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The Biggest Bang For Your Buck


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27 replies to this topic

#1 NGOB

NGOB

    The New Guy on the Block isn't so new anymore...

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  • Location:Fairfax Station, Northern Virginia
  • Interests:I love to drive and work on SAAB cars<br /><br />Alumni of the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology **RANKED BEST HIGH SCHOOL IN THE US BY USNEWS**<br /><br />Undergraduate Industrial Systems Engineering at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute

Posted 18 November 2007 - 02:02 PM

The Biggest Bang for your Buck

Airsoft enthusiasm without emptying your wallet



Introduction
Although manufacturer competition has been lowering pricing on airsoft guns and accessories, most of us still do not have paychecks (or allowances) that allow us to buy these items as easily as we would like to. Competitively-priced AEGs are still beyond the reach of many stretched budgets, and on top of our troubles, many airsoft retailers overprice their most obscure parts and accessories and have considerable profit-margins for every item. The good news is that you can apply your power as a consumer to most of these difficult circumstances. This simple guide will hopefully provide you with small hints that are within your power to save big bucks.

Supplies
Our first helpful suggestion involves a smaller scale of the airsoft industry: our supplies and maintenance costs. Let us compare the standard airsoft canister of silicon spray to the conventional silicon spray available at Home Depot, Lowes, hobby shops, auto and hardware stores. The conventional cans can come in ญญญญญญญญญญ11 oz at $2; airsoft retailers' canisters are $9 at 6.8 oz (200ml). That is 450% times the price of conventional cans for 38% less than the conventional can! A sizeable amount of money can be saved by avoiding airsoft retailers to buy household items. A vast majority of airsoft supplies are available at hardware and auto stores for a fraction of the price while boasting more of the amount of substance or material. Some maintenance items may even be in your own home, such as dishwashing solutions or mineral spirits. This is our first way to save money: buy as much maintenance supplies for your airsoft hobby as you can from local hardware and auto stores for a significantly better value. Remember to research your product selections. Certain chemicals may damage your gun and the effort to save a few dollars would be in vain after paying for repair parts. Silicone sprays, white lithium greases, cleaning solvents, and more can be found at your local hardware and auto stores, and some may already exist in your own home. There is no need to spend more to buy common items at an airsoft retailer.

Parts
Supplies are not the only place to save money. Have you ever stripped a screw, lost a tiny spring, or more commonly, lost that miniscule hop-up spacer that almost every airsofter player has misplaced in their career? Here again, airsofter retailers will lure you into buying replacement parts for these mishaps. The logic in this is simple: why spend $20 for a new magazine catch to replace a stripped screw when you can find a bag of replacement screws for mere cents? Your local hobby and hardware store will have many odd ends and bits that you can either improvise or swap out for damaged parts. For example, the commonly lost hop-up spacer is sold for $2 at evike.com or is available with the purchase of an $8 Guarder hop-up sleeve. How can we save money in this case? Buy a penny's worth wire insulation at 1/16 inch, cut the insulation to fit, and voila! Instant new hop-up spacer. This shows us our second method for saving money: use household items to improvise into your damaged gun instead of purchasing a whole new part. A considerable amount of cash can be saved by using your head and opening up that old garage drawer. The job may not be a perfect one, but it is certainly a better alternative to special ordering a screw or spring. Remember, this doesn't apply to actual internal upgrade parts for a gun; for upgrades, buy the real-deal part from a retailer. Some improvisations are beyond our skills, and making your own cylinder head or piston is quite hard!

Quality versus Cost
The most obvious of all money-saving tips is to buy from the cheapest retailers possible. Take the time to research and find the lowest price. Buying from Amazon.com or ignorantly typing in airsoft.com is not likely to give you great pricing. Amazon does not offer a wide price range and product availability is very limited. It is best to buy from the retailer source and find where most people buy their items. The more reputable the retailer, the more likely it will have more competitive pricing. However, take heed: there comes a point where saving money crosses into the realm of trickery and scams. Trickery could be the added "handling" fee applied to an unusually cheap item. A scam could be the shipment of a fake gun at normal pricing. As such, one must take caution when hunting for the best bargain. Balance quality and your wallet; you can save an incredible amount of money, but be sure you know exactly what you're buying and how much you will pay.

Bulk ammunition
Ammunition is the staple of any good arsenal. This is the one place you should expect to shell out money. If you cannot afford the few dollars for the ammunition you need for this sport, then perhaps this sport may be over your head. However, if you buy the cheapest ammunition possible, then you will run into quality versus cost issues. There is no good value in a deformed, dimpled BB that costs half of a normal brand. Nor is there good value in a BB that offers the same performance and has similar characteristics to another brand but is twice as expensive. BBs are not terribly expensive; they run anywhere from single-digit figures to low teens (for normal plastic BBs of various masses) for various amounts. Here, we can apply a simple theory of economics: individual parcels are priced higher than multiple parcels. BBs should, when possible, be purchased in bulk. Although the initial cost is higher, the cost savings in the long run is significant. Allow us to use AirsoftGI's PHX Precision .28 BBs as an example. Their cost of one bag of 4000 BBs is $16. However, they have available a 3 bag combination of 12,000 rounds in total for $42. $42 is $26 more expensive than the single bag, but once the bag is used, we must purchase another, and another, and another. By the time we have purchased 3 single bags, we have spent $48 plus shipping for each individual bag. Had we chosen the 3 bag combination, we would have saved $6, plus shipping costs for multiple trips.

Shipping
Everything must come with a price, and shipping is definitely no exception. Many airsoft retailers now offer free shipping for orders above a certain cost. However, this cost is usually quite high at $100 and above. If one is buying various parts and upgrades, they may find that some retailers have a certain item, but do not have another. Or maybe one retailer has one certain price on a part, but another has a much higher price for the same part. As an amateur airsmith, I usually run into this problem when doing a complete internal overhaul for someone's badly-treated gun. We must keep in mind that if the needed parts and accessories are scattered across various retailers, then we must factor in shipping cost. In some cases, it may be cheaper to buy all the parts from one place and save on shipping. Maybe it is cheaper to order from two places, maybe three. Take the time to get shipping quotes and final price calculations, and then compare them to different options when ordering.

Also, take advantage of free shipping opportunities when possible. One scenario might have an order for various items, all at slightly higher prices than another retailer, but the final shipping cost is free, and when compared to the "cheaper" retailer, you could find that the shipping cost of the cheaper retailer would have surpassed the final cost of the former retailer. Different scenarios call for different strategies, so take the extra 5 minutes to calculate cost; it can save big bucks on shipping. Cheaper prices do not always say cheap costs.

Upgrades and Labor Costs
Airsoft is more than just the externals of a gun; airsoft revolves just as much around the internals of an airsoft gun. Part of the fun in owning an airsoft gun is to watch it perform better and better as we add higher quality parts to it. This is another opportunity where airsoft retailers try to rake in more from your wallet. If you want your gun upgraded, then you have two choices: do it yourself, or pay for a retailer to do it for you. In my personal opinion (which is perfectly debatable in this forum), tinkering with the internals is just as much fun as shooting the gun or examining the quality of the externals. Why let a retailer have all the fun and your money? The fees to upgrade on airsoft gun vary, but in all cases, it is cheaper to do the labor yourself for free than pay a retailer to do it for you.

Numerous resources can guide you to do the same, if not better, quality work as a retailer. In fact, here at ASF, we will answer any question you have if you take it upon yourself to do your own upgrade and maintenance work. You will save yourself a considerable amount by avoiding costly labor charges. The time spent to arrange the work, pack and ship your gun (which you would have to pay for), and receive it is usually lengthier than a home job. Doing your own repairs and maintenance work will save you labor fees, shipping fees, and time, and will allow you to enjoy airsoft's mechanical workings.

Judgment
Finally, far own judgment may be to blame for your monetary troubles. We all are airsoft enthusiasts, but sometimes we take that too far. Buying every accessory, every flashy item, and every "authentic" piece of gear that hits the market is not a smart financial decision. The whole fun of airsoft is to re-create firearms that appeal to us and to have fun with them, but when you're on a budget, it is not wise to consider a $1000 conversion kit for that M1A1, or a $100 authentic belt used in the Gulf War, or $500 for night vision goggles. Be an enthusiast, but do not be a compulsive spender. You can still have fun with airsoft without paying ridiculous prices for every new accessory that becomes available.

Selling and Trading

If you become as avid about airsoft as many members here at ASF, then you quickly will be exposed to the world of selling and trading airsoft items. Like any sale of used items, airsoft guns will depreciate in value as time progresses, no matter the condition. This is a tricky situation, because if you are looking to sell your gun, you will only receive a partial amount from its original asset value. Besides the option of selling, you can trade your gun for another. This option usually involves an exchange of original asset values which are compared against each other, item against item. The potential savings for this lies in the fact that original asset values are calculated and used, not re-sale values. In this way, each purchase you make acts as an investment for the future. By trading for desirable items, you do not lose money through each transaction.

Conclusion
Airsoft is not cheap, but it does not have to be expensive. You should be prepared to pay hefty prices for quality in this sport, but you can buffer the costs by making good decisions as a consumer on what you buy and where you buy.

You may or may not have noticed that I chose not to include a statement about the recent introduction of mid-priced AEGs to the market. I purposely did so because I am not as knowledgeable about the cheaper variants to offer definitive advice. I will add, however, that through my own observations in this forum, I have noticed far more quality control issues with lower-priced brands. These MPEGs are an excellent alternative to the higher priced AEGs, but their lack of quality control with manufacturing is enough to deter me from their cheaper prices. I always say that it is better to have one good gun than 3 broken ones, even if you posses the skills to correct the mistakes made by these companies.

With the exclusion of the MPEGs, I believe that following this guide may save you significant sums of money. Each of these points will save you some dollars here, ten dollars there, a dollar or two here, but when added together, your total savings will astound you. Over time, this amount greatens even more. Of course there will be exceptions to each of these pieces of advice, but generally, these pointers will help keep your spirit high in airsoft, with a slightly larger wallet.


This is open to criticism, suggestions, debate, and opinions!

Edited by New Guy on the Block, 09 December 2007 - 12:06 PM.

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#2 bat21win

bat21win
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Wichita, Kansas
  • Interests:Airsoft, photography, computers

Posted 08 March 2008 - 02:05 AM

Just a little addition. I want to point out the potential benefits of buying used guns and surplus gear.

People act like you have to spend a ton to get good guns and workable gear. I've learned to be an expert at finding the best bargains.

Below are a few of the used gun deals that I have taken advantage of in the past:

TM M14, got it upgraded, not very old. Never had an orange tip, full trades. Got it in a $100 equiv. trade. Best trade ever!
TM Sig 552, good condition, a few external problems, with 4 magazines. $120
CA Mp5, 500 rounds through it. Never been skirmished before I got it. $100 with a charger and an Intellect 9.6v 3600mah batt.

I got my vest for $15, a LBV mil-surplus. My BDU's cost me less than $15 a set. I got my OD jumpsuit for $8 brand new. My boots cost me $20, (Brahama's at Wally World). My ESS goggles cost me $20 a pair. My balaclava was the only thing I paid full price for ($10 at a local Army-Navy store).

If you know where to look, you won't have to pay a ton of money to get decent gear and a good gun. Patience is what it takes sometimes.

Okay, so let's just say I had only bought the TM Sig 552. That gives me a rifle, a battery, 3 HC and 1S mag, and a charger. Let's see, I spent $50 on my KJW Sig229 (2 mags). The gear at bare bones would have cost me $100(only one set of BDU's, one pair of googles, etc). That's $270 total. And yes, I'm telling the truth about the prices. Let's see, that would have left me $130 for gas, bb's, and extras. A far cry from some of the "$400 is not enough!" articles.

A friend that you can trust is an invaluable asset in airsoft. Especially a friend that knows guns well, but doesn't have a lot of money to snap up great deals. Watch BST ads (locally esp) like a hawk. Make sure you have a friend that's knowledgeable enough to tell you if the deal is too good to be true, and/or if the guy is definitely screwing you. If I don't have someone I can ask about a gun, I'll make a topic on here, (after I've done some extensive searching of course). I posted a topic asking about the CA Mp5 before I bought it, same with the Sig 552.

I've spent around $1300 total on airsoft (bb's, gas, guns, gear, etc). However, I have 5 aeg's, 3 gbbs, a ton of misc gear, and quite a bit more than I need. Had I not been careful with my money, I could have easily spent upwards of $2500 on that stuff. It pays to be a bargain shopper.

A $600+ budget is nice, but not necessary unless you plan on buying everything brand new, or at crummy airsoft retailer prices. Don't get your gear at an airsoft store. It'll be cheap, overpriced Chinese crap. Buy the nice stuff from real outfitters, or buy surplus military.

I hope that explains away a little of the "you have to have $XXX to get good gear" garbage.
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#3 fredieusa

fredieusa
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:SF Bay Area CA

Posted 25 April 2010 - 11:21 PM

Good Read - Thanks
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#4 ChoclatePancake

ChoclatePancake

Posted 16 May 2010 - 01:04 PM

Nicely done
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#5 REDLINE23

REDLINE23

Posted 26 May 2010 - 02:51 PM

I like this post =)
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#6 dario the scott

dario the scott
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:edinburgh scotland

Posted 18 June 2010 - 11:28 PM

Good Job, liked it.

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They sent me to the asylum when I actually started to like airsoft.

#7 SpringPistolPro

SpringPistolPro
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Arnold, MD Hit me up
  • Interests:Duh...

Posted 24 June 2010 - 11:51 PM

Oh the irony of the banner at the bottom...
Great job, really helping me out

Edited by SpringPistolPro, 24 June 2010 - 11:51 PM.

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    [SpringPistolPro] 1:32 am: make sure
you bring hard candies for teh old people
    [SpringPistolPro] 1:32 am: you might
get written into a few wills
[Dodge] 1:32 am: lol
[Dodge] 1:33 am: "For the lovely security
guard at that hellhole of a retirement
home, I leave my toilet scrubber. May it
scrub his bunghole as roughly as it
scrubbed mine."

#8 Guest_CheeseWiz_*

Guest_CheeseWiz_*

Posted 25 June 2010 - 12:04 AM

wonderful job, wish I had this before I dropped $600 on my initial Lr-300 purchase.

You should, however, include that it is generally better to but one expensive upgrade, eg: prometheus inner barrel, than it is to buy 2 or 3 lower-quality upgrades, e.g, jbu barrel, systema bucking and echo 1 h-nub.
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#9 MichaelMP5

MichaelMP5
  • Location:Atlanta, GA

Posted 25 June 2010 - 09:39 AM

Very Helpful. Especially since I've only got like, around 50 bucks. Thanks!
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Trust me, I'm an Airsofter ;)
$$ The ATL's Airsoft Beast! $$

#10 GrizzlyAirsoft

GrizzlyAirsoft
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:bonney lake, WA
  • Interests:AIRSOFT!!!!!!

Posted 26 June 2010 - 11:06 PM

I too am also an avid penny pincher.
I got a kwa g36c with a jbu silencer, promethius barrel, extra rails, 2 9.6v batteries, 10,000 .20 bb's, 5,000 .25 bio bb's, a smart charger and 3 extra mags for $165 and the whole thing only had a couple hundred rounds through it. in my backup jg g36 I cut a small o ring section to replace my bucking unit in my hopup, (wire insulation is a good idea too). I always wait to buy something online untill a friend does to so I can get free shipping. all my gear is old military surplus and I am an craigslistahaulic.

just wanted to say good post and I want to let everybody know that while you shouldn't cheap out, there's also a way to save a buck or two. trust me, im a doctor. not really, but still,... uh... I don't remember what I was going to say.
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#11 ChadCollins

ChadCollins

Posted 03 August 2010 - 04:47 PM

Great info for a Newbie starting out. Thanks a lot.
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#12 softairgewehr

softairgewehr

Posted 19 August 2010 - 06:21 AM

Well since I get like 20 Bucks a Month it 's indeed a very usefull Post :) I had to save up hard for my AK 47. Thanks a-laugh.gif
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#13 elscorcho

elscorcho
  • Interests:Other than airsoft, it would be just soccer.

Posted 31 January 2011 - 11:03 PM

Well, one of the easiest ways to save money is to not buy the stuff you don't need, or the stuff you can make. For example, I'll be using a homemade gun cover strap thing many use. If you make one, you'll save yourself the money of buying a flashhider for 20 bucks. (who needs a $20 metal flashhider?).

Finally, there's the gun issue. Don't buy a G&G or TM or CA if you're new. You don't even know if you'll play a lot. I play an average of one game every 2 weeks, and so I have a BE AUG.
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For those who think we take airsofting too seriously...

75% wussed out after being shot once,
15% still use crossman pistols, and
10% haven't even played.

#14 muffinjacker

muffinjacker

Posted 25 February 2011 - 09:36 AM

thanks really helps especially because I don't have a very large budget
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#15 S197

S197
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Honolulu, HI
  • SOA Name: s197

Posted 18 April 2011 - 04:10 PM

A soft guitar gig bag makes a nice low budget gun bag. My gibson gig bag is just big enough to fit my M16 so most guns should fit. Mine was free but you can usually get them for very cheap. Added bonus is most of them have straps so you can wear it like a backpack.

Check thrift stores for camo. I was lucky and found some woodland BDU's for $5. Camo pants are readily available as well. Picked up a pair from Walmart for $9.
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#16 abrahammaslow

abrahammaslow

Posted 23 August 2011 - 12:49 AM

the irony of the banner at the bottom...
Great job, really helping me out
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#17 belligerantj

belligerantj

Posted 12 October 2011 - 12:37 AM

Good stuff, ever consider an Echo 1 gun?
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#18 lxtbattery

lxtbattery
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:China

Posted 14 October 2011 - 08:49 PM

Good topics.
It is useful for me!
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#19 kyle english

kyle english

Posted 30 September 2012 - 02:40 PM

Check out www.topnotchairsoft.com
they have the best guns at lower prices
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#20 Merwin2

Merwin2

Posted 17 October 2012 - 08:53 PM

I bought a new 506 FPS Kalashnikov Licensed Full Metal AK47 Spetsnaz Tactical Assault AEG Rifle - LIMITED Powerful Enhanced Version gun and I want a retractable stock to go on it, but the battery I have goes in the stock and the retractable ones don't have a place for the battery. All of the past guns that I have seen that come with a retractable stock have a stick battery that goes in the upper receiver. Could I get a stick battery with the same amount of battery power and put it in the upper receiver so I can use a retractable stock? Or is there a easier different way? Please help! Thanks
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#21 jackkyjackson

jackkyjackson

Posted 30 October 2012 - 07:33 AM

hiiiiiiii
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#22 Legoman2179

Legoman2179

Posted 20 May 2014 - 03:26 PM

I want to buy an airsoft gun that I can use for both an assault type gameplay and sniper gameplay. I have a budget of $350-400 and I just want something that would last. Im thinking of the VFC Scar-H. I was thinking of putting a simple 2-4x red dot or powered scope on it and maybe a canted red dot on the side.

Can anyone recommend a good gun for assault and sniper styles for $350-400? I would buy the Scar-H SSR but it is a bit out of my price range.
I also like to have it made out of metal and it to be able to fire automatic or burst at least.
I could just remove the zoomed sight for more close quarter matches.

Another question, is the VFC Scar-H a good gun in terms of accuracy, internals, range, and longevity?

Edited by Legoman2179, 20 May 2014 - 03:31 PM.

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#23 prophet1992

prophet1992
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:long island

Posted 22 July 2014 - 02:18 AM

hello everyone for good guns great price go to the new airsplat its were I got my sig sauer 556 for around $250 but its full metal with metal gears n gearbox fully customizable so it was a bang for the buck there are cheaper guns and equip deffinatly worth looking into web site is. http://www.airsplat.com they also test most guns and somtimes theres a vid on the gun also try airsoft mega store a-shocked.gif
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#24 FoxtrotFields

FoxtrotFields
  • Gender:Female
  • Interests:Airsofting and Call of Duty Black Ops 3

  • My Temperament:Melancholic

Posted 20 January 2016 - 05:01 PM

does anyone have a good co2 non blowback pistol under 65 dollars?


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-Call Sign Foxtrot


#25 alberty

alberty
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:( ͡ฐ ͜ʖ ͡ฐ)
  • Interests:( ͡ฐ ͜ʖ ͡ฐ)

  • My Temperament:( ͡ฐ ͜ʖ ͡ฐ)

Posted 23 January 2016 - 08:41 PM

does anyone have a good co2 non blowback pistol under 65 dollars?

 

Post in the Airsoft Items Wanted section if you're seeking to buy from someone.


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#26 Colonel Wood

Colonel Wood
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Born on the field, CA

Posted 30 November 2016 - 12:28 PM

  NGOB, this is a very necessary thread and I highly appreciate your contribution. One of the important issues you bring up [and is rather obvious] is that not all of those that are interested in joining or furthering themselves within the airsoft community are in a position financially stable enough to "buy these items as easily as we would like to". This monetary interference that may be surpassable with the information you have so kindly provided, might not appear this way to all individuals; ergo effectively placing a potential class [or economic status] or age gap upon the members of the community. With the information you have presented in mind, you aid airsoft to be an increasingly inclusive sport and as a result benefiting not only those plunging into the community but also existing members with an increased social variety. 

 

  I would also like to mention that being able to modify or refurbish used parts around the sport causes one to become much more familiar with the dynamics and complex workings of the utilities involved in "airsoft", advocating for skills that ultimately better the player and the community as a whole. I applaud you NGOB


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"When you can't run, you crawl. And when you can't crawl... you find someone to carry you."

#27 ExFog

ExFog
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Elkhart, IN
  • Interests:Airsoft

Posted 05 January 2017 - 08:21 PM

Very useful information, and thank you for the thread...

 

I think there is a fine balance between shopping to save money, and also supporting local dealers and fields...While I am not a dealer myself, I have been in manufacturing for a long time, so I have had a chance to see things as an airsoft enthusiast, as well as a someone who has spent a career working hard to help businesses grow in a variety of areas.

 

None of us want to throw away money. This sport can be inexpensive, but most of us have a tendency to stretch it...Some, more than others, and I am certainly one to drop a dime or two into this, as it is, by far, my favorite sport...

 

So, from this end, I say great information and I learned quite a lot. We should be aware of what we spend, and we shouldn't be getting destroyed for something that can be fixed cheap and easy.

 

But, a couple things I think we should all be careful of is this:

1. Most fields make much of their money off of parts, with quite a bit of that being "consumables" (such as BB's, Thunder B's, etc...). Although they should be competitive, they will not always be as competitive as online stores (Taxes, lighting, lease payments, overhead, etc.), so if I find that my local dealer is close, than I like to help him out when I can. Why? Well, because like many of you, the retailer is attached to the field. If the retailer goes, so does the field...And as we all know, there are never enough good fields to play, and many dealers that have gone OOB...

2. Tech work - Yes, I know...Many of you have friends, relatives, or yourselves that enjoy tinkering with these. Making them better, faster, quieter, etc...I am doing this more myself, and really enjoying the learning process....But, we also need to be aware that many don't know how, don't have the time, or bought the gun to play bang-bang, but don't have the additional time for repairs...Going back to point #1, if we don't support the local dealer, we might also lose a critical service or repair point...

 

Certainly don't take this as one sided...I kind of split my purchases. Some online, some at department stores, and some at the local retailer. When he is competitive (which he usually is), I get my gun close to online pricing. I am sure I could get them for a few dollars less, but I don't see the point for big purchases to dig hard into his profits. I want him to "want" to take care of me when something goes wrong, and he usually does....

 

So in summary,

1. Great article...Well written, and thank you for that.

2. If the price is close, support your dealer, which in turn, supports your field.

3. If the price is close, support your dealer, which in turn, supports your local tech work.

4. On large items, try to support your dealer, which in turn, when a gun breaks or malfunctions, often allows for quick service.

5. Learn how to tech if you have the time - definitely fun and may save a bundle (or cost one if your like me, so be careful)

6. Be careful of the little things that add up fast!

7. Watch your dollars, and enjoy this great sport of ours!!!

 

Happy Hunting!


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Aaron Bennett "Flatline"

Owner: Battlewear Components, Inc.

Home of the ExFog (patent pending) Goggle Anti-fog system

- Coming Soon -

 

XO of the 14th LID

Admin: Michiana Airsoft Coalition

 

Overwhelmingly important quote goes here....thinking....thinking...


#28 Caroline01

Caroline01

Posted 20 June 2017 - 06:53 AM

:rolleyes: I wanna post new topic here .. but need a new topic idea here .. 


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