I remember when I got my first Airsoft replica. I hastily unboxed everything and darted out into my backyard for some quick plinking. As a newbie, you may be awfully tempted to do the same. Looking back and considering this day & age, it may not be the wisest of ideas. This may leave you wondering, “Where can I shoot my Airsoft gun?”
You may shoot your Airsoft gun where legally permitted by law at either a designated Airsoft location, on land you own, or on private land with the permission of the owner.
While this may seem somewhat vague as to the exact location where you may shoot, it is the most reasonable answer that every Airsoft owner should keep in mind so that they may enjoy their replica safely and without having to endure an unexpected visit from law enforcement.
In reality, one should ask themselves this question prior to the purchase of an Airsoft gun. It is wise to first check your local laws that govern the use of Airsoft guns. Laws vary from place to place. What may be legal in one city, state, province, etc., may not be legal in another. It would be a shame to find that you have limited options for shooting after you have already spent a nice chunk of change on that replica you’ve been longing for.
I have to admit that when I first started out, I didn’t follow this advice. I didn’t consider if it was legal. I just wanted to get outside and shoot it. I had already heard of some guys having backyard wars. It seemed harmless. After all, I wasn’t shooting metal bb’s or bullets. I had a six-foot wooden fence around the backyard, so I didn’t think this would bother anyone. I assumed everything was ok. Boy was I wrong! There is always that one nosey neighbor.
At any rate, I had an all too uncomfortable meet n’ greet with local law enforcement. Much to my surprise, at the time there were no documented air gun ordinances that would apply to Airsoft guns for the city where I lived. Just remember that when it comes to Airsoft replicas, in many cases they can appear to be real firearms to those who are not in the know.
Also, consider what type of shooting you want to do. Certain locations lend themselves better to specific shooting activities than others. Occasionally plinking targets is going to require a lot less area than a full-blown out Airsoft battle.
Now, let’s take a look at some suggested locations where you MAY be able to shoot your Airsoft replica.
Foregoing any potential laws dictating the legality of use, area limitations, or lack of an enclosed yard, the backyard is certainly a great place to start. Many an Airsoft replica owner started out this way by plinking or engaging in backyard battles. By backyard, I am referring to a private home and not a multi-family dwelling such as an apartment complex. If there is public access, then it won’t do.
What makes a backyard the ideal location is that it is a location familiar to you. If you want to set up some custom obstacles, need to take a break, or just get out of bad weather, you’re already home. There are still a few things to know if you want to have a good time in the backyard.
Make sure that you either own the property or have the permission of the property owner. If you are a renter, you may want to review your lease and speak with your landlord. Consider this carefully if you are skirmishing with others. If someone gets hurt, the property owner can be opened up to potential legal action.
Make sure you speak with your neighbors. You do not want them thinking you are out in your yard wielding a real gun. Chances are if they think that it is a real weapon, you run the risk that the authorities could be called!
A yard enclosed by a tall fence or surrounded by a wooded area is ideal in comparison to an open yard surrounded by houses. For me, it was great that we had a six-foot wooden fence to keep the activities private (albeit the one nosey neighbor).
Consider the FPS of the Airsoft gun you have. If the area of your yard is small and you have a ridiculous high FPS, you may end up doing more target practice than backyard skirmishing with friends. If you are plinking targets, make sure to have a backstop behind your targets so that bb’s don’t end up where they shouldn’t. Nothing can annoy your neighbors more than having a stray bb hitting them or something on their property.
Additionally, when plinking targets, it’s great to pick up a Target Trap (check out this one on Amazon). These devices typically hold paper targets and collect bb’s that pass through. This keeps your yard and the environment cleaner.
**TIP: If you use a target trap, don’t reuse any bb’s you capture. If you wanna know more about why you should not reuse bb’s, check out this post.
Private land, in essence, is other people’s property. This can be a great place to get some use out of your Airsoft gun. Property that is secluded, rural, or located within a nice wooded tract of land can really allow privacy by shielding you away from view as well as provide you with a unique area to skirmish out different scenarios.
However, here is where the cardinal rule about getting permission first comes in. Get permission, get permission, and then get permission! It is better to ask permission than to be staring down the barrel of some real steel. Once you have permission, always be respectful of the land you have been granted use of. Have fun, but remember to leave the land in better shape than you found it. Clean up after yourself. Always thank the landowner for allowing use of their property. Being respectful will go along way if you want to play there again. Which brings to mind the following, when you play on private property do not assume that since you had permission to play one time that you have an open-ended invitation to play again at a future date. Always confirm that it is ok with the property owner each time.
This would be limited to structures on your own property or property that you have permission to play on. If it is a structure on private property, make sure you also have permission to play on or around the structure. If you live on a larger parcel of land and have a large garage or other building on your property, you may be able to set things up to have some fun indoors.
While you could shoot inside your own house, you should consider the potential damage factor. I myself would rather play elsewhere than suffer the wrath of an angry spouse who has found something cherished shattered by a stray bb. Happy wife, happy life…
What typically dictates what can be done within a space will be the size of the structure and your overall creativity. For smaller structures like a shed or garage, you may end up plinking targets. However, maybe there is enough space to do something cool with those targets, like make them mobile. However, if you have a large structure on your property you may be able to set up an indoor arena of sorts to battle it out inside. Maybe that old vacant barn outback may very well be a great place to transform into your own personal mini-arena.
Airsoft Arenas, Events & Fields
This is the staple for most Airsoft enthusiasts. Airsoft fields, events and arenas by far are going to be one of the best locations. They are designed specifically for Airsoft owners to legally be able to shoot their replicas. Keep in mind that some locations may have fees. The amount of the fee can vary by location. Likewise, every location has its own rules and those rules need to be obeyed in order to avoid being asked to leave or permanently ejected. While Airsoft locations are a popular way to get out and use your replica, the availability of a location may depend on where you live. Some fields (whether indoor or outdoor) may be conveniently close to your home, while others hours away or non-existent. This is where it can be hit and miss…
Firearm Training Facilities
You may be lucky to find a location in your area that offers Firearms training. It would be even sweeter if they offered this type of training using Airsoft replicas. While it may not be too cool to be the guy/girl at a regular range with an Airsoft gun, it is still a place where you could legally shoot your Airsoft weapon safely. I haven’t tried this type of location simply because I can target shoot on my own property. However, for those with little other options available to them, you sometimes have to think outside of the box a little.
Airsoft Supply Stores
So I got to thinking, where else one could shoot their Airsoft gun? I was reminded of when I was looking for a local place to check out some Airsoft guns. I got some good recommendations from a local Airsoft shop. That also reminded me that one shop even had a place to try out a selection of Airsoft guns. This may work in your favor if you have yet to buy your first replica. Not only would you have an opportunity to try before you buy, but you could also talk to some local folks who could turn you onto some locations.
Whether you are simply plinking targets or engaging in an epic Airsoft war, it is my hope that this has opened your mind up to some considerations when looking for a place to shoot your Airsoft gun as well as give you some suggestions. It’s always best practice to make sure that wherever you plan to shoot your replica, that you are permitted by law to do so and in the case of it being someone else’s property, you have proper permission from the property owner. Safety is key. No one wants to have law enforcement show up, guns drawn, because someone saw “this guy/girl with a gun” and called it in.
See you out on the battlefield!