Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Differences Between Airsoft Electric and Gas Blow-back Guns

One of the many things which make the sport of airsoft so enjoyable is the wide array of gun platforms currently available. Airsoft manufacturers now market myriad airsoft weaponry, which allows for players to pick just the right weapon for their unique style of play or the op they’ll be participating in. Most modern airsoft weaponry – not unlike its real-life tactical counterparts – also allow for endless accessorizing and customization. Most likely you’ve spent time between games listening to fellow players effuse about the new reinforced gear-box they’ve installed, or debate the difference various propellant make in the functionality of a ‘hard-kick,’ although before I lose myself in tech minutia, let’s examine two of the main sub-sets of airsoft guns as they pertain to their sources of power.

In this case, that means electricity and gas.

Electric airsoft guns, also called AEGs (automatic electric guns) and affectionately referred to as ‘gear-boxes’ by savvy airsoft players because of their automatic or semi-automatic capabilities, are most definitively the guns favored by the majority of the world-wide airsoft community. The reasons most likely stem from two rather alluring traits (aside from airsoft products long-standing, detail-specific recreation of military hardware).

First, electric-powered airsoft guns typically use a rechargeable battery to drive the electric motor which powers them making them easy to operate. One must simply charge an AEGs battery, attach it to the gun and depress the trigger, and 'voila,' their electric gun’s internal piston and spring assembly will instantaneously be driven to spit a barrage of 6mm plastic bb’s from its barrel. This happens not only at an intimidating speed (up to 600 feet per second and beyond) but also at a healthy rate of fire. Secondly, due to the mechanical nature of electric airsoft guns and players inherent interest in upgrading them, replacement parts are readily available on the market, and it is because of these reasons (and their previously mentioned realism) that AEGs have become the most common and widely available gun in the sport of airsoft.

Airsoft manufacturers have also developed ways to increase the realistic nature of airsoft gas guns, which in lieu of electricity use CO2 or pressurized gas to propel airsoft pellets. Capable of both semi-automatic and automatic firing modes, airsoft blowback guns are generally powered by what is known as "green gas" (a mixture of propane and a polysiloxane lubricant). Readily available at most American hardware stores, the propellant can also be created at home via the pairing of a standard propane bottle, silicone oil and an adapter (most airsoft retailers carry the latter), which makes powering gas blowback guns nearly as simple as their electric counterparts.

Why gas and not electricity, and what are the advantages of a gas blowback gun, you ask? The size constraints inherent to electric motors and gearboxes often render them impractical for use in airsoft pistols, so the usage of gas in conjunction with airsoft blowback pistol as a propellant is an obvious design choice (“blowback” refers to an airsoft gun mechanism which mimics the cycling of a real-life firearm’s slide). It’s inexpensive, easy to procure and allows airsoft blowback pistols the ability to not only adjust their gun’s FPS, but also to provide the player the satisfaction of feeling a recoil while firing.

From fully automatic electric airsoft rifles to their organic and satisfying gas cousins, the variety of airsoft weapons available today to players is limitless, and whether your preferences lay in western-influenced hardware, exotic European guns or the tried and true AK variety, one has limitless options available, both in electric and gas variants.

About the Author: Mike Zhang is the President and COO of Airsoft Megastore, a leading online provider of airsoft guns, gear and accessories. Airsoft Megastore offers guaranteed lowest prices on airsoft guns including electric airsoft guns and airsoft shotguns.

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