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Setting Expectations with Airsoft Guns and Reality


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Old July 25th, 2012, 11:02   #1
m102404's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Toronto
Setting Expectations with Airsoft Guns and Reality

I'm not the be all and end all when it comes to airsoft stuff...but I've been around for a bit and fiddled with a few things over the years.

As happens every year, there's been a number of threads from new guys with some variation of the following:
1. Is this gun any good? Which gun should I get?
2. Which is the best gun?
3. I bought this/that and it's broken!
4. I paid a lot of money and this thing sucks!

Here's some thoughts that might help sort through the mess of getting into airsoft.

1. Set your expectations properly
- airsoft is expensive. Prices are way down from what they used to be...but it's still expensive by the time you get the gun, supplies, gear, etc...

- airsoft is really not a good value. You're paying quite a bit of money for what are essentially toys. If you're ok with putting a lot of money into something that's not going to hold it's value...then that's ok. It's a man's hobby...kiss that money goodbye and don't look back.

- airsoft guns are expensive toys...made up of relatively fragile parts (especially stock out of the box guns)...working under high loads at high speeds. The plastics are fragile...the metals are soft/weak...especially stock guns.

- anything/everything to do with airsoft can break...and will wear out eventually. See the above point.

2. What's a "good" gun?
- airsoft guns can be made more reliable and more wear resistant by tuning, upgrading parts (with quality parts...not all "upgrades" are upgrades) and knowing what you're doing. To end up with a "good"'re going to be putting more money and time into an already expensive toy.

- stock airsoft guns are typically not very accurate...nor are they 100% reliable. Accuracy comes from good parts and careful tuning. If you want target shooting accuracy...even a highly upgraded airsoft gun is going to be hard pressed to deliver that.

- internal parts are easy to come by...and if you know what you're doing, easy to setup. They're not cheap.

- Externals are more expensive. So when getting any airsoft gun, focus on getting the best externals you can get...address any shortcomings with the internals after the fact.

- what you get with a "good" stock gun...are better stock/base parts and build. It's still stock out of the box and none of them will be as good as a nicely tuned, upgraded gun. The only difference is in how much and what you might want to upgrade to improve the stock gun.

- every year there will be some guns that stand out as decent ones to start with. Their externals, internals, etc...out of the box seem to be a decent balance and relative value. Same between different models...i.e. this brand of MP5 is a better value than that MP5. But they're still stock....they just seem to be a bit better stock than the other stuff...none of them are 100% reliable/bulletproof/free of problems.

3. The "perfect" "best" gun
- there's no such thing. Airsoft is 50% about having a "gun" that you'd otherwise never get...and 50% about doing things that you'd never otherwise do. It's really not about "the gun".

- at the end of the day...all guns are the same. They all shoot about as far, hit about as hard, are about as accurate as everything else out there. Chasing the best, most accurate, most reliable setup is an exercise in frustration, empty bank accounts and it's only temporary (as it will eventually break/fail/wear out).

4. What do I have to do to make a stock gun better/best?
-'ve got to use it. Use it as it is until it fails or until you're dying for better. You'll get to know how it operates, what makes them tick, what they can/cannot do. You've got to game it, and game it hard. You're going to run into the same hard knocks that everyone else has...dead batteries, jams, hopup settings, etc...and you'll figure it out like everyone else has.

- Research. Research, research, research. Then dive in and try whatever upgrades you want/feel you need. Learn from your mistakes. Research, try, test, analyze, repeat. (or find someone who will do it for you)

So at the end of the day, what's it all mean?
- get whatever style you've really got a hard on for
- buy the best stock build you can afford
- set your expectations properly and arm yourself with the knowledge of what to do when things don't work

...and buy a gas rifle because they're fun...and a PTW because they're awesome...and a SAW/LMG because it's fun laying down loads of fire...and a SMG for CQB...and a pistol because they're fun...and some grenades because they're great for clearing rooms...and a "good guy"/"bad guy" gun alternative to what you have so you can play on the otherside to mix things up and stay in the spirit of things...and bring a backup to every game

Just my $0.02

Last edited by m102404; July 25th, 2012 at 11:17..
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Old July 25th, 2012, 11:13   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Toronto
All usable points. Excellent synopsis!!!

Read it. Know it. Live it

Last edited by technosnob; July 25th, 2012 at 11:16..
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Old July 25th, 2012, 11:37   #3
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Tottenham, Ontario
Great post Tys. I agree 100%, get to know your gun before you make any changes to it, and then adapt to how you play.

If you like to be in close, aggressive style with fast reaction and target acquisition, build a compact gun designed for tighter corners, lighter for fast movement, and better control. You dont need high FPS for this, just precision and ROF.
If you prefer to hang back, pick your shots, support the guys I mentioned above, build a slightly longer gun with some upgrades to your compression chamber, a good tightbore barrel, and a good hopup unit. It does not have to be huge, M14 length or what not unless you like that.

Find out how you like to play, and tailor both your AEG and your gear to that.
Draw aggressively, shoot decisively, holster reluctantly.

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Old July 25th, 2012, 11:55   #4
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Location: Toronto
Started recently and i've spent over two grand already
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Old July 25th, 2012, 12:04   #5
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Ottawa
I bought every one of my guns with the full expectation something will break, and need replacement.

Whether or not it's an external part, or internal part. shit will break. it's not a matter of if, it's when. Even with high end parts, something WILL break. Plan for it.
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Old July 25th, 2012, 12:20   #6
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: North Delta, BC (Greater Vancouver)

One of my favorite points, is that when you ask; "what's s good starter gun?", we hear; "What's a reliable and affordable platform with which to build a foundation?". Everyone says to buy the King Arms Colt M4A1, due to the cost to reliability, and build ratio. This doesn't mean that it's the only gun on the market; it's just an easy to obtain, affordable platform, that will last for you. As stated in the above thread; "any" gun you but "will" require; upgrading for performance, constant care and maintenance for long use, and repairs because it will break down. When getting into airsoft, ask yourself; "how much money do I have for this"? In a very realistic sense, $500 is starting cost just for your first gun. $300 or so for the reliable platform, and another $200 for a better hop-up, piston, the appropriate spring, barrel, motor, etc. Not to mention, a battery that'll last all day, a charger for that battery, and magazines (as most places are slowly banning high-caps). That's all additional on top of the $500. I won't even mention "good quality" BBs, so you don't crater your gun.

Also; beware of guns that sport high FPS, or accuracy out of the box, and cost less than $800. Those guns are usually made of a lower grade part and/or engineering. Not to mention, they are incredibly hard on themselves, and may crack, break, strip, snap, or just plain wear out quickly.

When asking the question; "What gun should I start with?". Give us some info as well. Things like; your budget, amount of time you play, what weapon(s) interest you, etc. Just be prepared for bad news. Things to be ready for, would include; the gun you want doesn't have a reliable version, an affordable version, or a version that can yet be obtained in Canada. Or things like; you budget is just plain too low for us to offer proper advice, or we tell you that your diluted. "Never ever" enter into airsoft with strong preconceptions. It's almost never like you think it is. It'll always cost more, and be more difficult to get into. If you tell us you have only $200 to start with, I'm going to tell you to buy a pistol and eye protection, then wait till you have enough money to realistically play.

Don't get discouraged my friends! Get yourself a good job to pay for all this stuff, and wait until your eighteen. Then we can really make this easy on you.

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Old July 25th, 2012, 12:57   #7
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Camrose, Alberta
All excellent points that I wish would have been explained to me when I first started. My road was a bit of a bumpy one as I really didn't know what to expect, and after a fair amount of wasted dollars and frustration, I finally started figuring it out.

I would add a couple prequel suggestions to whats been said.

1. Just get out and play. Buy your eye protection, a good pair of boots, and some sort of hydration even if its only a canteen.

2. Find out where some games are, and don't even worry about buying a "good" gun to start if funds are tight-ish or you're unsure if you will even enjoy it. Rent/borrow a gun and get out and play. At your first event both before it starts and after it ends (not during), wander around to folks and ask questions and see what gear/guns they are using. Most folks will be more than happy to give you advice and show off what they use.

3. After that, you can go home and more wisely plan what your starter budget is going to be like as you will have at least a better idea of what you like/don't like and your play-style. As already mentioned, don't be deceived, airsoft is a money pit. That starter budget is exactly that.

It may seem expensive to rent/borrow some gear for your first game, but later on you will be glad for the money saved in not buying a piece of junk or something you don't like (which is very possible if you don't do your research) or finding out you don't like air soft in the first place. (can't see why that would happen, but its possible.)

Good luck.
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Old July 25th, 2012, 17:22   #8
Can I ask you a serious question? How much sand can you fit in your vagina?
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: North Delta, BC (Greater Vancouver)
That's a road many of us have taken. Bumpy is often a nice way of putting it. Just to add to the whole; rent/borrow first to start, it's also very prudent to do critical amounts of research.

Beware of certain retailers, and beware of players selling you their used guns. If your serious, don't buy just anything, and don't buy someone else's problem. Often times; all those "extras" it comes with wouldn't actually add much to the value of a gun. A site and rail system seem to be very useless, when the gun isn't dependable or a performer. Those are things to invest in.

I had a friend that paid over $900.00 for a mildly upgraded M16 AEG. It was well kept, but it had a lot of miles on it. It would be cheaper, more efficient, and more reliable to drop $260 on a KA Colt M4, and then convert it and upgrade it. It would cost the same or less, and be brand new. Kind of puts things into perspective.

There are those of us, who want to see you succeed, and have no personal gain by selling you something. Or, talking you into buying a piece of garbage.


Last edited by Ricochet; July 25th, 2012 at 17:32..
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