Credited as the first company to introduce an airsoft gun that was powered with an electric motor powered compression system. TokyoMarui or TM is a Japanese based company that has been producing a wide variety of airsoft guns for many years now. TM's mechbox designs have been the sources of all modern day airsoft mechbox designs and have been copied, cloned and modified by competitors over the years however when it comes to quality control I feel that TM still holds lead. While their airsoft guns may not shoot the highest velocity out of the box this is because Japan has laws in regards to the energy out put of airsoft guns (Remember a higher FPS does not make you a better player). Internal upgrades are numerous and made by many companies through out the world. Sourcing internal or external replacement/upgrade components is a generally easy task, this allows you to customize your airsoft gun to meet your own personal specifications and requirements. However it should be noted that certain upgrades like a stronger spring may require additional upgrades to prolong the durability of your TM mechbox. In my opinion TM is a great company for new and old players who would like something decent to start off with and upgrade and tinker with down the road. TM AEGs are great starter guns but the same can be said for quite a few other companies as well.
Classic Army is a Hong Kong based company that also produces AEGs. Classic Army or CA improved on what TM did not do initially with their externals. While TM products were produced with durable plastic outer bodies and parts combined with other metal components, CA made airsoft guns with full metal bodies to enhance external durability. Originally CA had a terrible track record with internal quality but over the years has come great lengths in terms of improvement in regards to their mechbox quality control. The old adage used to be buy a CA and put a TM mechbox in it. Like TM, CA produces a variety of different models as well as a few designs that TM did not, and example of this would be the Classic Army M249.
Classic Army currently produces two lines of product, a profession or pro line and a sport line. The professional line includes the upgraded exterior metal body while the sport line sacrifices the metal body to keep costs down. It has also be stated that sport line internals are of lower quality than the professional line, I cannot state what the differences are or if this is even true at this time. If you are interested in starting off with a an airsoft gun with a durable metal body than CA is definitely a company to consider. Like TM, Classic Army guns can be both internally and externally upgraded with a wide variety of after market parts. Just be sure to check compatibility of certain parts before ordering as CA does have slightly different measurements for some external upgrades. However do not let that be the deciding factor in your decision as Classic Army does do a good job or making a quality airsoft gun, if they didnt the company would have went down a long time ago.
G&P Laser Products or G&P as they are better known is a another Hong Kong based company and have been producing airsoft guns as well as internal and external accessories and upgrade parts for a quite a while now. The brand is known for great quality externals such as metal bodies and front end kits and decent quality internal parts like their motors. While people generally choose to go with other brands for internal upgrades that does not mean G&P mechbox internals are not good quality. G&P makes great quality out of the box performing AEGs. If you want something with excellent exterior build quality and decent internals you definitely cannot go wrong with picking G&P. While G&P airsoft guns are primarily based on armalite and armalite variants they do produce a few other guns such as an M249 and an M14. Upgrades are essentially the same as TM and you should have very little issue if any at all in regards to fitment and compatibility with internal or external parts. While the price point of a G&P product will be noticeably higher than of a TM or CA product you can be assured that you are getting a great quality product. G&P has dozens of armalite variants so if you want an M4 or an M16 or an SR25 or any armalite build you can think of, I would suggest go through G&P first as they have a very extensive line up and you maybe able to find exactly what you want.
JG is a another China based airsoft manufacturer. JG or Jing Gong (also known as Golden Golden Bow) produces mid to fair quality airsoft guns. In the beginning JG produced an extremely low quality airsoft gun with poor internal quality control and mechboxes packed with cheap grease. Over the years JG has climbed the ladder of quality (slowly and not really that far but they have notably improved in many areas they previously flawed in) to become known as a decent company that makes an airsoft gun for the user who just wants something that works. Don't let that previous statement turn you off from JG products, I can personally attest that with a little love and attention to the mechbox you can have yourself a good quality functioning dependable airsoft gun. Being one of the first Canadian owners to have an generation 1 JG 416 (search for my review if your interested) I can tell you that it actually far exceeded my expectations. While the mechbox needed a good shimming and degrease its internals where not terrible quality in fact new generations of the JG 416 now come with metal bushings and metal spring guide as well as even an electrical mosfet system (rumored) so with the newer generations all you really need to do if you are finicky is pop it open give it a good re shim and a re grease and you are ready to rock. As is to my understanding after I sold my 416 it served its new owner for many years without failure (unmodified internally after it left my hands and all I did was a little preventive maintenance). If you are not finicky be assured you will have a functioning airsoft gun out of the box that will meet your expectations in performance. JG has an expansive line mirroring everything that TM has and have even spit out a few unique designs of their own. Regardless if the player is a budget user trying to start off in airsoft or a seasoned player who just doesn't want to initially spend that much in the beginning on something new but is willing to swap out and invest in parts over time, JG is a decent brand that should not be over looked.
Echo1 is a USA based company, while I do not believe they have a production facility of their own I do know that Echo 1 is well known for rebranding other companies airsoft guns as their own product, specifically JG. While Echo1 does rebrand other companies products as well I believe the bulk of their product comes from JG. Aside from just simple rebranding Echo 1 also makes some minor changes to some of the products they rebrand. These changes can be cosmetic like adding their brand name logo as a trade mark externally or some simple internal changes like a different spring guide, metal bushings or a stronger a spring. These small changes can actually be considered as step up the ladder from something JG produces, however its not a very far step as the new internal components are not anything to be considered excellent quality by any standard but at the same time can still be considered better than what existed inside internally in most cases. Regardless if the player is a budget user trying to start off in airsoft or a seasoned player who just doesn't want to initially spend that much in the beginning on something new but is willing to swap out and invest in parts over time, Echo 1 is a decent brand that should not be over looked and usually only carries a a very minuscule price difference from JG products.
Guay Guay Armament other wise known as G&G is a Taiwanese based airsoft company. While G&Gs product line up may not be extremely extensive they do carry some models that other airsoft manufactures have yet to even produce. Originally when G&G first appeared on the market their products where not known to be the best, poor creaky plastic externals and average quality mechbox at best with a very limited selection. G&G has since expanded their line and shaped up their quality control and quality of components used to the point that they definitely worth having a second look at if you have a little higher budget or just want something unique to fit that look you want. G&G is another company that primarily produces armalites and have magazine compatibility with other manufactures for these armalites however their other products like their M14 require proprietary magazines that only work in there guns. Although I have never owned or used a G&G AEG it is to my understanding that the internal quality of parts between their plastic bodied airsoft gun line up and their full metal airsoft gun line up is slight at best. I will edit this information in the future should I discover more information. As it stands G&G products are decent quality and should definitely be considered as a possibility for a users first entry level airsoft gun. G&Gs plastic line up averages around the same price point of JG products while their higher end metal bodied airsoft guns are priced around the CA price line area. I have been informed by a few airsoft gun doctors that G&G compression is not known to be the best and performance can be enhanced by a change out of a few compression related parts. Internals should be compatible with the majority of after market internal companies will externally I believe G&G does their own thing so its best to research into something to check compatibility before jumping into a purchase. For the higher end price point area of some G&G guns it should be noted that with only a slightly smaller additional contribution an airsoft gun from a higher quality company could be had. Dont let that previous statement turn you off from G&G as they do still produce a quality product that will easily last and out perform a handful of other companies that exist.
I Chih Shivan Enterprise Co. Ltd or ICS as they are simply known is a Taiwan based company that has been producing airsoft products since the late 90's. While ICS production is limited to that of 6 models be assured that they produce many different versions of these guns. For example they have 36 armalites variants and 16 MP5 variants. Unlike other companies at the time ICS took the existing V2 mechbox design used in most armalite models and did something unique with it. The created a split mechbox that was easy to work on and easy to allow access to spring changes. This innovative design was and still is large selling point to many buyers. Since this split mechbox has its own unique design that is only similar in shape to the standard V2 mechbox some internal upgrade components will not be compatible with the ICS split mechbox. This minor difference should not discourage a user from purchasing and ICS armalite or any ICS product. ICS has been innovative in their products and that innovation is backed by great R&D and good quality control. It should be noted that external upgrades for ICS armalites are unique and require an ICS compatible body as well as compatible front ends as well. ICS produces good quality products for both new and seasoned players, while tinkering in an ICS mechbox should be left to those who understand how they work it should not be the deciding point on whether or not to purchase the brand. ICS makes a quality product for a fair price.
"Its only a little bit on fire"
Last edited by TokyoSeven; April 27th, 2011 at 06:16..