Buying and Setting Up Your First Airsoft Gun
So you've decided that you are going to play airsoft and you want to buy your first gun. Let's go over what you should look for.
To begin with if you start playing airsoft and you decide you like it, (You won't, you'll decide you love it!) this first gun won't be the last one you buy. Airsoft guns are like chips, you can't have just one!
With this in mind, for your first gun what you want to get is an affordable gun that will serve you well while you learn the game. What you will discover is that what you think you want now is not want you will want after you have been playing for a few months, and what you want will probably not be exactly what everyone else wants.
With this in mind I usually recommend the same basic first gun to everyone. That gun is an M4 AEG, (Automatic Electric Gun).
There are a few reasons for this. The M4 is ubiquitous in the airsoft community. Everyone knows how to use one. Their basic operation is very simple. There are a million accessories the will fit the M4 and the basic design of the gun makes it's very easy to modify. On top of that M4 magazines are available everywhere.
Valken makes an entire line of entry level M4's called Battle Machines. There are a variety of different styles, so it should be easy to find one to suite your taste. In general any of them will be great, and they come with a 1 year warranty.
If you are planning to play outside a lot, going for one of the longer barreled ones may be a better choice. Conversely, if you plan to play mostly indoors a shorter one may be a better the way to go..
Longer barreled rifles generally have slightly better accuracy and range while shorter barreled rifles are easier to handle in close quarters.
Once you pick out the rifle that you want there are a few things you will need and then there are some things that you will probably want. We will start with the things you need.
The first thing you need is eye protection. Anytime you are shooting an airsoft rifle, even if you are just target shooting, you and anyone around you should be wearing eye protection that has been designed for airsoft.
If the rifle you pick out doesn't come with a battery and charger you will need to buy those. Even if your rifle comes with a battery, you will probably want to buy at least one spare. Nothing is worse than having to leave a game early because your battery is dead!
The next thing you need is a gun case. Whenever you have your rifle out in public transporting it to or from the field it must be kept in a case. Airsoft rifles look real and it is your responsibility to transport them safely so that you don't frighten people or cause the police to be called.
It's also a good idea to have a barrel cover. This goes over your barrel when you aren't playing. They prevent BBs from exiting your barrel if the gun goes off accidentally.
Once you have these things your gun is basically ready to go. However there are a few things you will probably want to make your gun easier to use.
The first thing you will want to get is a sling. These days most people prefer single points slings. These make it easier to carry your rifle around and they allow you to take your hands off of it if you need to do other things. When you decide to add a pistol to your collection having a sling becomes especially important. You will need it if you have to transition to your pistol.
The next thing you will want is anoptic. There are two different types of optics you will encounter. As a beginner what you are looking for is a red dot that has no magnification. This kind of optic is the easiest and fastest to use. They will help you to make more accurate shots, quicker. Which is exactly what you want in airsoft.,
The second type of optic is the more traditional magnified scope. These have a place in airsoft, but they are harder to use and slower to shoot with. I don't recommend using this kind of optic until you have more experience, and then you will only want them on rifles that you are using for specific applications. When I use them I often pair them with a red dot so that I still have an optic for fast close range work.
The next thing you will want is aflashlightthat you can mount to your rifle, Airsoft games take place in a wide variety of locations and at different times of the day. There is a good chance that you will find yourself playing at night or inside a building where it is dark, When this happens you will definitely want a flashlight. Whether you use one with a pressure pad or with simple tail cap button is really personal preference. I prefer to use the tail cap as it is simpler.
Once you have a sling, optic and light on your rifle you are pretty much ready to go. The last thing you may want to add is a vertical grip . These can make it a little bit easier to handle your rifle. I use one as a hand stop to help make sure I put my hand in the same spot on my rifle every time.
In closing once you have your rifle set to go, get out there an play! Pay attention to what you like and what you don't like about how your rifle is set up. Have a look at what other players use and how they set up their rifles. Over time you will come to a conclusion about what exactly you really want in a rifle. In the meantime a properly set up first rifle should serve you well.