AEGs: Part One

07/05/07 1022 hours

Electric airsoft guns are the most popular type of airsoft gun. They are usually powered by rechargeable batteries, as using non-rechargeable batteries would be exhausted incredibly quickly. The batteries power an internal piston, pulling it back and pushing it forward in order to project pellets. In the case of full automatic guns, this cycling of the piston occurs at a very high rate. A popular acronym for these “automatic electric guns” is AEGs. Most AEGs are modeled after real military weapons, such as M16, Steyr Aug, HK MP5, AK-47, M14, HK G36, and many others.

AEGs can achieve high speeds (of BBs, measured in feet per second) and rates of fire (ROF). High-quality AEGs can have speeds more than five hundred feet per second, and fire more than two thousand pellets per second. In cases like this, drum magazines would be used so clips would not have to be replaced frequently. For a common AEG, a ROF of six hundred rounds per minute and a speed of three hundred feet per second would suffice in an airsoft game. Remember, the faster an airsoft gun is, the quicker it drains the battery (although very fast airsoft guns have larger batteries).

Speaking of batteries, a wide variety of batteries can be used in AEGs. As stated, most airsoft batteries are rechargeable. Batteries are measured in volts (V) and milliampere-hours (mAh), which is a unit of electric charge. A high mAh indicates the battery will last a long time, and a high voltage indicates the battery can support a high ROF. The most common battery used in AEGs is an 8.4V large battery with a 2400 mAh. While 8.4V is the most common battery voltage, some batteries have voltages as high as 12V. For some airsoft guns, regular AA batteries can be used.

Tokyo Marui, the most popular AEG company, designed the basic mechanism used in most AEGs. The mechanism consists of a gearbox which holds three gears, which are powered by an electric motor. The gears turn and pull back a piston against a spring. Once fully compressed, the spring pushes the piston forward, thus forcing the pellet in the chamber out of the barrel. Many airsoft guns utilize metal gearboxes, a feature which prolongs the life of the gun and makes it sturdier.

Many companies, notably Classic Army, have made their AEGs full metal. Not only does this make the gun nearly unbreakable, but it drastically increases the realism of the product. An alternative to full metal is reinforced plastic, which has a similar effect. Other improvements and modifications of an AEG further add to the realism of the device. More importantly, beneficial alterations can increase the functionality and usefulness of a gun. However, noticeably useful modifications are usually expensive.

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