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Old 07-30-2012, 21:09   #12
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Shaker Heights/Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Posts: 247
Originally Posted by Gpruitt54 View Post
Yes, of course the distribution of the weight is different. However, withmedal GBB (Gas Blow Back) airsoft gun you are still pulling and swing into position something with similar weight. Let's keep in mind; we are talkingabout an airsoft gun and not a real gun. So, some things will be different.
I don't completely agree - the "heavyweight" ABS-plastic slides of many of the high-end replicas are quite heavy - in some cases exceeding the weight of their "metal" counterparts. Remember that the latter is most typically either what we here in the US would refer to as "pot metal" or are, at best, aluminum - in some of my replicas, I have custom slides of 7075 or 6061 aluminum, and in these cases, they are no heavier than that of the plastic counterparts that I pull off comparable "factory" replicas, simply because being more massive/"weighty" was the end goal targeted by the manufacturer.

Like I said previously, I agree with you that there's going to be differences in the balance of the replicas versus the real firearms. One of my older pieces (I removed myself from the hobby back in 2003/4, due to family/job needs ) is a Western Arms Beretta M92FS Perfect Version. It's dry weight - with its factory-standard "heavyweight" ABS plastic slide - is 960 grams, which is right there with that of its real-steel counterpart. Once you pick it up, though, it's easy to notice which is which, simply by the weight distribution alone. However, I disagree that a "metal slide" or even its combination with a cosmetic metal outer barrel will necessarily rectify or even ameliorate the discrepancy.

To-wit, my old Western Arms CQB Special's slide is very similar in weight to that of my aftermarket metal s;ides on a couple of my skirmish-use 1911s, and yet is also very similar to the weight of a couple of custom ones I had fabricated in 7071.

As far as spring and such are concerned, the gas pressure released by an airsoft gun is not nearly enough to push a guide spring from a real steel handgun.

Yes, I understand the differences in springs - but I was not speaking of the spring: I was speaking of a tungsten guide rod as a replacement component specifically to try to shift the weight-distribution of the airsoft replica more forward.

I honestly don't know if this will work, though, since I have never tried the swap.

And just like you said the GBB replicas do not generate the same blowback force as their real-steel counterparts - a heavier recoil spring can therefore be problematic in terms of the cyclic operation of the replica. With this in-mind, it would then reason that with a much lighter recoil spring, the force required to cycle the spring - as supplied by you, the shooter - to initially charge the replica would be considerably less than that of a comparable real autopistol, and again, this would be true...and carries implications that extends to your "muscle memory" comment: basically, here, you're not forming the correct muscle memory if what you're using this type of airsoft for is to train manipulations, you're actually creating a serious training scar.

Additionally with this physical fact in-mind, it has to therefore reason also that a much heavier slide will not necessarily reciprocate properly, based on the gas valving of the airsoft GBB replica as it came from the factory. Indeed, to the airsoft pistoleer self-upgrading their replica with aftermarket components or to the professional "airsmith" custom-crafting a replica, this is a concern which extends to the gas-valve tuning of both the replica's internal mechanisms as well as the magazines that function as the propellant reservoir (at the higher levels, just as with real-steel pistols, "tuned" magazines mated to specific replicas are not uncommon). But again, even then, as aftermarket slides are not all that much heavier than their heavyweight plastic counterparts, we're not talking drastic differences, here, either - nevertheless enough to throw off the performance of the replica, as quantified by metrics specific to the needs/desires of the airsoft skirmish-game/competition user.

Some hard core mil-sim fans have been known to replace some parts of theirairsoft rifles with real steel combat rifles parts. But these are limited tothings like hand guards from for example AK rifles, or maybe a gas block from areal steel AK. Others items include sights, fore grips, rails systems, etc.These are cosmetic and that is about the extent of it. I have an airsoft M4, AK74U, and L85A1. All are airsoft rifles and all have nearly identical weights to their real steel counterparts. But there nothing on an airsoft rifle that can withstand the pressures of real steel. These rifles, for all their realisticlook and weight are not made of forged steel. Just don't take one of these outside, or you will soon be visited by a S.W.A.T. carrying the real thing.

Don't worry, I know. I was in the hobby/sport since the late 90s, and yes, we do things like that (one of the funny things that I've encountered upon entering the firearms hobby is that I've been pulling my optics and lights off my airsoft replicas to put on my real-steel; I was one of those hard-core gamers who insisted on authenticity, so I've been able to rip off my old Aimpoints, Trijicons, Surefires). In many cases, yes, the cosmetic airsoft components can match or even exceed the weight of their real-steel counterparts (I have an original Asahi Walther WA2000 DX, and no, I've never skirmished with it nor wanted to - my full-metal Marui H&K G3 convinced me that too much realism isn't necessarily a good thing, when just trying to have good escapist fun during a vacation from school/work ), typically in an effort to lend more realism, but there are, just as you've cited, very real differences that would make anyone familiar with both breeds quickly recognize what's what.

All in all, airsoft guns (hand guns and rifles) are excellent training devices. Just be sure to buy the full metal guns and not the expensive plasticguns. These are only good for bragging that you have an expensive gun, but it will have no functional use for effective training.
I agree completely that if the end-goal of the user is to utilize the replica for Force-on-Force training, then they should look to items that fill that roll, instead of being collectables or gaming/skirmish-replicas. Things like authentic trademarks and even weight/mass hold little meaning in the overall scheme of things, when the users are not admiring the replica for its authenticity/accuracy and realize that as you pull the trigger 6 to a dozen times, the weight distribution of the replica does not shift as it would normally, with ammo being depleted from the magazine.

Remember muscle memory is very... very important in training.
If more accurate gun-handling mechanics are to be replicated, going to Simunition may truly be the only viable option. Aside from weight distribution, there are many other manipulations-related requirements for which an airsoft replica is ill-suited - drop an airsoft GBB's magazine on the ground a couple of times, and it may be wrecked beyond repair, and there's virtually no way to properly simulate malfunction drills with most modern caseless replicas.

Like you said, the airsoft is a training tool - nothing more, nothing less.

These "metal" replicas are not meant to make them any more of a true approximation to their real-steel counterparts except for simple tactile and cosmetic pleasures. Just because a replica incorporates their use does not automatically confer to them more realism in the way that a Force-on-Force participant may require, nor even necessarily more durability. As with you, I also don't want our fellow members here to go out and spend a bunch of money on something that they don't need.

In terms of Force-on-Force, for me, the gas-blow-back airsoft replica pistols best fulfills the role of non-combative close-distance (within 10 yards for engagements) training. If combatives are to be undertaken, strict rules must apply to eye and facial safety (i.e. if the protective helmet or eyewear comes off during the engagement, then firing should cease) and other modifications should be seriously considered (i.e. removing the trigger guard). Similarly, if engagement distances are too stretched, the external ballistics of the 6mm (or even 8mm) plastic BBs, as propelled out of the muzzle of a typical airsoft GBB pistol, is insufficient to allow for sufficient realism - risking the occasional The Matrix moments. :lol:

For manipulations: On soft surfaces and with the protection of full-coverage shoes, emergency reloads can be performed, but there's still some risk of damage - tactical reloads can be well practiced, as can any type of reload with retention considerations. Shooting from positions can also be performed (i.e. if your live-fire range has restrictive rules, or if you simply don't have the time/ability to get to the range), albeit again with care to the external ballistics of the 6mm BB.

And ending on that note, yes, there are airsoft replicas capable of match-grade airgun performance (i.e. my BB-IPSC gun, a custom 2011, using a 3.5 MOA Doctersight, is easily capable of single-hole groups of 5 to 10 shots, out to 7 yards, shot off-hand), but their muzzle energy may not be conducive to safe "contact" training. Nevertheless, with that said, a good - yet affordable - airsoft GBB replica can easily maintain A-zone hits at 10 to even 15 yards, with a full charge of propellant gasses.

Last edited by TSiWRX; 07-31-2012 at 09:03..
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