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Airsoft Guide - Everything You Should Know - Part 2

Overview

One of the more critical aspects of an AEG is the version of the gearbox that it contains. Tokyo Marui, an airsoft manufacturer, classifies their gearboxes with a specific version number that describes their compatible aftermarket parts, shape, and function.

Gearbox Versions

V1 – The first version gearbox had a very specific goal in mind. It was designed for the FAMAS F1 Tokyo Marui’s first AEG. The V1 can only use a specialized motor called the EG560 and won’t operate correctly with aftermarket parts without modifying the entire design. As of this time, the Famas F1 is the only gun to house the V1 gearbox.

V2 – The V2 is one of the more straightforward designs in the market today and is also one of the most common. The V2 is an excellent gearbox for first time modders due to its simplistic design. There are numerous tutorials on how to modify the V2 as well as many aftermarket parts available for modders to choose from. The V2 isn't without problems. Issues with improper mounting and the constant possibility that the gearbox shell may crack when used in tandem with a powerful mainspring led to the design of the more efficient V3 gearbox. Despite its shortcomings, the V2 gearbox is still widely used because of how easy it is to upgrade the system. The V2 can often be found in common weapons such as the M4 and the Mp5.

V3 – The V3 is seen as the crème of the crop as far as gearboxes go. Just like its predecessor, the V3 is used in many weapons and is cross compatible with the V2 on nearly every level. The V3, however, has several improvements over the V2. One of the more notable improvements is the thicker shell that allows the V3 to handle stronger mainsprings. One unique design aspect of the V3 is the motor cage that secures the motor to the gearbox shell. This design very nearly eliminates the need to adjust motor height. The most common weapons that house the V3 gearbox are the G36, AK-47, and MP5K.

V4 – Whereas the V2 and V3 share many similarities the V1 and V4 also share a similarity in the sense that the V4 is also a “specialty” gearbox and can only be found in the PSG-1. What makes this design so unique is the piston that cocks back before each shot, as opposed to during each shot. This is a great aid to those who favor sniping. The V4 is rare, and there isn’t much aftermarket support available. Customized M4s have been said to house the V4 gearbox.

V5 – The V5 was explicitly designed to work with the Uzi. The V5 isn’t used in any other weapons to date.

V6 – The V6 is a next-generation gearbox that overhauls the V3 and V2 designs. The most significant changes include the moving of all wires to the exterior of the gearbox as well as the trigger mechanism. The V6 can be easily upgraded since the plastic wiring harness can be entirely removed from the gearbox. This also allows for the simple replacement of firing or wiring components. Just like the V2 and V3 designs, you can find the anti-reversal latch on the opposite side of the gears. The cylinder head nozzle, however, is positioned higher than previous designs. Most parts of the V6 are compatible with the V2 and V3 such as the cylinder, gears, spring guide, and piston. Weapons that sport a V6 gearbox are the Thompson M1A1 and the P90.

V7 -   The V7 is also a specialty gearbox, having been designed exclusively for the M14 rifle. Sharing similarities with the V6, the trigger mechanism can be found on the outside, though there have been reports that the trigger mechanism of the V6 is much simpler than that of the V7.

V8 – it’s understandable if you confused the V8 for the V2, but any in-depth inspection will reveal small differences in the design. These differences allow the V8 gearbox to engage in 3 round bursts, a simulation of a real firearm. The only weapon to carry a V8 gearbox is the Type 89.

 Specialty Weapons

There are times where your standard rifle isn’t enough to get the job done, especially if that position is role specific. If you need a bit of extra firepower, there are entire classifications of weapons to suit your needs.

Grenade Launchers

Most grenade launchers use 40mm grenades. The launcher houses the shell and activates the 40mm grenade when launched. A small button rests on the base of the shell that’s pressed down when the trigger is pulled on the grenade launcher. This expels the gas from the shell.

Regarding tactical usefulness, different grenade launchers fulfill various roles. Depending on the model and brand, the price and build material may vary from launcher to launcher.

 Modular Launchers

If you’re looking to retain the usefulness of your primary weapon with the versatility and firepower of a grenade launcher you’ll want to invest in a modular launcher like the Lancer Tactical EGLM. In most cases, modular launchers are breech-loaded and require a reload with each shot.

 Stand Alone Launchers

Standalone grenade launchers are typically wielded by players who are dedicated to the role of grenadiers. Because standalone launchers aren’t integrated with another weapon, they tend to reload much faster. The ICS-190 is an excellent example of a standalone grenade launcher. In most cases, standalone launchers tend to be more expensive than their modular counterparts though of course this depends on the manufacturer and build material.

• Muzzle Mounted Launchers

Muzzle mounted launchers are a special type of 40mm grenade round that screws onto guns with a threaded barrel. The round is activated when the gun is fired, and the bb strikes the round.

Rocket Launchers

Despite the fact that some rocket launchers are designed to take 40mm grenade rounds (technically classifying them as grenade launchers), their aesthetical appearance classifies them as rocket launchers.

In most cases, rocket launchers aren’t commonly manufactured by an airsoft company but are homemade weapons created by airsoft players. Despite this, rocket launchers do indeed exist but are typically tagged with a high price tag.

Deep Fire M27 Launcher

This specific weapon is designed to fire 40mm grenade rounds. It’s a realistic replica due to its full metal construction and has enough space to fit a 57mm nerf football.

Non-Firearm Weapons

Grenades

Depending on the manufacturer you’ll find different types of grenades that have various functionalities and price. Most airsoft grenades can be reused multiple times in most cases, but the design of some grenades only make them single use. All grenades are powered by compressed gas.

Deep Fire MK II

Specs:

  • Power Source: Up to Green Gas
  • Reusable: Yes
  • Adjustable Timer: No
  • Max bb Load: Filled body
  • Build Material: ABS
  • No. of parts: 6
  • Manufacturer: Deep Fire
  • Approx. Price: $60.00

The Deep Fire MK II is based on the design of WWII era grenades. Like most airsoft grenades, the shell of the Deep Fire MK II separates from the body upon detonation, however, instead of splitting into two pieces, the shell sheds into four separate sections. Loading the grenade is relatively simple due to its design, but like most grenades, it has the drawback of many detachable parts.

Escort MK II

Specs:

  • Power Source: Up to Green Gas
  • Reusable: Yes
  • Adjustable Timer: Yes
  • Max bb Load: 28
  • Build Material: ABS
  • No. of parts: 1
  • Manufacturer: Escort
  • Approx. Price: $55.00

The escort grenade is powered by gas and shoots in a directional pattern out of the bottom. The bbs burst out after the rubber plug attached to a cord is released. The cord may break after regular use, but the only part that could be actually lost is the pull-pin. Many players find this grenade impractical due to is directional fire pattern.

RAP4 Pineapple

Specs:

  • Power Source: Up to Green Gas
  • Reusable: Yes
  • Adjustable Timer: Yes
  • Max bb Load: 8
  • Build Material: ABS
  • No. of parts: 6
  • Manufacturer: Real Action Paintball
  • Approx. Price $45.00

Being the most realistic grenade in the market isn’t necessarily a good thing. The RAP4 can be loaded with bbs as well as powder disks to simulate smoke. One handy feature is that the internal timer can be adjusted between 1 to 8 seconds. Each time this grenade is fired, the rubber seals must be replaced. Also, the RAP4 Pineapple comes with 6 detachable parts which is considered to be a very high number.

Thunder B

Specs:

  • Power Source: 12g CO2 canister
  • Reusable: Yes (kind of)
  • Adjustable: Timer No
  • Max bb Load: Filled body
  • Build Material: Thin plastic
  • No. of parts: 2
  • Manufacturer: Hakkotsu
  • Approx. Price: $35.00

The Thunder B is different from all of its counterparts in the sense that it uses non-reusable shells. When primed and activated, the Thunder B emits a powerful blast with only 2 detachable parts (the pull-pin and detonator). The Thunder B is activated by inserting a 12g Co2 cartridge (likely available at your local WalMart). After that, you can fill the grenade with whatever applicable ammo that you wish. Thunder Bs are aptly named, as they emit a massive explosion after a few seconds when the pin is pulled.

Airsoft Innovations Tornado and Crash

Specs:

  • Power Source: Up to Green Gas
  • Reusable: Yes
  • Adjustable Timer: Yes
  • Max bb Load: 180
  • Build Material: Nylon Polymer
  • No. of parts: 1
  • Manufacturer: Airsoft Innovations
  • Approx. Price: $99.00

The tornado isn’t exactly the most realistic grenade out there, but it is by far the most popular. Not only does it only have one detachable part (the pull pin), but it’s the only airsoft grenade that has a safety feature. You can engage this feature by removing the screw on cap from the bottom thus rendering it safe. Many airsoft players agree that the Tornado is the best hand grenade available in the market today.

Mines

Mines are a very viable weapon on the airsoft field. They’re both unique and functional and work great for ambushes.

M181 Claymore

Specs:

  • Power Source: Spring/9v battery
  • Reusable: Yes
  • Activation: Tripwire/Remote
  • Max bb Load: Filled body
  • Build Material: ABS
  • Manufacturer: CHORTLE
  • Approx. Price: $125.00

Just like its real-life counterpart, the claymore mine emits a powerful blast when activated, spraying bbs up to 30ft away. Using tripwire or remote detonation is a great way to keep your enemies on their toes at all times.

Mad Bull Powder Shot

Specs:

  • Power Source: Up to CO2
  • Reusable: Yes
  • Activation: Step on it
  • Max bb Load: 0 (powder)
  • Build Material: ABS
  • Manufacturer: Mad Bull
  • Approx. Price: $50.00

This mine doesn’t take any ammunition but is instead filled with powder (such as flour), so that when enough pressure is applied to the top, it will explode everywhere. Reportedly, this mine can be stepped on multiple times without being set off due to its composition of high-impact ABS. This mine is about the size of a CD, so its usefulness may be limited.

Knives

Knives are always fun to bring to an airsoft battle, but real knives made of steel are never allowed on the airsoft field.

Airsoft knives are used to "tap out" other players. Some rubber knives can be very realistic. As such, knives brought onto the airsoft field should be both soft and flexible enough to avoid injuring someone in the event of a close quarters engagement. In most cases, rubber knives are perfectly fine to use.

You’ll find that players can be very creative when using knives on the airsoft field. Knives made of duct tape, foam or even cardboard have been used in airsoft matches around the world. Plastic should be avoided due to its hardened composition.

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