You don’t need a replica right away and won’t be able to buy one right away either. We suggest you go to a site, rent a replica, ask people if you can look at theirs (they will often be keen to show off their shiny toys!) and make a decision based on first hand information.
That said, you are probably browsing websites for your first purchase already! Guns are cool and playing soldier is fun, you want to own a replica firearm ASAP and there’s nothing wrong with that, but if you have a little patience you will be able to get an awesome replica as opposed to rushing in and having to buy one painted up like a child’s toy!
Choosing your first replica is an important decision. First off, it needs to be an AEG. They are the most versatile and reliable type you can buy. You will need every advantage you can get when you are learning how to play! There are few bad AEGs, just different AEGs for different situations and different personal preferences. Your first replica should meet the following requirements –
- hi-cap magazines available
- large type battery compartment (unless you are going to invest in a lithium battery and charger)
- Short enough overall length to use in urban games (not much bigger than a carbine)
- Long enough barrel to work well in woodland (no machine pistols or micro SMGs)
Most importantly, you must enjoy the look and feel of your chosen replica!
Most assault rifles and SMGs fit into the above requirements, such as AK47, G36, MP5, SCAR, bullpup rifles (rifles with the magazine behind the pistol grip) and M4.
The quality of each brand can range from near perfect replicas to rough knock offs, and there are far too many brands to talk about here. If you can only afford a Chinese clone such as JG, D-boys or CYMA then that’s not a problem as more often than not they look good and the gearboxes are very durable. Be sure that any replica you purchase is under the legal limits for airsoft replicas in the jurisdiction you’re in, we recommend getting it chronographed at the shop when you buy it.
Something to think about is the ‘weapon system’ concept. In the British Army your rifle is part of a weapon system, that is to say that it is not just the rifle, it is also magazines, ammunition, mag pouches, sights and cleaning kit that are all essential to laying down effective fire. If you look at your airsoft kit in the same way you can see that bringing a new AEG ‘weapon system’ to a game means not just buying a replica but also possessing the appropriate
- Magazine pouches
- Carrying case