This may just fade into obscurity...and I may just be venting...but I hope it'll help someone avoid the many pitfalls with getting their first airsoft gun. I run into quite a few guys...many starting into airsoft and, like many others before them, are trying to figure their way around. There's a lot of uncertainty for new guys...and I hate seeing them get ripped off.
....and I tricked you with the title...my posts are rarely short.
First off...get age verified.
It opens up the classifieds (person to person) and retailer sections. Lots of items there...both good and bad. If you "can't be bothered to get age verified" or "I can't wait...need it RIGHT NOW"...then go elsewhere, the following is wasted on you.
Secondly...get out to some events.
Check the local game sections and figure out what's going on around you. Guys who wouldn't take the time to answer a post/question...will often take the care to talk to you in person about what's what. You might be able to rent something, or handle a couple of different things....and this helps a lot when deciding on a purchase.
When the time comes to purchase something, here's a couple of notes to keep in mind. I've seen/heard/etc...lots of bad deals...and hopefully they can be avoided wherever possible.
- Buyer Beware! Person to person deals are like buying something out of the newspaper. You have no "concrete" assurances that the person isn't going to rip you off. It's a big leap of faith...and some people will take advantage of that.
- Whenever possible...deal locally and go and handle it before you plunk down your savings. That way the seller and the buyer can walk away with no reservations/questions.
- Check out the seller ahead of time. Check their trader rating. Check out the people who gave those ratings. Check their posts. If the person acts like an a**hat online...do you really want to deal with them?
- Check the item to see if it has a "history". Some stuff gets passed around like the town bike. Sometimes you'll see a "Help me fix this" thread....and then see the item put up for sale soon after....maybe not the choicest thing to buy if you don't know what you're getting into.
- Be realistic with your expectations of how much it'll cost. These things are expensive. Guys want to get what they paid for it out of it when they're selling. Reasonable guys will make that their "asking price". Most guys are willing to wheel and deal a little...others won't. If you're making a reasonable offer..and it's a horrible hassel closing the deal...consider moving on, there'll be others.
- Communications (PM, phone calls, etc...) should be fast, quick and concise. Your questions should be answered fully....ideally the first time, if not the second time with clarification. If not...move on.
- Ask for as many pictures, photos, videos, whatever...you need if you can't see it in person. Note though...it's a pain in the ass to do for some, and be prepared to not close the deal if the seller has another buyer.
- Don't get riled if the seller sells to someone else who's willing to pay up while you're hmmming & hawwwwing over it. For a lot of guys, it's "first one with money on the table takes it". Some may consider "first dibs"...but set your expectations appropriately...the seller wants to sell the thing, not start a relationship with you. Keep in mind...often the seller will sell it to you for a partial payment if you don't have the entire amount right on hand, so money=commitment
- Consider getting a "new" (whether it's actually new, or used...it's new to you) item checked out by a reputable gun doc. Either local to the seller, or local to you. It adds to the cost...but it's usually good peace of mind. The gun doc shouldn't be trying to "upsell" you with ..."oh, you should swap this out, or that out"...but rather give you an impartial assessment of it. The good the bad and the ugly of it. If it's a solid, quality item in good condition...it won't take long, it'll be a welcome relief for the doc to work on something decent and it probably won't cost much.
- PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE...do some research on what you're buying. Or buy your gun doc coffee and doughnuts (but don't tell his wife) and pry all the info out of him. Youtube reviews, other websites/forums...Google "[insert item here] review"
- Buying from "Retailers"...in general it removes some of the risk from buying Person to Person. They're "known" people with good reputations...they're often shops with a real location. BUT...people are people. Sometimes they get in over their heads, sometimes they miss things, sometimes they flake out.
Anyways...enough of a rant. Best of luck. It's worth it...it's a lot of fun and there are a lot of good guys out there.