Last year was a very turbulent year with many challenges facing the airsoft industry as a whole. Supply chain issues, rising materials costs, and shortage of workers all translated to a very difficult time to get many airsoft guns in even though many people still want to get into airsoft.
We are pleased to bring you Fox Airsoft’s top 10 airsoft guns for 2022. Our criteria for selecting these are first based on what we carry, the merits of the gun, and who it might be good for. This is not a beginner guide nor does it encompass one price range or category but instead represents the best qualities in all price ranges and quality. If you don’t see it on the list that doesn’t mean it’s not good. Here's a quick rundown if you don't want to read all my typing:
ASG Armalite M15 Light Tactical Carbine and MLOK Defense
The ASG Sportline Armalite series guns are not new by any means but deserve to be here just because of how good they are for the money. For at or around $200 these guns are a perfect gun for a beginner yet the response and rate of fire feels like that of a more expensive gun. They sound good and shoot smooth out of the box, much better than its peers in this price range. The tight bore out of the box makes it more accurate, the gearbox has a QD spring guide so swapping springs for a desired velocity is easy enough. The motor is a nice torque motor out of the box and is better than some of the ones I have found in $400 guns, believe it or not. The Light Tactical Carbine and MLOK Defense are going to be the same inside except that the MLOK Defense adds a programmable MOSFET. A MOSFET offers electronic protection for the switch assembly which tends to wear out faster if you are a Lipo battery user. The MOSFET in this gun is also programmable so you can set the different fire modes to your liking.
Echo 1 Mk18 Mod 1
The Echo1 Mk18 Mod 1 is what I call a KISS airsoft gun. KISS stands for keep it simple, stupid, and it means that the beauty of this setup is its simplicity. On paper it is not remarkable to look at: polymer body gun, metal rail system, V2 gearbox. The beauty in this is that this gun is very simple and gets the job done. But it is put together very well and is going to be a very dependable and reliable AEG for you. No MOSFETs to fry and nothing complex to go wrong, this is an easy choice for the no nonsense type. Being a fully standard Version 2 compatible gun, this is also a great base for upgrading and putting whatever you want to throw into it.
ASG Archwick Mk13 Mod 5/Mod 7
The Action Sport Games Mk13 series sniper rifles are some of the best I’ve ever held out of the box, and I don’t say that lightly. Everything else feels like a toy by comparison. This gun is fully built from the factory with high quality externals and very well thought out internals. The internal parts include a whole host of upgraded parts from Archwick. There is amazing attention to detail to every component for which you get a 6.03mm brass tight bore as standard, reinforced hop up chamber with a top dead centered nub adjustment, flat hop out of the box, adjustable lightweight pull trigger (aka zero trigger), and reinforced bolt assembly. The gun is based on a VSR-10 platform in case you did have some reason to upgrade the parts or replace anything, with an oversized cylinder so you have more air volume to boot.
The Mod 5 is the short version and the Mod 7 is the longer version. The barrel length and air volume for the Mod 5 is perfect and the weight over all is more manageable on the Mod 5 as well. As I always said, there is a diminishing return by going too long and the Mod 5 is at that sweet spot. If you need the most barrel length, get the Mod 7. Having owned the Mod 7 and using both versions, I like the Mod 5 more and more but the Mod 7 just looks so good! If you go with either version, just know that these are not lightweight guns, especially not the Mod 7.
G&G CM16 LMG
This is a hybrid of an M4(CM16) with an LMG upper akin to the Shrike or perhaps other popular M4-ish LMGs. What makes this one different is that since it’s based on the CM16 platform from G&G, it is going to be made mostly of nylon fiber. That is a lightweight yet highly durable plastic mixed with some metal components. If you’re looking for something very hefty I’d say look elsewhere. This is a little heavier than a normal CM16 especially when you take into account the box mag, however still light enough to maneuver. And that is where this LMG shines. It is light enough for most players to wield and it is highly mobile and quick to employ unlike a traditional airsoft LMG that is going to be full metal and weigh more than 10 lbs. They also won’t have the ergonomics that you would get with an M4 platform.
Lancer Tactical Gen 3 M4
The Lancer Tactical guns have always been very feature rich for what I classify as beginner guns. Everyone who is critical about Lancer or beginner guns in general all seem to forget that we all have to start somewhere and budget is a big factor for a lot of people. Having guns like these gives you options and allows more people to enter the sport of airsoft.
Lancer Tactical Gen 3 series guns take all the hallmarks of the awesome Gen 2 models such as quick change gearbox, tight bore barrel, highly parts compatibility, and enhance it further with a programmable trigger system by way of MOSFET, deans connectors out of the box, and a revised ergonomic grip. At the time of this writing, the Gen 2’s are also available and are not being replaced by the Gen 3, offering the same great feature list minus the programmable trigger which some people might not care for.
Although our idea of a Top 10 list is arbitrary, the G&G CM16 series does bear mentioning again for the second time. These guns are beginner/entry level guns that represent what we think is the nicest build quality. The nylon fiber bodies and fit and finish are the nicest of all the beginner guns and within the CM16 series you have so many styles and lengths to choose from. Out of all the choices, the CM16’s are the most spartan in their price range not offering anything like a quick change system, tight bore, or other fancy features. This gun is a KISS gun and great for people who prioritize quality over a bunch of features that are either useless to them or are likely to present an issue down the road.
JAG Arms/Echo1 Hi Capa
The Hi Capa is a great platform embraced by many which is why it has such a huge aftermarket, which in turn feeds players designs to get more of these types of pistols and make their own customizations to it. A Hi Capa is essentially a wide body high capacity 1911. All the things people love about them from their solid ergonomics to light trigger are represented here but with more ammo, which is the downfall of the original 1911 compared to a modern handgun.
With that, the original Hi Capa is a great base gun if you plan to gut it out and you know that the stock plastic slide and other components are expected to break. But for those who are not as inclined to doing all that, a Hi Capa clone typically will offer a metal slide making it a bit more durable out of the box. If you get a JAG Arms or Echo1 Hi Capa clone, its even better because they are right in line with the specs found on the original. Too often the clones out there go off script and while they are decent in their own right, lack the ability to customize or replace parts with the huge aftermarket that is available.
I like the JAG Arms and Echo1 Hi Capas because they can be customized as well as any Hi Capa out there, and offer a metal slide and great styling out of the box. If you’ve heard all these great things about Hi Capas and want to see what they are about without having to drop a bunch of money for basic durability upgrades, give these a look. I use mine for mock shooting matches that emulate what you find on the real competition circuit. Just like the real wide body 1911’s (2011’s) that you see out there, the need for a great trigger, sights, and big aftermarket played a part in me choosing these guns to shoot our pickup matches.
G&G ARP 9
The ARP 9 and ARP 556 are what I would call premium sportline guns. G&G for years has carved out a niche by offering a high quality polymer body gun with premium features. This sits a bit higher on the totem pole than the CM16 series but is just below the full metal Top Tech series (G&G’s proline series). They offer MOSEFTs which is not found on beginner tier G&G’s.
What makes this gun so popular is that it is an SMG/PCC version of the M4 series. That means its short length is perfect for CQB, performance and parts compatibility are there if you need them, and the ergonomics make it natural to use just like a standard M4.
ASG Action Army AAP-01
Making the list again is without a doubt the ASG/Action Army AAP-01 Assassin. This is a very affordable gas blowback pistol that is capable of full auto. Don't be fooled by the price, it is actually quite a well built gun that takes advantage of its lightweight body and frame with a very low moving mass inside. This translates to crisp, fast blowback in semi auto and full auto. The gun is reliable and is highly customizeable, making it a crowd favorite. We are always selling out of this pistol as it arrives in batches so if you desire one for yourself, use the out of stock notifications on our website to be the first to know when it hits. Previous buyers of the AAP-01 have been able to acquire it within the minute that it arrives because of that.
ASG Arsenal SA M7 AK
For the beginners out there who want an AK that is of the old school flavor, the ASG Arsenal AK’s are a great one to check.. These guns are not heavy like the full steel AKs I had mentioned earlier making it perfect for newer players who want something inexpensive but still skirmish worthy. These are pretty much going to be compatible and patterned with other AKs out there but backed by a great name. When I was starting out many years ago, I had a TM AK that was of similar feel that cost me almost $400 locally. The barrier to entry has lowered over the years making the sport more accessible and that is a good thing.