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From BB Guns to Airsoft: The AEP

A lot of people struggle with the transition from BB guns to Airsoft. Some people jump in feet first into the Airsoft market, buying high-end AEG, and powerful Gas Blowback Pistols, but what about those who just want to put their foot in the door? Well, a good option for new players, or for those looking for a more entertaining backyard plinking experience move onto AEP Pistols first.

AEP are usually a good step for those transitioning from BB Guns to Airsoft, at a price point of around £50 you can't really go wrong. You'll usually find that most Airsoft Skirmishers first gun was an AEP if they transitioned from BB Guns, with a lot of our staff looking fondly upon their first AEP, be it Desert Eagle, G-Series or 1911 styled.

What is an AEP?

AEP simply stands for Automatic Electric Pistol, a step forward from spring powered pistols where the weapon is instead powered by a battery and uses a mechanical system with a gearbox to fire the BB pellets. These are usually the first step for anyone transitioning from BB guns, as they're relatively cheap, easy to use, and are good fun!

The battery are used to power the motor inside the pistol, which turns pulling back a small piston held by a spring, which is then released generating the force to propel the BB.

Thanks to this mechanism AEP do not need to be cocked before every shot, and offer semi-auto capability (meaning they fire a round every time you pull the trigger), with some even offering fully automatic fire modes guaranteed to put a smile on anyones face!

Why an AEP instead of a BB gun?

They're a good stepping stone for moving onto more powerful AEG or Airsoft replica. Once you get used to filling magazines, and charging and changing battery you'll be ready for something a little bit more complicated than your BB Gun.

Maintenance wise, there isn't much. Short of stubbing the end of the pistol into mud and filling the barrel AEP require very little maintenance, and if they do break for whatever reason, they're usually relatively cheap enough to simply replace.

Another great bonus over jumping right into gas pistols is that this pistol will even work in colder temperatures. When it starts to get cold you'll notice that gas pistols start to become sluggish, or not even work at all, with an AEP you don't have that problem. If you do ever jump to Gas pistols, you'll always have your trusty AEP to fall back on.

What AEP BB Guns are available?

You can see the full range of AEP Airsoft Electric Pistols on our website in the Airsoft Electric Pistols Section. Below are a few examples of what you can look at to get yourself started. Don't forget, we can also two-tone any Airsoft Weapon or BB gun you see on our website, allowing you to get them before you get your Airsoft Defence.


CYMA CM.121 Desert Eagle

If you've ever looked at AEP, its likely this bad boy caught your eye. Based on the real world Desert Eagle this pistol is large, monstrous, and feels great to hold.

The frame of the pistol is made from lightweight polymer, with the non-moving slide is built from durable Alloy, and it painted fully in matte black. This AEP has the ability to switch between semi-automatic and fully automatic by changing the selector on the back of the slide. This is the perfect starter skirmish gun, or even for snipers who need a fully automatic sidearm for when an enemy enters their Minimum Engagement Distance.

Available in Black, this weapon can also be two-toned for those yet to organise their Airsoft Defence.


CYMA CM.123 1911

This AEP is a convincing replica of the real 1911, accurately recreating many of the real 1911s design features; such as the Grip Safety, its simple un-marked Iron Sights and its Faux-Wood brown Grip Plates. Just like the real Grip Plates, the Grips on this AEP replica feature a Stippled Texture, creating an Anti-Slip surface that allows users to have a Secure hold on the pistol. As this replica is electrically powered, it is capable of operating in any temperature; unlike its Gas Blowback counterparts which can struggle in colder temperatures.

Available in Black, this weapon can also be two-toned for those yet to organise their Airsoft Defence.

ASG Challenger XP17

The pistol is constructed with a Polymer frame, and Alloy top slide and gearbox. The pistol is powered by electric, with a smaller more compact gearbox than other AEG, and is fired using air pressure generated by a spring inside the gearbox, meaning that the pistol is not effected by cold, unlike its' gas powered counterparts. This Automatic Electric Pistol has the ability to switch between semi-automatic and fully automatic by changing the selector on the side of the slide.

Available in Black, this weapon can also be two-toned for those yet to organise their Airsoft Defence.


Again, if you're wondering you can see the full range of AEP Airsoft Electric Pistols on our website in the Airsoft Electric Pistols Section.

Common Questions

Do AEP require maintenance?

Hey.. I'm looking at getting a BB gun AEP pistol thing. Was wondering, do aep need looking after? How much maintenance do they need?

PatrolBase Jonny
AEP actually require very little maintenance, just like a standard AEG. They will require cleaning if you get them dirty though, a damp cloth for the outside is generally the only thing which is required. If you get dirt or mud in the barrel then use a cleaning / unjamming rod and a small bit of tissue to clean down the barrel. Just make sure the hop is fully off before you start to avoid doing damage to the pistol.

Can you buy additional battery?

Can you get more magazines for AEP?

PatrolBase Jonny
Yes, you can get more magazines for AEP. Thankfully due to most AEP using a standard magazine design almost all AEP will share magazine. You can find a list of AEP magazine in our AEP Magazine section. It is important to note that if your pistol has a front magazine release it will use the C.98 magazine, and if it is a side magazine release button you will require the C.26 magazine or XP17 challenger magazine. Hope this helps 🙂

Can you repair AEP?

My AEP has broken an wont shoot anymore. can it b fixed?

PatrolBase Jonny
Depending on how it has broken it may not be able to be fixed. This is one of the only downsides to AEP, due to the price point of an AEP it usually costs more than the pistol is worth to repair the pistol. If your pistol has broken your best bet is to simply buy a new one. A bonus to buying another pistol is you'll have a new spare magazine, battery and charger. If you still want to enquire about repairing the pistol please feel free to get in contact with our workshop though our Contact Us Page. Hope this helps 🙂

Are they powerful?

Are AEP powerful enough to use in an airsoft skirmish?

PatrolBase Jonny
Typically AEP are lower powered than full sized AEG due to their small sized gearbox. An AEP will typically fire around 180-240fps, which is usually more than enough for CQB gameplay or backyard plinking. Hope this helps 🙂

What weight BB?

What weight BB should I use in my AEP Pistol??

PatrolBase Jonny
We recommend that due to the power of AEP pistol you use 0.20g BB. We would recommend you use either ASG Blaster BB, or G&G 0.20g as these are the highest quality BB we have available. Also make sure you adjust the hop-up unit for maximum range and accuracy! Hope this helps 🙂

Written by PatrolBase Jonny, who has written a total of 74 posts.

Jonny has worked for Patrol Base for 5+ years, working in the media department and on the main website. Responsible for managing the software which runs the website, bringing new features wherever possible. You can get in contact via Facebook and Instagram.

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