What are airsoft guns?
They are 1:1 scale replicas of real guns, which fire 6mm (sometimes 8mm) plastic BBs at relatively low velocity.
They are used for skirmishing (wargaming, much like paintballing), target shooting or just for collecting, due to their realistic appearance.
What gas do I use?
Generally you should use 134a or Green gas.
134a is good for all guns at all temperatures. Green gas is more powerful, but is required by some metal guns at all temperatures.
Green gas is the same as Propane (except for some lubricants and a better smell!) and 134a is, usually, the same as 'Duster Gas' - So if you can buy those cheaper they will work as an alternative, but you will need an adaptor of some sort to fill your magazines.
See the Gas Pressure link for more on when to use 134a and Green Gas.
A few guns can use CO2 in special magazines. These tend to be overly powerful, but not very robust, so I'd steer clear of them, anyway.
Are metal guns better than plastic?
Often 'all metal' guns produced as such use low quality zinc and can be more fragile and lightweight than plastic guns.
There is a myth that any metal gun is safe with Green gas at any temperature, but seals and other internal parts can still fail and the cheap metal can crack, especially if poorly cast - As the cheaper guns are.
Japanese guns are not permitted to have metal slides, so any 'all metal' gun originally manufactured that way will be made in Taiwan to lower QC standards (and it shows...).
Aftermarket slides and frames are usually aluminium, rather than Zinc, and are much stronger and better quality, although they will be dearer.
What's a good make of GBB to buy?
Western Arms make the best looking, most powerful, hardest kicking GBBs around - I would always recommend WA.
KSC make good guns as well, although I have had the most problems with KSC pistols.
Tanaka GBBs look as good, but are more fragile and Maruzen are similar, although not quite as good looking.
If you want a cheaper gun to skirmish with Tokyo Marui (TM) also make very good GBBs with very good Hop-Up for long range.
HFC's Beretta M190 is a decent all-metal gun at a good price.
How loud are airsoft guns?
Gas blowback guns typically sound similar in nature and loudness to popping a fully inflated balloon. No airsoft gun can possibly match the loudness of a real gun.
How strong is the recoil on airsoft guns?
Recoil is present in gas blowback guns and handguns will generally kick in your hand when fired in semi or full auto mode, due to the movement of the slide.
An airsoft revolver, NBB, AEP or spring pistol will not 'recoil' at all.
Keeping your aim will require a firm grip as the gun kicks up. However, the recoil is far, far softer than a real gun.
While the recoil on a real gun is strong enough to lift your arm entirely, a strong kick on an airsoft pistol will only kick and pivot your wrist.
What is the range of an Airsoft gun?
Most spring guns are accurate at around 50 feet.
Some Gas and Electric guns are accurate up to 2x-3x times that range.
How powerful is an Airsoft gun?
Most airsoft guns are much less powerful (and therefore safer) than a normal air pistol or rifle.
A good spring pistol will fire a .2g BB at 200fps
A good gas pistol or AEG rifle will fire a .2g BB at 300fps
A decent airgun will fire a .5g metal pellet at 450-500fps or more!
With proper eye protection and under proper control airsoft is safe. NEVER fire an airgun at anyone!
How do I fill a GBB magazine?
Turn the magazine and gas cannister completely upside down (so that the magazine 'jaws' point directly downwards) and press the gas cannister down against the fill valve (in the bottom of the magazine - Now facing upwards).
Fill until gas starts to spray out of the fill valve.
You cannot over-fill a gas magazine.
Note : Always ensure the gas cannister and magazine remain directly in line whilst filling or gas will leak out before the magazine is full.
What is Hop-Up?
Hop-Up is a device which gives BBs a back-spin as the gun fires them to increase range.
Nearly all modern airsoft guns have Hop-Up (Marushin call it SSB), some are adjustable (to allow for different weight BBs) and others are fixed (like TM, HFC and KJW Berettas and WA Magnatech guns). Fixed requires no fiddling with, but adjustable is usually considered 'better'.
Where can I get an airsoft gun?
Look at our links page, there are plenty of retailers there.
Where can I found out more?
Look at our links page, and visit one of the forums.
What is the VCRA and how does it affect me?
Read about the Violent Crime Reduction Act and how it restricts access to Airsoft replicas in the UK here.