Starter Guns - Beating a Dead Horse
'Lo, all. Seeing as I'm strategically placing this in the "Newbie Tank" and have what I imagine is the age old title of "Starter Guns," you probably have a decent idea where this is going. If you're interested in skipping my rambling, I've condensed my questions at the bottom of the post.
I've gone paintballing several times, but I wasn't very satisfied with it. It's dirty, it's expensive, and there's no sense of immersion running around with a Tippman 98 (or however the brand is properly spelled) with a massive hopper sticking out of its side. After my friend made the haphazard purchase of a $22 used Crosman softair pistol, I now have a small group of friends that are interested in genuinely getting into airsoft. I first and foremost would like to know some good guns for them, something that has nice quality-to-price ratio.
I don't think the majority of them are exceedingly concerned with perfect realism, but it would be nice to get something that's a rough replica of a real weapon, preferrably something along the lines of M16, M4, MP5, or similar weapons. The more metal and the more durable, the better. We're out in BC, and the terrain makes for frequent spills, so there's no point in wrecking a gun over a trip just because we were too cheap to pay for a better version.
As for me, I'm concerned because I know exactly what I want. I did do my best to skim over the "Newbie Buying Guide," and the one gun I am most interested in is apparently problematic! I was looking at trying to get an M4A1 with the SOPMOD and a Pitcanny 20-30mm rail for mounting a reflex (or any red dot) sight, since I'm considerably more invested in the prospect of airsoft compared to them, but the M4 models are apparently very wobbly. I was wondering if anyone would be able to direct me to a model with both solid internals and externals and, of course, a Pitcanny rail for mounting aforementioned sights.
Also, if any of the suggested equipment comes in starter kit format, the better! Right now we have a pair of spring loaded sidearms and ballistic rated glasses, but no other equipment. Upgradability is also a plus, but beggars can't be choosers, can they?
My questions in short, plus some other stuff I would like to know:
1) What would be some good starter AEGs in the styling of M16, M4, MP5s, or similar weapons?
2) Are there any M4A1 replica AEGs with a solid exterior and good internals?
3) What would be some good replica starter sidearms?
4) Are polycarbonate exteriors as durable as metal exteriors?
5) Are there any airsoft shotguns worth taking a look at?
6) What are some reliably brand names to look for when searching online?
Thanks for help in advance.