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How airsoft weapons are classified into various technology types
Airsoft guns are classified into several types according to the driving mechanism
Automatic Electric Guns (AEG)
This type is battery powered. The battery drives an elctric motor. The circular movement in the motor is transformed to foreward movement of a piston through a gear assembly. The piston shoots the bullet out. The battery is charged through a battery charger.
Spring Airsoft Guns
In this type, a spring in tention is released. The spring pushes on a piston that again pushes the bullet out. Before shooting, the spring must be cocked back, usually through a sliding mechanism.
Gas Airsoft Guns
Here gas under pressure is released from a ampulla.The gas pushes on a piston that drives the bullet out. The gun is loaded by changing gas ampulle.
Nitro piston guns
These weapons have a gas ampulla, usually with nitrogen. They also have a cylinder with a piston. Furthermore they have a mechanism like spring guns that make it possible to cock the piston down. Pressurized gas is first filled into the cylinder. Then you cock the piston down so that the pressur in the gasw gets even higher. Then the higly pressurized gas in the cylinder is released to drive the bullet out, whereupon the cylider is filled with new gas. The high pressure obtained makes these weapons very powerful.
Pneumatic airsoft guns
In this type there is a cylinder with a piston. The cylinder is filled with air by letting the piston slide to the end of the cylinder. Then the piston is pushed to the bottom so that the air is compressed. The air is released and presses at the bullet or at another piston that then presses at the bullet, so that the bullet accelerates. The air is usually filled into the cylinder and compressed with a manual action.
This technology is traditionally used in air rifles, with much more destructive power than airsoft guns, but it is sometimes applied also in airsoft weapons.
Possible future developments
A possibel development could be electric airsoft guns based on piston driven foreward by electromagnets. There could be a successive array of electromagnets that are activited one after the other as the piston goes foreward that pull the piston along steadily faster. Such an airsoft gun will have the advantage of very simple mechanical mechanisms. The electromagnets must however be controlled very precisely by electronics.
More information about weapons
About the various types of airsoft weapons - over on this page
How paintball marker guns are used and work
About airsoft machine guns
Modern development in military weapon technology
About airsoft gun accessories