What is Airsoft?
Airsoft is a game that is like paintball except with better quality guns. The rules are usually the same as regular paintball (do not shoot anyone within 10 ft of you, do not shoot at anyone without an airsoft gun, etc.) There are referees on hand to make sure everyone knows the rules and follows them. The only difference between airsoft and paintball is airsoft guns shoot plastic bb’s whereas paintball guns use 4 oz tubes filled with brightly colored liquid which explode upon impact. Airsoft guns can cause welts but rarely break the skin whereas paintballs will always leave welts and may pierce the skin if too close of an impact occurs. Basically, just think of it as a paintball game where you use plastic BBs instead of 4 oz tubes and the guns shoot out a much faster and flatter trajectory.
How is it played?
Airsoft is played everywhere from backyards to outdoor fields similar to that of a paintball field. The rules are usually the same as regular paintball (do not shoot anyone within 10 ft of you, do not shoot at anyone without an airsoft gun, etc.) There are referees on hand to make sure everyone knows the rules and follows them. It is very easily understandable once you experience it for yourself.
The different types of Airsoft guns
There are a ton of different kinds of guns out there, but for simplicity’s sake, we will go over the main 5.
Spring Sniper Rifle: This weapon is very similar to a real sniper rifle in how it’s loaded and fired. First, you have to cock back the bolt which pulls back a spring that loads the bb into place from a feeding tube called a magazine or mag then you fire by pulling the trigger. This type of gun is very beginner-friendly because all you have to do is load, pull back, and shoot; no gas, battery, or charging handle is required. They are often sold with bipods attached which come in handy if you playing at an outdoor field where there are some higher spots like hills or bunkers. A disadvantage to this gun is that it’s quite loud. The bolt also makes a very distinctive noise when cocking back the spring which can give your position away.
C02 Sniper Rifle: This type of Airsoft gun is slightly more complex than a spring rifle but not much. First, you need to charge the C02 cartridge with a special charger, then put it into place inside the mag and load as if it were a regular spring rifle. To shoot you pull back the bolt and push forward on a button called a hop-up to release pressure from the loaded bb inside the barrel chamber thus firing it out of the barrel. C02 rifles have more range and power than their spring counterparts so they are better in large open areas without too many obstructions between you and your target. However, they are much more expensive than spring rifles. Also, because it uses C02 cartridges the gun is usually heavier
HPA (High-Pressure Airsoft): This type of Airsoft gun’s ammo is held in a very large magazine which attaches to the bottom of the gun. In order for this weapon to fire you need not only load it as with any other rifle but you then have to pull back on a charging handle that pulls back an extremely strong spring inside the magazine thus releasing a charged bb into place ready to be shot out of your barrel chamber through a hop-up system similar to those found in C02 rifles. While this gun does shoot flat out better and further than any other rifle it is even more expensive. It also requires that you purchase a tank, regulator, and air hose attachment to be able to shoot it which can cost about as much as the gun itself.
Shotgun: Shotguns are not very common in airsoft but are still out there. They usually spring or C02 piston driven with an 8-12 round mag depending on the model used. To fire you cock back the bolt/piston behind either 1 or 2 shells loaded into your mag then pull back on the pump handle under the barrel while releasing forward thus firing one shell out of both barrels at once just like any other shotgun. The main advantage to using this kind of Airsoft gun is that each “shot” actually hits harder because it fires 2 pellets at once thus making it more powerful than a rifle.
Machine Gun: A machine gun is not a very common Airsoft gun but they do exist. They usually have an M4/AK format and are spring or C02 powered. The main difference between this type of weapon and rifles is that instead of firing individual shots you fire full auto by pulling the trigger as fast as you want; however because it shoots so quickly the range and accuracy suffer quite a bit beyond 50 ft. If your target is closer to you then there’s nothing wrong with going full auto like this though since the point is to make as much noise as possible to sound intimidating!
##How to choose the right Airsoft gun for you?
Many of us probably know someone who plays airsoft. However, some of you may be new to this sport and want to know what type of gun you should choose among the sea of names and styles out there that call themselves an airsoft rifle. The first thing you need to decide is your price range and whether or not you tend to lose or break things often. If lost/broken items aren’t a problem then I would recommend staying away from spring rifles since they’re cheap but tend to malfunction more often. On the other hand, if lost/broken items are a problem then stick with C02 guns because even though they cost more they last long enough for their higher upfront costs to even out time. For those wanting accessories for their Airsoft guns, then both spring and C02 guns are good because you can buy extra mags for either. The main difference between the two is that if you buy a lot of accessories for your spring rifle and it springs a leak then the whole gun goes down whereas only one part of your C02 gun needs replacing thus saving you some money in the long run. For those on tighter budgets but still want an all-around good gun I would go with an AEG or GBB as they’re called (Automatic Electric Gun or Gas Blowback). They use batteries so they lose charge over time and need to be recharged more often than those which use gas but even those eventually lose power too so it’s just something to keep in mind.
For example, the ICS AK-74 AEG is a relatively inexpensive gun at around $150 yet has over 400fps and fires .20g bbs so it’s got some decent range for an AEG. It also comes with a hi-cap mag which can hold up to 300 rounds, shoots full auto or semi-auto if you want, and has adjustable hop-up. This means that while cheaper than most other Airsoft guns out there it still functions well enough to keep up in a battle where the real difference between winning and losing often lies in how much ammo you have left after your opponents run dry!
The next thing you need to decide is whether or not you want a spring/C02 rifle, AEG/GBB, or sniper rifle?
A spring/C02 guns are the most common and cheapest out there because they use springs to fire and can shoot around 400 fps (feet per second) but since they only consist of a plastic gun body and metal barrel/magazine part accuracy beyond 70-80ft is crap. Smaller rounds also mean less damage assuming you actually hit your target, to begin with, which again adds up to more fun for those who like to shoot at moving targets while still keeping it entertaining enough that everyone’s ability to participate in some way instead of having one group pew pewing lasers while another likes to chase each other around with water guns!
AEGs come in 3 forms: AK/AR platform, G36 platform, and custom. The AK/AR platforms are most common because they’re the cheapest since the gun itself is mass-produced so you can buy them by the hundreds from various manufacturers without it costing too much. Accuracy, range, fps, and bb weight all vary based on your price range but a rule of thumb for those who don’t know is that a $150 AEG will perform just as well as another manufacturer’s $500 model with only a few exceptions here and there.
G36 platforms have their own strengths/weaknesses compared to regular AEGs like Calibur 4 since they shoot around ~20-30fps faster due to their small motor (the part attached to the cylinder which pushes back the spring) however this also causes them to drain batteries faster and need more repairs over time if not properly taken care of. They also cost two-three times what you’d pay for a regular AEG like Calibur 4 or JG (Jing Gong) which is why they’re only recommended for those who know how to repair, maintain, and upgrade their guns since regular AEGs can be upgraded too but tend to break easier when upgraded often.
Custom AEGs are something in between an average AEG and the higher end G36 platforms with better accuracy/range than most models out there which can be attributed to either better inner working parts or aftermarket tight bore barrels that increase range. Due to these improvements, however, they also have less battery life than lower-tier AEGs which can make them somewhat harder to battle with unless you’re aware of their limits.
The last type are sniper rifles, I would only recommend these for the most dedicated Airsoft players however since they have less ammo capacity than even a regular AEG or GBB, a slower rate of fire due to the need for precise bb placement before firing again, and poor indoor performance due to their incredible range so hiding in bushes outside while sniping is not an option. Aftermarket upgrades are non-existent so any damage done reduces its effectiveness, if you want something which hits harder whether it hits or misses then go with an AEG but if you enjoy being patient and making every shot count then this might be for you!
Since there’s more to Airsoft than just guns let’s go over some of the accessories you can get for them:
First off are grenades which come in 2 varieties, bbs loaded with a small amount of powder that explodes on contact and/or releases a cloud of smoke. The former type uses a regular-sized bb while the latter only requires one half that size which means less air for your dollar! They’re ideal against snipers or campers since they don’t have to be shot but their short ranges make them difficult to use in close quarters if you want to get away afterward…
Then there are magazines that house your ammo and can either be standard or mid-caps. Standard mags hold the most ammo but require speed loaders while mid-caps hold less ammo but allow you to quickly reload so the choice between speed vs capacity is up to you.
You can also get hop-up parts which are either fixed in place with a grub screw or adjustable by taking out the spacer inside that adjusts its power however usually just removing this spacer will be enough to decrease its range compared to what you’d find on other guns. I recommend buying one of these kits for beginners since they’re cheaper than replacing pieces individually and give you an idea of what kind of effect each part has before you go all out on your own gun!
Last but not least are grenade launchers which cost around $100-200 for an affordable model while aftermarket like the M203 (used in the movie Predator, an iconic image in film history!) can set you back a few thousand bucks! They attach below your standard gun and shoot grenades up to 150ft away but also have a limited ammo capacity so use them wisely.
Grenades are useful for clearing out enemy camps or taking enemies by surprise if they’re camping or hiding especially in wooded areas while magazines allow you to quickly lay down cover fire in a fight without having to reload between each shot which is useful when being assaulted from multiple angles. Hop-ups should only be used when you have spare cash since it’s not too much of an investment until aftermarket parts start coming into play which requires even more money to acquire. Lastly, there aren’t really any good reasons to use launchers unless your gun came with one already attached (a more expensive model) or you bought it to use on another rifle.