You know what, I'll just keep writing this until I have all the information then I'll organize it one of these days. It's like when I write my essays for school. I'll just brainstorm and gather information, then later on start to orgazine and proof read all the stuff.
· What do you mean accessories?
Some newer members to airsoft don't really understand, or realize what is meant by accessories. Well most higher quality guns will have aftermarket parts for the external part of the gun, that help improve the gun's performance, looks, etc. There are all kinds of accessories for guns, going from as simple as extra magazines, to grenade launchers to mount to your rifle, or carbine.
The most common accessory is probably the want to improve aiming abilities. You can purchase lasers, flashlights, scopes, red dots, etc. to mount where appropriate on your gun. These can allow for close range quick aiming, long range magnification, and everywhere in between.
A lot of people like to add on parts to make their gun look better. Someone may get a silencer for looks alone, or to hide an extended barrel. To get more range on smaller barreled guns, you can purchase an after market barrel, and use a silencer to hide the section of the barrel, sticking out of the end of the gun. Silencers can silence the gun, but the difference is not all that much, and it can't make them "silent". Airsofters may get new flashhiders, handguards, stocks, grips etc. to give the gun a better feel, or just make it look better.
There are tons of accessories for every kind of gun. Whether it be a pistol, assault rifle, carbine, machine pistol, sniper rifle, or support weapon... there are accessories for all of them...
· What is a grenade launcher?
This is a common question for newbies, since the grenade launchers not only look so cool, but idea of an actual grenade launcher is pretty awesome in airsoft... But it does not launch anykind of grenade, but rather shoots out multiple BB's. There are a few different kinds... There are the gas powered ones that shoot more BB's, and then the spring powered ones made by Marui that act as a shotgun mounted underneath of your gun. They shoot three BB's per shot, and take Marui shot gun shells.
The main type is the M203 for the colt series, and there are others like the mosquito molds launcher, that will mount on any weaver rail, that you may have. The mosquito molds launcher will shoot the gas operated shells mentioned above. The gas M203's are made by Sun Project. These gas operated launchers take shells that can shoot up to 165 rounds, and shoot all the BB's at once. Pretty awesome, but it also is quite expensive. You can buy extra shells, as well as different size shells to shoot the massive amount of BB's.
Grenade launchers aren't the most popular thing around... They usually just serve as a gun mounted side arm, or something that can be useful on rare occasions. They are quite big, bulky and expensive, for the most part. The exception to that is the Mosquito Molds mini launcher which is smaller, but still expensive.
· How to mount things?
The most common method of mounting accessories on AEGs is the weaver rails. They are about 20mm across, and will commonly go by the simple name of weaver rails, or weaver type. Anything that mounts on weavers, usually can some how be put onto an airsoft gun. Almost every single airsoft gun, has weaver rails, and mounts that you can purchase and attach to your gun, very easily. some guns such as the M4 RIS, SR-16, MP5 RAS, SG 552, G36c, Ak spetsnaz, M4a1, and others already come with weaver rails to mount accessories. For guns that don't come with rails, it usually is only another $20 maximum to buy a mount to put on your gun. Some guns however don't have rail options available, but they are rail.
With these mounts all you need is rings, and you can mount a red dot or scope. You just need rings for the weaver base, and they need to be able to tighten around the scope or red dot, and secure it so it won't move. The size of the rings depend on the size of the scope, and they have to be able to slide onto the weaver mounts. With the right mounts it is quite easy to mount lasers, lights, battery boxs, vertical grips, grenade launchers, and more as long as you get the right mounts. Most airsoft stores will stock these type of products, especially the larger retailers, so these won't be too hard to find at airsoft stores, even if you have never heard of any of this.
To find retailers go to the Airsoft Core Links section.
Some guns have other methods of mounting things. With guns like the MP5's you can mount things to special handguards, like flashlights. Some lasers and flashlights mount to the end of the gun, and outer barrels. Pistols usually have accessories that will mount to the trigger guard, and allow for lasers.
These are the basic ways of mounting... there are others, but these are the mainstream ways.