Unlocking the Secrets: How an Airsoft Shotgun Really Works?

If you’re new to airsoft, you may wonder how an airsoft shotgun works. Unlike a real firearm, airsoft guns use compressed air to propel small plastic pellets, or BBs, at a target. Shotguns are popular for airsoft players due to their power and versatility.

Several airsoft shotguns, including spring, gas, and electric-powered models, are available. Spring-powered shotguns are the most basic and affordable option, while gas-powered and electric-powered models offer more power and faster firing rates.

Regardless of the type of shotgun you choose, airsoft guns are generally safer and more cost-effective than real firearms, making them popular for recreational shooting and training purposes.

How Airsoft Shotguns Work?

Gas-Powered Shotguns

Gas-powered airsoft shotguns use compressed gas to propel the BBs out of the barrel.

The gas is stored in a small tank in the gun’s stock or grip. When you pull the trigger, the gas is released, pushing a piston forward and compressing the air inside a cylinder.

The compressed air then propels the BB out of the barrel. Gas-powered shotguns are known for their power and accuracy, making them popular among airsoft enthusiasts.

Spring-Powered Shotguns

Spring-powered airsoft shotguns are simpler in design than gas-powered ones. They use a spring to propel the BB out of the barrel. When you pull the trigger, the spring is compressed, releasing its energy, pushing a piston forward, and propelling the BB out of the barrel. Spring-powered shotguns are reliable and easy to maintain.

Both gas-powered and spring-powered shotguns have a gearbox that controls the gun’s firing mechanism. The gearbox contains a series of gears that work together to compress the spring or release the gas. A motor powered by a battery powers the gears.

Airsoft shotguns are an exciting and fun way to experience the thrill of combat without the danger of real firearms. Whether you choose a gas-powered or spring-powered shotgun, you’ll enjoy the power and accuracy of these weapons. So, get out there and start shooting!

Gas-Powered Shotguns

Gas-powered shotguns use compressed gas to propel BBs out of the barrel. There are three common types of gas used in airsoft shotguns: green gas, propane, and CO2.

Green Gas Shotguns

Green gas is a type of propane gas that has been mixed with silicone oil. It is stored in a gas cartridge inserted into the shotgun’s magazine. When the trigger is pulled, a small amount of gas is released from the cartridge and travels through the gun’s internal mechanism to propel the BB out of the barrel.

Green gas shotguns are popular among airsoft players because they are easy to use and maintain. However, they require regular maintenance to ensure the gas cartridge and internal components function correctly.

Propane Shotguns

Propane shotguns operate like green gas shotguns, but they use pure propane instead of a propane-silicone oil mixture. Propane is stored in a gas cartridge inserted into the shotgun’s magazine.

Propane shotguns are less expensive than green gas shotguns because propane is cheaper than green gas. However, they require more maintenance because the lack of silicone oil can cause the gun’s internal components to wear down more quickly.

CO2 Shotguns

CO2 shotguns use CO2 gas cartridges to propel BBs out of the barrel. The gas is stored in small, disposable cartridges inserted into the shotgun’s magazine.

CO2 shotguns are more powerful than green gas and propane shotguns because CO2 gas is compressed at a higher pressure. However, they are also more expensive because CO2 cartridges are more expensive than green gas or propane cartridges.

In summary, gas-powered shotguns are popular among airsoft players because they are easy to use and maintain. Green gas and propane shotguns are less expensive than CO2 shotguns but require more maintenance. CO2 shotguns are more powerful, but they are also more expensive to use.

Spring-Powered Shotguns

If you’re looking for a reliable and affordable option for airsoft shotguns, then a spring-powered shotgun might be just what you need. These shotguns are powered by a compressed spring when you cock the gun and then released when you pull the trigger.

One of the benefits of spring-powered shotguns is that they don’t require any external power sources like batteries or gas. This means you can use them anywhere without worrying about running out of power. Additionally, they are generally cheaper than other types of airsoft shotguns, making them an excellent option for beginners or those on a budget.

Inside the gun, the spring is connected to a piston that compresses air, released when you pull the trigger. This creates a burst of air that propels the BB out of the barrel.

Spring-powered shotguns are an excellent option for those seeking a reliable and affordable airsoft shotgun. Their simple design and lack of external power sources make them easy to use and maintain.

Electric Airsoft Shotguns

If you’re looking for a reliable and efficient airsoft shotgun, then an electric airsoft shotgun might be the right choice. These guns are powered by an electric motor that drives the gears, which in turn, compresses the spring and launches the BBs.

One of the most significant advantages of electric airsoft shotguns is that they are semi-automatic, meaning they can fire multiple BBs with just one trigger pull. This feature makes them perfect for close-range combat situations where you must fire quickly and accurately.

The motor and gears are powered by a rechargeable battery, usually located in the gun’s stock. The battery life can vary depending on the model and usage, but most electric airsoft shotguns can last for several hours on a single charge.

Electric airsoft shotguns are a great option for players who want a reliable, semi-automatic gun. With their powerful motor, efficient gears, and rechargeable battery, they can provide hours of fun and excitement on the airsoft field.

AEGs vs. Gas-Powered Shotguns

When it comes to airsoft shotguns, you have two main options: AEGs and gas-powered shotguns. AEGs, or Automatic Electric Guns, use an electric motor to cycle the gearbox and fire the BBs. On the other hand, gas-powered shotguns use compressed gas to propel the BBs.

One advantage of AEG shotguns is their consistency. The electric motor ensures that each shot is fired at the same velocity, which can be important for players looking for accuracy. Additionally, AEGs are often more affordable than gas-powered shotguns, making them a good choice for beginners.


Gas-powered shotguns, however, offer a level of realism that AEGs cannot match. The sound and recoil of a gas-powered shotgun can make you feel like you are firing a real weapon. Additionally, gas-powered shotguns can be more powerful than AEGs, which can be an advantage in certain situations.

Another advantage of gas-powered shotguns is their versatility. You can switch between firing modes with gas-powered shotguns, using them as a shotgun or a rifle. This can be useful in various situations, from close-quarters combat to long-range engagements.

The choice between an AEG and a gas-powered shotgun will depend on your preferences and play style. An AEG may be the way to go if you want consistency and affordability. However, a gas-powered shotgun may be better if you value realism and versatility.

Airsoft Shotguns vs. Real Firearms

When it comes to airsoft shotguns, there are some critical differences between them and real firearms. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Airsoft shotguns are designed to fire plastic BBs, while real firearms fire bullets. This means airsoft shotguns are much less lethal than real firearms and generally considered safer.
  • Airsoft shotguns are also much lighter than real firearms, making them easier to handle and maneuver. This can be especially important in close-quarters combat situations.
  • Airsoft shotguns are often designed to be more affordable than real firearms. This can make them an excellent option for people who want to get into shooting sports but don’t want to spend a lot of money.

Some similarities exist between airsoft shotguns and real firearms. For example:

  • Both types of weapons use a similar loading and firing mechanism. This means that if you know how to use a real firearm, you should be able to figure out how to use an airsoft shotgun pretty easily.
  • Both types of weapons require some level of skill and practice to use effectively. While airsoft shotguns may be less lethal than real firearms, they still require accuracy and precision to hit your targets.

While airsoft shotguns and real firearms may seem similar on the surface, some critical differences between them are worth keeping in mind. Whether a beginner or an experienced shooter, you must understand these differences to use your weapon safely and effectively.

Choosing the Right Airsoft Shotgun

When choosing a suitable airsoft shotgun, a few essential factors must be considered.

  • First, you have to think about the velocity of the gun. This refers to how fast the BBs will travel when fired. If you plan on playing at an airsoft field, you’ll want to ensure your gun meets its velocity requirements.
  • Next, you’ll want to consider the type of BBs your shotgun will use. Plastic BBs are the most common type used in airsoft and come in various weights. Heavier BBs will generally be more accurate but will also slow down the velocity of your gun.
  • Another important factor is the type of compressed gas your shotgun will use. Most airsoft shotguns use either green gas or CO2. Green gas is more commonly used and is generally more affordable, while CO2 can provide more consistent performance in colder temperatures.
  • Consider the type of airsoft field you plan to play at. Some fields have specific rules and regulations regarding the types of guns allowed, so it’s important to research before purchasing.

When choosing an airsoft shotgun, it’s important to consider factors such as velocity, BBs, compressed gas, and the airsoft field you plan on playing at. By considering these factors, you can ensure that you choose a shotgun that is effective and compliant with regulations.


Now that you understand how an airsoft shotgun works, you can appreciate the complexity of the design and the mechanics involved. It is important to note that airsoft shotguns are not toys and should be handled with care and safety precautions.

When selecting an airsoft shotgun, it is vital to consider the type of gameplay you will be participating in and your personal preferences. Some shotguns are better suited for close-range combat, while others are designed for longer distances.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines for maintenance and cleaning to ensure your airsoft shotgun’s longevity and optimal performance. With proper care and handling, your airsoft shotgun can provide an enjoyable and thrilling experience for many years.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How does an airsoft shotgun work?

Airsoft shotguns use a spring-powered mechanism to fire BB pellets. The spring is compressed when you pump the shotgun, and when you pull the trigger, the spring is released, which pushes air through the barrel and propels the BB pellet out.

Q. What is the effective range of an airsoft shotgun?

The effective range of an airsoft shotgun depends on the model and the type of BB pellets used. Generally, airsoft shotguns have a shorter effective range than airsoft rifles, with most shotguns having an effective range of around 50-100 feet.

Q. What type of BB pellets should I use in my airsoft shotgun?

The type of BB pellets you should use in your airsoft shotgun depends on the model and your shotgun’s FPS (feet per second). Most airsoft shotguns use 6mm BB pellets, and you should use high-quality, polished BB pellets for the best performance.

Q. Can I use my airsoft shotgun for competitive play?

Yes, airsoft shotguns can be used for competitive play, but they are not as commonly used as airsoft rifles. Shotguns are typically used in close-quarters combat scenarios, such as indoor arenas or outdoor fields with dense cover.

Q. How do I maintain my airsoft shotgun?

To maintain your airsoft shotgun, clean it after each use and store it in a dry, cool place. You should also regularly lubricate the moving parts and check for any damage or wear and tear. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for specific maintenance guidelines.

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