B5 Systems

Two Major Announcements Put The AIR Back In AMERICAN AIRSOFT: TIPPMANN Sports And Wolverine Airsoft go “High Pressure” And Engineer A New Future

By: Alan “Thumpy” Covey – Thumpy’s 3D House of Airsoft

American gun enthusiasts hear the word “airsoft” and think toy-like plastic or very fragile pot-metal guns, built mainly in Asia; guns not able to hold up to the rigors of serious training, handling, use or abuse. But, that has been changing…and is about to get two new boosts from a pair of US companies that couldn’t be any different from each other. But, both are ‘bullish’ that they have innovative ways to change the American marketplace.

A quick primer: Airsoft is primarily one caliber – 6mm plastic BB’s, pushed out of smoothbore guns by compressed air. Right now, the foremost systems are called Air Electric Guns or AEG’s, which use gears, a piston, cylinder and spring, powered by a DC electric motor and battery to propel BB’s downrange. A competing system (GBB – Gas Blow Back guns) use high pressure gas to do the same thing. Both models can simulate recoil “kick” and some even field-strip like their one-to-one “real-steel” counterparts…the current fascination with airsoft as a war-games tool and even as a safer-alternative training gun for firearms enthusiasts.

But TIPPMANN Sports, a leader and innovator in paintball guns for decades, and new startup WOLVERINE AIRSOFT are about to bring the manufacture of two gas systems back to airsoft’s roots in high-pressure air…and, build their products in the USA.


TIPPMANN announced at last week’s Paintball Extravaganza event in Virgnia their entry into airsoft, the M-4 carbine…a clone of most AR-style guns with the guts of their highly reliable and rugged paintball markers reworked to fit inside a 1:1 scale upper and lower that will accept most real M-4 grips, stocks, rails/hand guards and accessories. Powered by 12-gram co2 capsules inside the 80-round magazines, the M4 will also alternately use regulated air tanks and current AEG airlift magazines.

Most important to their US market position is TIPPMANN’s established parts, service and distribution networks, and the brand reputation for rugged reliability that might find a true market as training arms for military or Law Enforcement agencies, many of which already use paintball as force-on-force training guns, or for pepperball devices in detention facilities. Expect a summertime release for a product that’s already gaining near-viral attention in paintball AND airsoft circles.


Meanwhile, from Tennessee comes WOLVERINE AIRSOFT with a more basic and elegant engineering idea. Why replace all those existing AEG airsoft guns, when you can drop-in a replacement cylinder with ONE moving part! Called the SMP, for “Single Moving Part,” this system will use High Pressure Air in backpack tanks, regulated with an electronic trigger assembly. That takes the finicky and often-troublesome guts & gears out of the 1970’s Japanese technology of today’s AEG, yet keep their upgraded and more-modern outer shells, which have been getting better and better with age and materials-technology improvements.

A third American company, Delaware-based PolarStar Airsoft has had a more-complete HPA system on the market for several years now, called the Fusion Engine. But, judging from the viral social media reactions, there is probably room in the USA market for all three American entries. A trio that will “bear much watching” as 2014’s spring and summer release dates approach.

Stay up to date on all of America’s Airsoft news at Thumpy’s 3D House of Airsoft on SCOOP.IT: www.scoop.it/t/thumpy-s-3d-house-of-airsoft-scoop-it

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34 Responses to “Two Major Announcements Put The AIR Back In AMERICAN AIRSOFT: TIPPMANN Sports And Wolverine Airsoft go “High Pressure” And Engineer A New Future”

  1. AUSSIE says:

    So what do you do with it??

    • John says:

      I believe the point of mentioning airsoft on here would be to bring attention to it’s value in force-on-force training.

      That said, neither of the systems this article looks at are even remotely close to what would be considered a valuable training platform. As much as I like to see people realizing the value of airsoft for real world training, I don’t think this article does anything for that cause.

      So I guess I would have to re-iterate AUSSIE’s question: What are you supposed to do with them?

      • Dan says:

        (Buy american)
        Existing GBBRs offer a good platform to train on, but that tippman looks like it’ll discharge all the gas if the magazine is removed.

  2. Fritzthedog says:


  3. J35T32 says:

    Yeah they have these already….. what are they called? oh yah polarstars,
    now unless they bring a much cheaper alternative to the market to compete with P* they are entering the game a tad late.

  4. Corey says:

    As someone who is pretty steeply involved in airsoft (I host games and play myself).

    The general opinion of these newer air guns is negative. They have the potential to fire much harder than safety requirements allow and can be adjusted higher on the field after a chronograph test has cleared the gun to play.

    They also have the potential to fire at a rate similar to a minigun (50-80rps) which ruins the experience for many players who like the realistic rate of fires.

    These guns would be great though if it were not for the irresponsibility of people who use them.

  5. Evan says:

    I’ve had a polarstar converted gun for quite a while now and I have to say that they blow these two up and comer’s out of the water as far as quality.

    the HPA powered guns are much more consistent and reliable than the electric/gearbox powered guns, and are capable of a much wider range of adjustments.

    to address corey’s concerns, while the guns can be adjusted on the fly, almost all regulators have a safety check or a “tournament lock” that can be placed at chrono to prevent on field pressure adjustments. and changing the nozzles is not a simple drop out/drop in affair, it requires disassembly of the whole gun and removal of small parts with tools. sp, the inability of a field to maintain the speeds of these guns is purely the shortcomings of the field operator.

    as for the unrealistic rates of fire, while the systems are CAPABLE of doing this, most do not have them set at those speeds because it can cause feeding issues and other issues. some fields also have ROF caps set to avoid people getting over-shot with these guns.

    In my experiences as a field referee, I’ve personally had more issues with people with the electric guns trying to cheat the chronograph then people with polarstars. maybe I’ve just had better luck or maybe your clientele is just of lower quality but I find your views of the system highly skewed.

    The benefit to the polarstar systems for training aid comes in that they readily drop into bodies that are manufactured by G&P or Vegas Force Company and are widely acknowledged to be the most realistic replicas available on the market. I have an AR-15 replica with a polarstar in it that placed side by side with my real ar-15 are totally indistinguishable from one another other then some very minor details.

    • Christian says:

      ^^^ What a retard. How do you know the P* “blows these two up and comer’s out of the water”? THEY ARENT EVEN ON THE MARKET YET. You want to talk definitively about the quality of something that you couldn’t possibly ever have seen or touched.

      • Christian says:

        Now lest you think I am doing the same thing, I personally know the designer and I field tested the Wolverine Airsoft SMP at Operation:Blacksheep at Shelby in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. I am also in the promo video. I can tell you that the SMP is AMAZING and pushes bb’s just as well as a P*, but does it in a more air efficient way, in a better form factor, with MUCH better cross-platform flexibility, in a less expensive package with fewer parts to fail.

        It really is the next big thing.

    • piloto says:

      There is now way P*’s are considered the most realistic replica on the market, not even close. GBBR’s are the most realistic without contest. P*’s have that little hose-thingy coming out of the grip. Disqualified right with that alone.

  6. Paladin says:

    Personally I would not take either of these as realistic training tools. Existing propane powered gass blow back rifles and sidearms, notably those manufactured by KWA, provide superior realism in terms of general weapons manipulation and function.

    • Corey says:

      ^Exactly yes,

      For real steel training applications the KWA PTR is the best option.

    • Jason says:

      They’re expensive and finicky and prone to breaking but they are more realistic. It’s just a matter of whether you have the budget to buy them, the magazines, and later on pay for the maintenance costs for repairing them when they break.

      • Paladin says:

        The LM4 costs about $350. Spare and upgrade parts are available through KWA as well as other manufacturers. The only real issue at the moment is the availability of magazines, as they are sold out just about everywhere, but that should work itself out as demand peaks and supply improves.

        Compared to other training systems airsoft is significantly cheaper and easier to implement. Simunitions are more expensive both in terms of equipment and ammunition costs.

  7. LowSpeed says:

    Simunition in real weapons beats air soft/paintball/MILES gear every single time in my opinion. But this seems pretty cool for the folks here who enjoy Airsoft.

    • Bussaca says:

      Thats great.. you’re absolutely right.. you must be part of some DEVGRU group that can justify or afford to just on a whim pay for everything that goes with that simunition experiance.. much less scheadule time in a shoot house or have acsess to a suitable training area at a moments notice to conduct safe training…

      Where as, i can force on force, my troops in a closed barracks, or anywhere safely.. any time.. anywhere.. no ammo policeing, no severe risk assesment..

      even the MP’s on post use it for active shooter drills, on post, on location.. not a generic shoot house..

      To dismiss airsoft’s training value.. is sad.. just cause it dosen’t go BANG..


      • LowSpeed says:

        Haha as my username suggests… I’m by no means one of those guys with a awesome highspeed job haha. I just happened to have gotten a taste of simunition a few times and I absolutely fell in love with it. For hard headed people who have (had now for me for the most part) bad habits the sting of those sim rounds sets you straight. I’m sure air soft is/could be effective(plus your mention of lowered risk assesment/flexibility is a huge bonus), I’m just partial to simunition that’s all. Whenever possible I’ll push for it’s use in training, until then it’s MILES, Blanks, and the verbal “bang bang”.

        • Bussaca says:

          Sorry i lashed out..

          I don’t disagree. I just snap when so many can be dismisive at it’s training possiabilities, just because of it’s civilian participants..give it a bad image.. or consider it a toy.. outright..

          I don’t know how many “bang-bang” “i shot you first” fights i’ve been in because of the lack of training aids..

          I can remember a whole platoon doing MOUNT with sticks and fingers, and rocks for gernades.. and fist fights over who “Bang-ed” first..

  8. Rick says:

    Can this website please stay away from Airsoft? In the mind of a military member, the website begins to lose credibility when it starts covering this area.

    • SSD says:

      Some organizations actually use Airsoft for training

    • Russ Anderson says:

      Airsoft is a good traininng tool. Sure its not perfect but neither is dry fire of red / blue guns. You have to have the training mindset. You may be missing out

  9. Mobious says:

    The Japanese army have been training with airsoft replica’s of their own rifles for years now

    • AC says:

      Japan doesn’t have an army, they have a defense force.

      • Jason says:

        That being said, it makes sense. Tokyo Marui and other large airsoft companies are Japanese. The sport is big over there too.

      • Helmets says:

        For all intents and purposes, they are the same thing. Don’t be that guy. Nobody likes that guy

        • Joe says:

          It’s just semantics. Their constitution doesn’t allow for an offensive force so they have to call it a defense force. It’s still an army.

          Tokyo Marui’s Type 89 airsoft rifle was originally created at the request of the Self Defense Force for soldiers to train with. It turned out so well that they released it to the public a few years later.

  10. Fox says:

    KWA LM4 is a superior training airsoft gas blowback rifle- Agreed.
    Airsoft has it’s uses for certain training – Agreed.
    Military training far overshadows that which I have learned while playing Airsoft. That said, I have still learned a lot from it- One thing in particular: How human beings react under simulated fire at close range. While everyone who has played Airsoft knows it causes mild pain or discomfort, and not death-you can see that similar hesitation or over-confidence in the way the opposing force moves. Though I think Airsoft training weapons need to break out of the novelty arena. Yes I said it- The ammo needs to evolve away from the spherical BB shape. That ammo was designed with novelty in mind-nothing more.

    • Dan says:

      What would you suggest? A rifled barrel and a plastic Minnie ball?

    • piloto says:

      I agree wholeheartedly on your 1st two statements. KWA targeted the professional market when they developed the LM4.

      • Corey says:

        There have been legitimate tests on using bullet shaped ammunition as opposed to the spherical ammunition.

        The problem was that airsoft guns have to fire at a safe velocity. So the rounds were more accurate and consistent but due to the low velocity the rounds dropped extremely fast with a Maximum effective range around 75-100feet.

        Spherical type BB’s use a “Hop-up” system that puts a backspin on the bb as it leaves the gun and that causes the BB to regain altitude as gravity pulls it down. These rounds have an effective range of 200-300 feet.

        The rounds are not super accurate but I think can somewhat simulate recoil in a way that it may not effect you but it does effect the rounds. But then there is no real way to improve on it or have first shot consistency at longer ranges.

  11. Joe says:

    Only way I would consider HPA if it gave you hard kick RECOIL.

    Otherwise why bother?

    Without felt recoil they don’t mimic real steel and are the equivalent of airsoft flamethrowers.

  12. blue says:

    I have fired 1000s of rounds using FX, UTM and other sims, as a trainer for my PD i prefer airsoft over simunitions any day.
    1) the guns are way cheaper
    2) ammo is way cheaper
    3) dont need as much safety gear, there for u dont automatically get into the “its training” only mind fram
    4) i can use airsoft in the schools and around vehicles and any other buildings with minimal clean up.