Airsoft would not be a sport without Airsoft weapons!
Airsoft weapons originated from Japan where in the 1970s ownership of all firearms was prohibited despite great interest and demand for them. As the public clamoured for such items, the industry of replica weapons flourished. Those early replicas evolved into fully functional Airsoft weapons that nowadays shoot standard 6 mm pellets, mostly made from plastic.
When most Airsoft weapons were manufactured in Japan they were just expensive collector’s items and not a sports opportunity. Gradually production of such weapons and military gear suited for a sport began in Taiwan and then mainland China as well. This marked the beginning of a new era for Airsoft as it turned into a popular sport because the prices became affordable for the middle class.
It would be best to start by telling our readers how many Airsoft enthusiasts there are in the world. Unfortunately, there is no reliable way of doing a tally.
Airsoft is evidently most popular in Japan, with the US most likely occupying the second spot because this sport has been spreading there faster than elsewhere. They are followed by many countries in Asia and Europe, including Estonia.
Airsoft is truly a popular sport and in most countries you don’t have to be a club or association member or have a licence and other special documents. You can simply buy an Airsoft weapon and have matches with your family members or friends in the backyard.
But Airsoft will not be confined to backyards.
When you become fascinated with Airsoft, you will start buying gear to supplement your weapon, such as additional magazines and their convenient carrying belts and so on. The manufacturing and purchasing choices are usually inspired by the corresponding supplies used in armed forces and people naturally prefer solutions that are readily available.
Usually when you have geared up you will discover the joy of attending gatherings of dozens and hundreds of fellow-enthusiasts in rural areas.
These Airsoft hard-core events include all sorts of manoeuvring in the woods and marshes, across rivers and lakes. If you are wealthy, why not fly as well?
Airsoft in Estonia
Airsoft came to Estonia in the late 90s when first local fans could afford ordering the weapons from Japan or the US. The first gatherings here were attended by fewer than a dozen people and they had essentially no gear, with the exception of goggles. Airsoft is extremely contagious and today there should be in Estonia about 300 regular players and this number swells to about 500 in the summer months. Unfortunately they have not all at the same time participated in a major gathering.
Still, big events are organised every year. Invitations to these are also often sent to players from other European countries and parts of the world.
They come alone and in teams. The most frequent visitors are naturally our northern and southern neighbours.
Smaller gatherings for all those interested are conducted almost every weekend at the Männiku Range. Airsoft enthusiasts residing far away from the capital city have their own local events at coordinated locations.
Information about our gatherings is published on the following Airsoft message boards: www.airsoftfoorum.ee, militaarseiklus.ee/foorum/, forum.airsoftclub.eu, www.airsoftgames.ee/index.php.