The problem is that many of these buying guides rely on poor research, lack of understanding on how airsoft guns operate (people that make the argument that airsoft barrel extensions muffle a considerable amount of sound... -_- ).
I've been playing airsoft for about three years spending most of my free time doing research on most everything in the airsoft world.
I'm hoping that this guide will strongly influence your decision on purchasing an AEG. This is my first instructable, so I'll do my best to effectively communicate my thoughts and ideas.
NOTE: This is in no way a guide for purchasing real guns, nor are any of my suggestions even viable for real weapon use. This guide is for airsoft only.
Step 1: What is an AEG? / A Noteable Avoidance
These are the most common skirmish worthy airsoft guns. They use battery power (along with gears and a motor) to propel 6mm plastic bb's. Excellent for Infantry, Assault, Defense, and pretty much every other position (If you're a sniper, then Spring airsoft guns may also be a viable alternative).
Avoid Walmart and Sports Authority:
TRUST ME. I've spent well over $500 on cheap airsofts that break and become useless, since you can't Frankenstein them together. It's well worth it to save the $100+ required for a decent AEG.