If you’ve ever wanted to own an airsoft gun, but are still a bit unsure “what is an airsoft gun?”, this article will help you understand exactly what these toys are, how they work, and the different kinds that you can choose from.
So, what is an airsoft gun? An airsoft gun is a replica toy gun used in the sport of airsoft that uses a motor or pneumatics to project small pellets (often called “BBs”) at a stationary or moving target. Often, these guns look very realistic but are very safe. Airsoft guns are used in sports competitions and training exercises in the United States and in other countries around the world.
The best airsoft guns are actually just like the real thing—only they fire plastic pellets instead of bullets. They’re extremely realistic, and they can be used to play war games just like their real-life counterparts.
Sounds like fun right? Read on to learn which type of airsoft gun is best for you!
What is an airsoft gun?
An airsoft gun is a replica toy gun. Airsoft guns are modeled after real pistols and rifles, often looking very realistic in design.
The airsoft gun is a staple of the military simulation industry in America, and for good reason: they are inexpensive and can be used to have fun with friends and family, and can be used to practice and improve one’s shooting skills in ways that don’t involve ending up in court. So whether you’re looking for a rifle and scope combo, a spring-powered pistol, or something that is modeled after a real-life firearm, there are options out there that will fit your needs and fit your budget.
Airsoft guns can be split into three categories:
Each type of airsoft gun projects small pellets (often called BBs) at stationary or moving targets. These pellets are small spheres and tend to be made of plastic or biodegradable materials instead of metals.
If hit by a pellet on bare skin, the target will feel something very similar to a rubber band snapping. This makes airsoft relatively safe for competitive sports and/or recreation as long as proper safety gear is worn, such as goggles and padding.
Because of their relative safety, airsoft guns are often used for training purposes in law enforcement, military, or paramilitary exercises. This adds to the realism of the training, which helps users simulate dangerous scenarios in a safer manner.
Here is a more in-depth description of each type of airsoft gun from which you can choose:
Spring-powered airsoft guns
By far the simplest and cheapest of all varieties, spring-powered airsoft guns use a spring to propel a pellet at a target, usually through a hand-cocked or bolt-action mechanism.
Because of their inexpensive price, these guns are best for beginners or for target practice, however, the simplicity and low rate of fire often makes these airsoft guns useless in competition. If you are a beginner, consider starting here!
Electric airsoft guns
These are the most common airsoft guns used in the airsoft community today. Because of their popularity, there is a larger range of diversity in the makes and models available to the public.
They require a battery which allows it to project pellets at an increased rate of fire compared to the spring-powered type.
Most electric airsoft guns allow the user to select between automatic and semi-automatic firing rates. These airsoft guns are also more expensive because they require more durable housing and more complex mechanisms than spring-powered.
Gas-powered airsoft guns
These types of guns use a gas propellant to project pellets at a target. Usually the gas being used in these airsoft guns are HPA (high-pressured air), CO2, or some other type of red or green gas.
Because of the gas being used, there is often a “blowback” effect which many consider to simulate the use of a real gun. This adds to the realism of the sport, making for a more exciting and fun experience for users.
Most gas-powered airsoft guns allow the user to select between automatic and semi-automatic firing rates. These airsoft guns also fire at a much higher velocity and are much more accurate. For these reasons, gas-powered airsoft guns are very popular in competition.
As with electric models, gas-powered airsoft guns require more durable housing to prevent wear and tear.
Let’s compare the three types of airsoft guns:
|Pros||Lower costReliableNo fuel (electricity or gas)Quiet||Higher rates of fireLarge range of options||Higher rates of fireBest accuracyVery realistic|
|Cons||Lower rate of fireCheaper housing||More complex buildMore expensiveRequires battery||More complex buildMore expensiveRequires fuel|
Because of the wide range of makes and models, there are several different play styles depending on the type of gun you purchase.
As mentioned earlier, spring-powered is best for beginners or for training, but they can also be useful if you run out of fuel or battery in a competition.
Electric and gas-powered are great for competition because of their higher rates of fire, so they are useful for clearing rooms or for shooting at long distances.
Head to your nearest airsoft gun range or retailer to see the different types and to try your hand at this exciting sport!