How to Choose Your First Airsoft Gun
To know how to choose your first airsoft gun, it would be good to know some basics before buying. There are many high quality airsoft guns to consider; but which one is the best one for you, and what equipment and accessories will you need? Airsoft guns are replicas to scale of real firearms shooting six-millimeter pellets. Though they are not real guns, they can be dangerous if not handled properly so safety should always be a concern.
Airsoft guns realistic appearance means you should always be mindful of local laws in your area and those in your environment. Carrying one, or more, around in the open could alarm people and law enforcement who are unaware you are not carrying a real gun. All airsoft guns sold in the United States are equipped with an orange tip by law to identify them as one, but that is not always enough.
Choosing an Airsoft Gun – Three Basic Types of Airsoft Guns
Just as real firearms come in a large number of major categories, so do airsoft guns.
The original airsoft gun used for airsoft gaming is generally reliable and offers a decent amount of firepower for its price. Upgrading is readily available to make your gun more powerful and spring powered airsoft guns have a lower risk of harming the environment. Being a cost effective choice, since on the lower end of pricing, makes spring powered models popular. However, unlike the gas and electric models, these do not have an automatic firing feature.
Most basic type
Viewed as entry level airsoft gun (except for some sniper rifles)
Use spring action to fire plastic pellets
Cock and fire – mechanical power – action required to fire each pellet
Generally least expensive option
Does not require batteries – no recharging
Power source is unlimited – manual cocking to fire
Many upgrades available – possible to increase to a powerful airsoft gun (on higher end spring powered guns)
Works in hot, cold, dry and wet weather conditions
Perfect as a starter for new airsoft gun owners
Some models are very powerful sniper rifles
Must be manually cocked prior to every shot
Not available in semi-automatic or automatic firing capabilities
Low cost models generally have a short life expectancy
More common in plastic than metal
Spring action is not always quiet and location disclosure is possible
Gas powered airsoft guns are available in several models – most common are propane, CO2 or gas, blowback or non-blowback – and use compressed carbon dioxide or compressed gas, propelling the pellet from the barrel. The gas also moves the slide and loads the next round on blowback models.
Nonblowback gas airsoft guns look and feel less realistic than blowback guns do.
Nonblowback guns are powerful and conserve gas more than blowback guns.
Multiple types of compressed gas used to fire BBs
Viewed as intermediate to advanced airsoft guns
Popular for outdoor target shooting & training
Most are semi-automatic
Some are available fully automatic
Green gas or CO2 are most common propellants. Propane can also be used in some gas models.
Nitrogen, CO2 and HFC134a refrigerant also useable – R-12 (red gas) aresols violate US EPA regulations
Some models can use more than one type of gas
Semi-automatic firing capabilities
Automatic firing capabilities
AEG’s constraints makes gas powered airsoft pistols popular due to size
Pistol blowback feature – places pellet automatically for next shot, highly popular feature
More realistic and most versatile option
Usually costs less than AEGs
Gas can freeze causing malfunctions
Gas canisters can be costly
Power is not unlimited
Spare gas canisters are required for lengthy gaming
Many gases are harmful to the environment – check local, state and federal laws
Gas clouds can happen giving up your location
Propane use requires an adapter
More expensive than spring powered airsoft guns
Sensitive to outside air temperature
Available in rifle or pistol styles
Runs on electric motor
Equipped with a gearbox – 3 gears works with a piston pushing against a spring to launch the pellet
Launch pellets at the rate of around 250 feet to 500 feet per second
Effective range of 100-200 feet
Available materials – metal and plastic
Commonly available in metal for more realistic feel
Preferred for field gamers – especially airsoft rifles
Manual cocking not required
Rapid semi-automatic firing capabilities
Automatic firing capabilities
Useable in hot and cold weather conditions
Many upgrade options available
Multiple use requires recharging
Battery life differs depending on battery
Known to malfunction in wet conditions
Electric pistol has a toy like appearance
Magazine & battery space is restricted on pistols
Metal gearboxes – produce more power, more expensive, allow faster firing
Plastic gearboxes – produce less power, less expensive, slower firing
Where to start on how to choose your first airsoft gun may seem a little overwhelming with all the guns on the market; but researching will simplify your search for you. Information on the airsoft guns you favor and learning all you can will help insure you make an informed decision on the best airsoft gun, accessories and gear that is right for you.