The Beginners Guide To Airsoft
Before you go off and start buying anything, the best thing to do is to go and play a few games first, that'll let let you know how you want to play and if it is something that you are sure that you want to spend money on- an believe me this is not a cheap sport, so you're better off making sure that it's something you want to commit to.
Now it is first important to understand that getting a specialised rifle, such as a sniper rifle is NOT a good idea as newer players often quickly become bored or annoyed at not having the adaptability of other rifles available. You're much better off starting out with a more basic rifle which you can adapt later on.
This is undoubtedly the part of your kit that you want the most, and it’s important to choose the right one for you as you will be using this lot, you should take time choosing one that right for you
There are many types of guns, as you should already know, but choosing a good gun to start with narrows it down a bit. Ideally you need one where you can easily get spares and upgrades very easily.Readily available magazines are also an important factor to take into account, as you won't want to be caught short.
The best guns that match these criteria are:
You should NOT get a GBBR (gas blow-back rifle) for your first gun as they require more maintenance and looking after than AEG's (automatic electric guns, they can also be very temperamental unless it's a well set up or high end one. Magazines are also very expensive and the cost of gas can make these expensive to run.
These are guns recommended to new players.
The low end, cheap recommended makes are:
For M4's: classic army sportline, ICS plastic series and g&g- more specifically the combat machine range are very good.
For G36's: SRC or jing gong, however JG ones are becoming harder to find nowadays.
For MP5's: classic army sportline, ICS plastic or the cheaper G&G one, which from reports is a very good gun.
For AK's: Classic army, G&G and Cyma all do different variants of these, the CYMA's in particular are very good for the low price.
These are all good versions of each of the guns that won't hurt the wallet, they won't be up to the same standards as their more expensive counterparts, however they do contain a lot of the same parts (internally at least).
If you have a larger budget, the G&G, ICS AND G&P M4's are well worth looking at.
For mp5's the new ICS mxp5 pro are brilliant, as will be the G&G range.
And Kwa g36's are a solid choice as are Classic army.
Anything for Tokyo Marui will be a good choice, though a lot of their range has plastic externals, as opposed to metal.
When you choose your gun you should also think about where you will be playing
For example, if you play mainly indoors or CQB sites, you will probably benefit from a smaller shorter gun as it will be much easier to maneuver about with.
You need to decide what magazines you want- low, mid or high capacity.
High caps have wheels on the bottom that you have to wind before firing but you get much more rounds in them normally between 300 and 450
Mid caps have no winding, but are loaded from a speed loader and hold from 75 to around 150 rounds.
And lows have no winding, but are loaded from a speed loader and generally hold from around 30-50
A high cap winding wheel
Batteries should also be taken into consideration, do you want a larger one that'll last all-day but need a large place to put it or smaller ones that don't need a full stock or to be seen.
Larger batteries are often put inside full, solid stock whereas the smaller types are normally kept in hand guards, allowing you to use a smaller or retractable stock- this may be beneficial to smaller players.
A standard, mini type battery
Your physical size maybe an issue with choosing a gun too. If you're of a smaller build, an MP5 will probably be better suited to you than a solid stock M4 for example.
I cant stress this enough, getting a sniper rifle for your first gun isn't the most sensible idea, it greatly limits the possibilities of what you can do with your gun and means you can't adapt to different situations as well as others will be able to.
This is bad for new players as sniping is slow and you need a lot of patience, it is also frustrating being able to only use single shot guns. It is common for people to get bored of them after 1 or two games before selling them and then having to pay more to get an AEG instead.
That's enough for rifles for now; let's move on to pistols, and handguns
Ok firstly it is important to note that getting a pistol as a beginner it won’t see much use unless you specifically set out to use it, you will likely be better off spending any money you have for a pistol on either A: a better rifle or B: magazines/batteries/accessories for your primary weapon.
There are many makes of pistols, as well as variants and designs. Again if you are choosing a pistol you should spend time thinking about what type and model you want.They come in man shapes and sizes and so lon as you buy from a reputable brand such as Tokyo Marui or KWA, you can't go far wrong.
A standard M1911, a relatively common side-arm.
Tokyo Marui, are usually a very good choice when it comes to pistols. When it comes to reliability they are second to none, however expect to pay more than you would for other makes to get one. They normally have plastic slides but they are great quality and the plastic slider have a great finish.
KWA's newer range of pistols are full metal and are highly regarded, if you would prefer a full metal one then checking out these is a good place to start.
The BB's you choose to use can affect the performance of your gun, and it is best to try and find the best for you and the are always conflicting arguements over which gives the most range.
Firstly, NEVER, EVER USE 0.12g BB'S OR ANY WEIGHT LESS THAN 0.2G
0.2g are the lightest that you realistically want to be using and are also the cheapest to buy. However due to being lighter, they wont carry the same momentum as slightly heavier ammo.
It's worth try some .2g's, .23g's and .25g's. that way you can try some of each to see which performs best in your rifle. Heavier weights will also increase the accuracy of your gun.
If you have a higher than normal FPS due to having a semi locked DMR or a sniper rifle you will probably find that an even heavier weight will have a better affect on accuracy- for exaple at 425 fps i would suggest that .30g or .36g BB's would give better performance for your gun.
Another thing with choosing your ammo is the make/brand. Excel, Blaster and Guarder are well known as quality BB manufacturers for decent prices.
I'll keep this very simple and just explain a couple of parts that change the performance.
Range and accuracy are gained by a few key areas in the guns.
Range, is mainly affected by the Hop-Up. This is the device that the BB's are fed through before being fired out. This provides backspin on the round and will increase the range dramatically by doing so.
Accuracy can be gained by adding a new, higher quality barrel. They can be bought with different diameters and lengths to suit different guns. It can also be gained by (as said previously) using heavier ammo.
Glasses, goggles and face protectors.
This is the single most important piece of kit you will own, do not cheap out. They WILL save your eyes one day.
We were all new once, so I understand people not wanting to fork out on expensive face protection as it can be expensive.
Do not be lead down this road, you only get one pair of eyes.
The safety ratings/marking you should have on the eyeware are: ANSI Z87 (US Safety rating) or EN166 (European Rating also known as BS EN 166:2002) This will show that they have been approved and safe for use.
People need to understand that there are some dangers to this sport, as with any other. On a lighter note I recommend
For glasses ESS ice 2.4, or 3.0 both are brilliant and not too expensive. They can be found on ebay for good prices.
Masks, with plastic windows aren't very helpful, they tend to steam up and be a general pain, I suggest using the black bear mesh masks as I have seen them shrug off multiple high powered shots in quick succession and that is what a good masks should be capable of.
here is a link to firesupports black bear selection
Other good products are heroshark’s mesh equipment which are brilliant.
Always wear your eye protection when outside of the safe zone. Your site will make it clear to you when you can take them off.
These are another extremely important item that should not be skimped out on, everyone has different tastes in boots etc, so I can't say the single best make.
What I would do is try waking boots, anything with good ankle support and/or head to your local army surpluses store and check their stuff out.
Magnum, Lowa and Oakley are all good makes, however looking at them in person will probably be best for you.
Tactical vests, rigs and equipment.
If you are new and just starting, the best vest for you I think will be a viper vest, they are cheap at less than £30 but will do the job until you fork out for a higher end product.
I have seen many of the older players using these and I have used one myself.
This is a viper vest you can get for £20-30
Combats/BDU's (battle dress uniform)
Quite simple really, head to your local surplus store and pick up some DPM's (disruptive pattern material)- the older British army style which can be found very cheap, look on ebay too as there will always be some on the cheap there.
If you want a specific type of camo, Google is your friend.
Look on land warrior airsoft too as they have a selection of more uncommon unique camo styles on there for decent prices. These are good for teams to looks unique and as a group as most of these are not bought by most people. Most tend to buy Multicam/DPM etc.
DPM ubacs (under body armour combat shirt)
Another popular camo- multicam
Radios can be a really useful asset to a team but choosing a good one can be hard. I find that the Motorola tlkr series are good and the t5's which i believe are the cheapest at £50 for two. These are good and will be all you need.
These are quite important if you are going to be moving your gun in public. You don't want to be seen carrying guns in public, as you might have a run in with the police, which no one wants.
They can be found for good prices on various sites. Viper make a few for relatively cheap too.
This is all you really need for your main set of equipment.
However you may want a helmet, or other things, in this case it is more or less up to you as there is probably a certain style you want. Although there are some good looking makes on fire-support.
The VCRA, UKARA and Two-tones.
This section will briefly cover what you need to know about the laws concerning airsoft. If you have further questions, we have a section for them here
So, this will quickly run through what you need to know.
You cannot buy any gun at all unless you are over 18. No exceptions.
If you are over 18, you can buy a Two-tone rifle (IF-imitational firearm), which will be predominantly be painted in a bright colour.
If you are over 18 AND HAVE A VALID DEFENCE you can then, and only then buy a realistic coloured gun (RIF-realistic imitational firearm)
A valid defence is something that proves that you are a regular Airsofter and will allow you to buy an RIF. The easiest and most common way of doing this is by becoming a member at a UKARA registered site and being put on the UKARA database. This system is to defend retailers by showing them who is a regular player.