HPA, the Future?
Recently I have been fascinated by gas guns. Why? Well for a lot of reason really. For example, gas guns in general have less moving parts. This translates into less money spent upgrading and less money spent on broken parts. However, there are many drawbacks in the "Modern Day" gas guns. One of these drawbacks are they seem to be less reliable in winter and have more maintenance. I'm here to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each type of gun and hopefully come to a conclusion of which will become superior in the upcoming evolution of Airsoft.
First we will start with what we all have had experience with Automatic Electric Guns (AEG). AEG's are typically the more common choice. They are most often used as primaries, but they can also be used as a secondary. For the sake of time I will be referring to the M4 in this article. In the M4 there are many problems with the current design. For one the gearbox is inherently weaker than many of the other designs available. Since this is the most common gun/ version gearbox you would expect just the opposite. Another disappointing problem with any AEG gearbox is when you receive it stock there are many things one must do to bring it up to the full potential and to prolong its life span. Now, onto some of the even bigger design flaws of the gearboxes. I find the fact that one must have an anti-reversal latch to be absurd. Of course there are claims that you don't need one with an active breaking MOSFET, but who wants to have that added stress on the motor? Another problem is all of the moving parts in the gearbox. This adds more wear and tear on the internals than necessary. Some of the good things are the fact that the magazines are much cheaper than gas magazines. Also, AEGs are usually more common therefore it is easier to borrow a magazine from a teammate.
Next we will talk about the most common gas guns. In my opinion that is the gas pistols. Gas pistols are remarkable little devices. The higher quality gas guns will often be able to reach out to 100ft+ accurately. I find that to be quite amazing considering the fact that the barrels are often around 5 inches long. Also, the only maintenance on them is usually only making sure you tear down the gun and relube the slide every couple of uses. (Usually 3-5 uses depending on how heavily it was used.) Of course there are disadvantages too. The biggest disadvantages of gas guns are that their magazines cost quite a pretty penny. Also, they have relatively low amount of rounds per magazine. The final problem I have with gas guns are that you have to fill up the magazine with gas. (DUH) This means you will be constantly buying more to be able to play. This is not appealing to many of the Airsofter's I know.
At this point you're probably asking yourself why this is titled "HPA the Future." Well here is where that comes into play. Recently PolarStar has released a ground breaking device. They have labeled it the fusion engine. The fusion engine replaces the typical version 2 gearbox. It can act as a drop-in upgrade if you want it to be. It has the ability to be programmed to fit your needs exactly. Also, it can change the feet per second (FPS) with a simple change of the air nozzle. It can reliably go from 400 FPS (stock) to 550+ FPS with just the swap of the air nozzle. I find that truly amazing. Also, the airozzles are color coordinated for ease of installation. Another bonus of using the fusion engine is you can use standard magazines. This means no more paying extra for magazines. The downfalls of the fusion engine are far and few between, but the ones that are there are pretty big deals. The biggest problem for a lot of Airsofters is the fact that you have to have an external air rig. A lot of Airsofters find that to be a huge turn off. Another problem is the overall cost. To buy just the drop-in gearbox it is 450$. I don't know about you but that's quite a bit of money.
My conclusion, eventually I think that Airsoft will convert to an HPA system. It will be just like other things; eventually a company will clone the fusion engine at a fraction of the cost. This will make it possible for the average Airsofter to afford it. Also, I truly think that it outperforms most AEG's. As an added bonus it is more reliable than the extreme Airsoft builds it mirrors. Once, the average Airsofter gets past the fact that they will need an external air rig to use it; it will become as common as the M4. And making the AEG obsolete.