The beginning – A brief History of Airsoft
Airsoft began in Japan in the mid-1970s but the story starts before that.
At the end of WW2, citizens were no longer allowed to carry firearms so they turned to buying replica firearms which, at that point, had no purpose other than to look like the real thing.
Moving on to the 70s, replica guns were created to fire projectiles, small BB pellets, by a spring-loaded system which allowed the people of Japan to buy a weapon that could mimic the feel of firing a gun as well as copying the look.
While the skirmish sites weren’t really there at that point in time, these people now had an opportunity to play with their friends using these safe replica weapons, marking the start of Airsoft as a hobby.
Rise in Popularity
The growth in popularity among Japanese citizens was noticeable and companies in Japan soon latched onto it and began to create a marketplace for these weapons.
Airsoft grew further as Japan began exporting to other countries in Asia such as Korea, Taiwan and China, all of which had strict gun laws as well.
The spring-powered guns provided the firing ability but lacked the FPS to make the guns anywhere near as fast as their real counterparts.
The 1980s saw advances in the design of replica weapons and the technology used to propel pellets towards someone else.
Gas-powered guns, those with a blowback ability, came in to increase the velocity of the shot and still be safe to use against opponents.
It was during the 80s that Airsoft’s popularity began to spread outside of Asia, reaching the UK and US markets.
Many in the UK and the US welcomed the idea of Airsoft where people could shoot at each other with realistic looking and feeling guns.
They could do this without ending up with bruises which were the case for the fairly new and popular battle simulation of paintball.
Action movies brought forward the idea of an action hero who relied on an arsenal of guns to take down the bad guys.
War history enthusiasts, whether through film, documentaries or books, would have gained an interest and knowledge of the guns used throughout history which these replicas could faithfully imitate.
The 2000s saw a boom in the number of video games released regarding war which introduced gamers to many of the famous brands of pistols and rifles such as the Desert Eagle and the AK47.
Many people wanted to feel like an action hero, a solider or like they were playing a real-life video game and Airsoft gave people this chance without being in any danger.
Growth of Airsoft stock
As the market began to grow, people’s interest in a gun’s look and capability grew as people sort to not only play Airsoft as a hobby but also to invest time and money into buying Airsoft guns and accessories which suited their needs.
With the constant innovation and increase of new military-style weapons since WW2, there was an ever-growing list of real weapons where a replica was demanded.
In the 90s, Tokyo Marui invented the first electric gun, the AEG, to improve the rate of fire further.
Since then, guns have been built and designed with a number of features, along with customisation options, for people to get everything they need from their gun.
Airsoft has grown on a global scale with Asia, North America and Europe, in particular, embracing it with a huge number of websites selling Airsoft guns internationally.
Almost every European country has skirmish sites while the UK now boasts over 150 of them.
It is a popular market which is still growing with no signs of its popularity stalling or declining anytime in the near future.