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Airsoft Shopping in the UK Vs The World


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We slid into this accidently on another topic so I thought I would start afresh so as not to derail that topic.

 

People seem to throw their hands up in horror when a UK retailer shows any sign of closing up shop, but it seems nearly everybody I talk to buys their airsoft weapons abroad because its cheaper.

 

Surely, it stands to reason that if people buy their Airsoft high expenditure items overseas, the UK retailers will start to disappear ? At best, their quality (stock, manning levels, speed of response) will suffer.

 

You cant have your cake and eat it ?

 

I know there are some crap retailers out there, but there are some good UK ones as well.

 

How many of you peruse the websites of the UK Retailers to look at the range of products then google to get it cheaper overseas ?

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Only having viable defences, not UKARA, I've gotten all but one of my guns from here in the UK (my G17 I got from the US). I have also picked up some equipment from rafal in Poland and holsters and such from the US, but I'd say around 80% of my cash spent goes back into the UK.

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Like I said in the other thread

 

I buy my RIFs from abroad but everything else is bought here in the UK including the 2 tone rifle & pistol which is what I bought for my very first game

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I'd say I sent about 50/50.

 

I'll but tactical gear, clothes, consumables etc from the UK and the occasional RIF if its a reasonable price.

 

The main problem with the UK retailers is they'll order in guns which are 350+ then charge silly amounts for a downgrade so it can be used here. If I'm buying a RIF here, I want to be able to take it out the box and use it here, I wouldn't buy a car, to find out I have to pay extra for it have wheels.

 

I agree there are some very good retailers in the UK, who are helpful and polite. These are the retailers I'll use when It makes financial sense to. But some of the retailers here are shockingly bad,massively over priced and in some cases rude.

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Try firesupport never had a problem and I know a few people who have ordered from them and had no fps or any other issues. Also had them say when something is not worth doing when they could of taken my money and run. I only go abroad for things I cant get in the Uk. Uk retailers need to realise that people want good quality high spec parts not just Madbull crap

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Most of my gear is from the UK. However, when I find that a part (or a piece of equipment like goggles or masks) is significantly cheaper (including postage) from abroad, then I will import it.

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I try and buy UK retailers only (so i don't have to wait ages for it to arrive, i am a bit impatient).

 

All my RIFs have been UK bought from UK based retailers.

 

Most of the parts and spares for my RIFs are bought in the UK with the exception of some coming from a Northern Ireland based Airsoft company (so still the UK then).

 

Nearly all of my clothing is bought in the UK with the exception of my helmet, helmet cover and comms kit, they were all bought from AirsoftPeak in Asia.

 

My main gripe about UK retailers is that whenever you are in the market to purchase a RIF or other bits and bobs is that dreaded OUT OF STOCK!

 

I like buying all the gear and bits for a RIF when i buy a RIF from one retailer (online or in person) to keep P&P costs down but oh no, theres always something important that is OUT OF STOCK! Whereas in Asia everything seems to be in stock available for immediate ordering.

 

My main example of this would be my comms kit for my helmet, i specifically wanted the Z tactical ComTac 2 with a 2 pin motorola PTT cable as well as the helmet mount and found nowhere in the UK that sold everything under one roof for a reasonable price, in the end i stumbled across Airsoft Peak that had everything i wanted, i ordered on XMas Eve and buy early Jan i had them.

 

So my main thing to Airsoft Retailers is get as many things as you can back in stock, if you are unlikely to stock it for some period of time or it is a discontinued item REMOVE it from your website (ProAirsoft Supplies i am looking at you).

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I noted last year how incredible the lack of stock was here in the UK. If they loose on price then about the only advantage they have is being faster by having the stock available. Combined with the consumer protection that comes from European purchases its kind of the key advantages. So when they show as out of stock on their websites with no idea of time to deliver if ordered, well then they are pushing people to go abroad, because 1) they will know when it is due to arrive and 2) there is no indication whether the UK store would be faster or slower.

 

I have bought 2 guns in the UK and 1 from Hong Kong. I would prefer to buy in the UK but not a single company here sold the S&T Tar 21 professional. They all carried the sport version (the really really terrible one) but no one carried the decent new one. When I was buying my T4-18 I actually wanted a CQB-S, but not a single company had one in stock at all. You wont find me making this mistake again, if I can't find the gun in the UK at a reasonable price I will be buying abroad.

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As WW2 airsoft is a bit niche, I buy from wherever has what I want and if there is a choice, I will go with whichever is cheaper once delivery is taken into account. I have bought a couple of Stens one from Landwarrior and one from taiwangun.com my SMLE was from Evike because no-where else had them. Technically the Sten I bought from Poland was just for parts for my British made Owen gun so I can claim 2/3 guns from UK :)

 

Mags I have bought from UK. Webbing is all from the UK but uniforms tend to be from UAE (whatpriceglory.com) or Singapore (Spearhead militaria).

 

Ammo and pyro I tend to buy from the airsoft sites as it's convenient and if UK retailers go out of business it's a shame but if UK airsoft sites close it's a disaster.

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TWG & GF have recently put up the free shipping

Also their prices have risen too.....

 

GF - is crap atm - they did some great deals in Jan

obviously they wanted buyers to vote for them to win best retailer 5th year running

Well it worked but atm their prices are more expensive than TWG

But TWG shot their prices up in Jan anyway

 

Some of this is probably down to pi$$ poor £ to $ exchange rate

plus the £ to Euro rate is very good so stuff does kinda seem cheap

but again most crap is bought/sold worldwide in $$$$$ - so people in France must be really feeling it

 

TWG & GF are - or rather was really great for cheaper stuff:

Cyma AK's, JG G36's, basic bolt snipers, some pistols

But TWG don't do G&G & though GF sell them they are more expensive than UK

 

Maybe those 2 cheapo places buy in massive bulk from them china gun makers and can get great discounts

Where as in UK most retailers don't sell so many cheapo china makes and stick to G&G & ICS etc.....

Like I said only UK retailers that can stump up decent amounts of working capital to fund say 100+ G&G's can get a good deal

May not sound like much but if you take an "average" buy in cost of £100 x 100 - that's 10 grand !!!!!!

compare that to say cheapo china guns at say £50 = £5,000

 

I think also Poland has 23% vat tax so I don't think it is down to UK import/taxing structures too much

Just think most of the time many will take a chance on buying cheapo guns but if there isn't much in it

then most of us will buy from home - especially if paying say £200+ on a gun that should work very well out of box

Well that is my take on it anyway.....

 

I also think UK retailers will prefer to sell G&G's ICS that perhaps might be built a little better than some china guns

plus these will come in at correct UK fps limits - so less messing about for them downgrading spring etc....

Not saying cyma or jg are crap - they are quite good indeed but often may need a tweak to be ok for UK sites

 

Perhaps UK retailers could get good discounts on Cyma/JG's but again that is if they can stump up the capital

When they know say a G&G M4 will sell no problem - so is perhaps a safer investment/bet for them

 

I have reached a point where I nigh on have most of the guns I could possibly desire for the next year or two

but I am a bit pi$$ed at GF no longer doing free ship on £50 orders

That wasn't a bad idea to grab a few spares, bits & accessories each month and get some nice bits for £50

alas that has gone and price rise means atm it ain't as good as it was a few months ago

So I am left at present just having a swap around and make do with a fair few box of bits/upgrade/parts for now

 

Zero One are great - but shipping is dearer than LWA but ZO 2-tone free and all that for newcomers

Zero One - never had a problem - well they sent something incorrectly ordered - but was fully refunded

LWA - well they messed up my first RIF order but got from Pro Airsoft so all worked out ok in the end

Fire Support - another great place to buy from - not the cheapest and though I never had a problem,

I have heard their customer support is second to none from a few on here

 

I will continue to buy from any place if the price is right and they have the stock

I prefer to buy local but as always try & keep my eye out for any decent savings elsewhere

 

Don't think there is one best all round retailer at home or abroad - the prices have started to rise overseas

I just wonder how long before some of those price rises start to take effect over here at UK retailers ????

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I think the only thing i've bought that didn't come from the UK was my Baofeng and my P30 SERPA as I couldn't find any in the UK. What I like to do is split my purchases up between a few shops so for instance my guns come from Fire Support, Land Warrior and Airsoft Zone.

 

I'd be pretty dubious about getting a shop in europe, with staff that don't really speak english to honour EU consumer laws to be honest(maybe they would but it's a complication, plus return shipping overseas). There's a couple of big shops over here that try to pull things like making you pay for postage on returns, but at least you could argue the toss without using google translate. It should go without saying it is preference though, for instance I like buying guns face to face wherever possible.

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I agree there are some very good retailers in the UK, who are helpful and polite. These are the retailers I'll use when It makes financial sense to. But some of the retailers here are shockingly bad,massively over priced and in some cases rude.

I find this my biggest gripe about going into airsoft shops. when I first started airsoft I took my gun into Zero one and I had noob written all over me. I wondered in there with a TM MP5 and a handful of cash and said I wanted the FPS as high as they could get it. Instead of talking me through the process I was told it's a TM so they're fine standard and just to leave it. Another customer walked in after that and the guy behind the counter just ignored me.

 

I've tried Combat south a few times too. While I bought my pistol from there I found the whole shop to be awkward. The staff were friendly but just didn't seem interested in what I want to buy and more interested in their mates who seem to be in there everytime I go in. Maybe it's me, I don't know.

 

Accessories I'll buy overseas but with guns I can't be bothered messing with customs so I'll pay the bit extra in the UK.

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In defence of the Airsoft trade, dealing with the general public can be wearing at the best of times.

I tend to read the Airsoft groups on Facebook and there seems to be a lot of attention seekers and timewasters on there.

 

If you have a shop full of customers and have a lot of money invested in stock, it stands to reason that you would want to maximise on those customers with a sincere desire to spend. There is no excuse for rudeness but there is a difference between that and being selective with the customers you give a lot of time to.

 

Ive been in shops where the staff stand around messing about, letting the phones ring, checking their mobiles etc and that is just a waste of the owners money.

 

Horses for courses really !

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I usually buy UK as airsoft is generally bit of an impulse buy for me and cba to wait weeks for things to come from abroad. The 3 AEG i own i took my time in choosing and looked abroad before purchasing, but after courier and customs there wasn't enough saving to merit the hassle.

 

Usually use Firesupport for all the little gun parts and either same or Zero One for the rest depending who has what in stock

 

edit: ended my post with 'regards', still in work-mode lol

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In defence of the Airsoft trade, dealing with the general public can be wearing at the best of times.

I tend to read the Airsoft groups on Facebook and there seems to be a lot of attention seekers and timewasters on there.

If you have a shop full of customers and have a lot of money invested in stock, it stands to reason that you would want to maximise on those customers with a sincere desire to spend. There is no excuse for rudeness but there is a difference between that and being selective with the customers you give a lot of time to.

Ive been in shops where the staff stand around messing about, letting the phones ring, checking their mobiles etc and that is just a waste of the owners money.

Horses for courses really !

 

I understand that but you can say that about any shop in any industry. That's the world we live in today, people like to browse regardless if they want to buy something or not. Most shops I've been into have never been too full where the staff can't just ask a customer if they needed help with anything. I know if it were my staff looking after my shop I'd be pushing them to make the most out of every potential customer.

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I understand that but you can say that about any shop in any industry. That's the world we live in today, people like to browse regardless if they want to buy something or not. Most shops I've been into have never been too full where the staff can't just ask a customer if they needed help with anything. I know if it were my staff looking after my shop I'd be pushing them to make the most out of every potential customer.

 

I agree. It doesn't matter if you're selling guns, coffee or corn flakes - customer service is still the same regardless of retail stream. Problem is that a lot of customers (of all shops) are actually utter clueless dicks. Try popping into your local independent record store sometime and see who is propping up the counter. No different than your average airsoft shop. You'll get a lot of Saturday browsers who will never actually buy anything but want to try every. Single. Thing! I am increasingly in agreement with an article I read on LinkedIn that basically stated that there's every possibility that if you get bad customer service it's actually because you're a bad customer! The big issue facing UK based bricks and mortar retailers is that UK customers don't actually understand the meaning of "cost of sale" and will repeatedly ask for discounts because they can "buy it cheaper online". Now I realise that in this day and age when money is tight people will do whatever they can to save a few quid. I've done it myself. But then I don't go straight into Socom at the weekend and bleat to Laurence about how much cheaper I got something than he would be able to sell it to me.

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