Thread: Starter Rifle
View Single Post
Old November 7th, 2011, 05:40   #4
Kuro_Neko's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: St. John's, Newfoundland
Send a message via ICQ to Kuro_Neko Send a message via AIM to Kuro_Neko Send a message via MSN to Kuro_Neko Send a message via Yahoo to Kuro_Neko
If you could state how much you're willing to spend on the various parts of kit we would be able to advise you better.

Manufacturer is generally more important then the style. Generally all airsoft aeg's work the same so how it looks like outside is up to you. Though the advice in the Airsoft Newbie Buying Guide about styles is good. Generally ak47, m16/m4 or mp5 are good starter gun styles due to the availability of accessories and upgrades.

Sniper rifles are very much *not* recommended for newcomers for a variety of reasons. The foremost among them is price; a good accurate sniper rifle is going to cost you a minimum of a thousand dollars, probably more like fifteen hundred or more. Second, unlike in real steel, an airsoft sniper rifle doesn't have much more range then an upgraded aeg and a considerably slower fire rate. When you can only fire one round every couple of seconds and your opponent can fire sixty is the same time frame, considerable skill is required. Otherwise you'll just get slaughtered every game, which is no fun.

I'll add my weight to the argument of cheap vs quality. Get the highest quality gun you can afford, you'll thank yourself in the long run. Upgrading a low grade gun to match a high grade gun almost always costs considerably more then simply buying the high grade gun in the first place. Not to mention having your gun break down on you in mid game due to cheap parts sucks rocks.

Another thing to consider is resale value. You don't want to spend too much cause you're not sure you'll stick with it? That's actually a good reason *to* get a high grade gun rather then not to. You spend $600 on a Classic Army gun and, provided you've taken decent care of it, you have a very good chance of recouping most if not all of that $600 back. On the other hand, the classifieds are continuously flooded with people trying to offload Aftermath guns with no luck.

Please keep in mind that the prices listed below are rough. I've seen each of the listed at the price given but that was months ago and I don't religiously follow pricing trends. They should be used as a guideline only.

For $200, the best you could manage is Aftermath (CYMA rebrand) stuff. Both the Broxa (full stock MP5) and the Kraken (AK47) are decent bargain basement guns, about $160 or so each. Stay away from Aftermath's Kirenex or Knight (both M4 variants) and the Lycaon (collapsible stock MP5) though, not a good rep.

If you're willing to go up to $300 you could get a JG. Yeah JG's are China clones but they're getting quite respectable nowadays. JG's M4 runs about $290. You could get one of the G&G M4's for about $340. G&G is the cheapest of the midgrade guns. $400-$450 would get you an ICS which is a slightly higher end midgrade gun. $500-$600 would get you a G&P, there's some debate on whether this is the lowest of the higrade guns or if it should rank higher. Either way they make nice guns.

If you can afford it, highgrade guns such as Tokyo Marui or Classic Army are the way to go. They're going to run you $600-$700. Though if the M4/M16 style is what you want then I'd recommend staying away from stock TM's, the barrel wobble and creaking are pretty bad on the stock TM M4/M16's (yes the new TM M4/M16's have fixed this problem, but the bulk of the ones in country are the old ones so best to just avoid them for now).

I did extensive research and settled on the Tactical Carbine version of the Classic Army M15A4 (basically a full stock m4) as my first gun. If an Armalite is what you're looking for then I think it's the best of all possible versions. You have the shortened M4 carbine barrel, which makes you less likely to smack your barrel off something when turning quickly, combined with the full stock which houses a large battery. Small batteries don't have near the run time of a large battery, not to mention that the reinforced slip ring (the ring that keeps the fore-grip on) is really strong. While this is mostly a good thing and a big step up over CA's previous M15 versions, it makes changing small batteries in the field very difficult if not impossible.

CA's M15A4 series in general is a big step up over their previous versions and as far as stock armalites go they're probably the best. All metal where the real steel version is, the plastic parts where the real steal version is plastic are made of high quality enhanced nylon fiber rather then abs for great texture and feel. Classic Army has a deal with Armalite so you get all the proper markings. Plus that deal also goes to show the quality of the manufacture, Armalite wouldn't put their name on a shoddy product.

Internally the gearbox is reinforced metal and all the gears are metal as well. It fires hotter stock then Tokyo Marui's as well, firing at 300-320 fps where your average TM only fires 280-300 fps.

All in all this is a great starter gun if you can afford it. Because it's all metal you don't have to worry nearly as much about breaking it and you won't get any of the wobble or creaking that is infamous in stock TM M4/M16's. Unfortunately affording it is the biggest problem, they're not cheap. For reference I got my CA M15A4 from the classifieds, upgraded with a bunch of Systema internals to fire 390fps, for $600 shipped which was a great price.

As you can probably tell, I'm a big fan of Classic Army. One thing to keep in mind about Classic Army is they now have two lines, a proline and a sportline. Originally they were easy to tell apart because the proline had the metal body and the sportline had a plastic body but recently CA has been releasing their sportlines with metal bodies. The price tag should still allow you to easily tell the difference, the sportline being $300-400ish and the proline never being cheaper then $500, usually more like $600 or more but it's still something to keep in mind. All the pros that I went over above were regarding the proline model. The sportline model has cheaper everything internally and externally.

There's alot of people that will expound the virtues of G&P as well. And I'll admit the externals of G&P are very nice, easily on par with CA, in some cases better. The reason why I don't say G&P over CA though is much the same reason why people weren't big fans of CA up until a few years ago: their quality control for the internals is not the greatest. That means a fair number of lemons. CA got a handle on this a few years ago and they've been making great strides in terms of their rep ever since, but G&P isn't quite there yet. This is simply my personal opinion and there are many people that would likely disagree with me, but it's something to keep in mind. ICS is about a cheap a gun as you can go and still get full metal out of the box. One thing to remember about ICS is they like to go their own way internally, so upgrading them inside will be more difficult then other brands. And needless to say it's not in the same league as CA or G&P. It's what someone on a budget but determined to get full metal would aim for. I should probably give TM some love here as well: Due to Japanese laws TM guns fire alittle cooler then most others and their externals are going to be almost entirely abs plastic. But *nothing* beats TM for internal reliability. You leave a TM stock internally and it will last for literally decades.

One of the perks of going with an M16/M4 variant is that mags are dead easy to come by and dirt cheap. You can get Star brand mags for like $5 a mag or less, plastic yeah but sturdy none the less (Star is also one of the few brands that makes realcaps too). Metal mags will run you a fair bit more, $15 to $30 a mag. There's no real reason to go with metal over plastic for mags except looks/realism. Though of course if you're going to go hicap then you might as well get metal ones. As to Brands, TM and CA make good mags. I've heard pretty good stuff about MAG brand mags as well. King Arms not so much, especially for M4/M16 mags. Star is always a good affordable fallback too.

Some people say you need to shell out for batteries, mags, camo, chargers and ammo in the begining. Most of that isn't necessary right off the hop. The stock battery will do you for awhile. Most of the guns come with a hicap (high capacity (300-600 rounds)) mag that will also do for awhile. I do agree that a good charger would be a sound initial investment, but not a total requirement, especially if you plan to get a good battery down the road and don't care if the cheap wall charger fries your stock battery. Camo isn't really required in the beginning either, just some dark clothes. Ammo, yeah obviously a requirement but even good ammo (BB Bastard) only costs $10 for two thousand rounds.

So truly, all you really need to start is the gun, a bag or two of ammo, good eye protection (which will run you between $30 and $50) and decent footwear (combat boots are the best but $40 hiking boots from walmart will do in a pinch). That said, if you can afford it then it all helps. Camo would cost about $100, a chest rig or vest would cost another $100. A good loadout of mags, even the cheap Star mags, are going to cost at least $50. A good charger is at least another $50, with another $50 for a good battery. A sidearm is another thing that people like to have but isn't really necessary. A decent sidearm would cost you between $250 and $350. Probably another $100-150 for a duty belt, a holster, a sling, gloves and a misc pouch or two.

Sidearms aren't really required right away so if you're on a limited budget then hold off on the sidearm for now. If you have the budget for it then what you want in a sidearm depends on two factors (besides cost of course) whether or not full metal is a must and exactly what model you're partial to. Certain manufacturers tend to make certain models better then others. If full metal is a must then the best choice that isn't going to cost you an arm and a leg is probably KJW, especially for the M9 which they do very well. You'll see alot of WE's around, they're cheap and full metal but tend to have problems, especially their 1911 models. KJW has a rep of having mag problems, but I have had two KJW pistols and I haven't had any trouble with my mags. If full metal isn't a must then WA or TM would be very good choices.

If you're planing on using your pistol frequently as a primary or using it for CAPS style target shooting then go with the hicapa. The hicapa is basically a doublestack version of the 1911. If you're interesting in tricking out your pistol then you should definitely go with the hicapa, the bulk of pistol upgrades out there are all for the hicapa. And get a TM hicapa if you do get one, since all the upgrades are for TM. Yeah, other pistols are TM compatible, but that's not quite the same.

As you can see from the above (very rough) prices, airsoft is not a cheap sport. It's generally accepted that the absolute minimum you need to get into it is $500, and it's usually more like $1000-$1500 if you go with quality gear. I've seen a few people do it for less then $500, but it takes a fair bit of time, effort and jury-rigging. And of course quality tends to be a problem at that level.

Now for some gun pron:

My Classic Army M15A4 Tactical Carbine without external addons:

My baby, CA M15A4 Tactical Carbine with m203 grenade launcher, red dot sight and taclight:
Kuro_Neko is offline   Reply With Quote