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With the airsoft industry expanding quickly, it is becoming harder and harder for the entry-level player to choose a competitive rifle, which is good news. Different firearm models are now being produced as airsoft products, and this provides a healthy amount of variety in the airsoft world. Whereas before almost every operator would run an M4 or an M4 variant, now we see unique and often uncommon rifle models starting to become much more prevalent. Is old-school the way to go, or is a newer and less common body style the way to go?
There are several guns that have long been praised as near perfect starting weapons for the beginning to intermediate player, perhaps the most popular being the G&G Combat Machine CM16, which comes in different barrel lengths, variants, and even colors. It can run up to a 9.6v battery, and fires very smoothly. Depending on which model you buy, it might also come with R.I.S. rails and a rear-wired gearbox as well. To make it even nicer, it looks amazing and feels incredibly sturdy.
If you are looking for something that sets you apart, though, then a more exotic body style might be in order, such as the H&K MP5 Competition Series or maybe even the FN Herstal P90. The MP5 is built out of a sturdy but light polymer and rear-wired so that the battery sits in the stock, ensuring that the weapon is not too front-heavy. It fires at a CQB legal velocity, and can easily withstand a 9.6v battery, but comes with a rather gaudy orange tip, and looks like a generic MP5. Also, the standard mag holds two thirds of the ammo that a standard airsoft M4 magazine holds. There is no rail system on the weapon, just a little rail segment on the top for an optic. There just isn’t any wow factor to it, but maybe the P90 will fare better.
As per usual when it comes to P90’s, it is loaded with a top-loading mid-cap mag, which can hold an embarrassing 68 BB’s. There are high-cap options, but they are not always the recommended in the airsoft community due to feeding problems or jams. The overall ergonomics and feel of the gun are nice, and there are attachments to make it look aesthetically incredible, and there is even a nice long optic rail on top elevated to eye-height, but many people can’t get around the magazine issue, partly because the magazines are awkwardly shaped and do not fit in any regular magazine pouches. This gun, just like the others, is perfect with a 9.6v battery, and it goes in the buttstock just like the other two options, but only the M4 buttstock can still adjust and slide, while the MP5’s and P90’s are fixed.
Overall, it still comes down to preference, but maybe old-school will hold on to the lead for a couple more years.