In the last article we discussed the main types of Airsoft Replica’s and their advantages and disadvantages. Click here if you not read the article yet.
Today we’re going to write some important information on choosing and buying your first replica. We dive a bit deeper in to the process of choosing your first replica. For me it was a very difficult decision because I didn’t want to embarrass myself on the battlefield and I also didn’t want to waste my money on cheap stuff that isn’t working correctly and according my expectations.
1. Your Level and personal interest
Choosing your first Replica is all about your personal preferences but also about your Airsoft Skills. As a beginner, you will make bad decisions if you not try out a couple of sites and gather some knowledge before buying an Airsoft Replica or attending an Airsoft Team.
Some starting Airsoft players imagine there self’s in a role of a commander or a sniper, even if they don’t exactly know what he or she wants and holding a Replica that doesn’t fit that specific mission. It is getting even worse when someone is trying to attend a team or club without knowing which Replica is allowed in order to join that team, which is especially important with re-enactment groups. Re-enactment groups are different groups playing against each other by mimicking the past.
So, what do you want with your first Replica, and what will you be using it for? Very import if you not want to be disappointed after buying an expensive Airsoft Replica. Once you made that decision, find out what best works for you. Only you know what that is. Don’t let other people decide for you…
Last but not least important question: which role would you like to play? Do you want to be in the front defending the team or… do you want to be that player in the background supporting the team? Ask yourself that question before buying any Replica.
If you did a bit of research and know what you want, than it’s time to dive a bit deeper into the main types of Airsoft weapons before looking at the different models….
2. Airsoft Replica Types
There are 3 main types of Airsoft Guns available: GAS, Electric and Spring. Each Type has his own pros and cons, features and extra’s. Be sure to know what your role in the field is so that you will choose the right gun.
2.1 Spring Powered / Rifles
The most common known Airsoft Replica is the Spring powered Airsoft Replica. Although it has to be cocked and reloaded for every shot you fire, the spring powered Airsoft Replica is easy to use, great for target practice, cheap to buy and there is no need for gas or changing it up.
Futhermore the Spring Powered Replica is the most reliable Replica and is the easiest to handle and play with. Even in during closed quarter games it’s a reliable one.
When in the middle of a fire fight I experienced that cocking and reloading the spring Airsoft Replica isn’t that practical…
I also experienced that this Replica has a relatively slow rate of fire and do not have the range that other guns might have….
If you are a first buyer, I highly recommend a spring model. Many fill size spring Airsoft Rifles as well as spring Airsoft Replica’s are available and also affordable for the (low budget) beginner. You now have the real basics. And if you want more… than you can go with a Ultra Grade Spring Airsoft Replica which are a bit heavier and more durable.
2.2 Gas Powered / Gas Blowback
The Gas Blow Back or Gas Replica is in my opinion only for the more serious player. The internal system operates by a gas driven mechanism powered by carbon dioxide and or green gas. This Replica is usually saved as side arm or secondary weapon. This is because a lot of time your shots will not be consistent. Especially Automated Gas Replica’s has this problem because the Gas Replica’s tend to be like a garden hose, spraying water all over the place without any accuracy. I suggest therefore to use a Airsoft Gas Replica as a side arm Replica or last resort…. Reason? Well, they are not reliable enough…
- Realistic recoil
- They have to be refilled each time
- In cold conditions they do not always work
2.3 Electric Airsoft Replica’s
The Electric Airsoft Gun – also known as AEG – is the most popular Airsoft Replica in the field. The popularity of the AEG is due to the high(er) quality, a great variety and his high accuracy.
The mechanism is driven by a rechargeable battery to load and then discharge the BB’s.
The battery is most of the time a 8.4v battery and is rechargeable within 5-8 hours the first time and any time after 3-5 hours! T
he advantage of this type of Replica is that you can fire on single shot semi automatic or in bursts on full automatic. So, on semi automatic it means that a BB is fired every time you pull the trigger and no need to reload. That makes it important to have high capacity magazines that can hold hundreds of BB’s! These days there are plenty to buy so that’s no problem!
The fact that this type of Replica is upgradeable makes it a lot more interesting to buy. Another advantage is that many come up with a hop up system. That system place a friction on the upper side of the BB while exiting the barrel. This friction causes the BB to spin. The Hop-Up configuration determines the range of BB’s or extend the effective range of an Airsoft Rifle. That means it lay down a consistent and accurate line of fire.
I think that if you want to be competitive and if you are new in the field than you should opt for an Electric Airsoft Rifle. This type of Replica is reliable and upgradeable and that is a big advantage.
One of the best brands I know is TOKYO MARUI. Their quality is top notch and this company is one of the first companies that introduces the AEG.
3. Gun Styles / Models
As a beginner in the field there are too many models/types to make your own choice. To make it simple we describe the four main Airsoft Replica Styles and Models. From that point you can dive a bit deeper in other models if you want something else.
3.1 Lay out and configuration
There are 2 main types of weapon lay out and configuration:
1. Standard regular configuration
2. Bullpup – magazines situated behind the trigger what causes an overall shorter length while retaining a long barrel.
3.2 Gun Style – Basic types of weapons
The most popular and the most known types of Replica will be discussed in this topic. This gives you an overview and makes better decisions.
3.2.1 M4/M16 Model
As far as I know, this is the most Universal standard Replica in the Airsoft World. Why? Because there is an absurd abundance of both external and internal upgrades. So starting with a M4/M16 is a good choice if you want to start with a basic Replica and have a full range of accessories, spare parts and upgrades at your disposal. How nice is that? I really think that there is more stuff out there than any other platform.
This type is OK for woodland but for CQB be careful. Don’t buy a full length M16 to play in CQB because that’s un practical in small parts. Instead of that buy a shorter M4 variant!
The M4/m16 is reliable and durable. Don’t buy some unique / wonderful looking replica that has limited to non accessories or spare parts. You will be disappointed! If something breaks than you immediately will be out of action. And that is an enormous moral crusher because you spent a lot on your first Replica and are stuck with it! So stick to this platform because it has a lot of affordable spare parts and upgrades.
3.2.2 MP5 Model
This is also a very popular Replica although it has not as many options for external upgrades as a M4/M16. This type definitely has plenty of internal upgrades available and the small size makes this type ideal for CQB.
3.2.3 AK-47 / AK-74 Model
Where the M4/M16 has different has many external and internal modifications, the AK-47 Model has not as many external modifications but has many different body styles to choose from. This model does have plenty of internal upgrades…
3.2.4 G36 Model
This model is actually less popular than the M16 en AK-47. However this model is gaining a considerable following these days. Also the G36C is beginning to come into its own as a practical durable and reliable Replica. His big advantage is the availability of magazine well adapters because these aren’t widely available with other types.
This one is ideal for CQB and has a good range for field operations.
Both advantages makes it a serious contender and makes it worth being your first replica.
4. Quality requirements
When choosing your first Airsoft Replica please remember these important characteristics before choosing your favourite Airsoft Replica.
The durability of your replica depends, of course, on the quality of the gun and the material it is made from. Mostly, an Airsoft Replica is made from metal but very often from plastic too. The logic question you would ask is….What should I choose? Plastic or metal? Well, it depends on what you want.
A logic assumption here would be as plastic will not last long as metal, but is that true? Probably not. Manufactures use incredible strong and durable new plastics these days and they also do not rust, apart from internal parts and metal pins. Another disadvantage, besides the rust of metal weapons, is when the painting or coating does scratch off, which is the case on most metal weapons.
What most of you maybe don’t know is that even real weapons incorporate a lot of plastics.
The G36 for example have a plastic and metal version and even some brands like Marui starts out with a plastic body and can be modified with a metal body!
In short: the precision is decided by the bore, length and quality of the inner barrel.
The market offers a variety of lengths and bore diameters by which you can improve accuracy and fall of shot.
A hop up is another tool improve accuracy; it causes the spin of the BB.
How easy can you purchase spares when your gun is damaged? Do a bit of research and find out for yourself!
Some playing fields allowing only a maximum FPS from a Replica.
When knowing what’s allowed you should first concentrate on your role in the battlefield. If you want to be a sniper then it may be good to hit an opponent from a longer distance like 100 yards. A weapon that handles 20-25gram BB’s is a good bench mark. A 300 FPS M16 is more than Ok, and also more affordable, for a beginner.
As a beginner, do not even start to consider weapon sights. That will make it your first fight too complicated. An option is to purchase a semi decent sight, fixing it to your Replica. Mostly the case here is that you can not get a target acquisition eye line through it because your mask is too pronounced. Some other problems we experienced are with weapon sight fixing rail and the weapon stock.
But more important is your first experience. In your first battle your most of the time trying to acquire your target through the site with one eye… therefore we recommend to start with open battle sights. You can immediately look forward with both open eyes. I think we should let the Snipers use scopes so that we can save money for other accessories.
IF it comes to magazines then your role is also important. This is because the need for magazines. What are magazines? Magazines are containers with BB’s which will push the BB’s into your weapon.
Which role do you prefer? As a Sniper you don’t need many BB’s but as a support gunner you need many more magazines. A Commander need a few magazines of high capacity that holds more BB’s than normal.
Many, many accessories are available on the market: flashlights, red dot sight, forward hand grips, bipods and laser pin point target markets, scopes, lasers etc.
A Replica with fixing attachements rails (Picatinny or RAS/RIS) are available for improvements. For instance you attach a flashlight (fight at night) or a red dot sight.
A scope could be an option but a scope with a very long zoom capability isn’t always the best option and can get very frustrating if your BB’s fired are not within your scope…
I could go into further detail with Lasers and Flashlights but as long as they are expensive and not very practical in many cases I won’t dive deeper into it.
5. What Price should you go for?
Of course, the price of the Replica depends on your savings but… I should go for the minimum price range of 200 – 275 dollar at a minimum if you want good quality and not be disappointed after your first fire fight…
If you can’t spend that amount of money then it’s better to not purchase a Replica after all.
It will save you a lot of money in the long run… and it also will prevent you from being under-armed and under-powered.
Here are some considerations you might have to deal with when buying your Airsoft Repica:
· Adjustable Hop-Up
· Long barrelled weapon = better accuracy
· Extra Pistols and grenades
Well, the accuracy is important but let’s not be complicated about it. The object is to hit your opponent and engage them at quite a range….
A long barrelled weapon can contribute to the accuracy but you don’t want a too long barrelled weapon especially in Close Quarter Battles.
So, don’t buy a $100 minus weapon and aiming for a Chinese LPEG than better save your money!
Good Luck with your choice!