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Legality of Airsoft Fields



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Old October 25th, 2010, 11:44   #1
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Whitehorse, Yukon
Legality of Airsoft Fields

I've been thinking a lot lately about the idea of converting the old, empty Canadian Tire in town into a sort of 'adventure sports' place. The main feature being an indoor paintball field.

However, I've been noticing an upkick in both people playing and interested in playing airsoft in Whitehorse as of late, and, fundamentally, an airsoft field and a paintball field are the same thing. (Speedball notwithstanding, but speedball is lame as hell anyways. A good moneymaker, but still lame as hell.)

However, I've never actually seen or heard of an airsoft field, as in somewhere where anybody can walk off the street, buy airsoft guns and gear, and go play on a field. Plenty of paintball fields offering airsoft nights and the like, but never a dedicated airsoft field. (Even one that shares real estate with a paintball field.)

This may be because I'm not exactly an involved member of the airsoft community, but I'm wondering if there are any legal issues involved here, due to airsoft's grey-area status in Canadian laws.

Is it just a matter of player base being unable to support dedicated airsoft fields, or is there more? Or are there actually a ton out there that I don't know about-and, if there are, please let me know about them so I can take a look and see how they operate.
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Old October 25th, 2010, 12:01   #2
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I'm fairly certain that field wise, the laws are the same for both airsoft and paintball. insurance wise however, depends on the company you're field will be with as some are strictly no on airsoft.

The big reason why you see lots of paintball fields and few airsoft is just the markets, more people playing/willing to try paintball then airsoft.
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Old October 25th, 2010, 12:15   #3
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check their prices.. and you can see where pricing needs to be to support such a venue

average $35 to start and $20 / 45 minutes / $2 for reloads

if you popped in for 3 hours of play you would likely drop $80
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Old October 25th, 2010, 12:15   #4
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You've got more in front of you in terms of municipal bylaws than anything else.
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Old October 25th, 2010, 13:01   #5
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Yeah, I'm dreading bringing the business plan to city the city-we've got a bunch of hippy douchefags that won't even approve new apartment blocks that the city DESPERATELY needs because they're afraid they'll be populated entirely by pedobears and drug dealers. They may be a hard sell on a paintball arena.
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Old October 25th, 2010, 14:00   #6
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Draft your ideas and go see your municipality, that'S pretty much the only way to know for sure.

You'll need a very, very solid financial situation, the startup costs are mean and you'll most likely lose money the first years.
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Old October 25th, 2010, 14:26   #7
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a lot of revenue from paintball places comes from the sales of paintballs, at an extremely marked up price. Not sure you could do the same for airsoft.
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Old October 25th, 2010, 15:45   #8
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Airsoft fields

Hi there,

We have a dedicated field here in Mission BC. It does pretty good, but the property is owned, not leased and the home of the owner is located on the same property.

It took 6 years to build the player base, we now have a pool of about 120 with 40 to 50 showing up for the bi-weekly games. Field fees are only $12.00 for the day, but that is extra cash for them.

I think if you work a solid business plan you find, unless rent is dirt cheap, it will pretty tough. You can supply bb's but you will not make a lot on those, as well as a snack bar etc.

Rentals work out good once they are paid for, our field rents at 50.00 for the day field fees, mask and bb's all included. All the rental guns are beta Spetnaz ak variants and have been running good for about 4 years, currently there are 12 available.

But if you need staff to run things your costs will climb fast.

Field costs can not be too high or you will have no player base as people won't shell out.

But even at $20.00 per head for the day, and say 30 players you only make $600.00. And you will not get those numbers every weekend unless you have a high base player count.

Remember paintball is messy and starts to limit your options for other things like, laser or nerf games for the younger crowd.
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Old October 25th, 2010, 19:06   #9
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What I'm thinking now is that the building would have a 2 paintball fields and one field for airsoft and laser tag-the cost of cleaning paintball fields on a regular basis would quickly eat up the cost of offering airsoft too, but the building is big enough to accommodate all three without much issue.
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Old October 26th, 2010, 16:02   #10
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Cursory to this, assuming the field has no legal or monetary roadblocks, a few questions:

-What would be a good brand to look at for rental-grade equipment? I'm more interested in guns that are cheap, require little to no upgrading out of the box and are duable. Especially durable. High performers are not necessarily required-I know, fast, good, cheap, pick 2. I'd like to get probably 20 assault rifles (Probably 10 M4s and 10 AKs or somesuch), 5 pistols, 2 SAWs and 2 sniper rifles (Arena size allowing, they may be changed for shotguns depending on if I can work in suitable MEDs for them. As in, the guys with snipers could only stay in a certain area)
-Are there any companies dealing in repair certifications, or am I pretty much left to tearing them up and down until I can fix them?
-Where do I go about becoming a registered dealer? I understand if you don't want this posted on an open forum, so PMs are fine (Or e-mail-don.hornby(at) I also understand if you don't want to hand this out to someone that isn't age verified. (Corollary to this-there's no Age Verifiers inside a thousand KMs for me. Is there any way I can work around this?)

To be honest, I'm a total gear nub for airsoft-any advice will be MUCH appreciated. If there's a good bit dealing with a quick run-down of the major brands, significant terms, recommended upgrades and maintenance details, I'd love to get my hands on it.
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Old October 26th, 2010, 16:11   #11
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Unfortunately, the words "cheap" and "durable" do not go well in the same sentence, especially in the airsoft world. If you're nowhere near an Age Verifier, then, you're probably nowhere near a gun doc either, so you'd be shit out of luck for repairs, unless you're up to learning to fix 'em yourself.

However, getting mass support from this site is pretty much impossible without getting age verified (and no, there is no way around it), so unless you want to make the trek to meet one, I don't think this will work out very well.
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Old October 26th, 2010, 16:19   #12
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Snipers in an indoor field are a bad idea, especially with hot guns, they'd need to play at field limits (say 330 FPS which is a pretty standard indoor limit) and don't really have too much advantage over an AEG. In fact AEG's are more "accurate" in being able to volley a lot of BB's down range in a short time than a sniper rifle. There is a difference in precision and accuracy. Sniper rifles are precise but AEG's are accurate.

I'd suggest retaining an in house gundoc but finding people who can do it might be a problem especially up north. I believe there are some players in NWT and YK but they're very sparse and you'll be hard pressed to find professional and knowledgeable gundocs. Hell, good ones (that have time for you) are fairly hard to come by in the more populous parts of Canada so they're few ad far between.

The FAQ section should have most of your questions answered but as for rental stuff I'd suggest getting something robust if anything. People will fuck up your stuff even if it's a steel tube and you're blowing the BB out, at the end of the day the "barrel" will be bent back on itself 180 degrees and people will be blowing BB's back at themselves. Maybe getting some cheap CYMA's and JG's (Jing Gong), but they'll probably need repair more often as they're clones (but surprisingly have improved to a point where they're pretty decent but still not top of the line stuff). Also China clamp down is still hurting supply apparently but products are slowly coming out and being restocked at some international retailers (Canada getting the short end of the stick since we have the import regulations that prevent easy importation).
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Old October 26th, 2010, 17:05   #13
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Whitehorse, Yukon
I've realized that I'll have to become the local 'gun doc' in all likelyhood (Something I'm not opposed to, I love fixing things, and I'm already working on grinding my way through every paintball airsmith cert I can).

I am coming down to Vancouver in early December-maybe I'll try to arrange something with the BC Age Verifiers then.
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 17:37   #14
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I just noticed this post so I figured I can offer some insight.

No matter what brand of airsoft gun or gear you buy, they will not last you for rentals. Either it be a $200 Aftermath, or a $1500 Systema. And this is mostly because of the following reasons:

a. Airsoft guns are NOT made for commercial use.

b. People who rent generally have the "I don't really care" attitude so they will not treat your equipment with the respect it deserves. And you can't really blame them. It's kinda human nature. Much like people who get a rental car and the first thing they do is go to an empty parking lot to do donuts.

c. VERY FEW People who rent have no basic knowledge of airsoft period. So they will abuse your equipment intentionally or unintentionally. ie. Bang the guns to walls, single hands them while firing and ends up dropping your gun, or the classic "the gun is jammed, so let's keep pulling the trigger on full auto till I hear something break!". This is mostly because they don't know any better, but because of that, you have a series of things to replace with your guns.

Solution: Find yourself a good tech, one that can produce work in a timely matter (as that is very important to you to get the gun back up and going without doing a sloppy job). Get a bunch of money, and stock up on replacement parts because your gonna need them.

Gear is important as you need to buy that by the volume, and often "double" the amount of rental guns you have as the gear would need to be sanitized and washed after every session, and this would need time to clean and time to dry, so you want a back up set to get going for your next game/group.

Find out if the building you are looking at meets code to have an entertainment facility. Safe to say if your building is considered "older" or was never avalible to the general public (ie. warehouse, factory, etc). Chances are it does not meet proper coding. Your best bet is to hire an architect and have them examine the building before you decide to lease or purchase any properties. Personally we must have seen at least 10 buildings before we found one that "could do" and that wasn't meeting code, that was not requiring a complete tear down and rebuild like the others.

Find out what your lease rate is per sqft. For an airsoft facility, square footage is very important. Our gaming arena is 16,000sqft and I think that is "just enough". See how much it cost you just for rent a month, then find out if you are even going to come close to paying off "just" the rent, never mind the rest of your operating cost (staff, equipment, basic bills, etc).

Lease rates varies from province to province, area to area, district to district. So find that out first before you even look into other matters and ask yourself if it is even possible to pay the bills just for rent from your client base.

Originally Posted by Brian McIlmoyle View Post

check their prices.. and you can see where pricing needs to be to support such a venue

average $35 to start and $20 / 45 minutes / $2 for reloads

if you popped in for 3 hours of play you would likely drop $80
Just like you said Brian, the cost to "support such a venue" is rather high.

But just to correct a few points on that. The average price for a complete rental package is around $30 (taxes in). That includes your rental AEG, set of four standard magazine, your tactical vest, full face mask and your helmet. Your 45 minutes of game time is included along with your 10-15 minute safety turioral.

In short it is $30 per game, and half price for the next session/s.

The way we run games here is a little different then an average outdoor game. Since you are on a time limit, we have "unlimited" respawn rules that maximizes your game time. We also find this to "reduce" the amount of cheaters/no calling hits as players don't really have to "sit out" once they get hit until everyone else is done. If they get hit, they simply have to walk back to respawn and they head back into the game right away. Also because of this "no down time" style play, the energy level and that stamina required is quite high. Most players (especially first timers) only have enough energy to play for one session. While the more "seasoned"/regulars can sometimes do two games a day with a reasonable "break" in between.

Pardon my grammar and my ramble. I just want to give a heads up to those following the same path. And hope they learn from my mistakes.


Last edited by Gunman; April 2nd, 2011 at 17:43..
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 20:33   #15
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In terms of equipment and gear, i can give you some advice, ive helped out alot in Hong Kong outdoor and indoor airsoft fields before and all the gear they provide you are cheap but durable, majority of the places offer JG G36C for rent. they got tons of them. because probably they buy in bulk and a JG 36c is about 50 CND in hong kong so id say 100 bucks here? probs not since everything is over inflated here but lets say you spend 2000 on 20 of them, you need insane maintenance on them even though the maintenance might not cost much money it will cost lots of time for you to fix.

gear wise, they give you cheap mesh masks that smell like crap but same goes for all paintball places in my opinion, also they provide cheap woodland BDU for you to wear, you can get BDU cheap from China for low costs especailly if you buy in bulk. you wont need to spend more than 2000 on like 50 uniforms.

them main concern as stated by Gunman is that people dont give a shit about your guns, alot of guns are beat up with bits falling off. Some of the Rental G36c that i stated above dont have charging handles. the hop up is adjusted before given to the players so they dont fuck around with them.

Another thing is that if you open these places you probably need at least one or two staff members to help you, one is to have a instructional session for 10 minutes to explain rules and safety of airsoft. it is crucial that waivers are signed as well and no offense but since you are out in the middle of nowhere ill expect kids to be less disciplined than kids out in a big city. even so back in hong kong they do let underaged kids play but parent must be playing and yes a PARENT or someone blood related. like a brother or sister no cousins or distant relatives.

Im just rambling but take heed to my advice!!

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