Airsoft guns broken into 3 major catagories:
Spring-Powered: Very simple airsoft design where the user pulls back a handle to load and lock back a spring. Spring tension is released when the trigger is pulled. Very simple, usually the cheapest way to get into airsoft. Prices can range from $5-$150. Mostly maintanance-free because it is commonly cheaper to just replace the whole replica.
AEG (Automatic Electric Gun): Not to be confused with cheap WalMart electric guns, AEGs of high quality usually consist of some or all metal bodies and metal gearboxes. (explain gearboxes later). Most common type of airsoft gun on the fields, quality AEGs can range in price from $100-$1,000+. Fire 6mm bb's at velocities usually from 250 fps (feet per second)-500 fps. Most fields have a limit to 400 fps. They run off rechargable batteries stored inside an open area in the body, usually the stock or handguard.
Gas: The 3rd most common type of airsoft gun are gas guns. They are in two catagories, NBB (Non-BlowBack) and GBB (Gas BlowBack). They funcion off of propellants that are basicly propane with silicone lubricant. Blow back is a realistic function where the gas is also used to force back the slide to reload and add realism to the replica. Price ranges from $50-$300. Gas guns are much easier to maintain than AEGs in many cases.
Gearboxes or mechboxes are the mechanical systems inside AEGs to propel the bb out of the airsoft gun. They can be made of plastic, but easily break, metal ones are much more reliable. They are a very compact, complex system of many moving parts including 3 main gears, an anti-reversal latch, piston, spring, air nozzle, and many other components. Most of the time it is recommended to have a professional repair or upgrade the gearbox. There are many different models to fit different AEG replicas; version 2, 3, 6, and 8 are usually the most common types.
In my opinion, airsoft guns are definitly not the same as paintball guns, but they are way more fun and cool. They also are very similar to the real firearm, for a much lower price, so people can own somthing fun to shoot, and still look like their favorite firearm for a much lower price. Paintball guns leave a mess to clean up, but do mark someone out, airsoft is an honor system game.
No matter what there will always people who hate airsoft guns, and people who will always love airsoft guns.
Cool person 2: Yeah! airsoft is so awesome i dont see why paintballers are such whiny dicks about it all the time...
Random Paintballer fag: FUCK ALL YOU AIRSOFTING CUNTS!!!