Skip to content

How Do Airsoft Guns Work: A Beginner’s Guide

Table of Contents

Share:

Airsoft guns have become popular for recreational shooting and military simulations, offering a safer and more cost-effective alternative to real firearms.

But have you ever wondered how airsoft guns work? In this article, we will delve into the mechanics of airsoft guns, explaining the different types available and how they use compressed air or gas to propel plastic BBs at high speeds.

We will also discuss how some specific airsoft guns like revolvers or grenade launchers work. So, if you’re interested in how airsoft guns work, read on!

How Does an Airsoft Gun Work?

Airsoft guns are replica firearms that shoot small plastic pellets using air pressure or a spring-driven mechanism. They are designed to be non-lethal and are often used for recreational purposes such as target shooting and tactical games.

When an airsoft gun is fired, a small amount of air is released from a compressed gas canister or a spring-driven piston. This air propels the pellet out of the gun’s barrel and towards the target. The air pressure is typically strong enough to shoot the pellet at a velocity of around 100 to 600 feet per second. The speed and accuracy of the shot depends on the type of gun, the type of pellet, and the distance to the target.

There are several different types of airsoft guns, each with its own unique mechanism for shooting pellets. Some of the most common types include gas-powered guns, spring-powered guns, electric-powered guns, and HPA-powered.

Some of the best airsoft rifles reviewed!

Working Mechanisms of Airsoft Guns

As we mentioned above there are several different types of airsoft guns based on their working mechanism. To understand how they work, let’s look at each type in more detail:

How Do Spring-Powered Airsoft Guns (Springers) Work?

Spring-powered airsoft guns, also known as “springers,” use a spring-loaded mechanism to shoot the pellet. In this type of gun, a spring is compressed when the gun is cocked, and then released when the trigger is pulled. The released spring propels the pellet out of the barrel and towards the target.

To operate a spring-powered airsoft gun, the user must first manually cock the gun by pulling back on the slide or bolt. This compresses the spring and loads the pellet into the barrel. Once the spring is compressed and the gun is cocked, the user can pull the trigger to release the spring and shoot the pellet.

PDI Custom S&T USMC M40A5 Bolt Action Airsoft Sniper Rifle
PDI Custom S&T USMC M40A5 Bolt Action Airsoft Sniper Rifle
BBTac Airsoft Pistol 1911 G6 Spring Powered Airsoft Gun
BBTac Airsoft Pistol 1911 G6 Spring Powered Airsoft Gun
JG AK Beta Spetsnaz Bolt Action Shell Ejecting Spring Powered Airsoft Rifle
JG AK Beta Spetsnaz Bolt Action Shell Ejecting Spring Powered Airsoft Rifle

How Do Electric Airsoft Guns (AEG) Work?

How does an AEG work? By w4stedspace

Electric airsoft guns, also known as AEGs, work by using a battery-powered motor to propel plastic BBs out of the barrel of the gun. The motor is connected to a gearbox that is responsible for driving the piston that actually propels the BB. When the trigger is pulled, the motor activates and turns the gears in the gearbox, which in turn drives the piston back and forth. This creates a pressure difference in the air chamber, which forces the BB out of the barrel and towards the target.

Several factors, including the strength of the battery, the speed of the motor, and the quality of the gearbox determine the power of the AEG. Higher-quality AEGs will generally have more powerful batteries, faster motors, and more durable gearboxes, which can result in higher muzzle velocities and greater accuracy.

AEGs are the most popular type of airsoft gun and are commonly used in airsoft games. They offer a great balance of power, accuracy, and rate of fire to make them suitable for a variety of different scenarios. Also, they are very user and beginner friendly, since they are very easy to operate and maintain.

Evike Specna ArmsRock River Arms CORE Series M4 Airsoft AEG Rifle
Evike Specna ArmsRock River Arms CORE Series M4 Airsoft AEG Rifle
CYMA Sport Airsoft AR-47 SR-47 AEG Rifle
CYMA Sport Airsoft AR-47 SR-47 AEG Rifle
Evike FN Herstal Licensed P90 AEG
Evike FN Herstal Licensed P90 AEG

How Do Gas Airsoft Guns Work?

Gas airsoft guns, also known as gas-powered airsoft guns, use compressed gas, typically propane, CO2 or green gas, to propel plastic BBs out of the barrel of the gun. The gas is stored in a removable magazine or cartridge that is attached to the gun. When the trigger is pulled, the gas is released into the air chamber and causes the BB to be propelled out of the barrel.

Gas airsoft guns are generally more powerful and realistic than electric airsoft guns. This is because they use compressed gas to propel the BBs, which allows for a more accurate and realistic shooting experience. Additionally, gas airsoft guns are typically louder and produce a more satisfying recoil, which can make the experience of shooting them more enjoyable for some players.

All-in-all gas airsoft guns offer a realistic shooting experience. However, they do require regular maintenance and the use of external gas cartridges, which can make them less convenient to use compared to electric airsoft guns.

Evike KWC CO2 Powered Uzi Submachine Gun
Evike KWC CO2 Powered Uzi Submachine Gun
Umarex USA GLOCK 19 Gen3
Umarex USA GLOCK 19 Gen3
Evike WinGun Nagant M1895 Airsoft CO2 Revolver
Evike WinGun Nagant M1895 Airsoft CO2 Revolver

How Do HPA Airsoft Guns Work?

HPA, or high-pressure air, airsoft guns are a type of airsoft gun that uses compressed air to propel plastic BBs out of the barrel of the gun. HPA airsoft guns are similar to gas airsoft guns in that they use compressed gas to drive the BBs, but they differ in that the compressed air is delivered to the gun via an external air tank or compressor, rather than via a disposable gas cartridge or magazine.

When the trigger is pulled on an HPA airsoft gun, a burst of compressed air is released from the tank and sent into the air chamber of the gun. This causes the BB to be propelled out of the barrel and towards the target. The power of the HPA airsoft gun is determined by several factors, including the pressure of the air in the tank, the quality of the gun’s internals, and the size and weight of the BBs.

HPA airsoft guns offer greater control and consistency over the power and accuracy of the gun. This is because the user can adjust the pressure of the air in the tank to fine-tune the gun’s performance. Additionally, HPA airsoft guns do not require the use of disposable gas cartridges, which can make them more cost-effective and convenient to use over time.

HPA airsoft guns offer a high-performance and customizable shooting experience. However, they do require the use of an external air tank or compressor, which can make them more expensive and less portable than other types of airsoft guns.

Airsoft Gun Features

Airsoft guns, like real firearms, have a variety of features that can affect their performance and user experience. Some of the most common airsoft features include:

Hop-up

The hop-up is a system that adds spin to the BB as it leaves the barrel of the gun. This spin helps to compensate for the effect of gravity, which can cause the BB to drop over long distances. The hop-up system is typically located inside the gun’s chamber and consists of a rubber or silicone nub that applies pressure to the BB as it passes through.

This causes the BB to spin, which creates a lifting force that helps to keep it in the air for longer. The amount of hop-up applied to the BB can be adjusted using a dial or lever on the gun, which allows the user to fine-tune the range and accuracy of the gun.

Blowback 

Blowback is a feature that simulates the recoil of a real firearm. This is typically achieved using a mechanism that moves the slide or bolt of the gun backwards when the trigger is pulled. The blowback mechanism is powered by the expansion of gas or air that is released when the gun is fired. As the gas expands, it pushes against the slide or bolt, causing it to move backwards and create a recoil effect. The amount of blowback can be adjusted by changing the pressure of the gas or air, or by using a heavier or lighter slide or bolt. This can affect the realism and satisfaction of the shooting experience.

Action

The action of an airsoft gun refers to the way in which it loads, fires, and ejects BBs. The three main types of action are semi-automatic, automatic, and single shot. Semi-automatic guns fire one BB per trigger pull, automatic guns fire multiple BBs per trigger pull and single-shot guns require the user to manually load each BB before firing.

The type of action can affect the speed and efficiency with which the gun can fire BBs. For example, semi-automatic guns are generally the slowest and require the most manual intervention, while automatic guns can fire BBs very quickly but may require more maintenance and consume gas or air more quickly. Single-shot guns are the simplest and most reliable, but also the least versatile.

HOW DO AIRSOFT GUNS WORK

How Do More Specific Airsoft Guns Work?

How Do Airsoft Revolvers Work?

Airsoft revolvers are designed to closely resemble real revolvers, and they operate in a similar way. With real-looking shells, each revolver has the same mechanism as a standard 6 shooter with the cylinder spinning when you cock the hammer. 

One of the key differences between airsoft revolvers and real revolvers is that they are mostly powered by gas. This gas is usually either green gas or CO2, and it is stored in a cartridge that is located in the pistol grip.

When you pull the trigger on an airsoft revolver, the revolver will turn the cylinder and present a cartridge to the hammer. This is similar to what happens in a real revolver, but instead of striking something, the action opens the gas cartridge’s valve. This allows the compressed gas to flow out quickly, propelling the BB down the barrel of the gun.

What separates airsoft revolvers from other airsoft guns is that the BBs are typically stored in shells that are designed to be loaded into the cylinder of the revolver.

Evike WinGun Nagant M1895 Airsoft CO2 Revolver
Evike WinGun Nagant M1895 Airsoft CO2 Revolver
Smith & Wesson M&P Airsoft Revolver
Smith & Wesson M&P Airsoft Revolver
Elite Force Umarex Legends Smoke Wagon Revolver
Elite Force Umarex Legends Smoke Wagon Revolver

How Do Airsoft Shotguns Work?

Airsoft shotguns typically use a spring-powered system to propel plastic BBs out of the barrel of the gun. When the user pulls the trigger, a spring is released, which propels a piston forward and drives a BB out of the barrel of the gun. The BB then travels down the barrel and out of the gun, where it can hit a target. Some airsoft shotguns may also use gas-powered (CO2 or Green gas) systems to propel the BBs, but the basic principle is the same.

With airsoft shotguns, the BBs are loaded into shells which are then loaded into the gun. When the user pulls the trigger, the shotgun will fire a single BB or multiple BBs depending on how it is configured. This allows for more realistic firing and reloading mechanics, making airsoft shotguns more popular with players who want to simulate a real-world shooting experience.

CYMA Full Metal M870 3-Round Burst Multi-Shot Shell Loading Airsoft Shotgun
CYMA Full Metal M870 3-Round Burst Multi-Shot Shell Loading Airsoft Shotgun
Tactical Force Tri-Shot Airsoft Shotgun
Tactical Force Tri-Shot Airsoft Shotgun
Evike CYMA M3 3-Round Burst Multi-Shot Airsoft Shotgun
Evike CYMA M3 3-Round Burst Multi-Shot Airsoft Shotgun

How Do Airsoft Grenade Launchers Work?

An airsoft grenade launcher is a type of airsoft gun designed to mimic the appearance and functionality of a 40mm grenade launcher. These guns are typically larger and bulkier than other airsoft guns, and they are capable of launching special 40mm shells filled with BBs.

Now airsoft grenade launchers don’t actually shoot out grenades like the real things. When a 40mm shell is loaded into the grenade launcher, it is filled with gas, such as CO2 or green gas, which will be used to propel the BBs out of the shell when it is fired. The BBs are stored inside the shell, and when the trigger is pulled, a burst of gas is released, shooting all of the BBs out of the shell at once. This can create a spray of hundreds of BBs, simulating the effect of a real grenade.

In addition to standard 40mm shells filled with BBs, there are also specialized shells available for airsoft grenade launchers that are filled with pyrotechnic material. When these shells are fired, they release a cloud of smoke or a small explosion, adding an extra layer of realism to airsoft games.

In Conclusion

  • Airsoft guns work by using compressed gas, springs, or a combination of both to propel plastic BBs out of the barrel and toward the target.
  • There are four different types of airsoft guns based on their working mechanism: Electric airsoft guns (AEG), gas airsoft guns, springers, and HPA airsoft guns.
  • Each type of airsoft gun works by using a different power source, with AEGs using electric motors, gas guns using compressed gas, springers using manual cocking actions, and HPA guns using a tank of compressed gas.

Pretty much all airsoft guns work by the same principles. But there are different mechanisms that propel the BBs that all work differently.

It’s important to understand how each type of gun works so that you can choose the right one for your particular situation and needs. 

With this beginner’s guide, you should now have a better understanding of how airsoft guns work and how different types function. So go out and enjoy a game of airsoft with your friends!

Share this post!

Related Posts

What Is Green Gas for Airsoft

What Is Green Gas for Airsoft?

When starting out airsoft, you may have heard of the term “green gas”. Green gas, also known as propane or duster gas, is one of

What Does AEG Mean in Airsoft

What Does AEG Mean in Airsoft?

One of the most important aspects of airsoft is understanding the safety gear and terminology used in the game. A popular question among newcomers to