Where To BuyEdit
Many people differ in opinions as to what guns are the best, what companies are the best, and where airsoft guns are best to buy. Airsoft guns bought from stores like Walmart and Sports Authority are generally cheaper, poorer quality guns, with a few minor exceptions. Several "walk-in" airsoft stores exist, including Airsoft Atlanta and Airsoft Carolina. These specialized stores not only offer a unique experience as to being able to see the guns in person, but also carry high quality guns. The most popular way to buy airsoft guns is to buy them online. Generic websites such as Amazon carry a few good deals, but are not advised aside from starter guns and sometimes bbs and accessories. AirsoftGI is a well respected website, as well as several others. One thing to remember when buying airsoft guns is that they are not cheap. If a deal seems to be too good to be true, it probably is. Sites like Hobbytron sell some decent guns, but most of their inventory is cheap, under-ten-dollar spring pistols and rifles that will probably not last more than a week.
What To BuyEdit
So, now you know where to buy things, what are you going to buy?
The most popular type of primary weapon is the AEG. These range from small, CQB guns like the MP5 to the legendary giant, the Echo 1 Minigun. The most common AEGs are the M4 and the AK-47 and its variants. AEGs range in price from low-end, not recommended guns for sixty dollars to up to three thousand dollars for Systema PTWs. Decent, usable AEGs can be found for 90-150 dollars, and these are the most common guns. Nearly every airsoft manufacturer carries at least one type of AEG, even if it is simply a rebranded clone of another.
Other primary weapons include sniper rifles, which are essentially spring pistols on steroids. These are commonly bolt action, with some exceptions such as most M14s, which can be semi and even full auto, and bridge the gap between sniper rifles and AEGs. They are designed to take out a single target from a long range. These weapons seem very cool and seem like they would be very easy to use, but in reality they can take years to master, and upgrades can total up to over a thousand dollars.
Shotguns are also popular weapons. Most good shotguns are multishot and pump action. They are either spring or gas powered. Spring guns generally shoot 3 bbs at about 250-300 FPS and are very effective in CQB. GAS shotguns are rare and very expensive, but can shoot sometimes as much as 5 bbs at up to 400 FPS.
Everyone needs a good back up. If your primary's battery dies or if you run out of ammo, having some sort of backup weapon is always good. If you are short on cash, spring pistols for about 20 dollars are an option. These can either be pieces of junk, or reliable, trusty sidearms. A slightly more expensive alternative is the gas powered pistol. These are typically semi or full auto. HIgh end gas pistols are often called Gas Blow-Back pistols, which mimick the action of a real firearm and use some of the gas propelling the BB to blow back the slide to chamber the next round. Non Blow Back pistols are cheaper and use less gas, and, while not as realistic, are often a better choice in battle. AEPs, or Automatic Electric Pistols, are generally weaker, but some people still opt for them due to their automatic capabilities, and because Gas performs poorly in cold weather.
Who are UKARA ?Edit
UKARA are a group of Airsoft retailersin the UK who have formed an association to protect their businesses and enable the sale of Realistic Imitation Firearms ( RiF's), to the newly restricted recognised and approved customers resulting from the Violent Crime Reduction Act (VCRA)(UK only).
Why have they set up the UKARA Scheme ?Edit
Under the new act it is the responsibility of the seller to verify that the purchaser is approved, and they may be prosecuted if they fail to do this with due diligence.
How will the UKARA scheme do this?Edit
UKARA has set up an Independent Data Base which will be used to list eligible purchasers and allow UKARA retailer members to check sale recipients are bona fidi.
Who are the eligible purchasers?Edit
The only groups of persons now allowed to purchase RiF's are Film,TV, Museums, Theatres, Crown Servants, and persons engaged in Re-enactement activities, and airsoft skirmishing. All these purchasers must be over 18 years of age