You know I think this would be perfect for newbies to come read, it woudl be a complete collection of airsoft information so that they can start playing. I should tell my friends to come read this.
Well, here's information on the expensive stuff, AEG's!!!! I love them. I want one so bad.
What are AEGs?
AEG stands for Automatic Electric Guns. These are fully automatic, and semi automatic airsoft guns, which can shoot between 260 and 500 fps depending on upgrades. They are the most popular airsoft guns. There are a lot of reasons behind them being the most popular, I'll list them below:- Run on rechargable batteries, cheaper and easier. - Easy and not complicated to operate.- Last a long time if you make the right buy. - Most realistic; all popular real assault rifles, submachine guns, etc. have airsoft replicas.- Can easily be upgraded and modified; you can make the gun shoot faster, farther, and last longer by upgrading the internals. You also can add accessories like scopes, lasers, red dots, flash lights, etc. - among other reasons...
If you plan on playing with a local airsoft community, and in real games, most likely you will need an AEG. Other things that would be accepted are some gas guns, and sniper rifles.
Most AEG's have the selector switch, that allows you to switch your gun from fully automatic, to semi, and also to the safety mode. Some Marui guns do offer a 3 round burst, and I'm pretty sure it is only the SG's.
· How do they perform?
The first thing a newbie will say when seeing the gun, and the price tag is, "why is it so much?" or "Is it worth the money?". This helps answer these questions in part but I will not go into detail, there are sections in this guide designated for those questions.
When I first switched from spring weapons to AEG's I thought through the same questions. My biggest concern was durability... The durability on Tokyo Marui stock AEG's is amazing. It is very rare for them to have malfunctions, and the guns never become completely broken or "worthless". If a gun ever broke, you could have it repaired, and you would be able to replace every single part on it, with minimal problems. If you did not want to go throught the trouble, you could sell your gun in parts, and get a lot of your money back. But I would say that it probably will never happen to you if you do the following:- Oil your gun, every 5,000 to 10,000 shots. - Take care of your gun, don't be rought on it (things can come loose and un done). - Never go into the internals unless necessary.
Marui's will last a LONG time... Classic Army, and Airsoft Elite MP5's are pretty decent too, but nothing can compare to a Marui. If you don't plan on upgrading, and you get a Marui, chances are you'll have it at least a few years.
Now enough on their durability, how will they shoot? I'm going to describe stock firing, and you can imagine how it will be if you upgrade it. Stock firing is pretty decent, with high quality BB's the guns can be adjusted to be almost dead on accurate everytime, from 50- 75 feet (depending on barrel size, the longer the better). You can have skirmishes in decent whether from a maximum of 125 feet, which is a pretty good distance. In woods you won't have to worry about range, since over 125 feet is impossible to skirmish in with all the obstacles (assuming the woods is your everyday woods, and kind of dense).
Stock guns are fine with their rate of fire (ROF) it will most likely amaze you at first, but later you will get used to it, and enjoy it. They shoot probably about 10 a second, if not more on full auto. It may not seem like its that many, but if you ever count the amount of BB's that come out, and how long it took, it will make sense.
You always have to remember that the performance is infinite, you can put another $100-200 into a gun, and make it shoot farther, more accurately, greater ROF, and still keep a strong durability. If you are accustomed to spring weapons, you will be greatly impressed (at least I was). Your best spring rifle, does not compare to AEG's. AEG's shoot much farther, faster, and more accurately, not to mention with full-auto capabilities.
· How do they operate?
This is a very simple to answer question. I'm not going to say the movement for movement from motor, to gears, to BB, but I'm just going to say how you will get your AEG to fire.
First you have to plug in your battery. Of course it has to be the right size, and each gun has a designated place for the batteries to go. The guns with solid stocks like the M16's, G3a3, and MP5a4 will take large batteries in their stocks. There will be a way to open the stock, and put in the battery, and securely lock it back into place. Guns with out solid stocks like the M4a1, XM-177, MP5a5, and SG-550 will have smaller batteries in the front hanguard. Again you will be able to open the handguard, put the battery in and securely close the handguard.
Now that the battery is properly installed, you will have to load a magazine. Standard magazines will load from the loading tool (included with the gun). You pour bb's down the tube, and push them into the magazine with a long rod. You also may use a electric feeder, that you hook up, and it pushes the BB's down for you. Hi-cap magazines will load by you pour BB's into the magazine (open a hatch, and pour them in any way you like) then you wind the magazine from the bottom. This usually takes awhile. Once you hear the Ker-plunk from the magazine, your done.
Next insert the magazine into its proper place. If you don't know where the proper place is, don't tell anyone because they will only laugh and point (myself included). Do the smart thing, and figure it out on your own. If you can't figure it out please leave this site now. The only exception to this is the P-90 since where the magazine goes in on that thing is kind of confusing. But every other gun, refer to the process above.
Now that the battery is in, and the magazine is in you can fire the gun! Switch the selector switch from safe to semi-automatic (or full if your'e daring) and begin to fire. Now if the BB's go straight and sail well through the air, then your good to go. If they go up, or go down, then you have to adjust the hop-up. Hop-up is where you put a bump in the top of the inner barrel, to put back spin on the bb's to give them more distance.
The hop up is a knob that you rotate to make the BB go up or down. You can figure this one out on your own. The way to access your hop up is usually through the dust cover. You pull back the cocking lever, which releases the dust cover, and the place where the shells would come out on a real gun, is where your hop-up knob will be located.
· What all do you need to get started?
You need the following: - Gun- Appropriately sized battery. - High quality ammo (Tokyo Marui, Excel, Airsoft Elite) - Charger - Discharger (yes, you need one, the gun will not completely drain your battery, and if it is not completely discharged before being charged, it will lower its life)- Oil (not needed right away, but would not hurt)
Thats it, please keep in mind this is only to use the AEG and not to skirmish with it. You would obviously need a mask, spare mags, proper clothes, etc. if you wanted to skirmish.
· Are they worth the price?
If you go into the forums, and ask this question, you will get all yes, from everyone. Me however, I am going to provide a few no answers.
If you have a local airsoft community that is willing to accept you into their community, then absolutely. You will have people to play with, places to play, and you will have a blast. If you buy a AEG, you'll really have the "cool" factor. Running through the woods, under heavy fire, dressed as your favorite military guy, as you return fire... Doesn't get any better. You will have scenarios being played on a regular basis, and you can go when convenient.
If you do not know of a community, then look for one, you may be surprised. I'm sure you could find someone local who wants to play, and you may even be able to get friends, or family involved, and develop your own community. If you plan on starting your own community, you may want to start your friends off with springers, and they can work their way up to AEG's, you may be more successful this way. Anyway, if you can get you and 5 others to play, its worth it so buy one.
If there is no community, and you either don't have friends, or don't want to bother making one, then there is not too much of a point. A good Gas blow back will suit you better if you want to plink around. Also if you're in a place where airsoft is illegal, or in a urban area, then again I don't see the point. You would never get to play, and its not worth $300 to shoot here and there at targets, and site under your bed. If you want to hang it up as a display thats your choice. They look nice and real, and if thats worth the money to you, thats fine by me.
Now that I have dealt with situations, I'll talk about the acutal guns. If you buy a Tokyo Marui, and don't do anything stupid with it, then you will be satisfied, and it will be worth the money. This is also true with Classic Army and Airsoft Elite version 3 MP5's, for the most part. They just have a larger chance of you getting a bad egg, but you do get a pre-upgraded gun, that is full-metal for a fair price. But since you're a newbie I would say play it safe and go Marui. But the others are not bad choices. Any AEG company thats not those three is not any good, they are basically scammers, and are crap, no exceptions. Such companies are Y&P, and Academy.
Durability is discussed in detail in the how they perform section above, but basically they will last a few years with minimal problems. If you run into any problems they can be repaired pretty easily, and your gun can never really be worthless if you buy from one of the three above companies, especially Tokyo Marui.
· What about the companies?
Here are the top three companies and their descriptions:
Tokyo Marui, out of Japan, their website can be reached here: http://www.tokyo-marui.co.jp/. They are the most trusted, and reliable company with the largest selection of AEGs. They sell very durable, and realistic guns, and are constantly coming out with new models. They however make very little effort to meet the United States demand, they mainly focus on Japan (understandably). This cause a slightly higher price since the people selling the guns wholesale to US retailers, are Japanese retailers such as Wargame Club. So here is what happens. Marui sells to local retailers, for profit, and those retailers sell to the US for profit. So two people get profit rather then one. If Marui sold straight to the US, prices could probably be lowered $20. So not too big of a deal there. They are the best company though either way. Or you can visit AirSplat.com, they have many of the high end AEG's that are manufactured in Asia.
Classic Army is another Japanese company, and their site can be found at http://www.classicarmy.com/. They make a complete MP5 series, and released a armalite (Colt) series in the summer of 2002. The MP5's are considered to be good if they are a version 3, and the version 1 Colt series was problematic, and a new version is set to be released soon. All their guns come upgraded, and with full metal bodies. They also all come with Hi-capacity magazines. A company that I believe will soon be just as reliable as any.
Airsoft Elite or ICS is the third of the top three companies and their site can be found at http://www.airsoftelite.com/. Not because of quality, but because they have the lowest amount of products. They do however sell high quality BB's, something that Classic Army does not do. Airsoft Elite as of now only has MP5's, and they are regarded as good, as long as they are version 3's. They too all come with metal bodies and upgrades, and hi-cap magazines. They are set to release a M4a1 at the end of the summer of 2003, with a unique two piece gearbox. Something I look forward to seeing, and I hope the company expands.
· How do you load it? Which Magazine? What kinds of magazines are there?
Automatic Electric Airsoft guns will be loading with removable magazines, similar to the magazines used with the guns in real life. Currently there are three general types of magazines for airsoft guns; standard magazines, Hi-capacity magazines, and electric/motorized magazines.
Standard magazines come with all Tokyo Marui guns, and usually hald between 40 and 70 BB's. However G&P recently released their own standard magazine series, that is being called the mid-cap, since it holds more BBs (100 BBs in MP5's, 130 rounds in M16's, and 150 rounds in AK's). The G&P magazines are a popular choice since they are high quality, hold twice as many BB's as other standards, and are the same price if not cheaper. So far G&P magazines have proven themselves, and you can see some reviews for them in the Reviews Section here at Airsoft Core. Another fantastic advantage to standard magazines is that they are easy to load, and are silent in combat. The BB's are lined single file, so there fore, they can not move around and make noise like in hi-capacity magazines.
Magazines are loading usually by the loading rod. You pour BB's down a hollow tube, and connect the tube to the top of the magazine. Then you take a rod and jam the BB's down into the gun. You also have the electric loader, that you used to electronically push the BB's into the magazine. The newest option to load standard magazines is the new loader that comes with the SG-552. You fill it up, and repeatedly hit the top button, to repeatedly jam BB's in.
Here is the loading rod that comes with the SG 552, recently developed by Tokyo Marui. You push down the thing on the right, and it pushes BBs into the magazine.
Hi-cap mags will hold many more BB's than standards. They will hold anywhere between 200, and 600, and most guns will shoot a good amount of them right out of the magazine. These magazines are powered my a winding mechanism. There is a wheel at the bottom of the magazines, and you wind them by spinning them, and you'll know that it is full when you hear the "kur-plunk" sound from the magazine.
Here is a good example of a winding wheel on the magazine. This is on the Airsoft Elite 300 round M16 hi-cap magazine.
A few things to keep in mind with hi-caps is that they won't shoot all the BB's. They will leave some in there, since the mechanism is just not strong enough to shoot them all. Also when you wind some of the larger hi-caps, it may take a second full wind, to shoot the BB's out of the gun. So in some cases with the large hi-caps, you should wind when ever you get a chance in skirmishes. But you'll know if it is necessary once you use your gun for awhile. Another tip is that if you are winding, and no BB's are coming up, then you have to tap the back of the magazine to unjam the mechanism. This won't happen much, but its good to know when it does happen. Also try not to leave magazines wound, since it will wear them out faster.
Some may be wondering.... "Why would anyone buy standards when you have these for only $10 more??" The answer is that the standard magazines are more realistic in performance, and they are quiet. Some groups want people to use only standards to increase how many times you have to reload, and to make things more realistic with reloads. Using standard magazines, also makes you a more conservative shooter, if that is what you want.
These magazines are the most rare, since they are quite expensive, and very unrealistic (most of the time in looks as well as operation). They are basically large hi-capacity magazines, but are powered my motors, instead of manually wound by hand. These are also hard to find, and not all guns have this option.
· Which charger/discharger?
A common question of someone new to airsoft is what kind of charger to get. They are usually stuck between putting out the cash to get a nice fast charger, or just putting out the money to get the standard wall trickle charger. They both have their advantages, and it comes down to personal preference, and your situation.
First off, wall chargers cost $10 roughly, and a nice charger is usually at least $40+ in most cases more. So the price is a big difference. However, a lot of nice chargers will have dischargers built into them, which is quite convenient, and saves you money from having to buy a discharger. The fast chargers will vary in how fast they charge, you would need to ask about speciffic chargers to find out exactly how fast. Most will have dials to adjust the speed of the charge, so if you have the time to wait, you can make it go slow, and if you need it charged asap, that can be done also. Some nice chargers also come equipped with an auto-cut function, so that your battery will not be overcharged. This is a great feature to have (especially if you're forgetful) since a lot of people will wall chargers or any charger, will forget about it, and leave their battery to be ruined or just overcharged. Overcharging on a side note is bad for the battery, but doesn't always kill it. It usually just lowers its overall life. These chargers come with tons of features, so just look for charger with the features that you want.
The slow chargers aren't too bad of an option. They are cheap, only $10 and are a common choice for a lot of airsofters. Slow chargers are measured in mAh, the same mAh (milliamp hours) as your battery is measured in. The mAh on the charger tells how many it can charge per hour. Therefore, you take the mAh of your battery, and divide it by the mAh of your charger and you know how long it takes to charge.
For example: 200 mAh wall charger, 1500 mAh battery.
1500 / 200 = 7.5 hours
Simple enough? The trickle charger is very healthy for your battery, more so than the quick charger, since slowly charging your battery, is better than charging it quickly. However, the wall charger is not as healthy if you forget to unplug your battery after the amount of time for it to charge. =)
Overall, the quick charger obviously has more options, and features and such, but it is considerably more money than the wall charger. If you need your batteries charged quickly in order to get into late notice games, or get back into games, then put out the money for a fast charger. If you have exra batteries, plenty of notice for all your games, or just don't want to spend that much money. The wall charger is for you.
As for dischargers, there are many options out there on the market. The Tokyo Marui discharger is obviously a popular one, since it is made for airsoft, and sold at most airsoft shops, but anything that drains the battery works. Some people just hook them up to light bulbs, and when the bulb goes out, they know their battery is · Do I really need a discharger?
Yes, you need a discharger if you plan to use AEGs. The only possible exception is if you use NiMH batteries, since they can be recharged with out being discharged... Even with them it would be a good idea to discharger them just to make sure you get a full charge, or for storage of any sort.
Most batteries are NiCads, and so you will need a discharger, since they can not be recharged, until they are completely discharged. It is bad for the batteries to be charged, unless the battery is completely discharged, and it will damage the battery, causing it to have a shorter life span. You can not charge a battery, shoot it a few times, and then charge it back up again. You also should not plan on running your battery dry with your gun either. For one it is bad for your gun, and two your gun can't completely discharge the battery... The battery will still have power, even when it can't power the gun. So you definately need a discharger. I also want to make clear that you should NEVER discharge your battery by dry firing. Dry firing is VERY bad for your gun, it makes all the internal parts slam harder, since there is no BB for resistance. This causes things to break.
Oh, and I can't forget to give credit to the publisher, airsoftcore.com or else it's plagerism. :-(