Do you wonder what is the real cost of airsoft and sometimes feel overwhelmed by all the awesome airsoft guns and gear that you see?
Indeed there is a lot of awesome stuff that you can find on the market or see other players wear, but you should know that if this is one of your biggest concerns regarding starting with airsoft, worry not I will guide you through these decisions and help you save the money by focusing only on what is necessary to begin with.
It is important to know what you get for the price and it is important not to waste money, especially at the beginning while you are still trying to figure out whether is airsoft for you at all or is it just another cool thing that you would like to try out but perhaps abandon after two weeks.
So, how much does airsoft cost to get you started?
Airsoft costs between $200-$300 to get you started if you desire to purchase your own gear. BBs and field fees will cost you an additional $20-$30 per day. However, there are options with renting or borrowing the gear from other players before you get yourself into airsoft over time and decide to put more money in the arsenal.
Invest in essential guns and gear that can be upgraded later and do not fall for the awesome and expensive stuff before you are sure you will actually need it.
In case that you do not want to buy your own gear, you can rent it (per average $30 a day), but bear in mind that if you rent it more than a couple of times you will actually lose money because the rental will exceed the price that you would pay for the gear you could own.
How much airsoft guns cost and which one to get?
This is the most important part and sometimes beginners make a mistake and fall for some awesome stuff that is not of use in most situations, after that the budget is gone and they feel annoyed.
I am assuming that you are on a certain budget and although it may vary from a person to person, I guess that you do not plan to spend more than $150-$250 at the very beginning.
I am talking from my personal experience and I may be wrong, but this budget range is something optimal for beginners and it is enough to accommodate a great fundamental AEG and a secondary gun.
Most AEGs that you will want fit into this range and often you will have enough money left for a secondary gun.
The cost of beginner AEG
AEG rifles are the smartest investment because they can be used for almost every purpose in airsoft from skirmishes to CQB, and they can be upgraded later.
The importance of having a high-quality AEG rifle from a very beginning lays in the fact that if you spend the precious money on some budget AEG rifles that cost $50-$60 or so, you will get an extremely poor quality gun that will underperform and will be a terrible base for later upgrades.
Therefore, avoid any cheap, budget AEG rifle that people recommend you, they are mostly but the toys. If you plan to use an airsoft replica rifle for cosplay then you can find good looking replicas at $20, but I assume that is not your goal.
Once you get yourself a good AEG, know that it is worth the money because you will not need any other primary gun to enjoy airsoft.
You can check my list of finest AEGs for beginners and advanced players in order to find one that will suit your needs.
When it comes to upgrades, do not think much about it just yet. In the future, once you catch on to the game, you will discover a whole ocean of interesting upgrades that will get your AEG on another level in terms of performance.
Everything that you need to know right now is to get a decent one that will have a good performance from the very beginning and support the upgrades later.
That’s what you need to know about AEG rifles, I will also mention that you should probably avoid SMGs and rather focus on rifles for the beginning, unless you really like SMGs more than rifles, in that case, some SMGs that can be upgraded later will be a good choice indeed.
Snipers are expensive
In case you have been wondering about sniper airsoft replicas you need to be careful!
Snipers are great and players love them, but you should be aware that snipers require a good upgrade budget to perform on a high tier and therefore, AEGs can outperform them until that time.
Besides upgrades being so important, the other problem is that if you decide to play CQB ( close quarter combat games), you will find snipers useless due to the fact that they are high-velocity guns with very long barrels and poor fire rate that are designed to be used for outdoor play.
In that case, you will need some other gun and if you have spent everything on the sniper you will have a problem.
The average starting price for good snipers before upgrades is about $150 and with upgrades, it may get tripled in price or more.
Another fact about snipers is that you may not find them to be that entertaining as you thought.
Airsoft snipers differ from real snipers which is obvious, but other airsoft replicas differ less from their real counterparts.
Sniper replicas simply may not behave as you wanted them to behave and you may find them boring after some time. If it is not about the actual sniper gun that may bore you, it may be the playstyle that may not suit you.
Do you want to sneak and camp all the time or do you prefer more actual action? In the beginning, sniping may be a cool experience, but after some time you may desire more action and a different gameplay approach.
So, the advice is not to start with snipers, unless you have already tried them and know that you will be a dedicated team sniper that will annoy the enemy team and cause the rage quits.
If you are interested in snipers, you can find my top picks for snipers that cost under $150.
Secondary guns are optional, but important
Once we have dealt with a primary gun, we can focus on choosing a secondary one.
Most players assume that a secondary gun means a pistol, but any gun can be a secondary gun in theory.
You could run double snipers and shoot from a hip and have a minigun on the back in case that you get surrounded, but this is not often a case in airsoft.
Secondary guns are useful not only in case the primary one starts to malfunction but also for close-range scenarios when the primary gun is too powerful and may hurt the enemy player.
Therefore, by choosing a perfect secondary gun we need to consider the factors of velocity and simplicity of wearing.
Pistols, shotguns, and some SMGs are all fine picks, but pistols are the most common.
So, the recommendation is to go with pistols because they simply work the best and are both beginner-friendly and can be used later once you advance.
Which pistol should you choose based on price?
You can choose between blowback and non-blowback and between gas or electricity operated pistols.
Blowback is a great mechanism for realism and it makes the gun slide upon a shot just like the real guns do when fired.
This is not a mandatory thing, but rather a luxury and it is subjective whether you want it or not.
The functionality does not differ, non-blowback guns are often more efficient and have one purpose only, to shoot the target without any additional realism added to it.
What makes airsoft so exciting and cool is its replicas and blowback often means fun!
Should you get a blowback one depends on you, but you must know that they are more expensive, so for instance, you might pay $60 for non-blowback and $120 for a blowback more realistic replica.
For more information on this topic I have created a guide that will help you choose between blowbacks and non-blowbacks.
In terms of energy source, both gas and electricity airsoft guns are fine picks, but gas pistols have better velocity and more overall power to support the blowback mechanism.
Electricity pistols are efficient, low-velocity guns and are a great pick for every airsoft player no matters how experienced they are.
BBs, gas, and electricity bills
Alright, let’s mention this stuff so you do not get surprised once you spend some time playing. In beginning, it seems that you do not need much besides the starting gear, but you will soon realize that BBs and the energy fill that your gun uses may stack up in expenses.
How much BBs cost?
BBs are cheap and you can use between regular and biodegradable BBs.
Most players use the regular BBs that are made of simple plastics and unless your field requires bio BBs, you can use the regulars. This may also be up to because some people are more ecologically oriented than others.
Whatever you choose to go with, you can expect to pay per average $15 for regular 5000 BBs, and for the same amount of bio BBs you might pay $18.
This will last you for a very long time, especially if you do not shoot like a maniac with constant rapid-fire.
It is smart to save ammo in the field because shooting more does not result in more kills if the shots are predictable and inaccurate anyway. You will often not shoot more than 1000 BBs if you play for the entire day
If you want to read more on the difference between regular and biodegradable BBs you can find it in my post that I have created on this topic here.
And yeah, use heavier BBs instead of those light ones for better accuracy and range, you can also find more information on why it is important here.
How much Gas and electricity cost?
AEGs are not a big deal when it comes to electricity because all it requires for a recharge is some local plug and it won’t add up the monthly bills almost at all.
Gas in another hand, easily adds up to the summary in long term, but you will not experience big expenses at the beginning. Is gas expensive? Well, depends on how often you play and what guns you use.
The more you play, the more you pay. Some airsoft guns use more gas than others and as is the case with most CO2 blowback guns they will need more gas to last then it will be the case with non-blowback guns.
There are also other factors that affect the gas in guns like the environmental conditions.
If you want to buy a gas-powered airsoft replica, it is suggested to know what you can expect to pay for CO2 cartridges in the long run, how long will they last depending on a gun, how to store them properly, and more about problems such as leaking. You can find all these answers here.
What about other gear?
You need more than guns to play airsoft, but it does not mean that you need some extra expensive tactical gear to get started.
You can play in a hoodie that is thick enough to protect you and you can wear any thicker trousers and boots of your preference.
There is tactical gear that you can get with time because it is optional and is not worth it if you are starting on a limited budget.
In case that the budget allows you to get some cool tactical gear, then you can choose between a variety of tactical and military clothes on the market.
The eye protection is affordable and a must
The only really important piece of gear that you must not be cheap at is safety eye protection!
I can not stress this enough, do not be cheap at eye protection, and prioritize it over anything else. You can choose between safety goggles, glasses, and masks and once you choose the model you like, test it multiple times and make sure that it is not made from some cheap material.
You can find more about safety eye protection in my guide where I help you choose between glasses, goggles and masks.
You can expect to pay in about $20-$50 range for high-quality eye protection and with the option to cover parts of the face as well, which leads us to the next part.
How much head and face protection costs?
You do not need a helmet, although you can use one and they are not expensive ($35 per average) and you can rather use any solid hat or a headband if you find it annoying to receive direct hits in the head.
The head does not hurt that much, but the other soft issue on your face may.
It is considered smart to cover vulnerable spots like the mouth, you do not want to lose a tooth, although it happens extremely rarely, and getting hit in a lip or any other part of the face may cause some minor bleeding in some cases.
Players are thought not to hit the head and often you will not receive such hits at all, with some face mask that protects at least the lower face you will be more than protected.
You can get a lower mesh mask per example or something similar, lower mesh masks are affordable ($15) and a full face mask may include eye protection and also cover the rest of your head and leave no free spots for getting hit for about $25-$60.
How much Chest rigs, holsters, and bags cost?
This is the last part and you may consider some of these items because it will help you in and out of the field.
Any decent bag or a case can be a good pick because you will need to put guns and gear somewhere but worry not and use the old gym bag.
Chest rigs and holsters are useful once you get some gear and need to place it somewhere, at the beginning you can forget about that stuff and just wear a hoodie with and a backpack.
If you play in summer time you will find bottles for water quite useful, be sure to have enough room for such essentials and guns, you do not need much more than that.
How expensive is airsoft? The summary
Let’s see how big of a budget you really need after we have mentioned all this stuff above.
For a decent AEG, you will need to pay $120, for a pistol $60, for eye protection $30, for 5000 starting BBs $15 and for some gas or electricity, you can expect to pay an additional $10.
When we calculate the expenses you will need about $235 to get started without anything fancy and additional stuff.
This is, of course, a minimal budget for decent quality beginner equipment, and you may calculate less or more depending on how fortunate you are with the items on the market.
You can pay $50 more and get a blowback pistol instead of a non-blowback per instance, or pay $60 more and get the AEG you always dreamed of that is also built better and will be keener of upgrades in the future.
With time, you can increase the arsenal and get more of the awesome stuff and perhaps upgrade the guns.
The upgrades can get quite pricey and you may spend more than the starting budget for the upgrades on a single gun.
I am going to repeat once more that you can rent the gear or borrow it from someone, perhaps for free until you get the feeling for airsoft and decide whether you want to invest in the gear or not.
I hope this helped, have fun and enjoy your next game!