Types Of Airsoft Guns
There are three distinct types of airsoft guns that are classified by the way that they propel the BB. The price ranges for the three types of guns overlap, however they DO have distinct niches that help with purchasing decisions for the beginner. Other common considerations for the beginner include what format of gun best suites you I.E. rifle, pistol, or shotgun. The length and weight of the gun. The FPS, or, "feet per second" of the gun, the rate-of-fire, size of the magazine and so on.
By far, the most common type of airsoft gun found in use is the AEG. AEG stands for "Automatic Electric Gun." The AEG was invented in the early 90's by Tokyo Marui out of Japan. The first AEG was the FAMAS F-1 and it used the version 1 gearbox. Over the years Tokyo Marui came out with new guns with new gearbox versions. Today there are 9 or so gearbox versions. Each new gearbox version was made to accommodate a new type and shape of gun. And with each new gearbox came slight improvements in the design and materials. However, the gearboxes all mostly use the same core, interchangeable parts. For example the version 2 and version 2 gearboxes both use the same gear set and pistons. Actually, all of the most common airsoft guns today use the same piston. The three most common gearbox types are: the version 2 gear box. This includes all of the M4 and M16 styles, the MP5 and the G3, as well as the SCAR style. The other most common type of gearbox is the version 3. The version 3 gearbox is found in all AK style guns as well as the G36, Sig, and Aug. The other gearbox types are either unique to Tokyo Marui guns or are not as common. There are also several types of gearboxes that are not of Tokyo Marui design, notably the PGC mechbox, which is commonly found in light machine guns like the M249. However, most of the AEGs that Airsoft Atlanta carries are all compatible with the Tokyo Marui product line. Which means, that if we carry parts for a Tokyo Marui gun, that they will also work in a G&G gun, and the opposite is also true. Most of the parts that we carry are compatible with whatever version gearbox that part belongs to, regardless of brand. In fact, some companies, like SHS, only make after market parts for airsoft guns, and are compatible with multiple brands.
Since AEG's are electric, they do require batteries in order to operate. Generally the batteries are either nickel-cadmium or "Ni-Cd" or nickel metal hydride or "Ni-MH" batteries. and range from 7.2 to 9.6 volts and come in a variety of different shapes, sizes and configurations to "fit" certain guns. Also, in recent years the advent of the lithium-polymer batteries or "Li-Po" has become a very popular choice for the airsoft hobbyist. Batteries for airsoft guns are a rather large subject with lots to cover, so we will go over them in greater detail in another section.
Another factor in determining what gun to buy is the magazine. "Magazine" refers to the device that feeds BB's into the gun. the capacities vary by the type of gun the mag is used for.
common airsoft gearbox versions:
Version 1: FAMAS
Version 2: M16, M4, MP5, G3, SCAR,
Version 3: AK, G36, SIG, AUG
Version 4: PSG-1
Version 5: UZI
Version 6: P90, Thompson
Version 7: M14
Other: PGC - found in light machine guns, TOP, etc.
ICS: proprietary gearboxes for ICS only (like their M4)
Clearly, AEG's come in many different shapes and sizes, and narrowing down your choice can be a chore. That being said, it really does come down to personal taste. The practical difference between the guns is so narrow that it can be hard. Pick out something that you like or are familiar with and it you have any questions give us a call or come in!