World War 2 was arguably the biggest and most expansive conflict in human history.
A pretty straight-forward conflict, with clear good and bad guys, some of the most dramatic, memorable battles of all time, and a wide array of combat scenarios from the huge open battlegrounds of France to the house-to-house fighting of Stalingrad.
Little wonder, then, that WW2 events have always been popular in airsoft.
Of course, in order to properly do some historical milsim, you’ll need some WW2 airsoft guns and equipment.
After all, there’s not much point in recreating the siege of Pavlov’s House if all you have is an M4, AK74 or an Uzi.
To help would-be collectors and milsimmers out, we decided to create a list with some of our favorite airsoft WW2 guns for each major power involved in the war.
What We Look For In A WW2 Airsoft Gun
Accuracy and Appearance
World War 2 airsoft is all about classic guns.
Whether we’re talking about an M1 Garand, a Thompson or a Mosin Nagant, an airsoft replica should look as authentic as possible.
That means they should match their real steel counterparts pretty accurately in terms of length, weight and design as well as, ideally, being made of the same materials that weapons from the early 20th century would have been made of – i.e. lots of wood, metal and even brass.
After all, there’s no sense in paying good money for a weapon that looks like it’d be more at home in a toy store than on the battlefield..
As we always do when it comes to classic airsoft guns, we make sure to take a close look at a WW2 airsoft gun’s build quality.
A quality replica should be fitted together pretty well, with a minimum of gaps at their seams, not too much wobbling and rattling and, if they use wood, it should be nicely sanded and be properly finished with a realistic, darker stain.
It also goes without saying that they should work reliably out of the box and not just be a pretty wall hanger.
Classic airsoft guns may look durable, often being made of heavier materials like wood and steel, but they can actually be surprisingly delicate inside, with unique or odd mechanisms squeezed into their rather old-school frames.
Too often, these guns are really intended to be collectables or even (very) occasional-use decorations and can be damaged or destroyed by heavy use.
Because WW2 airsoft guns can appeal to both historical collectors, re-enactors and milsim enthusiasts, we prefer guns that can be fired relatively frequently without issue and give extra preference to guns that make use of common and easily repaired/replaced internals where possible.
Performance is a bit of a tricky issue with niche and historical airsoft guns.
On the one hand, these guns aren’t likely to become your primary, but on the other hand, we aren’t talking about muskets or something just for decoration here.
At the end of the day, we prefer historically accurate airsoft weapons that you can take out into the field and win with.
In particular, we tend to look for guns that can deliver 300 FPS but not exceed more than 420 or so, as they can be too hot for many fields, and ones that can hit targets to around 120 feet or so
in the case of rifles, SMGs and carbines (90 feet or so in the case of pistols).
Price is a bit tricky when it comes to historical airsoft guns.
On the one hand, these are niche products that are intended to look really nice and tend to be made out of relatively sturdy materials, so they will cost more than a typical no-name 1911 or M16 replica.
On the other hand, as we’ve mentioned, they’ll never take the place of your airsoft primary (or even secondary) and are more of an occasional airsoft weapon at best.
Ultimately, we tend to feel that the $100-300 price range is probably most reasonable for a decent WW2 airsoft replica, depending on the make and model of course, and while we won’t disqualify a gun for going over this range, we will certainly make note of its price in our review.
ICS M1 Garand
|Extremely realistic and beautiful to look at
|Built tough and built well
|Can be a little too hot for some fields
|Powerful, adjustable hop up
|Highly accurate at range
|Powerful (450 FPS)
The M1 Garand is one of the most well-known rifles used in World War 2, perhaps owing to its place as the main battle rifle of US forces and having been used in many famous battles, from the storming of Omaha beach to the Battle of the Bulge.
The ICS M1 Garand airsoft rifle is a faithful recreation of this legendary rifle and, we feel, a great option for those seeking realism in their historical airsoft gear.
Sporting stained wood furniture and a metal chassis, the ICS M1 boasts an eye-catching, authentic look, but what sets it apart are the myriad of small details that the gun sports, such as its working bayonet lug, fully adjustable sights, swiveling sling attachment points, and a functioning trigger guard safety, enhancing its overall historical realism.
Its construction also makes the M1 Garand pretty tanky on the field – with its aluminum barrel assembly and CNC machined trigger mechanism, much like its real steel counterpart, it can take a beating and keep on shooting.
It’s also put together quite well.
When we handled it, the ICS M1 felt pretty solid and didn’t really show any signs of creaking, rattling or looseness.
Internally, the ICS is built around a largely Marui-compatible V7 gearbox that’s packed with steel gears, a half-rack metal-toothed cylinder, a tightbore barrel, a fairly torquey 23K motor and a powerful hop up unit that’s more than capable of sending heavier weight BBs downrange.
As a result, the gun is pretty powerful and capable – we were able to send BBs downrange to hit targets well past 150 feet (45 m) with little issue.
With that said, due to its high power, this rifle is pretty much an outdoor-oriented airsoft gun if left stock.
Chronoing around 450 FPS, this gun may not be the most welcome at fields with stricter FPS limits (although a three-plus foot long rifle might be the most ideal to take to an indoor or CQB field anyway).
It’s also fairly pricey – at $500, this blend of of quality, performance and realism does come at a price – and modern models aren’t officially licenced, either, being stamped with humorous “Springdale Armory” markings.
That said, if you’re looking for a beautiful looking, tough as nails and capable airsoft M1, the ICS should be at the top of your list.
After all, it was at the top of ours.
Cybergun Thompson M1A1 Elite Grade
|Looks good, very authentic
|A little pricey
|Reciprocating bolt a very nice touch
|Heavy for an SMG
|P90/Marui internals easy to replace or upgrade
|Quick change spring
A product of the roaring 20s, the iconic Thompson M1A1 submachine gun was also extensively used in World War 2 by British and US forces alike, largely thanks to its relatively compact design and impressive firepower.
If you’d like a WW2-era Tommy Gun to your collection, we feel that the Cybergun M1A1 Elite Grade probably offers the best proverbial bang for your buck.
On the whole, and as we’ve mentioned in our review of its base model, the Cybergun’s M1A1 is a good looking, accurate reproduction of its real steel counterpart, particularly with its newer full metal and wood editions. .
The gun’s wood furniture looks quite good, while the gun’s mock reciprocating and locking bolt, lever mag release, duckbill controls and metal upper receiver are all very realistic, and the gun’s official trademarks just add that extra authentic touch.
Perhaps more than that, the gun is pretty durable and well put together.
Thanks to its real wood furniture and metal receiver and barrel assembly, the gun can stand up to most of what a typical airsoft game can throw at it without an issue.
Further, King Arms has done a good job at putting their Elite Grade Thompson together.
While there can be some rattling with vigorous gameplay, which is expected and actually true to the real steel M1A1, it’s not too bad on the whole and the gun largely feels solid, with its frame, furniture and controls all fitting together pretty well.
Internally, the gun uses a Tokyo Marui-compatible V6 gearbox with KA steel gears and metal bushings and is largely compatible with the popular P90 platform, so repairs and aftermarket upgrades are relatively plentiful.
Interestingly, King Arms has even added a MOSFET to this gun, which, although not exactly top tier, is a distinct improvement over other models and will protect it when fitted with higher voltage batteries.
In terms of performance, the gun chronos in at just under 400 FPS (it does come with a quick change spring, so can be taken down to more CQB-friendly power pretty easily) and is capable of hitting targets to around 150 feet or so, although its most at home in closer range (70 feet or so), where it will actually deliver fair groupings.
On the downside, at around 7 lbs the gun isn’t exactly all that light compared to modern SMGs and it is a bit more expensive than we’d prefer, at north of $350.
That said, if you love the look of a Thompson and want to take on the Axis with a solid and dependable model in your hand, the Cybergun Thompson M1A1 Elite Grade is probably the model to reach for.
KJW M1911 A1
|Very authentic WW2 design
|Not the most gas efficient
|No trades or markings
|Green gas and CO2 capable
|Solid overall power
|Good kick and blowback action
The M1911 pistol is probably one of the most famous semi-auto pistol designs ever produced, with nearly 2 million units produced for the US government and military forces in WW2 alone.
If you’re looking for a solid and capable WW2 airsoft sidearm for your US loadout then an M1911 is likely the model to reach for, and if so the KJW M1911 gas pistol should, in our opinion, be at the top of your list.
Externally, the KJW M1911 is extremely realistic and a near perfect reproduction of a real steel, WW2-era 1911, matching the classic side arm in terms of weight and size, although sadly there are no US government or army trades to speak of.
The gun sports a sturdy all-metal slide and frame (an out of the box upgrade over their popular competitor, the Tokyo Marui 1911), which means capable of withstanding somewhat rough conditions and years of use, even if the paint may chip and scratch over time.
It also means the gun can accommodate higher PSI gas types, including CO2, without breaking..
Inside, the gun is largely TM compatible, with only very minor differences in components such as its hammer and knocker reset, meaning there are a ton of upgrades and aftermarket parts available for it, and is pretty solidly put together, even including a fully adjustable and quite capable rotary hop up under the slide.
In terms of performance, the KJW is a pretty solid pistol option as well.
Chronoing at around 310 FPS on green gas (and a bit higher on CO2), it is a well-balanced sidearm that offers enough power to keep up on the field, but not too much as to be banned on most fields, and in our experience is capable of hitting targets reliably to around 100 feet, which is decent enough for a stock pistol.
At the same time the gun’s trigger is pretty crisp and its thick metal slide gives it a superior kick and blowback action compared to its ABS counterparts.
On the downside, the heavier build of the KJW M1911 A1 does impact its gas consumption a bit, with the gun getting around 1.5 mags per fill, although the gun does have broad mag compatibility with other 1911 GBB pistols (even if you do have to wiggle some in a bit to get them to fit properly).
That said, the gun is pretty affordable for a green gas/CO2 airsoft pistol -typically sold for less than $140, it can comfortably fit within a typical airsoft budget
And given its accurate design, solid build quality and capable and balanced performance, we’d say that makes it well worth a look.
MATRIX BAR 1918A2
|Very authentic looking
|Can be a bit rattly, like the real BAR
|Good fire rate
|Fairly easy to repair or even upgrade
The M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle, or BAR as it was more commonly called, was an iconic light machine gun used extensively by US and Allied platoons during the war.
Powerful and intimidating, the BAR makes for an excellent addition to any WW2 airsoft loadout and, in our opinion, the Matrix 1918A2 is probably the best model out there for your money.
To begin with, the Matrix 1918A2 makes a bold first impression with its strikingly realistic design.
At just under 4 feet long and weighing around 11 lbs, the gun more or less matches a real steel BAR pretty closely in terms of its overall dimensions and contains all of the features that would typically be found on the classic LMG.
The gun, for example, comes with a metal bipod, imitation gas system, adjustable sights, realistic outer barrel assembly and even a functional (and durable) wood-gripped quick change handle.
Perhaps more than that, the Matrix makes extensive use of real wood and metal components that, although making its assembly a bit wobbly at times (just like the real BAR), increases its overall durability significantly, making it very usable in game.
It also makes the BAR a head-turner on the airsoft field and makes you feel like you’re really wielding a piece of history.
Inside, much like an airsoft M249, the 1918M2 BAR is built around a V2 LMG-style gearbox, which means that repairs and even upgrades shouldn’t be that hard (or expensive) to accomplish since parts will be more plentiful.
The Matrix BAR 1918A2 performs well on the field, too.
When we tested it, the gun chronoed in at a solid 370 or so FPS, which makes it a solidly capable LMG for fields that allow them, and got around 17-19 RPS, which means it can deliver a volume of fire that isn’t too far off from a more modern offering.
Range, however, is where this gun really stands out and can make it particularly attractive for outdoor games and events.
We found the gun was easily able to send BBs well past 200 feet (70m) at targets and some users have even claimed tto reliably hit targets past 260 feet (80m), making it ideally suited for providing suppressive fire during assaults. .
On the downside, the gun only really fits a 180 round magazine, which while historically accurate can feel a bit limiting on a machine gun, particularly when compared to replicas of more modern guns that can accept 2000+ round box mags.
With all that said, the Matrix BAR is surprisingly budget-friendly.
Typically sold for just under $400, it isn’t cheap we know, but considering airsoft machine guns can easily cost two or even three times that much, it is something of a bargain.
And considering its historical significance and decent build quality, we feel the gun can be a solid choice for would-be WW2 machine gunners looking for firepower that won’t break the bank.
Agm Sten Gun
|Very accurately designed
|Reciprocating bolt can be a little floppy when not in use, even if cool
|Full metal, durable construction
|Full auto only
|Easy to upgrade V7 gerabox
|Decent rate of fire
The British STEN gun was a submachine gun used by the Brits and the Commonwealth during (and after) World War 2, where its cheap and easy to manufacture design made it a fairly ubiquitous sight on the battlefield.
And when it comes to airsoft Sten guns, AGM has certainly hit the mark for authenticity.
By and large,the AGM MK Sten looks almost exactly like the real thing, matching a real steel Sten pretty closely in terms of length, height and weight, and maintaining many of the Sten’s more…quirky…features, such as its tube stock, lack of grip, air-cooled barrel shroud, notional peep sights, 90 degree mag well and prominent charging handle. .
The gun’s true-to-life stamped steel frame and receiver means it’s quite tough, especially compared to zinc-alloy alternatives,, so it should survive most WW2 airsoft games without much issue.
On the inside, the Sten sports an M14-style V7 Marui-compatible gearbox that while pretty standard, means.it can be repaired and upgraded pretty easily with both OEM and 3rd party parts.
Although the gun does replicate the Sten’s rather basic looks, it is fairly capable and functional as an airsoft SMG.
When we chrono’d it, the AGM came in at a healthy enough 340 FPS or so, which is right where you’d want an SMG to be as it allows it to be welcome in all fields, regardless of FPS limits.
It also delivers around 13-14 RPS on auto (which is the only option on this gun, due to a lack of select fire much like the real thing), which is about on the upper end of what you might expect from a conventional airsoft carbine or SMG option running a non-LiPo.
It should be said that while the gun has several issues, most are related to the cheap and functional nature of the Sten itself.
The gun isn’t the most ergonomic to use, it has a relatively small stick mag, at nearly 7 lbs it is kind of heavy compared to a modern SMG, and it’s full auto, which can be an issue for some fields.
Issues more specific to this model, in our opinion, is its bolt, which reciprocates in a really cool way when fired but otherwise tends to sit loosely on the frame when not in use and can be kind of annoying.
In terms of price, however, the AGM Sten is, interestingly enough, fairly good value, being priced at well under $200.
For the money, you do get a compact SMG that is made of durable metal, is fairly reliable, usable and is period-accurate.
For these reasons, we feel that if you’re looking to take a Sten gun out onto the airsoft field, you really can’t do much better than AGM’s Mark II.
WinGun M44 Mosin-Nagant
|Looks great and realistic
|Heavy and long
|May be too hot for some fields
|Authentic bolt action
|Folding bayonet a very nice touch
With the obvious exception of the AK47, there is perhaps no more famous Soviet rifle than the Mosin-Nagant.
Originally developed and used by the Russian Empire at the end of the 19th century (yes, the 19th century), the Nagant was the primary battle rifle of the Red Army during WW2.
Seeing action across the Eastern Front and back into Germany, the gun was particularly notable for its durability, cold weather tolerance and particular capability as a sniper rifle.
If you are in the market for an airsoft replica of one of these historically significant guns, then we suggest that WinGun’s M44 Mosin-Nagant should take a spot at the top of your list.
To begin with, WinGun’s Nagant replica is pretty realistic.
Although its furniture is plastic, the imitation wood design is high quality and surprisingly hard to distinguish from the real deal while keeping the gun’s weight down to make it a little easier to handle and use.
The gun’s barrel, trigger, functional bolt and mag assembly, in the meantime, are all metal and are quite detailed, giving the gun a very true-to-life look.
Interestingly, the gun even has the folding metal bayonet of its real steel inspiration, which is very cool, if something that users will have to be careful with as it’s non-removable.
The sturdy construction and metal pieces contribute to the overall durability. The end result is an airsoft rifle with a lifelike feel that stands the test of time with reasonable care and maintenance.
In terms of its performance, the gun runs on CO2 and packs something of a punch, chronoing around 450-550 FPS, depending on how much gas you fill it with and ambient temperature.
This power does make it pretty much an outdoor-only airsoft rifle, which you might expect given its bayonet and its nearly 51 inch length when fully extended.
The gun is also surprisingly accurate, which is nice to see given the real steel Nagants’ use as a sniper rifle, being able to hit targets well past 150 feet in our experience with it (45 meters), perhaps further if you pick up an aftermarket scope assembly to go with it.
The main downside of this gun, other than its power (which many see as a benefit) is its size.
This is an old-school battle rifle and, at 4 feet long with bayonet extended,it can be hard to maneuver around with.
Further, although its plastic furniture helps, the gun is pretty heavy and at over 8 lbs, it can weigh on you during long games.
In terms of price, however, the gun is a pretty decent buy in our opinion.
At under $250, it isn’t too expensive for a largely metal historical airsoft rifle, particularly one that’s well built, authentic looking and highly accurate.
As a result of all this, given its price, its performance capabilities and its realistic design, the WinGun M44 is our Mosin Nagant of choice.
S&T PPSH 41
|Orange tip is very large, very noticeable, detracts from realism
|Electric blowback cycles the bolt while firing
|Some reports of wobble in stock
|Come with 2 large magazines
|Solid power (340 FPS)
|Feels good in hands
The PPSH 41 (a.k.a the Burp Gun) was developed by WW2 Soviet forces looking for a cheap to manufacture SMG that, perhaps unlike the Sten, was actually reliable and hard-hitting.
Used throughout WW2 and beyond, the PPSH 41 is a popular, if somewhat niche, gun among airsoft collectors and can be a great option for those looking to complete a WW2 Red Army loadout.
For those interested in a Burp Gun of their own, as we’ve mentioned in our roundup, the best bet for your money in our opinion is the S&T PPSH 41.
The S&T is a 1:1 replica of the famous Soviet SMG, matching the real steel version in its dimensions as well as its details – the gun sports everything from realistic Soviet-era factory markings to a cool vented barrel shroud.
The gun is also a beast in terms of durability.
Made out of stamped steel and real wood, the S&T PPSH-41 feels very much like a real steel gun and can take most of what a typical airsoft game can throw out without breaking.
Inside, the gun does use a long gearbox design with a number of proprietary parts, which is a bit of a downside, although the most important parts are V2/V3 compatible.
In addition to steel gears and 8mm bearings, the gun actually comes with a microswitch trigger, something that we wouldn’t normally expect on a niche airsoft gun, which improves its trigger response dramatically.
Sadly, however, the gun doesn’t come with a MOSFET.
Performance-wise, the S&T PPSH-41 chronos at around 380 or so FPS and offers around 17 RPS, meaning it actually performs about as well as a typical modern airsoft SMG, which is a nice surprise.
It’s accuracy is also fair, capable of hitting targets to 150 feet but being more at home at around 100, where it will deliver some fair groupings.
Finally, in terms of price, the S&T PPSH-41 comes in at just under $300, which while not the cheapest SMG out there, is a fair deal for a historical airsoft gun with a full wood stock, steel body and solid, usable performance capabilities.
SRC Tokarev TT-33 Pistol
|Feels good in the hand
|12 round mag
|Nice, satisfying kick
The Tokarev TT-33 was more or less the Soviet answer to the US M1911 (and the FN Model 1903 for that matter), and replaced the Nagant revolver as the sidearm of choice in the WW2 Red Army.
If you think that your loadout needs an authentic-looking, Red Army TT-33 airsoft replica, then look no further than the SRC SR-33 T-33.
The SRC boasts a build that stays impressively true to life, resembling a real steel TT-33 with striking accuracy, from its unusual dual width slide cuts to its Soviet-style polymer grip and even period-correct Cyrillic stamps and factory markings.
The SRC even includes a lanyard loop on the base of the mag, reflecting the old-school military roots of its real steel inspiration.
The gun is full metal, with a fairly robust alloy slide that should stand up to most gameplay and green gas use without issue.
This use of metal also gives the gun some heft (it weighs about a pound), which helps avoid that toy-like feeling that so many airsoft pistols fall prey to but without being too unwieldy.
The gun itself chronos around 300 FPS, which makes it a solid all around airsoft gas pistol and means it can be taken to just about any airsoft field without issue.
The gun is decently accurate, as well, and we hit targets to around 90 feet without any issue.
The guns trigger is, however, a bit on the heavier side, although the gun itself delivers a very satisfying kick and blowback action when fired, which we feel more than makes up for it.
The gun comes with a standard single stack 12-round metal mag with a small lanyard loop on its bottom.
While not a tiny mag, we would have preferred a larger mag given how much fun the gun is to fire, and you do have to be careful when hooking it to a lanyard that you don’t accidentally yank and unseat it from the well.
That said, on the whole, at around $100 or so, the SRC TT-33 is, on the whole, a very affordable WW2 airsoft gas pistol that is also as fun to shoot and use as it is to simply look at.
Therefore, if you’re looking for a WW2 Soviet airsoft pistol that commits to realism, we feel that SRC’s TT-33 is a standout choice.
Snow Wolf Mauser Kar 98K Rifle
|Bolt mechanism a little stiff at first
|Bolt mechanism realistic and satisfying
|Adjustable hop up
The standard rifle of the German Army from about 1934 (and used by European and other forces well into the latter half of the 20th century), the Mauser KAR 98K was a bolt action rifle that saw action pretty much wherever the Nazis sent their forces.
Known for its accuracy and durability, the KAR has become a popular collectors piece in airsoft communities and is thought of as something of a dark mirror to the Soviet Mosin Nagant, largely thanks to the battles that took place on the Eastern Front.
The Matrix Mauser Kar 98K is an excellent reproduction of the WW2 Mauser rifle.
For one thing, its design is impeccable and offers a 1:1 true scale replica that looks absolutely authentic and, at around 8 lbs (3.3 kg) it has the right weight, too.
Perhaps more than that, Snow Wolf has paid strict attention to its construction – the combination of aluminum barrel, receiver, bolt and full wood stock make it feel very much like a real steel rifle in hand.
It’s also well put together.
With no real creaking or rattling to speak of it does a good job at replicating that (in)famous German build quality.
Now, it is important to note that this is, like many other bolt action airsoft rifles, spring powered.
While this will certainly slow down your game a bit, it does add far more realism when using hte gun and, in our opinion, does a good job at showcasing the main drawback of the real steel Kar 98k compared to its contemporary semi-auto rivals.
It also feels very satisfying to draw back, to be honest.
In terms of performance, being spring powered doesn’t weaken this gun in anyway – we chrono’ed it at around 390-400 FPS, which gives it ample power to take on opponents although, like the Nagant on this list, it might be a bit much for some fields.
Power without accuracy isn’t worth much, so thankfully the Snow Wolf Mauser Kar 98k hits the proverbial mark here, too.
Out of the box, we found the gun to be quite impressive and certainly capable of hitting targets fairly reliably past 150-160 feet (45 m or so), which is aided by the gun’s excellent iron sights and solid, adjustable hop up unit.
One thing to be aware of, however, is the fact that its spring is a bit on the stiff side and means you will have to use a bit more muscle to draw back the bolt, which can slow things down a bit more and leave you exposed.
That said, for less than $250 or so, the Snow Wolf Mauser Kar 98K offers a solidly built, accurate and cool looking/accurate replica for a fairly reasonable price, which is why we feel it can be an excellent choice for any Axis player or collector.
AGM S&T MG42
|Looks great and is accurately designed
|Proprietary gearbox w/o MOSFET
|Detachable steel bipod
|A bit heavy
|High rate of fire
|Comes with 2000 round magazine
With its high rate of fire and reliability, the German MG42 machine gun was an highly innovative firearm whose reputation and influence continued long after the war ended.
A staple of WW2 milsim events and airsoft collections, for our money we feel the AGM S&T MG42 offers the best balance of firepower, build quality and value of the admittedly few MG42 models out there.
To begin with, the AGM S&T MG42 starts out strong with an excellent design.
It’s dark real wood stock is beautiful to look at and complements the super durable steel (not aluminum), barrel shroud, charging handle and bipod, creating a visually striking and realistic 1:1 replica of a real steel MG42.
It’s a big boy, no doubt, and at 22 lbs (10 kg), it feels very authentic to hold if a bit heavy to carry for long periods.
As we discussed in our in-depth review of the gun, the gun is very solid and we found its components to be all fitted together solidly, with little in the way of rattling or clattering.
Inside, the gun contains a pretty solidly built gearbox, with steel gears, a wide nozzle, a quick change spring system and an AK-style sliding adjustable hop up unit.
The gearbox is a proprietary split design, which is a bit of a downside and makes modding the gun a bit trickier, and there is no MOSFET, which is a bit disappointing.
That said, the gun is highly capable where it counts – on the field.
Even on a standard 9.6v battery the gun chronos around 360 FPS and is capable of delivering around 21 RPS, making it quite usable as an airsoft machine gun, especially given its 2000+ round box WW2-style mag.
In terms of price, the gun tends to come in at just under $700, which while expensive in an absolute sense, actually makes it one of the more affordable MG42 models out there, especially compared to the $2000 G&G version.
While not perfect, on the whole we feel that the Matrix MG42 is a rock solid airsoft replica of the WW2 classic and can be a great choice for those who can appreciate its attention to detail and its firepower.
WE P08 Luger
|Great design, very realistic
|Not the most powerful
|Feel great in the hand
|Not the greatest gas efficiency
|Nice kick thanks to blowback action
|Can run higher PSI gasses
Probably the most iconic weapon in the German arsenal was the Luger pistol.
As we discussed in our general guide,although developed long before the war (around 1898), the Lugar’s presence in WW2-themed film, tv and video games has made it something of a symbol for the Nazis in WW2, even though it was actually quickly replaced by the Walther P38 as the Wehrmacht’s sidearm of choice and became something of a trophy piece for German officers and, later, returning Allied soldiers.
If you are looking for a Luger for your loadout, we’d recommend the WE P08 is probably the best choice out there
The gun is very realistic, both in terms of its size and dimensions (it actually comes in a number of barrel lengths and finishes, just like a real steel Luger) and in design – the gun comes with a functioning toggle lock that blows back with each shot, which is very cool.
The gun is a full metal affair, a distinct advantage over its ABS plastic competitors and one that allows it to handle higher PSI gasses, such as red gas, without breaking.
It also allows it to withstand the rigors of gameplay a bit better, with many users reporting using their WE Lugers for years without any major issues.
In terms of performance, the Luger delivers a solid 300 or so FPS on green gas, which isn’t the most powerful for an airsoft pistol but gives it a balanced output that can let it be taken to just about any field, regardless of any FPS limits that may be in place.
The gun’s trigger mechanism is fairly crisp and, importantly, it’s blowback action is robust and controlled, providing a satisfying kick during shooting.
Interestingly, WE’s Luger is also quite accurate, thanks to its adjustable hop up, and it should be able to group pretty well at around 60-70 feet.
On the downside, the gun is something of a gas hog largely thanks to its actuating toggle lock and gets around 1.5-2 mags per fill, that is 25-30 rounds or so.
Pricewise, the gun comes in at around $120, which isn’t too expensive for an airsoft pistol, particularly for a functional, well-built and full metal historical model.
Empire of Japan
S&T Arisaka Type 38
|Looks fantastic, very realistic
|Bolt mechanism can be a bit hard to use after a while
|Bolt-mechanism extremely satisfying to use
The Type 38 was a bolt-action rifle that served as the main service rifle for the Japanese Army, seeing action across the Pacific.
If you’re interested in creating an Imperial Japanese loadout for your next WW2 airsoft game, a Type 38 will probably serve well as your primary and, if that’s the case, we’d recommend you go with the S&T model of that gun.
The S&T Arisaka Type 38 airsoft rifle stands out from its competitors with its classic aesthetics.
The gun uses an extensive amount of light colored, real wood married to a full dark metal receiver, a pairing that gives the gun an authentic vibe while remaining visually appealing.
As you might imagine, this construction makes the gun pretty durable.
So long as you don’t bayonet charge into a wall or something, this is an airsoft weapon you should be able to use for a good long time.
Interestingly, the gun contains many historical features that add to the authenticity of the replica, including a functional bayonet lug, anti-aircraft rear sights, sling points and even the old Imperial Chrysanthemum marking on the receiver, which is kind of cool.
Now, as it is based on a bolt-action rifle, the S&T’s Arisaka Type 38 is spring powered and it is pretty reliable (perhaps unlike its real steel inspiration), drawing back and firing the gun pretty much under any condition.
Beyond its good looks, the Type 38 performs admirably in the field.
We chrono’d the gun at around 380 FPS, which is about on par with most airsoft rifles and, unlike some other spring powered guns, isn’t too overpowering.
We also found the gun to be very accurate out of the box, with no trouble hitting man-sized targets at around 150 feet (45 m).
On the downside, some users find the bolt mechanism a bit heavy and it can need a bit of grease to smooth things out after periods of prolonged use.
It’s also not exactly a cheap gun – at over $350 your wallet will certainly feel this one.
Still, for your money you do get a stunningly designed and durable Type 38 with solid performance on the field, which we feel makes it a stand out choice for enthusiasts interested in an authentic Imperial Japanese loadout.
S&T Type 96 Machine Gun
|Super realistic and aggressive appearance
|Included mag only holds 90 rounds
|Ver.2 parts mean easy to mod or upgrade
|Adjustable hop up
The Type 96 was the light machine gun of choice for Japan during the war and while it wasn’t the most reliable or influential gun used during the war, it provided suppressive fire in the many battles the Imperial Japanese Army embarked upon.
Like their Type 38, the S&T Type 96 is a high quality airsoft replica of this historically significant machine gun.
To begin with, the S&T is beautifully built, with full wood furniture and solid matte black metal parts that are both authentic and give the gun the durability it needs to serve as an airsoft light machine gun.
It is also highly detailed, with a period-correct handle, top-loading magazine well, locking bipod, beefy T-bar charging handle and, of course, a cool industrial-style receiver.
One of the standout features, however, is on the gun’s inside.
Rather than using a proprietary or unusual gearbox design, the S&T Type 96 is powered by a reinforced V2 gearbox, complete with steel gears, adjustable hop up and metal toothed piston, that is both reliable and can make repairing and upgrading the gun a breeze.
In terms of performance, the S&T Type 96 is no slouch either.
Fitted with a standard 9.6V battery, we found that the gun chronoed at around 350 FPS, which is pretty solid and appropriate for most fields, even if it’s not the most powerful airsoft machine gun we’ve ever seen.
Its range is decent too, hitting man-sized targets to around 140-150 feet or so without much of a problem or too much scatter, and it can get up to around 17 RPS, which isn’t too bad for a stock gun.
The main downside to this gun, however, is its mag.
The gun comes with a 90 round mag, which isn’t exactly capacious for a machine gun and will run out pretty quickly in a heated game.
That said, due to the relative popularity of Type 96s in airsoft, there are some 3rd party manufacturers who make hi-caps for this gun and, due to the top-loading design of the Type 96, large capacity box mags aren’t available for it. .
The gun is also pretty expensive.
At just under $800, it is on the premium side of things and while occasional sales soften the blow, it’s still a substantial investment for an airsoft gun.
Nevertheless, all things considered, the S&T Type 96 is a realistic and durable weapon that performs very well in the field. If you’re looking for a machine gun with an Imperial Japanese touch, you’d be hard pressed to find a better choice.
Whether you’re drawn to the iconic rifles of the Allies or the distinctive and sometimes unusual arms of the Axis, the world of WW2 airsoft guns can be immersive, rich and extremely rewarding.
Acting as a gateway to a bygone era, these guns are often highly detailed, durable and, yes, unusual compared to more tactical and modern alternatives.
More than that, their connection to some of history’s greatest battles can add an intangible quality that makes them an instant conversation piece and ultimately a valuable addition to any collection.
David Lewis – A longtime airsoft and airgun enthusiast and collector, our editor David’s lifelong passion for tactical sports began in high school with some friends, a cheap knock-off airsoft M4, and an open field behind his parents’ house.
When he’s not plinking around, he enjoys sharing his knowledge of airsoft and helping those just starting out.