'You would think you were holding a real steel firearm'

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- A new store opening in Springfield is offering an alternative to firearms for gun enthusiasts.

The owners of the recently opened Tactical Assault airsoft supply said what they sell won't seriously hurt you - or your wallet.

Co-owner Brandon Lockwood said many airsoft guns mimic the appearance, structure and sounds of real firearms.

"If I didn't tell you this was a toy and I handed it to you, you would think you were holding a real steel firearm right here," said Lockwood.

Aside from the differences in what airsoft and firearms shoot, Lockwood said airsoft guns are much cheaper and easier to get your hands on.

"They are guns, but they are still considered toys," Lockwood said. "So it's like buying a BB gun or a paintball gun."

Even though they are classified as toys, buyers still have to be 18 years of age or older to purchase airsoft guns at Tactical Assault.

Springfield Police Sergeant John Umenhofer said this national regulation is partially because airsoft guns can get you into trouble. Parental consent and supervision is required for minors.

"It can be scary if you have a child with an airsoft gun at night and we're going to an armed subject call in a darkened alley way or something and they pointed the gun, we could have a real tragedy," Sgt. Umenhofer said.

Airsoft guns are fitted with an orange tip on the muzzle to help distinguish these look-alikes from their lethal counterparts. Even with that difference, the convincing armaments aren't allowed in schools or government buildings.

Police said you should always shoot in a controlled environment with the right equipment.