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What is an Airsoft RIF/Replica – Types, Laws, Limits and More! [Beginner’s Guide]


So what is an Airsoft RIF?

You might have heard of airsoft but you might be wondering what in the world is a RIF? The answer could simply be put in one sentence: “a RIF is a Realistic Imitation FᎥrearm”. 

Wait! Is that everything I need to know? Yes, if you are only looking for the meaning of the RIF abbreviation.

On the other hand, there are many different types of airsoft RIFs and they vary greatly in the way they work; the laws surrounding each type; and the way they perform. If you would like to know a little bit more about them, simply read on!

Laws regarding Realistic Imitation FᎥrearms

As RIFs look almost exactly like their real steel counterparts, countries that allow airsoft have put laws and regulations in order to protect their citizens and limit the replicas to a safe energy output in order to avoid injuries. 

For example, some countries such as the USA don’t allow airsoft replicas to be painted fully black in order to ensure they’re not mistaken for a real fᎥrearm. Airsoft replicas in the USA must have an orange muzzle (tip) to be legal in the eyes of the law.

However, other countries such as the UK actually allow for a fully realistic replica, as long as the owner is a regular Airsoft Player and is registered with the UKARA as a defence (a reason) why he/she owns a fᎥrearm replica. If you would like to find out how to get your UKARA defence in UK, click here to read our guide.

Never take your RIF out in public and always store it in a bag or a case when transporting it to a game site!

Furthermore, legal energy outputs also vary from country to country – for example, a fully automatic replica has a limit of 350FPS (Feet per Second) using 0.20g BBs in the UK; whereas the same type of replica is legally allowed to shoot up 400FPS using 0.20g BBs in USA.

If a player uses heavier BBs than the standard 0.20g, the energy output is then measured in Joules. Why do players use heavier BBs? For better accuracy and range. However, this is quite a big topic which we already cover in another dedicated article; you can click here to see our guide on BB weights and their effect on the joules of a RIF.

Different Types of RIFs

Generally there are four main different types of Airsoft RIFs available on the market; these vary from pᎥstol replicas to huge “50.cal” snipers and heavy machine g⊔n replicas. They are also powered by different means, such as: batteries, gas, springs or high pressured air. The selection of airsoft replicas is wide and supplements almost everything you could imagine. Here’s a quick breakdown of what to expect and separate legal limits for each type:

AEG – Automatic Electric G⊔ns

As the name suggests, automatic electric g⊔ns are powered by batteries. These can range from pᎥstols to heavy machine g⊔n replicas, however what you will most likely see on the field is assault rᎥfles such as M4s and AK47s.  These are capable of shooting full-auto, therefore their energy limit is set to: 

  • 350FPS / 1.14 Joules 

We also offer the most in depth guide to the way AEGs function right here at AirsoftRanch.com – click here to see the AEG Wiki Master Article! 

DMRs – Designated Marksman RᎥfles

DMRs are also usually powered by a battery, but they are only capable of shooting in semi-automatic. This means you will have to press the trigger everytime you want a single BB to be shot. You will often see the famous M110 or a Scar being used as a DMR on airsoft fields. The reason why they’re only allowed to be semi-automatic is the use of higher energy outputs in order to reach further targets, the limit for DMRs is:

  • 400FPS/ 1.5 Jolues

Bolt Action Sniper RᎥfles

You have probably spotted the pattern of energy outputs and limits by now. As it continues, the sniper rᎥfles are powered by powerful springs rather than batteries and are allowed a much higher energy output. However, they are limited to a pull bolt action so no automatic fire is possible. You will most likely encounter replicas of the Remington Model 700/M24 in the field. When playing with a sniper rᎥfle, a site will also usually have a min. engagement distance such as 20m due to the increased energy output: 

  • 500FPS / 2.4 Joules

GBB/HPA PᎥstols and RᎥfles

Gas Blowback and High Pressured Air replicas come in all sizes and types of rᎥfles; this is the source of energy rather than a type of replica. The difference between the two is that Gas Blowback uses Green/Red/Black gases which vary in strength to accommodate to the temperature and High Pressured Air is self explanatory and can be adjusted on the go through a valve.  All the above types of rᎥfles can also be transformed into a HPA system from a battery, spring or gas blowback. The energy limit outputs will depend on the type of replica it is. 

If you would like to learn more about the differences between the Spring/Battery and Gas/HPA powered replicas, click here to read our dedicated guide.

Final Words

I hope this article has helped you to grasp what a RIF is and given you a better understanding of Airsoft replicas and laws. If you are just starting up Airsoft, I recommend reading up on some of our other beginner guides such as the “Cost of Airsoft” or simply get in touch and ask us any question! 

Peace out Rancher and have an amazing journey into the world of Airsoft!

Written by Kamil Turecki

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