Monday, July 9, 2012

Airsoft Guns – A Guide to Gas vs. Electric vs. Spring

If you decide to purchase an airsoft gun, no matter which make or model you select, you will be guaranteed an adrenaline-pumping good time. That said, the type of gun you need will depend on your climate, your competition level, and whether you are practicing accuracy or just looking to have a killer time on a budget. We understand how important these factors are when making a decision between springs powered, AEG’s or gas powered airsoft gun, and that’s why we put together a good comparison guide for beginners and advanced alike. 

Spring Powered

The spring powered airsoft gun is probably the most readily available variety since they’re affordable. These weapons are named for their spring functionality which is responsible for launching the BB pellet. Although some other airsoft gun's use a spring mechanism as well this is the main and only function the spring airsoft gun uses to shoot.

  • Usually the least expensive option
  • No need for additional accessories like batteries and chargers
  • Unlimited power source since it doesn’t run on battery or gas
  • Many upgrade options to create a very powerful gun
  • Can be used in all weather conditions (cold, hot, wet, dry) since there’s no gas to freeze or battery to get wet
  • Great starter gun for first time airsoft gun users
  • Certain models can make extremely powerful sniper rifles with 400-700 fps

  • Must manually cock your gun before every shot, making them incapable of semi-automatic or automatic fire
  • They generally don’t last as long as other airsoft guns although this can vary depending on the model you purchase
  • Often a plastic body as opposed to metal – meaning cheaper but not as reliable or realistic
  • The spring can make a noise that discloses location

Automatic Electric Guns

The automatic electric is the most commonly used airsoft gun in the market, especially the AEG rifle. They run on electric motors and are require an electric airsoft gun battery that you will have to routinely charge in order to use the gun.  Although it typically contains a spring, there are additional features on it that you won’t find on a spring powered airsoft, like the gearbox. The gearbox possesses 3 gears that combined with the piston, push against the spring to launch the pellet through the barrel. This often provides extra power for your shot.

  • Commonly available in metal body form for a more realistic feel
  • Usually the preferred form for field gamers, especially the airsoft rifle
  • No need to manually cock before each shot
  • Capable of rapid semi-automatic and automatic fire
  • Can “hot rod” them at a reasonable cost
  • Good option when you need to be quiet
  • Can use in both hot and cold weather

  • You will have to recharge for multiple uses
  • Need to pay close attention to what battery you purchase since some last longer than others
  • Can malfunction in wet conditions
  • The electric pistol form is usually more “toy like” in appearance and feel
  • Restricted space for magazines on automatic electric pistols

Gas Powered

Gas powered guns are often called “classic airsoft guns” since they were some of the first airsoft guns ever made. There have been protocols enforced since then, however, to restrict the type of gas you can use to power them. It’s recommended to stay away from “red gas” or R-12 liquid propellants which both violate US EPA regulations when used as an aerosol. Stick to “green gas” guns or propane adapters to be safe.

  • Automatic and semi-automatic capabilities
  • Preferred type when purchasing an airsoft pistol due to size constraints with AEG’s
  • People love the blowback feature on the airsoft gas pistols, which automatically puts the next shot in place for you for the most realistic performance
  • Favorite for airsoft gun collectors
  • Also favored when you need adjustable velocity capabilities on your airsoft gun
  • One of the most versatile and realistic looking options
  • Often more affordable than AEG’s but more expensive than springs

  • Often malfunction in cold weather since the gas can freeze
  • Purchasing gas canisters can be costly
  • No unlimited power since it needs gas reloads to run
  • If gaming, you will need to carry spare gas canisters with you, especially if using a blowback pistol
  • Many gasses are illegal due to their effects on the environment
  • Can produce a gas cloud which could give away your location if you need to stay hidden
  • When using propane you need an adapter
Although all the airsoft guns are fun, some are preferable depending on your conditions and constrains. Hopefully this list gave you some guidance and which is best for your needs.

About the Author: Mike Zhang is the President and COO of Airsoft Megastore, the #1 fastest growing Airsoft retailer in the nation. Airsoft Megastore offers the latest airsoft gun upgrades as well as a 125% low price guarantee on all new airsoft guns and airsoft pellets.

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