Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Getting Started in Airsoft & Buying Your First Gun

So you wanna get started playing Airsoft huh? Well, you are going to need a gun, so let’s get started. One of the most important questions to ask yourself is why you want an Airsoft gun. Is it for target shooting? Are you going to be involved in Airsoft games with friends or at a local field? Do you just want a cool gun replica to mess around with? Regardless of your intentions, the most important thing to know when starting out in Airsoft is safety. We’ve already discussed Airsoft safety in our previous post, take a look. If you follow these guidelines and exercise common sense, you’ll be fine. In this post we’ll be assuming you want to eventually be involved in some form of competitive Airsoft skirmish. If you just want a cool replica I would suggest Classic Army or G&G, they make some killer guns over there that are really heavy, full metal, and do an incredible job of mimicking their real steel counterparts. If you want something just for target shooting maybe look in to Gas Blowback guns. They are amazingly entertaining because they have more realistic recoil and moving slides. If you are more in the market for a sniper rifle then bolt action is the way to go. Bolt action rifles work the same as the cheapy $20 clear Desert Eagles and such, except you can get very high quality ones that are full metal and shoot at speeds up towards 700FPS. However, if you plan on actually being involved in Airsoft skirmishes, I recommend purchasing an AEG. This is only a suggestion of course; you can play with anything you want and be effective with it if you are good enough. But AEGs are what most Airsoft players start on, what most rental guns are, and what most people at your local Airsoft field will be carrying as their primary weapon.
AEG stands for Automatic Electric Gun, and it’s pretty much what you would imagine: a gun that uses electricity to fire automatically. These are different from gas powered Airsoft guns, which use gas as a propellant for the BB instead of air. There are also simple pump-operation Airsoft guns that must be cocked before each shot, and more recently Electric Blow Back operation has been featured too. These guns use a battery instead of gas, but still provide more realistic recoil. They are generally low quality though and I wouldn’t recommend one unless you want to spend under $50. Even then you could probably find a used GBB pistol and it would work much better. However, there are many reasons that I’m suggesting an AEG for your first Airsoft gun. First of all they are well priced and readily available. You can pick up a really nice quality AEG from Jing Gong or a similar company brand new for well under $200. There are a multitude of models and companies to choose from, and I guarantee there is one out there that is perfect for you and can be picked up for not too much money. AEGs have fairly simple operation. The internals basically consist of a couple wires, a few gears, a motor, and a spring. It isn’t exactly that simple, but with all the resources available online these days you should have no problem maintaining your own AEG. AEGs have high rates of fire as well. Some people have managed to get their guns up to thirty BBs a second and other such astounding numbers. Depending on what you buy you should easily be able to get at least ten BBs a second. AEG’s are versatile and easy to maintain, and their popularity ensures upgrades and replacement parts are easily obtained.
In our next couple posts you will read up on AEG and GBB operation, maybe looked at some bolt action snipers, and you've made a decision as to which category you will be purchasing in. So how do you figure out what gun to buy? There are many resources online, including our own HobbyTron Forums which you can use to ask questions and figure out what is the best purchase for you. But where do you start? I suggest starting with the model. The Airsoft business is a fairly complicated one, with certain companies actually just selling re-branded versions (AKA clones) of other companies’ guns. For example, Echo 1 is a company that sells re-branded Jing Gong guns. Often there is nothing wrong with these “ re-branding” companies. Some, like Airsoft Elite for example, actually upgrade the internals of the original gun (which in the case of Airsoft Elite is an ICS). For this reason and others, choosing a company to purchase from can be complicated. However, choosing a model of Airsoft gun is quite easy. It’s mostly a personal thing. Some people like M4s, some people like AK-47s, RPKs, MP5s, Galils, AUGs, whatever. It is up to you to choose what model you would like to shoot, because internally they won’t differ much. The shape and size of individual components will be different, but the operation will be essentially the same. It is up to you to decide which model fits in your shoulder nicely, is the right weight, has the right sights for you, etc. If you are considering purchasing an Airsoft gun you probably already have one in mind. Perhaps you have a favorite weapon in Call of Duty, or want a gun that is used by a specific country’s military forces. This is an entirely personal choice and if you are having trouble deciding I suggest going to a local shop or field (or come stop by HobbyTron if you are in the LA area), and just picking up the different guns and finding one you like. Remember that most guns will have different variations with different stock lengths, or vertical grips, so most models can be outfitted to work perfectly for you. I would suggest some kind of rifle or sub-machine gun, maybe an M4, AK-47, or MP5, because these are very common and there are a lot of upgrades for them.

Once you have decided on a specific model it is time to choose a company. Start by finding out which companies offer the particular model you are looking for, and in which price range. Echo 1 and Jing Gong are good examples of cheaper (but still high quality) brands, Classic Army and Western Arms are the more expensive brands, and mid range brands include ICS, KWA, and Tokyo Marui. Don’t buy anything from Crosman, it’s the Walmart brand and they make truly terrible guns. With each of these companies there will probably be a major deciding factor that helps you pick. One company’s offering might shoot at a higher FPS, or have a fully metal body, or in the case of an AK-47, have real wood grips and stock. You’ll have to do a little bit of research to find these things out, but it shouldn’t take you more than a few hours to gather enough information to make a good decision. If you can’t decide between two or three companies, just head over to our forums and make a “KWA vs ICS MP5” thread or something similar, and we’ll get an expert to fully explain the differences to you.
Buying an Airsoft gun can be a complicated decision, especially when it’s your first gun and you don’t know much about the industry or its technical aspects. Just remember that most of the time you get what you pay for, but if you shop around and wait for things to go on sale you can save a lot of money. Jing Gong and Echo 1 guns are high quality and comparatively cheap. A lot of them don’t have full metal bodies and the gearboxes aren't of the best possible quality, but for the money they are excellent guns that are perfect for beginners. These days the awful sporting goods store brands (like Crosman) charge up to $100 for their Airsoft guns. For maybe $150 you can have a high quality AEG with replaceable parts that will last forever provided you properly maintain it and replace parts as needed. Later on you will probably want to buy a different gun anyway, so you might as well buy an entry-range brand like Jing Gong, and get a more expensive model later. Or you can buy a mid-range gun from a company like ICS or Tokyo Marui and you’ll probably never have to buy another AEG again if you don’t want to. It all depends on the price range, but just make sure you are purchasing from a legitimate company. As a rule of thumb, Japanese and Taiwanese brands are high quality, Chinese brands aren't. This extends to BBs and basically everything else in Airsoft although there are exceptions to the rule. Do your research, take your time, and you will end up with a gun you can fully rely on in battle. So grab a gun from HobbyTron and I will see you on the field.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

History of Airsoft

Electric Airsoft Rifles
Airsoft is a relatively new sport that only began gaining popularity in the Western world in the 1990’s. It was originally developed in Japan and first became popular there, China, and Korea. America has played an important part in Airsoft development as well, and the sport is now immensely popular here. The history of Airsoft is a complicated one that isn’t explored often enough. Until the late 80's early 90’s, virtually no one in the West knew anything about Airsoft unless they had been or knew someone that had been to Asia and witnessed games over there. The internet was instrumental in the growth of Airsoft, as its invention allowed the earliest fans of Airsoft in America and Europe to purchase replicas for the first time. But to fully understand the history of Airsoft, we must travel back to a time well before the internet changed the world. We must travel to a decade of excellent music and horrendous fashion choices, the groovy 1960’s.

Since the 1960’s it has been illegal in Japan for any civilian to own firearms. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and Airsoft is proof of that. The Japanese market needed something they could use for target shooting, as various shooting sports already existed in Japan at the time of the firearms ban. It is also important to note that Japan has a penchant for plastic models, be they replicas of vehicles, firearms, or giant laser-shooting robots. It is not surprising, then, that high quality gun replicas were quickly introduced. These early replicas were extremely detailed and collectable. They were similar to blank-firing guns and even had full-auto capabilities. They did not, however, fire projectiles. At the same time in America, Daisy Outdoor Products (makers of the famous Red Ryder BB gun) began introducing a handgun series that fired small, round pellets encased in shells, similar to modern Airsoft revolvers. The pellets were fired at low power and did not go very far, and these guns were referred to as “soft-air” guns. Back in Japan, this technology was influential in the creation of what were essentially modern Airsoft guns, with both springers and gas-powered replicas becoming available in a variety of models by the mid 80’s. Many of the models had high metal content and were much more powerful than the Daisy “soft-air” guns. This is when the sport of Airsoft was born, having been made possible by the advent of well made, non-lethal, projectile-firing replica firearms. Until this point, Airsoft replicas had mostly been used for target shooting and collecting.
Airsoft Sniper Rifles
While all this development was happening in Asia, in America the sport of paintball had been created by a bunch of people messing about with guns originally meant for marking utility companies’ power poles. Paintball guns would follow a trend that emphasized functionality over realism. This, coupled with the family friendly image that paintball strived hard for in the early days, meant that paintball gun manufacturers steered away from realistic-looking firearms. It wasn’t until recent years that realistic paintball guns even became available beyond the scope of a very small niche market. This would later be important as Airsoft began to spread to the Western world, because by the 80’s and 90’s paintball was already popular in America and many European countries. Paintball is more popular than Airsoft in these countries, but as the sports are (arguably) quite similar, paintball’s success invariably helped the assimilation of Airsoft in to Western culture. Airsoft also benefitted from the family friendly image paintball had successfully created for itself. Although Airsoft is associated more with MilSim (Military Simulation), the public’s general acceptance of a sport that involved shooting at each other was almost certainly beneficial.

By the late 80’s and early 90’s both paintball and Japanese model kits had become popular in America and Europe. In the 90’s, Tokyo Marui created the first ever Automatic Electric Gun. AEGs helped Airsoft’s popularity immensely because, among other things, they were cheaper to manufacture, used no gas, and were more reliable. They became so popular that gas guns dropped out of favor and many manufacturers went out of business. However Tokyo Marui, along with some competitors, started developing more effective gas systems and began producing gas-powered guns that did not require an external tank for the gas (like those featured on modern paintball guns). Hop up systems were also invented at this time. By the mid to late 90’s AEGs were available in both America and Europe, and Airsoft really took off.
G&G Airsoft Guns
Today Airsoft is rapidly growing in popularity all over the world. Still extremely popular in Asia, Airsoft is now firmly cemented in America, Europe (especially the UK and Italy), Canada, and other countries around the world. There are professionally run fields everywhere, and the number of these fields is almost certainly dwarfed by the number of makeshift fields that kids and adults have built for themselves and their friends. There are a large number of manufactures making high quality Airsoft replicas, and they are even frequently used in films and on television. Today even Walmart sells Airsoft guns. They are terrible so don’t buy them, but it really says something about the popularity our little sport has gained in the last couple of decades.  So the next time you fire an Airsoft gun, remember that without overbearing Japanese gun control laws it wouldn’t even exist. So grab a gun from HobbyTron and I will see you on the field.

Why Airsoft? (A Guide for Parents)

Airsoft Goggles
So you’re minding your own business, watching some TV or doing some yard work, when suddenly your child asks if he or she can play Airsoft. You probably have some preconceived notions about Airsoft and that is just fine, but I’m hoping to convince you that Airsoft promotes good health, is safe and indeed even beneficial to a child’s development. The fact that guns are used is generally the deterrent, at least from a parent’s standpoint. At the end of the day though, Airsoft is nothing more than an advanced game of tag or capture the flag. The guns just make it more fun. No one is aggressive when playing Airsoft, fields provide an extremely friendly atmosphere, and basically everyone is just there to have a good time with their friends. Although there is an obvious relationship with military forces, no sort of indoctrination takes place and most Airsoft players don’t have any sort of background in the military, nor do they ever intend to.
Airsoft Masks
Airsoft guns are not like any toy, they fire projectiles at high rates of speed. They are capable of inflicting injury if not used properly, and proper safety rules must be observed. However, if safety rules are observed, then Airsoft is about as safe a sport as you can get. I played football as a kid and I’ll tell you it’s a heck of a lot safer than that. I’m willing to bet it’s safer than hockey, baseball, and basketball too.  It is up to the individual to be smart, use common sense, and follow a strict set of safety rules in order to create a safe playing environment for everyone involved. For this reason, Airsoft is a useful tool for teaching children that wonderful concept every parent loves so much: responsibility. In Airsoft, failure to comply with safety procedures have consequences. If you play Airsoft you know getting shot with an Airsoft BB hurts, and so children can recognize the seriousness of the situation. Even if you don’t go along and play together with your kids, (which I suggest you do, it’s really a whole lot of fun and a great relationship builder – it forces you to count on each other) they will have a lot of support from the experienced people that work at the field, and from the older players. In Airsoft, one person’s safety habits have an effect on everybody, so believe me the other players will make sure children follow correct procedures. Trusting a child with this sort of responsibility is a leap of good faith, and they will appreciate the opportunity to prove themselves in front of the other players at the field. It is better that children learn Airsoft gun safety from a qualified referee or field employee, because otherwise they will probably end up learning a complete lack of it from their friends.

Airsoft, of course, is a physical game. You do a lot of sprinting, crouching, squatting, carrying a heavy gun around, throwing (grenades), crawling, and all manner of other physical activities. A game of Airsoft definitely gets the blood pumping, but is so much fun that it doesn’t really seem like working out. Try a game of Airsoft out for yourself, play a couple hours and tell me your thighs aren’t burning. You do a lot of full speed sprinting, then squatting, then more sprinting. This activity is comparable to interval training and wears out the muscles pretty quickly. Generally playing Airsoft involves at least 4 hours spent at the field, so that is quite a lot of exercise and you will be sore the next morning – from running, not from getting shot. Core strength, cardiovascular health, and flexibility can all be improved by Airsoft play, and many children who aren’t the biggest fans of physical activity end up really loving Airsoft.
Airsoft Protective Gear
Besides physical benefits, there are mental ones as well. Airsoft is a competitive game where you rely on the skills of you and your teammates to avoid losing and getting shot. This relying on yourself to not get hurt is a huge confidence builder. Self-reliance is, unfortunately, a dying skill set these days in our increasingly padded society. It is important for a person to know that they can count on themselves to act appropriately in a stressful situation. Team sports teach about the importance of teamwork, and although Airsoft is generally played on teams it really comes down to individual performance whether you tag someone out or get tagged yourself. When you win the big game you are proud of your team, but when you sneak around to the back of the field and get three people to surrender at once, you are proud of yourself. It’s important to know that in a one on one situation, you can get the better of people and come out victorious.

Airsoft is a game of responsibility, physical activity, and mental fortitude. It’s enjoyed the world over and increases in popularity every year. Irresponsible handling of an Airsoft gun can lead to consequences, but safe operation is a breeze and the first thing taught to new players. Fields provide friendly environments and stress safety over every other aspect of the game. So when your child asks you for an Airsoft gun, don’t panic. With proper safety instruction Airsoft is a perfectly safe activity that promotes self-confidence and health, and boy is it a lot of fun. So grab some guns from HobbyTron, bring the whole family and I will see you out on the field.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Introduction to Airsoft and Airsoft Safety

Airsoft is a rapidly growing, exciting sport that allows players to safely fire at each other with firearm replicas in realistic military simulation. If you’ve found this page, you probably have at least some interest in becoming a part of the world of Airsoft, and this is a great place to start. Airsoft can be played solely for entertainment purposes, to get active and improve health, or for military & law enforcement training purposes. Whatever the reason, the first and most important thing you need to know are the safety rules & regulations that go with Airsoft gun use. With just a little bit of knowledge you can help Airsoft continue to be the safe and incredibly fun sport it has become over the last few decades. Failure to follow proper Airsoft safety procedures can result in injury and/or serious legal repercussions. It is the responsibility of every individual who uses or owns Airsoft replicas to understand and follow proper safety precautions, and to be aware of any state and/or local laws governing the use of Airsoft replicas in their particular area.

The realistic nature of Airsoft replicas is one of the major draws of the hobby, and the gun manufacturers do an incredible job making the replicas look almost exactly like their real steel counterparts. Real steel is a term used in Airsoft when referring to actual deadly firearms. Many high quality Airsoft replicas will be virtually indistinguishable from the real steel firearm they were based on, except for the safety orange tip they are required to be sold with by law. Never remove this safety orange tip. You must also treat your Airsoft gun as if it is a real gun. Although you know it is an Airsoft gun, to the average bystander it could easily appear as if you are wielding an actual firearm. They may not notice the safety orange tip, and many criminals will actually paint the tip of their real firearms safety orange to confuse people. I personally know people who have been arrested at gunpoint while playing with clear plastic Airsoft pistols that anybody could see were clearly not actual firearms. This should prove to you that regardless of your intentions, people may become frightened by your Airsoft replicas. If a bystander is concerned and notifies the police, it is very likely they will treat you as if you are wielding an actual firearm. 
Always transport your Airsoft gun in a proper gun case or at the very least something like a duffle bag or box where the gun will not be visible. Do not play Airsoft in public places such as schools or parks¸ doing so will put you at risk of serious legal repercussions. A good rule of thumb is to assume that anyone who sees you will think you are wielding actual firearms. Private land that is concealed to passerby or approved Airsoft fields are ideal. Never wield your Airsoft gun in a manner than any reasonable person could find threatening. This is a crime, and when Airsoft guns are involved in a crime you can be charged as though it was a real firearm.

Although Airsoft replicas when operated properly are very safe, they are still firearms and must be treated as such. Most if not all of the safety rules of real steel firearms also apply to Airsoft. For example, never point your gun at anything you aren’t willing to shoot. Misfires happen, BBs stay loaded even with the magazine out, and anything you point at has a real possibility of being shot. For this reason never point at any animal, or person who is not wearing proper safety equipment. And please, please don’t look down the barrel, ever. Even if you are wearing approved safety goggles, at such close range it is possible to cause yourself injury if a BB accidentally fires. Always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire. The correct position for your index finger is above the trigger, along the side of the gun. Always keep your Airsoft gun unloaded until ready for use as well. 
Finally, you must always wear eye protection when playing with Airsoft guns. Plastic full-face masks are ideal, and required at some fields. Some fields will let you play with just the safety goggles, but it is highly recommended that you wear a full mask or at least some face protection such as a balaclava (ski mask) or head wrap. I’ve known many people who played using only safety goggles, right up until the point that they had a tooth chipped or ear mangled by a BB. You might want to wear gloves too, as being shot in the knuckle is not really that fun. It is also important to make sure that you fire at a safe FPS. FPS stands for “Feet Per Second” and is a measurement of how fast the BBs fired by your Airsoft gun are travelling. Airsoft fields will have a set FPS limit, generally of 350 or 400, and they will check your gun to make sure you are firing under that limit. If you are playing with friends however, it is important that everybody is firing at a safe FPS rate. You can purchase a machine called a chronograph to clock what FPS your gun is firing at. They sell cheap ones for home use, or you can just head down to HobbyTron and use ours for free, we have a range on site.

So far we have:
1.      Be aware of any state and/or local laws governing the use of Airsoft replicas.
2.      Never remove the safety orange tip.
3.      Treat your Airsoft gun as if it is a real gun.
4.      Transport  your Airsoft gun in a proper gun case.
5.      Do not play Airsoft in public places such as schools or parks.
6.      Never wield your Airsoft gun in a manner than any reasonable person could find threatening.
7.      Never point your gun at anything you aren’t willing to shoot.
8.      Don’t look down the barrel, ever.
9.      Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire.
10.  Keep your Airsoft gun unloaded until ready for us.
11.  Wear eye protection when playing with Airsoft guns.
12.  Fire at a safe FPS.

This is by no means the end-all list of Airsoft safety rules. Always use common sense and good judgment. Although this has been quite serious, Airsoft is tremendously fun and really not very dangerous. Don’t quote me on this but I believe there are more injuries from bowling every year. Most of the injuries received through Airsoft end up being things like twisted ankles or pulled hamstrings, running around outside is basically the most dangerous aspect of the sport. It can be and is enjoyed by folks of all ages. It is important that you be familiar with safety rules, and believe me you will become familiar with them if you start playing Airsoft seriously, because if you break them you will probably get yelled at or get hurt. Most of the rules are common sense, and I hope this post has given you a good foundation to start on. Following proper safety procedures is not only for your safety, but also for the safety of those around you. Furthermore, when safety procedures are not followed and an incident occurs, it makes the entire sport of Airsoft look bad. There are a lot of legal issues we have to deal with to enjoy this sport we love, and those who do not follow correct procedures make it harder for everybody. So have fun, be safe, and don’t be an idiot. You’ll be fine. So grab a gun from HobbyTron and I will see you on the field.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Police Will Respond -- Airsoft: Be Smart

It seems that every day I run across some news about people being stupid with Airsoft guns. If you have an Airsoft gun be smart. Remember, safety first...keep the stupidity in the privacy of your own home.

If it looks real, like nearly all Airsoft guns do, then the police will treat you as though it is real.

If your kids do anything like this, then it is time to step up as a parent and teach them how to properly handle Airsoft Guns. Read here for more information on that.

These guns look pretty real to me...and they will look real to any policeman as well. Just be smart...be smart for the sake of the rest of us who love the sport.

Boys playing with fake guns get arrested for real by cops


Walking down the road with a machine gun, real or replica, is a good way to risk staring down a group of RCMP gun barrels.

That was the message from Campbell River RCMP Monday after a 'high-risk take down' of three boys with toy guns early Sunday morning.

Police were called at 1: 57 a.m. Sunday after somebody saw a male, dressed in black clothing, carrying a machine gun and walking down Spit Road. Police responded with guns drawn, only to find three boys, aged 13, 15 and 16, who were playing with 'airsoft' pellet guns. The toy guns are normally clear and/or have orange muzzles, but these guns, three handguns and an assault rifle, had been blacked out.
Police say the boys weren't injured during the high-risk take down. Fortunately the boys put the guns down in the grass just before police arrived. They were arrested for possession of weapons dangerous to the public and possession of imitation firearms.

The police are reminding the public that toy guns look realistic to police, especially at night, and especially when the orange muzzles have been blacked out. This is the second call of this sort of nature in a few weeks, causing police to be on high alert and tying up police resources.

It is scary for the public to be arrested at gun point by police and it is scary for police to attend to these sorts of calls. Police believe the guns are real until proven otherwise.

(See original article here.)

Teens Arrested With Airsoft Guns!

Campbell River, Canada: Three teenagers (aged 13, 15 and 16) risked their lives by showing their Airsoft guns in public after painting them black.

The Police received a complaint of a male that was dressed in all black clothing walking down a road carrying a machine gun. The local police responded and located three youths matching this description. The officers took them into custody.

“In this instance the youths put the weapons down in the grass just prior to police arrival, and there were no injuries. But police had their guns drawn, and there was “potential for lethal oversight,” according to Sgt. Craig Massey of the Campbell River RCMP.”

The teenagers produced four airsoft guns, three hand guns where the orange tip was “removed” and one clear Airsoft rifle that they painted it black.

They were arrested for possession of imitation firearms and possession of weapons dangerous to the public. However restorative justice is being considered, as the youths have no history of criminal records and fully cooperated with police.

That's just another example that supports the theses, that SB 798, as a law that forces Airsoft guns to be neon colored, will never change anything, because the endless stupidity of people can't be prohibited by any law.

Source: Campbell River Morror, Postmedia News

By http://www.airsoft2day.com - World Airsoft News - Read full article: http://www.airsoft2day.com/news/398-ca-teens-arrested-with-airsoft-guns.html#ixzz1WivIC0HB