Airsoft is immensely popular with combat-sports enthusiasts who want to emulate real-life military scenarios as closely as possible.
From the guns to the gear, the tactics to the tactical pants, everything has to be accurate – especially when playing a MilSim (Military Simulation) game.
But there’s just one little thing that bugs many players – particularly beginners.
That brightly-colored bit of plastic at the end of the gun barrel.
What is it? Why is it there? Can you paint over it? Or perhaps most importantly – are you allowed to remove the orange tip from an airsoft gun?
Let’s find out.
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The Orange Airsoft Gun Tip – Too Long, Didn’t Read
You’ll be pleased to hear this isn’t going to take a lot of explanation.
It is not illegal to remove an orange airsoft tip – with a series of caveats.
It depends on federal, state, and local laws, and is likely to be different in Europe and other parts of the world than it is in the US. Check with regional ordinance where you are to find out your obligations.
Some states will have stricter laws than others.
Only if you are playing on a dedicated airsoft field, or you’re on private property, should you remove the orange tip.
And use common sense. By “private property” I generally mean a larger yard, garden, or farmland, not a small, inner-city block where plenty of neighbors can see you waving a gun around.
The tip must be replaced when in public, and when selling, transporting, or shipping the weapon.
If you decide not to replace the tip when you’re not actively playing an airsoft game, then it is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED you put the gun in a sealed, opaque case where it is not visible.
At the end of the day, so long as you’re not running around the streets/walking into a mall/hanging out a vehicle window with an airsoft rifle that’s missing the orange muzzle – you should be fine.
Why Do Airsoft Guns Have an Orange Tip?
By law, all airsoft, replica, or toy guns need to have an orange tip affixed to the barrel before they are sold and/or transported.
Every replica weapon you purchase will have one, just check out this review of the best airsoft rifles on the market.
No matter the type of airsoft gun, even if not displayed in the promotional photograph, when it turns up at your door, it’s going to have an orange tip at the end of the barrel in some form or another.
The reasons for this aren’t rocket science – it’s to show that the product is a fake and isn’t real steel.
There’s enough nervous cops out there as it is without giving them more to think about, and there have been shooting fatalities for much less.
Is it Illegal to Remove the Orange Tip?
No, providing you do it within the confines of private property, or at a dedicated airsoft field event.
If you don’t want to do that, try asking at your local airsoft field or merchandise store, or talk to an experienced player who should know what’s expected in your area.
It’s up to you to stay within the law – for your own safety, the safety of the public, and the safety of law enforcement officers.
Reasons to Remove an Airsoft Gun’s Orange Tip
There are many reasons why airsoft players want to remove this unsightly glow at the end of their prized weapon.
MilSim players in particular like to remove it for improving realism. Unless they’re firing blanks, the military certainly doesn’t go around with a brightly-colored tip on the end of their rifles.
It’s also a sure-fire way of giving away your position on the field, and removing or disguising the orange tip can seriously improve your camouflage ability.
Finally, you’re going to be limited with the attachments and customizations you can enjoy with an orange tip on the end of the barrel. Removing it will help you add suppressors, tracers units, and more.
Take a look at these awesome airsoft sniper rifles, for example, and tell me they’re not going to look totally badass with the tip removed.
Why You SHOULD NOT Remove the Orange Tip
As with anything that has pros, it’s also going to have cons. And not to pee on anyone’s fire, it’s important you understand what they are before proceeding, so you can make an informed decision.
The most definitive reason for not removing the safety tip, is that your airsoft gun will look like a real firearm.
If you don’t believe me, just check out this review of the best airsoft pistols currently on the market, and imagine one of them on the street, without the orange tip.
Would you be able to tell the difference in the heat of the moment?
Aside from the most important aspect – which is your safety – removing the orange tip will likely void the gun’s warranty, and the manufacturer will be reluctant (or straight-up refuse) to fix or replace it, should the need arise.
Finally, from a purely aesthetic point of view, you can easily damage the weapon if you mess up while removing the tip. Some guns are better quality than others, and this can be very easy to do, especially if you are inexperienced.
So, the question is not so much – “can I take the tip off?” but rather – “SHOULD I take the tip off?” Now you know the pros and cons, it’s entirely up to you.
To be honest, there’s a lot to be thankful for. If it wasn’t for that small, but relatively subtle legality, the entire weapon would have to be a hi-vis color, or completely transparent, or worse – totally banned.
How to Remove the Orange Tip from an Airsoft Gun
If you’ve taken the decision to remove the orange tip from your airsoft gun, and its use will continue to be legal as a result, then there are a number of ways you can achieve this.
One ingenious method is to not remove it at all, but rather paint over it with a water-based acrylic, spray paint, or permanent marker.
When required, you can always use rubbing alcohol to bring the orange back, then you don’t risk damaging the gun, voiding the warranty, or getting in trouble with the law.
If, however, you want to follow the vast majority of airsofters and remove the tip entirely, then the method depends on the gun.
Some tips are glued in place for a permanent fix, which may or may not be in a more budget-friendly airsoft gun, like the ones found at that link.
Others will be attached with a threaded screw, or held in place with some small hardware, such as pins or screws.
I recommend putting together a set of tools that might help you with the job, including hex keys, pliers, and precision screwdrivers. A multi-tool is also useful, as is an armorer’s wrench for added leverage.
Examine the barrel of the gun closely to find out how it’s all put together. In most cases, you should be able to figure out how to remove the tip yourself.
Another method is to use heat to melt the glue, and then twist the cap off. Just be careful when you’re doing this, so as not to ruin any other plastic parts.
Dipping it in hot water might work, or a brief use of a hair-dryer.
Covering the tip with a cloth and using a pair of pliers to unscrew it should also yield good results. Again, take your time, and don’t force anything. If it’s not coming off, you need to rethink your strategy.
It’s also worth noting that you can purchase an orange safety cap for the gun barrel, so even if you mangle the plastic tip during removal, you can replace it if you’re ever in public with the gun.
Alternatively, if you’re not comfortable either removing or reapplying the orange tip by yourself, you can always take it into your local airsoft store or tech guys, and they will service the weapon for you.
Finally, there are plenty of videos out there covering this exact topic, and with a bit of research, you’ll probably find one that covers the very weapon you own. Check out the guide below for starters.
You now know how to remove the orange tip from an airsoft gun – and if you’re allowed to in the first place.
So long as you’re careful, and you use a little common sense (particularly in public) then you can continue to achieve a realistic look and feel to your battles when in the field.
Let me know if you have any clever ways to get around this issue, or any relevant airsoft experience you’d like to share with the community in general.
Stay safe and play safe – and happy airsofting!