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changemore than many others so

you need to keep an eye on each

market; as newones come online, so the opportunities are great.

Just a couple of

years back airsoſters in the Netherlands persuaded the government to

allowthe sport and those in Australia are campaigning

hard to allowairsoſt to be removed

fromreal firearms classifications.


Under federal law, airsoft guns are not classified as firearms and are legal although each state – and many cities – have variations and specifi c rulings. For importation purposes, the

basic rule appears to be that a 6mm minimum orange tip must be present on the barrel end of the airsoft gun to identify it as such for any commercial sales. Once sold, local laws vary

on whether or not the orange tip must be kept. The similarity between genuine firearms and airsoft replicas is close enough to provoke interaction with local law-enforcement personnel if an airsoft gun is carried openly in public.

Individuals must also be 18

or over to buy such airsoft guns but, aside from that, there are few general restrictions. This is a massive potential

market and interest appears to still be growing. There was a great selection of manufacturers of both airsoft guns and associated kit booked into the 2015 SHOT Show, so things bode well for the future. The interest in tactical-style

gear, from clothing to packs – not to mention gun styling – has not gone unnoticed by many makers as buyers and players attempt to emulate the military look.


Wide-ranging laws mean that you really need to check with individual countries to be sure that you are complying. In the UK, for example, there

are currently certain restrictions on the possession of airsoft replicas unless for skirmishing as part of a ban on realistic imitation firearms. However, imitation firearms

are still legal and may be purchased by anyone 18 or over provided they are ‘two-tone’ or brightly coloured guns. In Germany, airsoft guns under

0.5 joules are considered toy guns and can be freely sold to all persons above 14 years old. All airsoft guns between 0.5 and 7.5 joules must be bolt-action or semi-automatic only and can only be sold to those over 18. Target illuminating devices

and lasers may not be attached to guns but are legal otherwise. In France, visible

transportation of replica firearms in public areas is forbidden. Minors (under the age of 18) can only buy or use airsoft guns under 0.07 joules in power. Airsoft guns may only have a

power under two joules, otherwise they are considered to be a weapon and must be registered. And, as noted, the Netherlands

agreed relatively recently to allow airsoft shooting in the country. Check with each country to

ensure that you comply with its regulations. 27


There was much concern when the DangerousWeapons Act came into force at the start of 2014 because it classified a dangerous weapon as anything ‘other than a firearm’ capable of causing death or serious bodily harm if used for an unlawful purpose. However, exceptions include possession of ‘dangerous weapons’ in pursuit of lawful employment, duty or activity or for lawful sport, recreation or entertainment, which covers both airsoft and paintball guns. Even if designated as an

imitation firearm, the users of these guns would only break the law if they used them to commit another offence or resist arrest.


Much has changed here in recent years and realistic airsoft guns in New Zealand are now classifi ed as firearms. These tougher laws now mean

that airsoft is limited to non- realistic firearms, which removed many of the most popular guns from public ownership. However, buyers of airsoft

guns must be over 18 but, while they do not require a licence to purchase, use or transport these imitations, they will need to provide some details and a proof of age. Check out www. for more. In Australia there has been

much campaigning against the current law, which treats most realistic imitation firearms as the real thing, effectively banning civilian ownership and making airsoft a tough interest to follow. At the very least, users will

require a firearms licence and to fill out importation forms but, since designated ranges do not exist, the government says there is no reason to own them. For the latest details

or to follow the campaign against these laws, visit www.

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