Friday, November 19, 2010

Airsoft Packaging & Manuals: Clearing The Confusion

While seasoned airsoft enthusiasts seldom question airsoft gun packaging and manual discrepancies (given the colorful history of airsoft suppliers), it is not uncommon for a first-time buyer to purchase an airsoft gun and upon receipt, ponder not only the copy found in their purchases’ coinciding manual. Airsoft product manuals are notorious confusing. So much so, that it is not uncommon for newbies to question whether or not they received the correct airsoft model altogether. The reasons for this are three-fold, and stem from not only the nature of airsoft products themselves, but also from the varying views on airsoft products as displayed by the international community.

Airsoft manufacturers are, for the most part, based in Asia. Due to language barriers, airsoft retailers simply cannot guarantee that the accompanying manual will use proper English grammar or punctuation. Like many products manufactured overseas, the assembly manual can be downright bazaar.

Additionally, airsoft manufacturers will often create only one manual, which is intended to act as an ‘umbrella’ manual for an entire line of guns. An airsoft manufacture will market a dozen or so variants of a weapon platform, all of which share the same user manual. For example, the very popular airsoft M4.... Some variants of this airsoft gun may feature a retractable stock or a rail system, while others may have a full stock and carbine hand guard. Manufacturers often intend these varying products’ coinciding manuals to effectively communicate the functionality of each variant, which often they fail to do, as there aren’t specific manuals for each M4 variant. These manuals occasionally reference items which are no longer included in the gun’s package (‘chargers’ and ‘charger rods’ for instance, which are now obsolete.) They may even communicate incorrect data, such as improper battery charge time. While it’s important to read the manual, one should view it as more of a parts list, and refer to the airsoft retailer from which the gun was purchased for specific questions pertaining to their gun and its operation.

As far as the packaging itself, airsoft manufacturers market their products globally, while countries worldwide have their own specific laws pertaining to airsoft products. For this reason, airsoft manufacturers often under-report the feet per second capability of airsoft guns (and the airsoft BBs which they shoot) in order to side-step different countries' regulations. What this means is that if the packaging of one’s airsoft gun reads under 350 FPS (a muzzle velocity which is generally considered ‘acceptable’), the gun itself may indeed shoot with a much higher velocity. Most professional airsoft retailers will chronograph in-house the guns they sell, which means the airsoft consumer should consult the retailer’s product listing for accurate FPS (and other) data, and for the most part, ignore the packaging.

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 airsoft sniper rifles.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Which Sling Should I Purchase for My Airsoft Gun?

While we’ve covered at length the various choices of airsoft weaponry currently available, I’d like to take a moment to discuss an often-overlooked component: the rifle sling.

Designed to assist a shooter in carrying a carbine, rifle or CQC gun, this simple piece of gear impacts airsoft enthusiasts just as it does real-world operators. After all, with airsoft guns a 1:1 ratio in weight and size to the firearms they mimic, similar amounts of physical stress are endured by both airsoft players and soldiers, in their deployment of the small arms they carry.

So what type of sling should you purchase? There are three main kinds, and your choice in use should be dependent on the style of play you engage in, as well as your tactical approach and choice of airsoft weaponry


One-Point Sling

If you’ve seen the images of modern combat troops patrolling overseas, then you’re already familiar with the ‘One-Point Sling.’ A One-Point Sling is designed to allow the operator to fire their gun from either shoulder. This style of sling provides instantaneous ‘hands free’ action... even when dropped, the weapon remains attached to the shooter’s body, hanging downwards, instantly accessible if needed. As anyone who’s spent time engaging in airsoft close quarter combat knows, it is a highly preferred piece of tactical gear. The one-point sling also works well in the prone position, in that when used properly it can assist in precision shooting, and also allows for easy transitioning from main gun to side arm.

As for the downside of the one-point, the simple fact that the sling allows for the stationing of the gun on the torso of the operator may cause for combat consternation. The gun must be controlled so as to not damage the muzzle (as when ‘taking a knee’), climbing obstacles without repositioning the gun is out of the question, and neck and shoulder fatigue stemming from extended periods of use can be attributed to its design.

Two-Point Sling

Simple in its design, the title of the ‘Two-Point Sling’ says it all: it comes with two attachment points, which correlate to the two attachment points (at the rear and the front) of the rifle it carries. This traditional design allows the airsoft operator the ability to easily carry a gun over the back, torso or shoulder.

Thee-Point Sling

The most advanced of the three, the ‘Three-Point Sling’ straps to the operator not unlike a harness, and like it’s cousin the one-point sling, it is designed to allow the shooter the ability to go hands-free without dropping the weapon. It also keeps the weapon in a ‘ready’ position at the operator’s hip. Consisting of material that loops around the shooter’s body, the three-point sling connects to the front and rear of the weapon, as well as to the shooter, hence the ‘three point’ moniker, and allows for gun weight dispersion. This reduces fatigue, which is a good thing. What’s not is that like the one-point, the three-point sling and the positioning of the airsoft gun it carries can complicate certain activities, as may from time to time catch on an operator’s kit (tactical vest).

Verdict: If you are carrying a M4 (or an airsoft AEG with a similar sling attachment point just behind the receiver) and prefer airsoft CQC over MilSim, then the one-point sling is most likely for you. For airsoft operators who favor lengthy field operations, do yourself a favor and pace your operations by using a two or three point sling.

About the Author: Mike Zhang is the President and COO of Airsoft Megastore, the fastest growing of all airsoft stores in the nation. Airsoft Megastore offers deep discounts on sale items for players interested in cheap AEG airsoft guns and looking to find airsoft sniper rifles cheap.

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Lubricating Your Airsoft Gun

As with firearm maintenance, airsoft guns too need some TLC from time to time, and the purpose of this blog is to educate you - the airsoft enthusiast - as to when and how this maintenance should occur.

First, to clear up a common misconception... airsoft guns are NOT to be lubricated with WD-40 or gun oil. The proper lubricant for airsoft guns is high grade silicone oil. (I personally use Premium P-Force airsoft silicone performance lubricant in a spray bottle). Anything else will attract particles and dirt, foul your barrel and internals, and cause corrosive damage to your airsoft gun. Use silicone oil spray exclusively.

Cleaning The Barrel:

Airsoft gun barrels do occasionally need to be cleaned, and an indication of ‘as to when’ lies in the flight-path of your airsoft gun BBs. If the airsoft pellet is deviating vertically, then it’s time to retrieve your cleaning rod and a small piece of quality paper towel which you’ll thread through the tip of the rod (as you would thread through a needle – the strip of the paper towel should be approximately ½” wide by 3” long), and grab your silicon lubricant. Lightly spray the strip, and then insert the cleaning rod strip-first into the barrel, spinning the rod as you gently move it first down the length of the barrel, and then back out. Following this, thread a clean strip of paper towel into the tip of the cleaning rod and repeat the procedure (this will remove any excess silicon oil from the barrel, and leave it obstruction-free).

Lubricating the Hop Up and Gearbox:

For issues with airsoft AEGS mis-feeding or jamming, occasionally an airsoft gun’s hop up needs to be lubricated. To do this, remove the gun’s magazine and fire two to three times in semi-auto to assure that the hop up is free of airsoft BBs, and then place the gun on your lap, upside down. With your bottle of silicon oil, angle the bottle and accompanying spray tube (which you’ve already inserted into the bottle’s nozzle) into the hop up, and spray one to two times. Be sparing with the oil (you don’t want to use too much), and let the gun sit for five minutes, allowing the silicone to seep into the hop up.

As with the hop up, your gearbox may occasionally need to be lubricated as well (although given that gearboxes comes from their respective manufacturers packed with industrial-grade grease or white lithium, this type of maintenance rarely needs to be performed. If your gearbox is whining, this may however do the trick). To lubricate the gearbox, the motor will first need to be removed from the airsoft electric gun, and once that task is completed, a small hole in the bottom of the gearbox will be visible by peering into the now-hollow gun handle. Place the tip of the spray tube through the handle and just into the visible gearbox hole, and spray three to four times. Again, leave the AEG upside-down so as to allow the silicon oil to work its way into the airsoft gearbox.

Lubricating Gas & C02 Airsoft Guns:

Silicone oil is a needed accessory for gas and c02 airsoft guns, particularly of the blowback variety. As gas airsoft magazines rely on rubber gaskets and O-rings to perform, they need to often be lubricated with silicone oil in order to retain the gasket’s expansion, which will assist the gas gun in properly operating (and which will keep the gas from venting or releasing prematurely). In order to lubricate a gas mag, spray silicone oil into the port at the top of the mag, and then work the valve on the side back and forth for approximately one minute. This procedure will allow the oil to seep down onto the gasket. Lubricating the gas mag’s fill port on the bottom of the magazine should also be conducted. In order to do so, hold the magazine upside down, and inserting the tip of the spray tube into the fill port, spray one to two times. Allow the oil to work its way into the fill-port gasket by leaving the mag upside-down for five minutes or so before loading the mag with gas and testing.

c02 airsoft guns and mags occasionally need to be lubricated as well. Using the spray bottle, lubricate the mag’s gasket at the point where it comes into contact with the c02 cylinder (for c02 guns where the cylinder is inserted directly into the gun’s pistol grip, similarly lubricate the gasket which comes into contact with the cylinder). You’ll want to wait a minimum of ten minutes before testing, as anything prior will prevent the oil from working its way effectively into the rubber seals (c02 is cold and will cause the oil to become dense).

The slide rails of both gas and c02 airsoft blowback guns may occasionally need to be lubricated as well, in order to allow for proper slide traversal. To do so, remove the slide, and lightly spray all contact points between the slide and the gun body, and then reattach the slide. This will provide proper lubrication and allow for an environment nearly devoid of friction.

About the Author: Mike Zhang is the President and COO of Airsoft Megastore, an airsoft retailer offering electric and gas powered airsoft guns. Please visit Airsoft Megastore to shop for airsoft green gas guns and full metal airsoft rifles for players of any experience level.

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