The Best Airsoft Guns: A Beginner’s Guide (2017 Update)

“All you need for happiness is a good gun, a good horse, and a good wife.”

We can all agree on one thing —playing in airsoft matches is a blast…

…IF you have a good airsoft gun.

Here’s the thing:

What if you don’t know what gun to buy?

With all the information there is online, it can be easy to get overwhelmed.

That’s where we come in.

Today I have something that will help you find the right airsoft gun and become more knowledgeable in the process:

The beginner’s insanely useful guide to the best airsoft gun.

Best Airsoft Gun Comparison Table

trident-mk2-crb-black-X0_1183_394_100
  • Krytac Trident MK2
  • FPS: 370
  • Price: $$
  • -Light

    -Fast trigger response

    -Good to go out of the box
  • Source: Amazon
vfcavalon
  • VFC Avalon
  • FPS: 380
  • Price: $$
  • -Versatile rail system

    -Great trigger response

    -Good to go out of the box
  • Source: Amazon
beretta-arx
  • Beretta ARX
  • FPS: 400
  • Price: $$
  • -Ambidextrous design

    -Micro trigger switch

    -Front and rear sling mounts
  • Source: Hobbytron

If you just want to skip the guide and figure out the best starter airsoft gun, (even though you should definitely read it), then check out the Krytac.

This gun is reliable, a great pick for beginners, and comes from a company that’s well known for providing quality airsoft gear.

Otherwise, let’s keep going!

Why Should You Trust Us?

The most important thing to us is building trust with our readers.

We wanted our reviews to be honest and reliable so you know that no company is lining our pockets with money.

We did extensive research within the airsoft gun community in order to find the ones that really stood out in terms of quality, performance, and accuracy.

In the end we found several guns that we felt would be AMAZING right out of the box.

Why buy a crappy gun just to return it a few days later? That’s something we wanted to prevent.

We hope each of our guides provide you with all the information you need to get started the right way.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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. Even back then airsoft guns looked realistic.

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 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.

How do airsoft guns work?

So maybe you’re curious about how airsoft guns work? As you probably already know, the pellet is loaded into the gun and then someone pulls the trigger.

The difference, however, is in the way an airsoft gun fires the pellet.

Gas-Powered Guns

Let’s first take a look at gas-powered guns. These airsoft guns use compressed gas to fire the pellet (usually CO2 or Green Gas).

The location of the gas container will vary from gun to gun, so you’ll have to be mindful of that when you need to replace it.

When loading the gas-powered airsoft gun, you have to first rack the slide of the gun in order to load the first pellet, and then set the hammer.

Once you do that, the airsoft gun is active and ready to fire. Every time the trigger of the gun is pulled, the hammer hits the nozzle of the gas container, releasing a tiny amount of gas.

When the gas is released, pressure builds behind the pellet into a valve, propelling the pellet out of the gun and pushing back the slide.

This causes the gun to recoil and to automatically load the next pellet.

Electric Blowbacks

These airsoft guns are similar to gas-powered guns but differ in the power source. Rather than using gas, these guns use a battery, generally a 9.6v rechargeable battery.

An electric motor (powered by the battery), compresses a pump spring in the gun to fire the pellet.

Spring-Powered

Very common with airsoft sniper rifles, these gun use a coil spring to fire a pellet from the gun.

These guns are generally single shot (fires one pellet at a time), which means you’ll have to constantly pull back the slide of the gun to fire the next round.

Check out this guide if you want even more info.

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.

Rifles

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.).

Sniper Rifles

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.

Shotgun

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.

Important Note

There are 2 key points I want to emphasize:

  1. You get what you pay for. The more money you end up spending, the better the gun will be.
  2. 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 guns 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.

Understanding FPS

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.

Here’s why:

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.

Where to buy airsoft guns?

There are many ways you can buy an airsoft gun.

You can go to your local airsoft shop and buy on there. This is a great way to purchase a gun because you’ll be able to see it in person.

There are also many qualified airsoft employees there that can answer any question you might have.

The biggest benefit to a local airsoft shop is the fact that you can get a feel for the gun before buying it. Is the gun you’re looking at too heavy? Just put it back. You save both time and money this way.

Unfortunately, not everyone lives near a local airsoft store. This is where the internet comes in handy. There are a bunch of websites that sell a variety of airsoft guns and airsoft gun accessories.

Just make sure the online store is trusted, reliable, and has great customer service. Evike is one of the most popular airsoft stores in today’s market, so I would definitely check them out.

Depending on the seller, Amazon could be a decent place to buy airsoft guns as well. You have the added benefit of reading the various reviews for the gun you’re interested in.

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.

Is it illegal to remove the orange tip on your airsoft gun?

When selling a gun in the United States, the orange tip on the gun is required. When the airsoft gun in your possession, the state dictates whether you can remove the tip.

For many states, it’s perfectly legal to remove the orange tip from your airsoft gun. However, states such as California require you to have the orange tip at all times.

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.

The Proper Way to Hold Your Airsoft Gun

Something that often gets overlooked is the way a person holds their airsoft gun. You’re probably thinking, “How hard can it be?” The answer is not hard it all.

But you’ll be surprised at the number of people who don’t know the proper way to hold the airsoft gun.

One of the most important things to remember is to keep your finger off the trigger unless you are actively trying to shoot your gun.

Why is this important? It’s important because you reduce the chance of accidentally firing your gun and hitting one of your teammates.

What you should do instead is rather than curling your index finger around the trigger, keep it straight.

Now when firing your gun, I would recommend you avoid holding it sideways. It doesn’t look cool or improve your accuracy.

All it does is tell players that you don’t actually know how to use an airsoft gun properly. You should keep your gun upright and use both hands. This provides more stability and allows your shot to be more accurate.

When moving with your gun, be sure to keep your knees slightly bent, and looking in the direction you’re walking. Don’t try to run as that only creates chaos and disorients your team.

By walking and staying in a formation, you make your team more organized and you improve the chances of winning a battle.

When you are not using your airsoft gun, be sure to keep the gun on safety at all times. Think of it like a real gun. If a real gun wasn’t on safety, what could happen? That’s what we’re trying to avoid.

Tips

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

Krytac Trident MKII

Pros:

  • Light
  • Amazing trigger response
  • Great range and accuracy
  • Mosfet pre-installed, meaning you can run higher voltage batteries
  • Full metal
  • Great right out of the box

Cons:

  • Barrel is average. If you can, upgrade it
  • Stock has a slight wobble

A name that you’ll hear often nowadays is Krytac. Krytac is one of the best airsoft brands when it comes to the quality of their guns, and the MKII is no different.

This gun really is great out of the box and is the gun we highly recommend if you’re a beginner.

Although the MKII has some similarities to the MKI, there are some differences worth noting. For example, the body of the MKII is a bit more squared off than the MKI, giving it a unique look.

The grip is also different from the MKI since it was made to be more ergonomic. This is great since you don’t want a gun that feels uncomfortable in your hand.

The trigger of the gun is also great because it’s licensed by CMC, which produces real guns.

Right out of the box the MKII shoots around 360 FPS. It has a very high tolerance, and the hop up is very easy to adjust.

One of the few downsides to this gun is the barrel. Some people have had issues with how it was made, so if you can I would suggest upgrading it.

Quick tip: When getting this gun, make sure you get an 11.1v LiPo battery for better performance.

VFC Avalon M4 AEG

Pros:

  • Amazing trigger response
  • Great right out of the box
  • Adjustable hop-up is phenomenal
  • Versatile rail system

Cons:

  • Stock has a slight wobble
  • Slightly heavier than the Krytac

The VFC Avalon was designed to compete with the Krytac, kind of like Rocky and Apollo. This gun has a 120rd mid-capacity and an FPS of about 380 out of the box.

Similar to the Krytac, the stock of this airsoft gun does have a slight wobble, so keep that in mind.

What I like about this gun is how well it performs right out of the box.  This gun is extremely accurate without any mods when firing.

The rail system is very versatile and you won’t have to worry about this gun breaking as it is very durable.

The trigger of the Avalon is straight with a short pull, and the grip is slim and very comfortable to hold.

ELITE FORCE BERETTA ARX 160 ELITE BLACK

Pros:

  • Ambidextrous design
  • Durable
  • Micro trigger switch
  • Front and rear sling mounts

Cons:

  • Small battery compartment
  • Heavy

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.


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.

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