Airsoft isn't cheap.
In fact, though you can find poor quality options for under $100, guns can often extend into thousands of dollars. And that's before you start buying the masks, combat boots, tactical gear, extra BBs, spare gas, batteries (for AEGs) and paying for venues.
The costs can stack up pretty quickly, even more if you don't maintain properly.
This is one reason it's so important to know all about airsoft guns and gear, as well as how to maintain them.
Keeping your airsoft gears well-maintained is a sure-fire way to ensure the functionality, longevity, and safety of your equipment.
Important Airsoft Considerations
Before we get to the primary maintenance of your gun(s), here are a few things to consider from the outset.
Know Your Gun
A good starting point for troubleshooting airsoft problems is being fully aware of your type of gun and how it operates.
There are two main types of airsoft gun: spring-loaded and gas powered.
Get to know your gun before you begin maintenance on it. Here's a guide to some of the best airsoft guns on the market.
Use High-Quality BBs
Only use high-quality BBs when shooting your airsoft gun.
Poor quality, dirty or broken BBs are likely to damage and jam it. This is why you should never reuse BBs either. They're simply not up to the standard you need. For instance, higher end guns require a BB that weighs 0.2 grams. They won't work with BBs that weigh less.
Give yourself the best chance of preventing issues with your gun by using better quality pellets.
Have the Right Tools
Maintaining your airsoft gun is far easier when you have the right tools to do the work. Low quality or incorrect tools can also do damage to important parts of the gun, such as the screws that hold it together. Useful tools to own include screwdrivers, hex drivers, pliers and wire cutters (if you're confident with electrics), and silicone oil.
Help yourself maintain your gun by investing in the tools you need.
How to Properly Maintain Airsoft Gun
Here are some of the most critical ways to maintain your airsoft gun. Remember, a well-maintained gun is crucial for ensuring it remains safe to use. Don't forget to regularly take the time to take the necessary care of your gun. Here's a video by Apache Airsoft demonstrating the process of maintaining and cleaning airsoft guns and gears for beginners.
Clean the Barrel
Your shots shoot straight with accuracy when your barrel is clean and smooth inside. When your shots begin to deviate in a vertical direction, it's a sign to get cleaning.
Regardless, it's always better to clean your barrel.
- 1First, make sure your hop up is turned completely off. This is important. If it's still on, you'll damage the hop up with the cleaning rod (which may also get stuck).
- 2With the hop up off, take your cleaning rod and insert a thin strip of paper towel into the end. Next, spray the paper towel with a 100% silicone lubricant and insert it gently into the barrel.
- 3It's essentially like any other pipe cleaner. Move the rod in and out, rotating as you go, to clean the barrel. Just be careful not to damage the bucking on the hop up.
Lubricate the Gun
Lubricating particular parts of the gun (such as the gearbox and the hop up) will help if it's started jamming or misfeeding (more on this later).
Some gas-powered guns also benefit from lubricating the magazines (see magazine care section, below).
- 1For the hop up, the first step is to empty your gun of BBs. Remove the magazine and fire the gun a number of times (semi-auto mode is best if you can) to make sure you won't shoot yourself during the process!
- 2Next, turn your gun upside down (aiming towards the sky) and spray silicone oil (sparingly) inside. Limit yourself to a few sprays - you don't want too much. Then leave it upside down for a few minutes to set and seep properly into the mechanism.
- 3To lube the gearbox, you'll have to take off the motor first. At the bottom of the gearbox, there's a small hole. This is where you need to spray the silicone oil.
Once you've sprayed it a few times, leave it upside down again to let the oil do its work.
Magazine care is one example of why it pays to know your gun. Essentially, what you need to do depends on the gun you have.
Here's how to look after the magazines appropriate to your gun:
Spring and Electric Powered Guns
Given that your gun relies on its spring to work, this is a good practice to get into!
Gas Powered Guns
Gas powered gun magazines need to stay pressurized, even after use. Without this pressure, the internal mechanisms can stop working correctly.
Warning: you can freeze your o-ring if you aren't careful!
This is a problem for gas guns when you discharge pressure using the release valve. Save yourself a problem and don't do it! It can cause possible gas leakages in the future.
A final general point on magazine care. Try not to slam the mag into your gun when you're using it. Doing so can cause damage to various components and eventually lead to misfiring.
Unjam Your Gun ASAP
Jams are bad for your gun! They can cause serious damage.
Common causes include using poor quality or broken BBs (like we mentioned above), getting the magazine or barrel full of dirt and/or having a hop up, tappet plate, or nozzle that isn't working properly.
Because of the risks they can cause, you should try to clear a jam straight away when you experience one.
- 1The first step is to stop firing immediately (continuing to fire can damage the gun further) and turn off the hop up (this is important!).
- 2Then, with the gun upside down, use the 'non-paper towel end' of your cleaning rod to push the BB back into the magazine, via the barrel.
- 3Check if it worked by firing off a few test rounds. Unfortunately, you'll need to take it to a pro for a proper service if the gun continues to jam thereafter.
Remember, the right care and maintenance of your airsoft gun is the best way to prevent jams happening!
Extra Airsoft Gun Maintenance Tips
Here are some additional airsoft maintenance ideas and considerations.
How To Maintain Other Airsoft Gear & Equipment
Of course, guns are only one piece of airsoft equipment you need to look after. Here's how to maintain your other airsoft gear.
Masks & Goggles
Masks and goggles provide crucial face protection. This is why it's vital that you maintain them well by keeping them clean.
A build-up of grease and dirt leads to fogging. And the last thing you want to be doing in a game is removing your eye protection to clear the fog from your mask.
Regularly clean your mask lens using hot water and dry with a clean rag. Use cotton balls and q-tips for harder to reach places. Finally, apply an anti-fog solution to your lens. These can come in different forms, including wipes and sprays.
Plate Carriers & Chest Rigs
Some people like a rough and ready look to their gear. It's understandable, but be sure to clean important components such as your plate carriers, which often get covered in dirt.
Without the necessary cleaning, your expensive equipment will wear out far quicker. If your gear is wet, you should let it dry first. Next, use a dry brush to remove excess dirt.
Be sure to clean out your magazine pouches too. These often get filled with dirt during a game, which can later transfer to your magazines. This can then impact your BBs, affect gun performance.
Airsoft Clothing & Boots
The maintenance of your boots will depend on the type you're using. But whatever variety you have, first wash off excess mud and let them dry out when wet. Then, for leather boots, brush off any excess dirt and re-polish. For suede/desert boots, you'll want to follow the same cleaning process (minus the polish) before re-waterproofing them.
For washing your clothing, we've seen recommendations for scrubbing items down with water after spraying on an Isopropyl alcohol and white wine vinegar mix. However, an alternative is to put it through the laundry as normal (just be sure to follow manufacturer's instructions).
There you have it: how to properly maintain your airsoft guns and gear.
The best airsoft guns are safe to use and last over time. Be sure to keep yours like this by first knowing about your air gun and understanding how it works.
From there, don't skimp on quality BBs, regularly clean your barrel and lubricate the necessary parts. Know how to care for your magazine and always be wary of jam. Clear them effectively by following the previous instructions and always get complex problems seen to by a professional.
Follow these rules, and you're sure to get the most enjoyment from your airsoft gun! Starting with airsoft? Read our beginner's guide here.