We can all agree on one thing —playing in airsoft matches is a blast.
Whether you’re hiding out of sight as a sniper or playing close combat matches with a pistol, there’s no denying the thrill you can experience in a match.
But, there’s just one problem.
Many new airsoft hobbyists have to face the daunting task of deciding what gun to buy. With all the information there is online, it can be easy to get overwhelmed.
That’s where I come in. (cue dramatic entrance music)
I decided to create this guide to help those of you who are unsure of what to get and where to start.
This guide will include:
- a best airsoft gun list review
- an explanation of what FPS is
- how to choose an airsoft gun
- and much more!
Let’s get started.
Best Airsoft Gun Comparison Table
|CYMA AK 47||Jing Gong M4A1||Elite-Force-Beretta-ARX||Jing Gong M16A1||Umarex Tavor TAR 21||Electric KWA M4||G&P M4||G&G Combat Machine M16||ICS SIG 552 Commando||GG F2000|
(Scroll to the right to see all the guns)
If you just want to skip the guide and find a gun (even though you should definitely read the article!), then check out the CYMA AK-47 in the table above.
This gun is reliable, a great pick for beginners, and comes from a company that’s well known for providing quality airsoft items.
- What are airsoft guns?
- What airsoft gun should I buy?
- Gun operation types
- Understanding FPS
- Why you might not want a sniper rifle
- Best airsoft guns reviewed
What are Airsoft Guns?
So, what are airsoft guns? Airsoft guns are copies, or replicas, of real guns. They look similar to a real gun, but instead of firing bullets they fire pellets.
Don’t get airsoft guns confused with BB guns. BB guns are also replicas of real guns, but they fire metal BBs.
Airsoft guns look so similar to real guns that at first glance police officers can have difficulty distinguishing between the two.
Because of this issue, most airsoft guns have an orange tip on the barrel to signify that it isn’t a real weapon. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop people from removing the tip.
The first airsoft guns were made in the 1970s by Japan, although they called it “Soft-Air” because the propellant used was Green Gas.
As more people caught on to airsoft, it began to spread to the UK in the early 1990s, and eventually to the United States.
Airsoft guns are mainly used for recreational purposes, but they do offer some value to law enforcement.
Police officers and soldiers often use airsoft guns to simulate close quarter battles without having to worry about people actually getting hurt.
Which leads me to my next point….
Are airsoft guns dangerous?
When you used properly, airsoft guns are not dangerous. In recreational games, most people wear protective gear to reduce any damage the airsoft pellets may cause. Many airsoft fields also have a limit to the FPS (frames per second) a gun has.
You don’t want to hit someone with an airsoft gun if they don’t have any protective gear. For example, getting hit in the eye could cause permanent damage.
What airsoft gun should I buy?
Figuring out the type of gun you want is the first step you should take in buying a gun.
Do you want something small and light, like a pistol? Or do you want something that’s larger and can fire more rounds?
Each person has their own unique interest, which is why I would recommend figuring out what your role is on the airsoft field.
Although this guide will cover the standard airsoft rifle (since it’s the most common weapon of choice), we’ll quickly go over the roles of each type of primary weapon.
That way, you’ll be able to see which one best matches your personality.
As I just mentioned, these guns are by far the most popular weapon of choice for airsoft hobbyists, and for good reason.
These guns can shoot rounds pretty fast and have a good range, making them a very versatile choice.
People who use rifles are considered riflemen. There are two main types of riflemen: field riflemen and urban riflemen.
Field riflemen fight in large open areas, whereas urban riflemen operate from areas that are a bit more clustered (buildings, rooms, etc.).
Do you hate being in the middle of the action? Would you rather pick off targets from a distance? If so, sniper rifles were made for you.
These guns have a slower firing rate, but make up for that by having a higher range than the standard airsoft rifles.
Sniper rifles are a great choice for those who have some experience with airsoft guns already, as it can be challenging to get the hang of.
If you’re an enthusiastic beginner and willing to take the time to practice, you can also give them a try.
*As you continue to read the article, you’ll see why sniper rifles may or may not be a good choice for you.
Shotguns have the ability to fire one round at a time or multiple rounds depending on which type you get.
Shotguns, in general, are great for those who love being in the middle of the action and love the look and feel of a realistic airsoft shotgun.
Look and Feel
If you live near an airsoft shop, visit the store and get a feel for all the different types of guns.
Keep in mind what each gun is capable of doing, as well as the weight and balance of the gun.
You don’t want to get a gun that’s too heavy or too big. You want to be able to move on the battlefield with comfort and ease.
There are 2 key points I want to emphasize:
- You get what you pay for. The more money you end up spending, the better the gun will be.
- Do your research! You don’t want to buy a gun that is rated as “awful” or “doesn’t last.” This is where Google is your friend. It may take up some of your time, but you’ll thank me later when you buy a really good gun on your first try because of the research you put in.
Choosing a Gun Operation Type
After deciding what type of airsoft gun you want, it’s now time to choose a gun operation.
There are different types of gun operations you should consider.
Gas Blowback: Blowback pistols are great because they simulate shooting a real gun by creating a sort of recoil effect.
They use compressed gas such as Green Gas or propane in order to fire the BB from the gun.
Electric Blowback: Sometimes referred to as EBB’s, electric blowbacks are similar to gas blowbacks in that they have a recoil effect. Instead of compressed gas, EBB’s use batteries.
The downside to electric blowbacks is that they can often be complicated to deal with, and can add additional stress to the gun.
Automatic Electric Gun: Commonly referred to as AEG, automated electric guns are unique in that they use an electric motor as well as a spring-loaded piston pump to fire a BB.
AEG’s are really reliable, and the type of gun operation I would recommend to a beginner.
Spring Powered: Spring-powered guns are often used with snipers and shotguns. They’re really easy to work with, but can only fire a single round at a time.
High-Pressure Air: High-pressure air(HPA), is a relatively new type of operation.
They tend to be expensive compared to the other types on this list, but they are great since you can adjust the FPS to accommodate different field requirements.
They aren’t aesthetically pleasing though since you have to have an external air tank.
All guns have a specific FPS, which stands for Feet Per Second. This describes the speed at which a BB is fired from a gun.
The speed is affected by many variables like how much power the gun has and what size BB you’re using.
The heavier the BB, the slower the FPS will be with respect to the gun you’re using.
Just because a gun has a high FPS does not make it a good gun. The quality of the gun is much more important.
If you’re looking to play on a designated airsoft field and/or arena, then having a high FPS on your gun might be a bad idea.
Many locations have a restriction on how high the FPS can be, so make sure to look into that before buying an airsoft gun.
If you want to measure the FPS of your gun, you can use something called a chronograph.
The chronograph is an instrument that measures the speed of an object within a given distance. Here’s an example of what one might look like on Amazon.
If you’re like me and don’t have the money to buy a chronograph, you might be interested in trying this interesting method I found on Instructables that uses a coke can.
Although the method doesn’t substitute a chronograph, it at least gives you a rough idea of what your FPS is.
Why You Might Not Want a Sniper Rifle
Sniper rifles. They might seem appealing to have, but please don’t get one if you’re just starting out.
As a beginner, your budget isn’t going to be super high.
Because of that, if you were to buy a sniper, it’s range would be similar to that of an AEG (Automatic Electric Gun).
In addition, AEGs can fire at a faster rate than a stock sniper.
Imagine being hidden with a low-priced sniper and waiting around for someone to conveniently be close to you to shoot. Trust me, it’s not worth it.
You’re going to need a decent amount of money to get a sniper that performs the way you’ll want it to. In the meantime, consider a different type of gun.
Are Airsoft Guns Legal In Your State?
Most states allow you to own an airsoft gun. That being said, each state has its own set of rules for purchasing and using a gun.
For example, Michigan allows residents to purchase an airsoft gun so long as it has an orange tip. However, cities such as New York City do not allow airsoft guns to be sold at all.
If you’re unsure about the rules in your state, make sure to do a quick google search before buying an airsoft gun.
How Accurate Are Airsoft Guns?
Airsoft guns can be pretty darn accurate, although the accuracy will depend on a few factors.
Power: The more power there is when firing an airsoft gun, the farther and faster the pellet will travel.
Target Distance: The closer the target, the easier it is to hit.
External forces: The wind plays a large role in the accuracy of an airsoft gun. The windier it is, the harder it is to hit you target.
A term you’ll need to be familiar with when talking about accuracy is hop-up.
So what is hop-up?
Hop-up is a device in an airsoft gun that adds backspin to pellets that are fired. This allows the pellets to temporarily counter the effects of gravity. If it’s windy one day, you’ll need to adjust the hop-up on your gun in order to maximize accuracy.
A situation where hop-up is useful is if it’s windy. By adjusting the hop-up on your gun, you’ll be maximizing both accuracy and range.
Here are some useful tips to ensure your airsoft experience is a good one.
- Clean your gun. You want your rifle to function as well as the day you first bought it. That means oiling all the moving parts. The worst feeling is when you have someone in your line of sight and your gun jams. Don’t let that be you. This is where silicone oil is your friend.
- Your gun is “real”. People that see you with an airsoft gun may not know it’s an airsoft gun. This goes without saying, but make sure you don’t walk around with an airsoft gun in public.
- Don’t use store bought BB’s. Sure they may be cheaper, but it will be expensive in the long run when your airsoft gun breaks.
Customizing Your Own Airsoft Gun
Airsoft becomes more fun when you realize you can actually customize your very own airsoft gun. It’s kind of like getting upgrades for your character in Call of Duty.
And because you’ll have a better gun, you’ll only get better on the field.
The easiest way to customize your gun is by building it from scratch. Various airsoft websites allow you to customize the magazine, stock, optics, handguard, and pretty much everything else you can think of.
Keep in mind that customizing a gun from scratch will be more expensive than buying a pre-made gun.
Best airsoft guns reviewed
The first contender on our list of best Airsoft guns is the G&G M16 Carbine. This gun is completely compatible with Tokyo Marui, one of the top producers of airsoft guns in the world. Their guns are constructed really well, making them tough and durable.
The external parts of this gun (externals) will depend on which model you pick up. However, they are finished well and should not give you any problems.
The only downside to this gun is that the internal gun parts (internals) are not as other guns other guns that have the same price. G&G builds a marvelous gun. However, if you are planning on doing projects with this gun, you will want to change out the gears, piston, and shell.
Another Tokyo Marui compatible gun is the Jing Gong M4A1. These guns have really sturdy internal parts. Unfortunately, these guns aren’t built as well as other popular brands. Because of this, the externals of this gun can be very flimsy and dull. Some airsoft enthusiasts also consider the finish to be quite shiny.
However, if you want to learn to do basic maintenance or start a project, these are good guns to start with. The externals may not be quite as good but the internals are well-made and the company puts out some amazing stock motors.
If you are looking for a good, steady intro-level AK rifle, then look no farther than Cyma. They make guns that are great out of the box but which can also be easily upgraded with aftermarket parts. The best thing about this is that these parts are quite easy to find. For example, they use a version III gearbox, the second most common gearbox used in the industry.
The one thing to watch out for when buying a Cyma rifle is that their model numbers are designated as CM###. The higher the number at the end of the CM, the newer and more reliable the gun.
If you need something of a higher quality than the first three rifles I have covered, check out the KWA M4. The important thing to know about KWA rifles is that they use proprietary parts. That means that parts swapping is difficult, and you shouldn’t do that with this rifle. However, you shouldn’t really have to. The build quality is excellent, and the gun is reliable.
Unlike most companies, KWA offers a forty-five-day warranty with purchase. If anything on your rifle breaks within that time period, they will fix or replace it for free.
The unfortunate thing about Kwa rifles is that after the forty-five-day window, fixes become more expensive. Further, swapping parts could void the warranty.
What makes this particular gun different from the other KWA AEG’s is that the spring has been downgraded for CQB FPs, increasing the longevity of the gearbox. Furthermore, the lower receiver is made of polymer and is merely for aesthetic purposes.
Another higher-quality rifle is the M4 from G&P. This rifle may cost a bit more money, but the build quality on both internals and externals is fantastic, and the company seeks to simulate realism wherever they can and the build quality is amazing. As a bonus, these rifles are Tokyo Marui compatible.
There are very few cons to this gun. However, the threading system on the barrel and rail may be quite different from what you’re used to. However, adapters are easy to find, if you are using something other than G&P parts. Also, G&P offer the widest selection of upgrades and accessories out there.
Another really cool rifle is the Elite Force Beretta ARX 160. This rifle was made to mirror as exactly as possible the firearms used by the Italian Armed Forces.
This gun features an ambidextrous design. There are both front and rear sling mounts as well as a fire selector switch and a bolt release below the trigger mount. The receiver is also made of carbon fiber, which will withstand high impact.
Internally, the ARX features a micro trigger switch assembly which increases the trigger responsiveness.
Other internal features include an electric blowback system for added realism and a quick change spring system. This system allows you to drop down your muzzle velocity from 400 FPS to under 350 in minutes.
The Beretta also features a metal tooth piston which can withstand the rigors of firing at higher muzzle velocities.
If you are searching for a unique gun, check out the Sig 552 from ICS. ICS is only just now beginning to gain a foothold into the airsoft industry. They are innovative and have started mass-producing a few unique guns. The Sig 552 is ambidextrous. This makes it more versatile than guns designed only for right-handed players. It’s also ergonomic for increased comfort.
This gun is also quite durable. Its full metal construction means that it will hold up better than guns which aren’t metal while also providing a more realistic weight.
The only downside to this gun is that it uses a rather odd magazine. This magazine may be more expensive and difficult to find.
Jing Gong are manufacturers of quality airsoft guns, and the M16a1 rifle is no exception to this rule. This gun is very durable and built to last. The rear stock is solid and feels good in your hand. There is also an integrated rail system. Add all your tactical accessories and you’re ready to play.
Forget about constant reloading. The M16 comes with a 190-round magazine, one of the biggest in the industry. There is also an adjustable rear site, allowing you to pick off your opponents either at close range or from a distance. This gun is also compatible with Tokyo Marui.
The Tavor TAr21 from Umarex is a tough rifle. The main body of this replica is made from carbon fiber, making it really impact-resistant and capable of taking whatever comes your way. Furthermore, this gun features a 300-round magazine. Reloading will become virtually a thing of the past.
If you are a person who likes to customize each shot, the Tavor Tar21 also has an adjustable rear site and hop-up system. Fire every shot right every time.
There is one downside to this gun. It doesn’t fire quite as fast as some other guns on the market. It will hit 349 FPS, which is just below the ranges of some other guns on the market. However, this gun is still a lot of fun, and I’d recommend it.
One of the airsoft’s most unique and practical weapons is the F2000 from G&G. If you can get past the fact that it’s boaty, you’ll find yourself with a great rifle. The F2000 has a bull pup configuration. However, it takes STANAG magazines. It also has built-in FPS adjustment. This way, you can alter the FPS without having to waste time disassembling your gun.
This gun has a couple of downsides. First off, any magazines that are not G&G brand require slight modifications. Further, the gearbox can wobble a bit. However, both those downsides are easily solved with a bit of expertise.
These are the best of the best when it comes to airsoft rifles. Now that you have the list, you can pick the rifle which will best suit your needs.