History[ edit ] Airsoft originated from Japan in the early s, trademarked as "soft air guns", tailoring to the needs of shooting enthusiasts while conforming to Japan's strict gun control. The name "soft air" referred to the compressed Freon - silicone oil mixture known as "green gas" that was used as a propellant, which was significantly weaker than the carbon dioxide used in proper airguns. Originally designed for target shooting , their plastic pellets can be shot at humans without causing injury and this became popular for casual war-games. The guns were sold in pieces and had to be assembled before they were capable of firing pellets. Airsoft equipment was designed to closely emulate real guns. Since the mids, airsoft guns have been adapted with a purely recreational application in mind, and the sport is enjoyed by all ages.