You wonder why all you hear about in the news is airsoft injuries and no paintball injuries
Heres another article in the news paper...
Twelve-year-old Luke Pineda is at war with his 10-year-old brother, Cole, but this is no typical squabble between brothers. These boys are armed, and Luke has Cole in his sights.
The younger brother yelps when a plastic BB pings him in the back. Such are the consequences of an airsoft conflict, so named for the popular spring-loaded weapons the boys wield.
Luke is teamed with friend and neighbor Cody Johnson, 12. The Gilbert boys are set up on opposite sides of the street in makeshift forts of trash bins and plywood. Soon the pellets will fly on this otherwise quiet and hot summer day.
Airsoft guns are this generation's Red Ryder BB guns - except they're a whole lot cooler, says John Pehrson, manager of the Command Post in Phoenix, which carries paintball and airsoft guns and supplies. Last holiday season, airsoft guns ranked among the most searched for items online in the toys category, along with Legos and Barbies, according to the Hitwise Index chart in New York.
The weapons, available as handguns or rifles, automatic or semiautomatic, fire 6mm round, plastic pellets, instead of the small, metal spheres in traditional BB guns.
Airsoft guns have been around for about 30 years but never achieved the same popularity as paintball, a game in which players fire paint-filled pellets, leaving a splat of color when they hit their mark.
But in the past few years, airsoft has gained popularity, retailers say, as manufacturers have begun modeling the weapons after actual pistols and rifles, drawing military hobbyists and gun enthusiasts alike (a resemblance that alarms some in law enforcement).
Also, ammunition is inexpensive - about $6 for 2,000 shots.
It was only a matter of time before kids discovered airsoft, Pehrson says. They want to be soldiers after experiencing such popular video games as Call of Duty and Medal of Honor.
In response, shops once selling only paintball guns and supplies have bumped up their inventories to include airsoft guns and supplies. And moms like Brenda Pineda are giving in and letting their kids get the guns, even though she swore she would never, ever let them play with weapons. "It's what boys do," Pineda says, resignedly. "I'm all right with it as long as they're being safe."
Pineda enforces strict rules. The boys must wear safety goggles whenever guns are present, even if the conflict is over. In addition, they must aim below the shoulders and call a cease-fire if a pedestrian or car comes near them.
At least they're not sitting in front of the TV, Pineda says: "They're out being active."
Not just for kids
As with many children who tuck airsoft guns in their waistbands, the Pineda boys and their friends enjoy the firearms because they look and handle like real guns, even though the more inexpensive models - the ones most marketed to younger players - are made of transparent plastic. All airsoft guns have bright orange tips to distinguish them from the real thing, as required by law.
Prices range from $30 to as much as $1,000, depending on the make, model and type. Airsoft guns come in three types: spring-operated, battery-operated and compressed-gas-propelled.
The plastic pellets the Pinedas and their friends fire can fly as far as 60 feet, allowing Cole to wing Cody from across the street. He can't get that kind of precision with a Nerf gun. "Dude, that was good!" Cody says. "Your accuracy was dead-on!"
It's not just kids running around shooting at each other. The boys' dads play, too. And people of all ages, though mostly men, strap on goggles and padded clothing, and play in paintball arenas or out in the desert. There also are airsoft-player clubs, including the Tucson East Airsoft Club.
"It's a good physical sport. You get a lot of exercise, running around and dodging fire," says 22-year-old Tyler McGinnis of Tucson. "It's fun to roll around in the dirt and try to sneak up on people."
He has been playing for three years, after a friend discovered airsoft weapons at a gun show. The longer he and his friends have played, the more expensive and the fancier their weapons have become. He owns a Tokyo Marui Steyr AUG that fires BBs at 400 feet per second and costs about $400.
"They're actually full-scale models of real weapons," McGinnis says, which is why he plays airsoft instead of paintball. "You can make them pretty high-powered, but there is a lot of responsibility that comes with that. You have to play safe."
Specialty stores limit sales to those age 18 and older, though parents can buy them for their kids.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that kids should be age 16 or older to play with BB and airsoft guns. Last year, about 20,000 people, including 11,500 children, sought treatment in emergency rooms nationwide due to BB- and airsoft-gun injuries.
But Pehrson, of the Command Post, says airsoft guns are safer than traditional BB guns. Airsoft's larger plastic pellets won't embed in the skin like the .177-caliber metal BBs could.
"The worst you'll get is a little pockmark," Pehrson says.
And most airsoft guns, especially those popular with kids, shoot at a slower velocity, about 100 to 300 feet per second, compared with the old BB guns, which had cruising speeds of more than 400 feet per second. Still, Pehrson says, "they could put an eye out."
Thus, Pineda's rules about always wearing goggles and not aiming at people's heads.
The boys say it doesn't hurt to get shot. Cody adds, "It stings for about 10 seconds."
There are higher-velocity guns, but the boys aren't interested in those; they just want to have fun, not get hurt.
With more people buying airsoft guns, there's a need for places to play. Cowtown Paintball, near Lake Pleasant, and 23bps in Avondale allow airsoft enthusiasts to play.
Jonathan Logan, manager of Arizona Paintball Depot, says construction has started on what will be the Fort Adobe Paintball Complex, a 154-acre facility for paintball and airsoft play at 43rd Avenue and Pinnacle Peak Road. Scheduled for completion in September, it will feature foxholes, concrete ramps and buildings.
The Pineda boys and their friends confine play to their yards. Cole pulls on a helmet with a clear face guard, and the other boys put on safety goggles.
"What are the teams, guys?" Cody asks. They flip a coin.
Cole pulls out a blue recycling bin to hide behind. He pulls a piece of plywood across the front of both.
Across the street, Cody and Luke set up a huge cardboard box. The battle begins. Hiding behind a parked car, Luke pings his brother as he runs by. Luke shouts, "Cole just got destroyed!"
Thirty minutes later, one of the boys calls "T!" for timeout. Brenda Pineda brings out a jug of cold water and plastic cups. Resting in the shade, the boys are like war veterans, telling of battles where one boy hid in a tree and the time Cody fought his way out of an ambush.
Cole downs his water and gets to his feet, pulling his helmet back on, ready for more: "This is so much fun. Let's go!"
I think that the dumbshit mother shouldn't even let the kids play with the guns period, let alone play with them on the street