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Pet peeves with Airsoft retailers: Our perspective

In this blog post I'm going to be discussing a post which was recently made on the UK Airsoft Community group page. There's been a few threads going around like 'What is the thing you hate most about Airsoft', and 'What do you hate most about Airsoft Players', and other meme worthy threads, but one which caught my attention was the post about people's biggest pet peeves with Airsoft retailers. What's quite interesting is that quite a few people had the same gripes, but what I found most interesting is that the thing that people hate the most is not even something retailers can really control. Hopefully this will be interesting to some, and go towards explaining exactly what causes the problems we have.


Pricing, and expensive products


Quite an interesting one, and there can be a couple of explanations for this. The most standard explanation is retailer economics: what sells for one company may not sell for another, leading to reduced costs on certain lines in an attempt to sell them. Below are a few lesser known reasons which can also factor into the equation.

Vs other UK Company

Nowadays there's a hell of a lot of Airsoft sellers online now so it's hard to keep track of every single product across every single website. We try to do our best to keep an eye on our best selling products and ranges, but sometimes less popular products slip through the net.

Non EU Pricing

Another reason can be people comparing prices to shops from outside the EU, such as from America. Sure, the prices look cheaper at face value, but once you've paid import duty, the postage services handling charges (literally the worst thing known to man), and postage then the item will usually be the same price, or in most cases much more expensive. If you're buying a product from a UK company the chances are they've gone through the hassle of importing it, paid the import duty, and then have to pay tax on the sale itself again. Prices in the UK can look higher, but that's because the cost of the product is drastically higher due to import costs.

EU Pricing

Sometimes pricing can vary a lot between UK shops and shops within the EU. This is typically down to costs over getting it across here, and the exchange rate at which the products were purchased. Sometimes the price of currency can fluctuate wildly (Especially with politics the way it is at the moment), so some things can become cheaper or more expensive overnight. We attempt to keep our prices as reasonable as possible, but sometimes we can get stung by the exchange rate.

Vs non-VAT registered business

This isn't as much as of a big thing as it was a few years ago, or something which is exclusive to Airsoft, but be careful when you're buying online. There are a lot of easy one push button retail website packages available now, so people can start up a business and advertise all the stock they want with little or no cost and simply drop ship it from a distributor. When selling as a non-vat registered company you pay the VAT up front, and any money after that is profit, when selling as a VAT registered company you pay on the total cost of the sale instead, meaning you save about 8-10% as  non-vat company, allowing you to reduce your prices whilst still earning the same money.

Of course, the offshoot of that is you might not get that extra quality of service. Sure you can save yourself a bit of cash, but will you really get the service, aftermarket support and warranty you would with a larger retailer? Possibly not, worst case they're drop-shipping from their house and won't accept returns, or at absolute worse just run off with your money.

Don't get me wrong, some of the upcoming business offer good service, but for an extra £5-£10 is it worth the risk? Always try find out if a company has a physical location before buying or a number you can call, and look at how good their descriptions are, it's usually a good sign they're more legitimate.


FPS ratings variations

This can be a bit of a tough one, but this usually crops up with AEG and Gas replicas.

Gas Replicas

An FPS variance issue is quite a complicated issue when it comes to gas guns. There's a huge array of things which can affect the power of a replica, from gas type, to gas temperature and how well lubricated the pistol itself is.

Gas temperature is the main problem, a pistol which fires at 340 fps at 12°c may drop off a cliff when it comes to lower temperatures in the colder months of the year. Most Airsoft replicas are designed in Taiwan and other warmer country and fire a lot more consistent in warmer temperature, when they get over here to the sunny UK they can't quite handle the lower temperatures. You'll usually find temperature is a huge problem with the heavier slided pistols.

AEG Replica

Some retailers can have a huge problem with this due to FPS being wildly variant between batches of weapons, this is typically due to where the replicas were bought as some country have lower and higher fps limits than us. We try to update all our descriptions as soon as an FPS change is brought up during weapons testing which is how we're able to avoid this problem quite well, but other shops may not have the ability to test every single weapon before it leave the door.

We had it where one batch of guns came in originally at 340fps, then the next batch came in at around 270fps and we had to upgrade all the springs. Luckily we're big enough to handle this, but some smaller shops, or shops who drop ship might not spot this.


Couriers

Couriers are an issue when it comes to Airsoft, if you've ever tried to return or post any 2nd hand Airsoft sales you'll know how little companies will ship replicas. When it comes to commercially delivering Airsoft products retailers options are very limited, only certain courier services will accept parcels which contain RIF. Courier services know that we're limited in our options, and they certainly know how to charge.


Stock Levels

We see this a lot, and I mean a lot, you have to remember that Airsoft kit isn't like other consumables. Unfortunately Airsoft kit isn't produced in volumes like super markets.

There's only a certain amount of distributors for products who bring stuff in, and again, there's only a certain amount of stuff produced because there's only a small amount of factory to produce the stuff.

In Airsoft, demand is way higher than the supply.

If something is out of stock, it's probably because we can't get it back in even if we wanted because there isn't a big enough supply. And on the flip-side, if we do get an extremely popular Airsoft product back in then it usually sells out very quick.

There's a few problems to deal with:

  • Lack of production
    There's the winchester lever action rifles that are only produced 1-2 months out of the year in small quantities, they sell out so fast. Similarly its the same with KRYTAC, there's not enough available coming into the UK, we order as many as we can, then they sell out fast.
  • Time for delivery
    Some products, like TM products, sell out faster than we can get them in. It might take months to ship, depending on what happens in transit, and then they sell out way before this.
  • Suppliers
    Once the suppliers run out of stock, that's kinda it until they get their next delivery (see time for delivery, they're in the same boat).
  • Exchange rates
    No one wants to pay double what they could have paid a month ago. This is a huge problem for Airsoft at the moment, as kit could soon be coming in much more expensive than it is today. As an example, we looked into getting more TM MK23 in, with the current exchange rates and after import taxes the cost of the replica would be £40 more, with no more profit in it. Is it worth the risk to buy the volume we would need to satisfy the order, and not have them sell due to the increased pricing?

Hopefully this has answered some of the main questions you have when it comes to Airsoft. These problems aren't just universal to any one Airsoft retailer, they're the same across the board. We're all trying our best to make the experience as seamless as possible, so we only ask that you understand why things the way they are, and we're not just trying to mug you off 🙂

Do you have any more pet peeves? Let us know in the comments below and we can have a look into it for you!


HERA ARMS – CQR M4 – A thing of pure beauty…

ASG has done it again, they've brought out another Airsoft replica and hit the nail on the head. Their latest weapon is the ASG HERA ARMS CQR AR15 Mil-spec SSS Edition, available in both Black and Dual Tone Tan.

You might have spotted it if you follow the real steel market, or seen it in modern games with modern day and futuristic weapons, and if you know what it is, you know you have to have one. ASG have really pulled out all the stops with this one, and have partnered with ICS and HERA Arms to put together not only a unique Airsoft replica but a rifle that's ultra-realistic, with some of the highest quality on the market today.

What are you waiting for? They're on pre-order right now!



This Airsoft replica truly stands out from the crowd and is built from high-quality alloys and materials, with an alloy handguard, outer barrel, receiver and internals, and comes with a Polymer Stock, Magazine, Foregrip, and Flip-up iron sights. The rifle features a high-quality finish, as customers have come to expect nothing less of an ASG rifle, and is finished with all the official licences and trades.

The Handguard, Stock, and Front grip are all built from the original OEM CAD designs provided by HERA ARMS for added realism and have been modified by ICS to fit and work with an Airsoft AEG. The handguard has been slightly modified to fit an Airsoft Receiver, the front grip is essentially exactly the same as it connects to 20mm RIS / RAS Rails, and the stock has been modified to fit an Airsoft Buffer tube, and have space for an AEG motor.

If you're still on the fence at this point then why not take a look at the excellent internals as well? The weapon features ICS's split gearbox design, making the weapon a treat to work on, but also features their SSS Gearbox MOSFET system which allows for a range of advanced settings for the rifle. The SSS system allows for pre-cocking for a faster first shot, burst and full auto modes, for battery protection, and for ICS's own SSS Self diagnostic system which protects the gun should it begin to fail, as well as allow the tech to quickly diagnose any problems.


If you want to check out the rifle now you can check it out at the links below:

- ASG HERA ARMS CQR AR15 MILSPEC SSS EDITION, Black

- ASG HERA ARMS CQR AR15 MILSPEC SSS EDITION, Dual Tone Tan

Are you looking forward to getting your hands on one, or is it not for you? Let us know in the comments below!


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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