Everblast M87LA tactical airsoft shotgun
by B.B. Pelletier
For those on a tight budget, this gun will get you into the game. Being a springer, the Everblast 87LA is affordable, but this one has a difference. It's a pump gun that lets you shoot as fast as you can work the handle!
NOT a shotgun!
Although they call this a shotgun, it really isn't. It shoots a single 0.12-gram BB per pull of the trigger and it has adjustable Hop Up like any other combat long gun. It's made for single-shot accuracy. Think of it as a fast-firing rifle that can double as a street broom in a pinch. Though the gun cocks and fires with each pump of the hand grip and pull of the trigger, if the trigger is held down, it fires every time the grip goes forward. That dramatically increases the rate of fire.
Three different guns
Actually there are three guns in the 87 family. There's a CQB Special Ops version with a six-position adjustable stock, a conventionally stocked law enforcement version and an Everblast 87SA gun with no butt. The Spec Ops is more powerful than the other two and has the buttstock that's needed for long-range accuracy. The LA seems more useful than the SA. For room-to-room fighting, the shorter gun would maneuver best of all. The short gun shoots slowest, but other than that and the stocks, the three are pretty much the same.
Sights and optical aids
A Picatinny tri-rail comes with each model to accept dot sights, tactical flashlights, lasers and more. You will need to mount some kind of sight because the gun comes with none. All accessories have to mount to Picatinny rail mounting systems (Weaver mounts will work, too).
Adjustable Hop Up
This is the feature you need for best accuracy. Hop Up puts the backspin on the BB, making it fly straighter farther. The adjustment feature lets you tune the gun to the specific ammo being used, and that means you can be more accurate at longer ranges. While adjustable Hop Up is common on high-end gas and electric guns, it's not so common on springers - certainly not on springers selling for less than $40! That's why I say this inexpensive gun gets you in the game. It has the power and the accuracy of an AEG costing four times as much, so you don't have to borrow or rent any longer.
I found the last two BBs in every magazine were duds in the guns I tested. One would leave the magazine but not feed into the barrel and the other one stayed in the mag. But I only tested the 20-shot mags. Leapers has just come out with a high-capacity mag that may have better feeding, and even if it doesn't, you'll still have a lot more shots in each mag.
Solid feel and heft
You don't expect a solid feel in an airsoft gun for under $40 - especially not a long gun. But every member of the 87 family feels heavy and rugged. Yes, there's a lot of plastic, and I doubt the gun is a rugged as a metal-bodied AEG, but it looks tougher than the price would indicate. So, maybe this is a gun to get you started. If you like skirmishing, you have time to save up for a higher-end gun. If that's your plan, you can buy your optics with an eye to using them on the next gun!
The Everblast M87 guns are worth your consideration.