Forget specific makes/brands/models...
Get out to games and try to handle as many different ones as you can. Be polite, don't be a drooling goof...and guys will usually be ok with showing you what they have and pros/cons.
It's a long drive...but if you can make the CQB event on the 31st, there'll be tons of guns/gear/etc...there and this one is geared towards newcomers.
A "cheaper" AEG might be just fine so far as you're concerned...or you may find it completely unacceptable. Same with pistols, gear, accessories, etc.... There's places to save a couple of bucks...and there's places where it's not worth buying clone of a clone of a clone to save money.
A chance to get hands on without test buying stuff is worth a lot of money (either saved or spent).