How to choose an Airsoft Gun? So you are thinking about buying your first airsoft gun and first thing you ask the airsoft community is “what gun should I buy”. You will probably get as many answers as there are players because everybody got an opinion. So I am not going to write here what gun you should buy, but maybe steer you on to the path in choosing the first airsoft gun that is right for you.
So maybe first thing to think about is do you really want to spend money on this hobby, if you don’t yet have any airsofting experience I would suggest you to borrow or rent an airsoft gun and go out and try this sport before committing to it. But if you already know enough about airsoft to want to commit to it and buy one, then I welcome you to the first step in buying your first airsoft replica.
Bugdet? How much?
So first thing to do is to take a look at your wallet, because that is going to be the most important tool in buying your first (every gun you ever buy) because this will help you choose the right gun for you. You might have “unlimited” resources or maybe you just got some saved up cash from birthdays or Christmas presents so that will determine what you should buy. Having tight budget does not mean that you have to buy a cheap “bad” replica because cheap can still be a great choice. Yes we all want that Systema PTW, Real Sword SVD or maybe an Inokatsu GBB M4 but we can still get something good for a lot less. So do your research on forums and find out about the airsoft gun in your price range before spending your hard earned cash.
Where will I play?
On important thing to think about is where you want to play airsoft. If you will play at a specific site, may it be woodland or indoor CQB or whatever venue there might be, then that will also determine what you should buy. I’ve seen guys buy a new very good brand AEG, and when they come to the CQB field and it shoots too hot and moderators have to reject the gun. Then they have to spend more of their hard earned money on downgrades or buying another one or maybe just lose interest. So do some research on the field rules before buying a replica.
Can I be a sniper?
Another point in choosing a replica, is the role you want to play as in the games. Sniper, assault or support, this will also affect your choice. But here I want to stress a few things, you probably seen videos of those cool players with snipers that rule the site and that hit players on every shot, but here you really should think about your choice. Yes it is cool to play as sniper but is it really what you want? “Yes!” I hear a lot of you say. But it is not an easy role to play, you are usually stuck with a spring single-shot rifle so that will take you out of the fastest action because you can’t just keep up with the shooting and that might just make you lose interest. My first gun was a Classic Army M24 spring sniper-rifle that I spent a lot of money upgrading and when I got in to my first game I was just sitting there and not being able to run around and shoot a lot of bb’s, so I got shot a lot and did only hit one player all day. So that almost got me thinking that “this is it” but I immediately bought a DBoys M4 AEG and had a lot of fun with that one. I still have the sniper and it is my most favorite gun but it took me awhile to find the right playing style for it. So my recommendation is get a semi/full automatic airsoft gun and start from there, when you find your playing style then adapt to that.
Assault rifle, sub-machinegun, PDW?
This is all up to you. If you are small in stature then maybe a sub-machinegun type gun for you, but if you are a bigger airsofter then why not wield a big support gun. Just choose what you feel like playing with. Maybe you just want a pistol, why not. It is not what you use, it is how you use it! So think about what class would fit you the best.
AEG, GBB, Spring or..?
Yes, that is one old question. But let’s narrow it down for you, GBB (Gas Blow Back) has its upsides, the nice kick when you fire your airsoft gun almost makes it feel like a real gun. But it does come with a few drawbacks… gas consumption. And expensive magazines, but also you have to consider the weather because the gas is very sensitive to temperature. And on top of that, you are required to take care of it, fixing leaky magazines, clean and lubricate the gun, etc. So I would not recommend your first gun to be a GBB. Maybe a springer then? Well like I said before I would not recommend this either, it just isn’t up to par with those shooting in full auto. No, get an AEG (Automatic Electric Gun) these are a great starter choice. You get semi/full-auto fire, and with a hi-cap (High Capacity) magazine you don’t need to buy a lot of magazines until you really want to fully commit to airsoft. Of course this is just my opinion.
Full metal or plastic?
Full metal all the way! Well yes and no. Yes full metal means that it is metal and can take a little more damage than its plastic counterpart but these are still not steel guns nor are they always high quality metal. Plastic guns can be as durable as some full metal guns. And some are plastic or polymer because the real counterparts are also polymer. So don’t fall in to the trap that guns should always be full metal. Take Tokyo Marui as an example, they are always plastic (mostly) because of laws in Japan, but the usually outperform most guns on the airsoft field. So, full metal does not always automatically mean better. But if you have to go really cheap then get a cheap metal gun than a cheap plastic gun.
So what kind of gun should I get: M4, AK-47?
Well if you are not really sure then get the M4/16 and this because this platform has the most accessories, spare parts, upgrades, etc… So if you ever want to do some upgrading in the future then this is the choice for you. Accessories are plentiful, never ending; there is more stuff out there for the M4–M16 family than any other platform. And this is why I recommend it. But what I don’t want you to get is some unique airsoft gun that has limited to none accessories or spare parts, because you will be out of action as soon as something breaks. And that is a big morale crusher. You put all your money into that one great unique gun and then you can’t afford another one when it breaks and you are stuck with it and not able to play. So stick to a platform that has a lot of affordable spare parts and upgrades.
What brand should I buy?
Like I said before buy what you can afford, if you got a good budget the buy something with good reputation, so read up on forums what brand is good and which to avoid. My recommendation is, if you got about 400-450 €/$ then get a G&P, VFC, KWA etc.. But if your budget is tighter the go for a DBoys/Kalash, Cyma, G&G or even King Arms. But always remember to go with what you can afford. In the end most guns will perform very similar, yes some are more accurate and more powerful and some shoots at a high rpm (rounds per minute) but it is always the shooter that determines how good it really is. Having a high end gun does not mean that someone is a great player, I’ve seen players with spring pistols out play players with high end GBB pistols and AEG’s, so just learn to use what you have and then move forward when you know what you want or need.
What about second-hand?
This can be a good and cheap way to go but like anything you buy second-hand you can never be sure what you really get in the end. In my experience I can say that I had the good fortune to always get great stuff second-hand, but it helps to know your stuff. So maybe only buy from people you know until you know what you are buying.
So now I hope that I have given some guidance for you to choose your first airsoft gun. May it be whatever brand, price, quality… just remember to have fun out there on the airsoft field. And don’t take it too serious, it is just a game after all.
Written by RBAirsoft
Many thanks to Spectre Airsoft Media for the cover photo