This is my first guide, and I do plan to obtain a digital camera at some point soon [at which pont I will update this instructable to include live-action and personal photos] for now these pictures do not belong to me, and I take no responsibility for them. As such I ask readers to refrain from commenting on this specific subject.
Now on to the meat of the matter, In this complete guide I plan to touch down on all current airsoft weapon variants [as in assault rifles, shotguns, rifles, etc.]
Step 1: The Choice
Whilst choosin a gun, you are presented with three main choices of gun types.
Spring guns [Springers]: The most robust and cheap weapons on the market. They tend to be weak, and most are made out of cheap plastics. They need to be manually cocked after every shot, and accuracy is tends to be lacking [with the exception of most bolt-action rifles].
Electric guns [AEG]: Easily the most common, and usually the cheapest. These guns sacrifice realism for functionality. They allow for hi-cap magazines [wound-up clips with way above realistic standards for ammunition, usually peaking at around 450-500 rounds] and are powered by rechargeable batteries that will usually last a full game before dying. the dissadvantages are that they sound like toys, through and through; usually lack any recoil and Hi-cap magazines are not allowed at most 'hard-core' events.
Gas guns: The most realistic guns on the market. These variate between Non-blowbacks [a familiar feeling to AEG users] and Gas Blow Back [GBB's have a realistic recoil, and are my personal faveorite airsoft weapon. Gas guns are usually powered by green gas.
Step 2: Assault Rifles
These are your average run-of-the-mill design weapons with models running off of every power source available. The average is the M4/M16 model, which positively FLOODS the market. Assault rifles are usually automatic [sometimes only semi-automatic]. Assault Rifles are medium ranged and fairly accurate. Fully modefied, some models can even reach out to sniper-like ranges.
Step 3: Snipers' Rifle
Airsoft sniper rifles are mostly spring powered [however, many gas and electric models do exist]. These are accurae and powerful, and arguable the most satisfying weapons on the market. Most rifles also surpass the abilities of the most expensive AEG's on the market, for a fraction of the price.
Sniper systems are predominitaly L96 and M14 variants.
Step 4: SMG's
Most airsoft SMG's [Those that actually behave like an SMG, unlike the UMP and such, which are more on par with the assault rifle section] are excellent CQB weapons. I personally use a Gas MP5K [Produced by WELL, an excellent gun for even the most vindictive players. 330 FPS, accurate enough to 100 feet and capable of emptying a magazine in just over a second)]. SMG's main quality is their rate of fire, and this is what you want look for in an SMG.
Most SMG's are Mac-11's, although this is not a bad thing, as it makes for a great MP.
Step 5: Support Weapons
Probably the most flamboyant series of airsoft weapons ever thought up. Whilst they do hve their own uses [Mostly going prone and waiting for somebody stupid enough to walk in front of you] they also are considerably the worst weapons when it comes to practicality. Roughly 95% of tese weapons are the M249 SAW. The rest is made up of M60's, a couple RPK's and even a minigun[which is probably the most expensive gun out there, and will almost garuntee you being shot.] But, if you just want to look impressive, theres nothing like walkin' onto a field with a machinegun, unless somebody has an RPG. But you have to pay [me] to custom make those [and I aint joking, I have the design, and will never let this site have it, ever].
Step 6: Shotguns
Airsoft shotguns are cheap, effective devices firing either one or three shots at a time. These robust weapons run off of gas or a firing spring. Airsoft shotguns have marked disadvantages, but are considered the best begginers' guns out there. Single shot weapons go for as little as $11! however, their slow rate of fire and small clips contribute to them being a poor choice for more advanced players.
Step 7: Pistols
Side-arms are incredibly important to the serious airsoft player, and can be used as a CQB weapon. These weapons are almost exclusively powered off of Co2 and Spring mechanisms. These are exteemly cheap in comparison to full-sized weapons, but also suffer from poor accuracy and limited range.
Step 8: Conlusion
This was a simple guide to airsoft weapons. Congradulations if you made it through it, condolences to the families of those who couldent.