So now we understand how AEGs and GBB guns work, and the advantages and disadvantages of both. At this point you might be thinking these are the only two viable options, but simple pump operation has some advantages that shouldn’t be overlooked. When most people think of pump or spring Airsoft guns, their mind immediately goes to the cheap plastic pistols that can be picked up for $20 or so. Even these guns have their place, and many of them make reliable side arms if you don’t want to spend a lot on a GBB pistol. Almost all shotguns operate on pump configurations as well, and most sniper rifles feature the same operation. The only difference is that in a rifle the “pump” usually comes in the form of a bolt to replicate the feel of bolt action rifles.
The main advantage of spring operation is reliability. These guns have very few moving parts and with proper maintenance will run forever without even really needing replacement parts. Playing with a spring operated gun forces you to choose your shots as well, and will increase your accuracy. Even before Airsoft became popular in America, this was a training technique utilized by paintball players. When playing with a spring gun, you can’t fall in to the habit of hanging back and spraying BBs all over the field from the safety of your bunker. They force you to be aggressive, flank, and find angles. Another advantage of spring operation is actually realism. If you are playing with a shotgun or bolt action rifle, pump operation just makes sense, right? Cocking a plastic Desert Eagle before every shot might seem kind of lame, but cocking a heavy full metal shotgun with a real wood grip is very satisfying.
As for sniper rifles, many high quality offerings have very realistic bolts and can fire at extremely high FPS. Fields that allow sniper rifles to operate at FPS levels up to 600 or 700 usually require that they be single-shot only or have automatic fire disabled. If you can’t fire full auto you might as well not get an AEG and just get a bolt action instead. If nothing else it just makes you feel really cool, like a proper sniper. Don’t discount spring operation; it isn’t just for cheap guns. You could spend anywhere from $80 to over $300 on a bolt action sniper rifle. In fact, you’ll likely get shot by one at some point if you go to enough outdoor skirmishes. Expect it. So grab a gun at HobbyTron.com and I will see you on the field.