Choosing an Airsoft Gun

M249 Para

M249 Para

Choosing an airsoft rifle may seem to be a simple task, right? That may not always be the case. First thing to consider when buying a gun is what type of game play will you be involved in and what type of unit/nationality you and your friends are creating. Next you will want to look at quality and price for this is important when on a budget.
The M-4 carbine is perhaps one of the most popular guns sold by retailers. The M-4 can be taken apart quite easily which make cleaning and maintenance fairly simple. It also comes in many varieties and retailers seem to have endless supplies of after market products. So these guns can be tricked out to the players liking. An added perk with owning a M-4 is that finding quality after market magazines is not a chore. Be warned, some magazines may not fit as well as other so it is something to keep in mind when shopping around. The M-4 is a great weapon if you are looking to portray any US or NATO units.
The second gun that I have seen in the field quite a bit is the MP5. This AEG is modeled after a 9mm submachine gun. Depending on which brand you go with the MP5s can be a very affordable airsoft gun. The breakdown of the MP5 is a little more complicated when it comes to basic maintenance, but not so much that it should be avoided all together. This is a CQB gun. You will look silly when you show up to a game as a rifleman as far as impressions go. This is a great gun if you are looking to model your unit as Special Forces unit or even a SWAT unit.
If OPFOR is your baby then commie weapons are what you’ll be looking for. The AK-47 is the most recognizable assault rifle in the world. Now in the airsoft world you don’t see many of these in the field. Why you ask? They are not a dime a dozen like there M-4 counterparts and the cost of the AK-47 is slightly higher. Keep in mind that this airsoft gun is a little bit tricky to take apart for maintenance too. So I recommend AK-47s for more seasoned players. With that being said it would be wonderful to see more of theses assault rifles in the hands of OPFOR players. The AK is great for OPFOR/terrorist unit and any old or new commie force.
Now for all you Animal Mother types out there, you know who you are. You’re looking to lay down some cover fire. Then you fit the profile of a SAW/Squad Automatic Weapon. Currently A&K and Echo 1 are selling the most affordable M249 on the market today. On the SAW, breakdown is fairly simple and rate of fire is insane. The down side to humping a SAW is the weight along with box mag malfunctions. But if you can get around that M249s are welcome additions to any fire team. The M249 is a US and NATO weapon.

8 thoughts on “Choosing an Airsoft Gun

  1. For those OPFOR types that want to be just a little different, and have the equipment to match, here’s a list of weapon types for some of USSOCOM’s #1 with a bullet:

    Middle Eastern, Soviet Blok, or Communist Chinese:
    Primaty infantry weapon is the Ak47, AKM, AKMS, and the AK74. All are nearly identical in airdoft terms, with minor cosmetic and functional differences. An AKMS is going to have a folding stock, as do many versions of the AK74.
    For a grenadier or demo role, there are a couple of different underbarrel grenade launchers that can be added on.
    All Soviet rifle squads issued one Dragonuv marksman rifle, to give the basic grunts something with a longer range punch, and to take out enemy snipers.
    The machinegun team commonly carried the RPK or PKM support weapons, both of which are available as aitsoft weapons, though a litttle pricier than the M249 or M60.
    Spetsnaz and other special operations troops typically carried a chopped down version of the AK734 called a krinkov, later these same weapons became popular with vehicle crewmen, and are very popular with middle eastern forces for their compact size. Interestingly enough, a Krinkov can fit a grenade launcher under barrel mount.
    Chinese forces have upgraded to the Type 96 assault rifle, a bullpup configuration similar to the FAMAS.
    Sidearms are typicaly the STAR 9mm or Makarov pistols.

    European Forces:
    Standard issue for UK military forces is the L85A1 weapons system, a modular bullpup configured rifle firing the 5.56mm NATO round. The real steel versions can be reconfigured as submachinegun, carbine, assault rifle, light machinegun, and even a sniper rifle. Unfortunately, airsofters have to buy a new platform for each different configuration, but all except the sniper variant are available on the market.
    UK snipers also popularized the L96, or AWP sniper weapons system.
    SAS and SBS forces field M4s, or drasticaly shortened versions of the HK G3. Their sidearm of choice is the Browning Hi-power.

    Heckler & Koch (HK) has been the primary supplier of military weapons to the German military since shortly after WWII. As such, nearly any HK weapon can be found in the arsenals of the military. Cu8rrent common issue is the G36 weapons system, which much like the L85 is avaiable in several variants. Also like the L85, airsofters have to buy a new weapon for each configuration.
    Vehicle crews typicaly carry the old MP5, or the newer MP7, with a very few (mostly border guards) carrying the .45 cal. UMP.

    FAMAS, another modular weapons system, is the general issue weapon of the French military, including the Foreign Legion, and GIGN. The only varient available for airsofting however is the assault rifle.

    Land of Steyr, Austrian forces enjoy their AUG weapons system, as well as the Steyr Scout Rifle (not currently available for airsoft) and Glock sidearms and machine pistols.

    Home to Fabrique Nationale, Belgium’s forces carry the hot new FS2000 5.56mm bullpup, the P90 submachinegun, and the fiveSeven sidearm. FN also exports boatloads of these weapons to smaller governments and private military and police forces, so they can be found all over the world.

    The main thing to consider when choosing these less abundant weapons is whether or not repair, upgrade, and accessory parts will be easily available.
    If you can convince a small element, or a whole team, to invest in a specific impression, you should be fine, but otherwise expect to have to hunt down parts when you need them, and keep a common backup weapon for those days when something breaks.

  2. Quick question:
    For squad uniform weapons, do the more modern and radical M4 variants count? By which I mean things like the HK 416, AR10, SCAR-L, and FS2000.

  3. I know that we are not super strict on weapon variants, but the M-4 is our target weapon. Although all of us have M-4s I’ve noticed that no 2 look the same. The purpose for uniform assault rifles was to allow for ammo exchange in the field and to unify us as team. I think that the HK416 is fits right in and I wouldn’t be apposed to a SCAR-L either.

  4. Part of why we chose a multi agency team style is to allow the different styles of members to come out. The ability to exchange mags in the field is a major bonus. Last game it came in handy with Buddy and I when Buddy ran out, and mine fit his. M4/M16A4’s are the current US approved weapons for general operators. (Marines uses M16A4s, Army uses M4’s)

  5. A large number of real steel weapons use the M16 type box magazines. However, in airsoft, not even all brandes of M4/M16 use the same magazine. In an ideal world, we would all make sure that our rifle and pistol mags were fully interchangable. However preferences, budgets, and even availability lead us to have somewhat different weapons.
    I’m strongly considering picking up a SCAR-L or an FS2000. Both of which fit in that ‘exotic’ weapon category, but use the same internals and magazines as TM M16 variants.

  6. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate your efforts and I am
    waiting for your next write ups thanks once again.

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