Defining Airsoft: Common Airsoft Terms and Definitions

Airsoft is a thrilling recreational activity that has gained immense popularity in recent years. It involves simulated combat using replica firearms that shoot non-lethal plastic pellets called BB pellets. As with any specialized hobby or sport, Airsoft has its own unique vocabulary and terminology which can sometimes be confusing to newcomers. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to common Airsoft terms and definitions, helping both beginners and seasoned players enhance their understanding of the game.

Contents of this dictionary:


ABS Plastic (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)

ABS Plastic is a durable and lightweight polymer commonly used in making guns and accessories. It’s affordable, suitable for beginners, and offers a balance of performance and cost-effectiveness.


Action refers to the part of the gun which loads and discharges the bullet.

Action Sports Games (ASG)

ASG is an Airsoft gun manufacturer and distributor located in Denmark.

Adaptive Combat Rifle (ACR)

ACRs can use multicaliber munitions, change roles, and swap barrels.


Airsoft is a shooting sport using replica firearms to shoot plastic pellets in simulated combat scenarios. It’s safe and offers tactical gameplay, with players wearing protective gear. Airsoft guns come in electric, gas-powered, and spring-powered types.

Army Combat Uniform (ACU)

ACU refers to the modern pattern of uniform used by U.S. troops. Multiple patterns are available.

Automatic Electric Guns (AEG)

AEG is short for Automatic Electric Gun, and is perhaps one of the most commonly known Airsoft industry terms. AEGs are one of the most well-known types of Airsoft guns available. AEGs are electric powered guns that offer high velocities and high rates of fire.

Automatic Electric Pistol (AEP)

AEP is short for Automatic Electric Pistol. These newer automatic electric Airsoft pistol styles were developed by Tokyo Marui, a popular Airsoft manufacturer. AEPs were the first Airsoft handguns created that provide full automatic capabilities.


Back Spin

As a result from contact with the Hop-Up nub, Back Spin is a BB pellet’s rearward rotation.


The Barrel is the hollow metal tube of a gun, in which the bullet passes and exits. The muzzle is located at the front of the Barrel and the breech is located at the rear end of the barrel.


Not to be confused with BB guns, BB pellets are the plastic pellets that are fired from Airsoft guns. BBs are 6 mm or 8 mm.

Battle Dress Uniform (BDU)

Most commonly used by the U.S. military, BDU refers to the term used for field uniform.

Biodegradable BB

Biodegradable BBs are environmentally-friendly Airsoft ammunition designed to naturally decompose over time. Made from materials like cornstarch or PLA, they perform like traditional BBs but reduce environmental impact, making them popular among eco-conscious players and fields.

Blank Firing Grenade (BFG)

Blank Firing Grenade usually takes a shot gun cartridge or a blank nine millimeters and results in a loud bang.


Blowback features are powered by electric or gas power-plants. Blowback options may be in the form of Gas Blowback, Electric Blowback, or Non-Blowback.


Bolt-Action describes a rifle mechanism where the user manually operates a bolt to chamber each round. It’s favored for its accuracy and reliability, often chosen by snipers and those seeking realism.



Camouflage is clothing and gear designed to help players blend into their environment, reducing visibility to opponents. It varies by colors and patterns to match different terrains like forests, deserts, or urban areas, enhancing stealth and tactical advantage in gameplay.


Carbine is a shortened version of a full-length rifle. Carbines are often used by special forces due to their lightweight build and reduced arc that brings the weapon on target.


Clearing in Airsoft means systematically moving through an area to eliminate opponents or secure objectives, often done in teams. It requires communication, coordination, and awareness to minimize ambushes and surprises.


Clip refers to the magazine used in an AEG.

Close Quarters Battle (CQB)

Also referred to as Close Quarters Combat (CQC), Close Quarters Battle is a scenario that is sometimes used in Airsoft play. As a subset of MilSim, the emphasis is accuracy and speed. Close Quarters Battle refers to 10 to 70 feet of fast action combat.

Compact Assault Rifle

A compact assault rifle is a smaller version of a standard assault rifle, designed for close-quarters combat. It maintains firepower while offering improved agility and handling in tight spaces, popular among players valuing mobility and versatility.


CO2 refers to carbon dioxide used as a propellant in some Airsoft guns. CO2 cartridges enable higher velocity shots and are effective in cold weather, offering a realistic shooting experience with noticeable recoil.


Concealment involves using objects or the environment to hide from opponents’ view. It differs from cover as it does not protect from incoming shots, but helps in avoiding detection. Effective concealment uses elements like bushes or shadows to maintain stealth and tactical advantage.

Coyote Brown (CB)

CB refers to the color used in U.S. forces gear and webbing, originally used by the Special Forces and U.S. Marines.


Dead Man Walking

Dead Man Walking refers to an Airsoft player who has been hit and exits the game.

Designated Marksman

A “Designated Marksman” in Airsoft, is a player within a team tasked with providing accurate long-range fire support. Armed with semi-automatic or bolt-action rifles and optics, they engage targets at extended ranges, supporting their team’s advance while bridging the roles of assault and sniper.

Disruptive Pattern Material

The camouflaged pattern name often used by the British Armed Forces.

Duty Weapon

Duty Weapons are standard weapons that are issued by law enforcement personnel, special ops, or the military.


Electric Blow Back (EBB)

Electric Blow Back Airsoft guns are generally available at lower prices. These electric-powered Airsoft guns run on AA or AAA batteries, feature lower velocities, but still offer a somewhat realistic recoil.

Effective Range

Effective Range refers to the range at which the combination of the shooter’s ability and the gun’s capability can deliver an accurate shot.


Feet Per Second (FPS)

Feet Per Second is an important unit of measure which measures velocity. In Airsoft play, velocity refers to the speed at which an Airsoft gun can fire.

Foot Pounds of Energy (FPE)

FPE is a system used to calculate the power of a bullet at the muzzle or at a given distance. However, Foot Pounds of Energy is not a significant system of measurement for Airsoft gaming since Airsoft guns produce low Foot Pounds of Energy.

Field Gaming

Field Gaming refers to battles that take place in forest areas or open fields. Field Gaming requires skilled team play and limits Airsoft guns to 400 Feet Per Second and up to 500 Feet Per Second for sniper rifles.

Flash Hider

Referring to the tip of the Airsoft gun, Flash Hider is designed to look like the flash containment device found at the muzzle of many military assault rifles. In the U.S., all Airsoft flash hiders must contain a minimum of .25” blazed orange.

Full Auto

When a player squeezes and holds the trigger, the constant firing of ammo will result until the bullets are exhausted or until the shooter releases the trigger.



G&G refers to Guay Guay Armament, an Airsoft manufacturer.

Gas Blowback (GBB)

Gas Blowback is a feature that only certain Airsoft guns provide. Gas blowback simulates the recoil of a real gun.

Gas-Powered Airsoft Guns

Gas Powered Airsoft Guns use compressed gas like CO2, propane or green gas to fire BBs. They offer realistic action, including blowback, and are popular for their performance and authenticity.

Gear Up

Gear Up refers to players putting on face and eye protection, and other protective clothing and gear before engaging in an Airsoft battle.

Green Gas

Green gas is a propellant used in Gas Blowback guns to provide the simulated recoil feature. Green gas is generally a mixture of silicone oil and propane.

Gun Case

A gun case is a protective container used for safely transporting and storing Airsoft guns. Available in various sizes and designs, they feature compartments and padding to prevent damage during transit. Essential for players transporting guns to and from game locations.


Heavy Weight BB

Heavy Weight BBs are denser Airsoft pellets, weighing between 0.30 to 0.50 grams or more. They offer enhanced stability, accuracy, and range, particularly in high-powered Airsoft guns, making them popular for outdoor play and long-range shooting.


HFC-143 is a propellant used in gas-powered Airsoft guns. This gas is also used in refrigerators and air conditioners.

Hi-Capacity or High Cap

Also referred to as High-Cap or High-Caps, these terms are used to describe manually or electrically-controlled Airsoft magazines containing between 300 to 5,000 pellets. In Airsoft, larger capacities are always an advantage, making these magazines the most commonly used magazines in Airsoft play. However, high-cap magazines are not permitted in many competitive Airsoft events.

High Precision BB

High Precision BBs are top-tier Airsoft pellets crafted with exacting standards for consistent size, weight, and shape. These premium BBs offer enhanced accuracy and reliability, making them a preferred choice for serious players in competitive Airsoft matches.

Honor System

Honor System is an ethical conduct standard used by Airsoft gamers. When a player is hit, he voluntarily acknowledges that he has been hit and removes himself from the battle.

Hop-Up System

Also referred to as Hop-Up, this term refers to the backspin created on a projectile by the rifling used in the barrels of actual firearms. This adjustable mechanical system causes BBs to pass through the Hop-Up and spin backwards, which extends the range of the BBs flight. This allows the shooter to engage targets at further distances.



ICS refers to I Chih Shivan Enterprise Co., a reputable Airsoft manufacturer.

Imitation Firearm (IF)

In the U.K., Imitation Firearms are two-toned devices which can be purchased by individuals over 18.



Laser refers to a target acquisition device that mounts on the accessory rail and projects green or red laser lights that may be adjusted to match certain points of aim at a specified distance.

Low Capacity Magazine (Low-Cap)

Low Capacity Magazines contain less than 100 rounds, making them more realistic to real guns. They are often used in competitive Airsoft tournaments.

Low Power Electric Guns (LPEG)

These guns are less powerful and are usually less expensive versions of AEGs. While they are similar to traditional AEGs, they fire at lower velocities.



Magazine refers to a fixed or removable compartment that holds a volume of ammunition to be fed into the firing device.


Mainspring is a coiled spring compressed to power the internal piston of a Springer or AEG device.


Mechbox is the heart of an AEG device. Using electrically-powered spurred Airsoft gear, the Mechbox compresses and releases the mainspring that powers the piston. This results in creating the compression chamber PSI which is needed to send the BB down the barrel, aimed at the target.

Mid Capacity Magazines (Mid-Cap Mags)

Also referred to as Mid-Cap, these magazines contain more rounds than low capacity magazines but less rounds than higher capacity magazines. Mid-Cap Mags contain between 100 to 200 rounds. They are often quieter than higher capacity magazines.

Mid Powered Electric Guns (MPEG)

MPEGs are less powerful than true AEGs, but are also less expensive. However, MPEGs are powerful enough to be considered an affordable and practical alternative to AEGs such as the Lancer Tactical Gen 2 Keymod.

Military Simulation (MilSim)

Some Airsoft players engage in a military-themed role playing setting, referred to as MilSim. Teams generally remain on the field until their objective has been reached or until they reach their time limit.

Minimum Engagement Distance (MED)

Minimum engagement distance is the closest range at which players can shoot their Airsoft guns at opponents during gameplay. It’s enforced for safety, varying based on gun type and field rules. Failure to comply can lead to penalties or ejection.

Modular Lightweight Load Carrying Equipment (MOLLE)

MOLLE refers to the loops added to tactical belts and vests, which additional accessories may be attached to.

Modular Weapons System (MWS)

Modular Weapons Systems are typically used with M4/M16 variants and contain swap out Upper & Lower Receivers for various usages and lengthier ranges.


Mosfet (Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor Field-Effect Transistor) is an electronic component primarily designed to regulate and control electrical current in various applications. In the context of airsoft guns, a Mosfet serves as an intermediary between the trigger mechanism and the gearbox, augmenting both reliability and performance through its advanced features.

Multicam (MC)

Multicam is a multi-camo pattern developed for the U.S. Military Future Soldier Program.


Non-Blow-Back (NBB)

Non-Blow-Back refers to Airsoft pistols, where the slide doesn’t move back and forth as the pistol fires.


Olive Drab (OD)

Olive Drab is a color which is often found on military uniforms and accessories.


Optics are aiming accessories like scopes and red dot sights that enhance accuracy and target acquisition. They attach to Airsoft guns, offering magnification and reticle illumination for improved shooting performance.


Own refers to the players that have been shot during the game. For example, a player may announce that he or she has owned two enemy troops during a battle.


Pain Penalty

Pain Penalty refers to the level of ouch factor when hit by an opponent’s ammunition. The Pain Penalty is much higher the closer the opponent is in range.


Plink or Plinking refers to the informal firing at targets or tin cans.

Point of Aim (POA)

POA refers to the Point of Aim.

Point of Impact (POI)

POI refers to the Point of Impact.


Rail Adapter System (RAS)

RAS is a specific kind of accessory interface system.

Rail Integration Systems (RIS)

RIS refers to a simple standardized solution for accessorizing firearms, Airsoft guns included. RIS refers to the interchanging of accessories, including sights and scopes in the field.

Rail Interface System (RIS)

Rail Interface System refers to a flat, slatted rail that attaches to weapons systems and allows a multitude of accessories to be mounted to the device.

Real Steel

Real Steel refers to the real-world counterpart of an Airsoft gun.

Rechargeable Battery

AEG guns use a rechargeable power source such as a rechargeable battery.

Replica Imitation Firearm (RIF)

To purchase a Replica Imitation Firearm in the U.K. the buyer must first satisfy the terms of the 2007 VCRA Bill.


Rise refers to when a BB passes through a Hop-Up System and has a trajectory which increases above the bore path when the wind resistance meets the back-spinning BB pellet.

Rate of Fire (ROF)

ROF is the number of BB pellets that may be discharged from a device within a specified time span.

Rounds Per Minute (RPM)

RPM refers to Rounds Per Minute, or how many BBs may be projected from an Airsoft gun per minute.

Round Per Second (RPS)

RPS refers to Round Per Second.



Scope is an optical sight which is used to acquire a target at lengthy ranges.

Semi Auto

Semi Auto is when a round is launched with each squeeze of the trigger. The firing cycle re-cocks the firearm and feeds the next round into firing position, awaiting the next trigger squeeze.

Short Barrelled Rifle

A short barrelled rifle is a compact firearm with a shortened barrel, prioritizing maneuverability in close-quarters combat.


A shotgun is a firearm that fires multiple pellets or BBs in a spread pattern. It’s effective for close-range combat, offering versatility in gameplay styles.


Schweitzerische Industrie Gesellschaft is a German Swiss Arms manufacturer.


A skirmish is a small-scale, informal game involving teams, ranging from simple shootouts to tactical scenarios with specific objectives. It’s popular for casual play and practice due to its simplicity and minimal requirements.


The Slide is the moving section on top of an automatic pistol. However, it can also be contained within a rifle device which reloads the gun.

Smooth Bore

The Smooth Bore walls in Airsoft guns allow the BBs to retain a backspin when imparted by the Hop-Up. Airsoft gun bores do not have rifling groves cut into the inner walls of the barrel.

Speed Loader

A speedloader is a device that makes filling BBs more effective.


Also known as Back Spin. As a result from contact with the Hop-Up nub, Back Spin is a BB pellet’s rearward rotation.

Spring-Powered Airsoft Guns (Springer)

Springer refers to metal spring  powered Airsoft Guns, which are single-shot weapons that need to be cocked in between shots. Depending on the style of the gun, cocking may be in the form of a slide, bolt, or grip. These guns are generally less expensive; however, they do not fire automatically or semi-automatically.

State of Charge (SOC)

The remaining battery life of an Airsoft gun is known as State of Charge.


The Stock is the end of the gun, which is generally held into the shoulder and can be extendable, full, or folding.

Submachine Gun (SMG)

A submachine gun is a compact firearm designed for close-quarters combat, firing small-caliber ammunition at a high rate. It’s favored for its maneuverability and effectiveness in short-range engagements.


Tracer BB

Tracer BBs are specialized Airsoft ammunition that glow when fired through tracer units. They help players track their shots, especially in low-light conditions, improving accuracy and adding visual flair to games.

Tactical Combat Uniform (TCU)

TCU stands for Tactical Combat Uniform.


The path of a projectile or bullet.


Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP)

The combination of green, gray, and tan to produce a digital pattern used in woodland or desert environments.


The ability of an Airsoft gun to be modified or improved for optimal mechanical performance.



VCRA is the abbreviated word for the Violent Crimes Reduction Act.


Weaver Rail

Weaver Rail refers to the type of standardized accessory mounting system for firearms, like Rail Integration Systems but of a different size.

Mastering the language of Airsoft is essential for both novice players and seasoned veterans alike. This comprehensive guide has unraveled the intricate web of common Airsoft terms and definitions, providing a valuable resource for enthusiasts to enhance their understanding of the game. As players immerse themselves in the dynamic world of Airsoft, these terms will serve as a linguistic compass, fostering better communication, strategy, and overall enjoyment on the battlefield. Whether you’re a newcomer seeking to navigate the jargon or a seasoned player aiming to fine-tune your skills, a solid grasp of these terms is the key to unlocking the full potential of the Airsoft experience. So, gear up, stay vigilant, and let the shared language of Airsoft unite players in their pursuit of thrilling and immersive tactical adventures.

See you out on the battlefield!