What is AEG in airsoft?
AEG stands for Automatic Electric Gun or Automatic Electrical Gun. These are the most common type of airsoft gun, they fire automatically by simply pulling the trigger, unlike spring-powered weapons which have to be cocked each time before firing.
AEGs can come in a range of shapes and sizes though most are modeled on real-world firearms from pistols to sub-machine guns to assault rifles.
Mass-produced AEGs are one of the most common power sources in airsoft today, ranging from 350FPS and under for skirmishes on a smaller scale, outdoor fields to 500+ FPS for large, field centric gameplay.
While more costly than their spring-powered counterparts which can be purchased for less than $30, airsoft AEGs can be purchased for that price.
Not everybody wants to purchase an airsoft AEG from the get-go as they are quite expensive and owning a spring-powered airsoft gun will allow you to gain experience which may be useful when purchasing a full-scale gun in the future.
Should I buy an AEG?
AEGs are the most common type of airsoft gun and for good reason. Most people instantly gravitate towards AEGs as they provide an easy-to-use, cost-effective platform that can be used in many different scenarios.
Even though spring-powered weapons have been growing increasingly popular, there is something about a full-scale machine gun that can be used for multiple types of gameplay. Maybe it is the realistic appearance or maybe it’s just the cocking lever, everyone has an opinion when it comes to airsoft AEGs.
There are some people who feel that airsoft is a game that should be played with spring-powered guns only but those players would be doing themselves an injustice as they’d never really get to experience the thrill or “airsoft bug” that many others will.
If you’re new to airsoft, we recommend purchasing either a compatible AEG or a low-end rifle to ensure that you will enjoy your time airsofting prior to dropping hundreds of dollars on an expensive gun.
Remember, not everyone likes what you like or thinks the way you do so remember never to turn anyone away based on their opinion and always play safe!
If you want to learn more about AEG’s, be sure to read my article on How does an AEG work.
What kind of AEG should I buy as a beginner in airsoft?
If you’re new to airsoft, the terminology can be difficult but there are a few options you should consider regarding your first airsoft AEG.
First and foremost, what kind of gameplay will you be doing? Are you going to be using it for a more casual skirmish or a large-scale mil-sim event? The answer to that question will help you narrow down your options as the guns are built for different playing styles.
Liquid-cooled AEGs with a high capacity battery can be used for both types of games but they come at an increased cost compared to their counterparts.
If you’re new, we recommend getting yourself a gun that is easily customizable and upgradeable. You don’t want to be stuck with a low-grade airsoft AEG that can’t be upgraded and has a poor performance.
So what’s the best beginner’s gun? Well, it depends on your budget and playing style but if you’re looking for an affordable customization platform to help you learn about some of the other features airsoft has to offer, the G&G Combat Machine CM16 Carbine AEG Airsoft Gun is a great option.
If you’re looking for something with more range but still affordable and easy to upgrade then the D Boy Full Metal/Real Wood AK-74S AEG Airsoft Rifle should be right up your alley.
No matter what airsoft rifle you choose, be sure to use the provided battery at first until you are comfortable with proper airsoft gun maintenance.
What are the components of an AEG?
AEGs are composed of a number of parts, some necessary and others for performance. The main components include:
- Battery – Rechargeable batteries create the power needed to fire your gun as well as assist in feeding the ammunition into the chamber. You can purchase a battery with your airsoft gun or purchase a separate one. If you do not want to buy a battery, your airsoft gun will come with a wired remote which will plug into the mini-tamiya connector on the handguard of your gun, and an 11.1v LiPo Battery is recommended for most guns. When purchasing a battery, remember that higher voltage batteries are generally more powerful.
- AEG Gearbox – An airsoft gun is powered by an internal motor that rotates a metal, circular plate called the gearbox. These gears are housed inside of the stock and are connected to the Piston which pushes air toward the nozzle at its next shot. Your airsoft gun’s gearbox can be fully disassembled, and upgrading the internals can increase its rate of fire, accuracy, and range.
- Doweling – This is a nylon rod that acts as a piston to chamber air into your gun’s barrel. Most guns are fitted with metal gearboxes which can not be upgraded, but those with plastic gearboxes such as the V2 gearbox can be upgraded.
- Some metal AEGs will include a buffer tube, which is made of a polymer material that guides the doweling into its chamber and improves performance.
- Air Nozzle – This is where compressed air leaves your gun’s gearbox, traveling through the barrel where it becomes a BB to fire at your target. Most airsoft guns come with just a 6.03mm inner barrel, but some can have 8.4mm or 11.1mm inside as well. This can greatly affect the accuracy of your airsoft gun and you should consider upgrading if possible to increase range and reduce BB spread at long-range targets.
- Hop-Up Unit – Also called the hop-up, hop-up unit, or hop-up chamber, it is a dial that sits atop your gun’s gearbox and can be adjusted to give your BB more force as it leaves the barrel. It acts like an airsoft gun’s rear sight by utilizing negative pressure from a rubber sack inside of the unit to propel BBs further before gravity takes over.
- This can increase your airsoft gun’s accuracy, range, and consistency at long-range targets.
- Inside of the barrel – below the hop-up unit – is an airtight rubber bucking that you can adjust to improve the consistency of shots fired from your airsoft gun. Tightening or loosening it will change the tightness of the barrel’s fit and its ability to seal air pressure, which will affect your gun’s performance.
How to maintain AEG?
AEGs require regular maintenance to optimize their performance and you should be familiar with the basics before ever using one. In fact, some airsoft stores will not allow you to use a gun on their field if it is dirty or your gearbox has not been properly taken care of.
Airsoft guns are very similar to real firearms in this regard.
Most problems with airsoft guns are caused by dirt or lack of lubrication, but they can also be the result of a broken part. Some parts such as springs will need to be replaced periodically and others like barrel bushings will need to be cleaned regularly.
Some important tips for keeping your AEG running smoothly:
Use silicone oil or airsoft BB’s with a lubricant on the barrel, spring guide and piston head. Lubricants will help to prevent friction in your gun from causing jams.
When should I clean my AEG?
You should clean your AEG at least once every month for regular use, more frequently if you play multiple times per week. In addition to the steps below, I recommend deep-cleaning your airsoft gun every 6 months if you play more than 3 times per month.
If you play multiple days of games in one week, even weekly cleaning is not enough. Airsoft fields contain abrasive materials such as gravel and dirt that put a strain on the internals of your airsoft gun and it will help to clean it after each day’s use.
How do I clean my AEG?
Follow this procedure using only silicon oil or an airsoft rifle lubricant, not WD-40. Do not use any harsh chemicals, solvents, or cleaners such as brake cleaner.
#1) Wipe down the gearbox and remove any visible dirt and debris. You can also blow dust out of your airsoft gun using canned air if you like, but be careful to avoid getting liquid into it. Also, do not spray your gun with aerosol airsoft BB’s as this can damage your barrel.
#2) Apply silicone oil or lubricant to the contact points in your AEG – moving parts that touch such as pistons, piston heads, and cylinder head o-rings.
#3) Wipe down the gearbox again with a clean rag.
#4) Remove the gearbox from your airsoft gun and blow it out with canned air or a cleaning brush.
#5) Apply silicone oil or lubricant to any other parts in your airsoft gun that move – such as gears, bushings, and spring guides. Deep-clean any parts that require it (such as switching out a spring guide or gear set) and reassemble your airsoft gun.
There are a lot of terms thrown around in this hobby that may be unfamiliar to new players, but they can usually be deciphered from context clues once you know what they mean. I hope this article helps you gain a better understanding and appreciation for AEGs!