How To Adjust an Airsoft Gun’s Hop-Up (6 Easy Steps)

The hop-up or High Operation Power Up is the backflip induced in Airsoft Guns to give the bullet force and momentum, increasing the range and accuracy of the bullet. So how do you adjust an airsoft gun’s hop-up?

Here’s how to adjust an airsoft gun’s hop-up using an adjustment wheel:

  1. Shoot a few pellets to check the trajectory of your BB.
  2. Locate the adjustment wheel cover and pull it open.
  3. Turn the wheel counter-clockwise for a downward curve.
  4. Rotate the dial clockwise if BBs are falling too soon.
  5. Test your adjustment.
  6. Repeat the process until you get the right adjustment.

You can adjust an Airsoft gun’s hop-up using an adjustment wheel or a slide bar, depending on your gun type. The slider bar method is typically used for long-range rifles such as sniper rifles. Keep reading to learn how an Airsoft gun hop-up works and how to adjust your Airsoft gun hop-up effectively with an adjustment wheel or a slide bar.

The Mechanism of an Airsoft Gun Hop-Up 

The hop-up is usually found on the top of the gun. It controls the pressure applied on the BB inside the firing chamber. The pressure creates the backspin on the pellet when fired, and this backspin gives the BB an upward momentum, thus increasing its range.

The pressure on the BB should be just right. If the pressure is too much, the BB will go on an upward trajectory, upsetting your aim and accuracy. Too low pressure would cause the BB to go on a downward trajectory and reduce the range of the gun.

That is why knowing how to adjust the hop-up of your Airsoft gun is crucial. There are two ways to do it: using an adjustment wheel or a slider bar. I’ll elaborate on each method through 6 easy steps below.

Video: Hop Up Basics: How a Hop-Up Work

How To Adjust an Airsoft Gun’s Hop-Up Using an Adjustment Wheel

  1. Shoot a Few Pellets To Check the Trajectory of Your BB

First, you need to check the direction and the flight curve of your BB.

Find an open area and make sure there are no people around. Place a target or choose a landmark, such as a tree or a standalone wall, at a suitable distance that would allow you to observe the curve of the BB.

The distance at which you place your target depends on the type of weapon you are testing. A stretch of 35 meters (114 feet) from the target would be best for a rifle as they have long-range. For a pistol, 20 meters (65 feet) should be adequate.

Now, shoot a few BBs to warm up the weapon first. You would get a more accurate trajectory of the BBs after your gun has warmed up.

  1. Locate the Adjustment Wheel Cover and Pull It Open

The adjustment wheel is found on the right-hand side of airsoft rifles, just above the loading magazine. In pistols, the adjustment wheel, or parabola regulator, may be found on the top or either side of the pistol.

The adjusting wheels have a cover to prevent any waste or dust from entering the adjustment dial. Make sure no dirt enters the adjusting dial while calibrating as it could freeze the wheel or cause inaccurate adjustments.

Flip open the cover and make your adjustment. Your fingers can adjust the parabola regulators on pistols. For rifles, you may need a screwdriver to adjust the wheel, as it is usually located inside the weapon’s body.

  1. Turn the Wheel Counter-Clockwise for a Downward Curve

If your BBs have an upward trajectory, rotate the adjustment wheel in an anti-clockwise direction.

This will relieve pressure on the BBs in the chamber when fired, giving them a weaker hop and causing them to go in a straight line.

Depending on how much upward curve the BB has, rotate the wheel a quarter, half, or full circle in the anti-clockwise direction. If the BB has a big hop, a higher wheel rotation would be required to bring the trajectory back to normal.

Factor in the weight of the BB while making your adjustments, as that affects the hop and range of the BB.

Rotating the adjustment dial all the way to the left would remove all the pressure on the BB. Your BBs will have zero hop. BBs will follow a short downward trajectory before flopping to the ground instead of going in a straight line.

If you are adjusting hop on your Airsoft weapon for the first time, go for the middle settings. Choosing extreme hop or too little hop would give severe curves to your BBs, making for poor accuracy and range. So, it is best to start from the medium settings and then adjust accordingly.

  1. Rotate the Dial Clockwise if BBs Are Falling Too Soon

If your BBs are falling too soon without covering a suitable distance, it means they have very little hop.

In this case, rotate the adjustment dial in a clockwise direction. This would increase the pressure on the BB. The increased pressure on the top of the BB would induce a greater backspin, thus giving it more hop.

Rotate the wheel depending on how much hop is required to make the BB travel in a straight line.

You will have to make a judgment call after observing the initial trajectory of your BB to determine how much hop is needed to give your BB the maximum range and an accurate flight path.

Turning the adjustment wheel all the way to the right would give an extreme hop to the BB, causing it to go on an acutely upward trajectory.

Although most Airsoft weapons follow this ‘clockwise for increasing hop, anti-clockwise for decreasing hop’ directive, it is not universal. However, weapons have labels next to the wheel indicating which direction would increase or decrease the hop to avoid confusion.

  1. Test Your Adjustment

After you have made your adjustment, it is time to test it.

Shoot a few rounds, and if the BB has a straight flight path and long-range, your calibration was a success.

Since BBs are not propelled by gunpowder, as in firearms, they would make a curved flight before hitting the ground.

So, the best calibration for the hop-up is one that gives just a little upward curve to the BB after leaving the barrel. This would make the BB go in a straight line and make for more accurate shooting.

  1. Repeat the Process Until You Get the Right Adjustment

If you get your adjustment right the first time, well and good.

If not, then keep repeating the above steps until you have the right calibration.

The best way to go about it is by rotating the dial turn by turn and testing your adjustment until you have the right result.

Video: Hop Up Adjustment Video – How To

How To Adjust an Airsoft Gun’s Hop-Up Using a Slider Bar

Some Airsoft guns, mostly long-range rifles such as sniper rifles, have a slider bar instead of an adjustment wheel. Using a slider bar slightly varies from using an adjustment wheel to calibrate the hop-up.

  1. Take Test Shots To Get the Flight Bearing of the BB

Find a safe place to shoot some rounds.

Warm up the rifle for an accurate bearing of the BB trajectory.

Slider bars are usually found in long-range rifles such as sniper rifles. Still, the distance at which you set your target should not be greater than 50 meters (1,645 feet).

This distance would give a good curve to the BB and make it easy for you to observe its trajectory.

If the target is placed at a shorter distance, you would not be able to gauge the flight path of the BB, and any assessment you reach would be inaccurate.

  1. Find the Slider Bar and Open the Cover

The slider bar or the BB bullet regulator is located at the right side of an airsoft rifle.

You can find the slider bar either directly above the rifle magazine or directly beneath it. The position of the slider bar with respect to the magazine affects the calibration of the hop-up.

If the bar is found above the magazine, moving the slider towards the rear end of the rifle would increase hop in the BB.

In rifles where the slider bar is located below the magazine, you would have to move the bar towards the muzzle of the rifle to increase hop. However, this is not a universal rule.

Make sure to read the instructions manual of your specific Airsoft rifle to know which direction would increase hop in your BBs.

Take special care not to let any dust enter the slider bar. Dust would clog the hop up and may also cause inaccurate calibration. Close the slider bar cover after making your adjustment.

In this article, we will talk about rifles where the slider bar is located above the magazine.

  1. Slide the Bar Towards the Left Side To Increase Hop

If your BBs are falling at too short a distance, slide the bar towards the left to increase the pressure on them.

Increased pressure would increase the hop in the BBs and give them an upward trajectory.

Moving the bar fully to the left would maximize the hop up and adversely affect the trajectory of your BB.

Use the scale and notches on the slider bar to monitor your adjustments and select the right setting.

  1. Move the Bar to the Right To Decrease Hop

If your BBs have an unusually high trajectory, making it very hard to hit your targets, move the bar to the right.

Moving the slider bar towards the muzzle end would decrease hop on your BBs and make them fly on a straight tangent.

Sliding the bar completely towards the right side would remove all hop from the BBs and drastically reduce the range of your shots.

  1. Test the Calibration

Shoot a few test rounds to check your adjustment.

A perfect setting would give a little hop to the BBs after leaving the muzzle to give it a straight flight path.

If your shots are going the complete range of your weapon accurately before curving downwards, your calibration was successful.

  1. Repeat Until You Get It Right

The best position is where the BBs have a horizontal flight path and achieve the longest flight distance.

Until you get a straight trajectory, warm up your weapon, take a few shots, and then make your adjustments accordingly.

Try to get the right setting in as few attempts as possible. Excessive readjustment of the hop-up will clog the bullets in the firing chamber.

If the chamber becomes clogged, stop operating your weapon. Return the slider bar to normal and unclog the chamber before using it again. Firing while the chamber is clogged will damage your gun.

Remember, apart from hop up, other factors like the weight of BBs and wind speed also affect the flight path of BBs. So, keep these in mind when calibrating your weapon.

Why Is the Hop-Up Needed?

Without the hop-up, the bullets in the airsoft gun would go with far less force and cover a short distance.

Unlike the ammunition in conventional firearms, BBs are not filled with gunpowder or streamlined to carry them far and straight.

The bullets used in airsoft weapons are spherical in shape. A sphere can change direction in air if it is spinning fast enough through a phenomenon called the Magnus effect. The hop-up gives the BBs that spin before they leave the barrel of the gun.

The backspin induced in the spherical bullet by the hop-up gives it the momentum to offset the gravitational pull on the BB and make it go in a straight path.

To learn more about the hop-up and how to adjust it, check out this quick video from Airsoft Station:

Final Word

Knowing how to adjust your airsoft gun’s hop-up may just be the difference between victory and defeat in Airsoft. Well, now you know everything there is to know about calibrating your Airsoft weapons for the highest range and accuracy.