Optical sights are fairly common for use on rifles; mostly
red dot sights for short-range use, and telescopic sights for longer-range use.
These range from inexpensive sights designed for use on pellet guns and .22
rifles, to mid-range sights, usually inexpensive replicas of actual rifle
sights (such as replicas of the famous M68 Aimpoint), to actual sights designed
for use on rifles, including the EOTech Sights, and the Trijicon ACOG TA01NSN.
Most of these sights are mounted on a MIL-STD-1913 Rail.
Magazines are usually realistic looking replicas of real
firearms’ magazines and as such are made of the same materials like stamped
metal or high impact plastic. They occasionally feature markings and/or
engravings that match or mimic their real counterparts.
Gas blowback magazines are usually made out of thicker
metal, since they contain compressed gas to power the guns as well as the
pellets. The magazines usually have a valve on the bottom that is used to
charge its internal cylinder with gas. They are designed to be similar in
weight to a fully loaded magazine from a real firearm.
Airsoft magazines are divided into the following classes
according to the number of pellets they hold:
Standard magazines are the type of magazine provided by
Tokyo Marui and some other manufacturers with their guns. They are known as
“Standard” or “Standard-cap” as they are the standard
magazine for many weapons. Many contain around 68 BBs (the standard amount for
a Tokyo Marui magazine) and are normally loaded by inserting pellets down a
shaft, compressing a spring held inside that will later feed the pellets into
Standard magazines offer quiet operation (no rattle or
manual winding of high-capacity magazines) and are sometimes the only option
available for certain airsoft gun models. They are also useful to help players
limit their ammunition consumption.
Standard magazines almost only come with Tokyo Marui guns
whereas some companies like Classic Army or ICS supply high-capacity magazines
with their guns. However, most magazines will not feed every single pellet,
leaving 2-3 pellets at the end of the magazine or in the feed tube of the
hop-up chamber (some players may circumvent this problem by inverting the gun
to allow gravity to feed the pellets instead).
Low capacity (Low-Cap)
Low cap mags hold no more than 100 rounds for AEGs. Low caps
are used for players who are interested in a more realistic way than a player
who uses mid or high caps. These mags can be used with all AEGS & other
electric rifles, and are the only magazines available for pistols. They come
standard with guns manufactured by companies such as Tokyo Marui. They are also
standard with spring guns.
A low-cap mag uses a regular spring to push the bbs to the
extraction point and they need to be manually fed 1 bb at a time to full
capacity for all pistols and some rifles. For rifles, a speed loader is
typically used which loads about 4-10 bbs per plunge.
Medium capacity (Mid-Cap)
This is a loose category used to describe a type of magazine
that has been modified to hold more rounds – usually between 100 and 200.
Traditionally, they still function like a standard/locap
magazine and as such keep the advantage of quiet operation over high-capacity
magazines (that require a winding mechanism), but minimize the disadvantage of
a standard magazine’s lower number of rounds. Increasingly, however, winding
magazines are being released to the market and can be placed into this category
due to their 200 rounds or less capacity.
High capacity (High-cap)
High-cap mags hold more shots then a mid-cap (about
200-1000), but a wheel has to be wound every 50-70 shots. High-caps are loaded
by pouring bbs into the tank and either winding up the wheel on the bottom of
the mag until it clicks or operating the mag electrically.
Real-Caps are identical in operation compared to standard
magazines, but they carry the same amount of ammunition that the real version
of the magazine can carry, which is often much less than the standard magazine,
e.g. an M-16 Real-Cap will hold 30 rounds instead of the 68 of a standard
magazine. Some ultra-realistic groups require the magazines to be weighted to
actual firearm specs.
These tend to be used solely by those wanting the most
realistic MilSim (“MILitary SIMulation”) games. Again they offer the
stealth of no rattling rounds, but their main use is for the realistic
Airsoft guns shoot plastic pellets at velocities from 100
ft/s (30 m/s) for a low-end spring pistol, to 500 ft/s and beyond for
heavily-upgraded customized sniper rifles. Most non-upgraded AEGs using the
Tokyo Marui system are in the middle, producing velocities from 270 to 300 ft/s
(80 to 90 m/s) with the exception of companies such as G&G, G&P,
Cybergun, Aftermath Airsoft, D-boys, Cyma and Jing Gong which manufacture guns
that produce velocities of over 328 ft/s (or 1J with a .2g pellet) stock. The
internal components of most guns can be upgraded which can increase the pellet
velocity significantly. Using heavier pellets (.25g, .3g, etc.) will
significantly reduce the gun’s muzzle velocity, but can increase accuracy at
range and reduce susceptibility to wind drift. Conversely, lighter pellets may
travel further but are less accurate. High-velocity AEGs often employ heavier
pellets, as the velocity penalty does not affect them as much, while the
accuracy benefits remain. Most high-end AEGs, such as Classic Army and Tokyo
Marui, should not be loaded with anything lighter than 0.2 g pellets, as the
lighter pellets (0.12 g, 0.15 g) are typically made for low-end guns, and are
not built to the same quality (such as surface smoothness). The stresses the
pellets go under upon firing could shatter lighter or poorly made pellets as
they leave the barrel, potentially damaging both the weapon and the target.
Airsoft guns are modified to increase pellet velocity, rate
of fire, or reliability. For an electric airsoft gun, the pellet velocity can
be increased by simply upgrading the mainspring. Doing this will increase the
air pressure subjected to the pellet produced during operation. But due to the
higher forces at play, it is advised that other parts should be upgraded together
with the mainspring in order to maintain a high level of reliability. The rate
of fire is increased by using a battery with a higher voltage, high speed ratio
gears and/or a high speed motor. Rates of fire can be increased to over 20
rounds per second with very few upgrades, but with careful selection and
extreme modification of gearbox components, rates of fire in excess of 50
rounds per second are not unheard of. In the case of gas guns, a higher pellet
velocity can be achieved through the use of different types of gases and/or
changing the valve. It must be noted that some gases have detrimental effects
to some plastic components inside the airsoft gun.
Airsoft guns can commonly come with mounts or rails on which
you can add external accessories. Some common customizations added are
flashlights, scopes and lasers. Since some airsoft guns have the exact external
frame as real guns, you can use these external parts meant for real guns, but
the opposite does not apply. In no way can an airsoft rifle be modified to
shoot real ammunition. In most cases, scopes and flash lights have little
effect on the performance of the airsoft gun itself, rather the user’s ability
to use their gun effectively in different situations. In most cases, add-ons
are more for aesthetics rather than performance. However, some scopes must have
scope rings (which are not usually included in airsoft gun packages) that are
used to mount the higher end scopes to a default rail mount.
Some airsoft guns can be such accurate replicas that they
violate intellectual property laws (specifically those regarding trademarks),
most notably some models from Tokyo Marui bearing Colt or Heckler & Koch
trademarks that may not be imported into the United States. Certain companies
such as Classic Army or ICS avoid this problem by licensing their replicas from
the original manufacturers like ArmaLite by license from ActionSportGames or
Olympic Arms. The airsoft company ActionSportGames has licensed trademark
rights from many well-known firearm manufacturers, such as Armalite, DanWesson,
CZ, Steyr, STI, B&T, Franchi etc..
House Resolution 607
On January 22, 2007, House Resolution 607: Military Toy
Replica Act was sponsored by Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ), which states:
Secretary of Defense to require that any contract entered into or renewed by
the Department of Defense include a provision prohibiting the contractor from
requiring toy and hobby manufacturers, distributors, or merchants to obtain
licenses from, or pay fees to, the contractor for the use of military
likenesses or designations on items provided under the contract.
This would have meant that airsoft manufacturers producing
airsoft guns based on those used by the Department of Defense would not have to
pay licensing fees for importation into the United States, allowing legal
airsoft versions of U.S. Military guns, with trademarks intact.
This bill never made it past subcommittee, and has not yet