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What is an Airsoft Gun? A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

If you are discovering the airsoft world and trying to learn about it, then this article is going to be helpful to you. The main focus of this post is going to be airsoft guns and their components. They might seem like toys but are quite mechanically complex.

We will try our level best to explain what these guns do and explain their various parts. To start, let’s talk about their use.

What is the Purpose of an Airsoft Gun?

Airsoft is a firearm combat simulation in which players shoot at each other using certain types of guns. These guns are called airsoft guns. They are loaded with BB pellets that are light weighted spherical bullets.

These are harmless and it is completely safe to shoot at each other with them. However, still, some precautions are taken to ensure complete safety.

Some of these guns are replicas of actual firearms while others are just shaped like them. However, more commonly, the appearance of these guns looks just like the actual thing. Their functioning is just like actual guns as well.

What are the types of Airsoft Guns?

Airsoft guns are of different types. Just like real guns, these can include:

  • Pistols
  • Rifles
  • SMGs

These are some of the main types in which Airsoft guns are categorized. However, based on their work, these guns can be grouped into 3 additional categories. These are:

  • Gas-powered guns
  • Electric-powered guns
  • Spring-powered guns

Let us give brief explanations for all these types.

1.   Gas-Powered Guns

Gas-powered airsoft guns use compressed gas to apply pressure and shoot BBs from the barrel. The gas used in these guns is usually carbon-dioxide or green gas. These are commonly stored in a tank and when the gun is fired, they apply gas pressure to the BBs.

A great example of a gas-blowback gun is the Tokyo Marui Hi Capa 5.1. It enables users to experience the true pistol feel. This gun is shown in the image below:

The strong point of these guns is that they provide a realistic feel. The slide of the gun moves back and forth which gives a nice feel, especially in pistols. So, if you want to experience a realistic gun simulation, then you can opt for gas-based guns.

2.   Electric-Powered Guns

Electric-powered guns are the most popular guns among airsoft enthusiasts. These have complex mechanics that provide high accuracy. The myriad of features in these guns however come with a con. These guns need to be handled with extra care.

In other words, their maintenance is difficult. They might also be unsuitable to use in mildly intense weather conditions. For example, there are chances of them malfunctioning in humid atmospheres.

These guns have electric motors installed in them. It is shown in the image below:

These motors allow users to switch modes such as:

  • Single shot
  • Semi-Automatic
  • Fully Automatic

Such diversity in modes and the high performance of these guns is the reason why electric-driven guns are popular.

3.   Spring-Powered Guns

Spring-powered guns are considered the economical option among airsoft guns. But this doesn’t mean they are of no use. These guns do have a few strengths of their own. Their shot power might not be as high as other airsoft guns, but they are much easier to maintain.

Similarly, their sound is also quite good and the vibrating sensation is preferred by some players.

Since there are no powering mechanisms involved, the spring inside these guns needs to be manually compressed. This is done by cocking the gun before every shot. This can be inconvenient at some times. However, this is the reason why they are priced so low compared to other guns.

What is an Airsoft Gun Made of?

For this list, we have chosen some general parts that are present in almost all gun types. They are usually pre-installed, but if you want to purchase upgrades, there are various online platforms. For example, LA Capa Customs is a dependable parts provider.

The function or role of these parts is explained in the following.

1.   Barrel

The barrel of an airsoft gun is the part from where the bullet passes. It is a cylindrical part that is usually made of aluminum. It is situated in the upper section of the gun underneath the slide. Various barrel-related modifications can be made for both appearance and performance upgrades.

The smoother the BB travels through this barrel, the better power and accuracy results are observed.

Similarly, if you upgrade the color of a barrel, it can add a cool accent and contribute to the overall look of your gun. In rifles, this barrel is sometimes elongated and can be seen clearly. Colored barrels in such rifles look great.

2.   Magazine

The magazine of an airsoft gun is the part that holds BBs. This storage component is one of the most important units of an airsoft gun. During gameplay, bullet management is one of the most important factors.

The magazine’s capacity has a key role in said bullet management. As soon as the BBs run out, players have to either install a new magazine or reload the existing one. That’s why airsoft enthusiasts usually do not compromise on this part and buy high-storage magazines.

However, some guns don’t support third-party magazines and you have to stick with the stock one.

3.   Grip

The grip of an airsoft gun is the part from where you hold the gun. A grip usually encloses a magazine. Grips can be customized for better holding. Also, they can be swapped with colored versions for a better appearance.

Here are some examples of these customized barrels.

Such look-related modifications can make your firearm stand out from the rest.

4.   Slide

The slide of a gun is the part from where it is cocked or reloaded. It is a pistol-exclusive part that is pulled backward to reload them. In other guns, such as rifles, the gun is reloaded with a small lever usually on the side of the upper frame.

However, for pistols, slides are an essential part that is necessary for proper functioning. Even in real-life pistols, these slides are present.

5.   Trigger

You might already be familiar with this part. A trigger is a small lever that is pulled to shoot a gun. It is placed at the inner angle between the upper frame and the grip. As soon as you apply pressure on this trigger using your index finger, the BB is shot.

You might not know this but even trigger appearance and performance can be boosted. Customs triggers are used to add color accents to a gun. On the other hand, the performance upgrades are related to improving its responsiveness and providing a quicker experience.

6.   Optional Components

There are some additional parts of an airsoft gun as well, that can be installed for improved experience. Some of them are explained here:

  • Hop-Up Units: These are pre-installed in some gun models. They can regulate the preciseness and range of BB pellets.
  • Barrel Extensions: These include suppressors, muzzles, etc. They are usually added for sound and recoil improvements.
  • Optics: Optics are sights that are mounted on top of guns. These sights can help in improving the aim or targeting of the player.
  • Rechargeable Batteries: This component can only be installed in electric guns. These provide power to AEGs and can be recharged instead of needing to be replaced.
  • High-Capacity Magazines: These magazines can store a higher amount of BBs as compared to stock mags.

What is Airsoft Guns Customization?

You should be roughly aware of an airsoft gun’s anatomy. However, another important concept that you should be aware about is airsoft guns customization. These customizations can enhance the looks and functionality of your airsoft guns.

If you want to enter the world of airsoft, you might need to install such customizations to your gun. For example, slides and grips of guns come in various forms that can make your gun look cooler.

To get further details about customization, click here.

Final Words

Certain airsoft guns have very complicated components while others are straightforward. However, understanding their structures is important for effective upgrades and other modifications. That’s why we have explained all the parts that a beginner needs to know about in the article above. After reading this guide, we are sure you will be able to answer the question: What is an Airsoft Gun?

Commonly Asked Questions

If any of your confusion is still not clear, this list of often-asked questions might help you.

1.   How do airsoft guns work?

There are different types of airsoft guns that work differently. All these types are explained above.

2.   Are airsoft guns safe?

Yes, airsoft guns are safe as they shoot harmless plastic BBs. But it is still advised to cover yourself in proper gear. Especially parts like eyes and ears.

3.   What is FPS in airsoft?

FPS means feet-per-second. A greater FPS value means a longer range and vice versa for lower values.

4.   When was airsoft invented?

Airsoft was invented in the 1980s when paintball was recently introduced. Airsoft originated in Japan.

5.   What are airsoft guns made for?

These guns are made to play a sport known as airsoft where players shoot at each other. It is a recreational sport that imitates gun battles.

6.   How much do airsoft guns cost?

They can be priced as low as one hundred dollars and go all the way up to thousands of dollars.

7.   Is Airsoft gun a weapon?

No, airsoft guns are not considered to be actual firearms. Instead, they are just tools for playing airsoft.

8.   What is an airsoft rifle?

An airsoft rifle is a type of airsoft gun that is usually held with two hands, is long and is fired from the shoulder.

9. Can airsoft gun kill?

No, airsoft guns are safe to use and can’t kill.

10. What do airsoft guns shoot?

Airsoft guns shoot BBs of various sizes. These are usually made of plastic.

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