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How Do Airsoft Shotguns Work?

How Do Airsoft Shotguns Work?

Airsoft shotguns operate using various mechanisms, and the specific working principle can depend on if the airsoft shotgun is spring-powered, gas-powered, or electric-powered. Here's an overview of how each type generally works:

Spring-Powered Airsoft Shotguns:

  • Mechanism: Spring-powered airsoft shotguns use a manual, pump-action mechanism.
  • Operation: When you pump the airsoft shotgun, you're compressing a spring inside the gun. This action prepares the airsoft gun for firing.
  • Firing: Pulling the trigger releases the spring, which propels a burst of air that forces the BBs out of the airsoft shotgunís barrel. Spring-powered airsoft shotguns usually fire one BB per trigger pull.
  • Reload: After firing, the pump action is used to reload a new BB into the chamber, resetting the spring for the next shot.

Gas-Powered Airsoft Shotguns:

  • Mechanism: Gas-powered airsoft shotguns use compressed gas, typically green gas or CO2.
  • Operation: The gas is stored in a reservoir or magazine. When you pull the trigger, the gas is released, pushing the BBs out of the airsoft gunís barrel.
  • Firing: Gas-powered airsoft shotguns can be semi-automatic or automatic, depending on the design. Some models feature a realistic blowback action, simulating the recoil of a real shotgun.
  • Reload: After the gas is depleted or the airsoft gunís magazine is empty, you'll need to reload a new gas canister or magazine.

Electric-Powered Airsoft Shotguns (AEGs):

  • Mechanism: Electric-powered airsoft shotguns, or AEG shotguns, use an electric motor to power a gearbox and piston system.
  • Operation: When you pull the trigger, the electric motor activates a gearbox, compressing air to propel the BBs.
  • Firing: AEG shotguns can be semi-automatic or automatic, offering a higher rate of fire compared to spring-powered shotguns.
  • Reload: AEG shotguns typically have a higher capacity and use detachable magazines. After firing, you'll need to replace the magazine to continue shooting.


In all cases, airsoft shotguns are designed to mimic the appearance and, to some extent, the operation of real shotguns. The choice between spring, gas, or electric power often depends on personal preference, playing style, and the desired level of realism.

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