The game of airsoft is trigger-happy, cleaner-than-paintball game that is huge in Edmonton. Airsoft players do combat in a mock battleground using replica guns that look like the real thing. The firearms shoot plastic pellets which can definitely be felt by the person who is “shot” but isn’t harmful.
Recently, Capital Airsoft opened its doors for airsoft fans, making it first indoor airsoft facility in Edmonton and the biggest in Western Canada. The game is popular because there’s no mess as there is in the game of painful, and the life-like weapons have the ability to shoot further and with more accuracy. Compressed gas or sometimes a spring mechanism or even both are used for propulsion.
Capital Airsoft is at 11217 – 149 Street in a former Home Hardware location in Edmonton’s Inglewood district. The battle field is 250,000 square feet and as many as 50 people can take part in an area this size at one time.
The drywall was removed, the flooring taken up and doors taken off their hinges. The walls within the battle field are like a maze.
Players who have come to do battle at Capital Airport range from 8 to 60, the majority of airsoft players are in the 14 to 35 demographic. Not surprisingly, 95% of airport players to visit the facility are male.
Feedback on the facility has been positive so far. Parents say getting out and playing airsoft is something they can do with the kids to get out of the house, especially during the winter. Some compare the game with good old fashioned cops and robbers.
Those unfamiliar with the game may wonder at the weapons used in the game. In fact, there have been instances in cities across the country where people who use the replica guns for legitimate use have been caught transporting them which has led to confusion.
In Richmond, B.C. recently, an application to open an airsoft facility in that Vancouver suburb was turned down by the municipal council because of that very reason. Councilors even went as far as to say that airsoft and the guns used in the game promote violence and that many people don’t know the different between an airsoft weapon and a real firearm.
The problems lie in having an airsoft gun outside of a proper facility. A teenager in Newfoundland was found to be carrying a gun while walking down the street and in Ontario, a young student used an airsoft gun inappropriately in school. There are other instances were airsoft guns have been thought to be the real thing.
So far in Edmonton, the police service is taking a calm approach and encourages the public to enjoy airsoft, have fun and be safe. There are no requirements or laws about airsoft guns because they are replicas. But they should be transported with care to avoid alarming the public.
In the United States, replica guns such as airsoft firearms have to be marked with bright orange caps but in Canada we have no such restrictions. The owners of Edmonton’s airsoft facility say education is important and that all patrons should keep their personal airsoft firearms in a bag or even a gun case.
People who come to Capital Airsoft for the first time must wear full goggles. Mouth guards or protectors are optional. Entry is $29.95 on weekdays and $10 more on the weekend. Guns can be rented and so can full face masks. All equipment required to play the game can also be purchased at Capital Airsoft.