Do Airsoft Guns Have To Have Orange Tips Mandatory?

Question about should orange tips be present on airsoft guns

It is common to see an orange tip at top of an airsoft gun in the US, while it is less often seen in other parts of the world. The question is whether such orange tips are mandatory, what their real purpose is, and what is there that you are allowed to do regarding their presence.

Orange tips and similar markings have their purpose, yet many people argue their usefulness and critic the laws that push airsoft guns into mandatory markings because it certainly destroys immersion of a replica.

After all, an airsoft gun is a replica of a real gun, so sometimes it can be weird to see a fully bright-colored airsoft gun like it is the case in some states. However, there are the laws regarding the markings just like there are some law that may forbid you to play airsoft in the backyard.

Hopefully, orange marks do not affect the look that much and they are the most common type of markings you will see in airsoft.

So, do airsoft guns really have to have orange tips?

All airsoft guns in the US must be marked with orange tips as Federal law states, otherwise, airsoft guns can not be sold in stores or traded in any other way legally. Sometimes states have additional laws that bring further limitations to airsoft gun owners.

Let’s see the purpose of these laws and what the law really states more accurately.

I am also not a lawyer, so this is my opinion based on the research I have done regarding airsoft laws, so nothing here can be considered legal advice.

The purpose of orange tips on airsoft guns

The purpose of orange tips is to help in the identification of airsoft guns from real guns and thus remove the misunderstandings.

In theory, orange tips are supposed to help law enforcement and civilians to be sure that the device that looks like a real gun is a toy.

In theory it also makes it obvious that guns in airsoft stores are not real guns but airsoft replica guns.

You may not see much point in the last sentence and neither do I, but let’s say that the sentence before makes some sense to some extent.

I mean if the airsoft gun is colored with the orange tip in some cases it will make it easier for others to tell it apart from the real gun, but what if someone painted a tip on a real gun and presented it that way? It still is not the best way to set things up, but the law states so, and despite imperfections, we must respect it.

Some states like New York and California demand that the entire body of an airsoft gun needs to be colored in bright colors such as purple, blue, green, or transparent.

According to what I hear players say, this indeed breaks the fun part because airsoft is about realism and simulating the real battles and having a brightly colored or transparent gun in hands certainly does not add up to it.

Just take a look at some of these realistic airsoft replicas and imagine if someone ruined them by painting them pink or orange.

But, the law is the law and just because some of us sometimes do not see the point, the law knows better.

So, I respect the law and you should respect it too!

What the federal law says

The federal law states that all airsoft guns need to be marked with orange tips at the moment they are put into the trading, exchange, or placed in a store.

No one can purchase one if it is not marked.

This pretty much summarizes everything big that you should know about the federal law regarding orange tips on airsoft guns.

You can also find this public available information on government websites here regarding federal law on airsoft guns.

What the state laws say

The state law adds up to the federal law and it sometimes has a whole set of rules regarding airsoft guns that need to be obeyed and sometimes remains silent on this topic.

This depends from state to state, so some states won’t mention anything about airsoft guns and thus only the federal law will be applied, but sometimes the states may classify airsoft guns as «firearm», «replica firearm» or «imitation firearm» and add new rules which may limit their use or affect their appearance furthermore.

I have covered most US states, so feel free to check what your state says about airsoft guns. You may also hear a thing or two about some other airsoft laws or best practices to stay safe in your state.

In case that I have not covered your state, do some research and in 15 minutes you will find some relevant information on government sites.

What the local laws say

There are local/regional laws and ordinaries that may apply, so even neighborhoods may state something regarding airsoft guns.

If such ordinaries exist, you will have to find out on your own but the chances are quite high that they do not exist or cause any serious issue.

Is it legal to remove orange tips from airsoft guns?

Once you have read what the federal law says and have confirmed that your state law or local/regional law does not add any additional limitation regarding airsoft guns, we can conclude the following.

Federal law always applies wherever you go, however, I have not found anything in the law that forbids you from removing the orange tip once you get it home.

The law states that you can not purchase or trade unmarked airsoft guns, but does not continue what goes after it.

According to this, you can make your own assumptions, but I would not ever transport my airsoft gun in the public area without orange marks because they still give some vibe and relevancy about their «toy» nature.

To avoid misunderstanding better keep the orange tip on in such instances.

Can you play airsoft in fields without orange tips?

If you are just beginning with airsoft and have purchased a marked airsoft gun you may bring it that way to the field and that’s okay, whether you are going to keep it this way is up to you.

Most players remove orange tips for actual field games, so at least from my experience, I have not seen many people playing with marked airsoft guns in the fields.

As I said, most people think that it breaks the immersion and it is easier to spot you in the bush.

I also have not heard that fields have regulations regarding this, but in case that some fields demand it you can easily find it out by checking their website or by contacting via mail or phone.

How to add the orange tip if you removed it

Once you remove the orange tip you shall know that it will not be easy to put it back on if you used force to break it, however, there are a few possible ideas that you can apply whenever you go in public with your airsoft gun.

  1. buy the replaceable orange tip from local or internet stores (best practice)
  2. glue the tip back if possible  (highly likely a good choice)
  3. create a tip from the orange paper ( may work)
  4. paint the orange tip with a bright orange felt pen (may work)

I can not confirm whether someone may argue that the original tip is not present and that such improvisation is not appropriate, but from personal experience and common sense, I think it should be okay if done well.

Final take on and precautions

There you go, after checking the possible state and regional laws you can come up with the conclusion on your own because federal law applies in all cases.

Bear in mind that just because you can remove the orange tip it does not mean that you necessarily should.

I would still rather see a gun marked with orange tips that make me think that it is a toy rather than run into a realistic replica that looks like a real thing.

Therefore, whenever you leave the comfort of your home or the airsoft field consider attaching the orange tip back on the gun.

One more thing that I can advise is to always bring the case or a bag and fit the airsoft replica in it because if it’s invisible no one is going to care.

I have covered some bags and cases for airsoft guns in my review post, so feel free to check it if you need one.

Staying incognito with your airsoft guns is always the smart practice anywhere in public just as it is important to treat your airsoft guns like you would treat real guns!


Dino is a thrill seeker who loves to share what he learns about his favorite hobbies.

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