For our criteria for beginner and budget-friendly airsoft rifles, we are taking several factors into consideration. The first is the value: as a beginner, you’re probably looking to get the most bang for your buck (literally) as possible. But where some other “best beginner airsoft guns” lists detract from ours is durability. As an entry level player, you want a cheaper gun, but not one that is going to break or malfunction in your first few plays when you don’t even know anything about fixing them. There is no easier way to get frustrated with this sport than to buy cheap guns and gear and have to worry about your gear breaking in the middle of a match.
There is a bit of a sweet spot when it comes to beginner airsoft rifles, and that is playable performance and durability at a reasonably low price point, which we would say is about $150-300. And there are brands that can give you similar performance and gun quality to higher-tier guns for roughly the same price. Also, these guns are not necessarily new to 2018, but they are still the “best beginner guns for 2018”. For these reasons, we feel that these brands, G&G, and ICS’s M4 and CYMA’s AK models are the best candidates for our best beginner airsoft rifles of 2018 list.
You will notice that all the airsoft rifles on this list are M4’s or AK’s. There is a reason for this: As a beginner, you will be upgrading your guns quite a bit in the future. As M4’s and AK’s are the most frequently used and sold models, the parts, mods, and upgrades for them are much more obtainable and cross-compatible. Plus, they tend to be cheaper and better-value.
You’ll also notice that all these rifles are AEG’s (automatic electric guns). GBB rifles (Gas blow-back, guns that run on propane or green gas). GBB rifles tend to be much more expensive, are much more difficult to run, and require more knowledge and experience to operate and maintain. Also, most indoor fields and some outdoor fields don’t allow them. As a beginner with your first airsoft gun, you don’t want to have to worry about where you can play and where you can’t.
Note to new players on gun versions and models: When researching and deciding on which airsoft rifle to buy, you will notice that there are a seemingly infinite versions of each gun. There are a number of reasons for this. For each brand’s gun model, there are many different versions (CQB, version 2/3/etc., AEG vs GBB, different upgrades, different construction [plastic vs. metal]; the list goes on). The original manufacturer will sell different versions, some countries get specific versions of a gun depending on local laws, and often airsoft stores and vendors will add their own upgrades or tweaks to the gun. The one thing to keep in mind so you don’t get confused is that the manufacturer (Tokyo Marui, G&P, Classic Army, etc.), model (M4, AK), sometimes the version (CM040, 045, and 048 for example with CYMA’s AK), the power source type the gun runs on (AEG, GBB, spring, CO2), and sometimes the field model (CQB or full-size) are what to keep in mind. For example, the G&G M4 Combat Machine Raider 16 CQB AEG denotes the brand or manufacturer (G&G), firearm model (M4), make/name/version (Combat Machine Raider 16), field version type (CQB), and power type (AEG). This can get confusing, but you’ll get the hang of it with a bit of research and experience.
*Note: any prices mentioned may have changed since the time of writing
Without further ado, here are the top 3 best airsoft rifles for beginners of 2018!