An "honor system" is employed whereby the players rely on each others' honesty to admit to being hit, because unlike paintball, the plastic pellets do not leave a surface mark distinguishable at a distance.
Depending on the muzzle velocity of the gun and distance from which a person is shooting, the person on the receiving end of the shot will usually feel the impact but the pellets may sometimes not be felt by a player at very long ranges, when distracted, or when running strenuously, hence the importance of marshals or referees. However, honest admission of hits is still required because no one can monitor what happens to every player on the playing field.
In certain countries such as the Philippines where large numbers of players often play every weekend in commercial airsoft venues, additional special rules have been adopted to increase safety and avoid unnecessary injury. All "real steel" firearms, explosives, and bladed weapons are banned at any airsoft battlefield to prevent harmful accidents or misunderstandings and confusion between real and simulated weapons. Players are also expected to be discreet in transporting or carrying their gear and combat-style uniforms so as not to unduly alarm the general public and force the law enforcement agencies to investigate an incident involving airsoft guns.
To avoid unnecessary disputes that disrupt the game, players are discouraged from calling out hits on their opponent but are expected to signal a marshal to judge how effectively they can hit their opponents. Simulated "knife kills" can be performed when a player touches or taps an unaware opponent instead of shooting him or her at point-blank range. Players are prohibited from firing blindly when not able to see their target, especially around corners. Harsh language and forceful physical contact between players is strongly discouraged.
Players are expected to acknowledge being hit even if they are in doubt. Dishonest players who fail to follow the rules or acknowledge their hits run the risk of being labelled and ostracized as "zombies" by the local airsoft community.