The ultimate guide to airsoft guns

Choosing the Best Airsoft Gun

airsoft gunSo, you’re ready to buy an airsoft gun but not sure what to get?  You came to the right place…I will point you in the right direction so that you get the most for your money.  Airsoft is a truly exhilarating sport that requires stamina, skill and athletics but your success will also depend heavily on your choice of weapons.  The best players carry the best guns…period.  Still, if you’re new to Airsoft don’t expect to be using the best gun from day one.  To some degree, the airsoft gun that makes you great is a personal choice and that means trying out some different kinds before finding what works best for you.  You’ll rarely find a single experienced player who’s best gun was the first one they ever bought.  That said, each gun you use will teach you something and allow you to learn.  Consider finding the best airsoft gun as a journey – and I will be your guide.  I have been playing Airsoft for over 10 years now and have used almost 100 different guns of all shapes and sizes over that time.  I know what I’m talking about.

My favorite airsoft guns for 2014

Airsoft Pistols

  • Colt1911
    SoftAir Colt 1911
  • HKUSP
    H&K USP CO2
  • KWA USP Compact
    KWA USP Compact
  • SigSauer P226
    KJW Sig Sauer P226

Airsoft Rifles

  • Crosman Marines SR01
    Crosman Marines SR01
  • JingGong G608 G36C
    Jing Gong G608 G36C
  • SoftAir AK47
    SoftAir Kalishnikov AK-47
  • UTG Accushot Type96
    UTG Accushot Type 96 Sniper Rifle
  • GG CM16 Raider
    GG CM16 Raider

Okay, for those wanting off-the-bat recommendations on some of the best airsoft guns out there I have listed those below.  You’ll find more specific recommendation based on categories elsewhere on the website so please browse through the site for more info.  I put together a HUGE chart of my favorite airsoft guns with all the key statistics which you can search and sort by.  Now, the list below may change from time to time as I find new guns I like but for now here goes…

SoftAir Kalishnikov AK-47

softair kalishnikov ak47 special editionSure there are plenty of AK-47 variants out there but this one is special.  This is the 60th anniversary edition electric powered Kalishnikov AK-47 from SoftAir (aka Cybergun) and boy it’s a beauty!  It’s a hefty weapon at just under 7 lbs and fires at close to 380 FPS with a magazine capacity of around 550 BB’s.  This rifle really is very well built and the ergonomics are truly second to none.   It’s one of those rare weapons that just feels right.  The folding stock is pretty sturdy and easy to operate and you can also use a sling if you prefer (included).  The 8.4v battery is plenty powerful and has never run out on me during a match.  I could say a bunch more about this gun but for now just take my word for it that it’s a real winner in most all categories.  Super accurate and well balanced.  What’s more we’ve found this gun as cheap as $150 which is an outstanding deal!

G&G CM16 Raider Combat Rifle

GG CM16 Raider Airsoft RifleG&G produces some real quality airsoft guns that are durable and perform well in the field.  The CM16 Raider from G&G’s Combat Machine series is a superb rifle for beginners to intermediate players who are looking for a dependable and accurate weapon.  This M16 rifle is a variant of the M4 with one-piece hop-up and semi or full-auto fire modes.  It shoots at approx 340 FPS using the standard 0.2g BB’s and has a magazine capacity of 450 rounds which is plenty.  You’ll get a range of around 180 feet with this bad boy and it weighs in at just over 5 lbs so it feels sturdy without weighing you down too much.  I like the desert tan color and the price is reasonable considering this is not your cheap bargain bin weapon.

UTG Accushot Type 96 Shadow Ops Sniper Rifle

UTG type 96 shadow opsIf you’re looking for a good sniper rifle look no further than the Type 96 Shadow Ops by UTG.  This spring powered rifle is built to last with mostly metal and carries impressive specs.  It shoots at an impressive 480 FPS and can carry 23 rounds in the magazine.  It’s a little heavy at close to 9 lbs but it’s not like you’re going to be running around with it much as a sniper.  With sniper rifles I find the extra weight adds stability and therefore accuracy.  There’s a reason this gun is very highly rated at Amazon by over 100 reviewers.  I always seem to be able to pick off my target at distances up to 150 feet with this bad boy.  Heck I’ve even hit targets at around 200 feet.  The bolt action is smooth and easy to operate which is going to be important in whichever rifle you choose.  It comes with a bipod to keep things nice and steady as you’re lining up your target.  You can pick this up these days for well under $150 which is amazing considering it’s pretty much a pro-level sniper rifle that you’d expect to pay $200+ for.

Jing Gong G608 G36C

jing gong g608 g36cFor close-quarter battle (CQB) a G36C is an excellent choice and the Jing Gong G608 electric model is a winner.  It shoots close to 350 FPS with a high rate of fire in auto mode and holds around 400 BB’s in the clip.  Not too heavy at 6.5 lbs but really excellent ergonomics and feels perfect in the hand.  This is a very durable gun that will last you a long time for sure.  When I first held it I could tell it was well made and when I pulled the trigger I was hooked.  I do recommend buying a sling as you’re likely to be traveling quite a bit with it and unfortunately it doesn’t include one in the box.  For best results pair it up with a red dot sight and you’ll be laughing.  Now, this is not you’re super-premium weapon but I’ve been very happy with the performance to be honest.  You can grab this for well under $150 and still be able to compete with the $250+ show offs.

H&K USP CO2 Pistol

H&K USP pistolFor my pistol I started out with the Heckler & Koch USP which is a nice semi-auto with top notch performance at this price point.  It’s gas powered which I tend to prefer in a pistol, carries 16 rounds and shoots at about 330 FPS.  Pretty light at under 2 lbs and surprisingly accurate.  I was able to shoot a 4-inch group at about 50 feet.  While it’s not a blowback model it really does resemble a real gun in many ways which enhances your overall experience.  With it being semi-auto you don’t need to cock the gun each time.  It also comes with a safety switch which is easy to operate.  Listen, at close to $40 you cannot go wrong with this.  Sure you can cheap out on one of those $15 pistols but you’ll regret it, trust me.

How to choose the right airsoft gun

If you’re interested to know what kinds of things I look out for when choosing an airsoft gun then I’ve listed the main ones below.

Velocity (FPS)

We all love a gun that makes that beautiful “thwack” sound when hitting your opponent!   The velocity is an important metric but don’t go crazy over this.  I typically recommend somewhere between 250-300 FPS (feet per second) for recreational use and around 300-400 for more serious players.  Be careful how certain gun vendors are advertising their FPS as some will mislead you by listing the FPS for 0.12 gram BB pellet.   The FPS should be measured with a 0.2g or 0.25g BB pellet.   A gas powered gun will typically provide the most velocity.

Quality

The quality of the gun is so very important and like most things in life you are going to get what you pay for.   Don’t cheap out here people.  If you have only $50 to spend I recommend you to WAIT and keep saving until you have at least $100 if at all possible.  A $50 sniper rifle boasting all the bells and whistles is going to turn out to be crap so stay clear.  Also, stick to the major brands – they’re typically tried and tested.  You will likely find cheaper guns from a no-name brand that are tempting but don’t do it as they’re usually worthless copies.

Accuracy

When I aim at something I want to hit I expect to be able to hit it!  I’ve seen too many airsoft rifles perform poorly in the accuracy department.  Now, you’re not expecting to hit a mouse from a mile away but still you want to make sure you read the reviews to ensure it’s reasonably accurate.  Of course accuracy will decline the further away the target is but as a rule of thumb you should still be able to pick out your target from about 150 feet using a rifle.

Reliability

In the midst of battle you don’t want your gun to fail on you at the moment of truth.  Reliability is so very important and it’s difficult to know what you’re getting just by reading the marketing babble.  You can usually expect a sufficient amount of reliability from the major brands but it’s a good idea to read about what others have to say.

Durability

You gun is going to get knocked about quite a bit so look for something that will stand up to the test.  In general look for guns that use metal instead of plastic but don’t be sucked in by the “full metal” marketing to assume that the gun is indestructible.  I recommend at least having a metal gearbox and then as many of the moving parts be metal.

Design

The design of the gun is very important.  Don’t be influenced by the cool, sexy designs.  A cool looking gun will not win you any battles.  Simplicity is better yet everyday I see new players drooling over their new custom-design rifles which belong on on the catwalk than in the battlefield.  I put a lot of emphasis on the ergonomics.  Also, look for guns with an adjustable hop and not too heavy.  Usually about 7-8 pounds is the sweet spot.   If you’re opting for an electric airsoft gun then look at battery life – 1 hour is no good…look for at least 3 hours of use.  The best batteries are Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) followed by Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH), both of which are rechargeable.

Availability of parts

If you’re planning on keeping your gun for a relatively long time then the day will come when you’re going to need some replacement parts.  Make sure the gun you’re buying has plenty of available parts.   I’ve bought guns in the past which have been great until I needed a replacement part and then couldn’t find any.  Also, think about accessories.  Many of the better guns have an abundance of available optional extras and while some of these are worthless I see many of them providing real advantages.

Magazine capacity

I tend to look at how many BBs the magazine can carry and ensure it’s appropriate for how I’m going to use the gun.  As a sniper I’m not looking for a higher capacity mag but as a leader/auxiliary or support gunner I’m going to want a few higher capacity mags.

Still not sure what to buy?

“So what’s the world’s best airsoft gun? I wanna buy it!” .   I hear this a lot.  Unfortunately the answer is frustrating to many - “It depends”.  Do you think there is one single gun used by everyone in the US military because it is considered the best?  Hell no….and the same is true in airsoft.  The reason is simple – the best gun for you depends on a number of factors.   What type of game are you playing?   Where are you playing?  How many guns are you carrying?  Do you have a specific role on your team?  How strong are you?  How long do you plan to keep this gun?  How much do you have to spend? etc…. You get the idea.   My advice to you is to start with the guns I’m recommending.  After that, you’ll get a feel for what’s working and move on up from there.

Ready for Airsoft?

Here’s a great video I found to get you in the mood for some airsoft!

Off you go and be careful!

Okay it’s time for you to pick out that airsoft gun and get into battle!   Please, please, please think about safety.  A pellet with a velocity of 150 ft/s (46 m/s) has skin piercing capability, and a velocity reaching 200 ft/s (61 m/s) can fracture bone.  Remember that always…