What Are the Main Types of Airsoft Shotguns?

If you are new to the wonderful world of Airsoft, no doubt your interest has been piqued by the numerous styles and varieties of Airsoft guns. There are different types of airsoft shotgun models, just like there are different types of real-life shotguns. In this article, we will be discussing the main types of shotguns for airsoft to help make your search for the perfect airsoft shotgun easier.

Types of Airsoft Shotguns

Trap Shooting Shotguns (Trishots)

This is easily the most popular type of airsoft gun, mainly because they provide an exciting shooting experience in a convenient size. They can fire multiple shots per pump because they have three inner barrels that rotate once each shot.

Some trishots are capable of shooting as many as six times per pump, but most shoot three times per pump. Shotguns shoot three consecutive BBs at once instead of one, giving shooters better accuracy than spring action rifles and the ability to hit multiple targets more easily. Trishots are available in both single-shot and repeating varieties, with repeating trishots being more expensive.

Trap shooting shotguns (Trishots) are a form of clay pigeon shooting. They are used in an enclosed field to shoot clay targets from a variety of angles and distances with the goal of knocking them down as close to the center of the "trap house" as possible. It is considered the most challenging field sport in shotgun shooting.

Trap shooting shotguns (Trishots) can be further broken into three different types of shotguns, each geared toward a different type of shooter:

Standard trap:
The standard version is used by beginners and casual shooters. It offers simplicity and affordability without sacrificing accuracy. It features a single barrel that fires a single shot at once.

Olympic trap:
Olympic trap shotguns (Olympic Trishot) are built for speed and power. This version features two barrels, with one barrel loaded with no wad in the front, so the shooter can fire two shots quickly if necessary. Olympic trap shotguns are used by competitive shooters only.

Automatic trap:
Automatic trap shotguns feature three barrels that fire three shots simultaneously when the trigger is pulled, making it easy for an experienced shooter to knock down multiple targets quickly. This version is not used for competitive shooting because it's too easy to hit every target with such high firepower.

Gas Reservoir Action

The gas reservoir action shotgun is the most common type of airsoft shotgun on the market. This shotgun is powered by compressed gas, typically green gas or red gas. The gas cylinder is located underneath the barrel and utilizes a spring-piston to create a powerful blast of compressed gas, which propels the BB out of the barrel.

Gas reservoir shotguns are very loud and produce significant recoil due to the large amount of energy they require to operate. As such, they are ideal for CQB scenarios where maximum power and noise are required.

However, due to their high recoil, these shotguns are generally not suitable for longer-range engagements. They also produce an extremely clear sound signature, making it easy for enemy players to pinpoint your location on the field.

Due to their large size, these shotguns are generally not suited for outdoor play, as it produces too much noise and fills up too much space in your gear compartment.

Shell Ejecting Action

Shell Ejecting Action is an action type used in many airsoft shotguns. It has two major parts, the Gearbox, and the Shell Ejecting System.

The Gearbox is the mechanical part that is responsible for feeding BBs into the Barrel and firing it smoothly. There are two types of Gearboxes: single gearbox and double gearbox. Single Gearboxes are more simplistic but also more durable than Double Gearboxes. Double Gearbox is more complex and can be more easily upgraded as they have additional space for longer inner barrels and stronger springs.

The Shell Ejecting System, also known as the shell system or magazine system, is how the shotgun feeds BBs into the barrel and how you reload your shells. The most common shell systems used in airsoft shotguns are the magazine-based shell system (also known as gas-operated or gas blowback shell system) and the manual shell loading system (also known as spring-powered shell system).

There are also hybrid systems that use both spring power and gas power to operate at different times during a cycle in order to give a realistic feel to operating the shotgun.


There are many different types of airsoft shotguns, each of which will have different strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, it comes down to your needs: what is most important to you in an airsoft shotgun? The two main considerations are the action of the gun and the type of projectiles it fires.

But as mentioned earlier, a gas reservoir system is the cheapest option if you are starting to play airsoft because of its relatively low price; however, they are loud and can be unreliable, while a shell-ejecting action being the most expensive is the most reliable.

Related Reads:
1) How Do Airsoft Shotgun Shells Work?
2) Are Airsoft Shotguns Worth It?