The Japanese airgun was first introduced sometime in the middle part of the 19th century. Today there are many variants of airguns, but the basic principles of propulsion remain the same. Many of the newer variants fire at around 300 fps or more and make use of various spring-load mechanism technologies. Thus, a typical Japanese airgun is likely to be something unique, and not in everybody’s price range. For instance, a low-powered gas airgun may be as fast as a high-powered one.
Generally, Japanese manufacturers are focusing more on target and tournament-style firearms, an emphasis in which the Japanese airgun is quite competitive. With that in mind, many manufacturers have introduced follow sporting competitions for Japanese airgun competitors. The February 2008 Japanese Airsoft Championships at Dragon Gym, home of the Bullfighting Show, was a great occasion to see some of the top Japanese airgun performers in action. The event is one of the few opportunities in Japan to see both professional and amateur Japanese airgun competitors in action.
The Japanese airgun was essentially invented by creative gun enthusiasts in the country to satisfy their interest in the gun, and develop it into a competitive sports weapon. As amazing as many of the features of the Japanese airgun are, the deal with the Japanese companies is in the supply of reliable machine guns. For example, despite how cool a front propane tank may look with its surrounding orange globe, it is a totally different matter when that same tank is mounted on a gas-operated, spring-powered airgun, and is expected to fire at around 200 fps. That is why the Japanese manufacturers supply gas-powered air guns that have a smaller recoil, a smaller recoil mechanism, and a gas-operated mechanism. Along with a smaller recoil, the Japanese manufacturers do not currently make their own gas guns for competitions. This will be an interesting breed of weapons for Japanese manufacturers to compete with in the future.
The top speed for a spring-powered Japanese airgun is approximately 300 fps, and the gas-powered model will likely achieve speeds higher than that, as the electronic gearbox lubricates and builds the piston and limits backpressure. However, as higher-powered airguns with batteries and steam systems have come onto the market recently, it is possible to find spring-powered airguns that can achieve speeds in excess of 300 fps.
Airguns are understood for their excessively loud sound, which is often described as firing paintballs. However, the noise is not something that is designed to hurt people, as it is a sound that people become accustomed to hearing after time, much like they do not receive annoyed by the noise of a chain saw or car engine in the woodlands.
The quietness of Japanese airguns is one of their positive features. Imagine trying to operate an airgun at a high altitude without the efficient noise from all of those tiny pellets hitting the barrel at nearly the same time. Even using this weapon in close-quarter environments, you can expect the shot to be quite short (if you are able to Circularize the airgun before its exit velocity becomes known to enemies). Furthermore, the clip battery will almost always work in-between shot replenishments, so you do not have to worry about recharging for several hours.
A good aspect of Japanese airguns is their astounding realistic look and feel. The pellet gun is not an impediment to the identical reproduction common guns or pistols; it simply that it looks completely identical to the real thing, and to trust the description of the gun’s manufacturer as well as the ammo you purchase.