Airsoft is an expensive hobby and it’s not unusual to hear people complaining about the price of airsoft guns.
After all, airsoft guns are just replicas of real guns and it doesn’t make much sense that a toy costs just as much as real guns.
If you ever had this question in mind and don’t like the price of airsoft guns, in my opinion, you are absolutely right, airsoft guns are pretty expensive and it’s the major reason why many people with an interest in airsoft don’t ever begin their journey.
So, what makes airsoft guns expensive?
Airsoft guns are expensive because manufacturers want to increase their profit margins in a niche hobby with lots of competitors and cover the licensing expenses. Airsoft guns could be cheaper, but the basic economy and marketing laws unfortunately don’t make it possible.
I’ll try to explain each factor that contributes to high airsoft gun prices and give my opinion on it.
Licensing can increase the price of any airsoft replica because airsoft guns are made to replicate a real gun counter type. After all, Glocks are popular due to the iconic pistol design and history which trademarks belong to Austrian manufacturer Glock Ges.m.b.H.
Replicating such a famous and iconic pistol in the airsoft world means that someone must pay for the licensing. After all, everyone is keen on Glocks, and for a reason, Glocks are among the best-selling airsoft pistols but it wouldn’t be the case if the real Glock pistols weren’t so iconic.
This value is always covered by licensing fees which can catapult the price into the skies.
This is, of course, not only the case with Glocks but with the majority of airsoft guns. AR-15 design belongs to Colt, MP5, MP7, UMP, G3, G36, HK416 belong to Heckler & Koch, Desert Eagle belongs to Magnum Research, and so on.
When you see any of these guns as airsoft replicas made by airsoft manufacturers, you know they paid a hefty price for licensing and they need to make that money back.
2. Airsoft is a niche hobby
Airsoft is popular but it’s nowhere near other popular hobbies such as golf, camping, hiking, fishing, or recreational shooting and hunting.
These other hobbies have passionate followers across the world in almost every state, while airsoft is highly popular in the USA and a few places in Europe. The majority of Europe excluding countries such as England, Germany, Denmark, and Russia don’t even have airsoft fields or large communities.
I must be forgetting some countries as I am writing this and I am sure there are more than just a few places to play airsoft in Europe, but my point is that in many places airsoft just doesn’t exist outside of small groups of people who hang out outside in abandoned areas and woods on weekends.
Taiwan and Japan are some places outside of Europe I also have in mind, but we can all probably agree that globally airsoft should gain a lot of popularity before we could put it in the branch with other popular hobbies.
After all, there’s a lake, river or sea, and forest in every state, and fishing hobby or hiking will never die out, you get the point.
How does this affect the price of airsoft guns? Well, the lesser the global community, the lesser the market, and when you involve some competition everyone fights with the margins to stay in the game.
Not all airsoft guns are expensive
Not all airsoft guns cost an average salary, just as there are $400+ high-tier airsoft guns there are excellent entry-level airsoft guns under $150. Some airsoft brands such as Cyma produce awesome airsoft guns such as these AKs, and there are more brands who do the same for other gun platforms such as these beginner snipers.
There are even airsoft guns that can be found in sales for less than $100 and they are upgrade-friendly and a great choice for beginners. The only mandatory factor is to buy something with a metal gearbox that can be later upgraded and hopefully has metal or high-quality polymer parts so it can endure a couple of years.
These airsoft guns can become just as good as those high-tier 400+ guns after you upgrade them. Moreover, you don’t have to cash out for upgrades right away but rather do it periodically over a year or two.
I like this approach and recommend it to everyone, you just need a good starting gun, some BBs, and safety eye protection, and see where it takes you.
You surely have some protective clothes in your closet, so there’s no reason to be bankrupt to start playing airsoft.
Airsoft guns are more than a toy
Airsoft guns may be called toys, but for a reason, we wear safety gear to avoid injuries and don’t teach kids to unresponsible brandish airsoft guns.
Airsoft guns are thus more than just toys, they are replicas based on real guns made for our entertainment.
It’s not easy to make a realistic-looking replica that also has high functionality performance because after all, airsoft is half about the look and half about the actual effectiveness for competitive purposes.
To recreate something that looks realistic and shoots plastic BBs at 150 feet certainly takes some engineering and it all comes with expenses starting from base material to knowledge, patents, salaries, and marketing expenses necessary to bring the product to the community.
For this reason, highly accurate, well-performing airsoft guns always cost more than budget guns which are made for an entry-level.
Furthermore, we can’t exactly compare real guns with airsoft guns because airsoft guns are made so we can shoot each other safely and recreate battle scenarios without getting hurt. This alone stands for a value because if it weren’t for airsoft guns we would need to throw rocks or stay at home and play COD or Battlefield.
Final take on
And finally, I’d like the prices to go down a bit, so more people can join airsoft and we can have more fun but it seems that these days everything goes up and up. Hopefully, better days will come and those better days will also include airsoft and bring it to the glory!
In the meantime, if you want to play airsoft but worry about expenses check my guide on how much airsoft costs where I also shared a few tips to make airsoft easier on your budget.
And in the end, airsoft is a social hobby and sometimes all that expensive gear doesn’t matter as long as you have friends to play with and memories that will stay with you for the rest of your life.