16 Apr AEG vs GBBR – Which Should YOU Go For
AEG vs GBBR – Which Should YOU Go For
The AEG vs the GBBR, a battle that has gone through the ages of Airsoft existence both in the professional military and law enforcement training world as well as in the common weekend warrior community. Some hate one while they love the other and some just hate both, yes I know you HPA guys.
But the answer to this question is more related to preferences and how you aim to use your gun and for that we’ll answer the question today “AEG vs GBBR which one should you go for?
But before we dig into this subject, make sure to subscribe to our blog page by filling in the form on your right. Also don’t forget to share our blogpost by using the share buttons on your left. Have a look at our store shop.reconbrothers.com for your quality tactical stuff.
To give you a clear view of what we will be covering today, let’s go over a small summary first so you know what to expect:
- We’ll first go over “Our experience and our partners that help us along the way”.
- We’ll talk about the “Differences between an AEG and a GBBR”.
- We’ll go over the “Pros and Cons of both systems”
- The “Maintenance required for both”
- As well as other “Requirements that come with each system”.
- After that we’ll give our recommendation for “Which system fits what type of person”
- At last we’ll give you our “Personal gun recommendation when it comes to these 2 systems”.
That said let’s start off with me and my brother’s experience in the Airsoft world.
We ourselves have nearly 5 years of experience in the sport but above that we have made some partners with tons of experience as well.
The other one is a Georgian former special forces operator called Instructor Delta from the “Delta Survival School”. He’s our main source for all things that have to do with training amongst which handling guns & tactics are some of them.
Above that, we’re also supplier that specifically makes quality military products available to the consumer market, mainly here in Europe, with our online store shop.reconbrothers.com, so if you’d like to support us that’s where you need to be.
What did we shoot with in the past 5 years?
We have shot low-to mid-tier guns going from a Lancer Tactical, to an ICS and a Specna Arms. We also shot high-tier guns like the Tokyo Marui NGRS and even the Ferrari’s amongst AEGs like the Systema PTW and the DAS GBLS.
Thanks to Airsoftdoctor we had some opportunities to put many of these systems to the test. Meaning a range and grouping test to get an idea on their stock performances. These tests were done to be as scientifically representative as possible, because that’s usually not the case with most other people doing these tests or comparisons. Click the image to visit the video/blog.
Above that, we started a while back with shooting GBBR systems from Tokyo Marui as well.
At last, we also had an opportunity last year to shoot with real firearms as well. Here we mainly shot 9 mm and 5.56 mm as well. We know it doesn’t belong to the Airsoft category directly, but it did gave us important input on what the differences are. Click the image to visit the video.
Now, for you guys out there that aren’t familiar with these kind of Airsoft guns, let’s quickly give you an idea on what’s fundamentally different about the AEG and the GBBR system.
Difference between AEG & GBBR
To start off with, the core difference between the 2 lays in their power source. And while it is quite simple, it does have a lot implications as well.
Let’s begin with the AEG or the “Automatic Electric Gun”.
This system is powered by a battery that’s usually located in the buttstock or handguard of the gun. Through wiring it powers a motor located in the pistol grip which turns a set of gears that move a piston. This piston then creates an airflow for BBs to get shot through the barrel.
Now, inside is a quite complex system that requires some tech experience before you can work on it yourself. Also mind that this is the explanation of a classic AEG system, but there’re also other more complex systems with additional features that allow an AEG to function closer to a firearm, but they’re all based on this same core principal.
Let’s go over to the GBBR or the “Gas BlowBack Rifle”.
This system is powered by gas, either CO2 or Green gas, which is located in the magazines. Here gas gets released from the magazine when you pull the trigger. The expansion of this gas creates an airflow in both the bolt and barrel direction which creates a recoil effect for the bolt and an airflow for the BB to get shot through the barrel.
This system is far less complex and has a lot of similarities to real firearms in functions and generally in build as well.
Now as said, the difference in power source also comes with pros and cons and for that let’s have a look at those now.
Pros and Cons
Pros and Cons of AEGs
The main advantage of the AEG is that it can be used in most weather conditions. It can also use low up to high capacity magazines which usually don’t have realistic weights. These guns are highly adjustable thanks to programmable technology, even up to some ridiculous stuff. The fps output or speed is usually consistent and generally there are an immense lot of aftermarket parts since it is the most popular platform amongst Airsofters.
Usually it has no bolt catch & empty mag indication, no trigger wall, no recoil and it’s generally also heavier than it’s real steel counterparts. This has to do with the whole gearbox mechanics that are present on the inside.
Now due to what’s on the inside, the weight is also more focused on the pistol grip due to the motor. So the stress on your wrist and forearm is bigger as well. Above all this, taking it apart is mostly a technical hassle and since it is build with a lot of moving parts, issues are also more likely.
Pros and Cons of GBBRs
Taking it apart is easy peasy and it’s mostly compatible with real steel parts as well. It does have more realistic weighted mags that only allow a realistic capacity of ammo.
The thing they do have to deal with though, is cooldown. Meaning the colder the weather, the poorer its performance. To give you a number on this, about -5°C you’ll probably run to the edge of it, so you want to keep that in mind if you’d like to do all year events or even train in colder climates. Although, there are some tricks to heat you magazines and still go around that.
Also cooldown is a factor to take into count especially when you’re the type of guy that likes to run on full auto and like to spray and pray.
Another thing that’s typical about GBBRs is that they have a slightly less consistent fps output which often depends on what you use.
Now, all guns need maintenance in order to keep performing and last long as well. But since these are very different systems they do require attention in different ways. So let’s cover those now.
For the AEG you want to clean your barrel on common bases to maintain consistency among your shots.
Above that, you either want to go to a shop once a year for a full check-up or do a check-up yourself if you have the skills for it.
This because it’s commonly known that AEGs don’t require a lot of maintenance. Which is true, but they still require maintenance and if you don’t take them apart once in a while you’ll eventually break them and it can get expensive to repair them.
As for the GBBR you still want to do the barrel cleaning on a common base, but especially on open bolt systems since quite some dirt can get inside the barrel this way.
Above that you also want to regularly strip the system to clean and lubricate all moving parts. This requires more work, but it is vital for the system to keep running smoothly. Plus since you get familiar with your gun by doing this, you will also quickly notice if something is wrong and prevent major damages to your gun.
Also important with GBBRs is to know how to store the magazines properly, so you avoid they might start leaking which is a common issue. If you do it wrongly you’ll either need to remove the O-rings and let them soak in oil for about a day and put them back in or you will have to replace them.
For storing green gas magazines you best leave your mags fully pressurized. If you use CO2 cartridges, you best remove the cartridge when storing unless you’ll always use the exact same cartridges.
Now obviously since they’re both based on a very different power source you can also expect some different requirements. So let’s now have a look at what different requirements you might expect.
For the AEG, above the gun itself, you’ll require a battery and a charger. As for the charger you best get a good one. Meaning, one that balances the charging or you’ll destroy your batteries over time.
The magazines can be low up to high capacity magazines with all their advantages and disadvantages, but in general they’re relatively cheap depending on what system you’ll be using.
As for optional gun accessories they can be any cheap Airsoft version you can find, but in our experience there’s a small guarantee they either work properly or even last long.
As for the GBBR, above the gun itself, you’ll need gas either in the form of CO2 cartridges or Green Gas bottles depending on what gun you’ll get.
The magazines for GBBRs only exist in low or real capacity builds, since each shot requires gas and there’s only a certain amount of space per magazine. These magazines also tend to be quite expensive per piece.
As for optional gun accessories it’s highly recommended to get optics and flashlights made for firearms since others can be destroyed due to the recoil. Also cheap Airsoft optics can already lose their zero due to the kick of even an electric recoil AEG and since GBBRs kick harder that will be very likely as well.
Above that, it is recommended to get yourself some sort of ear pro. This because they’re loud and will start to hurt your ears after a certain amount of shots. You can either get simple ear plugs or go all the way up to active ear protection, it’s a matter of what you want to spend on them.
So obviously, by looking at these you will end up with a higher cost for the GBBR systems in general.
Now that you’re aware of all this, let’s have a look at what we from our experience recommend to you guys based on what you intend to do with your gun.
For this we’ll divide this section in 2 groups, one is the group that aims for the sportive events such as skirmishes and milsims. The other one is that group of people that aims to use their gun for solely training or combine it with events.
The sportive events group
If you have absolute no experience with guns in anyway, and no video games do not count as experience, we recommend to go for an AEG. This because you can go a long way in tweaking how you want to set it up and how you develop in the sport.
You’re also at the beginning of the learning curve and to enjoy it you’ll be better off with the few advantages it provides. Stuff like high and mid-cap magazines, no recoil and bolt-catch you have to deal with are some things that will give you a slight advantage.
“These can give you a more fairer fight against guys that have done some training & have experience and that are also part of a team like we are. And as said before, it also requires a lower cost to get into the sport with this system.”
If you set realism as a high priority, we recommend to go for a GBBR. But if you still like the idea of a simple plug and play or don’t want to worry about cool down or prefer bigger capacity magazines, you best go for an electric recoil system.
This AEG system is somewhat a nice middle way between the two. These will also be pricier than regular AEGs, but will cost less than a GBBR if you consider the whole package.
If you do have experience with guns somehow like real steel range shooting or a military or law enforcement history, we recommend to go for a GBBR. This since it has a lot of similarities with what you’re used to working with. The only thing it misses is the explosion sound and the smell of gunpowder.
The training group
For training purposes solely with or without the combination of events we highly recommend to go for a GBBR system, since the realistic features cannot be compared with most AEGs on the market.
It will be a perfect system for dry fire drills and is an excellent cheap alternative for backyard shooting. Just to give you an idea, even Instructor Delta where we talked about in the beginning of this video uses GBBRs to teach tactical classes, since they’re such a good alternative.
A hybrid between the AEG & GBBR?
We do have to take some time to talk about a very special hybrid system that’s on the market these days as well. This system is called the DAS GBLS and it’s basically an AEG that has the same functions as a GBBR.
It’s a quite new and possibly one of the most complex systems out there and also we have had the opportunity to test one in the past thanks to Airsoftdoctor.
Now, to be honest, in overall we were not impressed by it. This is because its grouping was worse than a GBBR and for the small amount of time we shot it, we had 2 misfeeds that basically crushed the BBs between the gears.
“Now, usually a misfeed is not that bad, but this gun runs on batteries. So what happened was that the motor kept trying to push the gears back into the correct position while they were stuck. Due to that the thing created a horrific sound and nearly made us shit our pants. And that is obviously something you don’t want to have on a €1800 gun, yes you heard it €1800. Anyway, the gun can take it since it is build of high quality materials, but we’d still rather avoid shitting our pants in the future.”
Also above that, we’ve let some ex-and active military and law enforcement guys shoot this thing and they were all not really impressed by how the product behaved.
As said before, we also shot real steel ourselves in the past and to all of us it felt like there’s something fundamentally wrong with the recoil. It just isn’t right somehow and feels more like an AEG on steroids rather than coming close to how a gun is supposed to behave.
So, to all of us that held and shot the DAS GBLS, a GBBR is still the system that comes much closer to that firearm behavior. But still, there are people that do believe this is the next best thing when it’s too cold to use a GBBR and prefer to run with a quite realistic platform. And for that we can we fully agree on their decision!
Having that covered, we’ll now have a look at what are our recommended guns when it comes to AEGs & GBBRs.
Before we specifically are going to mention what guns we recommend when it comes to AEGs and GBBRs we want to put some attention to what we call “low-tier guns” and upgrades in general.
With low tier guns we’re talking about your typical “entry or economical” guns. To put a number on these usually of about under €300 for a gun. We’ve shot some of them when we started and in our tests and these guns nearly always have some sort of issues or just perform really poorly.
This usually causes people to put extra money in them on upgrades which do make them better, but most likely you’ll end up running a gun that costs as much as a mid-tier gun or more.
Also the upgrades have to be installed by someone and we know not all shops are equally as good in their tech stuff, so you’re more or less flipping a coin on having a good outcome.
“So, in general we highly recommend to avoid those low tier Airsoft guns at all.”
Onto our first AEG recommendation which are mid-tier guns, ideal for those who want to start out. The gun series is called the G&G CM16 and these are solid performing AEGs of which we covered the SRL version in our bootcamp series here on Youtube. We specially made these videos for you beginners out there.
The second AEG series that are more of high-tier guns and in our eyes the closest to a real steel gun without spending thousands are any of the Tokyo Marui Next-Gen Recoil Shock guns.
We have each been running with one ourselves for 3 years and they never failed us a single time. They have a great stock performance and were for us the step in between the common AEG and the GBBR, since they do mimic recoil and bolt-catch in some special way. It’s not the same as how a GBBR or a DAS do it, but it helps create that awareness of those functions.
Ferrari’s amongst AEGs
If you’re looking for the very best performance without the need of having realistic features then a Systema PTW is the gun you’re looking for. These are truly the Ferrari’s amongst Airsoft guns with the very best precision and range. And although its performance does not differ that much from the Tokyo Marui NGRS series, every small amount helps in giving you an advantage.
Unfortunately for that advantage you’ll also have to lay down quite an amount of money and here we’re talking in the same amounts as the DAS GBLS we talked about, so in the thousands. It might sound crazy, but we know some guys running around with them.
The very last recommended guns we’ll cover are from a GBBR series and here we highly recommend any of the Tokyo Marui MWS series. We have started to train and run with these in the field a while ago and they are very solid gas blowback performers. And ever since we got them, nearly all the people close to us that are into Airsoft are doing the same thing.
We all love this thing and for us at the moment it is our personal preferred platform, since for us it’s more about creating a skillset and the experience rather than just goofing around. And this gun is perfect for that.
Above that, in our experience GBBRs also provide a much more challenging and fun experience due to their limitations, but we’re not going to cover those in this video since we have already shared our thoughts on that in another one a while back.
Also, if you’re interested we have done a review on the Tokyo Marui GBBR some time ago and if you want to watch it, then click here.
Thanks for reading our blog
“AEG vs GBBR – Which Should YOU Go For“
So, guys hope we gave some clarification with this video and you learnt some stuff about these two Airsoft systems.
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