Airsoft sports are probably the best way to experience gunfighting and tactical combat in a controlled manner where we can optimize between safety and realism.
And realism is quite a big part of airsoft since it distinguishes it from other similar sports or activities. After all, laser tag or paintball can be a lot of fun, but real-world combat isn’t this flashy.
On the other hand, airsoft mimics the appearance of real weapons that we’re all familiar with from films and video games, such as the M16, AK-47, Desert Eagle, and many more. Besides, many of them try to match the sound of real weapons as much as possible and may even come with a slight recoil for realism. (1)
And just like any sport, you need the right equipment for the best airsoft experience. So read on as we’ll go over our picks for the best airsoft brands.
ABS plastic and metal
Automatic electric guns
Stamped steel and composite metal
Automatic electric guns
ABS plastic and metal
Gas-powered and automatic electric guns
Gas-powered and automatic electric guns
Affordable pistols, pricey long guns
Spring piston and automatic electric guns
Metal frame with ABS plastic grip and stock
Automatic electric guns and gas blowbacks
Medium to pricey
Plastic, metal, and steel
Automatic electric guns
Automatic electric guns and gas blowbacks
High LMG variety, low rest
Spring piston and automatic electric guns
Affordable to medium
Aluminum and plastic
Spring piston and automatic electric guns
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the airsoft brands that stood out in our research and see what they have to offer, what makes them unique, and what areas they may lack in so that you can make a well-informed decision before your next airsoft experience.
The 10 Best Airsoft Brands for 2022
1. Tokyo Marui
Tokyo Marui is like the recurring character that plays a significant role in every scene of a movie, where that movie is the airsoft scene as a whole. Headquartered in Adachi-Ku, Tokyo, Japan, Tokyo Marui has made a massive name in the airsoft industry ever since it entered the market back in 1985.
When the airsoft industry was still in its developmental stages, Tokyo Marui innovated with the new technology and developed battery-powered airsoft weapons. These weapons use an intricate electronic system to propel the BBs when you pull the trigger.
Nowadays, Tokyo Marui is famous for its high-quality standard of design and realistic-looking replica models. It’s a personal favorite brand of many experienced airsoft players and is the destination of those looking to upgrade to a high-tier brand.
That’s because most Tokyo Marui weapons are made with durable ABS plastic and metal, and some models are even made entirely of metal, and it’s none of that brittle pot metal stuff.
Also, Tokyo Marui has a vast array of weapons available, from submachine guns to long rifles and shotguns to pistols. So it definitely checks off our weapon variety box!
And despite being stationed in Japan, you’ll find all Tokyo Marui’s airsoft weapons for sale in local airsoft retailers in America. You can even buy its guns online from Amazon and the likes. Also, you can purchase them from Tokyo Marui’s store as it ships worldwide.
Moreover, although it has a hefty price tag, we believe Tokyo Marui has earned the right to a high price with its consistent high-quality and accurate airsoft firearms. (2)
If you’ve got the money to spend and are looking for a top-notch brand, then Tokyo Marui has consistently been the go-to over the past 4+ decades. And we expect it’ll stay strong in the airsoft industry for the foreseeable future.
Founded just two years before Tokyo Marui in 1983, I Chih Shivan (ICS) is one of the top airsoft brands from Asia, hailing from Taichung City, Taiwan. ICS is also known for its wild experiments with different airsoft technologies over the years. And while ICS has always been searching for the right recipe, its experiments never lacked innovation.
Previously, ICS used to make 1:1 steel replica airsoft AEGs to match the feel of real guns. However, it settled on its unique gun design to distinguish itself in the airsoft market more recently. And for what it’s worth, we think ICS has succeeded in doing that.
The most notable design element in ICS’ guns is how it uses over 20 complicated technical processes to manufacture its AEGs, which are made to stand the test of time and abuse of the field.
Moreover, ICS produces airsoft guns with its robust split gearbox technology, making weapon maintenance easier than ever, which is quite the relief for many airsoft enthusiasts!
And when you buy an ICS airsoft weapon, it’ll even ship it to you with a ton of accessories to go with the gun. So you won’t have to bother gathering every single item from the shops when your gun arrives.
But while the free accessories sound great, they do have a not-so-minor caveat: you can’t mix-and-match ICS guns with accessories or modifications from other manufacturers. This means that you’ll have to rely on ICS in that department.
However, all of these benefits and the fact that ICS weapons are quite powerful, often capable of 350+ FPS, sounds very convincing to us. So we’d recommend it if you don’t have much time to buy accessories and clean your gun often. Just make sure you have some extra disposable income.
If you don’t have much time to invest in accessorizing, cleaning, and repairing your gun, but you still want a high-end product that’ll last, then ICS is a good pick. Most of its guns come with accessories and a split gearbox that allows for easy maintenance.
Best for Close-Quarter Combat
Guay and Guay Armament, or G&G for short, is another top-notch Taiwanese brand. However, G&G actually started out as a distributor of Tokyo Marui’s airsoft pistols. Then, it made strenuous efforts to start off its own line during the late 90s.
Even when G&G started producing its own airsoft line in the early 2000s, it didn’t stand out as anything other than an average airsoft brand at the time. And most airsoft enthusiasts would’ve preferred another brand.
However, as the 2010s rolled, it seemed like G&G did a complete 180 on quality and variety and had since been rising to the top of the airsoft brands echelons. Its high-end V2 gearbox that makes gun maintenance a much easier process played an important role in its rise.
Furthermore, G&G makes its guns with durable ABS plastic and metal. And the gun’s interior is so high-quality that you simply have to feel it yourself.
Also, while all of G&G’s guns have a distinctly excellent design, we loved its CQB weapons for their incredibly lightweight and compact design, which made them a lot of fun to use on the field.
And we don’t mean to discredit its long guns since it makes some seriously accurate rifles over there. But when it comes to close quarters, its SMGs and pistols, and generally all of its 9mm replica guns, are excellent and possibly the best in the market right now.
For those close-combat guerilla warriors out there, you’ll love the 9mm replica models of G&G Armament due to their incredible compactness and high rate of fire. Check out its ARP-9 as well!
Best for Pistoleros
Heckler and Koch (H&K) is widely known for its powerful and robust pistols and has been widely adopted by police and military forces in Europe.
As for the airsoft brands sphere, Umarex has dominated the market with its realistic H&K replicas.
And what do H&K and Umarex have in common? Both are made in Germany, which tells us that something about these German factories gives pistols an attractive edge.
However, Umarex isn’t just known for its H&K pistols. It also makes fantastic replicas from famous pistol manufacturers such as Smith and Wesson, Colt, Ruger, Walther, Glock, and Barretta.
And it’s not just pistols as it also makes plenty of long guns and some SMGs, all of which look incredibly realistic and are highly durable. But in our eyes, the pistols stood out the most, especially its iconic H&K and Glock models like the Glock 17 Gen4.
To be fair, there’s an immense kick of satisfaction that many people feel when they play with pistols. We’re not sure what it’s about, but we feel it a lot too. So, if you’re the pistolero in your squad, you’ll want to equip yourself with a pair of these bad boys on the field.
The best part about Umarex’s pistols is that they’re really affordable. In addition to that, they’re made of high-quality steel, making them a great choice for beginners.
On the other hand, Umarex’s long guns aren’t so affordable and are pricey enough that we’d classify them as high-end and non-beginner-friendly firearms. But apart from that, they do boast incredible performance.
Before you channel your inner Wild Bill Hickok, make sure you’re equipped with the suitable pistols for the battle. And for that, we recommend you check out Umarex’s incredibly performant pistols, which come in a wide variety of models.
It’s incredible for a company so young like Lancer Tactical to be featured in a list among other established giants in the airsoft market. For reference, Lancer Tactical was founded just ten years ago in 2012, whereas we have entries on this list that were founded in the 70s and 80s.
Unfortunately for Lancer Tactical, it had a rough start since its first-ever models were seen as subpar, and it was even sued for its (allegedly) counterfeit goggles. However, all that was under the old management.
Over the past few years, Lancer Tactical has been reforming into one of the biggest airsoft producers in the USA geared towards beginners, and we’d say it has been successful in that reform.
Nowadays, Lancer Tactical provides relatively durable and high-quality AEGs and spring-piston guns, especially its M4 and bolt action models. Moreover, they’re coupled with high-end tactical gear to complete the look as well.
And as Lancer Tactical’s guns are pretty affordable, we almost decided on classifying them as a budget pick. Instead, we think they’d be a “high-end budget pick” if that option existed.
Anyhow, we believe the Lancer Tactical’s great pricing point and relatively good building materials make it a great choice for beginners who aren’t ready to pour in a hefty investment yet.
If you’re a beginner looking to get into airsoft brands without breaking your bank, but you also don’t want the most inexpensive possible option on the market, then Lancer Tactical would be your best bet. It has a good balance between quality and affordability, making it an excellent beginner-friendly brand.
6. Classic Army
Best for Tank Builds
When we think of precision shooting, we imagine a solid and sturdy gun, probably an automatic electric or gas blowback, that can consistently fire at high power. So you can imagine our thrill at Classic Army, the brand that fits our precision criteria perfectly.
Although Classic Army isn’t the oldest brand on the market, it was the first to introduce full-metal AEG versions of the M4 and MP5 models, two top-rated fan favorites.
And Classic Army’s guns aren’t made of low-quality, knock-off pot metal or another brittle metallic alloy. Instead, the material is substantial, and you’ll feel the stability in your hands when you’re firing a 400 FPS M4 with very high precision.
Although Classic Army doesn’t have the widest range of weapons available (relatively), they have a special one: the M132 Microgun. We had so much fun playing with that one that we simply can’t put it into words and recommend you try it yourself sometime.
Since Classic Army’s microgun is stable and is a viable option in battle, we recommend it for players providing suppressing fire as a “tank” since its large magazine and very high rate of fire will prove effective to your squadron.
If your role in the squad is to hold choke points and stop enemies in their tracks with your suppressing fire, you can’t go wrong with the M132 Microgun, which is one of the most fun guns to use. Also, you’ll find some durable and precise long AEGs in the Classic Army store.
Top Military Simulation
The Hong Kong-based G&P brand started as a producer of military equipment before distributing military simulation (mil-sim) and war game products. And by 2002, it began producing airsoft pistols in real firearm factories, which is just another level of dedication, in our opinion!
It’s no surprise, then, that G&P’s guns have a sort of “heavy-duty” feel to them since the guns are mostly made of metal and steel, with only some parts made of plastic. Moreover, G&P uses C&C precision machining technology to refine its models and assemble them by hand.
The result of this committal process is an airsoft rifle that feels as close to real firearms as can be. Of course, quality, stability, and reliability are paramount to G&P’s practices as well, which earns the company our endorsement as a mil-sim brand.
Unfortunately, this dedicated manufacturing process means that the products are a bit pricey. But that’s the kind of barrier we expect for a top-notch mil-sim experience.
Military simulation isn’t a rare niche, especially among fans of war games and guns. So, if you’re looking to get into mil-sim and want the experience to be as immersive as possible, then G&P is a candidate brand for you.
Best for Powerful Guns
There are airsoft rifles, and then there is KWA. Once you handle one of its classic firearms, you’ll immediately notice the difference in power between a KWA firearm and that of almost any other famous brand.
That’s because KWA produces airsoft firearms with a significant focus on police and military training drills, which makes it a popular brand in these two fields.
Also, since the police and military can’t afford to train with toys, KWA ensures its firearms are up to those high power standards. As a result, most of its guns nowadays easily cross the 400 FPS mark.
Due to the high-grade material and quality design of KWA’s firearms, they kick back a little when you pull the trigger, giving you a sense of recoil you won’t find in many other airsoft brands.
And we don’t even need to go into detail about the high-tech internal systems and quality gearboxes in each KWA firearm, which are simply superb.
The obvious downside to all these pros is that KWA’s guns are too pricey for most airsoft enthusiasts. However, if you’re an avid airsoft player, you’ll love one of KWA’s powerful beasts at your disposal, and it’ll surely last you a while.
Honestly, KWA might be a bit overkill for most airsoft players. However, if you frequent the field a lot and you’re a highly competitive player, it won’t hurt to have a sturdy KWA rifle that’ll last for years by your side.
9. A&K AIRSOFT
Best for LMGs
LMGs are a different beast in airsoft, and we’ve saved them for one of our last spots because they hold a special place in our hearts, as we’re sure they do in the hearts of many airsoft players.
That’s because LMGs are some of the most badass weapons to wield on the battlefield, and they’ll have you feeling like Rambo on a rampage. At least you’ll feel that way until you realize they’re more suited for support roles.
But whether you mainly play a support role or just want to storm the field with an LMG, the best brand to get your LMGs is A&K, and that’s a nearly universal consensus in the airsoft sphere.
You’ll also find M4 and AK models in A&K, though it doesn’t have a vast selection of non-LMG weapons.
And the best part is that its LMGs are reasonably affordable, making them a great value-for-money weapon.
Some may argue that the airsoft world is oversaturated with AR-15 style rifles and AKs. If you’re one of those and would like something a little “different,” then you might want an LMG from A&K. However, keep in mind that LMGs are mainly aimed at support roles, so be ready to play a bit passively.
Do you like the look of Tokyo Marui or other premium weapons but don’t have the wherewithal for them right now?
Then, let’s introduce our budget pick CYMA, a relatively modern brand founded in 2000 in Huizhou, China. It focuses on replicating high-end models from brands like Tokyo Marui and the like to provide new airsoft players with the look of these weapons for a low price.
Despite being affordable airsoft guns, the CYMA’s AEG and piston mechanisms work fine, and you probably won’t feel anything wrong if you’re an airsoft newbie. So this might be a good pick for you in that case.
However, if you’re a seasoned airsoft player, you should avoid downgrading to a lesser-quality gun since it’ll affect your performance on the field.
We recommend CYMA as a way to try airsoft without buying an expensive weapon. Or if you’re currently strapped, then consider CYMA guns your temporary option until you have enough money for a higher-quality brand.
To be fair, though, CYMA weapons perform well for the price, but they won’t hold up so well to field abuse.
Should You Get an Airsoft Weapon?
If you’re an absolute beginner who’s still getting into the sport, you may want to rent your airsoft rifles from the field where you’re playing or borrow from a friend before you invest in your own weapon. It’s better to rent so you can get a feel of the guns and know what you’re most comfortable with.
Once you’ve rented for two or three airsoft trips and have decided that you want to keep going that route, you’ll need to buy your own airsoft weapon if you want to improve your level and see positive results.
That’s because when you familiarize yourself with your set of weapons, muscle memory kicks in and helps you hone your skill with that particular set.
On the other hand, using an unfamiliar weapon every time you play airsoft is an unnecessary disadvantage on the field. Not to mention how worn out these for-rent field guns are with the number of people renting and mistreating them!
Besides, if you enjoy the sport and see yourself diving more into it in the future, you’ll save a lot of money by buying your own weapons instead of renting from the field. The renting will quickly become an annoying recurring cost the more you go there.
But apart from sports, is there any reason to get an airsoft gun? Some people think of airsoft rifles as alternatives to real guns because of the striking resemblance between both. But are airsoft guns a viable alternative?
In truth, no, using airsoft guns as an alternative to guns is a bad idea no matter how you look at it. Airsoft guns won’t stop an assailant since they practically do no damage beyond a bit of sting.
And in fact, we’d even argue that an airsoft gun is worse than nothing if you’re using it for self-defense. This is because brandishing a realistic-looking firearm will escalate the situation, and an assailant might react based on that and retaliate.
So, if you’re looking for a less-than-lethal self-defense weapon, just go for a taser or mace pepper spray.
How to Choose the Right Airsoft Brand for You
Before we wrap up, we feel like we should give you some pointers to look for in an airsoft brand if you’re doing your research. This is especially useful to airsoft newbies, so check out these traits.
You probably want your new airsoft weapon to last as long as possible and remain in a usable condition. And to get that, you’ll need to look out for brands that use high-quality materials instead of less costly knock-offs, even if they’re a bit more pricey.
Generally, airsoft guns that are made of plastic are low quality, low tier, and won’t last long with the use or even if you toy around with them a bit.
Some manufacturers even use pot metal to market their airsoft guns as “made of metal,” while in fact, pot metal is a fragile and brittle alloy that would easily break with use.
As for higher quality airsoft guns, they’re often made of high-quality plastic mixtures, such as plastic steel, polymer, or ABS plastic. The guns are made of durable metals such as steel alloys in some cases.
You might also spot a wooden stock, which is considered high quality but is far heavier than polymer, so factor that in before making a purchase.
Most airsoft users are fairly brand-loyal and get most, if not all, of their armament from the same brand. Chances are, once you’re in the airsoft world, you’ll be like this too, so we recommend you stick by a brand that offers a decent amount of variety for you to pick from.
We don’t mean to discredit brands that don’t offer much variety. For instance, a brand could offer only a handful of weapons or even weapon types, but they’re made of high-quality material and will suit your use well.
However, if this quality is available in another brand that offers more options, we’d definitely go with the latter since you’ll want to grow your arsenal as time goes by.
Modifications and Upgrades
Once you’ve field-tested your gun a bit, you might grow fond of it before you stumble upon an unfortunate reality. It’s the fact that your gun just doesn’t hold up well compared to your opponents’ high-tier modified and upgraded long guns. Most of us have been there, so we know how it feels.
One solution is to simply buy a better weapon. But we’re fans of having more than one option, especially if we’re feeling a bit sentimental towards our endowed firearms.
In this instance, the second option is to upgrade your weapon. Some people like to pick on the “tacticool” types of airsoft guns who modify their M16s with tactical cup holders and a dozen of flashlights. But all in all, if your weapon supports this much modification, then color us impressed.
Our takeaway from this section is that you should consider brands whose weapons are upgradeable.
For example, you might want to install a new spring or metal bushings to upgrade your gun’s durability. And if you’re using electric airsoft guns, maybe a battery upgrade to boost the gun’s FPS as well.
Consider Your Wants
Ultimately, what you want out of an airsoft brand determines what you should be looking for. You should factor in your budget, play style, how often you’re going to be playing, how far into the future you want to pursue the sport, and whatever other factors might affect this decision for you.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What Is a Good FPS for Airsoft?
We generally recommend an FPS in the 300-400 range, depending on your role on the field and even the field you’re playing in. However, smaller guns are closer to 300, big guns around 400, and sniper rifles can even go over 500.
Do You Need a License to Buy an Airsoft Gun?
Airsoft guns are classified as replica firearms and toys. So no, you don’t need a license to buy one, at least not in the USA. The only requirement for purchasing an airsoft gun in the USA is to be 18+, and even if you’re not, an 18+ person can buy you one, and you can use it.
Can Children Use Airsoft Firearms?
Yes, since airsoft firearms are classified as toys, any child could theoretically play the sport with airsoft firearms. However, most fields will restrict entry to children aged 12 years and less since it’s a physical sport after all, and they run the risk of being injured when competing against full-grown adults.
We’ll wrap up here with our review of the best airsoft brands. Thankfully, we’re spoiled for choice in 2022, and there seems to be a brand for every type of player, from support to sniper to close-combat and more.
If you can’t put your finger on one brand that stands out as the right one for you, then take it from us and go with a Tokyo Marui rifle and maybe an Umarex sidearm.
However, if you’re a bit strapped for cash at the moment, you have a few entry-level options to pick from, such as Lancer Tactical and CYMA.