Our hobby is airsoft, but the major part of it is the using and collection of RIF’s, AEGS, pistols etc. You can sugar coat it all you want but these things are replicas of things that are designed to kill a person, whether that’s in war or self-protection or security it doesn’t matter it’s a gun and it has one job and one job only(I know there are many types and styles it’s a generalisation). So why the love and why are they ‘cool’. For me and many of my age in the years before airsoft existed a stick used to suffice a makeshift weapon, plastic pistols bought from the toy shop added a bit of ‘realism’ but in the end a bit of wood used with loud exclamation of ‘bang’ then ‘I hit you’ or ‘you are dead’ was a near as you ever got a real gun and what it could do. Now the modern media YouTube, video games, film and tv seem to give it a modicum of cool, we’ve all done the shooting of a gat sideways, we’ve run around shouting ‘say hello to my little friend’ in a dodgy Spanish accent. We’ve talked about various film scenes and film guns,
Don’t get me wrong I ‘like’ guns and if I lived in a different country (merica!) I would probably I have a pretty decent collection. But I don’t I live in the UK and guns and gun control are taken extremely seriously. They are not ingrained in the psyche of the nation (despite this nation using these guns extensively over hundreds of years to give us the freedoms that we have). The US on the other hand for some people it’s a major thing in their lives, they have the 2nd amendment, and they have crime related shootings, massacres and some staggering statistics for gun ownership. YouTube for example is awash with channels talking guns, rating guns, showing guns and discussing gun control. A lot of these based in the US are rabidly anti or pro and present themselves that way but most of them do skirt around the issue (or in most cases don’t mention it) that the stuff they are talking about is designed to kill a person.
Now airsoft is a military simulation using the stuff and taking inspiration from the military from around the world, but the fact that we are simulating killing and being killed could be seen as ‘wrong’ or ‘weird’, I’ve tried explaining to a person what airsoft is and you can in a lot of cases get some interesting reactions and questions. Personally I think we can reconcile the enjoyment of our hobby compared to what it is about, as long as we respect what a gun or firearm can do or is designed to do. I know thats what i do!