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A Beginners Guide To Airsoft Guns

By Steve Petrucci

Airsoft was originally developed in Eastern Asia. Local and International laws made it nearly impossible to obtain a firearm but there were still hobbyists who wanted to participate in the sport. Airsoft guns were created with realistic looking weapons in mind so that players could participate in military or police scenarios without risk of getting seriously injured.

Airsoft is a game played within a reasonably large predetermined area where the objective is to "hit" or "tag" other players with the projectile fired from an airsoft gun. Unlike paintball or laser tag it is hard to determine whether someone has or has not been hit so airsoft relies on an honor system when playing.

Airsoft guns can be divided into three distinct groups that are determined simply by how they are powered. Gas, electric and spring powered weapons are the most common and all have their advantages and disadvantages. When a first time buyer is wondering what kind of gun to get I would stick to the spring models because they are cheaper but taking care of them requires the same basic steps as taking care of an expensive electric airsoft gun.

Spring Airsoft Guns

Spring models are airsoft guns that require you to pump or cock the weapon every time you fire it. They are very reliable during close quartered games. You will have a slower rate of fire but you won't find yourself reloading as often. I would suggest using a spring model as a primary or a back up weapon. Springs are the most reliable weapons available. While they may be weaker, and not have the range that other guns do they are the easiest to handle and play with. First time buyers should seriously consider a spring model. There are many full size spring airsoft rifles available as well as spring airsoft pistols that are affordable and a good way to get into airsoft. If you want to spend a little more money you can go with a ultra grade spring airsoft pistol which are heavier and a bit more durable.

Gas Airsoft Guns

Gas airsoft guns are often used only once a round and are usually saved as a side arm or secondary weapon. The gas or C02 usually only lasts the duration of the clip and a lot of the time your shots will not be consistent. Automatic gas guns tend to be "pellet hoses" in which ammunition is sprayed all over the place with out any accuracy or consistency. I would only buy a gas or C02 powered gun to use as a side arm or as a last resort. While they are powerful they are not reliable enough to use as a primary weapon but can make a very effective secondary weapon.

Automatic Electric Guns (AEGs)

Electric airsoft guns are more powerful and usually the most accurate. Many electric guns come with a hop up system that allows you to lay down a consistent accurate line of fire until your clip runs out. Batteries usually take 5 to 8 hours to charge the first time but any time after 3 to 5 hours would suffice. Batteries would usually slow down as they lose their power and eventually shooting the weapon on semi-automatic rather than automatic is better. If you want to be a competitive player but are new to the field I would suggest buying an electric airsoft rifle of some sort. One of the best brands for automatic airsoft guns is Tokyo Marui. They were one of the first companies to introduce electric airsoft guns to the market and the quality of their rifles is top notch.

Airsoft Tips Based On My Field Experience

  • My friends and I have played in heavily wooded areas, swamp like places, deserts, slot canyons, at night and in a really creepy cave. The one thing that I've come to realize is that one tends to get really aggressive when playing in a long game in a physically demanding environment. So guns with fragile plastic parts need to either be reinforced or taken into the game knowing that it's probably going to break. Example: While playing in the desert once there wasn't really a whole lot of cover. The cover that was there was small and in order to quickly get behind it you usually had to drop onto your stomach or back. Every single gun we used in that game came home with a broken stock, site or barrel.
  • Airsoft guns are a lot of times said to be fragile and easy to break down internally. This is not true. If you clean and maintain the gun after every time you use it the gun will last much longer than expected. It's really that simple. If you get dirt in the barrel blow it out. A lot of people don't seem to realize that Airsoft guns do require cleaning. Even though it doesn't require a thorough cleaning like a paintball gun or a pellet gun it does need to be maintained if you want it to last. -Springs do wear out. It's inevitable.
  • C02 powered guns tend to seize with excessive use. Just let the gun warm up and it'll be fine.
  • All Airsoft guns should be lubricated before a game. WD-40 is perfect and one quick spray inside the chamber is all you need to make sure your gun operates properly.
  • Safety goggles are always a good idea.
  • While owning a few automatics and semi-automatic weapons I've come to a few realizations. Green gas is no good. C02 weapons are good but after their C02 expires I don't usually rearm the weapon until in-between rounds. A spring powered assault rifle model that is just as useful at night as it is during the day is really the best option for me. Automatics run out of ammunition too fast and take too long to reload the magazine for them to really be effective. While they are freakin' sweet to have and shoot at people I find myself just emptying the magazine then ditching the weapon for my MP-5 until the round ends. However, I just picked up a high capacity magazine for my Marui G36C that holds 500 rounds which is enough to last an entire round. You should have at least one AEG in your arsenal because if you are the only one without one you most likely will get wasted by someone using an AEG.
  • With an Airsoft gun, range is never really accurate over 100 to 150 feet. Airsoft sniper rifles look cool, have scopes, and can be pinpoint accurate within a couple hundred feet. With Airsoft snipers you can shoot a covered opponent where a regular weapon would be slightly less accurate making that person harder to hit.
  • While I have experience with grenades, I have no experience with grenade launchers or multi-shot launchers. Grenades are heavy, bulky, hard to load, and when they go off its really not that effective. I've had a grenade land at my feet countless times and not get hit by any of the fifty BB's loaded inside of it. I don't carry or use them when playing.

Airsoft Accessories

Accessories for Airsoft guns are either non-existent or really expensive. Extra clips usually don't come with cheaper spring models. That means you're running around with bottles of BB's rattling around in your pockets or bag. Clips for automatics or semi-automatics are usually around 30 to 40 bucks which is a lot to pay. They are very useful once you have them but buying them is always a debate. Many C02 powered weapons the C02 is placed in the magazine. So purchasing multiple clips is really expensive or not an option. Scopes, lights, and lasers while they look really cool the light is usually the only accessory that is worth having. Scopes are usually just red dot scopes which don't magnify your shots at all and lasers are always just there for looks unless you fork over the money to get one that you can adjust. Even then the guns usually aren't consistent enough to hit where the laser is pointing every time. They'll come close but not every time. There are more expensive, high quality scopes and lasers out there, but for the beginner, the price may be too much to handle.

What is Hop Up?

Airsoft hop-up devices apply a backspin to the pellet so that the pressure force acts on the pellet opposite to the direction that gravity is pulling it. This causes the pellet to fall less over a given distance than it would without the spin applied to it. The hop up can usually be adjusted, as heavier pellets made of denser plastic require more of a backspin in order to counter gravity. If hop up is adjusted accurately, it can ensure a completely straight trajectory for the pellet. This increases range and accuracy significantly, and most airsoft weapons come with this feature as standard.


Simple rules need to be followed when dealing with airsoft guns. Protective eye gear should always be warn and all guns should always be treated as if they were loaded.


Airsoft warranties in general are pretty limited. Most of the airsoft guns listed on our web site carry a 30 day limited warranty and that seems to be standard. However, some companies don't offer a warranty on their airsoft items at all.


So basically when buying a airsoft gun accuracy, durability, power, and look were the biggest factors. Many of my friends believe that a fully automatic M-16 with a LED light and a scope and laser is really cool but the price is out of the question. So they have become very good with cheaper spring models that aren't automatic but get the job done. If you can afford an AEG go for it. They are really fun to shoot and can destroy an opponent with the shear volume of airsoft bb's you are able to fire. If an AEG isn't in the budget go with a good spring airsoft rifle and pistol and then build your way up to an AEG.