Home Airsoft GunsAEG How Do AEG Airsoft Guns Work?

How Do AEG Airsoft Guns Work?

by Max
How Do AEG Airsoft Guns Work

People who are familiar with airsoft will notice that the title of this article refers to “AEG Airsoft Guns”, where AEG stands for – Airsoft Electric Gun. It is a common misconception among beginners, so to keep it short, feel free to stick just to the term AEG!

AEG airsoft guns are very different from the more common spring-operated / gas-powered airsoft guns and require special considerations when working on them.

Because of this, I have aimed to create in this guide an easy-to-understand overview for AEG airsoft guns.

Key differences are:

– Electrical

– Automatic (electronic)

– Gearbox/gears instead of spring-loaded (gas) parts

– Airsoft electric guns have many more parts compared to spring-powered airsoft guns (not even counting the internal working mechanisms).

For a full guide on AEG’s, be sure to read my article on what are AEG’s in airsoft.

How does AEG work?

An AEG is electrically powered.

The more you shoot, the hotter the battery gets and so it might need to be charged from time to time. This can be done by connecting a dedicated charger to the battery (there is usually a small notch for this). You should not mix up batteries and chargers – there are different voltage requirements and you might damage the gun or yourself if you try to charge a battery with an incorrect charger.

When charging, always ensure that no one is behind the target area as there are small parts that might fly away while the battery is charging.

The different (electronic) components of the airsoft gun need power in order to work.

In the case of an airsoft gun, this power is provided through a process called electric current  – small electrical charges that flow from point A to point B.

The way you make this happen is by arranging for these charged particles (electrons) to move through an insulated wire so they reach point B – in the airsoft gun the wire is connected to a special spring-loaded device called an electric motor which pushes on the gears and makes them move.

The problem with airsoft is that when you connect wires to the battery (and then from the other end of this wire to motors or switches) you create a loop – one side of it being at one electrical charge (the battery), the other being at the opposite charge. Consequently, it has already been mentioned that there will always be a flow of electrical charges in this loop – and they cannot stop flowing until somewhere along the loop their charge becomes neutral again.

If you connect just one wire to the battery from point A, you are essentially done with building your airsoft gun: the charges will flow from point A to point B. This is why you have a switch (point B), which when activated, does not allow the charges to pass through and so the motor stops working as well.

If now you want your airsoft gun to work automatically without any human intervention when pulling on the trigger, you need to somehow connect the trigger with the battery (from point A) so that when you pull on it, the charges are allowed to flow and power up all other components of your airsoft gun.

This is done by using a special device called a switch, which is essentially comprised of 3 parts: two spring-loaded pins/contacts (electrons can flow through metal material) and a third part that is normally in contact with both of these wires to electrically connect them.

When the switch sees you pull on the trigger, it disengages from the normal position to now be connected only with one pin/contact – allowing charges to reach point B (the battery). When pulling on the trigger, you are actually moving a lever that pushes against the switch to change its position.

Key points to remember:

– Charges flow from point A (the battery) to point B (all components of your airsoft gun) and this loop cannot be broken unless a third-party device is placed between these two points somewhere.

– When pulling on the trigger, you mechanically disengage a switch from one contact (point B) and so allowing charges to flow through.

– After the gun is turned on and you pull on the trigger, the motor will start rotating and pushing a piston that shoots your airsoft bb out of the barrel onto your target.

AEG Mechanism

Now that we know how an airsoft gun works in general terms, let us examine the more relevant parts of it: the automatic electric gun mechanism.

Automatic electrical guns are built to mimic the actual mechanisms of real guns – there is a gearbox and spring-loaded piston. It is designed this way because shooting at your targets takes some time to be completed – you pull the trigger, then the battery-powered motor pushes a spring-loaded piston into an airsoft gun’s gearbox (a series of metal gears that push against each other). This in turn pushes back one of these two components: either the gears or the piston.

The result is that air is pushed down and forces a piston to move forward. An airsoft bb is pushed out of the barrel along with the air.

This process takes some time – the initial trigger pull, spring-loaded gears, and piston pushing back and moving forward – it all requires some time to be completed. In fact, these processes require just enough time for your BB to travel from the airsoft gun’s barrel to your target.

Once you pull on the trigger, an electrical switch is disengaged from its contact (point B) and allows charges to reach it – powering up all other parts of your airsoft gun automatically.

What are the typical problems with AEGs?

The most common problem is that people do not lubricate their gearboxes often enough. Secondly, they do not use 0.2g BBs because they do not want to spend more money on those (they’re only a little bit cheaper compared to 0.12g BBs).

Another common problem that people have is that because airsoft guns are battery powered, they do not last very long and you need to charge them frequently. But this can be avoided if proper care is given.

If your charge does not last for very long when playing airsoft, here are some simple things you can do:

– Ensure that your battery is fully charged (take out the battery, place it on a table and leave it alone overnight to allow full charging)

– Attach a heavier duty spring (normally the best ones cost between $10 to $20 dollars but they can be found for much less)

How long do AEGs typically last?

If you treat your airsoft gun as a real gun in terms of maintenance, it should not break down on you fast. Most airsoft guns are designed to have working parts that are very similar to those of a real gun.

Yet, if you do not give it the proper care, the airsoft gun’s parts will break down faster than people would like them to be. AEGs are typically guaranteed for a year of use (mechanisms only), so they should last much longer than that (providing they are well-maintained).


Airsoft AEGs are modeled after the actual actions of a real gun. So they work using an automatic electric gun mechanism – which uses mechanical and electrical switches to move airsoft BBs from the barrel to your target.

AEG mechanisms can kick out around 500-600fps depending on factors like spring strength, length, and cupboard configuration. If you want to go beyond that, you can either change the spring (which requires a little bit of expert maintenance) or have your airsoft gun upgraded by a professional.

Also, remember that an AEG should last much longer than one year of use – but if you do not maintain it properly, it will break down fast. Most working parts of your airsoft gun are usually covered by a warranty for about a year.

Happy airsofting!

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