How to Choose Your First Airsoft Gun

To know how to choose your first airsoft gun, it would be good to know some basics before buying. There are many high quality airsoft guns to consider; but which one is the best one for you, and what equipment and accessories will you need? Airsoft guns are replicas to scale of real firearms shooting six-millimeter pellets. Though they are not real guns, they can be dangerous if not handled properly so safety should always be a concern.

Safety First

Airsoft guns realistic appearance means you should always be mindful of local laws in your area and those in your environment. Carrying one, or more, around in the open could alarm people and law enforcement who are unaware you are not carrying a real gun. All airsoft guns sold in the United States are equipped with an orange tip by law to identify them as one, but that is not always enough.

Choosing an Airsoft Gun – Three Basic Types of Airsoft Guns

Just as real firearms come in a large number of major categories, so do airsoft guns.

Sniper rifles


Assault rifles

Machine Guns



Spring Powered

galaxy-g13-full-metal-1911-style-airsoft-pistol-2-68032.1415723609.1280.1280.jpgThe original airsoft gun used for airsoft gaming is generally reliable and offers a decent amount of firepower for its price. Upgrading is readily available to make your gun more powerful and spring powered airsoft guns have a lower risk of harming the environment. Being a cost effective choice, since on the lower end of pricing, makes spring powered models popular. However, unlike the gas and electric models, these do not have an automatic firing feature.

Most basic type

Viewed as entry level airsoft gun (except for some sniper rifles)

Use spring action to fire plastic pellets

Cock and fire – mechanical power – action required to fire each pellet


Generally least expensive option

Does not require batteries – no recharging

Power source is unlimited – manual cocking to fire

Many upgrades available – possible to increase to a powerful airsoft gun (on higher end spring powered guns)

Works in hot, cold, dry and wet weather conditions

Perfect as a starter for new airsoft gun owners

Some models are very powerful sniper rifles


Must be manually cocked prior to every shot

Not available in semi-automatic or automatic firing capabilities

Low cost models generally have a short life expectancy

More common in plastic than metal

Spring action is not always quiet and location disclosure is possible

Gas Powered

cz-p09-sportline-5-30332.1459789833.1280.1280.jpgGas powered airsoft guns are available in several models – most common are propane, CO2 or gas, blowback or non-blowback – and use compressed carbon dioxide or compressed gas, propelling the pellet from the barrel. The gas also moves the slide and loads the next round on blowback models.

Nonblowback gas airsoft guns look and feel less realistic than blowback guns do.

Nonblowback guns are powerful and conserve gas more than blowback guns.

Multiple types of compressed gas used to fire BBs

Viewed as intermediate to advanced airsoft guns

Popular for outdoor target shooting & training

Most are semi-automatic

Some are available fully automatic

Green gas or CO2 are most common propellants. Propane can also be used in some gas models.

Nitrogen, CO2 and HFC134a refrigerant also useable – R-12 (red gas) aresols violate US EPA regulations

Some models can use more than one type of gas


Semi-automatic firing capabilities

Automatic firing capabilities

AEG’s constraints makes gas powered airsoft pistols popular due to size

Pistol blowback feature – places pellet automatically for next shot, highly popular feature

More realistic and most versatile option

Usually costs less than AEGs


Gas can freeze causing malfunctions

Gas canisters can be costly

Power is not unlimited

Spare gas canisters are required for lengthy gaming

Many gases are harmful to the environment – check local, state and federal laws

Gas clouds can happen giving up your location

Propane use requires an adapter

More expensive than spring powered airsoft guns

Sensitive to outside air temperature

Automatic Electric


Most popular

Available in rifle or pistol styles

Runs on electric motor

Rechargeable batteries

Equipped with a gearbox – 3 gears works with a piston pushing against a spring to launch the pellet

Launch pellets at the rate of around 250 feet to 500 feet per second

Effective range of 100-200 feet

Available materials – metal and plastic


Commonly available in metal for more realistic feel

Preferred for field gamers – especially airsoft rifles

Manual cocking not required

Rapid semi-automatic firing capabilities

Automatic firing capabilities


Useable in hot and cold weather conditions

Many upgrade options available


Multiple use requires recharging

Battery life differs depending on battery

Known to malfunction in wet conditions

Electric pistol has a toy like appearance

Magazine & battery space is restricted on pistols


Metal gearboxes – produce more power, more expensive, allow faster firing

Plastic gearboxes – produce less power, less expensive, slower firing

Where to start on how to choose your first airsoft gun may seem a little overwhelming with all the guns on the market; but researching will simplify your search for you. Information on the airsoft guns you favor and learning all you can will help insure you make an informed decision on the best airsoft gun, accessories and gear that is right for you.

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