Not all airsoft guns are expensive, but many have hefty price tags. Airsofts are not toy replicas of real pistols, rifles, and semi or fully automatic weapons. While non-lethal and not the real deal, they are completely functional and a piece of sporting equipment, unlike toys.
Here are 10 reasons why airsoft guns are so expensive:
- Research and Development
- Handcrafted and Assembled
- Economies of Scale
- Premium Features
If you are wondering ‘why are airsoft guns so expensive,’ the answer lies in how such products have come about and the various steps from conception through production to post-sale processes. This guide explains every reason for some brands’ steep prices for their airsoft guns.
You are perhaps aware that the most popular AEGs are airsoft versions of trademarked firearms. Manufacturers of airsoft guns use well-established brand names and their trademarks through licensing. All such licensing deals cost a lot of money.
Here is a brief list of the bestselling AEGs right now:
- AR-15 series
- MP5 series
- AK series
- G36 series
- P90 series
- MP7 series
ArmaLite was the original manufacturer of the first AR rifles designed by a team led by Eugene Stone. A few years after the invention, ArmaLite sold its AR rights to Colt. In due course, Colt made what is now the popular AR-15 series.
Every airsoft gun maker producing AR-15 rifles pays a licensing fee to Colt. Likewise, all airsoft brands manufacturing MP5, MP7, and other series of Heckler & Koch pay a licensing fee to the German company.
Elite Force’s Heckler & Koch Automatic Airsoft Rifle and HK MP5 AEG Airsoft Gun are made using the permitted license. Similarly, Soft Air has an AK47 Electric Powered Full Metal Airsoft Rifle, and Evike sells CYMA’s Kalashnikov Fully Licensed AK47 AEG.
These are automatic airsoft rifles with metal gearboxes. The Soft Air AK47 has an adjustable hop-up. The Evike Kalashnikov has a full-metal body. Such material and features would have cost less sans the licensing cost.
Evike sells an FN Herstal Licensed P90 AEG. Even if you consider the entry-level and relatively inexpensive Elite Force Walther PPQ BB Pistol, the trademark is licensed by Carl Walther GmbH Sportwaffen. This pistol would cost much less without the licensing fee.
Elite Force’s Desert Eagle Spring Powered Airsoft Pistol is based on the classic design by Magnum Research, and the real gun was originally manufactured by IMI Systems. Companies account for all such licensing costs while calculating the per-unit price of their airsoft guns.
|Top||Elite Force HK Heckler & Koch 416 A5 AEG Automatic 6mm BB Rifle Airsoft Gun, Black||Prime||Check on Amazon|
|HK Heckler & Koch MP5 A4 Elite Series AEG Automatic 6mm BB Rifle Airsoft Gun||Prime||Check on Amazon|
|Soft Air Kalishnikov AK47 Electric Powered Full Metal Airsoft Rifle with Adjustable Hop-Up, 390-430 FPS||Prime||Check on Amazon|
|Evike Kalashnikov Fully Licensed 60th Anniversary Edition Full Metal AK47 Tactical Airsoft AEG by CYMA||Prime||Check on Amazon|
|Evike FN Herstal Licensed P90 Full Size Metal Gearbox Airsoft AEG (Color: Black/Add 7.4v LiPo Battery + BMS Charger + LiPo Safe)||Prime||Check on Amazon|
|Elite Force Walther PPQ 6mm BB Pistol Airsoft Gun, Combat Kit (Gun, 800 BBs and 2 Mags), One Size (2272545)||Prime||Check on Amazon|
|Desert Eagle Soft AIR USA Spring Airsoft Pistol, Black, 170-220 FPS||Prime||Check on Amazon|
2. Research and Development
AEGs are functional airsoft guns, not inoperational showpieces or toyish replicas. Regardless of licensing, airsoft gun manufacturers find a safe way to replicate the real firearms without combustion, ignition, and lethality while addressing the needs of airsoft gamers and the sport.
R&D budgets are naturally factored into the per-unit price of all airsoft guns. Also, airsofts have not been around for a very long time, and there is still limited evolution compared to the roughly 1,000 years’ history of guns since the Chinese fire lance.
Firing a projectile through ignition, combustion, or other chemical reactions is easier and cheaper than using tension. All airsoft guns use a tension & compression system, whether a low-budget spring function or tactical models powered by gas, air, or electricity.
Airsoft guns’ technology has evolved in recent years, but companies must still find ways to accommodate all essential and customizable features within preexisting designs. An AR-15 AEG cannot look like an AK-47 or MP5. This retrofitting is a tedious and costly endeavor.
Access a premium-quality airsoft gun’s gearbox, receiver, and internal components. You will instantly recognize the engineering complications. There are pinion, bevel, sector, and spur gears, a compression system, an electric motor in several models, batteries, and a circuit.
Airsoft guns are an engineering feat, from the alignments of MOSFETs to fuses, various types of springs, distinct magazines with different capacities, varying sizes of BBs, and a plethora of other essentials. Furthermore, designers and engineers have to adhere to material limitations.
The Soft Air AK47 cited above has a full-metal gearbox. You can opt for a much cheaper Soft Air AK47 Entry-Level AEG with a plastic body, gearbox, and gears. Prices aside, the two models’ engineering and technology are tweaked per the attributes of metal and plastic.
5. Handcrafted and Assembled
Many standard parts of airsoft guns are mass-produced. However, most companies have their unique tweaks, mainly due to their distinct designs, technology, and engineering. These distinguishing features necessitate handcrafting of several parts.
Furthermore, airsoft guns warrant manual assembling to a certain extent. Not all brands making or selling airsoft guns are original equipment manufacturers. The brand assembles these gears, springs, and any integral components made by other companies at their facilities.
6. Economies of Scale
According to Grand View Research, the global airsoft market is worth around $1.5 billion. The real guns market in the US alone is worth more than $28 billion. Statista reports that around 42% of all American households surveyed have at least one gun.
Airsoft guns are still not as popular or enormous an industry as real firearms. Thus, most brands don’t have the benefit of economies of scale. The econ jargon aside, the per-unit production cost is invariably higher when the manufacturing capacity is limited due to less demand.
Airsoft guns use a ton of accessories: motor, spring, battery, connector, fuse, compression system, and BBs, of course. Any automatic airsoft gun kit featuring all these will be costlier than a humble entry-level pistol with a receiver, barrel, spring, and trigger made entirely of plastic.
8. Premium Features
The costs of airsoft guns surge northward if you want premium features, such as a scope. You may need a standard, sniper, or DMR scope. All such features come for a higher price. Some airsoft enthusiasts like to use scopes with night-vision, which increases the prices further.
Airsoft guns do not have a universally compatible design. The gears inside the shell or box are particularly unadaptable because the whole engineering will fall apart otherwise. The technology also imposes restrictions on what you can or cannot use. However, you’ll find some flexibility.
Airsoft guns have some degree of compatibility for motors, batteries, and connectors. You may use different scopes if you choose the right mount. Also, some models may have provisions for both bushings and bearings. Besides, you can customize your airsoft gun per your needs.
Just as compatibility comes at a cost, safety is of paramount significance, and there is a price for it. Since airsoft guns are sporting equipment, companies are constantly trying to enhance the safety features, efficiency, efficacy, ease of use, noise cancellation, and other specifications.
The sheer diversity of features, design, technology, engineering, and accessories complicates the safety aspect further. Reputable brands can’t afford to falter, and the risks are grave, so they avoid cost-cutting.