Thursday, June 25, 2009

Airsoft Gun Types: Spring, Gas and Electric (AEG)

airsoft guns types
From manually operated spring loaded pistols to fully automatic electric rifles, the variety of guns available to airsoft players today is vast. Airsoft players have more options than ever when choosing what types of guns to add to their collections. Airsoft guns fall into one of three main categories based on how they are powered:

Spring Loaded Airsoft Guns
Spring loaded airsoft guns fire single shots using the potential energy stored in a spring, which is compressed when the gun is cocked and then released when you shoot. Cocking a spring loaded airsoft gun compresses the spring in preparation for the next shot, so spring loaded guns must be cocked before each shot.

In general, spring loaded airsoft guns cost less than their electric or gas powered counterparts, making them popular starter guns for newcomers to the sport. Most experienced players prefer electric or gas airsoft guns for their power and realistic feel.

Electric Airsoft Guns
Electric airsoft guns, also called airsoft AEGs (automatic electric guns) because of their automatic or semi-automatic capabilities, utilize an electric motor powered by a rechargeable battery to cycle an internal piston or spring that fires the pellets. Because of their power, performance and realism, AEGs are the most common type of airsoft guns you will see used in the sport of airsoft and are also the most widely available.

Gas Airsoft Guns
Gas airsoft guns are powered by pressurized gas – in the form of either green gas or CO2 - that is used to propel pellets from the chamber. Unlike spring loaded guns, gas airsoft guns do not have to be manually cocked before each shot. Gas powered airsoft guns are renowned for their power and precision. They are further classified as either non-blowback or blowback airsoft guns.

A blowback airsoft gun will have a slide that kicks back each time a shot is fired, mimicking the feel of firing a real gun. Non-blowback airsoft guns, on the other hand, have fixed slides and revolvers, and do not kick back as blowback guns do. Non-blowback airsoft guns give airsofters an economical alternative to blowback gas guns, but because of their realism blowback airsoft guns remain the most popular type of gas gun.

Deciding which type of airsoft gun you prefer may just take some trial and error. Many airsoft players have different types of guns to use for different purposes. Check out our Airsoft Knowledge Base for more details on the differences between spring loaded, electric and gas airsoft guns!

About the Author: Mike Zhang is the VP of Operations of Airsoft Megastore, an airsoft retailer offering electric and gas powered airsoft guns. Please visit Airsoft Megastore to shop for airsoft AEGs, full metal airsoft rifles or the right airsoft gas gun for players of any experience level.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Airsoft Game Types: Capture the Flag

airsoft capture the flagCapture the Flag is a classic game type that is popular in both paintball and airsoft. Each team is tasked with capturing a flag and bringing it to a designated location while avoiding enemy fire. Capture the flag is a versatile game type in that it can be adapted to accommodate large or small groups of players. There are several variations on the rules of Capture the Flag, a couple of which are described below.

Capture the Flag begins with two teams positioned at opposite ends of the playing field. Usually, each has its own base (or designated starting location) with a flag that the team must protect. Each team’s mission is to capture the opposing team’s flag and bring it safely to home base while defending its own flag and eliminating as many opponents as possible. Typically the rules stipulate that the flag must be visible at all times, including while it is being carried by a player. The rules dictated by the organizer will determine what happens if a player carrying the flag is hit. Either the flag must be returned to its original base or the player may drop the flag for a teammate to pick up and continue with the mission.

An alternative scenario called ‘Center Flag’ consists of two teams and two bases, but only one centrally located flag that each team must try to capture. In the single flag variation, victory goes to the team that returns the flag to its own base first. In an alternative scenario, the team may be required to capture the flag and bring it to the opponent’s base.

As with other airsoft game types, the rules for Capture the Flag vary among different organizations and fields. Even if you are an experienced player, be sure that you are familiar with the rules for the organization with which you are playing.

About the Author: Mike Zhang is the VP of Operations of Airsoft Megastore, an airsoft retailer offering electric and gas powered airsoft guns. Please visit Airsoft Megastore to shop for airsoft AEGs, full metal airsoft rifles or the right airsoft gas gun for players of any experience level.

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Monday, June 8, 2009

Airsoft and the Honor System

airsoft honor system
The sport of airsoft relies on the honor system. This means that each player is responsible for being honest regarding whether he or she has been hit in order for the game to progress fairly. Since airsoft BBs do not usually leave noticeable evidence as paintballs do, responsibility falls on the hit player to call him or herself out. Players who refuse to acknowledge being hit so that they can stay in the game are cheating, and that takes the fun out of the game for teammates as well as opponents. Cheaters are not well tolerated in airsoft and will likely be banned from playing with the group again. Here are a few situations that obstruct the honor system that is so important to the integrity of airsoft:

  • Failing to acknowledge a hit. Players hit by airsoft fire during a match are expected to call themselves out according to the rules set forth at the start of the game. The rules of some fields stipulate that hit players remain on the ground in the location where they were hit. Or, players may be required to hold their guns in the air, shout “hit!” and move to the regeneration point. In other cases, a signal such as a flashing light or a flag may be used to communicate that a player has been hit. The course of action each player should take after being hit will be communicated prior to the start of a match. Failing to call yourself out when hit can result in elimination from the game and could lead you to get banned from playing with the organization again. In other words, cheating is not worth it.

  • Pretending to be hit to avoid enemy fire. Just as players should honestly admit to being hit, they should be honest about having not been hit. Pretending to be hit to avoid fire, then going back into action in the match is dishonorable behavior that is not tolerated in airsoft. Though this probably happens less commonly than a player failing to acknowledge a hit, all players should be aware that breaking the rules diminishes the integrity of the game.

  • Reentering the game too soon after being hit. In some types of airsoft matches, players who have been hit are allowed to reenter the match after a certain period of time or when a referee gives them the go ahead. This makes matches last longer and gives players more playing time. If you are playing in a match wherein you are allowed to reenter the game after being hit, be sure to only do so at the appropriate time.

Like any sport, most airsoft players are out to have a good time, but there will be a select few who do not want to play fairly. Refusing to abide by the honor system when playing airsoft will drain the fun and competitiveness of the sport for everyone else. Just as you expect a player you hit to acknowledge the hit, you are expected to do the same. Being banned from playing again will not be worth it, so take the high road and have fun playing airsoft the way it was meant to be played.

About the Author: Mike Zhang is the VP of Operations of Airsoft Megastore, an Airsoft retailer offering electric and gas powered Airsoft guns. Please visit Airsoft Megastore to shop for airsoft AEGs, full metal airsoft rifles or the right airsoft gas gun for players of any experience level.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

What Equipment do I need to get started in Airsoft?

airsoft starter equipmentIf you are just starting out in airsoft, you may be wondering what equipment you should purchase to ensure that you are prepared. Many airsoft players get started by purchasing the essentials and then building out their airsoft collections by adding multiple types of guns, accessories and gear over time. If you are playing for the first time, you may want to borrow airsoft guns and gear if possible to make sure the sport is for you. If you love playing airsoft and are ready to invest in your own airsoft guns and gear, congratulations! Airsoft is an exciting, adrenaline charged sport that promotes camaraderie and gives players a taste of combat in a safe environment.

While many players slowly build up a collection of airsoft guns and equipment, others take the full plunge and purchase every gun and accessory that seems appealing from the start. The latter approach certainly will not hurt if money is no concern, but this is not the case for many airsoft players who are just getting started. If you are on a limited budget, you may want to invest in these essentials up front, and later purchase items such as extra guns, scopes, and tactical vests that you may want down the line:

Safety Goggles: Eye protection is absolutely required for any airsoft skirmish, so purchasing a quality pair of safety goggles that fits you well should be a worthwhile investment. Just any safety goggles, such as those used for power tool operation or skiing, will not do. Shopping for goggles on reputable airsoft websites will help ensure that the safety goggles you purchase are suitable for protecting you from injury by airsoft fire. Before you buy, be sure to find out if the field you will be playing most often has requirements on the type of eye protection that must be worn.

Airsoft Gun: An airsoft gun is a necessary purchase when you are investing in airsoft equipment of your own. The right airsoft gun to buy depends on your budget and personal preferences. Hopefully you have some friends or fellow airsoft players who will let you try out their guns to get a feel for your preferences. Researching different types and models online can be helpful, but nothing beats trying one out! If testing out a few guns is not an option, talking to fellow airsofters about what brands and models they like and why will give you some excellent insight into the factors that are important in choosing the right airsoft gun.

BBs: Obviously you will need ammunition before you enter a skirmish, but be sure that you get the right kind of BBs for your gun. BBs are available in different sizes, and using the right type is essential to the longevity of your gun. For more information about choosing the right BBs for your gun, check out What kind of BBs are right for my airsoft gun?

Camouflage clothing/BDUs: Okay, so a set of BDUs is not a necessity to be able to play airsoft, but is worth mentioning since most players will be dressed in camouflage for the game. Wearing camouflage will help during a skirmish because it can help you avoid being spotted by opponents. Many players also like the fact that wearing realistic military attire contributes to the realism of the game.

Getting some field experience in a few skirmishes and interacting with other players will undoubtedly expose you to new guns and equipment, so you may want to start out by purchasing the essentials to get a feel for what else you would like to add to your airsoft collection. When you are deciding what to buy, do not underestimate the power of talking with experienced airsoft enthusiasts, who will more than likely be thrilled to discuss the different aspects of airsoft equipment with you!

About the Author: Mike Zhang is the VP of Operations of Airsoft Megastore, an Airsoft retailer offering electric and gas powered Airsoft guns. Please visit Airsoft Megastore to shop for airsoft AEGs, airsoft sniper rifles or the right airsoft gas gun for players of any experience level.

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