Airsoft is one of the most unique hobbies that has grown in popularity over recent years. The mix of excitement, fun, competitiveness, and exercise make it a great hobby for people who want to get outdoors more or people who want to pretend they’re the next John Wick.
There are a lot of crossovers in airsoft that makes it a very niche but welcoming hobby where people can experience the thrill of mock combat, make friends and get some exercise while having a blast at the same time.
However, getting into airsoft can often be overwhelming. There’s a lot of information to learn about different guns and how they work, BBs, legalities surrounding firearm ownership as well as finding people and places to play.
Just like any hobby, it can be difficult to get started. Just finding the right airsoft gun for your needs can take hours of research, as there are so many different styles and types of guns that may or may not suit your intended playstyle or experience level.
When it comes to beginner airsoft guns it’s often best to get something relatively simple that can work in various environments to allow you maximum flexibility as you start out in the hobby.
There’s always the chance you may not enjoy the hobby as much as you think, or that some of the more advanced guns may require a little more experience to use effectively.
To help you find a great beginner airsoft gun that will enable you to get straight into the action of gameplay, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best beginner airsoft rifles available to help you get started immediately without needing to worry about poor performance or reliability.
If you are still unsure or have specific questions about airsoft please feel free to check out our buyer’s guide and FAQ below for more information about the different types of airsoft guns, their features, and some commonly asked questions regarding airsoft.
OUR TOP PICK
Tippmann has been making airsoft guns for a while now and has developed a great reputation for value and performance for entry-level airsofters.
The tactical commando AEG is visually based on the ever-popular M4/AR15 design that always looks good and works well for people who want a milsim experience or who just want something minimal and functional.
The polymer body of this rifle weighs 10lbs and measures 34.5 x 2 x 5 inches making it an incredibly light and maneuverable package ideal for use in tight close-quarter playing fields as well as medium-range environments.
This is particularly good for beginners who will want to experience various environments and will also allow them to build up endurance gradually without exhausting their arms and back.
Airsoft guns with metal bodies and furniture are far heavier and make things much more exhausting.
The metal v2 gearbox provides a responsive satisfying fire rate that is reliable and feeds well.
The top rail is compatible with a range of accessories and sights, and the keymod rail system beneath the barrel will also allow the addition of plenty of accessories such as foregrips and flashlights.
The included flip-up sights work well and can be easily flipped down if you eventually fit your own optics.
The grip is ergonomic and the trigger is fairly responsive, and the M4 style crane stock allows for users of various heights and sizes to use this rifle by simply extending or contracting it to whatever position is most comfortable for you.
The performance out of the box is fairly good with a reported 350-370 FPS using .20g BBs, making for a fairly powerful rifle that can be used right out of the box.
The included mid-capacity magazine is in the classic M4/M16 pattern and this rifle should be compatible with most M4 pattern magazines in both high and mid capacities.
The only thing to be aware of is that as an AEG, this rifle will require a battery and these aren’t included so make sure to check the included user’s manual for the recommended battery spec and connector.
Overall this is an excellent looking well-made airsoft rifle that will enable any beginner to get out and play immediately and has room for upgrading and accessorizing as you learn more about airsoft.
- Good looking M4 pattern
- Metal gearbox - Better reliability and functionality
- KeyMod Rail System - Allows for various accessories and attachments
- Adjustable Stock
- AEG - Battery-powered AEGs are simple and reliable and are easy to set up and use.
- Battery not included
G&G are one of the most popular airsoft brands in the world and the Combat Machine range is famous for their simplicity and performance.
There are very few airsofters who have never used a Combat Machine, and these rifles are a favorite of playing fields who rent out rifles to beginners due to their effectiveness and reliability.
This rifle has been near the top of everyone’s list for recommended beginner rifles for many years now and many still swear by the amazing track record these rifles have after such a long time at the top of the pile.
Based on a compact M4 profile, the Combat Machine Raider comes with full-length RIS/RAS 20mm rail systems that allows a wide range of accessories to be fitted both in place of the included iron sights and beneath the barrel.
The included Hi-Cap magazine can hold 450 rounds and is made of metal, which makes it feel good in the hand and provides enough capacity to prevent too much reloading.
This can help beginners to focus on landing their shots and staying aware of their surroundings.
The included sling attachments allow you to attach various sling systems to prevent you from dropping or damaging your rifle and the adjustable crane stock allows the rifle to be configured for shooters of many different shapes and sizes.
As an AEG the Combat Raider uses an 8.4v or 9.6v nun-chuck style battery that can be fitted into the stock system to keep it protected.
The type of battery you use may affect your FPS rating so keep that in mind and make sure you consult your user manual if you’re unsure about which battery to use, as they do not come included with the rifle.
This all adds up to a very capable medium and short-range AEG that will enable you to have confidence in your purchase and focus on learning how to improve your airsoft skills.
- Classic M4 design
- 20mm Picatinny RIS/RAS rail system
- Adjustable stock
- Metal Hi-Capacity Magazine
- Great long-standing reputation and performance
- There are newer beginner airsoft rifles available
Umarex is another longstanding and well-regarded brand in the airsoft world and their Glock 17 gen 4 is one of the best-looking and most popular pistols with a host of features to make any beginner seriously consider starting with a pistol.
The main appeal of this pistol is how realistic it is for people who are experienced with real steel firearms and who are looking to get started in airsoft.
The familiar, comfortable, and well-designed ergonomics of this pistol are identical to the real Glock 17 meaning you get to benefit from some of the best, most revolutionary design features in the firearms world.
A host of realistic features including the metal slide and realistic blowback action make this a great beginner weapon for those who want a more realistic starting gun.
Capable of firing 6mm plastic BBs at up to 290 FPS and powered by widely available green gas, this pistol will blow users away and give them a taste of the immersion and realism that airsoft can offer.
Pistols may not suit every playstyle or playing field, but almost every airsoft carries a pistol as a backup or primary due to their versatility and ease of use.
While not as simple to use and maintain as an AEG, this is a very good entry-level airsoft gun for those who want a more realistic experience or have their heart set on gas blowback systems.
- Gas blowback gives very realistic recoil characteristics
- Highly ergonomic
- Powerful FPS for a pistol
- Realistic feel and reloading
- A little more complex than a normal AEG rifle
This spring-powered M14 is probably one of the simplest entry-level rifles available and is great for friendly games in your backyard or for younger players.
This is because most airsoft playing fields will be full of people using AEG or GBB rifles, which are capable of very high rates of fire and very long-distance shooting.
Spring-powered rifles on the other hand fire incredibly slowly, requiring the user to pull back the spring manually after each individual shot.
This will put you at a massive disadvantage during competitive airsoft unless you are using a specially made and high-performance sniper rifle that is capable of very high FPS and can use heavier BBs.
The GameFace M14 is not really designed for this type of long-range shooting and is capable of around 300 FPS using 0.12g BBs, putting it on the weaker side of the power scale in airsoft.
It does however provide great value simple backyard fun and casual players who want to try out airsoft without reaching too deep into the pocket.
The polymer design of this rifle makes it light and maneuverable, and the sling mounts will allow you to prevent it from getting damaged if you attach a sling to them.
For a simple rifle, it is also fairly good-looking and is a pretty accurate representation of the classic M14 rifle, which feels comfortable to use.
Overall this is a relatively simple rifle unsuited to serious airsoft but perfect for very casual fun for younger players looking to give airsoft a first try.
- Simple Spring-power design
- Classic M14 pattern visuals
- Relatively underpowered
- Slow rate of fire
Lancer Tactical is another fairly popular airsoft brand with a wide range of guns suited to every level of player, however, the Gen 2 LT-19 Carbine is a perfect starter rifle with a host of excellent features and ergonomics that make it a pleasure to use.
The first thing to note is that the LT-19 is an amazing-looking rifle, based on modern M4 designs and with an up-to-date keymod rail for both a striking visual aesthetic and excellent utility.
As you’d expect both the upper and lower receiver are made with a nylon-reinforced polymer to make for a lightweight and strong rifle that can stand up to rigorous use.
The trigger and key controls are metal for a sturdy feel, as are the gears in the version 2 gearbox meaning a more reliable and tough interior that performs very well. The barrel is a metal tightbore 6.03mm design that gives this rifle excellent accuracy and range.
There are various points for attachments on the front rail system and full-length upper rail.
The included hi-capacity magazine holds 300 rounds and the rotary hop-up unit allows for easy adjustment to the hop-up on the fly which will help you make your shots more accurate at range.
Overall this is an excellent beginner rifle packed with features and excellent upgradability for users who want to improve their rifle down the line.
- Tightbore barrel - Gives great range and accuracy
- Reliable Metal Gearbox
- Hi-Cap Magazine
- Charger and 9.6v battery included
- Great looking and ergonomic M4 design
- The pistol grip isn’t as ergonomic as some others
As you may have noticed, buying an airsoft gun is no easy feat. There are a lot of features and rules to be aware of and this can make finding the right rifle for you a tiresome and difficult task.
In this buyer’s guide, we’re going to highlight the key features to look out for in an airsoft gun to make sure you get the best bang for your buck.
Type of Gun
Airsoft guns come in a variety of packages, from carbines to pistols and snipers to sub-machine guns. Whether a gun is right for you or not depends on both your intended playstyle and the locations you’re going to be playing at.
Pistols and SMGs are great for indoor and close-quarter battles or players who like to push and flank other players. Their ease of control and light weight make them perfect for maneuvering around the battlefield.
Rifles are great all-rounders and ideal for beginners who want a compromise between medium-range and close-range capabilities.
Sniper rifles are specialist guns that have special rules and can only be used at long range. They are difficult to use and require a lot of patience and practice, however they reward skillful use with amazing long-distance shots. These are best used by experienced airsofters however.
AEG, Gas, or Spring-powered guns?
AEGs or airsoft electric guns are some of the most popular, especially among rifle designers. They are reliable, easy to maintain, and can be used in almost any environment. The drawback is that they can run out of charge and are less realistic than gas blowback airsoft guns.
GBB or gas blowback guns are often very powerful and realistic, using the gases they release to provide a super realistic recoil functionality that will suit players who want a very immersive and realistic experience.
Spring-powered guns are relatively underpowered and slow firing and are best used for fun outside of big airsoft games. While quality airsoft snipers may use springs these are specialist builds that are often only practical for experienced airsofters.
The FPS is a measurement of how much energy is powering the BBs you are firing. There are legal limitations on how much FPS certain guns can have.
These rules can change from state to state and country to country while some certain guns such as snipers have special rules placed on them to make sniping more balanced and practical.
Always make sure you know the legal FPS limit in your area or playing field before you purchase as most sites will test your guns before you’re able to use them. This is for everyone’s safety and to ensure a fair game for all.
Frequently Asked Questions
How old do I need to be to own an airsoft gun?
This varies depending on where you are in the world. In the US, however, there are no age restrictions as airsoft guns are not classified as firearms.
Some major cities or states do have slightly different rules, such as in California where they can only be bought by people 18 and over.
Why do airsoft guns have orange tips?
The orange tips help distinguish airsoft guns from real guns as they are often difficult to differentiate.
However, there is no legal requirement for the orange tips to remain on these guns as they are BB guns and fall under the same rules as BB or paintball guns that are not required to use an orange tip.
Do I need protection to play airsoft?
The biggest danger airsoft poses is to your eyes. They may sting the skin but if a BB catches you in the eye without protection the damage can be catastrophic.
Always use properly rated safety glasses or goggles when using your airsoft gun and practice good firearms practices when handling your weapon to prevent causing terrible injuries to yourself or others.