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krieglok

General Airsoft Gun Quality Control

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I have been buying Airsoft guns for a little over 10 years. I tend to collect many larger guns like the Viva Arms M1919 and Inokatsu M-60 machine guns for example. At first, I collected simpler, less expensive guns and I was generally happy with the quality of the guns. I seemed to get what I paid for.

 

As I found myself buying larger and more expensive guns, the quality control issues started to arise. There were issues with poor packing and resulting damage in shipping, to loose parts rolling around in the boxes with no idea of where they belonged.

 

I did have many positive experiences, but the negative ones seem to point to an issue with Airsoft makers and dealers when it comes to shipping working guns with out issues. I have learned to expect some sort of issue with a new purchase when it arrives. I have had RPKs come through with broken tappet plates, H&Ks with loose wires, other types with non working mags, bent parts, loose parts...whatever. It doesn't seem to be any particular manufacturer...I have had issues with many, including top end names too.

 

I am just curious if airsofters have just learned to accept the issues that seem to come all too often with new guns of all quality levels from many large dealers.

 

Personally, it seems like there is no real quality control from the factory to the dealers. They just replace defective stuff after it has been shipped and deemed not acceptable by the purchaser. I just went through an episode with a large online dealer over a G&G AK47. They sent a lesser quality gun in the better quality gun box. I finally received the proper gun only to find fit issues with the receiver and a bent frame.

 

Is this an industry standard? If so, are we tired of it or is it just me?....lol.

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It's basically the 'standard', one of the big differences I noticed coming over to airsoft from around almost two decades of playing paintball. I think the main difference is that paintball markers were mostly built in the western hemisphere, America or worst case, outsourced to Mexico. Also players were pretty discriminating and willing to pay for quality where they had the option. Granted today most brands do have a low-tier alternative of inexpensive markers built overseas, but these are the sub $100. markers that no serious player is buying to begin with.

 

Of the countries where airsoft replicas are built, Japan is the only one that starts with good quality components and is used to precision and quality manufacturing. I remember the first time I opened up an airsoft gearbox, first thought was "I can't believe I paid good money for this s---" I don't blame the local dealers, they are basically importers who have to live with what they can get b'cos that's what out there. What's built in America today? Just Tippmann (first generation, overall good but still ironing out some problems), Polarstar (basically an expensive specialty/niche system), and maybe a few polarstar knock-offs? I was also amazed at how little innovation there is in airsoft gearboxes, coming from the robotics industry where you have things like linear motors, or different types of contact-less motors that are so popular in the RC and "drone" hobbyist world today.

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The reason is obvious, it's to keep cost down, airsoft guns and equipment is overall relatively cheap compared to other hobbies/sports. We're talking $20-30 for the most commonly used gear sets, that's extremely cheap, of course they're taking short cuts. The average airsofter isn't willing to shell out the cash for a true high end AEG, and those that crave a true high end AEG will just build one themselves with relatively cheap upgrade parts. I'm guessing one of the reasons many airsofters don't wanna spend too much money is because a significant portion of the community consists of young teens that have a very limited budget. It's easier to earn a decent profit from selling a large quantity of $100-200 airsoft guns than a smaller quantity of $200+ guns. There's a higher demand for cheaper guns that works than more expensive guns with higher performance and quality.

 

There is innovation among the airsoft manufacturers, but as you say, it's progressing a lot slower than in other markets. The electrical components in airsoft are quite obsolete compared to RC, as mentioned above, the reason is again, cost.

 

I usually replace at least 3/4 of the internal parts shortly after I buy a new AEG, the stock internals and performance is simply nowhere near my standards. I have the knowhow to upgrade my AEG's, so I don't bother spending twice as much to get an AEG that has just a bit better internals. I do agree with you, the airsoft industry does have quite low standards and there is little I can do to change the industry so I have to make the best out of what's available.

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Shutaro - Which Airsoft company is making airsoft in Mexico?

 

The term High End Makers is highly subjective. High price does not mean high quality. What you cited as expensive High End AEG's - Viva, Inok...are NOT high quality. Price in this case is a bad guide for quality. They have die and manufacturing processes that need to be paid for. The last thing they are going to do is add cost in "proper" packaging.

 

Example: the 1200.00 piece of junk in the Dueller that Cybergun came out last winter. High Price...Yes. CnC...yes. High quality...not in any way, the designer cut costs and the self-destructing slide on Co2 proves the point. Wholesale costs on that unit is about 300.00.

 

The quality makers makes a good gun and a good bod. I cite Krytac as an example...and TM...and some G&P....

Edited by Guges Mk3

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Guges Mk3, are any? I don't believe so, but I could be wrong. I mentioned it b'cos mexico can do decent quality manufacturing, if the company keeps a tight I leash on them. We get different electromechanical components from mexico and the quality can be at least acceptable. Much more than I can say for China. Granted you can get horrible stuff from mexico too, but that goes for anywhere, even America.

 

Another thing to mention. Where I live and play, airsoft is basically a 'gun of the month' club for a lot of folks. Granted most have a decent amount of disposable income. Many players have several guns, though in various states of disrepair. It seems like this is how people adapted to the crap quality. Most I have talked to would agree that price is little to no indication of quality. People also seem more concerned with the model and exterior of a gun than the internals.

Edited by Shutaro

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Thanks for the thoughtful replies. I guess I should have mentioned that buying a gun like the Viva M1919 and the Inokatsu M-60 was based more on buying that type of gun rather than buying quality insides. When spending around $1k for these guns, one is actually buying the sheet metal that makes up the gun. That is where most of the R&D is spent. Upgrading, if needed can come later. No problem with that.

 

The main issue I had with both guns as examples, was basically the guns were falling apart when they arrived at my door. Loose screws, loose parts and damaged parts from poor shipping/packing practices. I sent the first Viva M1919 back as the hop up chamber was smashed and the body of the gun was gouged in various places due to poor packing. The second one was damaged too, but I fixed it my self. Another M1919 I just bought, a 6MM Proshop product arrived with a broken nozzle and the hop up was not installed properly. It was very well packaged though, with an inspection tag affixed. I fixed them myself, but again...no real quality control.

 

There is a review of the Inokatsu M-60 I did here. Is shows how various important parts were rolling around in the box, screws lost down in the magazine and a problem with the trigger switch being disconnected. You might think a $1300 gun would be shipped in working order. It wasn't, even after requesting it be tested before shipping. Here is a review I did many years ago..

 

http://www.airsoftforum.com/board/topic/114935-inokatsu-m60vn/

 

Finally, I bought a G&G all wood AK47 recently. When it arrived, I opened the box and found there was a cheapie AK in the G&G box, not sure who made it, but it wasn't what I had ordered. The seller never looked in the box before shipping. After the exchange happened, the new, proper G&G AK, I found the new gun had two defects. The top receiver cover wouldn't stay on and the gun is slightly bent in the middle. The funny part is the gun had an inspection tag from the seller, tied to the trigger guard. I wrote a review there based on my issues here...

 

http://www.evike.com/products/41085/

 

Finally, I guess my post was more about the condition guns are sold and shipped as brand new only to arrive in non working condition. True, some guns have better inside components and hold up better and some don't. My statement was more based on that whether it is a cheapie gun or a top end weapon, it should always arrive at your door in working condition. While a majority of guns I buy from a number of large online dealers arrive in fine working order, enough do not arrive in shooting condition. Enough to question the lack of quality control that seems so very evident in Airsoft.

 

Thanks for the opinions.

 

Tom

Edited by krieglok

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I've never encountered the issues you describe, but I have also never ordered anything from Evike. I've bought most of my AEG's either from domestic retailers here in Norway, or from WGC Shop or Ehobby Asia, I'm guessing they might be a tad more professional than Evike.

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I've never encountered the issues you describe, but I have also never ordered anything from Evike. I've bought most of my AEG's either from domestic retailers here in Norway, or from WGC Shop or Ehobby Asia, I'm guessing they might be a tad more professional than Evike.

Evike is one of many dealers I have purchased from. The smaller dealers do tend to be a bit more attentive to quality issues. The problem is that not all dealers sell the products I tend to buy. Airsoft GI had issues too. I no longer buy from them. I try to use medium size dealers on line, when I can, as I really don't have local dealers who stock the more unusual type guns. I have had generally good results with them.

 

But being realistic, most people probably buy from the big online dealers....like Evike, Airsoft GI and others...

 

Tom

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Personally I've never had a problem with evike, always just asked to test-fire the gun before buying, and they were always happy to oblige. But I guess that's not for everyone.

 

I think what is happening, though, is just part of the greater macro we see playing out in the nationwide economy today. Labor is expensive, companies would rather hold on to capital than expend it on labor. Even at the cost of 'quality'. It's easier for a dealer to ship a gun and have the customer test it, if the gun doesn't work, the customer can ship it back and they'll ship out another one. With the ease of internet shopping, price competition, having the lowest price or otherwise 'best deal' is what drives sales. Even on items with MAP pricing, companies are trying to maximize profit versus the competition, and they do that by cutting costs down to a bare minimum.

 

To some extent, you see the same thing happening in parts of the software industry. Paying customers are asked to help debug (newer) product.

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Good point. I have had mostly great dealings with Evike. I still use them, despite a run of bad luck with some of their offerings.

 

I don't expect the seller to have to "debug" a product, when the manufacturer puts out a defective product, but perhaps if the sellers spent a bit more on having employees make sure defective items don't get by their "post" the problem could be addressed. Personally, I enjoy fixing things, but there is a limit.

 

My latest purchase was the 6MM Proshop M1919 machine gun. It cost a bit over $900. When I unpacked it then tested it, I found the air nozzle was broken, and that could have happened during shipping. The gun also had a faulty hopup unit that required disassembly to correct. That was a factory defect. Quality control should happen at the factory, especially on guns that will command a higher price at the sales point...or at least I would hope so.

 

I don't expect to change the industry, it does function pretty well as it stands. It could be just a bit better in some ways...

 

Tom

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Yeah...packaging, proper packing can be expensive. Die cut foam or molded foam, good box and multi-color printing gets expensive try and get fancy and the cost goes up eve n more. Then when you only make 200 of these "boxes" the costs gets quite high. With fancy boxes cost 2000 for a run of 200 (die costs, plate costs...etc) it adds 10.00 to the price of the gun and then having to factor in wholesale distribution costs and labor...it adds up.

 

So if they can get by with a basic box...they do.

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