Once you peek inside, the world of airsoft guns can immediately overwhelm newbies. Getting a lay of the land is crucial before spending time and money on a sport that can suck you in!
The key usage of the airsoft guns is an airsoft game. This game is based on the same principle that lies behind the paintball game. People are organized in groups and shoot at each other with the purpose of hitting as many ‘enemies’ as possible, without getting shot.
Both the games feature safe guns that shoot pellets that are not capable of seriously injuring people. Airsoft guns are also largely used in the military training and in some houses for protection purposes.
Overall, airsoft guns cannot be perceived as real guns, as they shoot bullets that do not travel at very high speeds. However, some of airsoft guns look and feel exactly like real guns.
If you are new to airsoft, this is a gun that shoots 6 mm round pellets, also known as 'BBs'. In fact, pellets travel at a much lower speed than the real bullets. However, getting hit by airsoft pellets causes a little pain. Yet, they are completely safe, meaning that they cannot kill someone. Airsoft bullets also can not cause heavy-bleeding injuries, unlike real guns.
Nevertheless, even though airsoft gun is perceived as a toy gun, it is always recommended to exercise caution when using one. There is special ammunition that should be worn, while playing airsoft game or at any time airsoft guns are in use. We will talk about it a bit later.
Airsoft guns are exact copies of the real guns. Some of airsoft guns producing companies even use real mold of the original guns to create the realistic look. Thus, some models of airsoft guns look and feel exactly like real guns.
In Asia, Europe and the US, airsoft guns are used in the airsoft game, which appears as an alternative to the paintball. In some places, airsoft game has become the number one combat sport.
In fact, Nelson Technologies, the inventor of the paint marker for agricultural use predicts airsoft sport to grow at a crazy speed. Therefore, the company is looking into developing paintballs for airsoft guns. Moreover, the company believes that airsoft has a future due to its uniqueness – guns look real but do not hurt as much as a .50- or .68-caliber paintball.
Others prefer to use airsoft guns for keeping their yard protected from small animals. Another common user of the airsoft guns – police forces. For instance, in the UK the local enforcement establishments utilize airsoft skirmishing to keep the teenage gang members under control.
These days, airsoft guns are mostly used by those, who want to shoot at targets with something very safe. The tactical games are also one of the key modern uses of the airsoft guns.
As you already understood, airsoft guns are a very popular thing nowadays. That is why producers take advantage of the growing demand and develop newer and more advanced models.
As of now, we can differentiate between six major types of an airsoft gun. These are spring powered, battery powered/Automatic Electric Guns, gas-powered, hybrid guns, training weapons, and classic guns.
Let's look into each type more closely.
Spring powered models of airsoft guns require you to cock the weapon each time you fire it. These are very reliable and practical models for close quartered games.
They provide a slower rate of fire, thus you will not need to reload as often. Spring powered airsoft guns might be weaker than some of the other models, but they still provide the highest level of control.
Spring models are definitely will be a good choice for beginners. There is a big number of full-size spring airsoft guns as well as spring airsoft pistols that are quite affordable. If you are ready to spend a little extra, it is possible to buy a really nice high-quality spring airsoft gun.
Battery powered airsoft guns are mostly known as the Automatic Electric Guns (AEG). This type is one of the most popular airsoft gun types. Moreover, the battery powered type is also the most expensive one. However, the AEGs are expensive for reason.
They are powered by so-called Nickel Cadmium battery. The battery operates the motors that run three gears inside of the gun. The gears compress and release the piston. This creates a pressured wave of air that pushes the BB pellets out of the gun barrel.
These guns are very popular among experienced users.
Gas airsoft guns are normally used only once per round, and they are often kept as a side arm. Automatic gas airsoft guns are quite powerful. However, they do not provide high levels of accuracy and consistency. The gas or CO2 usually lasts only the duration of the clip.
Industry experts do not recommend using gas powered airsoft guns as a primary weapon. However, these are very effective in a role of a secondary gun.
A hybrid type of airsoft guns is the newest type of these guns available on the market. Basically, they are standard AEGs or the gas powered airsoft guns, but more powerful.
The AEG hybrid airsoft guns operate in the following way: the magazine is loaded with shell cases, which include the plastic pellet. These cases sometimes have a small red cap. The AEG hybrid airsoft guns have an electrically powered full blowback system.
They function on a "round-per-shell" basis. This implies that for each pellet fired, a shell case is ejected. The firing process is accompanied by a realistic sound and smoke effect. This type of hybrid guns is normally used by collectors and re-enactors.
Gas blowback hybrid operates in a similar way as AEG hybrid guns. A single 6mm pellet is loaded into the shell case. Then it is placed into a magazine. The airsoft gun has a tank for the compressed gas, which is used as the propellant.
Once the slide of the gun is pulled back, gun’s mechanism loads a shell into the chamber. When the trigger is pulled, the tank releases a small blast of gas and the pellet is pushed out of a barrel.
Some of the airsoft gun manufacturers develop special product lines of airsoft guns and accessories that are intended for use during the military and law enforcement training.
This type of airsoft guns is made of the aircraft-grade aluminum with some of the parts made of the stainless steel. Such construction of the gun provides great level of strength and stability. Training weapons are also very easy to maintain.
Also, training airsoft weapons offer realistic models of the military weapons. However, sometimes these guns are not quite reliable and it might be difficult to find some parts for replacement.
Worth to note that some of the training weapons are banned in the US due to the capability of being converted into the real firearms.
Classic guns are normally the older models of airsoft guns. They are gas powered airsoft guns, which are able to run on either an internal tank with traditional airsoft gas or on the external CO2 or HPA tank, just like in the paintball gun.
The rate of fire on classic guns can be regulated by the amount of air going through the system.
AEGs and GBBs are the most popular types of airsoft guns present on the market. While both of them are designed to carry out the same function, there are some of the peculiarities that each of these types possesses.
After having discussed the key uses, types and pros and cons of particular airsoft guns types, it is high time to take a look inside of the airsoft gun. In this section, we will perform an in-depth analysis of airsoft gun’s parts.
First things first, let’s go over the key components of the airsoft gun. The usual construction of the airsoft gun is comprising a spring, a spring guide, a piston, a cylinder and a cylinder head, tappet plate, an air nozzle, gears/anti-reverse latch and bushings, motor and pinion gear, trigger assembly/auto cut off lever, and gearbox shell.
Moreover, airsoft guns feature a number of attachments, which we will discuss later.
The spring pushes the piston at high speed, thus forcing the air out of the cylinder. The air hits the pellet and pushes it through the barrel at the high speed of 200-400 feet per second.
This implies that the spring is compressed by the piston. Every time the AEG fires, the spring compressed and decompressed all in less than a second.
The more powerful the spring is, the higher the muzzle speed of the gun.
The spring guide is an essential part of the airsoft gun that keeps spring in place. Without this detail, spring would eventually bend and jam the gearbox of the gun.
A high-quality spring guide features bearings that aid the spring to expand in a smoother way. Moreover, the bearings allow the spring to twist while in the process of compressing/decompressing. Moreover, a good spring guide is usually made of metal.
The piston pulls back the spring that pushes the piston head forward, when released by the gear. The piston head pulls air into cylinder as it is dragged back by the piston.
As the piston is released, the piston head pushes the air out of cylinder at high speeds.
Most of the airsoft guns pistons are made of the polycarbonate and feature a single steel tooth.
Some of airsoft pistons are made of the polycarbonate mixed with some other materials, such as nylon for extra flexibility.
Moreover, some piston models have 10 or even more steel teeth. Bear in mind that steel pistons need to be installed properly since the improper installation might lead to the damage of the gear box. The standard piston head is made from polycarbonate, sometimes mixed with aluminum. Most of the piston heads feature the single O-ring.
The cylinder of an airsoft gun holds the air which is compressed and then pushed out of the barrel by the piston/piston head. The internal part of cylinder needs to be perfectly aligned in order to allow the piston head to move back and forth at high speeds.
Ideally, cylinder’s air volume capacity should be balanced with the one of barres.
The airsoft gun’s construction ensures that this is done by incorporating holes in particular cylinder points.
The cylinder head is the key part where all the air moves after being compressed and forced out by the piston head. It is important that this part is very well made. Most of the cylinder heads are made of aluminum.
The tappet plate is designed to put the air nozzle back to load another pellet into the barrel. It is done with help of the sector gear’s special nub that pulls the tappet plate back as the gear pulss the piston back. This ensures that the pellet is loaded for every cycle.
The air nozzle loads pellets into the hop up and barrel. This part also transfers air from the cylinder/cylinder head to the hop up/barrel. Some of the high-end AEGs feature the air nozzle that comes with an internal O-ring. This provides the guarantee that there is no airflow in between the cylinder head and the nozzle.
The gears of airsoft gun are responsible for the operation of the piston and the tappet plate. These move at high speeds and should be made of the high-quality steel in order to ensure the proper operation.
The anti-reverse latch is acting as a stopper and is making sure that the gear is only facing forward.
The good anti-reverse latch should be made of the high-quality steel. The bushings are serving as holes, where the gears shafts are attached.
The motor powers the whole gear box. High torque motors provide the most versatile set of functions. They move at high velocity and are able to pull most springs. Some of the users prefer to switch to high-speed motors. Bear in mind that you will need to sacrifice some fps if you opt for the high-speed motors since they are not capable of pulling larger springs.
The pinion gear is the part on the motors that shafts the meshes with the bevel gear. Also, the pinion gear allows the motor to power the gear box.
The trigger assembly and the auto cut off lever control the rest of the gearbox. The trigger is an electrical switch that completes the electrical circuit of the AEG and activates the motor. The auto cut off lever is involved when the gun is in semi auto mode. This part of the airsoft gun cuts the power to the gun after one shot, thus creating a semi-auto firing mode.
The gearbox shell is what holds everything in place. The shell takes the most of the pressure of the piston and the force of the gears.
Attachments for airsoft guns tend to be quite expensive.
In fact, extra clips do not come with cheaper spring models. Clips for automatic or semi-automatic are available for about 30-40 dollars. However, even though they are pricey they also are very useful. Some other accessories include scopes, lights, and lasers.
The Guay Guay Trading Co. Ltd. was established in 1986. This American company focuses its efforts on producing airsoft guns, action figures, and military/law enforcement equipment globally. The claims that all G and G airsoft guns are of the highest quality, as they strive to incorporate great design and materials in its products.
The Echo 1 is the manufacturer of the airsoft guns and accessories. The firm is the first American company to be approved for sale in Japan, which shows the reliability of the firm. Moreover, the company claims to provide the highest quality products at the affordable market prices.
Tokyo Mauri is the Japanese airsoft gun producer. Tokyo Mauri guns are widely sold in Japan, but are also available worldwide. The company has a solid reputation in the Airsoft gun market. They produce gas-powered soft air guns, spring powered guns, AEGs, and AEPs.
Tokyo Mauri’s airsoft guns look and feels exactly like the real guns. All of the guns produced by this company are made from the high-quality plastic.
Even though airsoft guns are not capable of killing or heavily injuring the person, the basic safety precautions are necessary. In order to stay on the safe side, while using airsoft guns, you will need proper protection.
Purchase good quality full-seal protective eyewear – this is the minimum protection for using airsoft gun. As an alternative, you can use the protective face mask, just like the one that is used for paintball. In addition, while playing airsoft game, it is recommended to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants. Some players prefer to have extra padding on knees, feet, and hands.
If you are looking for additional protection, there is a myriad of options. Producers offer various kinds of protective airsoft helmets, tactical vests, airsoft ghillies, pants, jackets, and uniform sets.
Cleaning an airsoft gun is a nonnegotiable procedure that every single gun user need to carry out on a regular basis in order to ensure the long life of the unit. The cleaning process of an airsoft gun is very simple, you will only need a soft and damp cloth.
Just clean the exterior of the gun with damp cloth. Afterward, use the silicone spray to clean the inside of gun’s barrel. Make sure not to use any strong solvents, cleansers or petroleum lubricants. After cleaning the inside of your airsoft gun’s barrel, test fire your gun and you are good to go.