Many people may believe it’s okay to bring airsoft rifles onto planes because they aren’t anywhere near as dangerous as live firearms.
The problem is that, though one is more of a toy, it can be incredibly hard to distinguish whether your gun is a real one or not.
Many people do fly with firearms, both including real weapons.
So how does it work when you want to travel and bring your airsoft guns with you?
For airline security, airsoft guns are treated as fully functioning firearms. You can not bring them on a plane with you, but you can fly with them as checked luggage. Each gun must be declared before a flight and stored away according to airline regulations.
How to Fly With Airsoft Guns
Since airsoft guns fall under the same prohibitions, restrictions, and rules as normal firearms, it’s fairly easy to find out how you are allowed to fly with them.
Only travelers above the age of 18 are allowed to travel with firearms according to U.S. law.
Any firearm, replica, antique, or toy that represents a firearm all fits into one category for airline regulations.
We’ll discuss general TSA regulations on firearms, but remember to check with your specific airline for any additional rules or procedures you must follow.
No firearms are allowed on planes. In the event that a passenger would take one out of their baggage, it could cause chaos and issues while in flight.
While airsoft guns don’t fire live ammunition, many look very much like real guns and this is a risk that airlines will not take.
Each firearm must be declared when you present your checked baggage at the check-in desk.
The baggage will be checked for proper storage and the firearm may be examined by security members.
All firearms must be unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container to be allowed as checked luggage.
A loaded firearm is defined as one with a live round of ammunition in the chamber or available to enter the chamber.
Each passenger should always keep the key to their locks on their person unless TSA personnel request access for inspection.
Any brand or type of lock is allowed, including locks recognized by the TSA. Your locks will be inspected for compliance.
Parts such as magazines, firing pins, and bolts are also allowed to be taken in checked luggage but not in a carry-on.
It’s also important to keep ammunition separated from the firearm in the carrying case. Any scopes or optics you own are allowed to be carried in carry-on bags or in checked luggage.
When checking in, it’s important to remember that bringing an unloaded firearm to a checkpoint with accessible ammunition to a security checkpoint is considered the same as bringing a loaded weapon.
TSA and airport security will not care if you have an airsoft rifle or a real firearm, nor will they take the time to distinguish between the two before taking action.
Arrive at the airport with your firearms properly stored and locked in hard carrying cases to help avoid any issues.
For specific questions, contact the airport you will be departing from or your airline directly. You can also get in touch with the TSA Contact Center here.
Is it Illegal to Not Have an Orange Tip on an Airsoft Gun?
In the United States, all airsoft guns are required to have at least a 6mm wide blaze orange tip to help avoid confusing the toys with real weapons.
Most manufacturers of airsoft rifles include disclaimers that it is illegal to remove this orange tip or paint over it.
Part of the reason this law is in place is because of how realistic many airsoft rifles have gotten over the years.
Most models are made to replicate a real weapon and without this orange tip, are impossible to distinguish from the real thing.
It’s also important to check your local or state laws regarding who can use an airsoft rifle.
At the federal level, they can be used by persons of any age but can only be purchased by those aged 18 or older.
State laws can vary, however, with different restrictions put in place depending on your state of residence.
New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and San Francisco outlaw airsoft rifles entirely.
Can You Ship Airsoft Guns Internationally?
The general answer to this question is yes, you can ship airsoft rifles internationally. Some manufacturers will ship purchases to you in any country you live in, but there are some caveats.
Some countries ban airsoft rifles outright such as Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore, while others like Canada have strict regulations in place regarding airsoft rifles.
Before shipping internationally, you must ensure there are no laws banning the intended gun from entering the country.
Otherwise, the package will end up being confiscated and you could be charged legally.
While airsoft rifles are not typically considered deadly weapons and are not as dangerous as live firearms, they aren’t particularly safe either.
A typical airsoft rifle will fire pellets at a few hundred feet per second. While this likely wouldn’t kill someone, it can seriously injure them.
As airsoft grows in popularity, there is a similar rise in airsoft-related injuries. The most serious are usually eye injuries.
Any time you intend to play with airsoft guns, remember to use proper safety equipment and follow all rules of the range you’re at. Proper eyewear can quite literally save your sight.
An important note that is worth repeating is that airport security and airlines do not care whether you are bringing airsoft rifles or real weapons.
Both types of weapons fall into the same category for security and it’s vitally important to adhere to all regulations.
That being said, it’s entirely possible to fly with airsoft rifles, though you won’t be able to bring them onto the plane with you.
They must be properly locked inside a hard-sided carrying case and transported as checked luggage.