The Ultimate Spring Gun GuideTable of Contents
-Updated: October 20, 2006-
(Use Control + F, then a keyword, to navigate faster)
1. Introduction (and brands)
2. Spring Gun Buyer's Guide (pistols and rifles)
... Guns to Avoid
3. Equipment and Gear Essentials
4. Maintenance and BBs
... What is in a BB?
... Basic Spring Gun Maintenance
5. Painting and Modification
... Basic Paint Brands and Steps
... Basic Modification
6. Resource Links
7. Editing and Thanks
Since I still manage to see random topics here and there, I thought maybe I could just make a topic combining two buyerâ€™s guides with my own information. This is also made to revise the guides to include some of the more recent guns when they come.
Rustpot's guides have been deleted as of February 19, 2005. The old forums no longer carry them, so I can't link to them. It's unfortuante... WARNING!
All unlisted brands are usually not seen very often by the casual Airsofter. This serves only as a guide to help GUIDE you into the spring weapon you want. If you feel you don't want to buy any of the recommended guns, I'm not stopping you.To everyone ELSE,
Don't flame people who don't want a mainstream gun. Please. I've seen way too much flaming on these boards already. If someone ever states something false as fact, then just correct the person nicely.
We'll start off by listing basic spring gun brands:Tokyo Marui (TM):
Hailed as the main brand of Airsoft; both spring and electric. Their pistols use "single-load" magazines, where you load BBs individually. Pretty simple and realistic, but during a game it's a hassle. That's why most people buy many TM mags and just pre-load them. The problem with these magazines is that if pressure is applied to the first BB, they may spray out! All that hard BB work for nothing!
Now that we have the basics covered, we will go over the Tokyo Marui Generations.
The first Tokyo Marui springers. They're weak, lack hop-up, and are built with pretty crummy materials. Skip them at all costs.
The basic Marui pistols are here. They are split into two categories; high-grade and high-grade with hop-up. You'll want the high-grade with hop-up (now referred to as HGHU throughout this guide). Buying the HGHU model instead of the HG is VERY important! The HG models do not have any hop-up, making them pretty inferior.
The most recent generation. There are four pistols in here, including the Mk23 SOCOM, PC356, Colt 1911A1, and the STI Eagle (which seems like it is never going to be released). They all perform better than the first and second-gen pistols, so if you really want the best, you get these.
The easiest way to tell the difference between the HG and HGHU is the box color. HG's have blue boxes, while HGHU's have tan boxes. Easy enough right? I'll get pics later, after the guide as complete.Unicorn Hobby Corporation (UHC):
This is the "middle-class" springer category. They have a few good guns, but most of them aren't that great. The most-known gun they make is the UHC MP5-SD3. It's basically the staple in a springer's armory. Nearly all serious spring skirmishers have one of these. Their quality control is pretty weak, so there is a high chance you may get a lemon. Many of UHCâ€™s guns are copies of Tokyo Marui.
Note: I've heard reports of UHC guns coming in Neonfire boxes. Neonfire is a USA distributor of Airsoft guns. They also distribute for HFC in some cases.Kine Well Toy Company (KWC):
These guys make great springers. They have the best spring rifle ever made (the ultra-rare KWC M-16) as well as the greatest pistols ever. They're also known as "Cybergun" and "3PSA", which are distributors of their products. You can find them pretty easily, too. Most BIG 5's sell them for around $20.Ho-Feng Company (HFC):
I'm pretty sure this is their name. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
Anyways, HFC's guns are usually made with a high metal content. Very durable, indeed, but the hop-up on their guns are lacking. There have been numerous stores about them having great guns, then another person buying one and getting a piece of crap. Bad quality control, but you get what you buy. It's a gamble...Academy:
Their guns are most often seen at non-Airsoft specialty stores. Theyâ€™re of decent quality, and only two guns they make are worth consideration; the Tommy Gun and the DPMS A-15 (which has durability issues).UTG (made by Leapers):
A new company made by Leapers, the same manufacturers of those scopes you see often on both Airsoft guns and some target shooting guns. They're basically cheaper replicas of higher-end rifles made by Maruzen, with performance and build quality just slightly lower.Viper USA (CYMA/STTi):
The infamous CYMA has a reputation of making the worst guns ever. [
CYMA is an Airsoft company. True. They're horrible though. Some of their guns have good durability, but the lack of hop-up on most models makes them a bad gun choice. Stay away from them.Y&P:
Someone insisted I add Y&P into the fray because they make some decent guns. Well, I hate their guns myself (besides their lovely Glock with its railing), but otherwise, not the wisest choice. Now and then, there will be a good Y&P gunâ€¦ actually, scratch that. Thereâ€™s really only one decent Y&P gun.Toystar:
These are the new guys on the market. I've heard weird reviews about them. Apparently, they're weak, but can easily take a more powerful spring if needed. Sounds pretty cool. I've personally never used one (I don't want to put out the cash or time.), but they can't be too
Ok, some new news. The Toystar rifles at Modelmarts are apparantly pretty strong. Toystar rifles at other stores are weak. Just a note.Jieke:
There guns will not be listed, but, just a warning. Jieke makes some Airsoft guns, as well as some accessories (the best example is the P99 optics set, usually sold for $10). While some of their accessories are good for wall hangers, they don't function well. Same goes to their guns. Try to avoid them, unless you're looking for some nice-looking, not-very-functional add-ons.
Well, with the basic info out of the way, we will start on the guide.
Note that most of the guns I list are the only guns worthy or some attention. There are many missing guns, just because they arenâ€™t even good enough to list. Also, some are very new and I probably havenâ€™t seen them or something. Make sure to remind me of new additions. Iâ€™m always ready to add more! Wellâ€™ not always.
2. Spring Gun Buyer's Guide (pistols and rifles)
Anyways, I hope this guide will help you choose your gun, whether it is a pistol or rifle. Check every price section for information.
Note: Cybergun, 3PSA, Neonfire, and SoftAir USA are distributors, not makers of guns. Theyâ€™re the companies that import guns made by companies like UHC and KWC. Donâ€™t get them mixed up. Price Range: $0-10
Nothing to mention here besides crappy CYMA pistols, no-name brands, and Fuji guns. Don't bother.
Azrael picks: Anything free [
]Price Range: $11-20
The Beginning of Good
UHC: M92F, P22(6,8), Desert Eagle, USP, P8, Ruger, Revolvers, CZ-75, 1911-A1 (re-release, with hop-up)
KWC(high-grades): Taurus PT-92, K99, Double Eagle, Smith & Wesson handguns (M-Numbers), P22(6,8), M92F, Model 17 (G17)
KWC (lower-grade): 1911 variants, Eagle, P226, P228
HFC: P99, USP, M9 (compensated, aka "Tomb Raider"), Glocks, 1911 variants, P22(6,8,9).
Y&P: Glock Third Generation (with rails)
Most models here are pretty junky. All of HFC's guns are bad, except for the one P99 (good durability). All of the KWC variants, however, are great. Watch out though. Some KWC guns do NOT have hop-up and there is no way to find out which stores carry the non hop-up variants. UHC has the M92F, possibly the greatest gun for the money. It uses a single-load mechanism, but its great either way. The Y&P Glock is a worthy addition to an Airsofterâ€™s collection. Itâ€™s probably the ONLY third generation Glock out there right now, and itâ€™s decently durable, being a Y&P gun and all. The KWC PT-92 and the M92F are both the same internally. KWC makes different P22 pistols; the ones commonly seen at sporting goods stores are low-grades. The one at www.poweredgeusa.com
Azrael picks: UHC M92F, UHC 1911-A1, KWC PT-92 (M9), KWC K99, KWC P226, KWC G17
The UHC M92F is easily the best bang for your buck (literally, hehe, bad pun). It's got a decent magazine and spares are easily ordered from many stores. My favorite gun here, the PT-92, doesn't have great range due to its weak hop-up, but it's powerful and I just love speed-load magazines (speed-load means you pull a spring down and load it with something that slides BBs, like a funnel loader). Same goes to the KWC K99. A small note about the K99; there's a thin layer of oil around the parts inside of it. It won't get good performance until a good 100 or more shots are shot out of it. The UHC 1911-A1 is good addition to the UHC family. The original 1911â€™s were reported to lack range (lack of hop-up). The newer version is near the performance of the Tokyo Marui 1911-A1, and yes, it does have hop-up!
Some good news about the UHC guns is that magazines are always easy to get. If for any reason your UHC pistol breaks, you could always buy a Tokyo Marui gun of the same type. Since UHC copies Tokyo Marui, the magazines will work perfectly (well, not perfectly
, but well enough).
UHC M92F and 1911-A1
Series of KWC pistols
From left to right: PT-92, M4505, K99, P226Price Range: $21-30
UHC: 1911-A1 (re-release, with hop-up)
KWC: 1911 Variants
Higher-end KWC guns are found here. Mostly 1911's. Nothing new to note.
Azrael picks: Something cheaper. Some UHC 1911â€™s are up in this range.
Performs nearly as well as the TM 1911 HGHU. Itâ€™s basically just a carbon copy made with cheaper materials.Price Range: $31-40
Some junkers try to sell pistols at this price. Be careful.
Also in this range is the first "rifle", well, shotgun. The Hardballer II. It has decent power, decent accuracy, decent... you get the point. Has the range of a KWC pistol.
Thereâ€™s also a UTG shotgun here (Model 870). Itâ€™s not bad and itâ€™s pretty solid; itâ€™s almost a direct copy of the Maruzen CA870. It comes in three different forms: sawed-off, solid stock, and retractable stock. All three of the models have mounts on the top of them. The price makes it a great beginnerâ€™s gun. Heck, it could compete with higher-grade springers without worry of wasting $50+ dollars, but also retraining decent build quality and VERY good looks. Also, spare magazines can be found relatively cheap. Also, if you buy it from Airsplat youâ€™ll get two magazines (or so they say). Not a bad idea to pick one up.
Azrael picks: Hardballer II (barely), Double eagle FAMAS UTG 870 or a $20 KWC pistol
The UG 870 is excellent. Iâ€™m not up-to-date with lemons much, so I canâ€™t comment much on lemon rate, but I can say that when I used it, it was brilliant. The FAMAS I've never had many good experiences with, but most people seem to praise it a lot, so I guess it deserves a spot up here.
Hardballer 2 with sling and scope and UTG 870 Retractable StockPrice Range: $41-50
TM: Most of their HG and HGHU springers
KWC: Ultra-Grade Desert Eagle, Ultra-Grade 1911-A1, Ultra-Grade Sigma, Ultra-Grade S&W 1911
Tokyo Marui makes their appearance here. Finally! TM has the best pistols you can get along with KWC. They make top-of-the-line quality and quality control. The only problem I have with them is the single-loading (which can be remedied by a special speed-loader made just for loading TM pistol magazines)
The greatest low-end spring rifle is in this category; the UHC MP5-SD3. This gun is less than $50 easily, has spare SPEED-LOADING magazines easily to find, and is just overall awesome. How could you not buy it?
There's also the HFC MP5-A3. Some people have had good experiences with it. Others have had bad experiences. Another luck-of-the-draw guns. Also has a pump handle. There has also been a small buzz about a new KWC Airsoft ultra-grade. The S&W 1911 is essentially a copy of the 1911-A1, but with black grips (to satisfy tactical looks) and huge engraved letters reading, "S&W 1911" across the side of it (not so great). Bound to be the same performance as the 1911-A1.
Azrael picks: All HGHU Tokyo Marui pistols, ESPECIALLY the Mk23, PC356, 1911A1, STI Eagle (if it'll EVER be released), all of the KWC ultra-grades, UHC MP5-SD3, and UTG M87 (shotgun)
There's not much to say about them. They're all great, hard-hitting guns.
TM Third Generation Pistols (all HGHU)
From left to right: Mk23, 1911-A1, PC356
UHC MP5-SD3 with the ugly sticker (you can rip it off when you get it).
KWC Ultra-Grade Pistols
From left to right: Sigma, 1911-A1 Compensated, Desert Eagle
At this point, the remaining guns are rifles
-Price Range: $51-70
UHC: M-16 A-2 (announced, but probably never coming out)
HFC: L85-A1, L85 Carbine, M-16 (A1, A2), XM177E2
Bah, HFC rifles only (besides the â€œannouncedâ€ UHC rifle). I'm not a fan of HFC, but reports have shown that their weaponry is actually pretty decent sometimes. There are two versions of HFC rifles. The first version rifles are built like crap, don't have hop-up, and are just horrible. However, the version two rifles have been said to be just as good as the UHC MP5-SD3. There's really no way to find out which one you're buying. It's luck, just like all of the other HFC guns.
Azrael picks: None, unless you want a certain look.
I'm really not a fan of HFC, like I said before. Just make sure you get a version 2 if you do buy a HFC rifle.
HFC L85â€™s (A-1 and Carbine)
HFC Armalites (M-16 A-2 and XM177E2)Price Range: $71-90
TM: Uzi, MP5-A3, Skorpion
UHC: Super 9 (non-hop-up), Super 9 PRO
Toystar: M4A1, M16
If you're lucky, you can find the lower-end (but by no means BAD) Tokyo Marui rifles here, as well as the Super 9 PRO. Well, we already know that the Tokyo Marui guns are awesome, but what about the Super 9 PRO? In my opinion, it's a cool gun. For realism, the shell ejecting is top-notch. However, during a game they're just a hassle. Use the stick magazine instead.
Thereâ€™s the Toystar M4A1 for sale, too. Itâ€™s been acknowledged as a good modifying platform. There has been rising conversation about the magazine durability. People I know bought one and within a few weeks, the magazine broke (two internally, one externally).
Azrael picks: TM MP5, TM Uzi, TM Skorpion UHC Super 9 PRO
You know why.
Super 9 PRO. Bench not included.
and TM Uzi
TM Skorpion on grass and TM MP5-A3Price Range: $91-110
Academy: DPMS A-15, Tommy Gun
TM: M16-A1, XM177E2, G3A3 (if you're lucky, you'll find them for this cheap), MP5, Uzi (again)
KWC: ULTRA-RARE ARMALITES
Maruzen: CA870 (CQB, folding stock, sniper, stock, or sawed-off)
Here's the high-end stuff. All of these guns perform phenomenally. The A-15 has been known to have durability issues, however, so you should think about that before buying it, but people have claimed it has been fixed in the newer Version 3 model. The Tokyo Marui Armalites have pump handles that are stored in the handgrip. You just pull them back and shoot. This feature makes them nearly semi-auto. The magazine loading is a little complicated at first though. It involves a series of pulling plungers and funnels. You'll get used to it.
The CA870 shotgun, is considered sublime. If you can get it for cheap, buy it. Now.
Note: There are two different types of CA870's; a sawed-off version and a CQB version, with the major difference being looks. The CQB version sports a tactical look, as well as a scope and top rail. Also has a pistol grip.
The HFC VSR-11 is a knockoff of the TM VSR-10 with a metal barrel.
Azrael picks: All of them
Why? Simply because they're all awesome. Expensive, but awesome... [
] Also, the DPMS A-15 has a newer version (3) that people claim has fixed durability issues with it, so I suggest checking that out if you're in the mood for an Armalite.
TM XM177E2 with scope and flashlight
Maruzen CA870 CQB EditionPrice Range: $111-Up
TM: VSR-10 Sniper ($150-200, depends on which model), SPAS-12 ($175 sawed-off, $225 stock), M3 Shotgun ($150 sawed-off, $185 stock)
Maruzen: APS-2 ($300)
Classic Army: M24 ($325)
UHC: "Tactial" Super 9 ($120)
King Arms: Dragunov SVD ($500-ish dollars)
Other brands: Scattered sniper rifles, I don't want to go in detail.
I won't go into heavy detail, but these are the only guns suitable for battling AEGs, unless you're a tactical genius. I don't have much information on them, but there are a lot of links you can find through Google (www.google.com
Azrael picks: Maruzen rifles, KA Dragunov, CA M24,
Like I said, these are the only guns capable of putting up a good fight against AEGs, athough a somewhat unnecessary one. The sniper rifles can only stand a true chance when upgraded. Otherwise, I'd just suggest upgrading an AEG or some gas shotgun/rifle.
From what I hear, the Dragunov SVD is a beast, but its hefty price tag could easily be spent somewhere else, such as a fully upgraded TM AEG.
TM SPAS-12 in original packaging.
TM M3 Benelli
APS-2 with scopeGuns to Avoid
Thereâ€™s always one person each day asking about how durable certain guns are, and which guns they should avoid. Iâ€™m compiled a neat list of guns and companies in general you may want to steer clear of. CYMA/STTi:
Just avoid the whole company. Their guns are just so horrible; retailers trick new people to think it shoots at 380 FPS. Then they think that all Airsoft guns are horrible. I still have yet to see one decent gun made by them. Donâ€™t waste your time.HFC:
USP models, particularly the Tomb Raider Compensated model. Sure it looks good as a wallhanger, but this guide is about good field guns. [|)] Sometimes, though, they make a pretty good USP, where in that case, this rule is completely cancelled out. This is probably the third time I said this, but itâ€™s the luck-of-the-draw!
The Armalites and most of HFCâ€™s other rifles all have a version 1 variant with no hop-up. If possible, get information from the retailer or seller to find out which it is.Other:
Zida Shotguns, Riot Shotgun, and the brands Fuji, Academy, Hapdong, Jieke, and most other brands not listed.