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How Do Airsoft Guns Work?

by Max
How do airsoft guns work

How do airsoft guns work?

Airsoft guns are replica firearms manufactured for recreational purposes. They usually resemble real-life weapons, although some models are designed to imitate historical models with slightly different features.

So, how airsoft guns work? Airsoft guns use compressed air or other gas as a propellant; the exact composition of the gas varies by manufacturer but is normally referred to as “green gas.” An electric motor drives a plastic piston into a tight rear chamber in the gun’s barrel at high velocity which pushes out cold, filtered air and propels pellets towards their targets (at speeds from 20 m/s up). This process closely resembles that of most paintball guns.

The difference between an airsoft gun and a paintball gun lies in how each uses this force of propulsion; a paintball gun uses the force of propulsion to push out a small amount of gelatinous liquid (water-based paint), whereas an airsoft gun uses it to propel small, 6 mm caliber spherical plastic pellets.

All Airsoft guns are required to have orange tips so that people shooting at you know it is a toy. This also helps prevent any confusion between Airsoft guns and real ones.

A brief history of airsoft

Airsoft has been around since 1981 when the first Airsoft game was held in Japan and called “Umarex”. The original name for the sport was “MilSim” which stood for military simulation. In 1990 Umarex USA changed the name from MilSim to the current term AirSoft due to a trademark conflict with another company.

In 1995 three influential individuals got together and created what is now known as the standard for Airsoft guns and that is the Tokyo Marui, KSC, and Classic Army. These three companies along with a few others are still some of the leading brands today.

The reason for airsoft being so popular in other countries like Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong is because it’s considered to be an extreme sport, even more so than paintball in some cases. Airsoft fields are fast becoming the latest extreme sport taking over from paintball and air hockey in Germany, the USA, Canada, and Australia.

Airsoft gun mechanism

The mechanism is basically identical for most Airsoft guns. But there are 3 types of airsoft gun mechanisms and they are called Gas guns, Springers, and Airsoft Electric Guns(AEG’s).

Airsoft gas guns mechanism

Airsoft gas guns use a propellant such as Green gas / Propane and other specialty gases. The Gas mechanism is commonly used in Air Rifle and Pistol types of Airsoft Guns. Airsoft Pistols have the highest velocity since they typically use larger canisters. Airsoft rifles, such as M4s and AEGs, are a step down in power from pistols and usually use smaller canisters of gas due to their lower velocities. All Gas Guns require regular maintenance to work consistently between shots. They should be cleaned every few hundred shots and lubricated for durability.

Due to the gas-powered design, Airsoft Gas Guns are typically not very consistent in velocity or power. Most of them will shoot at around 350fps which is pretty slow compared to most spring- and electric-powered guns that can get up to 800+ fps.

The average gas gun will have a firing range of around 100 feet. Their main advantages are that they have very high rates of fire and the superb realism one gets from hauling around a real weapon.

Unfortunately for collectors and enthusiasts, gas-powered Airsoft guns do not have the best longevity or durability due to their high-powered mechanisms. They are very susceptible to breaking parts, so it is recommended that they be used more frequently in games and skirmishes.

Spring-powered airsoft guns mechanism

Airsoft Spring Guns are powered by a coil spring just like almost all Air Rifles and Pistols. They require little maintenance and don’t need to be cleaned or oiled in most cases, but they do require you to pull back the cocking lever (or slide) before each shot and then shoot the gun. This is very similar in action to a real firearm and the trigger is even pulled back as it would be on a live weapon.

A good analogy of how an Airsoft Spring Gun works is by comparing it to that of a bow & arrow (or crossbow). In essence, you are pulling back the string before each shot which cocks it and then releases the trigger to propel the projectile forward.

Airsoft Spring Guns will vary in their power depending on the type of spring they use and their method of compression, but they can get up to 350+ fps with a range of around 100 feet. These airsoft guns are good for new players since they are much cheaper than gas-powered or AEGs, but they are harder to use since you need to cock the weapon and don’t have safety.

Airsoft Spring Guns are also more durable than gas-powered guns due to their simplicity and are usually found in the higher end of the price spectrum

Airsoft Electric Gun(AEG) mechanism

Airsoft Electric Guns are based on the same idea as real automatic firearms. The AEG uses a motor to shoot and they have both semi-auto and full-auto functions. They also have removable magazines, scopes, grenade launchers, or rails for mounting accessories such as flashlights, lasers, and foregrips. Modern Airsoft Electric Guns are now operated by a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery.

AEGs are considered the most advanced and accurate among all Airsoft guns since they have consistent FPS, velocity, power, and rate of fire. They can shoot up to 800+ fps with a range of around 200 feet or more depending on the quality of the gun. These Airsoft guns can also be modified like gas-powered ones for tactical and competitive purposes.

AEGs are good for both new players and collectors due to their high quality, durability, accuracy, realism, rate of fire, power, and range. They have the highest longevity since they are less susceptible to breaking parts than Gas Guns or Spring Guns. They also require the least amount of maintenance and are the most automated Airsoft guns since they can fire semi-automatically or in full-auto mode.

Features of an Airsoft Gun

Airgun shooting is not as easy as it looks. You need to know the key features which will determine whether you’ll be a good shot or not. There are a lot of Airsoft Guns available in the market sold at different price ranges so you have to choose wisely depending on your skill and purpose for using it.

Airsoft guns come with two main types of firing mechanisms; Spring-powered and Gas-powered. Some Airsoft guns are even made to use batteries, while others can be powered by hand. When choosing an Airsoft gun, you have to consider the features of it:

FPS or Feet Per Second – this refers to how fast your BB goes once fired from your gun. The higher your FPS is, the more expensive the Airsoft gun will be. Rest assured that if you buy an Airsoft gun with a higher FPS, it’ll surely cost you more than one with a lower FPS. The maximum legal limit for owning an Airsoft gun or pistol is 500 fps in England and Wales.

Longevity – when choosing an airsoft gun, you have to check the materials it’s made of. The best material is metal, though some airsoft guns are made from high-impact plastics that are lightweight and durable.

The running mechanism – Airsoft Guns can either be spring- or gas-powered; generally with their own pros and cons. Spring Powered Airsoft Guns only have a single cocking level which may lead to the misfire of BBs in the mid-game. On the other hand, Gas Powered Airsoft Guns have different firing modes which can be switched depending on how you want to play your game.

Guns intended for beginners have a lower FPS and price tag while guns made specifically for advanced players are known as high-quality airsoft guns. High-end Airsoft Guns are usually expensive because they have a higher FPS and materials not suitable for beginners.

What types of airsoft guns are available?

Airsoft Guns come in all shapes and sizes, but there are five general groups that you can choose from; Pistols, Rifles, Shotguns, Machine Guns, and Sniper Rifles.

An airsoft pistol is a small gun that can only be used for short-range shooting or sidearm weapons in combat games. Airsoft pistols are commonly sold as toys without the ability to fire BBs. They are often made of plastic and have bright colors so they won’t be mistaken for real weapons. Airsoft pistols are available in spring- or gas-powered, and electric models.

An airsoft rifle is a weapon designed to be fired from the shoulder, which uses an intermediate cartridge and has a stock made of wood or plastic. Airsoft Rifles come in several types; Automatic Electric Guns (AEG), Gas-Powered (GP), and Spring-Powered (SP).

Airsoft shotguns are long-barreled, smooth-bored firearms designed to shoot a multitude of projectiles. They do not have rifled barrels like rifles or carbines, but instead, they have several evenly-spaced parallel grooves called screw threads that cause the shot to spread out. Airsoft Shotguns are available in spring or gas-powered models and some airsoft shotguns are magazine-fed.

An airsoft machine gun is a fully automatic weapon that fires rifle ammunition at high rates of fire. Airsoft Machine Guns (MG) are built to resemble real ones but they usually have an even lower FPS than AEGs, but can be fed with many magazines.

Airsoft Sniper Rifles are modeled after rifled-based battle rifles, and they have adjustable zero to increase the range at which you can shoot accurately. Some Airsoft Sniper Rifles also have bipods or monopods for support during long-distance shooting missions.

These airsoft guns are good for both new players and collectors due to their high quality, durability, accuracy, realism, rate of fire, power, and range. However, airsoft sniper rifles are more expensive than other models considering that some even go up to USD $250.


Hopefully, you have learned something new about how airsoft guns work, airsoft gun mechanisms, what types of airsoft guns are available, and the features of an airsoft gun.

Airsoft guns are available in the market not only for beginners but also for advanced players with a well-established collection. However, airsoft gun reviews and blogs would be of great help to newbies looking to learn more about these weapons before purchasing an airsoft gun.

In general, Airsoft guns are good for outdoor use because they do not require bullets, thus are safe for the environment. Airsoft guns are also ideal for those who want to have fun in a shooting game without actually hurting anyone.

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