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What is the ‘best’ Airsoft Gun?

Today we're going to make an attempt at answering (or sidestepping) the eternally asked, and impossible to answer question; "What is the best Airsoft Gun?". There is, unfortunately, no real answer to this besides personal preference and purely comes down to the Airsoft replica that ticks the most amount of boxes for the price you're willing to pay. For some, it's all about cost. Cheap is good in some people's eyes, and there's nothing wrong with having just the right amount of kit to scrape by. Other Airsofters look for 'quality of life' features like Quick Change Springs, MOSFETs, Electronic Triggers and High Speed (Rate of Fire) in their purchases, whereas some want their RIF to be built as solidly as possible. Of course in an ideal world, you'd like to have the best of all that, but the world is far from perfect and we will sometimes have to make compromises.

Which Airsoft Gun is right for me?

The first question you need to ask yourself is 'what am I going to be doing with your Airsoft replica', as you're going to find that some guns are better in different situations. A Gas Blowback Pistol may be a fine choice in your local CQB Arena, but is going to be massively outgunned as soon as you want to take it to an outdoor/woodland Skirmish Site. The most useful style of replica for being effective in the field is an Airsoft Electric Gun (or AEG for short), especially if you're a beginner and this is your first RIF. These styles of gun just need a Battery and BBs to get working, and can happily churn through thousands of BBs in a day without skipping a beat. It would be easy to talk all day about this stuff so in the spirit of getting on with it, here's a breakdown of key features to look out for, and recommendations for each of these categories. Remember that these are my opinions, and may differ vastly from yours. The best way to make your mind up is to come and visit us to get your hands on some Airsoft Guns and get some impartial (commission-free) advice.


Airsoft Electric Guns

Also known as AEGs

The absolute bread and butter of the Airsoft world, this style of replica is the most commonly seen type on the skirmish field, for the simple reason that they're easy to use, readily available and perform the most consistently out of the bunch. Because they're so popular there's a massive variety in price point, cheap/expensive, features they're supplied with, build quality and so on. The best thing to do is to go with a brand that you can trust, and thankfully we've done most of the hard work for you. We only stock brands/lines that we truly believe in such as CYMA, Specna Arms, G&G Armament, NUPROL, Tokyo Marui, ARES, Krytac, Bolt and ASG to name a select few. Let's break down what makes an AEG great:

Price Point

Should I be spending more?

The main thing on most peoples' mind, especially new players, is going to be how much is this hobby going to cost? There is a temptation to try and spend as little as possible, and I honestly can't fault that, especially if you're just dipping your toe into the Airsoft world. CYMA should be first on your list if you're looking to spend as little as possible, as they have a fantastic range of AEGs starting from £79.99. CYMA have been in the game of cloning popular designs since the dawn of Airsoft and are exceptionally good at it by now. Performance-wise you will hardly see any difference next to an AEG that costs £150+, however the externals are made to a cheaper standard which explains the low cost.

If you don't plan on falling onto your AEG during a skirmish or simply don't care that your replica weighs less than others, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with going for these lower-cost models. They are a great way to try the sport at a smaller buy-in price, but be warned: you are going to want to buy another at some point, as that's simply the nature of Airsoft. My personal recommendation is to spend slightly more and go for one the G&G CM16 Raider models (£119.99+), as they are a highly reputable brand that we have been selling for years, and are made from tougher Polymer on the externals which will withstand more abuse and feel great to the touch!

Find out more about the CYMA Series of AEGs;
Find out more about the G&G Series of AEGs;

Features & Functions

Quick Change Spring Systems

As you start to spend more on your AEG then you will see more features and quality of life improvements start to appear. By quality of life, we mean features that make your life easier as an Airsofter, or a feature that helps you to be as effective as possible in the field. A quick change spring is a great example of a quality of life improvement. Each system is slightly different, but the rough idea is that it allows you to change your Main Spring without having to disassemble the gearbox; sometimes taking less than 45 seconds to complete! This is an amazing feature for those who want to play at lots of fields with different power limits, or those who want to quickly switch between a ~350FPS standard role, or ~400FPS DMR/Sniper role. The Specna Arms series (especially those with the ESA™ quick-change system) are great for making quick spring changes, as you simply need to use a screwdriver in the buffer tube.

MOSFETs

A MOSFET is a great way to squeeze performance out of any Airsoft Electric Gun, and can be installed to pretty much any electric replica out there, or may come pre-installed out of the box. There is a huge variety in terms of cost and features, and can provide anything from simple circuit protection, to every bell and whistle you can imagine (Rate of Fire control, Pre-Cocking, Active Braking, Trigger Delay and much, much more). The EDGE Series from Specna Arms come with the GATE X-ASR MOSFET installed which will provide circuit protection, trigger debouncing (better trigger response and rate of fire). If you want to go all-out then the EDGE TITAN Series from Specna Arms come with the Gate TITAN ready to go which will give you a tonne of features that let you control every aspect of how your AEG fires, all from the comfort of your computer.

Electronic Trigger Units

Electronic Triggers are starting to become more and more common on new releases, as they are a very pleasant feature to have and make for a quick/snappy trigger response. G&G Armament and ARES are well known for installing Electronic Trigger Units in their Airsoft replicas, and you will start to see them appear in the £164.95+ price point. Their replicas with the ETUs installed allow you to use 11.1v LiPos which makes for crazy high rates of fire, as well as incredibly fast trigger response to make sure that your BB leaves the barrel before your opponents' does, and to allow for rapid follow up shots to make sure that you hit. Their triggers also allow you to reprogram your Automatic function to give you 'Burst Fire' capabilities by simply holding the trigger down on Single Shot for ten seconds.

Find out more about the EDGE Series from Specna Arms;
Find out more about the EDGE Titan Series from Specna Arms;
Find out more about the ARES range of replicas;
Find out more about MOSFETs for sale;

Build Quality

Tough body worth paying for?

Build quality is yet again a matter of personal taste, and whether or not you think you need it. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a collector, you may well want an authentic 'Stamped Sheet Steel Receiver' (such as you might find on the E&L or Bolt series). You may also deem yourself as a hazard on the field who is prone to accidental damage, if so, you probably want a replica that is built to be tough and rigid in case you do go head over toe on the battlefield. Yet again Specna Arms will be appearing on this list as their replicas (with the exception of the CORE range) are all built from a mix of Aluminium/Zinc Alloy & Steel, weighing in at the 3kg area. The new range of BOLT replicas are all made to a tough standard with a mix of Aluminium & Steel (they need to be to handle the intense recoil).

Arcturus are another brand that come to mind when thinking of external quality, as they are manufactured in the same factory and by the same processes as real firearms, making them exceptionally good at producing quality replicas. The ARES Amoeba Pro series are another sure choice if you want an Electronic Trigger Unit to go with your rock-solid and flawless construction. Another thing to bare in mind is that most Airsoft replicas can accept aftermarket parts. If there's something you don't particularly like about your replica, something that creaks/wobbles or you just fancy a different stock/handguard then you can throw another one on!

Find out more about the BOLT Series of AEGs;
Find out more about the Arcturus Series of AEGs;

YOU DIDN'T ANSWER THE QUESTION!!!

I'm getting there people, bare with me.

So we've discussed some features that make an Airsoft gun 'good', but don't have an answer to what is the 'best'. I'm going to settle on a boring and non-committal answer that is unfortunately: you need to decide! Everyone has different tastes and what makes something great for me, might not be for you. Personally, I'm a man of balance, and like to get the best of all possible outcomes. In an attempt to keep the peace I will (begrudgingly) pick out what I consider to be a perfect balance of all the options.

Specna Arms SA-H03 Assault Rifle

The perfect blend of quality and price.

£199.99

The Specna Arms SA-H03 is, as far as I'm concerned, my ideal blend of quality and price. The externals are made to a delicious standard with Aluminium/Zinc Alloy and Steel, and high-density Nylon Fiber Polymers where appropriate. It is rock-solid in the shoulder and feels like a real quality piece of kit the minute that you lay hands on it. The quality continues inside the replica as it has a world of parts which would be considered an 'upgrade' in any other RIF. It does have a Quick Change Spring, however is a system that requires the gearbox to be pulled out of the body, so it isn't the fastest. As I don't need to quickly switch between power

levels then I'm not overly bothered about this; it's nice to know that its there if I ever need it, and that the gearbox shouldn't really ever have to come apart. Other goodies include a metal HOP unit, 14mm CCW thread and railed receiver & handguard. The big ol' stock gives you plenty of space to stick a big battery in and keep you shooting for as long as possible. My favorite part about this replica is the cost... £199.99! It is a faithful replica of a very popular real-world Assault Rifle (which I unfortunately can't name lest the Gods of pew-pew try to sue me), which would cost a fortune if it was made by anyone else (let alone a licensed replica). This does come at the cost of not having authentic trademarks... but who cares?! It looks like what it's supposed to and that's good enough for me!

The £250 Challenge – Dave D

For the second installment of our £250 beginners Airsoft challenge we speak to Dave D, long time Airsofter and avid "real-steel" shooter (a term I know he'll absolutely loathe!) You will see his real world shooting experience show in the package he has put together, as his priorities differ vastly from the previous entry, which was focused on getting as much as we could to play with the budget.

Just what is the £250 Airsoft challenge?

Instead of reeling off the top ten guns for beginners in 2019, we've decided to do something a little different. We talked to all our staff members and gave them a £250 limit to put together a loadout they would be comfortable starting Airsoft with if they were suddenly a new player again. Hopefully, this will give new players ideas on what they can get for their money.

Each staff member has picked what they would use for their beginner loadout, including all the things they need to start playing. Of course, with a £250 limit, there is always room for improvement, but these load-outs give a great solid base to start expanding on at a later date.

As we had hoped, each loadout turned out slightly different, as all of us have different ideas of what we want from our kit; knowledge which we will now try to pass on to yourselves.

Over the next month, we'll release a series of blog posts describing each staff members choices, and why they picked them.


£250 Airsoft Challenge Entry - Dave D

The priority for his loadout is future proofing himself and retaining as much value on items as possible.

CYMA CM.513 M4 RIS Suppressed

Price: £79.99

Dave has chosen the CM.513 because he wanted to leave room in his budget for a higher tier optic – as a “real-steel” shooter he understands the importance of a decent red dot sight and cannot compromise on quality, with good reason! He’s made the choice to go for a cheaper RIF, however when stacked side by side I bet you wouldn’t be able to see a performance difference between this and a replica that costs twice as much. The only sacrifice he is really making here are on ‘extras’ such as an electronic trigger, metal receiver etc. At the end of the day, you pull the trigger and a BB comes out the end of the RIF. Replicas can be upgraded whereas a cheap sight will forever be a cheap sight.

Find out more about the CYMA CM.513 M4 RIS Suppressed >

Vortex Crossfire Red Dot Sight

Price: £145.99

The Crossfire is an entry level Vortex sight; I’m sure Dave would have liked a more expensive one as he understands the benefits of first focal plane reticules etc, however the budget is key here! For his £145, Dave has now got a real-world optic which has been designed to sit on a proper firearm, will hold zero (the dot won’t move around) miles better than a cheap sight, has a LIFETIME WARRANTY meaning he doesn’t have to run a lens protector if he doesn’t want to, and at any point he can change his mind and sell it on easy as cake without losing much money because the warranty goes with the product, not the receipt, making them hold their value. Parallax is another important reason for this optic choice; on a cheaper sight your dot will float around as your head moves, whereas a higher tier optic will be able to correct for this and could end up being the difference between a hit or a miss – a margin of error that is unacceptable for a seasoned shooter.

Find out more about the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot Sight >

Nuprol RZR 0.28g Precision BB x 3300

Price: £11.95

These BBs were an easy choice for Dave as they are his favourite weight along with probably every other member of staff. They’re just a bit heavier than a 0.25g which lets you get a lot of HOP on for increased range, they travel straighter in the air due to the extra weight and they’re reasonably priced to be feasible to run in an automatic Airsoft Gun. Bulk buy options are available on the RZR series, however that would have pushed our budget for today!

Find out more about the Nuprol RZR 0.28g Precision BB x 3300 >

ARES Tune-Up M-100 AEG Spring

Price: £9.99

Because power!!!! The CYMA guns come out of the box generally at the 280FPS mark which is absolutely fine for Airsoft skirmishing, however Dave has never been one to leave something alone. If there’s a gain to be had he will get his way! As the CYMA guns typically have very good air seal out of the box, the only necessary upgrade to boost the power to a point where 0.28g are not slow is a bigger spring, and to run the gun right on the limit. (It’s worth noting here that installing this spring yourself would void your warranty. If you want a similar job completing, please contact our workshop.)

Find out more about the ARES Tune-Up M-100 AEG Spring >


The total shopping list:

So, let's tally together everything in the basket to make sure we're on budget:

Grand total:

£247.92

So this is what Dave D would purchase as a completely new player to the game, with all the knowledge he has now after many many years of Airsoft skirmishing. His priorities are vastly different to the previous blog, and his investments will retain a great amount of value, mainly due to the lifetime warranty on the Vortex optic, and the fact that the AEG has such a low price point to begin with. Neither loadouts are more "correct, we simply have different ideas of what Airsoft are, and this is the important question you need to ask yourself; what is Airsoft to you?

The next blog will be published shortly and will be a look into another member of staff's choices for their Airsoft beginner loadout.

In the meantime: What would your ideal loadout for under £250 be? Let us know in the comments below and you never know, we might just feature your loadout too!


The £250 Challenge – Milky

In this blog, I'm going to be talking about quite an interesting subject. It's something that we get asked quite a lot, especially when people are starting out or making the transition from playing with BB guns and are wanting to start collecting Airsoft replicas: what can we get that will allow people to start playing when they're on a strict budget?

Just what is the £250 Airsoft challenge?

Instead of reeling off the top ten guns for beginners in 2019, we've decided to do something a little different. We talked to all our staff members and gave them a £250 limit to put together a loadout they would be comfortable starting Airsoft with if they were suddenly a new player again. Hopefully, this will give new players ideas on what they can get for their money.

Each staff member has picked what they would use for their beginner loadout, including all the things they need to start playing. Of course, with a £250 limit, there is always room for improvement, but these load-outs give a great solid base to start expanding on at a later date.

As we had hoped, each loadout turned out slightly different, as all of us have different ideas of what we want from our kit; knowledge which we will now try to pass on to yourselves.

Over the next month, we'll release a series of blog posts describing each staff members choices, and why they picked them.


My £250 Airsoft Challenge Entry

My priority for this loadout is value for money – I really despise spending money where I don’t need to, but I will pay the extra if it offers extra tangible value.

G&G - Combat Machine CM16 Raider

Price: £132.95

I picked this replica as it has a long history, a good name behind it and a proven track record of lasting a long time. Pretty much every Airsoft site I’ve been to in the UK uses the G&G Raider as their rental guns for a few simple reasons; they’re amazingly priced for what you get, they last a long time (even in the hands of beginners) and the internal components are far better quality than you would get from something else in the same price bracket. The set comes with the Rifle, a magazine, and unjamming rod, so you'll need to buy a battery separately.

Find out more about the G&G Combat Machine CM16 Raider >

ASG - 0.20G Blaster 6mm BB x3 Bundle

Price: £12.48

An obvious choice! You will ALWAYS need BBS as long as you are an Airsofter, so you might as well save money on them when you buy them. Ideally I would have liked 0.25g rounds or heavier to improve groups and flight path, however, rules are rules and I must stick to a budget!The bundle can be added further down the main page, and you buy three get one half-price!

Find out more about the ASG 0.20g Blaster 6mm BB >

ASG Armalite M4 Low-Cap Magazine 85Rd x10 Multipack

Price: £34.99

I chose this multipack of magazines for a very childish reason… I love reloading! Airsofting is all about dressing the part and getting immersed in the action for me.

These Polymer low-caps for some reason feed better than any other mags I have tried, and they make an amazing ‘CLACK’ noise when you slap them into the Magwell, and as they’re only 85rnds per mag, I get to reload more often than my high-cap using brethren.

Find out more about the ASG Armalite M4 Low-Cap Magazine 85Rd x10 Multipack >

Big Dragon - 20mm RIS / RAS Foregrip Short

Price: £6.69

I must admit that the addition of the grip was burning the last of the budget. However, a well-placed foregrip will reduce the amount of stress on your wrists.It sounds like a weak-sauce right now, but after an eight-hour skirmish you’ll feel the burn and thank yourself for adding that ergonomic grip.

The grip mounts to the rifle on the bottom of the railed handguard as it is compatible with 20mm RIS / RAS rails.

Find out more about the Big Dragon - 20mm RIS / RAS Foregrip Short >

Viper Tactical - Special Ops Chest Rig

Price: £19.99

This rig is cheap and cheerful, gets the job done and gives your body freedom of movement as it is a harness style chest rig.

Ideally, I would pick a big fancy plate carrier because that’s what I think looks cool, but sometimes that's just overkill.

For the purpose of the budget I’ve chosen something that’s going to get the job done and let me carry more mags for tactical mag-flips.

Find out more about the Viper Tactical - Special Ops Chest Rig >

Battery & Charger

Price: £9.99 / £13.95

I went for a NiMH battery as they’re easier to use than LiPO batteries, are way more robust and have slightly less risk associated with them. The price you pay is less performance than a LiPO battery, but I feel the difference is negligible. I chose the ASG Charger purely on price point – you don’t need an amazing charger to get the job done in my opinion.

Find out more about the VP Racing - 9.6v 1600mAh Ni-Mh Crane Stock Battery >
Find out more about the ASG - Intelligent Auto-stop Charger NiMh >

NUPROL Mesh Goggles & Mask Combo

Price: £8.99 / £9.99

This is the face protection combo I actually use in my usual loadout. I’ve found that it is the cheapest way to get a comfortable setup that protects my eyes, teeth and nose, still lets me aim down sights and doesn’t make me feel claustrophobic three hours into a skirmish. Mesh is a bit of a marmite choice I think, as some people love it and others hate it! Make sure you get a pair on your face before buying to see if mesh is for you.

Find out more about the NUPROL - Pro Mesh Goggles Eye Protection >
Find out more about the NUPROL - Lower Face Mesh Mask >


The total shopping list

So, let's tally together everything in the basket to make sure we're on budget:

Making the grand total:

£250.02

Technically, we are over budget by 2p, but I'm sure you'll forgive me!


So there you have it! That's the loadout that I would go for if I were to need a brand new beginner loadout (should my kit suddenly vanish!)

This loadout is perfect for anyone looking to get into playing Airsoft, be it CQB or outdoor gameplay. The gun itself is a great all-rounder, being small enough for tight spaces, with enough range and accuracy for outdoor games. If anyone is seriously stressed about the 2p over you could swap out the 9.6v Ni-Mh for an 8.4v Ni-Mh at a loss of some performance, but for 2p, it's not worth downgrading.

The kit has everything you need, so if you're looking for a brilliant starter package, there is your best bet.

The next blog will be published shortly and will be a look into another member of staff's choices for their Airsoft beginner loadout.

In the meantime: What would your ideal loadout for under £250 be? Let us know in the comments below and you never know, we might just feature your loadout too!


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