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What is airsoft?

Posted by Matthew Meraz on 25th Jul 2022

What is airsoft?

Airsoft is a sport played much similar to the style of paintball. Essentially in airsoft, you use replica guns that shoot 6mm plastic pellets out of guns that look and feel like the real thing. 

This is not to be confused with air or pellet guns that shoot metal BBs. When you play airsoft you are often playing in scenarios you would encounter in video games such as force on force, capture the flag, elimination, and more. 

The pain factor is minimal compared to paintball and is a lot less expensive. The equipment and gear is more realistic similar to real military guns and gear offering a more immersive experience. 

You can go as mild to wild as you want and many players get to express creativity with their gear and play styles. Playing airsoft is a great way to get off the couch, make friends, and have fun.

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Airsoft can encompass other aspects too such as collecting but the information we will present with you is relevant for those who want to play and what would be practical for you. 

Our primary focus as a professional airsoft store is to get you equipped to play and have a good time. 

What kind of equipment is used?

Airsoft guns come in all shapes and sizes. The typical ones that people will use are full sized rifles known as AEGs, or automatic electric guns. There are other categories of airsoft guns too including pistols and sniper rifles. 

Those offer an additional variety of gameplay that are also enjoyable.Learn more about what airsoft guns are.

Common Types of Airsoft Guns

  • Automatic Electric Guns (AEGs)

    These are battery-powered and have great range and power and can shoot semi-automatic and fully automatic. The prices can vary depending on what you want out of a gun. For beginners, there are affordable entry-level guns known as sportline guns.

    These will typically be polymer in construction and offer a great level of performance for those who wish to go out and play at a field. These are much better than an airsoft gun you would find at a big box retailer which are meant for just casual enjoyment and have a short life cycle. For players who desire more realism and better performance, proline guns offer you what you are looking for.

    An AEG is a way to go if you want to start playing and offers you a great deal of flexibility for the game modes you will encounter at your local field.

  • Gas Rifles

    There exist gas blowback rifles too but for skirmishing, we found those types of guns wear out very fast, have expensive magazines, temperamental function in different weather or sustained firing, and have proprietary parts that keep them from being practical for use in your typical skirmish.

    Definitely fun for the realism factor, but something we would shy away from unless you have the cash to burn. If it’s a gun you have to special order from an entirely different country just to get parts for, chances are this is not a great choice for players who are not committed to tinkering and product support will be non-existent on our end. You will find these are hard to find information or support on. Typically they are built in small runs by companies overseas who like to create special collector items but they won't be very popular for very serious play which is why they are scarce. Leave these rifles to the collectors.

  • Spring Sniper Rifles
    Spring-powered sniper rifles also exist and they also fulfill a unique role in the sport. They are often inexpensive and do not cost anything to keep running other than the purchase of ammunition. Because of that, many people often think of that as a solid beginner gun, and it certainly can be if you understand a couple of key things.

    A spring-powered sniper rifle is manually cocked, so your rate of fire will be much slower than even an AEG fired on semi auto. Your play style should match to meet these differences otherwise this could be viewed as a shortcoming.

    There are plenty of dedicated airsoft snipers who are patient and honed their skills through understanding. Being spring powered, pulling the bolt back will require some arm strength. That means younger players may have trouble doing this repeatedly in a game.

    Because many entry-level sniper rifles are not terribly expensive, if they happen to break or go down, often times the cost of repair is just as much as the gun itself. Sniper rifles go through a lot of stress and their life cycle should be viewed as finite. This is where the AEG outshines in value much of the time, though sniper style of play is incredibly rewarding in its own way that it is certainly worth trying. There are dedicated high end sniper rifles out there too. To get the durability and power for a sniper rifle you will be putting some money into it just the same.

Pistols come in a wide variety and can suit any budget. In the game of airsoft they function as backup guns and for some players they can be the primary gun too. There are many subtypes of pistols. Spring, nonblowback gas pistols, partial blowback gas pistols, and gas blowback pistols.

  • Spring pistols are the least expensive of the bunch and require manually cocking the gun each time to fire. They are not very strong and slow to operate. These are fine for backyard target practice but there are better options for pistols if you are looking to skirmish. These take some arm and hand strength to operate because you have to manually cock it, so it would not be suitable for the youngest and smallest of players.
  • The next type is non-blowback gas pistols. These will often be CO2 powered which is supplied from metal 12g CO2 cartridges. The cartridges provide a certain number of shots and are discarded once empty. These pistols lack any realistic functions but they do the job in terms of shooting a BB. They will often last around 100 shots on a single CO2 cartridge making them economical to use compared to the higher end guns and deliver good power too. You do have the cost of replacing CO2 to account for but these pistols are superior to spring pistols. The trigger pull is going to be heavy and might be hard for younger players to manipulate though. These pistols are built as sealed units so servicing them would not be possible if the gun gets old or leaky.
  • Partial blowback pistols (or short blowback) are the next type of pistol and cost a little bit more, but gives you the feeling of recoil and the slide blowing back on a semi-auto style pistol. The majority of them you will find being powered by CO2. The same CO2 that can get you many shots out of a non-blowback pistol will get you about two or three magazines worth of shooting on a partial blowback pistol. The CO2 is being used both to shoot the BB and cycle the slide which is why it uses more CO2. As the name implies, the slide does not move completely rearward like a fully functional model would. This gives you a taste of recoil and slide movement and is deal for people who truly want a backup pistol with some improved functionality. Partial blowbacks are a great deal of fun but cannot be disassembled for cleaning or maintenance and are to be treated like other pistols which are built as sealed units. The trigger on these are easier to manipulate and this could be a good pistol for younger players unlike the previously mentioned type.
  • The last type of pistol is gas blowback. These have recoil and the slide moves back fully as you fire. These are fully functional and can be field stripped like their real counterparts. This is of particular benefit for those who want a pistol that will last longer because you can clean and maintain them. They can be powered by green gas or CO2 depending on the pistol and brand you like. The guns require you to rack the slide before firing the first shot and the slide locks back on the last shot just like a real semi-automatic handgun would do. CO2 and green gas pistols function the same and the fuel economy will be very similar, though you can operate CO2 pistols in colder climates which green gas guns would not function in. Green gas is still popular in many places because most manufacturers specialized in green gas to begin with, since it was the most popular type of fuel available in Asia where airsoft began. Green gas availability and shipping to remote areas is an issue to some in the United States which is why the demand for CO2 powered pistols is prevalent over on our side of the globe.

Where do you play airsoft?

The best place to play airsoft is at a sanctioned field. You will meet great people and be able to enjoy the sport in a safe environment. Airsoft equipment is very realistic looking and for your safety and the safety of others, airsoft guns should only be used at a suitable location. In a properly setup airsoft field, you can expect everyone to be running the proper level of safety gear and guns shooting within reasonable limits to prevent careless misuse and possible injury.

In Parker, Colorado, just Southeast of Denver we have FAF Airsoft, also known as Flat Acres Farm Airsoft. You can bring your own guns and gear and we also rent airsoft guns and equipment to use at our field if needed. FAF offers 3 fields: CQB, urban, and a large outdoor field which we rotate our game modes in to allow players to experience all types of situations. Teams are divided up evenly to keep things fair but you will make friends along the way so you are never alone.

Where can you purchase airsoft guns and equipment?

We're biased of course, but we think Fox Airsoft is the best airsoft store.

For all your airsoft needs Fox Airsoft has a walk-in retail store location in Parker, Colorado. We offer guns and gear at competitive prices and our professional staff is highly knowledgeable and will provide you with quality airsoft solutions.

For your online shopping needs we have to serve you as well. Online we have knowledgeable staff to help you place your order, answer questions, and get you set up correctly. This is to reach out to players from all over who can’t visit us in Parker. 

We also do upgrade and repair service for many types of airsoft guns. We are staffed by experienced players who have been through what you are going through and we want you to get out there and have a great time out on the field. We know what it was like to start playing airsoft for the first time and we want to get you the best start possible. Come down to our store, call us, or sign up for our e-mail newsletter where we can help you figure out what you need. 

Thank you for reading this and see you on the field.

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— Customers Testimonial —

Honestly, this is the only airsoft shop I will ever buy from. Their guns are always quality. Their custom work is mind blowing. Their staff is not only helpful, but always happy to help. If you are just starting out or have been playing for years, these guys have guns, gear, and good advice for every situation.
— R. King
Awesome company and products. Received sooner than projected from Colorado and I'm in California. Less than 2 days from placing order to receiving it. . Everything shipped as ordered . Incredible selection and great price... Did my homework and eventually came back to them. I'm glad I did. My squad will be ordering and I be ordering more gear as well.
— John
Great people great place I've ordered a few small things. Delivery was on time both times great items. Yesterday I checked my mail they sent me a fox airsoft patch just to say thanks and to me that's a way to do bussiness. Fox y'all have got business keep up the good work.
— Matt
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