ADVANCED TIPS 2: Upgrading Your Gun

So you bought a great gun, but now you’ve grown tired of it. It doesn’t shoot as quickly or perform the way you want anymore. Instead of buying a new gun- upgrade it! But where do you start? Just like a new car being brought into the shop, you don’t want to spend a ton of money on parts you don’t need or are unnecessary. You just want it to go from good to amazing.

Some players choose to purchase a high end gearbox, while others just upgrade their existing gearbox through new bearings and shimming. Upgrading gearboxes can be confusing with a wide array of parts, choices, brands, fittings, and terminology. Knowing the type of parts that work for your gearbox and which will parts will give you the performance enhancements you’re looking for, will help you get the most for your money. Get to know your local airsoft technician if you’re still unsure, and they’ll help you choose the best bang for your buck.

TYPES OF UPGRADES:

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External Upgrades
         These are the aesthetic enhancements to the look and body of your gun. Plastic to PolyCarb to Metal bodies, RIS Rail systems, stocks, hand guards, motor grips, selectors, extensions and silencers. Most have no real impact on the overall performance of your gun.

External changes will enhance the realistic look, feel and ergonomics of your AEG airsoft gun.

Choosing your external parts can be confusing as to whether it will fit your existing gun and add/decrease the overall weight ratios. First, its best to check for compatibility by simply checking if the packaging states a type/model (M4, G36, AK47, etc).

Body Style
Upgrading from a polycarbonate to a metal body style will not only add a more realistic look and feel, but it will also improve your gun’s durability. Metal adds an extra amount of protection for your gearbox and will be tighter around the shell keeping your gearbox from rocking back and forth in the receiver.

RIS Rail Systems
          A rail system will give you more space to add accessories like sights, scopes, flashlights, lasers and lower hand grips. Rails provide ample opportunities for customization of your gun. Many companies offer rails in body polycarb and metal and you can choose from single, double, triple or quad set rails.

Grips/Stocks
          Changing your grip can make a huge difference in the comfort of your gun- important for long airsoft scrimages. Choosing a new stock that adapts to your needs and fits comfortably against your shoulder will also improve overall comfort and if your accessories work the way you need- you’ll love your gun even more!

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Internal Upgrades
          These upgrades are the parts that will directly affect the way your gun runs and fine tuning these parts are the key to getting your gun to peak performance. You’ll want to consult an airsoft technician for the parts you’ll need and to assist in some of the upgrades. Upgrading bushing sizes will require you to drill and gradient into your gearbox shell and shimming is an art that takes patience and a keen eye/ear.

Upgrading Rate of Fire
          To upgrade your ROF, it is highly recommended not to use a spring tension any higher than an M100. This will help relieve the wear and tear on your gears and piston while allowing your motor to cycle through faster. It will also take some wear off your motor since it won’t have to work harder to pull the spring. You’ll also want to consider a high speed steel gear set at a higher ratio, upgraded lightweight piston, ball bearing bushings at either a 6mm or 8mm setup, and a high speed motor. Remember to shim, shim, shim that gearbox! These upgrades will help add 8-15 round per second increase to your ROF!

Upgrading FPS Limits
          While increasing FPS can also increase range, you’ll want to check with your local field and check on the requirements and regulations so you don’t spend the time and money and not be able to use your gun. To increase your FPS, you’ll want to look into a spring tensioned at M110 or higher depending on the FPS you’re looking for. You’ll also want to consider a high torque steel gear set set at a higher ratio, spring guide, reinforced steel piston and a high torque motor. These changes will get you an increase of 20-100FPS (depending on the original AEG set up and the spring tension).

Increasing Range
          So you want to be a sniper without the sniper rifle, you’ll need to look at the two main components: your hop-up and a tight bore inner barrel. The best Hop-Ups are made of metal and are CNC machined; some have external O-rings which can provide maximum air compression, but the external o-rings are not always necessary. A tight bore barrel can drastically improve your accuracy and your range by keeping the bb from jostling against the barrel sides and by decreasing the air pressure loss in the space between the bb and the barrel edge. This tighter space will keep all the air pressure behind the bb pushing it further and harder. Tight bore barrels require the use of high quality BB as well as rigorous cleaning to prevent bb scoring. Tight bore barrels are available from 6.04mm – 6.01mm; the small the inner diameter of the barrel, the more consistent your range and accuracy will be, but it also means that dirty or imperfect bbs will jam MUCH easier!

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Now that you’re knowledgable about the ways to customize, personalize and enjoy your existing AEG, go out and make the gun you LOVE and couldn’t imagine playing without!

*Remember that these upgrades are only recommendations and not every upgrade is necessary. Consult with an airsoft technician you trust to find the best configuration for your needs and your wallet. Some upgrades will require prerequisite upgrades or companion upgrade parts to keep your gun from destroying itself. (ie. Don’t upgrade your gears or motor without also upgrading your piston, otherwise you risk stripping out your piston.)

Airsoft Tips for Parents

“Airsoft this, airsoft that, random gun name…” Parents are always calling us or coming in confused and wondering what this “Airsoft Sport” is that their child is raving about. For many parents, anything that involves groups running around with guns and imitating warfare, can create alot of anxiety and concern. Other parents voice concerns over the “violent” aspect of the sport. This could not be further from the truth and will continue to be an uphill battle for airsofters and retailers.

Familiarizing yourself and others with the sport, will help to relieve concerns and worry as well as ensure your child is playing safely. You may also realize the benefits to airsoft and encourage your player to stick with it! Airsoft builds teamwork, leadership, communication, responsibility and keeps players active!

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RULES:
          With the internet and a growing population of airsoft retailers, it has become even easier to familiarize yourself with the rules and different regulations of airsoft. Making yourself aware of these rules will help you extend this knowledge to your children and help them understand the importance of them. There are alot of different rules based on your state, type of field (indoor/outdoor), and the specific regulations of your area. Kids have their own ideas and expectations of the gameplay, so this may mean compromising! You will allow them to play- IF they follow certain rules you set in place.

Don’t let your child overwhelm you! There are a ton of resources available- use them! Gather your information and know where you can turn to for advice, information and to settle your concerns.

SAFETY SWITCH:
         Teach your child the importance of the safety switch, where its located, how to use it and pressure the importance of having their guns in safe mode at all times when they aren’t in the midst of game play. Express the repercussions that could occur if they don’t engage the safety and the dangers it incurs.

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SUPERVISION:
          It is best to employ a supervisor or send your children to a legitimate and sanctioned airsoft field with referees and staff. This will help calm the nerves and give peace of mind knowing your kids will be expected to follow rules and regulations and that safety will be paramount! Legal fields will be able to help new players ease into the sport but still provide a daring experience for more advanced players.

If you don’t have a sanctioned field nearby and most players around are playing in the middle of nowhere, try to learn who they are playing with and that there will be a supervisor to ensure safety gear is worn and worn properly.

When the games are over, make sure they set their equipment up and out of reach of younger children.

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THE ORANGE TIP:
The orange tip on the airsoft gun helps distinguish them from real live-fire weapons. Explain the importance of the orange tip to your player and why it is important to leave it on! Most of the stories on the news about airsofters getting shot or mistaken for criminals, is because they were already in the midst of committing a crime, did not obey the law enforcement when told to disarm themselves, or were aiming their weapon at the police officer. Place the importance to your player on listening to law enforcement officers if they approach. This may mean handing over their airsoft gun and not getting it back- but it’s better than getting shot or placed in jail.

While there are some states that only require the orange tip for retail sale, and it can be removed once in personal possession of the player, it is always best to leave the orange tip on regardless.

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SAFETY GEAR:
          Eyes, ears, noses and mouths are the most susceptible for injury when playing airsoft, but there is an abundance of safety options for the face- take advantage of them!! There are options in every price range and will help ensure your child will come home intake and you won’t need a trip to the Urgent Care for stitches, or the dentist for a crown.

The first thing to start with when shopping for safety gear is the face protection. A full face mask is the easiest option since it covers all the necessities in one piece of gear. Some players prefer to have sealed tactical goggles (like ski goggles) and a half mask to cover their nose/mouth in either a metal mesh or hard plastic style. Either way will work for airsoft game play.

Inform yourself about the NEEDS of gear instead of the WANTS (“needs”) that your player says they must have. Speaking with an airsoft retailer or doing internet research will help you create a shopping list and know where to start.

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LOCAL LAWS:
          Learning your legal regulations about airsoft, will help keep your child safe and help them keep their guns. While airsoft is legal across the U.S., in most states, there is a minimum age for airsoft play. In others, like California, an adult MUST be present for airsoft play to occur. Some states have special laws regarding airsoft play within city limits, like Arizona’s Maricopa County, where airsoft is not allowed within 200 yards of a residential area.

Backyards are a special circumstance, and the laws surrounding playing on your own property change by area. It may not be illegal in your area, but be mindful of your neighbors! It is one of the biggest complaints we hear as an airsoft company, that people are tired of finding piles of bbs in their yard from the neighbor kids. If your child insists on playing in the backyard, or you prefer for them to remain within your yard to play, consider using biodegradable bbs (which disintegrate over 2 weeks).

Check your local laws regarding where players have to play, who has to be there, how old the players must be, if the guns have to be a certain color, or if they can play in certain areas (like backyards).

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KNOW THAT AIRSOFT IS NOT DANGEROUS IF PLAYED PROPERLY!
Airsoft is less dangerous than paintball and other sports available to your child. Surprising as that may be. Airsoft bbs have a lower mass than paintballs and travel at a significantly lower velocity. If all the safety gear is worn, rules are followed, laws are abided by, and the guns are cared for properly, airsoft game play can be safer than mowing the lawn!

Teamwork – Communication – Leadership – Friendship – Discipline – Integrity – Exercise