reason we made the decision to limit the allowed projectiles to only include 6mm airsoft BBs.  Here’s copypasta from out field rules:

Projectiles

The only allowed projectiles are 6mm bio BBs specifically meant for airsoft.  What this implicitly means is:

        • No paintballs/paintball markers
        • No gelballs/gelball blasters
        • No explosive RPGs like Taginn’s “Reaper”
          • Grenades must be “pull the pin and toss”, not “shoot someone in the head with one”.
        • No chalk rounds
        • No “combat arrows”.

Oh man.. that’s no fun!  Maybe not, but from a safety perspective it really needs to be done.

First up, this is airsoft, not paintball or gelball.  If you’d like to support us in also opening up as a paintball field, we’re more than happy to accept that help!  It’s in the plan… we will eventually run both airsoft and paintball, but on separate game days.  But with having only two paintball markers available for rent, and no way to refill tanks, that would make for a really boring paintball match.  But during airsoft games, we use airsoft-specific replicas and ammunition.

Video still from Trifecta Airsoft’s YouTube… click on the image to see the whole video. How would you like to catch this in the face? Yeah, me neither.

Taginn Reapers are a seriously cool piece of kit.  They shoot fast and far and make a huge explosion on impact.  I’m pretty certain they’re still not legal in the US.  Someone will correct me if I’m wrong.

Introducing literal uncontrolled fire in a woodland environment is a Bad Thing™.  As much as there are parts of the field we’d like to clear to add villages and other strongpoint structures, burning it all down is NOT on the list of ways to do it.  That explosion in and of itself is the only reason we needed to say “no”, but also we need to consider the kinetic energy of the round itself.  After hours of searching, there is no information regarding the joules of these rounds.  We’ve been unable to find accurate mass and velocity of these rounds.

However, judging from the above video, it’s pretty safe to say these rounds easily exceed field joules limits.  Even without the end explosion, catching a round like this in the face will cause *damage*, not just a little pain.  Will being shot in the face, or worse, the throat, happen a lot?  While we admit it would be unlikely but not impossible, and these are all part of the possible outcomes that we need to take into consideration while balancing between fun games and player safety.

EG67 grenades also have an explosion and flash of fire, but they are tiny in comparison, and are mostly noise.  Because the various CO2-powered grenades are so unreliable, we allowed the 67s on a test basis and they have proven to us that they are mostly safe.

We are hoping to bring in chalk rounds in the future, for the sole intention of going up against a literal tank.  However, it’s not going to be “just anyone”, and there will be required training for its use.  Until we have a tank to play with, we’re just not allowing them.

Recently, a launcher that fires nerf-style footballs has come to our attention.  The footballs shown were the Vortex Aero style (with the tail fins), which weigh in at 190g.  They would have to be traveling at just under 20 fps to match the joules limit of a BASR.  That much energy would require a MED, so would it even be effective?  How would we chrono that?  So, yeah… just no.

The same thing with “combat arrows”.  Honestly, if you want to shoot combat arrows at someone, join a medieval reenactment group, or help fund us so we can have specific combat arrow games.  That would involve the bows, arrows, and all the applicable safety gear.

TL;DR-> we don’t make rules for the specific purpose of being spoilsports and not letting people have any fun.  We make rules that cover everyone equally with safety in the forefront of everything.  The last thing we want or need is for players to get seriously hurt.. that only damages the airsoft community as a whole, but if we are forced to close the field because of preventable incidents, that will effectively end the northern Maine airsoft community, and we’ve spent entire too much time, energy, and money in building and embracing this amazing community.

Have any Question or Comment?

One comment on “Safety in Airsoft

[…] As a reminder, these limits aren’t in place because we’re spoilsports who don’t want people to have fun; they are in place to help prevent serious injury.  More about that in this blog. […]

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