What are the Best Airsoft Accessories to Use in 2021?
Whether you’re brand new to the sport of airsoft or are a veteran player, there comes a time where you begin to ponder which accessories would make you a better player. Grips, optics, flash hiders, silencers, rail covers and so many more choices are yours to make… but where in the world do you begin? What do you actually need? What brands and price points are actually worth it for airsoft guns?
This short article will assist you in answering these specific questions in addition to recommending particular items that we have either used or have been proven in the airsoft community as reliable, valuable, and beneficial to have on your airsoft gun(s). Without further adieu, let’s hop right into the list with optics!
One of the first upgrades you’ll think of changing out are the iron sights that your M4 ships with for something like a red dot, reflex sight, or a true optic that gives you a bit of extra magnification to engage targets at longer distances.
In our very honest opinion, we recommend to stay away from all optics when starting. You’ll find that using optics often makes it more difficult to hit your target. Simply pointing your gun, firing, and gauging your follow-up shot based on where the previous one flew is the best and fastest way to hit your target. Furthermore, face masks, goggles, and most eye protection obstructs your line of sight down the top rail anyways, rendering your optics useless.
However, if you are adamant that an optic is something you need on your airsoft gun, then go for it! You don’t need anything crazy, as even fully fleshed out your M4 isn’t going to be all that effective at extremely long ranges (anything close to 250 feet, really) and most engagements at outdoor fields are within 100 feet anyway. Magnified optics are only useful for sniper roles where you are stationary for more than 90 seconds at a time.
You do not need to spend a pretty penny on optics. Rather, you should spend whatever money available on important internal upgrades before any external upgrades. One more note, please buy a cheap plexiglass optics protector if using an optic - this will prevent a bb from shattering the glass on your expensive optic.
Silencer or Muzzle Brake Upgrade
A silencer, compensator, or muzzle break really isn’t going to do all that much as far as the effectiveness of your Airsoft M4 – it’s really all about aesthetics. There isn’t any ballistic gas flying out of the barrel of your Airsoft weapon that has to be quieted down, hidden, or compensated for. Everything is running off of a much quieter system such as green gas or electricity and quieting those components down has nothing to do with the silencer tacked onto the end of your barrel.
There is an exception to this rule and that is with foam filled suppressors. These are most effective on HPA rifles because that is the only area where sound comes from opposed to an AEG where the gears, motor, piston etc all make a ton of noise in your receiver. Foam filled suppressors don’t do so much as reducing the decibel level of your airsoft gun, rather it is more useful for changing the pitch of the sound coming from your barrel. This can be extremely advantageous because a lower pitched sound is not only harder to pinpoint, it's also much more likely to go undetected and blend in with ambient sounds - again, reducing your chances of being spotted when firing from concealment. Check out our home page for some custom QD suppressors that cannot be found anywhere else on the market - you won’t regret it!
There is one more large exception to the statement arguing suppressors don't add any benefit to your airsoft rifle. This exception is tracer units which illuminate a specific type of bb when it passes through the tracer unit. These are mostly for fun, but they can also aid you when following your bb’s flight path in dimly lit areas - like indoor CQB fields. If you are interested in using a tracer unit, please understand that they are expensive and use very uncommon and expensive bbs which sometimes can be difficult to locate and purchase in your desired weight (typically only .25g tracer bbs can be found). Check out 6mmplastic.com for tracer bbs and feel free to use our coupon code, “MN2021” to save 10% on your order!
While suppressors and muzzle breaks sometimes aren't the most useful accessory, these kinds of upgrades are usually really inexpensive (compared to other options) because they are “vanity” upgrades. They will make your M4 look pretty slick, and that might be reason enough to spend the cash on them. For beginners, stick to the performance boosting upgrades rather than what looks cool. Trust me. Be sure to check your thread specs before purchasing a flash hider, muzzle break, tracer unit, or suppressor - most are going to be “14mm CCW or 14mm negative” threads.
There are a variety of different or grip options to pick and choose from that will mount to most Picatinny, MLOK, or Keymod rails that ship with high-quality Airsoft M4 rifles and a lot of this is going to come down to your personal choice and what you’re looking to get out this upgrade. Keep in mind, a foregrip on an airsoft gun does absolutely nothing for recoil, range, accuracy etc… it's all about control and stability and the addition of a foregrip may not help you at all! It is all about personal preference so don't feel bad if you like something that other people think sucks! We recommend some of the BCM grips, aluminum grips on shopmnairsoft.com, or polymer vertical grips to keep the weight in the front of the gun to a minimum.
Some people (especially those that are used to holding their weapon in front of the magazine well in a vertical kind of position) are going to want to go for a vertical for grip whereas others might want an angled or handgrip that’s a little more minimalist. We have an image here that shows the difference between them. Keep in mind that its all about comfort and that your hand size is always something to consider when looking at different products!
This is a bit off topic, but it fits best in this category. A Bipod can improve your accuracy significantly (especially over long ranges) so you want to consider it a performance upgrade rather than a purely cosmetic choice, even if you won’t be fighting off a crazy amount of recoil from your SMR or sniper. Do NOT get a bipod for your assault rifle… it will make you look silly and they’re usually quite heavy. Add this weight to the very tip of your gun where bipods generally sit and you’re making your gun about 1.5 times the perceived weight it would be without a bipod.
Pistol Grip Upgrade
Something every gun has is a pistol grip. This is the grip you hold with your trigger hand and it is a lot more important that you may think at first glance. The first thing to consider is the type of gun you're using. AK’s, M4’s, SMG’s etc all have wildly different specs for their grips and nearly none of them will fit cross-platform without HEAVY modification (don’t even try). Another thing to be mindful of is your hand size. If you have huge hands the size of a gorilla, look for grips that are thicker and do NOT have any sort of ergonomics in them - these will not be made to your liking and will cause discomfort. If you have tiny hands, look for skinnier grips and also be mindful of any ergonomic styling because these may pull your fingers apart more than whats comfortable. The final thing to always check before buying a grip is that it is made for your type of airsoft gun - gas blowback, AEG, HPA etc. This is very important and I’ll explain why.
A lot of quality GAS BLOWBACK Airsoft M4 lower receivers are compatible with real steel M4 pistol grips, which means there’s a world of aftermarket options out there for you to pick and choose from. However, this does NOT apply to AEG receivers and you should never buy a real steel or gas blowback pistol grip for your AEG - it simply does not work. AEG grips have an adjustment piece on the bottom which is there to allow the height of the motor to be finely adjusted.
Though this piece doesn't inflict any compatibility issues on gas blowback guns, it does cause issues when you try to screw it into any non-aeg receiver. Furthermore, HPA guns can actually use any grip your receiver can take. If you HPA engine is in an AEG body like a Krytac, you would use any AEG grip and simply remove or drill out the bottom portion for your HPA line to go through.
Plenty of folks instead opt to go with the stock pistol grip that shipped with their M4 just because the differences are pretty minimal, choosing instead to wrap their pistol grip with some stippled tape or rubberized grip tape to get a better handle on their rifle when they are running around the woods. This is always a great way to not only save some money, but to also customize your gun in a relatively hassle-free manner and a non-permanent manner as well.
Swapping your motor grip doesn’t really do much for you. It won't increase anything other than comfort and could actually hurt your gun’s performance if not careful. Toying with the motor is not something you should do if you’re not an airsoft tech. It can go very wrong very fast and good luck getting it back to the way it was…
Now let’s move on to something a bit more picky depending on not only your personal preference, but your battery size and buffer tube specs as well.
Because the stock is usually where your battery is going to be mounted, your options are a little bit limited as you want as large a battery as possible (in most circumstances) so that you can continue to run your airsoft gun for the entire engagement without losing power or performance. Nowadays we have newer technologies that allow more power in smaller spaces. Companies like Titan Power offer lithium-ion batteries that are extremely powerful and have a large capacity while remaining fairly compact. You should be looking for the different types of batteries to make sure it will fit in your stock.
The main battery styles you’ll want to run with are butterfly, stick, and some different brick styles, though these usually don’t fit in stocks.
There are a lot of aftermarket companies that make collapsible and adjustable M4 stocks with unique compartments that can squeeze even some of the biggest batteries into them without you noticing – the wiring can get a little bit tricky. Things to look out for in stocks are the battery compartment, how the battery compartment opens, and if the inner diameter (ID) will fit on your buffer tube’s outer diameter (OD). Terms like “mil-spec” and “airsoft-spec” are common terminology when dealing with the buffer tube and you should make sure you know what your airsoft gun has prior to investing in any upgrades.
With all this being said, find something that you’re comfortable with, something that fits your shoulder well, and something that gives you plenty of battery power and you will be good to go.
Our favorite stock at the moment is the G&G CM16 stock which can lock into place and prevent any wiggling - very nice feature to have. The stock also looks very modern and aggressive which is something we think adds a nice touch to a high-end custom gun.
Upgraded Stock Options (Click your airsoft gun model when the page loads)
Handguards and Rail Systems
Finally, we have our last section of common external upgrades for the time being. This one is, in our opinion, the pickiest of all external upgrades seeing as there are a bunch of things that need to match in order to work properly.
The handguard or rail is arguably one of the most important external components of a gun (real or not) because it is where you place your non-dominant hand when firing to control the muzzle and balance the weapon properly. A hand guard that is too long will reduce mobility, control, and ultimately lead to an uncomfortable handling experience. One that is too short will likely not have many implications other than on longer rifles where it will force your hand to be closer to the receiver than is recommended for proper balance and control.
This being said, there are quite a few things to watch out for when swapping your hand guard out on your new AEG. First thing is barrel nut compatibility. This is something I am not too familiar with, but there are different barrel nuts for every rail. This includes different threads (where it screws onto your receiver), different mounting methods, and different rail dimensions such as the picatinny height where it lines up with your receiver rail. All of these are quite complex and should definitely be noted and checked prior to making any investments.
One nice thing about airsoft is that often times brands will make different sized rails or even different models of handguards that will fit perfectly to your gun. This makes it very easy to upgrade and takes out the hassle of checking specs. We did this with our Krytac SPR build and it is as easy as cake to switch the 12” rail to something like their CRB rail which is much shorter and allows us to quickly adapt our gun depending on the field we are playing at. Something to consider, but very rarely needed.
There are SO many more accessories we’d like to discuss, but the list would never end. If you have any questions or want our opinion on a specific accessory you’re looking at, please feel free to shoot us a message on our Instagram page! We respond right away and would love to help out!
Now, get out and go shopping for your new airsoft accessories - See ya on the field!
- Minnesota Airsoft