Since its inception in Japan in the 1970s, airsoft has quickly become a favorite pastime of firearms and tactics enthusiasts in many different countries. However, airsoft can be costly, leading one to wonder if it’s possible to make money by playing airsoft.
You can make money by playing airsoft, and here are 8 ways to do it:
- Offer gun repair services.
- Help others modify their airsoft guns.
- Resell airsoft guns or equipment.
- Earn from professional sponsorships.
- Work at an airsoft field.
- Win competitions.
- Run your own airsoft store or club.
- Earn from monetized content creation.
Keep reading to see a detailed explanation of how each method can earn you some cash while keeping you engaged in the airsoft community.
1. Offer Gun Repair Services
Like any sport, airsoft equipment is expensive and can’t escape inevitable wear and tear. Especially for people that play airsoft outdoors, exposure to the elements can quickly cause gun mechanisms to fail or wear out pieces of tactical gear. Learning to repair airsoft equipment won’t only save you money on your repairs, but it can also earn you some extra cash if you help other players fix their gear for a fee.
Airsoft guns are functionally different from actual firearms in several ways, like how the electrical parts in many airsoft guns are used. That makes repairing airsoft guns a multi-faceted endeavor requiring a significant amount of knowledge and experience. Airsoft gun repairs should only be done by people who truly understand what they’re doing.
Aside from gaining the necessary knowledge and experience, you’ll also need marketing. You won’t find customers by soliciting people randomly at your local airsoft field. An excellent way to get yourself out there is to put up flyers advertising your services at your local field or to put out an ad on local listings such as Craigslist.
If you want to get started repairing airsoft guns for money, there are plenty of comprehensive guides on the topic, like the Practical Gas Airsoft Pistols Upgrade & Maintenance 2011 from Amazon.com. This guide discusses different kinds of airsoft technologies and shares the knowledge from airsoft technology innovators.
Looking for a job at an airsoft field or store is also great for getting acquainted with the process. Online repair services usually charge a hefty fee (around $40 an hour plus surcharge depending on the service). If you’re good at what you do and can deliver results in a timely fashion, you can likely offer your services for half of that and still make decent money.
2. Help Others Modify Their Airsoft Guns
Playing with replica weapons is one of the cool things about airsoft that keeps people playing it year after year. Part of airsoft’s appeal is the realism of the weapons and the ability to customize your loadout. Aside from that, the different laws dealing with replica guns in various countries across the globe mean that airsoft guns frequently need to be modified to ensure adherence to local laws.
For this reason, it can be very profitable to learn how to modify airsoft guns. There are dozens of makes and models out there. So there’s an almost infinite amount of potential work for somebody who knows their way around the equipment—like with gun repair, learning to modify airsoft guns takes a lot of knowledge and experience.
Once again, advertising will be one of the main hurdles to start making money modifying airsoft guns. A good approach is to keep a catalog of modifications you’ve done to your guns or customers to serve as a showcase for your work. If you deliver consistently effective service, people will eventually take notice.
One last important thing to note is the legal aspects of modifying airsoft equipment. Although it’s legal to modify airsoft guns in most countries, some caveats typically follow the laws. For example, toy or replica firearms in the US must always be fitted with a 0.24-inch (6.10 mm) orange tip to distinguish them from real firearms.
Like repair services, upgrade and modification services can be pretty pricey at airsoft stores and through online shops. Depending on the upgrade, spending up to $300 on a single modification is not unheard of. Working independently on guns for people you know around your local scene, you can probably undercut these services quite comfortably and still make decent money.
3. Resell Airsoft Guns or Equipment
As you’re probably aware, airsoft is not a cheap hobby. Proper airsoft equipment can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars—not to mention that there are tons of accessories, additions, and services required to participate in the sport regularly and effectively.
If you can obtain airsoft equipment at a discounted price, it can be profitable to resell it for a higher price. Sometimes it can be very profitable. The key is finding deals on different equipment and streamlining the process of resale. Pistols can sell for between $20 to $80 depending on the make and model, while rifles can go from anywhere for $180 all the way to $500.
An excellent way to obtain discounted equipment is to buy in bulk or purchase items from areas where they’re less in-demand. If you know how to repair or modify airsoft equipment, this can also help you add value to items you buy.
In terms of selling the equipment, it’s essential to get set up with a service that can help you deliver goods to customers easily and cheaply. Resale profit margins can quickly evaporate if you have high shipping costs or frequently lose customers to competing sellers.
An excellent way to start reselling airsoft equipment is to set up an Amazon Seller account. Doing so will give you many options for selling and shipping your items. It’s also an excellent way to give your resale business some extra exposure. Just be sure to stay consistent with your shipping and accounting.
4. Earn From Professional Sponsorships
Like any other sport, airsoft companies will pay prominent players to promote their gear. Typically, sponsorship will be offered to athletes who regularly participate in tournaments or who frequently appear in magazines or other media to promote their sponsors. A good example of a sponsored airsoft player would be Jet Desertfox.
Sponsorships can take many forms and typically consist of receiving free gear with which to compete. Sponsorships can also take the form of direct monetary compensation for promoting certain brands while competing.
The main hurdle to get over for obtaining sponsorship is visibility. If you want a brand interested in sponsoring you, people have to know who you are. That means you have to get out there, play regularly in competitions, and make yourself a part of a successful and well-known team. Maintaining an outlet for content, such as a YouTube channel, is also a good idea.
If you don’t have the money for a lot of different equipment or cannot regularly participate in competitions and events, it’ll probably be challenging for you to get sponsored. No company is interested in paying a random person to wear their gear. If you start regularly competing and publishing content that people enjoy, you’ll have far greater chances of landing a sponsorship.
5. Work at an Airsoft Field or Store
Out of all the items on this list, this one is probably the easiest to get into. If you’re lucky enough to have a local airsoft field or club, then you can try applying for a job there to earn some cash helping your local airsoft community. Clubs and stores are always eager to grab new talent that can help show newbies the ropes and keep games safe and fun.
If you have experience running airsoft games or participating in many events, you will probably already know what it takes to make a good referee. Likewise, if you start working at a shop or club that does repairs, you can even learn other valuable skills such as repairing or modifying airsoft equipment. It’s also a great way to make friends and keep yourself connected to the local airsoft scene.
If there is no local club or field in your area that you can work at, consider applying for a job at a store that sells airsoft guns and equipment. These types of stores are ubiquitous in many areas. Some even give employees a discount on goods and services from the store.
Even if you try volunteering at a club or airsoft field, this can usually lead to opportunities that pay real money. Not to mention the invaluable experience that volunteering can give you. If you have the spare time to help out, it might be a good idea to seek opportunities at your local airsoft stores and clubs.
6. Win Competitions
This strategy can be a bit of a tough one. Even though airsoft is gaining in popularity, it is still a relatively niche sport enjoyed by select groups wherever it is practiced. For this reason, airsoft competitions and tournaments don’t garner the same amount of attention that many other sporting events can.
For this reason, prize money offered at airsoft tournaments is rarely a lot of money. If you’re lucky, you might win a few thousand dollars. When factoring in the price of entry, the cost of equipment and maintenance, and a myriad of other expenses, the prize money quickly becomes more of a perk than a primary motivator for competition.
That said, if you’re part of a good team that can afford to compete regularly, then the prize money is a totally legitimate way of earning money by playing airsoft. Unlike other entries on this list, winning competitions requires a lot of actual playtime, likely with a team of other competitors playing at similarly high levels of skill.
If you think you’ve got what it takes, competing for cash is definitely one of the cooler ways to make money with airsoft. It can be especially nice if you already subsidize your airsoft expenses with other pursuits such as repair or resale.
7. Run Your Own Airsoft Store or Club
If you’ve got the cash and the know-how, setting up your own independent business can be one of the best ways to make some real money from airsoft. It will take a lot of planning and perseverance to get it up and running, but the payoffs can be huge.
Running a club is very likely less expensive to start doing than running a store, but there are some other challenges to consider, as well. These include things like insurance, advertising, and maintenance. Nobody wants to get sued because players keep getting injured at their airsoft club. Likewise, nobody will want to come to an airsoft store if they don’t even know it exists.
If you already have a business background and can get some land or a storefront at a reasonable price, then this might be the way for you to go. It can be easier than you think to start up a small airsoft business, especially in areas with less competition. The most important thing to keep in mind is that running a business takes a lot of investment, both time and money.
I have an in-depth article on how much money airsoft fields actually make here.
8. Earn From Monetized Content Creation
One of the most common ways to make extra money playing airsoft is with content creation. That means making videos, images, blog posts, or other content focused on airsoft activities. YouTube and other platforms have dozens of channels based on just about every aspect of airsoft and military tactics in general.
You can do anything from product reviews, tutorial videos, or action shots of you and your teammates competing at local events. The catch here is that you’ll need to invest some money in decent recording equipment and some editing software to create quality content.
If you need some ideas, you can check out the airsoft channels on YouTube, such as USAirsoft. You can create many different types of content—they’ll all require different types of equipment, marketing, and editing to become reasonably popular. YouTube is a good option for a platform, but you can also go with Twitch to do live streams of airsoft content.
Whatever you choose to do, it’s important to educate yourself on what makes airsoft content popular. Learn the different ways that YouTube algorithms promote specific videos. You likely won’t find much success trying to get your content out there if you don’t. You can even hire professional search engine optimization experts to help make your content marketable on an online platform.