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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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
There's a new MOSFET in town! A complete drop-in placement for your Airsoft version 2 gearbox which now includes the possibility of ramping! More on that later...
What is this new bit of kit exactly? We're proud to be stocking a complete trigger board replacement with built-in sector gear cam detection and microswitch trigger switch which provides up to 12x adjustable features.
Within a couple of minutes after splitting your Version 2 gearbox in half, say goodbye to your cut off lever, anti reversal latch and secure your new trigger board with one screw. You've now eliminated cut off lever wear (where your gun would fire full auto even on semi), no more backspin of your gears thanks for programmable active breaking and you have fresh 16 gauge stiff fitting wiring throughout your build.
Below is a basic installation video, the video covers more than just the ETS III unit installation but the guidance is the same.
Something else new for a MOSFET / Trigger Board replacement that we have never seen before, every unit gets shipped from the manufacturer in its own mini foam-filled polymer hard case! Your electronics are protected from day one and make for a very nice storage box for keepsake after you have fitted your unit.
Let's get onto some of those features that make this MOSFET truly worth the price tag!
Below is a very detailed video on how to program the new MOSFET. Within the included product hard case is a simplified paper guide too:
What else is so good about this system? Well, there are no optical sensors that could get covered up in your gear grease, your switches are micro but mechanical and are adjustable in sensitivity as shown above. The unit can also handle up to 30v, but we do recommend a maximum of 14v. As well as handling the crazy high voltage, high-speed gears and high torque setups you can easily modify the wiring or re-solder to go from rear to front wired in a couple of minutes (this would void your warranty).
To find out more about the product features and additional product photos, you can check it all out here on our official product page.
Meet the original Jack, Jack Mk1 who was originally front of house staff but now assists in order processing. Jack has been here for a number of years and was originally famous for running through HALO MILL in his camo onesie. Yes... tactical pyjamas.
He even ran that unique loadout outdoors at Proving Grounds! Whereas today, thankfully he has grown into a more "practical" loadout which we bring to you in today's blog.
Jack is one of our lightest runners, not just because of his figure, but the rig and gun are very CQB friendly. Don't let his size put you off though, Jack's energy and also PDR upgrades allow him to run and gun for days!
As usual, let's start from the head down detailing his latest load-out:
With everything on the hip, it can make crawling a little harder but this loadout is primary for CQB / Urban game days. The belt is able to also take yokes/retention straps to take some of the weight and secure it over your shoulders too, should you want to.
The entire battle belt is well balanced by storing his pistol on the right hip and his magazines, grenades and more on the opposite hip to counterbalance the heavy-ish pistol with a loaded magazine.
Onto the rear, you can see the XBIONIC combat shirt is very well ventilated for those sprinting gameplays. These shirts are rare to come across and also very expensive! But they provide excellent ventilation whilst still keeping you warm during winter. This is also very thin, so getting shot whilst wearing this is not pleasant...
Jack's faithful PTS Syndicate Magpul - PDR-C has seen some minor internal tweaks to go along with the extended aftermarket outer barrel and suppressor. Out of the box, these things pack a punch and delivered great range for its size. However now, it's a little part-time sniper rifle almost.
The PDR-C has undergone the following makeover:
The upgrades, both internally and externally are purely for the added range for those occasional outdoor game days, plus it is quite the unique look.
Onto Jack's sidearm, it is a standard Tokyo Marui - TM.025 XDM .40, the main reason was from a previous owner of the WE model, Jack was a huge fan but was seeking something a bit more reliable.
Want to see more news on Jack and other staff builds and load-outs? Click here to see our “Staff Armoury” index.
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