There are several airsoft brands out there, and because of the nature of the sport, airsoft replicas typically look alike, even if they’re from different manufacturers. As such, it’s fair to think that the accessories and detachable parts like magazines are interchangeable or universal to all airsoft guns.
Airsoft magazines aren’t universal and won’t work with all airsoft replicas. While some magazines are compatible with several brands, they don’t work in all cases, as magazine well design differs between manufacturers. Additionally, AEG and Gas replicas use entirely different styles of magazines.
The rest of this article explains some crucial things you should know about airsoft magazines. I’ll also provide you with some tips for making additional magazines work properly on airsoft guns.
Airsoft magazines mentioned in the article below:
Three Things To Know About Airsoft Magazines
If you’re new to airsoft, here are three things you should know about airsoft magazines when shopping for extras for your gun.
1. Different Airsoft Models Use Different Magazines
Like real firearms, different models of airsoft guns use different magazines. For instance, an AK47 magazine won’t work on an HK MP5 airsoft rifle because of the different proportions.
However, some magazines can work on two or more related models, provided they’re in the same series or closely related, like the M4 carbine and M16 rifle.
2. AEG Magazines Aren’t Compatible With GBB and Vice Versa
AEG (automatic electric airsoft gun) and GBB (gas blowback) are the most popular platforms for airsoft guns.
GBBs use compressed gas to propel BBs, while AEGs use an electric motor and a spring and piston mechanism.
As such, while you’ll frequently find the same model of airsoft gun available in both styles, the similarities end at the outward appearance. Internal workings like how the ammo is loaded into the barrel are entirely different.
Gas gun magazines often have sections for the gas canisters needed to propel the BBs and, at the same time, load the next BB. As a result, these magazines don’t hold as many rounds of ammo as their AEG counterparts, where the entire magazine is devoted to storing BBs.
So even if an AEG magazine fits perfectly into a Gas gun, it won’t work since there’s no gas to move and reload the bullets.
However, I should mention that there are ways to make AEG magazines work on GBB guns by using special adapters and making (costly) modifications to the gun.
3. Magazine Well Design Often Differ Between Manufacturers
With the rise in popularity of airsoft, there are more airsoft manufacturers today than ever before. As such, you’ll find that for each real firearm, there are several airsoft replicas of it. And this is especially true for popular guns like the AK 47 and the M4.
Replicas from different brands may look identical on the outside, but the internal design may vary slightly.
The magazine well (or mag well) is the portion of the gun where the magazine is inserted. It’s one area where there’s usually some variation between different manufacturers. Some mag wells are designed for magazines with slightly raised openings for the BBs to pass through into the barrel, whereas others are flush with the rest of the magazine.
The position of the opening can also differ between magazines. Consequently, these magazines aren’t interchangeable.
However, these variations in magazine design are more prevalent on the cheaper AEG guns with plastic gearboxes, as these will usually have proprietary designs that make them non-interchangeable.
In the higher quality full metal gearbox guns, there’s a higher chance that the magazine design is standardized like real firearms. So the magazines can work on similar models by different manufacturers giving rise to the so-called “universal” magazines.
Gas airsoft gun magazines are even less interchangeable than AEG magazines, as manufacturers design gas storage differently.
Some Airsoft Magazines Are Considered Universal
Although there’s no actual universal airsoft magazine, that is, a magazine that works for all brands, some magazines are still marketed as universal. They’re called universal because they’re compatible with several brands (and sometimes, models)
These universal magazines are typically made for AEGs since they are the most widely used airsoft guns, particularly the M4 rifle (and M16 carbine) and AK series (Ak-47 and AK-74).
If you’re in the market for an airsoft magazine for an M4, M16, or SCAR-L AEG, I recommend going for the Lancer Tactical M4/M16 Hi-Cap AEG Airsoft Magazine from Amazon.com.
The magazine is made of metal and polymer, so it’s durable. Additionally, it can hold up to 300 rounds of 6mm BBs, and it’ll work on most standard M4/M16 AEGs like those from Lancer Tactical, G&G, Tokyo Marui, and CYMA.
For AK series AEGs, I recommend the SportPro Stubby Metal High Capacity Airsoft Magazine, also from Amazon.com. This stubby AK- 47/74 magazine holds up to 250 6mm bbs and has a metal shell for increased durability.
It’ll work with standard AK-47 and 74 series mag wells like CYMA, Tokyo Marui, Double Eagle, Lancer Tactical, and many others.
Useful Tips for “Universal” Airsoft Magazines
Some magazines can be a few millimeters too small, causing them to wobble in the mag well, but you can fix this with some electric tape. Simply put a layer of tape on the sides of the magazine right beneath the catch, where the mag well locks to the magazine.
The tape will add some bulk and make the magazine fit firmly in the mag well. Feel free to add another layer of tape if one layer doesn’t do the trick.
Here’s a four-minute video showing how to fix airsoft mags with electrical tape:
Similarly, magazines that are too tight or don’t go into the magwell easily are a few millimeters too large, and you can fix them with a file. Grind down any raised edges on the magazine. If there are no raised edges, use the file to strip off the paint from the magazine.
You don’t need to take your file past the portion of the magazine that goes into the mag well. That way, the magazine still looks good when you put it in your gun.
Airsoft magazines aren’t truly universal, as different brands and models use different types of magazines. However, some magazines are compatible with several brands and models, so they may be called “universal magazines.”
These magazines are mainly for the mid to higher-level AEGs as they tend to have a standardized design, allowing interchangeability of some of the parts like the magazines.