If you are just getting into airsoft or transitioning from renting to owning, you may be surprised by how many options there are for airsoft guns. Currently, there are over 70 brands now selling airsoft guns, each selling various models.
All these choices can be quite daunting, so it can be easy to look for the cheapest options. When searching for a good beginner gun, it is crucial to not focus purely on cost, but how well it will perform. A poorly made gun that breaks prematurely will increase your total cost since that airsoft gun now needs to be repaired or replaced.
It can be amazingly easy for a person to ask, "what beginner airsoft gun should I get?" Thankfully, there are a few options that are great for beginners mentioned in this article.
Beginner airsoft guns need to balance cost with quality. Some great options are G&G Combat Machine, Classic Army Skirmish, CYMA AKs, ICS Sportline, Maple Armories Marauder, and E&C MK18.
These airsoft guns are excellent choices for beginners. They offer very competitive pricing but still keep the reliability that is important to beginners. Aspects of quality control, availability of aftermarket upgrades, the ability to customize the externals, and the trusted internals have helped these sell to many airsoft users, beginners or experienced.
Although it may tempting to buy a sniper rifle or some gun from your favorite game or movie, we will go into why exactly these guns are top choices.
Although you may be looking to spend as little as possible, it is vital to acknowledge the false economy some cheaper options present. A $40 airsoft gun purchased at a local store is still collecting profit on top of such a low price.
These cheap alternatives can include low power AEG, or "LPAEG" as well as spring powered. These guns are entirely incapable of competing on airsoft fields, from their weak externals, poor internals, limited range, lack of parts, and low rate of fire.
Although the price tag for a $150 airsoft gun may seem steep, it outperforms these cheaper options in every category, including lifespan.
Arguments can easily be made to not buy cheap and poorly made airsoft guns, it becomes tricky with better quality replicas. Out of the many different brands, there are greatly executed efforts of manufacturing competitive airsoft guns, and there are also complete flops. Internal issues, inferior quality metal or plastic used for the externals, and complete lack of parts all can contribute to some of these guns falling behind.
Brands like CyberGun and Lancer Tactical offer awesome looking weapons but have had severe issues with either quality control or the materials used. This is why it can take a lot of effort to search for the best brand for a particular model.
Doing this sometimes results in users buying from another country, or second-hand as the item is discontinued.
Although we will discuss some of the most popular options for beginner guns, it is vital for players to factor in additional costs. Since all of the recommended beginner airsoft guns are automatic electric guns, or "AEG," they will require batteries and a charger. It may be possible to buy a package that includes these from your favorite retailer.
If not, you will have to buy them separately. Batteries currently consist of two very popular choices: LiPo and NiMH. Lithium Polymer, or LiPo, is a type of battery that, for airsoft uses, comes in 7.4v and 11.1v. For guns without MOSFETs, 7.4v is highly recommended to improve the longevity of the weapon. For NiMH, 7.2v, 8.4v, and 9.6v are offered, with the latter two being the most popular.
Like LiPo, 8.4v is recommended for guns without MOSFETs as 9.6v increases the strain on airsoft guns without one. There are many sizes for these batteries, and they come in different configurations. PEQ, crane stock, stick, brick, nunchuck, and butterfly are some of the types of batteries you will see while searching.
These are designed for different restrictions on space for different guns. For example, if you have a larger crane-style buttstock on your M4, the crane stock style of batteries will provide a great fit. Stick batteries are designed to be a great fit under the dust cover of an AK. Take these shapes and sizes into consideration after you picked out your preferred airsoft gun.
With your battery now chosen, you will need to select a charger. Although it can be slightly more expensive, smart chargers are highly recommended. Smart charges like iPower and iMAX, provide a user-friendly interface, and take the stress out of handling batteries.
Regardless of the type of battery you choose, a smart charger can help you identify the most appropriate way to charge or discharge the battery. Smart chargers also help users automatically stop and alert the user once charging/discharging is complete.
These smart chargers are also designed to alert the user if there are any problems. If you pick up a LiPo battery and a charger, be sure to grab a LiPo back to store it safely!
Asides from powering your gun, you will also need to deal with protecting yourself. Appropriate facial protection is the most important purchase. Paintball masks can be found all over and are great candidates for airsoft.
Be sure to buy a mask that fits you properly. These masks can vary from simple $25 masks to $180 masks, offering a wide selection of interchangeable lenses, anti-fog, and size adjustments. Choosing a mask will be a matter of personal preference, so choose the mask that works best for you and is within your budget!
The alternative to masks for airsoft is to combine a mesh facial covering with impact-rated goggles. To protect your eyes, be sure to buy full-seal goggles with an adequate ANSI or MIL-PRF rating.
Combined with a lower mesh guard, your face will be just as protected as with a mask.
One of the most popular platforms for airsoft guns is the M4 or "AR15" platform. Most of the airsoft guns mentioned fall under this family. These guns use a "version 2" style gearbox and have an enormous selection of replacement parts, upgrades, and accessories.
The G&G Combat Machine ranges from $154 to $230, depending on the model you get. G&G's combat machines offer various furniture options and lengths. Although these guns have plastic bodies, they also contain metal in the vital areas such as the buffer tube, barrel assembly, magazine, carry handle, switches, and pins.
Additionally, the plastic that G&G uses is not bad, such as the plastics used in cheaper airsoft guns. As it uses a standard V2 gearbox, it is compatible with a large selection of parts if you ever need to perform maintenance or decide to upgrade it in the future.
Although some consider these to be outdated, the durability of their GFP bodies, reliability, and serviceability have demonstrated that they are built to stand the test of time.
The Classic Army Skirmish comes from a well-established airsoft manufacturer. These guns sell for around $180 and offer multiple models. Their EC2 is their current Skirmish line, which is an upgrade from their older EC1.
These models use ML10, ML12, KM10, KM12, Delta10, and Delta12 as ways to distinguish between different furniture. Like G&G, they offer high-quality plastic bodies, a tight bore barrel, and an ECS system.
These models may be somewhat new to the market, but they were designed to be a great competitor in the M4 market.
The ICS Sportline series results from a quality airsoft brand placing their internals in a high-quality polymer body.
ICS kept their fan-favorite split gearbox, providing users with their excellent quality internals with a more budget-friendly body. Their Sportline series offers different models, but their CS4 is a similar option compared to the Skirmish or Combat Machine.
For an average price of $190, these guns are an excellent option for those looking for a beginner M4 with a unique and effective gearbox design.
Maple Armories Marauder is an airsoft gun that stands out from the competition. Although these guns are also in a polymer body, they include aftermarket internals, which makes this gun a fantastic performer right out of the box.
With the included MOSFET, low-ratio gears, high torque motor, and great compression parts, this gun competes with those using modified Combat Machines, Skirmishes, and Sportlines.
These guns can fluctuate between $200 and $250, putting it on the higher end of these beginner guns.
The Arcturus M4 may be new to the airsoft world, but it has proven itself by using exceptional quality and unique features. Unlike any of the mentioned brands, Arcturus uses a microswitch trigger assembly.
These guns cost an average of $160 and provide the user with quality internals, including a quick-change spring system, a quality piston with steel teeth, and a tight bore barrel.
Although there is not currently a large selection of their beginner level M4s, it still offers a quality option that provides a reliable airsoft gun and helps deliver a competitive edge.
The other popular platform is the AK family of airsoft guns. With AKs, no matter if it is the AK47, AKM, AK74, or any other model, CYMA has held the high ground. CYMA uses the same V3 gearbox for all of their AK models, helping cut down on cost.
They clone their designs off of two other companies, which will impact the quality of externals. Their models that clone Tokyo Marui range in price from $120 to $150. These AKs can be made of plastic or a type of pot metal and uses screws to hold everything together.
These models, which offer different patterns of AKs, are cm031, cm035, cm036, cm037, cm039, cm042, cm046, and cm047.
CYMA also offers a VFC design. This design uses steel for their bodies and introduces the use of pins for assembling the body. These are of higher quality and make for a more realistic replica. These VFC clones sell from $190 to $230 and sell under the following model names: cm040, cm045, cm048, and cm050.
CYMA’s internals have been known to last, and since they are standard V3, there are plenty of aftermarket parts for when you want to change parts or upgrade. Regardless of which AK you choose, you can rest easy knowing you are getting trusted internals at a fair price.