Airsoft 101 | Getting Started In Airsoft
General Knowledge About Airsoft
It is illegal to brandish an airsoft gun
in view of the general public, not to mention it is very unsafe. Police or other authority figures can easily mistake an airsoft gun for a real firearm.
Most AEG airsoft guns do not come with a battery and charger
. One must be purchased separetly. Make sure when buying a battery that it is compatible with your airsoft gun.
You should never use .12g BBs. Not all BBs are created equal, anything under .20g should never be used in an airsoft gun. Using inferior BB’s will damage your gun and void your warranty.
Batteries should be charged correctly using either a standard wall charger or a smart charger. Batteries left charging for too long will damage the cells and possibly start a fire.
Not all airsoft gun battery compartments are the same. Some store the battery in the stock, hand guard, PEQ box, or the body of the gun. Verify your battery compartment before purchasing.
A general rule for batteries is that the higher the mAh the longer you can play on one charge. The higher the voltage of a battery, the higher the rate of fire for your gun.
Different styles of play require different settings for your gun. CQB style typically uses a lower FPS (Feet Per Second) velocity. Usually ranging between 325 - 350 FPS, depending on the field.
Different styles of play require different settings for your gun. Field games typically use mid range FPS (Feet Per Second) velocity. Usually ranging between 350 - 400 FPS, depending on the field.
Different styles of play require different settings for your gun. Sniper
games typically use high a FPS (Feet Per Second) velocity. Usually ranging between 450 - 550 FPS, depending on the field.
There are many styles of airsoft guns. Some are completely made of plastic which makes them light. Some are made completely from steel which makes them very realistic. Choose which best fits you.
All airsoft guns are prone to breakage due to the nature of the sport of airsoft. Never try to open your gun and fix it, you can damage your gun and void your warranty. Let the experts fix it.
You should always play airsoft at a sanctioned field to avoid any issues with law enforcement. It is safer to play in designated areas to ensure that you have fun and stay safe.
Airsoft is an honor based game. Always call your hits. Keep your red rag ready to show other players that you are out of play. Once you are out stay quiet so as to not give away players positions.
Airsoft can be a demanding sport. Makes sure when you are on the field to stay hydrated
. Running around in full gear or even in minimal gear will cause you to sweat. Drink water.
Make sure you are physically able to play airsoft. There can be many obstacles on an airsoft battlefield. Stretch out and limber up before any physical activity to prevent injuries.
Each airsoft gun model has one thing in common, a magazine. The magazine is what feeds BBs in to the airsoft gun. However not all magazines are the same. There are different models for each type of gun. An AK Magazine will not fit an M4 and an M4 will not fit an AK. Some magazines will fit in multiple types of guns such as an M4 mag fitting into the Masada or Tavor. There are also multiple capacities of magazines. The most common being mid capacity magazines and, the ever popular, high capacity magazines.
Mid-cap magazines, as they are commonly known, generally offer the user a capacity between 60 and 180 rounds and never have to be wound. Hi-cap magazines offer the user upwards of 200 rounds but must be wound to feed BBs into the gun. You can see in the image above the winding wheel for a hi-cap on the bottom of the magazine. The last type of magazine is known as a low-cap or standard magazine. These magazines hold the same amount of rounds as the real steel counterparts.
Most airsoft guns use a hop-up system to put back spin on the BB. This spin adds stability to the flight of the BB ensuring a straighter trajectory. If the hop up is up too much or down too much it will cause the BB to perform differently. The four pictures below are the most common hop up systems.
- Slide Type - This hop-up unit is very simple and features very few moving parts. The Slide type of hop-up is typically found in AK variant airsoft. The slide type hop-up is operated by a small slider located on the right side of the unit. To adjust the hop up, the user can slide the adjuster to the rear towards the stock for more hop-up and forward towards the barrel for less hop-up.
- Gear Type - This type of hop-up unit is typically found in AR-15 variant airsoft guns. The Gear type hop-up is a more intricate design that allows the unit to maintain its adjustment even under stress. It is adjusted by turning the largest gear clockwise for more hop up and counter clockwise for less hop up. Many companies produce this unit with many different materials and designs.
- Wheel Type - The Wheel type of hop-up is a rare design found in many different AEGs such as the G&G M14, AUG, E90, M249, the Echo 1 Ultimate hop up and others. The wheel style hop up is a very simple and is adjusted by turning the wheel to the right (clockwise) for increased hop-up and to the left (counter-clockwise) for less hop-up.
- Lug Type - The Lug style hop-up is typically only found in KWA gas blow back airsoft guns, however it may be found in other rare airsoft guns. The lug style hop up is adjusted with a small tool that fits inside of the teeth on the unit. To adjust the hop up the unit must be turned clockwise to increase hop up and counter-clockwise to decrease hop up.
When using an AEG, the type of battery greatly depends on the type of gun you are using. There are many types of batteries that span multiple voltages, the most common being a 9.6V NiMh or an 11.1 LiPo. These batteries may not mean anything to you now, but after playing airsoft for awhile, the surely will. There are two main numbers on a battery that you should know about. They are the mAh (milliampere hours) and the V (voltage). The voltage is the energy output of the battery, which affects the rate of fire of your gun. Common voltages are 8.4V, 9.6V, and 11.1V. The mAh of a battery is the energy storage of a battery. The higher the mAh of a battery the longer you can play on a single charge. Common mAh ratings are in a range between 1000 and 3000 milliampere hours.
Not all batteries will fit in every gun. Be sure to verify which battery to purchase to fit your gun.
With any battery choice you make, you will need a way to charge it. Airsoft GI offers a variety of ways to do so. There are standard wall chargers and smart chargers. Smart chargers are a safer option and will prolong the life of your battery.
Not all airsoft guns are the same. The most common type of airsoft gun is the AEG. The components below are the internal parts of an AEG. Most AEGs have the same components but possibly in a different layout or configuration. Be sure to verify your gearbox type before purchasing any items.
Airsoft Gun Safety
Whenever you are dealing with an airsoft gun, whether shooting it or working on it, you should ALWAYS wear eye protection
. Never look down the barrel of any gun. An accidental discharge or a loose spring could potentially damage you eyes or face.
Always keep your finger off of the trigger until you are ready to fire. Place the selector lever on Safe to help ensure there will be no accidental discharges. Proper precautions should always be taken when handling and operating all replica firearms.
When transporting your airsoft gun make sure to keep it in a gun bag or the original box it came in. Your gun should be covered at all times when in view of the public so as to not be mistaken for a real firearm. Police cannot always tell that it is an airsoft replica.
Never point your airsoft gun at another person or animal unless you are at an airsoft field. Unsuspecting people may think that it is a real firearm. It is illegal to brandish an airsoft gun in public. You should always treat replica firearms as you would a real gun.
Be sure to clear the chamber of your airsoft gun after removing the magazine. Sometimes an extra BB will stay in the chamber and may be accidentally discharged. Disconnect the battery when you have finished playing for the day.
Do not disassemble your gun! There are many parts inside your gun and you will void your warranty upon disassembly. Leave it to the experts to fix your gun. You can damage your gun or lose small pieces that are vital to proper functionality.
Airsoft 102 | General Anatomy Of Airsoft
Airsoft Game Types
Open Field Battle is a game of strategy using a combination of stealth and heavy fire. MilSim (Military Simulation) Scenarios take place on large outdoor playing fields and can last from many hours to several days. The usual FPS limit is 400 FPS in engaging targets from 75 to 150 feet. Mid to Low Cap Mags with 0.25+ gram Biodegradable BBs are highly recommended as a means of not leaving waste outside.
Full-seal Goggles provide excellent eye protection for all angles & allow a good Cheek Weld for Zoom Scopes that usually need a close eye relief and are best used with one eye closed.
Long Barreled guns provide accuracy especially when engaging enemies at 100+ feet. Bipods provide stability among front-heavy guns. Full stocks provide housing for large batteries that can yield extended gameplay time.
CQB (Close Quarter Battle) is a fast-paced, head-to-head combat indoor game. The oppositions will aggressively rush each other while taking heavy fire. Windows, bunkers, walls, and objects inside will be the only cover. The usual FPS limit is 350 FPS in engaging targets from 10 to 75 feet. Hi Cap Mags with 0.20g BB’s are highly recommended.
Full-face Masks are ideal for CQB because BB’s fired at close distances can sting or chip a tooth. Red Dot Scopes with a far eye relief provide rapid target acquisition.
Short Barreled guns are light and more maneuverable around corners and walls. Mounted Flashlights help trace the BB’s path in areas with limited light. Vertical Grips provide more control over the gun and a more natural fighting stance.
General Maintenance Of Airsoft Guns
Clean/unjam the inner barrel
Turn the Hop Up all the way down (see internal anatomy)
Use the unjamming end to clear debris out of gun.
Clean/Lube the inner barrel
Use the Cleaning End of the Rod.
Cut Cloth/Paper Towel.
Put it through the slit of the Cleaning End and wrap it around.
Spray it with silicon.
Run the wrapped end of the Rod through the Inner Barrel.
Lube the magazine
Spray a small amount of silicon oil
into the feeding nozzle of the magazine.
Lube the hop up
Turn the Airsoft Gun upside down.
Spray a small amount of silicon into the Hop Up.
There are many variations of gearbox shells ranging from version 1 to version 9 with many variations of both existing in many specialty AEGs, with the most popular version is the version 2 gearbox. The main difference from version to version is the actual shape of the gearbox itself, The version of the gearbox does not typically relate to the quality or durability of the shell, while some designs are better then others the version number does not correlate.
When the trigger of an AEG is pulled, the motor shaft spins the gears to power the rest of the gearbox which in turns propels the BB from the airsoft gun. Different airsoft guns require different sized motors.
MK5A4 & MK5A5
TM & CLONE M14
Troubleshooting Problems With Airsoft Guns
Nothing happens when I pull the trigger...
Check your battery.
- Check that the battery is connected.
- Try using a different battery.
- Make sure your battery is charged.
Check the wire connections
- Tighten battery connectors.
- Check for burnt wires.
- Check for frayed wires.
Check the fuse.
- Make sure your fuse is not blown out.
Make sure the gun is not on safety.
The motor and gears turn when I pull the trigger, but the gun does not fire properly...
Make sure the magazine is feeding.
- Check for BBs in magazine.
- Check proper magazine function.
- Wind magazine.
Check the Barrel and Hop-up.
- Clean or unjam your barrel.
- Adjust your hop-up.
Check the grade of BBs.
- Use only high quality BBs, never use .12g.
- Check for broken BBs in your gun.
- Use proper diameter BBs, generally 6mm.
Recharge the battery.
- The battery may have just enough power.
Check the motor height.
- Listen for the motor straining.
- Raise or lower the motor to align with gears.
My gun does not shoot straight...
BB flies up or down - Adjust your hop-up.
- BB curves upwards - turn your hop-up down
- BB curves downwards - turn your hop-up up
BB flies left or right - Check your barrel
- Check for debris in the barrel.
- Check for a torn hop-up bucking.
- Check for improper hop-up installation.
Airsoft 103 | Good VS Bad BBs
The consequences of using poorly made BBs
BB jams in the barrel of the rifle can cause many problem with a gun’s internals. Unjamming rods can unclog a barrel, but might not clean the BB shavings that poorly made BBs can leave behind.
Jammed BBs create an air brake in the cylinder which leaves the piston teeth susceptible to being stripped by the teeth of the gears. This can crack or shatter your piston head requiring replacement.
A stripped piston can subsequently lead to gear trouble. Either the gears will strip along with the piston, or pieces of the stripped piston will lock up the gearbox rending the gun unusable.
The rewards of using precision BBs
Precision BBs are made to have a perfect fit to a rifle’s inner barrel (approx. 6.04 mm). The picture on the left was shot with poorly made BBs. The one on the right was shot with precision BBs.
Precision BBs improve accuracy. These targets were shot at 100 feet with the same rifle. The picture on the left was shot with poorly made BBs. The one on the right was shot with precision BBs.
Precision BBs increase FPS (feet per second). The pictures above show Chrono readouts of FPS of the same rifle, but using different BBs; poor BBs (left) and precision BBs (right).
Good VS Bad
BBs may be very small and relatively inexpensive but they are not to be taken lightly. The effects of using poorly made BBs are, at the very least, reduced performance, but bad BBs can and do lead to very serious gearbox failure. Examples are poorly made BBs can be found in sporting goods stores. The aforementioned BBs are sold at those places because they are meant to be used with low quality air guns sold there. Low quality BBs should never be used in the higher quality airsoft guns like those sold at Airsoft GI.
The main reason why poorly made BBs are dangerous for high end airsoft guns can be seen in Example 1.1. The low standards of manufacturing a BB yield a product that is not a perfect sphere and may also leave imperfections from the injection molding, there imperfections are harmful for two reasons. They are rough and tend to flake off inside the barrel, which leads to poor performance. As bad as that sounds the more dangerous BB is the one that isn’t perfectly round. They will get stuck inside the barrel and cause a jam which could quicly lead to major internal gearbox trouble.
Example 1.2 shows one of the consequences of a BB jam, a broken piston. If a jammed airsoft gun is fired before the jam is cleared it created an air brake inside the cylinder. Since the air inside the cylinder has nowhere to escape the piston stroke is stopped, but the gears keep going. With the piston at half stroke, and gears coming around again, the teeth of the gears will catch the piston at the wrong point which leads immediately to a broken piston. However, the worst case scenario is illustrated by Example 1.3. Instead of the gears damaging the piston the opposite may occur, or both piston and gears will strip at the same time.
On the flip side, if precision made BBs are used then the gun will function like it was made to without adverse side effects. As seen in Example 2.1, high grade BBs are perfect spheres without flashings, and the diameter of high grade BBs will never exceed 6.0mm. High grade BBs are also polished for the smoothest possible surface to achiever maximum performance. Example 2.2 shows what a difference a BBs shape and feel can make on accuracy. The precise sizing and polishing allow for a tighter, safer fit between the BB and the barrel; the end result is a BB the flies exactly where it was shot.
The illustration of muzzle velocity in Example 2.3 once again points out the importance of a tight fit between the BB and the inner barrel. The closest possible fit prevents less air from escaping around the sides of the BB as it travels through the barrel. Less escaping air means more energy behind the BB, more energy means higher FPS, which in turn means the BB will travel further once is has left the barrel.
Using poorly made BBs in a high end airsoft gun is like putting cheap gasoline in a performance automobile. There are many kinds and types of high end BBs out there, a large selection of which can be found at Airsoft GI. Spending less on BBs usually means spending more on repairs; do yourself a favor and always use high grade, performance engineered BBs. Being cheap now will end up costing you more later!
Airsoft 104 | Airsoft Gun Battery Basics
Every AEG has a designated battery compartment and only certain types of batteries can fit into each compartment. Nunchuck and mini type batteries are the two most commonly used AEG batteries. The different styles of batteries also vary in their voltages. The most common voltages are 8.4V and 9.6V. Before you purchase a battery for your AEG make sure to select the right type of battery for your gun. If you don’t know what type of battery will fit in your gun, ask a sale’s representative at Airsoft GI or e-mail your question to [email protected].
Make sure to choose the proper battery for your gun. Some batteries are specific to certain guns. Dispose of batteries properly when they are dead.
One major battery attribute that will determine if it is compatible with your gun is the type of connector it has. The three types of connectors for AEGs are Small Tamiya, Large Tamiya, and Deans Connectors.
When choosing a battery it is important to determine how you want it to perform. The different numbers on a battery can tell you exactly what to expect from your battery. The voltage of a battery affects the rate of fire for your gun; the higher the voltage, the more BBs per second. Therefore, a 9.6V will produce a higher rate of fire than an 8.4V.
The next number you need to be concerned with is the milliamp hour rating, or mAh. The mAh of a battery can ranger between 500 mAh and upwards of 4200 mAh. The mAh rating will effect how long your battery lasts, depending on playing style and the power draw of your gun. The higher the mAh rating, the longer the battery will last. In theory, a 4000 mAh battery will last four times as long as a 1000 mAh battery, in the same gun with the same playing style.
LiPo batteries differ from nickel batteries in that they also have a discharge rating that is represented with the letter “C”. This C-dump number refers to the amps that are constantly discharged from the battery until it is drained. A 15C-dump battery will continuously discharge at a rate of 15 amps until it can no longer produce 15 amps. This allows for a constant rate of fire for the entire charge.
NiCad VS NiMH
Nickel Cadmium (NiCad) batteries were once the most common types of battery for AEGs. They have fallen out of favor because of their tricky charging procedure, and their weight. The have been mostly replaced bt their less tempermental counterpart, the Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery.
The NiMH battery is easier to charge thus it is a little more user friendly. Like the NiCad battery it comes in different voltages and milliamp ratings. The NiMH battery is now the most common battery in the airsoft world.
NiCad Batteries must by fully discharged before recharging. NiMH do not have to be fully disdischarged before recharging.
Not all smart chargers turn off when done charging. A trickle charge can damage your battery if plugged in for a long period of time.
When buying a battery, you also have to think about how you plan on charging it. Not every battery can be charged in the same way. NiCad batteries must be completely discharged before being recharged. NiMH batteries can be recharged at anytime but should not be overcharged. Most LiPo batteries should be charged from the input line because of their volatile nature and possibility to catch fire.
The correct charger should be used to recharge your battery. Be sure to check the charge compatibility; some chargers are voltage specific. The standard wall charger takes a little more patience by the user because you have to calculate your own charging times. Smart chargers calculate the time needed to completely charge the battery and then automatically slows to a trickle charge.
LiPo batteries can only be charged using a LiPo smart charger, NiCad and NiMH chargers cannot charge LiPo batteries. Smart chargers are generally more expensive than standard chargers but could save you time and money. Make sure to charge your batteries properly and never try to charge a damaged battery. Take care of your batteries and regularly inspect them for any damage.
Why This, Not That
The Lithium Polymer (LiPo) battery has steadily been gaining ground as a superior power source because of its compact size and light weight. Before you buy a LiPo battery make sure to find out if your gun can handle the additional stress of the high enery output. Also note, the LiPo’s are not made to be fully discharged and the fully discharging can be dangerous. Using a LiPo battery can also void and warranty you may have on your gun.
LiPo Batteries provide a boost in performance power, but can also damage your airsoft gun is used improperly. Airsoft GI DOES NOT recommend LiPo Batteries for new players.
Always be safe when charging, handling, and storing batteries. Before purchasing a battery you should know the proper charging procedures. When buying a LiPo battery you must also purchase the correct charger and a LiPo Sack This is to help prevent any accidents that may occur.
You should always disconnect your battery from the power source when you are away. Batteries should be constantly monitored while charging as well as to prevent any mishaps.
When storing your battery, make sure to disconnect it from you gun. Disconnecting it will prevent your gun from accidentally being misfired when being handled. So remember, charge your battery properly, disconnect it from the power source, and disconnect your gun.
Airsoft 105 | Airsoft Game Types
Airsoft 106 | Airsoft Safety Information
Airsoft Gun Laws
Parents are responsible
Parents and legal guardians are legally responsible for the minor’s possession and use of an airsoft gun. Be smart with how you use your airsoft gun.
18 years of age or older
Most states require that you be 18 years or older to purchase and own an airsoft gun or have permission from a parent or legal guardian.
Comply with the police
If a law enforcement officer approaches you while you are using airsoft guns, immediately comply fully with the officer’s instructions and stand still. Do not attempt to show the officer your gun. If the gun is in your hand, drop it immediately. If the gun is on your person, do not reach for it and keep your hands clearly away from the gun.
Mind the orange tip
Most retailers of Airsoft guns have disclaimers stating that it is illegal to remove the orange tip. Do not assume that an orange tip will clearly identify the airsoft gun as such; the general public is unfamiliar with airsoft and can mistake airsoft guns for real guns.
A crime by any other name
If you use your airsoft guns to threaten another person, vandalize property, or shoot at innocent bystanders, you WILL be charged with committing a crime.
Airsoft Public Safety
Four legged friends
Never use your airsoft gun to shoot or harm any animals.
Be mindful of others
Keep in mind that at even a moderate distance, it may be impossible to tell an airsoft gun from the real thing. In order to maintain a safe playing environment and to not alarm non-players, caution and discretion must always be practiced.
Never use or display airsoft guns in public places such as schools, parks, etc. In some states it a crime to brandish a look-alike gun in public and it may be misconstrued as a real firearm.
Hold your fire
If a neighbor or nearby person asks you to stop playing with your airsoft guns, immediately stop and stow away your guns. Respect the requests of others.
Friends and foes
Never use an airsoft gun to shoot or attack anyone who is not a player. Individuals using an Airsoft or replica gun to commit crimes will invariably be treated as though they had used an actual firearm.
Airsoft Gun Safety
Itchy trigger finger
Keep your finger off the trigger of your gun until you are ready to use it. Keep the gun’s safety on unless you are on a designated playing field.
Always detatch magazines and batteries from your airsoft gun until you are ready to play. Empty magazines of BBs and gas after use, and store them empty when not in use.
Storing and transport
Store airsoft guns in boxes or gun bags when transporting them outside your home.
Plug it up
Plug the muzzle of your airsoft gun with a gunplug or gun sock when not in play.
Check and recheck
When finished playing, remove the magazine and fire the gun to dislodge any remaining BBs in the chamber. Store your gun clear of BBs to reduce the chance of misfires.
Never point an airsoft gun at anything that you do not intend to shoot. Always assume the gun is loaded and treat it as a real firearm.
Watch your step
When on the field of battle it is important to watch where you step. A player can easily trip over any number of debris. Watch for rocks, old BBs, tree roots, downed branches, glass, metal, etc. Be sure to have proper body protection at all times.
Mind your hands
Though your hands will often be on the trigger and handguard of your airsoft rifle, it is importan to to watch what you clasp on to or grab when in the field. Rusted metal, nails, sharp glass fragments, or rock can seriously injure you if you’re not mindful.
Outdoor airsoft fields utilize the natural terrain as a battleground. Wildlife often take refuge within this terrain and it is imperitive to pay attention to your surroundings. Some wildlife can be dangerous and it is best to avoid contact all together.
Boundary lines are set on outdoor fields to keep players from wandering off into areas that are either not owned by the field or are hazardous. Be mindful of boundary lines and always stay within the confines of the field.
Watch your eyes
Never look down the barrel of your gun. There is no reason for you to do so at any time. If the airsoft gun is jammed, use a un-jamming rod to try and solve the problem or seek professional aid.
Protect your body
When playing airsoft it is important to remember to protect your body from harm. Physical damage to your body can happen in any number of ways when you are out on the field. By utilizing tactical gear to its fullest potential, a player will be able to protect themselves from any dangerous elements they may encounter. Eye protection is the most essential piece of gear any player will purchase. Goggles or a full face mask are required on all airsoft fields. The advantage of the face mask is a larger area of protection, covering the sensitive areas of the face; often indoor CQB fields will require full face protection due to the close proximity of fire Goggles are often used on field battles, as combat is at longer range. Elbow and knee pads are important as well, as bumping into corners or kneeling on objects could present a potential hazaard. A good pair of gloves and boots are also important items to have, as they protect you from stepping on or grabbing anything that could potentially hurt you.