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What is GBB Airsoft?

Scrolling through the inter-webs, scanning through everything Airsoft related on YouTube, and you catch something consistently recurring. GBB Pistol, GBB Rifle, GBB only game, GBB this, GBB that. “WHAT IS GBB!??!?!” Well that’s what we’re here to find out! GBB is short for Gas Blow Back and in Airsoft terms that can be a pistol, rifle, sub machine gun, or even a light machine gun depending on how you look at it. Today we’re going to tell you all about GBB Airsoft. Prepare yourself for the journey into the GBB Master Race!


GBB Pistols are the most common form of Gas Blow Back you’ll find in Airsoft. At an affordable price and a lot of reliable options, pistols are the easiest way to get into GBB Airsoft. They make a great back up to your primary and are a lot of fun to operate. GBB Pistols also come in several different shapes and sizes. You have 1911’s, M9’s, 226’s, Glocks, M&P’s, revolvers. The majority of pistols that are available in the real firearm world have an Airsoft counterpart.


GBB Rifles had a big surge in popularity a couple of years ago. You’d walk into most SoCal local fields and find a lot of gas rifles being used. Outside of that, they come out of the woodwork during the Summer. With the advantage of weather on their side, you’ll achieve optimal performance and efficiency. Users typically get a lot of respect due to the ammo restrictions inherent to the platform. Gas rifles in the past were unicorns and would require a lot of money to be able to have a playable set up. Now-a-days you can get an entire rifle set up for a much more affordable price. Use Affirm on our website for easy monthly payments!


GBB LMG’s are the real unicorns of recoil guns. Only a handful of systems have ever existed. They are all powered by an external air tank. It’s still a gas-powered mechanism so I’m throwing it in. In the past nine years that I have been playing, I have only come across this style of gun once. It was a Classic Army M249 that had been modified with a Daytona Engine kit. It featured a full travel bolt and recoil. The gentleman who owned it was nice enough to let me shoot it. It was a truly memorable experience. Even with the weight of the gun, it still had more recoil than any other gas rifle I have fired to this day. It was incredibly loud and got everyone’s attention, and the performance was fantastic. At 200 ft, I could still easily hit a man-sized target.

  • The gun shown is not the Daytona 249 mentioned in the blog but it was built exactly the same way     



The primary drawbacks of GBB’s are weight, rate of fire, and cooldown. The majority of gas rifle mags weigh more than a real, fully loaded 30rd magazine. Having to carry multiple mags, which do not lose weight as you use them, is a big turn off for many users. Rate of fire isn’t of huge concern for a lot of players, because fields are switching to Semi-Auto rules anyways. The handful of people that have to have full auto may look elsewhere. Having a bolt carrier which must move back and forth will limit rate of fire. Using full auto also brings about the next issue with GBB Airsoft guns: cooldown. Propellants like Propane and CO2 are liquid inside of the magazine. When the gun fires, the liquid expands rapidly into gas. As the gas within the magazine expands, it cools. As the gas becomes cooler, more gas remains liquid, producing no energy, leaving insufficient amount of pressure to cycle your gun. This is the reason that GBB Airsoft Guns are much more prominent in the Summer. When it is hotter outside, more propellant expands and you’re less likely to run into cool down issues.


GBB Airsoft is a ton of fun and something that the majority of Airsofters will get into at one point or another. Whether you want to go all out and get that Daytona 249, become a GBB Rifleman, or you have a reliable GBB pistol. GBB’s add an amazing degree of realism to the hobby.



How much does it cost to play Airsoft?

We’ve told you what we think you should get for affordable, high end, mid-tier, but now how much does it truly cost to get into Airsoft? The answer to that might surprise you. If you are going for barebones, gun, mask, BB’s. It’s very affordable and cheap to get into it. If you want the full 9 yards as far as Kit, BDU’s, and Gear that will affect your end budget.

If you’re the type of person that doesn’t care about how you look, and let’s be honest I personally don’t care from time to time, you can get into the lovely hobby of Airsoft for as cheap as $140. That’s the gun, battery, charger, BB’s, and a mask. Now, that is absolutely barebones and we would recommend a little more but if you absolutely had to you can do it for $140. Now if you go the starter route we recommend you’re looking around $180 for our Best Airsoft Starter Package. It comes with the gun, battery, charger, mask, BB’s, spare magazines, and a vest!

If you’re the type to go all in on something then the sky is literally the limit for what you can put into an Airsoft Kit. Personally, I can’t calculate the amount of money I’ve put into my Kit over the years because so many things change and your play style is always evolving. In addition to your play style always changing, your taste in gear, much like in your change in clothes, may change as time goes on. Right now, you might like a straight tan/flat dark earth look but a year from now you light want an M81 loadout, or a Woodland Marpat, or Multicam. It’s always changing.

Similar to gear and kit your taste in guns may always be changing. You can start with an M4. Put a few accessories on it, maybe swap the barrel, just a few simple upgrades that enhance its performance at a smaller price in upgrades. Then one day while you’re at the field, you see a guy dressed in full Russian Spectre Camo rocking a pimped-out AK. After seeing that you think to yourself, “Damn, I need an AK” and before you know it, you got UPS knocking on your door with your newest AK.

Your taste is always changing and it’s incredibly rare to not wanting something new. While a lot of people are happy with their gun setups and kit setups, there is always a new project along the horizon.


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Choosing The Best Barrel Length For Your Airsoft Rifle

As players get more experienced in airsoft, they tend to get choosier with their primary rifle than they once were. Most players start off playing airsoft with an M4A1 platform rifle with a 14.5-inch barrel, or an AK47 that has about a 16-inch barrel. For military use, 14.5-inch barrels are standard benchmark for barrel length when talking about a good balance for accuracy, weight, and maneuverability. Since the standard issue M4 in the military uses a 14.5-inch barrel, many airsoft replicas feature this as well, as most manufacturers aim to replicate standard service rifles.

The philosophy of use for rifles changes somewhat when the mission is more specialized. Anyone who has seen any kind of recent media featuring Special Forces groups or otherwise, Tier 1 Operators, the rifles are often shorter than the standard issue rifle. This is replicated in airsoft when more serious and experienced players build impressionist kits. This is more commonly seen with the MilSim aspect of airsoft. But why do the High-Speed guys use shorter rifles? Why does the standard infantry soldier use longer rifles, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

– Why Change Barrel Length?


To answer these questions, one simply has to look in to the mission and role these two groups are trying to fulfill. The standard soldier is meant to complete a wide array of objectives in an equally wide range of operating areas, from Urban combat areas to wide open deserts or in mountains, this means the rifle has to meet a wide range of specifications that allow the weapon to be used in just about every situation a soldier might be put in. Conversely, Special Forces units are, as the name suggests, more Specialized in what they do. Their rifles reflect that. The rifles of most SF units are often optimized to be compact and light weight, rifles such as the MK18 Mod 1 and HK416 fit this bill with their 10.5 or 11-inch barrels and customizability with accessories. These rifles shine with their maneuverability and general ease of use in close quarters. Even with shorter barrels, these rifles have the ability to engage out at longer ranges than just point blank, granting the Operators a bit of versatility.

Okay so that all sounds great, but what does it mean for airsoft? Interestingly, a lot of these ideas translate over pretty well, and the guys who do MilSim regularly, and/or build impressionist kits are often on the leading edge of replicating for airsoft what is being used in the real world. So clearly it works for a lot of people, but what are the pros and cons to having such a short barrel?

For those who aren’t “In the Know”, a short barrel might appear to be solely used for close quarters or indoor fields in airsoft. But once you get in to the finer aspects of building a rifle, you will find that this isn’t always the case. Generally, every weapon platform has its place in airsoft, but they aren’t always necessary. I’ll use my personal experience as the example for this.

I personally have run in to this conundrum, as I have a VFC G28, which is a purpose-built Marksman platform. It features a 16-inch barrel with the 7.62/.308 platform, and also weighs 9 pounds without any attachments. Start throwing attachments on it and that number starts climbing. The rifle shoots 300 feet with no issues out of the box and is semi-locked, which places this rifle firmly in to the Marksman or sniper category. I also have a heavily modified Elite Force Avalon M4 by VFC that replicates a certain youtuber’s “Block 3” MK18. The M4 weighs about 5.5lbs without any accessories, has a 10.5-inch barrel, as well as having full auto, but here’s the kicker, before you, reader, start yelling at your monitor “Colin, you’re comparing Apples and Oranges!” I say Nay-Nay. My M4 has an effective range of 300 feet like my G28. The problem I often run in to is that I want to use my G28, but why use the Marksman rifle when my short-barreled rifle can do the same job, and one is arguably more effective overall?


– So What’s the Point?


The difference between the two is a couple of things, the G28 is purpose built to be accurate at long range, and the M4 is built to be a versatile assault rifle. The G28 has a longer barrel, which lends itself well to slightly higher velocity for every BB weight when built properly, as well as tighter groupings across the board. This means if someone is peeking out from cover at long range, the BB has a shorter flight time, and is less likely to veer off course during that flight due to lack of stabilization within the barrel. Meanwhile, the aforementioned M4 was built to compensate for the short comings of the shorter barrel and specializes in use with heavier weight BBs to take advantage of the specific build it uses.

Longer barrels in airsoft, as stated before, facilitate more stabilization for the BB, slightly higher velocity and increased overall accuracy, but this comes with the trade-off of being a bit unwieldy and a longer barrel means more material, and thus more weight, as well as just moving around a larger weapon. Shorter barrels, conversely, allow for lighter weight, more compact weapons that make moving around a bit easier. Finding the right barrel length is more about building a rifle that fits your play style, or otherwise team role as a player. Personally, I run my G28 when I’m running with friends who want a dedicated long-distance rifle, and my MK18 is used for weekend skirmishes, or when a more versatile rifleman is needed, as the MK18 has a closer minimum engagement distance than the G28 but can still engage out at range. Pick a rifle that fits your needs during a game, and don’t be afraid to be the person that has a rifle that is slightly longer for accuracy reasons, because it can be beneficial over the standard rifle that everyone else is carrying, and as we all know, it always feels good to out range an enemy player, or score a tight angle hit because you took advantage of the properties of a well built rifle.

Top 5 Best AEG’s for above $300

After playing for some time, and if you didn’t take the tech route to upgrade your starter gun, you find yourself looking at purchasing a high-end gun to, potentially, be the best performer you’ve handled to date. Similar to picking your very first gun, it seems like there’s a limitless number of selections but we are looking to narrow it down a bit. Us here at Airsoft GI, and in partnership with Major League Airsoft, we have selected our Top 5 production AEG’s that are priced at over $300 USD. In order to qualify the gun has to be readily available in the United States and it cannot be a built to order type. So no high end customs and no Tokyo Marui.


#5 – G&G TR16 MBR 556WH G2 M4 MLOK Carbine AEG Airsoft Rifle – $400.00-$435.00

The G&G TR16 G2 features a 16-inch barrel and a 15 inch MLOK rail. Externally this gun features the great external quality G&G has brought to market in the last few years. During the testing portion, the model that we had on hand was completely unresponsive when we plugged the battery in. The motor connectors were on but there was absolutely no response from the gun what so ever. For that exact reason we could not move it above number 5.

#4 – KWA Ronin 3 Recon RM4 ML AEG Airsoft Rifle – $299.99 – $399.00

The KWA Ronin 3 was without a doubt the most fun gun to use in the entirety of the testing. With the 3.0 gearbox, the Ronin features a recoil system gives you a felt response every time the gun is cycled. You could imagine when firing on full auto it is loads of fun. However, we did find that the KWA does have a small break in period for the bucking and that heavily affected the results of our range test. After coming in last, for the functioning guns we had, in the shooting portion of our testing, it placed fairly high in the Internal Features as well as External quality. Due to the break in period hindering straight out of the box performance, we were unable to place it any higher than number 4.

#3 – Krytac War Sport LVOA-C Keymod M4 Carbine AEG Airsoft Rifle – $305.00-$425.00

Now before you all bounce off the handle, yes, the LVOA is priced at $425, but the barrel length is as close to the rest of the contenders. We easily could’ve used the SPR but the extra 4 inches of barrel would’ve given it an unfair advantage and we wanted to keep it as even as possible. The externals on the Krytac are great. They have an incredibly clean finish, full Warsport trades that would come on the real one, and out of the box you will also receive black metal flash hiders for any model that you buy. Rounded out with really good performance and a solid internal build. The biggest downside of the Krytac us the gearset. Due to the Gearbox walls being thicker, it forces you to use a thinner gearset and it isn’t truly Ver 2 compatible. During the range test it didn’t stand out vs the other guns we had tested. For that reason, the Krytac LVOA gets our number 3 spot.

#2 – Classic Army Extreme Nemesis LX-13 M4 Carbine AEG Airsoft Rifle w/ BAS Stock – $309.99 – $359.99

The new kid on the block, our selection for number 2 is from Classic Army. At one point you either bought a TM or you bought a Classic Army. With a lot of revisions to the internals Classic Army is taking some major steps to standardize what a premium end gun should be in 2018. Internally, the LX-13, and the entire Nemesis and Scarab line for that matter, feature the ECS trigger system giving you the best trigger response of all the guns tested. Additionally, the Classic Army does also come installed with a 6.03mm Tight Bore Barrel giving it great range and accuracy. Externally the Classic Army was the most well rounded of the group as well. A beautiful MLOK rail, complete ambidextrous controls, and the new BAS giving you massive battery space, rivaled only by the PTS Enhanced Polymer Stock that comes stock on the KWA Ronin. Performance wise it was neck and neck with the Krytac and our number one choice. The only thing that kept the Classic Army from being our top pick was the slight hinderance on upgradability. The hop up unit is slightly different vs a standard M4 hop up unit. As well with the gearset you have to move the magnets over from the original gearset and that may require some modification that some techs may not have access to. Leaving the Classic Army LX-13 at our number 2 spot.

#1 – Elite Force Avalon VR16 Calibur Carbine AEG Airsoft Rifle by VFC – $349.95 – $369.95

Our number one pick for the best AEG for under $400 has been given to the Elite Force Avalon series by VFC. With fantastic external & internal quality. Full upgradability and high performance, this stood out to us and Major League Airsoft as the top pick. In terms of externals, the dexterity and comfort that is provided by the QRS furniture was able to give it very solid standing over the Krytac and G&G. Internally the Avalon gearbox features 8mm ball bearings, stainless steel 16:1 gear set, quick-change spring guide, and an inline MOSFET housed within the gearbox. VFC has switched the material used within their polymers to make their Tappet Plate and Piston much stronger and are no longer required to immediately change out. The Avalon features a true, 100% Ver. 2 design, allowing the user to swap out any part at will. When it came to performance, the Avalon was not going to be out classed by any of the guns in the testing. With consistent accuracy at all ranges it was the most consistent of the 4 guns tested.  The Avalon series comes in 4 different models, all in black and bronze that do also come with a 1-year warranty this is covered by us here at Airsoft GI. Placing this beast at number 1.

Regardless of which of these you go with you’ll have a great experience. Even though the G&G was not working they are taking care of it and getting the issue resolved. All of the guns come with a minimum 60-day warranty and are all spoken of highly within the community. If you feel differently we openly welcome you to try and change our mind about the number 1 pick.