Upgrading your airsoft gun is the best way to increase its performance. It is indeed an excellent idea; however, you cannot turn a turd into gold. By a turd, I mean that cheap $14 AEG from the flea market is never going to be a Tokyo Marui. Sorry, it isn’t happening, never will.
Now, a good mid or high tier gun is an excellent start and allows you to upgrade your already good weapon into something better. You can spend a lot of money on a great gun. But still, you need to upgrade the internals.
Are Upgrades Really Necessary?
I typically purchase a gun with a good, durable body that is built to last. Or I choose a gun that I really want, like the Scorpion EVO, and upgrade the performance to what I want.
What you’ll see most often is a great body gun with just average internals. The reason being is simply part of the airsoft culture. Companies know you are likely to upgrade your gun, so they know average internals isn’t a big issue.
If you want to buy a gun with a good body and good internals, but don’t want to upgrade, I suggest purchasing models from two companies. Both Lonex and Real Sword make excellent quality internals and great bodies, but you’ll pay for that quality.
Certain categories, like sniper rifles, need to be almost entirely custom built. That’s why they are poor choices for beginners. You can start with a decent $150 gun, and easily spend another $150 upgrading it.
Basic – Tight Budget
There a few basic and easy upgrades that can increase your performance quite a bit.
Hop-Up Bucking – A good hop-up will work wonders for your gun. It is probably the most important factor when it comes to getting accuracy out of your airsoft gun.
A hop-up bucking is a rubber tube that fits over the barrel. It has a nub that puts pressure on the BB and creates a backspin on the BB. Backspin aids in range.
Piston Head O-Ring – Adding an O-ring to the piston head is probably the easiest upgrade. Add a normal size 14 O-ring to a piston head to improve compression.
Better Springs – Adding an upgraded spring, like an M110 or M120 for extra range. If you add new springs you need to add metal bushings as well. M110 and M120 springs are much better for faster fire rates.
Metal Bushings – If you are running a fast rate of fire gun, you need metal bushings.
Shimming – Most guns have a bad grease and shimming job. Fix it, make it better. It’s an easy and must have upgrade to any gun.
Intermediate – Bigger Budget
Tightbore Barrels – A good tightbore barrel is going to increase your overall accuracy. It will often decrease a stock barrel from 6.03 to 6.01. This is an excellent upgrade to run with.
Piston head – If you want to go beyond adding an O-ring to your piston head, you can replace the piston head altogether. A high-quality aftermarket piston head will last longer and perform better than any stock model. Then add an O-ring to it.
Certain pistons are designed for range, others are designed for high speed. Make sure you choose accordingly.
Advanced – Baller Budget
Even Better Springs – An M130 spring is an excellent upgrade but it necessitates even more upgrades to properly use. An M130 is better for long range accuracy, not the rate of fire. You’ll still need metal bushings. Also a spring guide is a must at this point, preferably a metal one with ball bearings.
Gears – If you go with an M130 spring, you’ll probably need to upgrade your gears. If not, they may break pretty quickly. A good set of more durable aftermarket gears will work much better with an M130 spring.
Motor – Like the gears, you need this upgrade to keep the gun running. Some stock motors may but if not, go with an EG1000.
Battery – Go with a higher quality battery. It will last longer overall. Something like a 9 v with 1600 mAh.
This is a basic upgrade guide. Each model comes in different configurations. So what you need to do is to learn your gun. Maybe it already comes with these upgrades, or maybe it doesn’t.
Some guns by some companies also use proprietary parts and can be difficult, if not impossible to upgrade. This is where research comes in handy. Also, popular brands that have been around for a while are likely to be around for even longer.
Disassembling an airsoft gun can be intimidating, so investing some time with a mentor is ideal. There are also excellent video guides on YouTube worth following for more common guns.