Beginners' Guide: Getting Started In Airsoft
So you're looking to get into Airsoft, you've watched plenty of YouTube videos, seen a bunch of movies and played more than enough video games to know that you wanna shoot some bad guys and live out your Tactical fantasies, but which gun do you get? Do you go for Gas or Electric? Which brands are good and which are bad!? Do all guns come with a battery and charger? Can you buy a black one!? Maybe you’d just like to know what an Airsoft gun is?
Not to worry, we're here to talk you through the steps you need to take in order to find what you're looking for so we can get you equipped with your dream loadout.
Getting your first gun
The most common question we get here is probably "What is the best starter Airsoft Gun?" But ultimately that is a very hard question to answer, simply because what person A likes may not be what person B likes, as such opinion differ greatly and choosing your first gun is down to personal preference and what you like the look of, as it all boils down to how it looks.
There's a whole bunch of places you can start, but the best place to begin your airsoft Journey is with the gun itself. But even choosing a gun can be difficult, there's Bolt Action Rifles, Electric Rifles, Gas Rifles, Spring Powered Shotguns, Gas Pistols etc and it can be very daunting for a new player to browse the sea of options, so we're going to help you out by guiding you in the right direction and starting with an Assault Rifle, as they're the most popular choice for a first time buy as they allow you to try out a multitude of play styles.
Do I go for Gas or Electric?
Whereas Gas powered guns are very cool, they're also very expensive and incredibly demanding, not to mention they're also very inconsistent! Due to the ambient temperature affecting their performance you're at a huge disadvantage a lot of the time. So If you're looking for a first gun that you can rely on, you're going to want to go Electric!
We might not be able to decide for you, but what we can do is direct you towards tried & true, reliable and dependable platforms that have been the Go-to for beginner players for years, luckily these platforms primarily consist of Assault Rifles and M4 / AR-15 platforms due to their simplicity, modularity and versatility making them an excellent option for any new player looking to get started.
Can I buy a Black one?
Purchasing an Airsoft Gun does unfortunately come with some pretty strict regulations that both ourselves and our customers need to follow. All Airsoft Guns regardless of colour require the purchaser to be over the age of 18 as they are an age restricted product, just like an 18 rated Video Game or Movie.
In order to purchase a black or realistic looking gun you need to have what is known as a Defence, this is a defence against prosecution under the Violent Crimes Reduction Act of 2006, sounds spooky we know, but not to worry, it's very unlikely you'll ever hear the term again during your Journey into Airsoft as it's more of a Retailers concern.
There are a few different types of Defence, the primary one being something called a UKARA, which is database where retailers can see a customers listing and check if they're an active Airsoft player. In order to obtain a UKARA listing you need to and visit your local Airsoft site three times, these three visits need to be in no less than 56 days, then get a membership with the site by enquiring with the staff there, once you've got your membership they'll give you a unique player number. Then each time you go and play they'll sign a form for you, once this form has three signatures you can request to be put onto the UKARA Database with your site, then once you're on there you can use your unique player number to shop for realistic looking guns, simply enter the code at the checkout under the Defence section.
Disclaimer: Please note, the three games must be played in NO LESS than 56 days, this means you can span out your minimum of three games over the 56 day period or play them closer together, but either way you have to wait a total of 56 days before you can be applied to the UKARA Database.
I don't have a Defence, can I still buy one?
Yes! You can still buy an Airsoft gun without a defence, however the gun would need to go through a process known as Two-Toning, which involves 51% of the gun being painted a bright colour, typically Blue, Red or Green depending on your choice. This is so that the Airsoft Gun can be recognised as a toy rather than a real gun in order to deter criminals and reduce Imitation Firearm Crime.
The Two Tone Process adds a further cost of £10 to the cost of the gun and can take anywhere from 5 to 10 working days to be with you, this is due to the gun needing to be stripped, painted and then allowed to cure / dry as well as the orders being processed in date order. But if you don't fancy waiting that long and you want a Two Tone gun quicker, there are a few Pre Two Tone guns which are already painted by the manufacturer which means they can be with you as soon as the Next Working Day! You can take a look at our Pre Two Tone Assault Rifles HERE
If you'd like to know some more about the UKARA / Defence side of things then feel free to have a good read through our more in-depth explanation HERE or if you want to know some more about the Two Tone process you can check out our Terms & Conditions HERE.
Your First Assault Rifle
Probably the most popular assault rifle in the world among both real shooting and Airsoft is the M4 / AR-15, a platform that offers an incredible amount of customisation and modularity while remaining extremely efficient to the point where it can be applied to almost any combat scenario. The popularity of the M4 platform in Airsoft has resulted in an ocean of aftermarket accessories from Optics and Foregrips to Suppressors and Torches, there's a whole bunch of kit you can fit to make your M4 truly unique!
Below is a link to our What is the best Airsoft Gun BLOG where we discuss the top picks for a first time buyer.
If none of these are quite to your liking, not to worry! As we have an absolutely HUGE range of Assault Rifles for you to browse through from £89.99 up to the high hundreds, there's something for everyone's budget. CLICK HERE to browse the range of Assault Rifles!
Batteries & Chargers
So you've decided on your first gun, great stuff! But you're going to need a battery & charger to get it running, the gun may come with one however they're free gifts from the manufacturer and typically they're of very poor quality, as such we always recommend grabbing yourself a proper battery and charger to get you set for skirmish.
To help you make the best choice and ensure you get the right Battery & Charger for your gun, we've created a dedicated Buying Guide specifically for them which runs through the different types of batteries, why they're different and what kind you'll need. You can view the Buying Guide by CLICKING HERE.
BB's / Ammunition
BB's are the ammunition of the airsoft world, they're typically white in colour and roughly 6mm in size and often come in packs of anywhere from 40 to 3600! They're available in different weights, types and coatings all of which serve a unique purpose when fired
If you're wanting to get shooting, you're going to need some Ammo! Now there are many different types of BB's and it can be quite confusing if you're not too familiar with the variations and the purpose they serve, so we've put together a dedicated buying guide to ensure you're getting the right ammunition, you can view our BB Buying Guide by CLICKING HERE.
Possibly the most important piece of equipment within Airsoft, Eye Protection is Mandatory at all Airsoft sites and we always HIGHLY recommend wearing Eye Protection at all times when handling your Airsoft Guns, the only time you would not wear your Eye Pro is when you have safely cleared your gun and ensured that it cannot be fired or discharge a round.
BB's can fire anywhere from 150 to 500 Feet Per Second, which is roughly equal to 340 Miles Per Hour! Now I'm sure you don't need us to tell you that IS FAST! These things have the capability to take out teeth, so I'm sure you can imagine that you do NOT want to get one of these projectiles anywhere near your eyes, which is we we heavily recommend investing in some decent Eye Protection.
Please DO NOT cheap out on your Eye Protection, any protection that we sell is impact rated and safe to use for Airsoft, personally we would all recommend the brand BOLLE, as they specialise in Ballistic Rated Eye Protection, you can browse our BOLLE section by clicking HERE.
Eye Protection can come in many forms, from Mesh Goggles to Full Seal Clear ones, it's important to find a pair you find comfortable. If you're not sure which eye protection to go for, or what the differences are between them then you can take a gander at our dedicated Eye Protection Guide by clicking HERE
Face Protection is again another incredibly important piece of equipment, granted a lot of people choose not to wear Face Pro which is understandable as at times it may interfere with aiming and handling, as well as feeling bulky and getting sweaty. However, as we mentioned earlier these projectiles can and will take out your teeth, so unless you're feeling brave and you don't mind a costly visit to the dentist we recommend wearing some form of face protection. I'm sure we also don't have to express that yes, it hurts getting shot in the face, people love going for headshots of course and should you choose not to wear any lower face protection you may walk away from the Game with a face looking like a pepperoni pizza. There are a few different types of Face Protection you can buy, from basic fixed Mesh lower masks to Full Face Hard Shell Masks, there's a method of protecting those pearly whites for everyone!
So you've got your Gun, your Eye Protection, Face Protection and Ammo and you're all geared up & ready to get stuck in! CLICK HERE and Lets head on over to our guide for your First Game Day and run you through what to expect at your first skirmish.