Traveling with airsoft guns can sometimes be tricky, but by no meanings should be something that you should avoid or be afraid of. There are many cases when people misunderstood the airsoft guns for real firearms and it certainly can not be a pleasant experience.
However, you must transport them through public places somehow and you can not always keep them out of sight of others, especially when traveling via planes and the luggage control is mandatory.
In this guide I will share with you the best tips for safe traveling with airsoft guns whether it is about flying, driving, sailing or walking on foot with your beloved replicas.
I have made a research based on official rules that Transportation Security Administration has stated and based on official state laws that often mention public airsoft guns transportation.
After that I have mixed such available official information with experience of other players who used to travel abroad. I don’t travel a lot, but people that I know do and some players like to travel to other states just for a weekend match, so they are quite used to it.
I am not a lawyer and I can not give you the official legal information, the law and policy also changes every now and then and it is suggested to always double check with the official law sources.
Driving with airsoft guns
Driving is the most common way to transport airsoft replicas along with public transportation on the side.
When driving it is important to understand that there is the state law in charge based on your location and this changes when you enter the another state and there is overall federal law that applies in every state.
Federal law is quite simple to understand and basically speaks about how airsoft guns should be mandatory marked with orange tips and it is not that important for transportation purposes.
However, each state has its airsoft gun laws and you should do research in advance before you start to travel. I have written some articles about the airsoft law per state, so there are good odds that I have covered yours.
In case that I have not, you should go to the official state law website of the chosen state and find some information on airsoft replicas and firearm law.
In some states there are no specific laws and you won’t have to think too much when traveling beside using some basic common sense.
In some states the law may seem quite weird at first and your gun may not be properly marked or such stuff.
Anyways, when you apply the common sense and respect some common transportation rules, you will hardly put yourself into any troubles.
The recommended common sense rules to keep you out of trouble are:
- Keep it in a bag or a case instead of keeping it on a side or back sit visible to the eyes of others
- Even when carrying it in a bag or a case, keep it out of reach. Preferably somewhere in the trunk or beneath the back sit. This is important if the officers ever stop you for a routine control, do not give it a single bad odd, especially not in states where they are less „firearm“ friendly.
- In some states the airsoft replica may be considered as a „firearm“, so you should mention that you have a „firearm“ with you if you are asked by the officers, but also explain that is an airsoft replica and not a real gun. Also mention that you understand that the law varies from state to state, but you are just transporting it in a protected case out of your reach.
- Some public workers, just as some officers are not quite familiar with airsoft guns. Therefore, bear in mind that you should treat it in a such way that they do not make conclusions against you. Although, they may be wrong, you do not need additional issues that will cost you precious time.
- After arriving to the destination, do not forget that you should not make it visible in a public area.
That’s it, just keep it hidden and do not brag about it. In case that someone does not know much about them, explain them by rationalizing it. Say something like, “this good boy only shoots plastic BBs and although it may look scary, it is not going to bite”.
Flying in airplanes with airsoft guns
Airports have quite rigorous rules and their policy can be pretty sensitive. It is important to know how to prepare your gear before you arrive at the airport and to expect questions from airport security and employees.
As it is a matter with everything, some security and other airport employees may not be familiar with airsoft guns and in some cases this may cost you time, but in most cases it should go quite simple if you have prepared accordingly.
There are many airports in the world and there are many states in the world, therefore I can not give you some specific law because it would take too much time to do so. The part of preparation is checking the airport and state policy and law.
Check for every possible policy or law related to luggage and firearms for any possible additional important information that varies from airport to airport or state to state.
I will share what I have found on American Security Administration website, so you can expect some general law that you must obey at all times.
– Airsoft guns are treated on airplanes pretty much just as their real steel counterparts.
– Airsoft guns should be always carried in a hard case with a lock in order to minimize the bad odds. (If you carry a gun in a regular baggage and they scan it, they will characterize is as suspicious and the security will show up for investigation).
– If they ask you to open the case and it is not likely that they will, but in case that they do, you should have the key or safety combination with you.
– You are not allowed to carry airsoft replicas in carry-on baggage, but only in checked baggage.
– Bear in mind that CO2, green gas and propane is not allowed on flights, therefore in case that you transport a gas-powered gun, disassemble it and do not carry the cartridges.
– Airsoft guns, magazines and BBs are allowed, however some other accessories such as flash bangs, grenades and similar stuff are not.
Sometimes the law changes and it is smart to always make a double check on official websites by looking into the airport law. If you are unsure about something and can not simply find the written information, feel free to call in advance.
Why can’t you take co2, green gas and propane cartridges on an airplane?
CO2, green gas and propane cartridges due to their explosive and flammable properties may explode in baggage on a plain, but they can also be used as explosives and therefore for security measures they are not allowed on planes and airports just as it is the case with many other liquids.
People often forget this, but the rules are the rules.
Traveling in public on foot
When it comes to passing through public areas such as parks, roads, alleys and similar places, you should always keep every piece of your airsoft gear hidden inside a protection case or a bag.
This comes as no surprise, but it is worth mentioning that some public places are more sensitive than others.
Although it may be a serious issue for you if someone spots you holding an airsoft replica gun in public area, especially where the big groups of people are found at, the school premises take this to another level.
In most school premises there is special policy that forbids firearms and replicas and it certainly makes sense, so bear it in mind.
The orange markings may be required by federal law, however, if you display a replica in public, people won’t notice the orange markings and immediately conclude that it is just a replica, nor will the police.
Traveling by buses, trains and boats
If you choose to travel with any of these vehicles you are expected to share the space with other passengers. Just imagine what burst of panic it would be if someone notices a replica gun in a closed area full of people.
The basic rules apply here, but do not commit some mistakes that I have heard people committing.
- It is preferred to carry the replica guns in something that does not have an actual shape of a gun and therefore let’s the others conclude that an actual gun might be inside it. People’s imagination is pretty wild. Therefore, I would not carry my airsoft rifle in a obvious hunting rifle bag, but rather in something that may also fit for cloths,gadgets or instruments.
- Do not inform the driver or the employees about airsoft guns in your bags unless they are suspicious and directly ask you to explain the situation based on some people’s concerns. All they hear in most cases is a word „gun“ and it is enough to get their attention that can escalate the situation.
- Do not talk about your airsoft guns with your buddies while traveling among the other people.
When you use the common sense, you do not need to know every single law or policy that is out there, however it is still good to know more in life about the law than less.
Unnecessary attention that may escalate the situation is truly unnecessary, always stay incognito for as much as you can and try to explain it to the others if someone concludes something in order to calm the situation.
Understand that some people are more threatened than the others and it also varies from state to state.
In case that you do not have a case or a bag to fit your airsoft guns into, you can check my post here. I have reviewed some bags and cases that I believe do the job perfectly.
The possible punishments that you may receive if you break some of these law are not necessarily big, however even the simplest breach of the piece comes quite unnecessary.