There’s a larger showing of Airsoft firearms manufacturers and importers here at SHOT than I would have expected. [ED: Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.] I mean, they’re not REAL guns. But they are REALLY popular. According to Spartan Tactical Imports, firearms classes are cuckoo for air puffs. Two factors are contributing to the training sales . . .
Marking ammunition (e.g. Simunition or UTM) is expensive stuff. It requires all sorts of protective gear. With Airsoft, the cost of firing a training gun is VASTLY reduced. Students can train in their standard clothing or uniforms.
The increased demand for training—in no small part due to liberalized carry laws—is driving down prices, prompting Airsoft companies to make more models. More models, more interest, more interest, more demand, more supply, lower price.
In classes without shooting, most trainers use blue “safety” replica firearms to simulate weapons handling. For some reason, blue guns don’t elicit the same response from students as a real gun. Airsoft has the adrenal authenticity trainers need.