Airsoft pistols have been around since the 80s, when they first came into existence in Japan, though many models today are created in China. Standard models feature 6mm or 8mm calibers using either spring- or gas-powered systems, they became very popular and saw their way into North America in the 90s. Many variants of the airsoft guns have been created and there is great competition in the market.
The usage of an airsoft gun varies from professional tournaments to police and military training. Below is some info regarding the varying firing mechanisms.
Spring-powered airsoft guns are found all over the world and are one of the original designs. The user must physically pull back the slide in order to cock the gun and create potential energy ready for use. When the user does this, it compresses a spring that will propel the pellet when the trigger is pulled. The pellet velocity varies between 400 and 1000 feet per second. However, the spring suffers wear and tear, more so than the other methods, and as such, needs repairs or replacement on a more frequent basis.
To allow for automatic and burst fire, as well as other firing modes, the automatic electric gun does the job of preparing the spring. The muzzle velocity is reduced somewhat to 150 to 650 feet per second. This is a popular mode and comes with rechargeable packs.
The gas-powered guns use pressurized gas to propel the pellet, however it is costly in comparison to the electric models. Furthermore, if overused, the gas tends to cool down, leading to a reduced fire-rate and if the gas escapes into any parts of the gun, it’s possible that it might damage the parts.
Magazines generally come in the standard form, loading around 68 pellets and fit most airsoft guns. The pellets are loaded with a spring, but they generally have difficulties loading every pellet, requiring the user to invert the gun to let gravity feed the last pellets.