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
If you fancy yourself the chance of winning a new Airsoft replica to play with this weekend why not book yourself in at Halo Mill Proving Grounds located in Selby, York, where to enter all you have to do is turn up! The prize up for grabs is a Specna Arms SA-S03 M40A5 CORE Sniper Rifle in Multicam!
If you're under 18 don't worry, you can nominate any other person and we will gift the replica to them, be it a parent or family member who has a valid defence!
The Sniper Rifle is built to an amazing standard as you would expect, using N-Core reinforced Polymers to create a body which is bulky and satisfying to shoulder, tough enough to go the extra mile and yet still lightweight enough to make this a manageable rifle. The upper receiver and all external trim components such as the cheek rest and trigger well are made from Alloy with a Nano Coating finish that protects the metalwork from scratches. The rifle comes included with a 20mm rail piece for the handguard, which allows you to attach laser/light accessories and requires fixing to the body via self-tapping screws. The upper receiver also features a 20mm rail which is ready for the included scope or any other optics you may have lying about. Just to the right of the bolt handle you will find the safety lever, which blocks off the trigger from use when it is in the rear position.
If you're looking for a sniper rifle which is built to a crazy high standard, has everything you need to go right out of the box, has smooth and consistent performance without too much setup, and is reasonably priced, the SA-S03 M40A5 is just the ticket.
For more information you can visit the Halo Mill: Proving Grounds Facebook page.
Price Range: £9.99 - £149.99
In the run up to Christmas we will be breaking down the main types of accessories and attachments into a (hopefully) easy-to-digest buying guide, to help the clueless gift buyer this festive season. Today we’re talking torches and lasers; how much you need to spend, different attachment options and how to get the right one.
Torches and Lasers are a great way to easily add some flair to your Airsoft Gun. They not only look great but will give you distinct advantages when playing, such as making it easier to aim when using a laser, and having a momentary advantage when using a torch as the opponent is dazzled. There is a wide range of choices available with price tags anywhere from £9.49 up to £149.99 – it all depends on what you want from your accessories. As with all Airsoft gear, there will be some that fit your Replica and others that don’t – this blog is here to hopefully help you make an informed decision this year when buying for others.
To be sure that you are buying the correct Torch or Laser, you will need to know the ‘Rail System’ of the Airsoft Gun it is attaching to. You can easily find this out by either asking the person you are buying for, looking on our website for up-to-date specifications or by contacting us to enquire what will fit. When looking at a product on our website, the ‘Specification’ button will show you all the available information we have about a product, including everything from Rail Types to Thread Specification.
The ‘Rail System’ is the type of attachment points available on an Airsoft Gun. It determines what type of accessories can be fitted, and you will find that there are three main types. Most Rail Systems can be converted with a simple adaptor, so do not worry if your favourite Torch is not immediately compatible with your Rail System.
The three main Rail Systems are listed belong along with pictures to get a rough idea of what they look like. Bear in mind that many types of rail usually feature 20mm RIS along the top as it is a very common attachment method.
20mm RIS/RAS – This is the most common rail system around in both the real world and Airsoft, for the simple fact that it is easy to use and well established as the ‘standard’ in the market – meaning accessories are most likely to be made to fit this rail. It is identified by its ‘Ladder’ style slots, which is what accessories will grab on to for a solid hold.
KeyMod – This is quickly becoming one of the most popular rail systems in Airsoft, and is featuring more and more on new releases. The idea of this rail in the real world is that it saves on weight by having the slots cut from the rail, and has less unused space which would otherwise add unnecessary weight. Adaptors can be purchased to turn this rail back into 20mm RIS compatible should you want to use a RIS torch/laser.
M-LOK – Like the KeyMod rail, this one aims to reduce overall weight with a different attachment design that uses slots cut out from the rail rather than big and bulky rail slots. This attachment method is less common than others, but adaptors are available to convert small pieces of the rail back to 20mm RIS.
Typically Torches & Lasers either come as a standalone unit or with an included mount or base to attach it to your Airsoft Gun. When buying from our website it will be clear whether or not a mount is included and what Rail System it is for – it will be featured in the images and mentioned in the Package Includes or Specification section. Simply match the attachment method with the rail (20mm RIS rail will need a 20mm RIS mount) to be sure you’re buying the right thing. If you need any help identifying your gift-ee’s Rail System don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!
If your torch does not come included with a mount, then you will need to know the outside diameter of the Torch’s tube and purchase an appropriate mount. Whilst there are plenty of Torch mounts available, we have found that Scope Rings make for an effective Torch mount as they are generally 30mm wide. Undo the screws on the Scope Mount to open it up, place the Torch inside and secure the mount closed again and mount it as you would any other accessory. If you find the torch moves inside the mount you could use tape/tissue paper or quite literally any soft/wrap-able material to close the gap between the Mount and Torch. If you’re looking to get a Torch mounted on your Airsoft Gun for as cheap as humanly possibly then we recommend this type of setup, or simply using tape. If you appreciate function over form then there is no issue in doing this.
If you really like the look of a Torch/Laser, but it isn’t designed for your Rail System then have no fear! There are plenty of Rail Adaptors available which will convert small sections of rail, giving you a wider range of connection options. Generally aimed at KeyMod/M-LOK rails, these adaptors slot into your existing rail slots and accessories can be attached to the new rail piece.
Whilst all this information may seem daunting, we are here to help and it’s never as complicated as you think! If you’re in doubt, we’d love to help you get the right gift this Christmas, so get in touch!
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