Airsoft primer: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

I decided to write this for those readers who indicated they were interested in airsoft to some degree. I know this is an airgun blog, and that means pellet and BB guns — not airsoft, but there are some crossovers. For example, many airsoft companies are now entering the world of steel BB guns. I promise we’re not going to become half-and-half or even one-quarter airsoft; but since there are questions, I feel the need to address them.

History of airsoft
This will be short and sweet. Airsoft came about in the Orient in the 1970s, when the demand for realistic guns that were not firearms was first satisfied. The early designers made their guns shoot 6mm plastic balls that they have since come to call BBs.

The early guns were made to satisfy the needs of collectors to see, feel and even be able to disassemble the guns in which they were interested. So, the early thrust of airsoft guns was for collectors, only. However, the fact that the manufacturers made these guns fire their plastic BBs soon evolved into an entirely different interest. People began conducting wargames with the guns. Instead of paintball, which is very painful when the .68-caliber balls hit flesh, the 6mm plastic balls had almost no impact. Of course, the guns in those days were firing at very low velocities; because it was realism, rather than the gun’s ability to shoot, that attracted buyers.

Once the wargames began, airsoft split off into two directions. The collectors wanted highly realistic guns, and the wargamers wanted guns that were accurate at long distance and would hold up under simulated combat conditions. Some of the early collectible guns sold for thousands of dollars. Indeed, there are still a few of these collector guns being sold today. One example is a very real airsoft Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) that sells for well over $3000. But the collector market has been far surpassed by the wargamers, who now call themselves skirmishers. Airsoft guns for skirmishes are the biggest sellers in today’s market, which has grown to more than a billion dollars in sales annually.

The BB gun wars
I’ve written several articles about the BB gun wars that were conducted in the United States from the 1890s until the 1960s. The BB gun wars were literally backyard battles fought by teams of kids with BB guns. Every community had them, and each bunch of kids had their own rules. I’ve owned several BB guns with multiple dents in both the wood and metal from the impacts of BBs that are obviously survivors of the BB gun wars.

It’s my contention that the BB gun wars still rage today, but they’re now being fought with airsoft guns. Apparently, there’s a need for people to shoot at each other in mock combat, and airsoft guns seem to fill this need.

IPSC
Because shooting at people is so emotionally-charged, IPSC shooting has recently become popular. IPSC stands for the International Practical Shooting Confederation. It’s the international extension of practical pistol shooting that began as law enforcement training in the U.S. in the 1960s. IPSC competitors shoot from 30,000 to over 100,000 rounds each year in training and competition, so the game is not for poor people.

Airsoft guns are a wonderful way to get into this competition without spending the kind of money that it costs to shoot firearms. For one-hundredth the cost of firearms, shooters can have the same fun under safer conditions with 6mm airsoft guns.

Wrap-up
Airsoft history is rapidly evolving. In just 40 years, it’s gone from pure collecting to wargames and now to practical pistol shooting. Who knows what’ll happen in the next 10 years? What’s obvious, however, is that the technology of the airsoft guns is evolving as fast as the interest is. This is a burgeoning area that’s spending a lot of money to satisfy multiple needs.

Powerplants
Let’s examine the airsoft powerplants so we can see what exists and what’s possible. The first powerplant we’ll look at is the spring-piston.

Spring-piston
The spring-piston airsoft powerplant is no different than a spring-piston found in any other type of airgun. A piston is powered by a coiled steel spring and moves forward rapidly to compress a column of air that then drives the airsoft BB. Most airsoft spring-piston guns are repeaters, but they must be cocked for every shot. You sometimes see these repeaters called single-shots because the people writing about them don’t understand the difference between a true single-shot that only holds one round and a repeater that holds many round but must be cocked separately to fire each one.

Spring piston guns are among the least expensive, and yet they can also be very powerful and accurate. Sniper guns are powered by spring pistons for the most part. The lowest-powered spring-piston guns cost very little and are not built to last a long time. They have a lot of plastic parts that eventually do wear out. But if you don’t abuse them, most will give you many thousands of shots that will be surprisingly accurate.

Gas guns
Gas airsoft guns are very similar to gas airguns, except they do employ a wider range of gasses. Besides CO2, which they’ve begun to use in the last 15 years, airsoft guns also use other industrial gasses that go by colorful trade names. Green gas and red gas are 2 of these; and green gas is, by far, the most popular. Green gas is nothing more than propane, though some suppliers do infuse some oil into the gas to help lubricate the airsoft mechanisms.

Green gas runs at a nominal pressure of 115 psi. It’s supplied in dispensing cans that have nipples that couple with the inlet valves of the guns they serve.

Someone asked me if green gas was as powerful as CO2, which is pressurized to 850 psi and higher. Well, it isn’t. But that doesn’t mean very much, however, because CO2 has to be stepped way down to safely operate an airsoft gun. The same gun can use both green gas and CO2, it just needs two different magazines — each with its own valve to handle the correct gas.

Generally speaking, gas guns tend to be faster than spring-piston guns, but that isn’t always the case. There are bolt-action spring-piston sniper guns that are very powerful. It’s impossible to make a blanket generalization.

Automatic-electric guns (AEGs)
AEGs are spring-piston guns that are powered by small high-torque electric motors. The motor cocks the piston and trips the sear. The gun usually has a selector switch that allows full-auto (the motor repeatedly cocking and releasing the piston as long as the trigger is held down) and semiauto (firing one time per trigger pull). Besides the spring-piston side of this powerplant, there’s the electric side that deals with batteries, motors and gears.

AEGs are popular because they can shoot full-auto, which gamers and collectors both enjoy. They also are among the fastest-shooting airsoft guns, although bolt-action sniper guns can be modified to be very fast, as well. AEGs allow people to experience things that most people cannot experience with firearms; and, of course, they do it at a fraction of the cost. Even law enforcement agencies are using AEGs as training simulators because they’re much safer than firearms that shoot training ammunition called Simunitions. You can make a mistake with a firearm and kill someone — it happens all the time. But you can’t possibly load a firearm cartridge into an airsoft gun, no matter how realistic it may seem.

The technology is changing rapidly. Today, there are even a few hybrid AEGs that can be used with or without electrical power. Obviously, these will appeal to people who never want to be caught without a functional gun.

What comes next?
Next time, I’ll talk about modifying airsoft guns. Not all guns can be modified, but a surprising number can be; and the manufactures do supply the parts to make the modifications.

I’ll also talk about power, which is fast becoming an important topic. As the guns become more powerful, the “soft” in airsoft is being tested to the limits.

118 thoughts on “Airsoft primer: Part 1


  1. Thank you again B.B., for this primer and for whatever you may wish to do in the Airsoft vein. I think you’re probably right that it is a part of the greater airgun universe that is worth carving out a proportionate niche for.

    It’s also gratifying to see that the research I have done on my own, thus far, seems to have been spot-on. In one sense, there were no surprises here at all, but that actually makes me happy, because figuring out some of these things has been anything but a direct process–at times it has been downright painful–and it’s nice to know that I did seem to get to the right places thus far.

    I’m really looking forward to learning more about modifications and customizations that are possible and practical. One of the things I’d like to see is an indication of what tools would be required to do the modifications–for certain things I’d expect one would need very specialized tools, but for others, ordinary garage tools might be sufficient…

    The “power” discussion will probably be academically interesting, but that doesn’t seem to be what the point of Airsoft is–at least not for me. If it makes a hole in paper and can be made to work with interactive targets (and I’ve been getting all kinds of ideas about those from the folks at BAM Airsoft), it’s got enough power. Now, that said, I’m willing to be convinced; if, for example, additional power is a viable way to get demonstrably greater range and/or tighter accuracy, well then, there’s something to talk about… :-)

    Anyway, thanks again for the primer!


  2. I don’t even know were to start. Too many things I want to talk about.

    First I don’t know why I find this topic so exciting. But I am excited.

    I could just keep going on but I will get to the point. I hope the Tanfolglio Gold will make it under the Christmas Tree. That will be a heck of a gun to mess with Christmas day when the family starts arriving.

    Next thing is I’m pretty sure the TG will make the Christmas Tree. But now for the sniper rifle.

    I have been looking at some.

    But here’s the hard part. I’m only going to use the pistol for target practice and the sniper rifle for target practice (and plinking) well and probably the pistol too. And nothing but that. And just to say I kind of like the TSD 90 series sniper rifles as well as the UTG 90 series rifles.

    Inside ain’t a problem because I have a trap that I could adapt to airsoft after the info BB gave about the cardboard and paper plates. So no problem with whatever type of airsoft BB I want to use.

    But outside has to be biodegradable. I’m kind of silly with the up keep on my yard also. I cant have the plastic BB’s laying around. I could make something for target practice outside but I got to be able to plink also. I don’t like to hunt or target shoot all the time if you know what I mean.

    You probably already know I like a challenge when it comes to getting something to perform (and maybe that’s why I’m getting excited about air soft guns).

    Maybe that’s the next challenge I need. Making biodegradables shoot in a sniper rifle at I will say 30 yards. That would make for a fun cheap way to plink in my eye’s anyway. And a challenge at that to hit the target. Im not saying Bio BB’s are going to be the best. But I think if airsoft is going to work for me out side it will have to be the Bio’s.

    I haven’t even shot one yet and I can already tell it can be my next quest in guns.


    • My first supply of biodegradables really were that…

      Drop an aspirin and one of those balls into a cup of water, and the ball might just beat the aspirin (especially the wax/cellulose coated pills) into powder.

      The newer supply has decomposition rates measured in months…

      OTOH — that means they aren’t likely to swell up and jam in the barrel.

      I’ve also got a supply of 6mm “paint” balls — but they are only safe to use in the very cheapest of spring guns as the hop-up system on the better guns would crack/crush the paint balls in the barrel.


      • Ok I missed this before.

        So when you do the hop up it puts pressure on the BB when it shoots out of the gun if I’m thinking right. It creates a spin. Kind of like rifling in airguns and firearms. But a back spin I guess.

        So the harder you hit it the more it slows down I guess but also gives more spin. (the BB) So that is like a tuning tool for accuracy. You have to get the balance correct to get the most power and accuracy. Right?


        • The hop up system puts backspin on the BB so that it held aloft longer (doesn’t fall as fast.) Thus a flatter trajectory. Think of it as rifling in a airgun/firearm barrel, but it only helps accuracy in the vertical plane.



          • Ok BB. But please don’t take long for the next part ok.

            And by the way I was going to mention this and forgot. We were just talking about airsoft guns a day or so before you wrote this Friday article. But you wrote this one awful fast. I was surprised.


  3. GF1 has a point there about bio BBs. Does anyone make such? I would think that the skirmishers would jump on those unless the price was outrageous. They could play war and be environmentally conscious at the same time. I have to admit that you have my curiosity piqued, but I am not desiring little plastic balls laying around all over the place.


  4. I don’t want to take away the from the topic of airsoft guns by focusing on just one aspect that being being Bio BB’s.

    That’s just me and something I would pursue when I finally get a gun and see what airsoft is all about.

    You know me by now. Accuracy is the big game player for me. And if I can learn another aspect of air guns I will be thrilled to learn how to make a plastic BB fly accurately.

    I’m going to bet the deeper a person gets into airsoft the more they will learn about something related to other guns. Heck if the different competitions evolved from police and other official training. Why wouldn’t some body want to use a airsoft gun for getting familiar with the real gun it is a copy of.

    And then the next thing field stripping. Again I have never even touched one of these guns in my hand.
    But if the mechanisms are the same as the real gun they copy. How much more exciting could that be.
    A training tool at the fraction of the cost of the real firearm. Are some of the guns a copy? Again never touched and I don’t know.

    Do they make a copy of the .50 cal BMG in airsoft yet? If so I know I could want one of those.

    It seems to me airsoft could be a bigger market than air guns.
    But airguns will always be my first love. Ya know its what I grew up on. :)


    • “I don’t want to take away the from the topic of airsoft guns by focusing on just one aspect that being being Bio BB’s.”

      Actually, Gunfun1, I’m glad you voiced what you did about biodegradable BBs–I am of precisely the same mind. I like the idea of degradable BBs for any sort of outside pursuit–presuming that they are, in fact, truly biodegradable. (Just having the label doesn’t necessarily mean squat. My wife can regale you at some length, and considerable venom, about how food labels like “organic” can be so deceptive and misleading that it quite reasonably makes you question what the point of the whole exercise was in the first place. One of the many reasons I love that woman.) In the end, I just like to be a good custodian, and I would think that much of the practical-shooting (“IPSC”) interest would bias toward the outside whenever possible; I’d like either for the bio-BBs to be a truly viable option, or explore creative ideas for ensuring complete cleanups.

      I suspect that I’m not the only one here that wants to remain respectful of B.B.’s time, so that his Airsoft blogging remains appropriately proportionate, and I will be happy to learn much of those details on my own. (My family is well set up to measure and report on the degradability of BBs, with all four of us interested in both the science and the result, if not necessarily the shooting.) Speaking just for myself, I would think that the most important things I’d like to get B.B.’s opinion on would be the following:

      1) Just how (in)accurate are the bio BBs? Maybe include one example of such ammo in each test, just to see the side-by-side comparison? B.B.’s message came through loud and clear in concept, but I’d like to have a sense of the scale. If the bio BBs are “IPSC-accurate-enough”, for example, that is a very useful threshold.

      2) Do the bio BBs present any special needs for cleaning, or do they otherwise gum up the guns to any noticeable degree?

      3) This may be a dumb question, but I don’t recall it having been asked yet, and I’ll line up for the dunce cap in order to get a clear answer: are either bio- or plastic Airsoft BBs reusable?

      4) Is there a consensus of opinion on dry-firing? I realize the answer may differ by powerplant and even by gun, but I’d be curious to know. With some gas blowback guns, for example, I’ve certainly seen people “dry-fire” with gas but without BBs. With firearms, it’s usually a no-no to repeatedly drop the bolt or slide on an empty chamber (on the theory that the gun expects the non-trivial friction and collision dynamics of chambering a round out of the magazine; without it, it puts much more stress on the parts), but that may be very different with Airsoft BBs.

      Note that only item 1) in that list represents an ongoing thing–I suspect the other three can be addressed once.


      • Kevin W.,

        Okay, I will take a stab at this.

        1. Maybe someone (not necessarily me) needs to do an accuracy comparison between biodegradable BBs and good, accurate BBs.

        2. The bio BBs present no special requirements when shooting. But storage is an issue, because they do degrade. Just keep them in their containers.

        3. Yes, with lower-powered guns, the BBs can sometimes be reused. But if they hit a hard surface, they often break into pieces. So the trap needs soft material to reuse the BBs. I had a public airsoft range at my Damascus Airgun Show and we used a blanket to stop and catch the BBs, which were reused all day long. We probably shot some of them 10 times, in low-powered spring piston guns.

        4. Dry-firing is by powerplant, as you indicate. But yu mostly won’t do it. No for spring-piston because of the damage, and no for gas guns because of the cost of the gas. AEGs are spring piston, so there you go.

        B.B.


        • Thanks B.B. As usual there is much information in there.

          I suspect I will indeed do some testing on both accuracy and biodegradability as soon as funds permit that initial investment. (With two small children in the house, there always seems to be a more important use of funds. :-) And of course I’ll be happy to share those.

          Good to know about the blanket, too; I was thinking that might be a viable solution for paper punching.


    • GF1,

      I started shooting IPSC about 10 years ago. The practice cost and time investment to get to the range is what brought me to airguns. I’ve tried CO2 pellet guns but the trigger is not similar to that of my 1911. I haven’t been able to convince myself that BBs are a good practice round at home, but some of those pistols look interesting. Now I’m considering airsoft to fill my practice needs in an affordable manner.

      Maybe Santa will bring me a KWA 1911 similar to my match pistol (not a racegun) and a set of BAM targets so I can set up small stages to practice at home. :)

      Tom


      • The first Airsoft item on my own list is a “street gun” 1911 as well; I’ve all but decided on the Commander-length WE offering, mostly so that I can run it from both my 4″ and 5″ leather gear. I’m quite aware of the KWA series as well, and would be curious to get others’ opinions on it, especially in the area of trigger reset. The promise there is pretty exciting. :-)


      • Tom,

        If you have participated in IPSC, can you please describe to our readers the amount of practice, and the cost involved? I think they would like to hear about it from someone who has been there.

        Thanks,

        B.B.


        • I may not be the best resource to answer all the questions. I started shooting IPSC to be better practiced for defensive carry and have “guy social time”, not to be truly competitive in the sport. I have remained a D class shooter (the lowest ranking that is achieved after shooting 6 matches). I practice very little, including dry firing, unloaded draw, and mag changes at home. My budget just does not support weekly trips to the range with a couple hundred rounds shot at each session. The year I shot the most, I fired about 5000 rounds and averaged 2 or 3 matches a month. I live along the front range in Colorado and could shoot about 8 matches somewhere between Pueblo and Fort Collins each month, mostly on the weekends.

          Most matches require less than 150 rounds and are a day long event by the time you add in the travel time. Some large “run and gun” matches may take 300-350 rounds over a long weekend. Those people that commit to IPSC as a sport easily shoot in excess of 20,000 rounds a year and 100,000 is not uncommon. I don’t know any semi-serious IPSC shooters that are NOT reloading their own ammo. My shooting buddy has been more dedicated than me and has been shooting 20,000 to 30,000 rounds a year for quite awhile and practices at home. He is still trying to break into the A classification. After that he can try for Master and Grand Master.

          IPSC can appear as an equipment game. Most of the video you see involves either open or limited equipment which can run $3,000 to $5000 per gun. Then you get to add magazines, holsters, mag pouches, belts, bags, timers, etc, etc. In the last 5 years the “production” and “single stack” divisions have become more popular. Production allows unmodified Glocks, XDs, Sigs, etc while Single Stack is for the narrow 1911 pattern pistols (wide double stack 2011 pistols fall into the open and limited divisions).

          I encourage anyone interested in defensive shooting to try the action pistol disciplines, IPSC and IDPA, just to see that shooting is more than standing still and slow firing at a paper target from a low ready position. The emphasis on safety while moving and engaging multiple targets at varying ranges was enlightening to me. Recently, I’ve dabbled in Steel competition also. These matches demand much less time investment because you are not pasting paper targets and resetting falling steel targets after every shooter. The only downside there is you shoot from a stationary position.


          • Tom,

            Thank you! That is exactly what I was hoping for. That is a real look at IPSC from someone who has been there. I can talk about it, but I have never competed in it and don’t have the same viewpoint as you.

            B.B.


        • Not to jump ahead of Tom with a response, but I shoot a little competition mainly IDPA. You can run through 60-100 rounds fairly easy in a match. It not uncommon for some events to allow you to enter different divisions so then you are looking 250 rounds or more. Some folks regularly shoot two to three matches per week. So if you are a serious competitor you are looking at 300-500 rounds per week easy and that doesn’t include practice. Serious shooters can easily run through another 1000 rounds or more per week in practice. This is on top of dryfire practice. In addition some folks use .22lr conversion or rimfire clones.

          Couple years back I picked up a KWA ATP which closely resembles a G17 (works in same holsters, etc) for cheap backyard practice. While you don’t get the recoil, you can practice draws, target transitions, and you still get feedback from the bbs hitting the target(or not hitting the target). Plus airsoft bbs are cheap as dirt compared to centerfire and rimfire ammo and accurate enough for action shooting at 10m and under.

          I for one hope to see more airsoft reviews in the future. Some of the readers seem to look down their noses at the airsoft community much like some firearms guys look down on airgun shooters. But just like airguns are not the junkie toys some folks think neither are some of the airsoft guns on the market these days.

          One final point and this for collectors and gun nuts, airsofts allow us access to guns that are either legally or financially out of our budget like MP5s, machine guns, or antique military style firearms. No they are not the real thing, but this stuff is about having a good time.


  5. I always look forward to Friday blogs. I find a lot of them very interesting. I was disappointed to see another airsoft blog. I understand the airsoft is very popular. Maybe next week.
    David Enoch


  6. They do indeed make biodegradable (in different compositions) airsoft ammo. Plus, while doing a simple search on PA’s website, I found marking airsoft ammo.

    Airsoft has a ton of replica guns, much more so than regular air guns. An interesting sport, that I just can’t quite *yet* wrap my interests around.



    • Joe,

      At 10 meters I have seen an accurate airsoft sniper gun put 10 BBs into 1/2 inch. But beyond that they start to spread rapidly.The same gun at 50 yards can only keep most of its BBs on a human silhouette.

      As for their max range, I think it is certainly beyond 100 yards, but probably not as far as 200 yards.

      B.B.



        • Joe,

          You caught me! Fortunately I can edit my comments, so I changed that to the 1/2″ that it should have read in the first place.

          To shoot that well takes a gun with probably an aftermarket tighter barrel. I will get to that sort of thing when I talk about modifications.

          B.B.


  7. $3,000.00 for a collectible airsoft gun? Had no idea.

    Makes me feel a little better about the cost of some of my vintage pellet guns.

    kevin


    • Kevin,

      John McCaslin, the owner of AirForce Airguns, has a large airsoft collection. One of his guns is a life-sized, realistic M60 machine gun. It even has a lighted barrel jacket that excites glow-in-the-dark airsoft BBs that look like tracers when they fire. I believe the whole outfit cost well in excess of $3,000.

      B.B.


  8. These look like a bunch of fun! The neighbor kid and his buddies skirmish in their backyard. I can look out almost any nice day and see a war or just him going from cover to cover sneaking up on the enemy. He has got a pile of tactical accessories on his gun and web belt so I know he has put some money into this aspect of the sport.

    I used to think airsoft was a silly child’s game, like cap guns were to me, but I see that it’s a serious offshoot of the shooting sports. My nephews are all into airsoft well into their adulthood. I’m the only holdout, but I think it’s a good way to keep our shooting heritage alive!

    /Dave


    • /Dave,

      It goes way beyond even that! There are retired military putting on realistic skirmishes around the country for big bucks. The teams show up in their own deuce-and-a-half and every member has his own squad radio attached to his helmet. Each player has thousands invested, plus somebody owns military tricks, armored personnel carriers and stuff like that!

      These military guys make films of their skirmished that they sell on DVDs.

      Airsoft is a huge business!

      B.B.


      • BB,

        My main interest lies in pellet guns, and powder burners, along with reloading and pretty much everything else that goes with that territory, targets and hunting live animals. I can only afford the time and money for a few of those associated branches, so I don’t participate in everything, but I like to read about the rest. I’m looking forward on hearing about the occasional airsoft with teardown pictures on this blog along with the pb’s and cars and astrophysics and aeronautics that we delve into here! Who knows? Maybe I’ll even break down and buy an airsoft action pistol one of these days….

        /Dave



  9. Thanks b.b., I think this is well warranted.
    From my own experience.
    A year ago my sum knowledge of ‘airsoft’ was two $50 Crosman M4 (all plastic, spring guns) for my kids to practice shooting with in the back yard at 20 feet…where it was iffy if they could hit an 8″ airsoft target.
    This summer the archery facility started a Wed evening IPSC style night for pellet and airsoft pistols.
    They don’t carry pellet, but do carry a number of high end airsoft pistols, which in truth put my Umarex 1911 to shame. Everybit as good build quality, blowback and mags that work as the real ones do.
    A whole new respect.


    • CSD,

      I was dragged into airsoft, kicking and screaming, by Leapers and Specialized Distribution. I never wanted anything to do with airsoft, but they reached out to me and actually forced me to get spun up on the technology. Classic Army got me rebuilding mecha boxes (gear boxes) and installing larger batteries for greater rates of fire.

      What I discovered is that behind all the kids playing with a $24 toy gun, there are thousands of dedicated airsoft hobbyists who are every bit as dedicated as any airgunner.

      There is an entire alter-universe here!

      B.B.


      • If I could find a purpose for airsoft I might decide that they belonged in my collection. However I personally think I’m leaving these things to the younger crowd to shoot each other with. I’ve seen some really nice quality airsoft guns and I found myself lusting after them, but just never bought them since I don’t know what I could do with them. I’m 45 years old now and busy nursing a nice fresh back injury due to the fact I managed to fall down the stairs yesterday. So really can’t see where I could use one.


      • I found my first in the late 80s at a gaming convention… And at the time they weren’t cheap — a decade earlier I’d bought a Browning Challenger II for only a bit more than the MGC Beretta m-93R (if not /the/ first gas gun, it was close — fixed slide however, but the hammer fall did activate the firing valve). Someday I’ll have rig a tool to pull the valve out and try a second repair…

        The fill valve relied on a rubber coating on a brass body. When filling, the inlet gas would pass through a pair of slots cut where the brass went from thick to thin, and would push the rubber outwards. Then pressure of the gas would hold the rubber against the brass to stop back flow. My first repair attempt was with that dip compound used to put grips on pliers and other tools. Didn’t hold gas — but did stick the brass body into the magazine. I need to create an inverse tweezer with small hooks to pull it out. Then try to fit heat shrink tubing.

        My second airsoft is a spring-piston… But instead of pulling on the slide to cock it, it cocked when closing the slide. Came with a supply of copper colored plastic “shell cases”. One loaded balls into the nose of the case, then loaded them in a magazine. The trigger controlled two “sears” — first sear released the piston to drive the ball, second released the slide which was supposed to snap back with enough force to eject the case. In practice, the second spring wasn’t strong enough on its own so one had to almost snap the trigger — so the piston spring added some recoil to the ejection system.


      • BB.
        First off I very much appreciate this slight turn into the world of airsoft. I was like you not thinking that airsoft was anything I could remotely get into? But one lazy afternoon I was looking for a couch plinker to shoot at old paper coffee cups without putting holes in the wall, So I bought a cheap spiringer pistol that was great fun to shoot. So started my interest! So I started watching and reading airsoft reviews on Pyramyd airs website and got hooked! I was saddened when the last video was over a year old but they seem to be putting them out again. The reason I fell in love with airsoft is mainly because you can get some of your favorite dream guns that you just can’t because in any other format they would be illegal to own. Airsoft replicas are so neat when you can get one that is full metal or wood and as realistic as the real thing and it’s beyond awesome to shoot them in fully automatic mode! Crazy thing is I question myself buying a $250+ pellet rifle but I don’t even blink buying an airsoft rifle in that range. Airsoft obviously has it’s limits and those idiotic orange tips but rules is rules and I will always follow them. I have a few airsoft sniper rifles and it’s just fun to plink random stuff down the hallway indoors. So thanks for bringing airsoft reviews back into the mix! This blog seems to be quite popular this weekend!


        • Greg,

          Thanks for sharing your views with us. I had no idea that airsoft was going to be this popular among my readers! I only did this because, as I mentioned, Pyramyd Air no longer has an airsoft blog.

          I still don’t want to do too much airsoft in this blog, because it is an airgun blog and should remain so, for the most part. And, I am stretched as thin as I can be, just dealing with airguns. But Edith has been sending these comments to Pyramyd Air, and I hope it will encourage them to think about restarting their airsoft blog. What is needed is a writer who knows something about firearms and can also write about airsoft.

          Most airsoft writers are young gamers who have poor language skills and very little knowledge of firearms. They write in comic-book style, using lots of insider jargon and they make no incursions into the science and technology of the guns, which is what many readers want. Finding someone to write the blog won’t be easy.

          Until they get someone, I will plug along, but I have to keep the percentage of time I spend on the topic to a minimum.

          Again, thanks for sharing your views,

          B.B.


          • BB
            I think it will be hard for them to find that person.

            Why couldn’t you do the airgun blog as normal. And maybe do a separate part time blog like twice a week or something where the normal airsoft blog was at on the PA site.

            I know your busy with the air gun blog among other things also. But I think the way you address things and the knowledge that you have about guns is going to be hard to find.

            Even if you wrote one article a week its more than whats there now. Like maybe a Friday airsoft blog in a different spot (not the air gun blog). Maybe something like that would work. I’m sure there are readers who would like to pop in check out the airsoft blog.

            I would definitely like to have it available even just once a week to go and check out.


            • GF1,

              I currently work 70-80 hours each week to do what I do. Today is Sunday and here I am, answering comments on the blog. There is no more time for anything! Besides this job I write for Shotgun News, and do things like appearing on American Airgunner. I am out of time.

              B.B.


              • BB
                I know. Read my comment.

                “I know your busy with the air gun blog among other things also”

                Well if you can’t do it. Hopefully you will be involved with trying to find the right person.
                And I’m sure your schedule is way more busy than mine. But when you get all the things accomplished that are in front of you. Its nice to look back and be happy about what you did for somebody with that extra effort that you found down inside.

                If your involved with the decision I know that the right person will be found.


          • Boy, B.B., I think you really hit the nail on the head with your assessment of the majority of Airsoft writers, at least based on what I’ve seen myself. And you didn’t sound nearly as pejorative about it as I seem to when I try to describe it. :-) The difference in style may well be nothing more than the sum of the difference in interests, and that is a good thing for me to keep in mind.

            Hopefully PA does decide to restart a dedicated Airsoft blog; even moreso hopefully they find the right person to do it. And “the right person” may not even have to have the pure depth of experience that a B.B. does, if that person is a good moderator. A good host and a vibrant “commentariat” could certainly provide the sort of value that some of us are looking for, especially with a tradition of guest columns and an ongoing expectation that there may be as much or more information in the comments as in the root post. Finding a good moderator isn’t a trivial task–that seems to be a serious skill–but it will no doubt be easier to do that, than it would be to find such a moderator who also has the depth of background that we enjoy here. (The moderation-plus-content skills of the Tom & Edith team are the best I’ve ever seen, on any sort of topical interactive site covering any subject, and I suspect it is easy for us out here to get spoiled on it.) Anyway, for PA’s consideration, I do think it would be a mistake to start an Airsoft blog with the wrong person, but I also think that the right person does not necessarily need to be a B.B. clone in terms of industry history and depth of experience.

            In the meantime, speaking just for myself, I’d just like to say again: thank you, B.B., for including Airsoft as a portion of the airgun-universe that you cover. I certainly don’t expect it to become a certain-sized portion, or even a regularly-sized portion, and will be happy with whatever you find the time to do. (I realize that my own enthusiasm may come across a little strong, but it is just that–enthusiasm.)

            And FWIW, I have a hard time imagining how you and Edith can put out the work that you do. It’s simply amazing. I know how long it takes me to craft posts of far less content and detail, and your use of pictures and consistency of presentation is not something that happens by accident. And it doesn’t even stop there; you are all over the comments as well, often with 100+ comments on a single post. And somewhere in all that you even find the time to go do what it is you’re reporting on.

            I do not know how you manage to do that. But I am acutely aware of my own amazement, which helps me to appreciate whatever it is that you manage to put out, with no reservations. :-)


            • Kevin,

              Thank you for your comments. We are receiving a large number of comments that are favorable to more information on airsoft. I hope we can do something about it, because the need seems to be there.

              B,.B.


  10. My two teenage sons have friends over and they have wars in my woods. Comical to watch them sneaking in and out of the cedars. One of them even climbed up on top of a small shed I have and ambushed kids when they walked by. However, once they found decent cover that kid was in a heap of kimchi cause he was stranded on top of that shed. I could hear him screaming from my house as I watched and I never laughed so hard (yes, they were all wearing protective gear). I still find those big white bb balls as I walk to my treestand each fall. They are getting older now, so don’t play so much anymore. They used to ask me to play and I would always refuse…I know what would happen, they’d all gang up on the short fat guy who can’t run very fast!


  11. I like the looks of some of these airsoft guns. However I have discovered that actually making the real thing they copy is so easy that I have no need for the airsoft version other than they are a fair training aid. I thought about buying an AK and AR for indoor training until bb gun makers started putting out AR versions of the real AR15. Now I’m looking at those since the .177 bb’s don’t bounce quite as bad as the airsoft bb’s.


    • John,

      I may end up with airsoft sooner rather than later myself…. I can’t seem to find any other FNh replicas for PS90 and FiveseveN. Sells like everyone and their brother makes AR replicas, but not much for me. Hope your back heals up soon. Back injuries are just plain debilitating…

      /Dave


      • Well, since I don’t have either of those guns I wouldn’t be in the market for them in airsoft. My thinking is with looking at something that I could train inside with when I can’t get to the range with my real guns. That means I’m in the market for Ak and variants and an AR platform. Although the AR is way low on my list due to the fact my 5.56 NATO ar will also fire .22lr which is pretty much the same caliber as 5.56 with an adapter and special magazine. So I can train cheap with my actual AR15 using .22lr.

        Funny thing about that. For years I railed against the idea of owning a variant of the M-16/M4 which I carried around in the military. Now I got one of my own and became a huge fan of it for the reason that it’s so adaptable to anything I need it to do. All I have to do is swap the upper and magazine and it’s a whole other gun.

        I’ll heal up in time. Lucky I’m built tough as a Russian tank. I’m just not going to be moving around for a few weeks right now.


        • I bought the pair back after the first unmentionable election…. I never thought I’d want either, but I found that I actually like both of them! Limits my practice options though. Eats ammo like crazy….


          • That’s why I’m liking the AR platform. I can put in a special adapter and mag and I can fire .22lr all day long. Saves a fortune at the range. Then if I need to make a point I can swap out the adapter for the 5.56 bolt carrier group and fire 5.56 NATO. I can also swap uppers and fire .177 pcp thanks to crosman. That’s something on my “I want it” list. Until recently I was dead set on not wanting to see another AR in my hands. How we change and adapt! I kind of blame airforce for this. Once I found out the beauty of an adaptable military style shooting platform I was hooked. Now it’s pretty much required of the guns I use.


            • Adaptability is nice. I have a .22lr adapter for my AR, and am looking hard at getting the pcp upper for it. It would just be nice if I had a bigger choice off FNh replicas to practice with too.

              I guess not many people saw the sense of having their pistol and rifle take the same ammo. It does have its downside since I can’t have a completely different gun just by changing out uppers, but I like the system as a pdw since I only need to pack one caliber of ammo (in all of its various, special use types).


              • What I use for personal defense all depends on what the first thing is I get my hands on. It could be a kitchen chair, an AK47, 1911, AR15, Maybe even brass knuckles if nothing else is handy. So I have to train with several things and stay proficient with them. Granted throwing a kitchen chair doesn’t take all that much skill to hit somebody with. but the only rules that matter are the last one standing wins. I have a tanfoglio witness 1911 bb gun for practice with that, a crosman M417 for the AR. Rather poor substitute but it works well enough. Don’t have anything for the AK yet. I’m waiting for somebody to get the bright Idea to make a bb gun or pellet gun that looks like an AK47. I’ll be all over that one.



                  • If you do it right your sling can be used to redistribute the weight of the gun back to your elbow and shoulder which keeps it much steadier. It’s kind of like those travel trailer hitches that relieve the pressure on the rear suspension of a truck. The bad news is if your gun likes the artillery hold this might not be the best way to stabilize your gun since you are locking that gun into a set position. It doesn’t have any opportunity to jump around. It’s just held rock solid use this trick on my pcp guns as well as my powder burners to good effect though


  12. I think this is a great topic.
    I think a lot of airgunners lack respect when it comes to airsoft (the opposite is probably also true but I hangout on airgun forums so…) gun the same way a lot of firearms shooters lack respect towards airguns and airgunners.

    When these people will understand that instead of trying to pull the blanket on their side we could all be pulling together it would be much easier and we could do far more stuff.

    J-F


    • I understand the airsoft guns, but I also don’t really respect the things all that much. That was a mistake I made a while back. I bought an airsoft rifle for a boy I know since his mother is such an over watching over protective mother hen. I figured it was harmless enough and he wanted to learn how to shoot. Well with my lack of respect I wanted to see how much they sting when they hit you. So I loaded a plastic bb in the thing, cocked it and fired it point blank at my foot. I had socks on and figured that would be protection enough. I was wrong. I ended up digging that plastic bb out of the top of my foot. Don’t think that didn’t hurt. I still have the round scar to remind me not to do that again. I probably should have taken that injury to prime care, but I really didn’t want to try explaining why I had just shot myself in the foot. Michigan being what it is, I’d most likely be explaining that to the police and end up in psychiatric care listed as a suicide gone very wrong.(welcome to my strange and often twisted world.) So I dug it out myself.


      • John,

        That is one of the things that went wrong with airsoft guns, in my opinion. The skirmishers kept modifying their guns for greater velocity/power and the makers followed suit to sell more guns. Neither party appreciated what that does to the muzzle energy.

        Yes, it makes it easier to hit a human at 50 yards in a simulated battle, but it also takes the “soft” out of airsoft.

        Then you throw in the foolish people who increase the weight of the BBs by making them from metal and then boost their velocities even more and you have created a monster.

        All the while moms and dads are reading 10-year-old reports about how safe airsoft is. And the discount store are stocking the guns that are now more powerful than ever and are being sold by rep groups who have no idea of what they are selling.

        Then agencies like the states and the Consumer Products Safety Commission get involved without the foresight to know the ramifications of the laws and guidelines they enact and things like metal airsoft BBs get created.

        Over the past several years I sat on several airsoft subcommittee meetings of the ASTM when they discussed things like the effects of putting maximum weight limits on airsoft BBs. That subcommittee had people like Joe Murfin, Daisy’s VP of Marketing, and Ed Schultz, the senior engineer from Crosman in attendance and they fully understood what they were doing. That is the (hopefully) good future path for airsoft in this country.

        B.B.


        • I’d think where airsoft guns are concerned the industry using actual experts would cap the power of these things for safety sake. I hate to sound like a gun fearing liberal but considering how these things are used there does need to be some industry regulation on just how powerful these airsoft guns can be and how much mass they can fire on one go. I saw the aluminum airsoft bb’s pyramyd air sells. I hope somebody doesn’t use those to do what I did with an airsoft gun and a plastic bb. They will be going to prime care with what will be listed as a gunshot wound (In today’s society). That’s all the clueless politicians and bureaucrats need to make senseless regulatory laws and ruin all the fun.


        • I very respectively disagree! I’m far from a skirmisher and even with airsoft I can’t even think about shooting at someone. But for those who do in these skirmishes I would assume that they have well set rules as far as max velocity, gram weights of BB’s, and personal safety gear. As with anything that shoots a projectile we are all responsible for our own safety and others. But when we start dissecting our own sport/hobby that’s when the anti gun nuts think that we can’t even agree and then everything should be banned. I don’t have any problem with people experimenting with their airsoft guns, pumping up the velocity, or even using aluminum BB’s! As long as your a rational thinking normal person that knows that now you’ve altered a gun’s designated true function and now you need to use it safely for it’s new purpose. No need for any outside regulations or standards! There will always be a select few idiots who won’t play by the rules. And even if everything is banned they will still be there! I live in California so any stupid idea is the norm here. I don’t have a problem with single shot bolt action rifles, nor do I have a problem with 100 round clips. But we are limited to just ten shots now. If your into plinking it’s a pain to reload each time. Back on topic, Some poor kid just recently got killed by the police for carrying an airsoft gun. I guess he had either painted the orange tip black or had taken the tip off? I heard both stories. Now because of this one incident the ruling majority here wants to possibly ban all realistic looking airsoft and toy guns completely. Or the other idea including airsoft and airguns is to not only have the tips bright orange but the whole guns in fluorescent colors. It all goes back to personal responsibility and proper safety knowledge, but in California one unfortunate and sad mistake can take the rights away from many.


      • My cousin did the same thing when we bought spring airsoft guns (in fact that’s what got me back to airgunning) we just got to my house and were wondering if we could shoot each other with our Ruger P-85 spring pistols with the “silver” slide. He shot himself in the foot thinking there’s no way he would hurt himself with these small plastic balls… we never did shoot each other out LOL.
        I bought a few others, most of them were from Marui so they we’re very good looking and working well (in fact they still do).
        I have the Ruger, a Glock (which for some reason exists in airsoft but not in airgunning), a weird looking H&K P7 and a few others. Some are good quality, others… no so much. That’s what happens when the pics shown on the web are from the actual firearm instead of the pistol you’re getting. That was WAY before PyramydAir and their awesome website. They were mostly bought on eBay.

        I would also be very interested in some sniper rifle test. It would make for a great plinking gun for the backyard.

        I have a bunch of those biodegradable airsoft BB’s. As long as they’re kept in the original package (they’re in small packets inside a bigger “jar”) they should last for a long time (mine must be around 2 years old now) but I never found those I fired in the backyard to test them out, they was no difference between them and the regular stuff that I could notice.

        I’ve seen those tracer rounds and they look very good, search for them on youtube, you can see them in operation. Very fun looking.
        You can also youtube airsoft snipers. They’re skirmishing and since they barely make any sound they never see where the shots are coming from but you can seen how high they have to aim and the nice trajectory the BB makes before hitting it’s mark.

        J-F


        • Oh I almost forgot… thank you for bringing these back for me! They were all stored away and I tought I wouldn’t have to buy any other but thanks to you Mr Enabler I might have to buy some more.

          Oh well.

          J-F



      • It’s old tested and true “united we stand, divided we fall”. Anti-gun people pick “assault” rifles and high capacity mags, then it will be handgun, then high power “sniper” rifles, then shotgun that have more than 2 round etc and when there’s no firearm left to ban they’ll go after airguns and airsoft. There’s no stoping these people and these things once they start.

        I’m in Canada and no handgun can be fired anywhere other than a certified range, without care to the caliber or the mag capacity, you also need a transportation permit to go from your house to the range and back, no stoping to get milk or a beer on the way back and they all have to be registered. So a Crosman 2240 with a 10 inch barrel will exceed our limit for airgun to be considered a firearm and voilà… permits, registry and range only!
        We were able to abolish the long gun registry fiasco that cost us billions of dollars and was completly useless but it was hard and some provinces are still fighting for the right to keep in court to the expense of hundreds of thousands of dollars of OUR money in lawyers.

        If ALL shooters united and pulled for the other shooters too we’d have less chance to end with only black powder rifles or a bow and arrow.

        J-F



        • J-F
          Again I agree 100 % with you!

          Wow! And I thought California was bad? My poor Canadian brother I feel your pain! That’s why I’m a member of the NRA. I mostely shoot just air pistols and rifles but that’s only because it’s so costly for me to branch out like i’d like to, and with the current ammo shortage here in the U.S. it’s hard or unrealistic ally expensive to go to he range with a firearm. In the United States I used to be ok with giving in a little For the safety of the general populace. The waiting period seemed logical and we gave our Liberals that and since they’ve never stopped wanting more! They banned anything that they thought looked ugly regardless of ryme or reason even though they functioned exactely like a normal semi auto or a repeater? Clip size was limited to 10 rounds and then they were made to be non removable with out a special clip key to slow the procedure down. Now I’m into to the absolutely no compromise mode! Give them an inch and soon your guns are gone! There are enough laws that are not enforced on the books to prevent nuts from having guns but our A.C.L.U. Has destroyed that notion. I’m so sick of this Nanny type atmosphere in this State and in this Country right now!


          • It’s not just your country, I think it’s pretty much everywhere in the occidental world.
            All of our elected officials must know something we don’t since they’re the ones deciding what we can and can’t do and we often don’t agree with them.

            Ideally I think they would want all of us driving grey Corollas and dressing the same way working the same job from 18 to 70, 6 days a week without complaining and only watching TV as a passtime. We’d be good little sheeps that they can do whatever they want with.

            J-F


  13. I just finished reading through the comments. And more great info about the airsoft world.

    And I guess some of you know how I’m always talking about modifying stuff. So when BB gets to the modification aspect of airsoft guns I will be ready and waiting to hear about that.

    And I would like to know more about what the hop up adjustment does. (I guess that is the right name I said)
    And If I remember right from hearing somebody talk about it. The hop up puts a spin on the BB. Right? Kind of like somebody throwing a knuckle ball or something?

    Oh and I like the Idea of the blanket and re-using the BB’s. And after thinking more about shooting the plastic BB’s outside. Maybe there is some kind of yard vacuum that could work to pick them up in a designated plinking/shooting area. Just a thought.


    • Oh and forgot.

      I was thinking about using the sniper airsoft gun to shoot a mini field target course outside. I think that would be kind of fun.


      • ooh yeah!A pack of dollar store plastic dinosaurs and an AS sniper rifle for
        indoor safari’s on cold days lol or backyard mini big game hunts inside 20 yrds.
        Yes I know that can be and is done with airguns but indoor AS seems a tad safer.


        • Me and my friends use to do that when we was kids with our bb and pellet guns outside in the back yard.

          We use to get a package of those small green plastic army figures and place them in different locations and shoot at them. And I can even remember shooting at the plastic car models that we put together too.

          So I think I could get into airsoft as long as I can get the right type of gun I want. I already know what pistol I want and I know the rifle will be a sniper airsoft gun. I just want to make the right choice the first time without going through all the trail and error I did on pellet guns.

          If I get the right gun that will put me one step closer to finding the right airsoft BB. And hopefully not have to go all through that process. And if I have those two main things working together right off the bat. It will make it easier to stay interested.

          I think I have even seen airsoft type field targets that are available. Maybe the airsoft guns could help with shot placement training for improving skills when it comes to pellet gun field target.
          Maybe the pellet guns would seem easier to shoot after doing the airsoft guns. That’s my thought. I don’t know if it will work out that way till I try for myself.

          I’m going to spend the weekend comparing some sniper airsoft rifles to get some ideas about the spring kits and other mods that are available for them. And barrels and so on. And what guns accept mods and what ones don’t. To me that’s kind of exciting too. To see whats available in the airsoft world.

          Look at all the mods for the Drodz blackbird. Know just add the word airsoft in front of bb and I’m sure one of the AEG airsoft guns could be turned into one heck of a gun like the blackbirds. Again I think its cool stuff.


  14. Well, I dug around on PA and found bio BBs. With 12 acres of woods I could set up a pretty nice walk through range. My problem is my wallet. I know that I will not be happy with anything less than top shelf and that does not necessarily mean price. Will I be happy with the accuracy, probably not.


  15. I got news for some shooting airsoft is way more expensive then pellet guns.I went through 100,000 bulk pack ($200) in two weekends.But it was fun .


  16. I hate to give a contrarian view, but I think there is a basic problem involved with airsoft.

    We spend a lot of time and effort teaching gun safety to kids. Why then send them out with airsoft guns to use each other as targets? One afternoon of airsoft skirmishing can undo six months of gun safety training.

    Firearm gun safety directly translates to airgun safety. Never point your weapon at something you do not wish to shoot. Be aware of where your muzzle is pointing at all times, lest it be pointing at someone. Lead projectiles will easily seriously injure or even kill..then give them an airsoft gun and let them have at it.

    If a gun is capable of shooting a projectile with enough force to injure someone, it needs to be treated with respect. This principle applies to Red Ryders, M60′s, and everything in between. Maybe the airsoft guns should be limited to shooting corks.

    Les


    • Didn’t you play cowboy and indians or cops and robbers or spy vs spy when you were a kid?
      I sure did, every single time I could and when we were out of money to buy those long strips of ammo we would shout BANG, you’re dead (for 10 seconds, then you were back in the game). Yet I have good control over my trigger and haven’t shot anything I didn’t want to destroy (except my chrony but I heard some people have shot their own couch so I’m not that bad ;-) ).
      Same thing with airsoft and paintball. As long as the kid is old/responsible enough to know and realise there’s difference I don’t see a problem in skirmishing or paintball.

      Have seen paintballers or skirmishers killing people by accident because they’re into one of these sports? I haven’t.

      J-F


      • Sure I did. I even shot it out with my neighbor boys with BB guns. But we were young kids then and didn’t know any better. I wouldn’t do that today, nor would I permit my grandchildren to do that.

        Our toy guns were about making noise, not shooting projectiles. My favorite was a smg with a clockwork mechanism that would feed a strip of roll caps through it. Sounded great on full auto, and made a lot of smoke, too!

        If adults want to shoot plastic balls at each other, at speeds capable of penetrating skin, that is their choice. But I wouldn’t want my grandchildren to do that. Shooting guns at human beings should be an ingrained behavior, unless there is a very good and specific reason (self-defense, defense of others, military). To do that should require training to undo the reluctance to shoot at people, sort of like how police horses have to be trained to step on people.

        Les


        • I sure agree with you and I don’t think skirmish are for kids, all the vids I’ve seen online seemed to have adults (and I don’t think many kids can afford 500$+ airsoft rifles).
          If you call it skirmish people say it’s crazy but if you call it training it’s fine but it seems to be the exact same thing to me.

          I’m also curious why you shot your friends with your BB gun but your grand children shouldn’t? Kids will be kids, we all did stupid stuff and it’s part of growing up. What you did as a kid is a part of the adult you are today. If kids can’t make mistakes and do dumb stuff when will they do it? When they become adults?

          J-F


    • Les,

      I agree with your viewpoint of not shooting at people. But I have found there are other things you can do with these guns, like IPSC, for instance. That doesn’t involve shooting at people.

      On the other hand, I have to acknowledge that skirmishing is the number one thing airsoft guns are being used for, these days.

      B.B.


      • I don’t see how it’s worst than playing with cap guns or toys when we were kids.
        I had a complete collection of toy guns as a kid, I shot absolutly everything and everyone in the house, yet I knew the difference between toys and my airguns asI grew older and got them and I now have good trigger and muzzle control.

        Isn’t shooting at people what conceal carry is for? You carry a gun in case you have to use it to protect yourself and your loved ones against a threat, it’s the same thing with skirmishing.
        They all seem to have proper trigger control and aren’t walking around on the street with these and only shoot each other while on the skirmish field. They’re shooting at the other team, the “bad guys”.

        I don’t know, I never participated in one of those or paintball. I’m just trying to understand your point of view and why shooting at other people with plastic ammo in a field is different than training in a shooting house. On the contrary it seems to me that it would teach the shooters escellent trigger and muzzle control. I think shooting your team mates must frown upon, don’t you? I think it must be a great learning tool.

        J-F


        • I’ll have to agree with you here, J-F. I think skirmishing is great training for kids who will later become our county’s defenders. We shot each other with BB guns when we were kids, rode bikes without helmets, skate boards without pads, etc. Today’s kids seem much too coddled by comparison and a lot of them seem to grow into whiney, petulant adults until they get a serious wake-up call. Not that we didn’t have them back then, but there seemed to be fewer… I say make sure they have the safety gear, and let them go at it!

          /Dave


        • I forgot to add that although we shot at each other with BB guns, we knew from our parent’s training that there was a line not to cross. A line that had consequences. A difference between airguns and “real” guns.


          • The same thing happened in hockey (hey I’m Canadian eh), hits to the head and high stick weren’t seen often “back in the days” and when people started wearring helmets they assumed all was good and more hits to the head happened they then put the visors and more hits to the head came. As the safety equipment became better the vicious hits increased.

            We’re always trying to find the limit so as the safety precautions increase kids have to push farther to find them. That’s were all the xtreme sports come from.

            J-F


            • And with extreme sports, comes extreme injuries…. How does one quantify that? Are we happy because we have fewer injuries, but at the same time those injuries are much more serious? Not talking AS or paintball here, since you can gear up to where you don’t even feel getting shot, but more about biking, boarding, hockey, etc. where kids put life and limb at risk because they feel impervious but aren’t. I think the pain of a few bumps and bruises is just part of learning. We can’t and shouldn’t try to protect them from everything. I also think that gun safety dovetails nicely into AS games as you don’t want tho accidentally shot your teammates…

              Discounting soapbox….


  17. And that is the way it is marketed now days. But listen to what BB said about the retired Veterans staging mock wars and such. We always go watch the Civil war re-enactment at the local college every time they have it. Cool stuff. And I have watched videos of Radio Control re-enactment of different war scenes.

    I totally say that you don’t point at what you don’t want to shoot. And you have to go above and beyond when it comes to gun safety. You always have to think the gun is ready to fire. And you have to know where the dangerous side of the barrel is pointing. I don’t care if some body hands me a blank gun. And tells me it can’t shoot a projectile. That means nothing to me until I handle the gun and know for sure it is what it is. But that’s the point. When the people are doing their airsoft skirmishes. They know that’s what their doing.

    Maybe a group of air (pellet) gunners could turn that around and get a airsoft league of some sort started. Look at the video BB posted about the Fast gun competition. Its a controlled event. And then make a airsoft field target league or a target shooting competition using airsoft guns. The more events like that get recognized and publicized. The more people learn about how these types of guns can be used. I think airsoft is a very safe way to enjoy guns. But you have to use common sense just like anything else you do.

    Any gun can be used the wrong way. And any gun can be used the right way.

    And the only way the right way will happen is through education.

    And here is a example that I hate using. But what do you think would happen now days if you see me get out of a car at Wally World Mart and have one of the new Crosman MTR77NP rifles in my hand. You dont know what that gun really is.

    What if it was a legal conceal carry state and you had your gun and saw me. Do you think you should shoot to protect the surrounding people. Or not because your afraid you could hit a innocent by stander.

    And Oh my bad luck. The gun happened to fall out of the box when I was getting out of the car and it fell on the ground. You just happened to see me after I picked it up and was going to put it back in the box. And darn all I was doing was returning it because it didn’t work right.
    And now I’m dead because you thought I was a threat. When circumstances happen its hard to act fast and correctly. Again you really have to know what is happening and know what your doing.

    All I can say its what the media and government want us to see, You know they will hype it up to make a story or try to get a point across to the people who don’t understand.

    People thought our 140 mph radio controlled pylon racing planes were dangerous also. The question that always came to my mind is why are you there watching if you think its dangerous. :/

    And DD this is by no means directed towards you. Just making my comment here.


    • If adults want to shoot airsoft guns at each other, that’s one thing. Presumably, they know and accept the risks.

      Kids treating airsoft guns the same as Nerf Guns is another matter. “Try not to shoot Johnny in the face”.

      I teach gun safety to kids. We have a good record of our students not being involved in gun accidents.
      The key idea is a gun mishandled can injure or kill. If the kid is allowed to shoot people with his airsoft gun, it desensitizes them to what all guns can do.

      My grandchildren are well-supplied with airguns. But not airsoft guns. When they become ready for powder-burners, they will have a good background handling airguns. I have 14 airguns myself, and am a member of both NRA and National Association for Gun Rights. I am the Rangemaster at our local shooting range. Hardly anti-gun.

      Earlier this year, I accidentally shot a hole through my back door with a Gamo P23. I made sure my grandchildren saw the hole and that they knew how it happened. I was lucky the hole was through the door and not my foot. I now have a new back door.

      Les


      • I think “kids” is the important word here. Kids shouldn’t have them to shoot each other until they are responsible enough. Nerf guns are perfect in the mean time.

        J-F


      • What about people that go play laser tag. You are still pointing a weapon at somebody.

        And I never really associated airsoft with shooting at people. Which I guess is what comes to some peoples minds when they hear airsoft guns.

        I have too many kinds of guns. And grew up with guns. And was taught not to point at anything living or even an object that I did not plan on shooting.
        My dad didn’t even like the idea that I was shooting the pellet guns at the plastic toy soldiers when us kids were doing it. Both of my teenage daughters shoot pellet guns and firearms. And I taught them the way my dad taught me.

        They have never shot a airsoft gun before and when I get one they are going to know to handle it just like you would any gun. Regardless if it has a orange barrel or not. (and I can already here myself explaining to them why airsoft guns have orange barrels)

        And DD in your post you said you teach gun safety to kids. That’s great. Now the question is do you include certain types of guns when you teach them. Or do you include all types of guns when you teach them. And what about weapons like knifes and such.

        I don’t know if I would put guns into categories. They all need to be handled respectfully.

        Here is where I would have a problem with air soft guns and gear and the kids all together playing their game. Them all together and playing their game is one thing. They all agree they are playing a game between themselves. But now if all them kids decided to ambush some kids playing on a playground minding their own business. That would be a problem.

        Do you see what I mean though. The same group of kids can be doing something good or the same kids can do something bad. And hopefully with the kids you are teaching that they are learning and listening to what you are teaching them. Hopefully they will be the good group of kids that do what they are supposed to.

        I will look at airsoft guns just like any other gun I have. And handle them that way also. My airsoft guns will be used for plinking and target practice only. Done


        • In answer to your question, we teach the kids by explaining and letting them handle various types of long guns: rifles and shotguns, with all types of actions. Of course, this is done with actions open and unloaded, and under close supervision. We explain the different types of actions, and the differences between rifles and shotguns, including how the ammunition is constructed.

          Live ammunition is never allowed to be present with the firearms. Dummy ammunition is, to demonstrate how actions work. Also shown and passed around is a shotgun that had been fired with the barrel plugged. They do not forget seeing that.

          Safety and control are emphasized above all else. A major point is how far various types of guns are capable of shooting.

          We want the kids to be aware of the damage a gun can do, without being afraid of the gun. The key to doing that is to de-mystify the gun. When the student knows the safe way to handle guns, they can gain confidence. And recognize unsafe gun handling in others.

          This training carries onto the firing line. To help control the situation, all shooting is done with single-shot guns. Training is begun with Daisy 499′s, and after a couple years, the students move to Avanti PCP’s.

          The students are encouraged to shoot their own air guns at home. The school provides air guns for the kids at the school. They are not allowed to bring their personal guns, unless they own guns of identical model to those used at the school.

          No pistols are allowed. It is too difficult to control where the barrels are pointing. Guns are left lying with the levers open when not being used.

          We expect the kids to handle the 499′s with the same caution they would exercise with any powder burner. For many of them, it is the first time they have shot any gun. By building that early experience on a strong safety base, it will carry forward onto the rifle range and elsewhere.

          Les


          • What could be better than that. That is what needs to happen.

            At least those kids have a idea of what to expect from a gun. And you are trying to point them in the right direction. The kids you are teaching have something in their mind now and I’m sure will be remembered at different times in their life’s.
            Maybe they will be able to point things out to other kids as time goes on and as they become adults also.

            The best that I guess we can do is teach them and they will have to choose the right thing to do.


  18. The anti-gun people can say, look at all the shooting games you can participate in with non-lethal airsoft and paint ball guns. So why do you NEED real guns? They could mount anti-gun and gun confiscation campaigns and claim that our right to bear arms is not being infringed, because we can own all the air-soft guns we want(even full auto machine guns). They don’t want to ban all guns, only the “BAD” guns (Saturday night specials, “assault guns, sniper rifles, etc.) They are very creative in naming all types of firearms. Airsoft guns were invented as a panacea in countries that banned firearms . I hope that I am overreacting to the proliferation of non- lethal guns. Perhaps they will introduce people to the shooting sports and get them to own real firearms. I am thinking of the many people who cannot own firearms because of age, location (urban areas) and family opposition to guns. Only time will tell which scenario will come true, but remember , Cassandra was right! Ed


  19. “The anti-gun people can say, look at all the shooting games you can participate in with non-lethal airsoft and paint ball guns. So why do you NEED real guns?”

    To shoot the anti-gun people with. : )



  20. I have never owned an airsoft gun but a full auto would be fun. Who makes the best ones that will go full auto? By best I mean quality, reliability, and accuracy.

    Mike


    • Mike,

      The best AEGs are not affordable. They sell to the military and to law enforcement and cost over $1,800. They are as rugged as genuine M16s.

      But what you would probably be interested in is something from UTG, Classic Army or from Armalite. For less that $350 you can get a nice rugged AEG that can then by modified into a very nice gun.

      I will try to explain this as we go forward, but please understand that this is a universe of possibility and we are just starting.

      B.B.


    • That is hard to say.Just as hard of question as who makes the best springer.Many will say Weihrach some will say Air Arms.Because Weihrach has the biggest selecting in their line.Air Arms bluing is a dat better.I do not know if Paramyd Air has a store front,where they will let you cherry pick.I have two AIG I got in 2009 from PA website my favorite is the AKS74U KALASHNIKOV$199. all metal. both have same 8.4 battery but AK fells better shoots stronger 400fps 20 grain white bbs (450 magazine)(you cant see blue or red fly as good)second one is AUTO ORDINANCE THOMPSON SUBMACHINE GUN $119. mostly plastic shoots 350 fps (600 magazine)I broke the plastic cover where you load bbs in the drum used scotch tape to hold in place.I use them for fun,shoot cans and such with my 8 yr old son I do not skirmish just plink full auto.Check out PA air soft video they review my Thompson


  21. I think the old bb gun wars were insane. Couldn’t they figure out pretty quickly the danger to their eyes?

    My M4 airsoft with the full auto powered by an electric motor was quite a disappointment. It sounds like a type writer and it goes through enormous stocks of bbs.

    Matt61


  22. Well I hope BB will tell us about the gear box mods he done in the past in his next part of airsoft guns.

    And a question I forgot to ask. I asked about in the garage at 10 yards. But if you start getting out to 25 or so yards will the airsoft BB make it through paper? Or will I need to use objects that can be moved or knocked over when you hit them at that distance. Or will the sniper guns go out to farther distances and be able to punch holes in paper.

    I was thinking something like empty plastic 2 liter soda bottles. What type of targets are there? Or do we have to wait for the next part also.


  23. You know, I’m finding it curiously encouraging that this group seems to be so conflicted about the skirmishing concept. I can absolutely understand both sides of the dilemma, and I don’t think that I could add anything that hasn’t already been well covered. (I think it’s encouraging because, as with any topic that sits so precariously between freedom and disaster, it is active vigilance that is the most important guarantor of a happy ending…and what I hear in people’s words here is precisely that.)

    I can certainly say what my own attitude is, because I’ve had to come to peace with it myself. It’s actually pretty simple, if horribly conflicted. Personally, I want no part of confusing my own head with making a “fun” game of shooting at others. Many years of fidelity to the Jeff Cooper mind-set has put me in a very clear place with what it will take for me to muzzle another person on purpose, and with everything I’ve learned about the psychology of such things, I simply refuse to suggest otherwise to my own mind. I’m going to treat Airsoft guns the same way I treat firearms, period, and anyone who works with me voluntarily is going to do the same. Anyone who hears me speak of the topic will understand with perfect clarity my commitment to this idea; in fact I just might be a total jerk about it.

    And at the same time, I’ll defend the right of the skirmishers to play their games until my last breath. Theirs to play, and mine to stay away. It may not be for me, but that is no requirement for liberty.


  24. I love airsoft, with exception of reliability of some types. Even some quality AEG can go out of timing. that being said I used to skirmish with them as Airsoft bbs are cheaper than paintballs. If you skirmish with them I would recommend having a no mans land so no one gets injured with 350+ fps air soft and to wear safety gear. On another hand shooting at aluminum cans is also a great time and not painful. Great article to Mr. BB, I wish there were more articles in US about the Air Soft.


  25. I did get a chance to watch some airsoft reviews and target practice videos.

    And I can say I found them interesting. I even find myself more interested in the sniper rifles now after watching the reviews and such. They were reaching out to some pellet gun distances with fairly good accuracy. Not like pellet gun accuracy but respectable.

    And there are some good quality Bio BB’s out there also. The better ones are made with closer tolerances in mind from what I see. And some take longer to degrade than others.

    And I can see myself getting a full auto airsoft gun also. They were just way to cool to watch.

    I can see airsoft opening up a whole new ballgame for me. If you know what I mean. I will definitely be waiting for future articles about these cool guns.

    I just really don’t know why I haven’t owned one sooner.


    • I’ve actually got a guy at work investigating a blow-back airsoft pistol… This is a guy who’s out at a range practically every other weekend.

      Want’s it so he can practice trigger work during the winter in his basement — with something a bit more realistic than just dry-firing a 1911 (thumb-cock, aim, pull, repeat — no recoil effects and too slow to practice doubles).


  26. It looks like there are several people here that have already experienced the airsoft guns.
    I guess I will have to play catch-up.

    Maybe when I get that Tanfoglial Gold. I can do some secret practicing at home in the garage or basement. And I can give my brother a run for his money with his 9mm Beretta the next time we go out to shoot. You know improve my form.

    And BB you was supposed to do a article about I believe it was pistol follow through. Or something on those lines. If I remember right.



      • BB
        I looked back at several articles to see if I could find it. But had no luck.

        I believe the topic was about different holds on rifles. And how to keep a eye on the target after you made your shot. I said I needed all the help I could get with shooting a pistol. And you said I think I have something in mind that will help.

        That was quite a few months back and it was just brought back up recently by another reader that was talking about it in the past also. That’s when you said you would write it down.

        That probably don’t help but that’s the best I can remember. I’m sure you heard of selective hearing. I guess I must have selective memory or something. :)
        Anyway I’m sure the topic will pop back up at sometime again. No big deal.


  27. For those interested in full auto fun but don’t want to get into a new hobby it is available in airguns.
    The Ebos, Steel Storm and Steel Force, GSG 92, Uzi etc…

    J-F


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