What are the Different Types of Airsoft Guns?

Airsoft guns have become increasingly popular in recent years, with enthusiasts from all walks of life taking part in tactical games and simulations. These guns are designed to replicate the experience of real firearms without the risk of injury or death associated with their real-life counterparts.

man in an airsoft shop

These guns have become a preferred weapon of choice for recreational sports, tactical training, and even law enforcement training. With a wide array of options available, including different types and models, airsoft guns can be tailored to fit any player’s preferences. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a beginner looking to jump into the world of airsoft, understanding the different types of airsoft guns is essential in finding the right weapon for you.

Airsoft guns come in three main types: electric, gas-operated, and spring powered. Each type has unique advantages and disadvantages, making them better suited for certain games over others.

Spring Airsoft Guns

Spring airsoft guns are a popular choice among those who are new to airsoft due to their ease of use and reliability. These guns operate through a spring mechanism, which requires the user to manually cock the gun before each shot. Despite the need for manual operation, spring airsoft guns are known for their decent amount of firepower and accuracy.

While they may not be as powerful as gas-powered guns, they are still more powerful than electric ones. The stiffer springs used in spring-powered guns allow for increased power without the risk of overloading any motor-gearbox. However, some spring shotguns and bolt-action rifles have the potential to be extremely powerful, with muzzle velocities reaching up to 400-700 ft/s (120-210 m/s).

In addition, spring airsoft guns offer an array of customization options that make them an ideal choice for airsoft enthusiasts. These guns are available in various colors and styles, including metal and plastic, allowing users to tailor them to their specific preferences. The versatility of these guns is a significant advantage, as they can be used in any weather condition without compromising performance. 

These guns are also relatively affordable, making them an affordable option for beginners and seasoned players alike.

Gas Airsoft Guns

Gas airsoft guns, specifically gas-powered pistols, are an excellent choice for airsoft enthusiasts. These pistols are compact and easy to carry around, making them a popular option for players on the go. Unlike spring- or electrically powered airsoft guns, gas-powered models utilize pneumatic potential energy stored within compressed gas to operate the shooting mechanism. This different design principle results in a more realistic shooting experience, as the gas-powered airsoft gun is capable of firing at a higher velocity and with a more realistic recoil.

airsoft gun with gas canister

One of the key advantages of these guns is their power and gas efficiency, which makes them more reliable and longer-lasting than blowback guns. 

The most widely used type of airsoft gun is the gas blowback (GBB) variety. These guns utilize an internal canister, typically found within the magazine, that releases bottled gas upon trigger-pull through a series of valves. This release of gas propels the pellet and generates a blowback, which simulates recoil and cyclically loads the next shot. GBB guns are not limited to one shooting mode and are capable of both automatic and semi-automatic operation. 

These guns are powered by propane, CO2, or gas blowing back from the barrel, which pushes through a rubber breech block and out through a valve at the end of the barrel. This results in a solid pellet being compressed upon leaving the gun’s muzzle, ensuring precision and accuracy when taking aim at game targets. 

Gas airsoft guns are known for their durability and long-range capabilities, making them a preferred choice for those seeking a reliable weapon against harder surfaces.

Automatic Electric Airsoft Guns

Automatic electric airsoft guns, also known as AEGs, are a popular choice for airsoft enthusiasts due to their impressive features. These guns are powered by an electric motor that drives the gearbox, which in turn propels plastic pellets at high velocities. One of their most notable features is the ability to fire in full-auto mode, allowing players to quickly and efficiently eliminate targets. AEGs also typically have adjustable hop-up systems, which can improve accuracy and distance.

AEGs are considered a top choice for those who are looking for a weapon that can be fired quickly and accurately, without requiring any manual cocking. With their rechargeable battery housed in the butt of the gun, AEGs offer a convenient and reliable source of power that can sustain up to 300 rounds. This makes them an ideal choice for anyone who wants to stay in the game for longer and maintain a competitive edge over their opponents.

Many AEG models likewise have customizable components such as rails for attaching accessories and interchangeable magazines.

Hybrid Guns

Hybrid airsoft guns are the latest innovation in the airsoft market. These guns are designed to provide players with a more realistic experience by incorporating features that simulate the behavior of real firearms. Typically, hybrid airsoft guns are AEGs or GBB guns that have been modified with additional features such as blowback and recoil systems. These modifications give the guns a more authentic feel, and the added power can make them more effective on the field.

airsoft pistol

The AEG hybrid operation is a unique and innovative approach to airsoft guns. The magazine of these guns is loaded with shell cases, each containing a single plastic pellet and a small red cap, similar to those in toy cap guns. The electrically powered, full blowback system of these firearms provides a realistic sound and smoke effect. The round-per-shell basis of operation ensures that with every fired pellet, a shell casing is ejected, and the cap is fired, mimicking the experience of using a real firearm.

Meanwhile, hybrid gas blowback airsoft guns employ a gas blowback hybrid operation, which bears similarities to both hybrid AEGs and ordinary gas blowback airsoft guns. These models feature a shell casing that houses a single 6 mm pellet, which is subsequently loaded into a magazine. The replica also incorporates a compressed gas tank as a propellant, typically green gas. Upon pulling the slide or bolt back, a shell is loaded into the chamber, and as the trigger is pulled, a small propellant burst is released, propelling the pellet out of the barrel.