Speedsoft is a popular airsoft sport that’s gaining more fans and players each year.
Emphasizing speed and aggressively, it can be very different from a traditional airsoft event and demands a gun that can keep up with the demands of gameplay, with the criteria for selecting an competitive option perhaps a bit unfamiliar to those used to traditional airsoft guns.
To help out, we’ve come up with a list of what we consider to be some of the best models out there that can start those interested in speedsoft off on the right foot.
In A Rush? Here Are Our Top Picks
|Our Pick||Our Thoughts||Where to find it|
|Classic Army Nemesis X9||Check out our review||Check It Out|
|G&G SSG-1||Check out our review||Check It Out|
|G&G ARP9||Check out our review||Check It Out|
|PDW15 Honey Badger||Check out our review||Check It Out|
|Tokyo Marui Hi Capa||Check out our review||Check It Out|
What We Look For In A Speedsoft Gun
Responsive trigger and higher RPS
Speedsoft largely favors aggressiveity, speed and firepower and usually the more BBs you can put downfield in a given time period the better.
As a result we generally like to see guns that can deliver a higher rate of fire with minimal effort, meaning we look for guns with quick responsive triggers (short break, quick return – no mushy actions here..sorry bullpup enthusiasts) and those with a high RPS (rounds per second) when set to full auto, usually in the ballpark of 20-22 stock.
Unlike most other airsoft games, speedsoft is more about competitive performance than realism or design.
And if you’re into it, chances are good you’re probably eventually going to want to push your gun past its stock performance limits, as good as that may be.
An ideal speedsoft platform should accommodate as many 3rd party components and upgrades as possible, whether that’s the usual barrels, slides, hop ups or recoil springs, or more technical upgrades such as short stroking, BBUs, HPA engines, DSGs and so on, and have few (if any) proprietary parts.
Lightweight, easy to carry
Speedsoft games aren’t particularly long.
With rounds usually lasting only about 5 minutes or so, you’re not going to be lugging gear around all day like you might in an outdoor milsim event.
Nevertheless, games can be very intense and multiple rounds can run over a period of sometimes hours, usually having players sprinting and sliding all around the place.
As the name speedsoft may imply, the game rewards speed and aggressivity, so when it comes to your loadout every pound counts and you’re going to want your speedsoft gun to be as light and easy to carry as possible.
Short and maneuverable
In a similar vein, speedsoft often involves players quickly moving around, over and even underneath obstacles and firing from barriers, walls and other types of cover, and the last thing you need is a long barrel and full stock getting in the way.
Generally speaking and for optimal performance, we feel that you’ll want your speedsoft gun to be as compact and easy to move around with as possible, meaning we favor guns with shorter barrels, highly retractable stocks and a generally less bulky profile.
Somewhat counterintuitively, we don’t feel that a good speedsoft gun necessarily needs to be the most expensive out there.
While you certainly want to pay for a base level of build quality and performance, you’re probably going to want to save some money for upgrades down the line.
And if you’re into airsoft in general, keep in mind that what makes a gun effective for speedsoft may not make it aesthetic, ideal or even welcome on a traditional airsoft field and so your speedsoft primary may end up being an occasional use item.
Consequently, we like our speedsoft guns to be a little more affordable than a typical airsoft primary, usually closer to $200 or below if possible.
Finally, we feel that any speedsoft gun needs to be built as durably as possible.
Ideally, a good speedsoft gun should be made out of aluminum or high quality aluminum alloy with as little cheap ABS plastic used as possible.
Not only will the gun have to endure a player’s more active handling as they run, slide, jump and generally slam their way through a round, and not only will they end up firing off more BBs in a game than many airsoft guns see in their lifetime, these guns will probably also have to stand up to periodic repairs and upgrades without their receivers or frames irreparably cracking or breaking.
Classic Army Nemesis X9
|All metal build||Kind of pricey|
|24 RPS out of the box|
One of the more popular airsoft PDWs out there, the Classic Army Nemesis X9 can be an excellent choice for those looking for a compact carbine-style option.
All metal gun with upper and lower receivers being made from durable aluminum alloy, the Nemesis X9 is a very durable and lightweight airsoft PDW and its build quality means it should stand up to most gameplay and modding/tinkering users will put it through.
The Nemesis is also only around 20 inches long with the stock folded and weighs just over 5 lbs, which makes it extremely easy to carry and move around the field with, never getting in the way when peeking around (or over) obstacles.
Classic Army has also done a good job when it comes to internal build quality.
Right out of the box, Nemesis owners will find the gun equipped with metal V2 gearbox that’s loaded with 18:1 steel gears, a full metal toothed piston, 9mm bearings, a 31K motor, a blade trigger and even an ECS with low resistance silver wiring, which can go a long way in protecting the gun from sudden and damaging surges.
The gearbox is TM compatible, which means its pretty much endlessly upgradable and is fitted with a high quality 6.03mm aluminum inner barrel.
This barrel is standard sized and easily swappable, although it should perform quite well stock – something that can save speedsoft players some money right off the bat.
All of this allows the gun competitive performance out of the box.
Fitted with an 11.1V battery, the gun has a highly responsive and crisp trigger action and is capable of delivering 24 RPS when set to full auto, making it pretty speedy.
On the downside, the Nemesis X9 isn’t exactly cheap at around $300.
That said, for the money you do get a highly compact, easy to carry, well-built and capable airsoft gun that should do well in most speedsoft events.
G&G SSG 1
|Custom built for speedsoft||Not cheap|
|Impressive internals||Polymer receivers|
|Blazing fast 28 FPS|
|Stock and sights configured for helmet use|
A list about the best speedsoft guns would be remiss if it didn’t mention one of the few (or only) airsoft guns out there specifically for speedsoft, the G&G SSG-1.
Although the gun is full carbine sized, at 28 inches long, it is quite lightweight and easy to run around with, tipping the scales at a good deal less than 5 lbs.
Thanks to its stripped-down front, this weight is centered above the user’s grip, allowing them to raise, lower and shift the gun from target to target extremely quickly.
To achieve this weight and balance, the gun’s receivers are made out of plastic.
While we would prefer metal, we are talking about nylon-reinforced polymer, rather than ABS, so the gun is pretty durable.
Inside, the gun is built to perform right out of the box.
Users will find a highly upgradable V2 gearbox complete with steel short stroked gears, 8mm bearings, full steel toothed piston, blade trigger and even a burst capable ETU.
This allows the gun to have an exceptionally responsive and light trigger and reach a pretty blazing 27-28 RPS on 11.1v batteries without needing any modification.
In addition, the gun comes with an angled drop stock that not only looks pretty cool but makes the gun a lot easier to aim when wearing a helmet.
On the downside, ready performance does come at a cost – at well over $300 it can cost a pretty penny.
That said, if you’re looking for a high quality speedsoft-oriented gun that will get you up and running competitively without needing much modification, the G&G SSG-1 is probably right for you.
|Extremely compact, easy to maneuver with||Polymer build|
|Very responsive trigger and solid RPS|
|Upgradable with tons of custom parts out there|
|Great internal build quality|
The popular…well, nemesis…of the Nemesis X9, the G&G ARP9 is another PDW-style airsoft gun that’s also an excellent speedsoft option.
At just over 19 inches long and weighing just under 5 lbs, the ARP9 is known for its super compact, easy to handle and highly maneuverable design that’s well-suited to the fast-paced, dynamic and obstacle-laden nature of a speedsoft game.
Inside, meanwhile, G&G has fitted the gun with a variety of high quality parts, including a metal V2 gearbox with steel gears, 8mm bushings, steel toothed piston, a blade-style trigger unit, 25k motor and even a w-style split-mound bucking for its hop up unit.
The gun even comes with a burst-enabled MOSFET that, while perhaps not top of the line, should go a way in protecting it when paired with a LiPo.
All of this gives the ARP9 a crisp and very responsive trigger that spits out follow up shots like a nail gun and allows it to reach a decent enough 21-22 RPS stock, although the gun can easily be modified to hit 30+.
On the downside, unlike the Nemesis, the ARP9 is largely made of polymer, which can be a little less durable long term in our opinion when it comes to repeated and heavy upgrading, although it should be plenty strong for typical speedsoft games.
It’s also a little more moderately priced than some other options, coming in at just north of the $250.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for a super compact, lightweight, high performing and upgradable airsoft PDW, the ARP9 is definitely a top choice.
G&G PDW15 CQB Honey Badger
|Solid all around PDW for airsoft or speedsoft||Longer, slightly heavier than some other options|
|Well-balanced and maneuverable||Not cheap|
|Very responsive trigger and decent OOTB RPS|
|Highly upgradable, excellent internals|
|Full metal build|
If you lean more towards traditional airsoft but are looking for something you can also take to the occasional speedsoft game, then the G&G PDW15 Honey Badger might just be what you’re looking for.
At 27 inches and around 6 lbs, the gun is fairly compact and easy enough to carry, even if it’s a bit heavier than some of the other options on this list.
Heavier though it may be, the gun’s weight is located around its middle, which does make it easy to snap it from target to target, which is always nice and replicates the CQB-oriented nature of its infamous real steel inspiration.
It’s also quite sturdily built – the Honey Badger is an all-metal airsoft gun, with its upper and lower receivers being made from fairly thick alloy and its furniture from sturdy reinforced polymer.
Inside, the gun is also quite well put-together, with a metal V2 gearbox, steel gears, 8mm bearings, full metal racked piston, 25K motor and an impressively finished 6.03mm tightbore stainless steel barrel.
Sadly, the gun doesn’t come with a MOSFET but the gearbox is fairly decently sized and it is pretty easy to add an aftermarket unit.
The gun comes with a very snappy trigger and delivers a decent enough 19-21 RPS (along with power in the mid-to-high 300s), although due to its use of standard V2 parts and ample room inside it’s not that hard to upgrade it to higher speeds and power.
On the downside, however, the gun is on the pricier side of things, coming in above $350 or so, and tends to have a relatively small battery compartment, which does limit the size of batteries it can hold.
That said, if you’re looking for a cool looking carbine that can be equally capable in an airsoft or speedsoft game, the Honey Badger can provide the bite you need.
Tokyo Marui Hi Capa
|Excellent build quality and performance||Plastic slide and frame|
|Blazing cycle rate and blowback action|
|Tons of upgrades available|
|Excellent mag compatibility|
|Not that expensive|
If you’re into speedsoft and are looking for a pistol rather than a carbine or PDW, then you probably should be looking at a Tokyo Marui Hi Capa 5.1.
On its own, the TM Hi Capa is a solid airsoft pistol and a highly popular option, largely due to its out of the box reliability and performance qualities, having a highly responsive trigger, snappy blowback and blazingly fast cycle rate.
It is a Tokyo Marui, after all, and one of their flagship models.
Where it becomes attractive to those interested in speedsoft, however, is when it comes to upgrades.
Due to its popularity, there are a ton of upgrades available for this gun that can help turn it into a high performance gas-powered speedster, such as lightweight but durable metal slides, high performance sears, nozzles, upgraded springs, short stroke kits and much, much more.
Not only that, but there are a ton of mag options for the gun, as well, such as a wide array of drums that will ensure that you have enough BBs to make sure your opponents keep their heads down.
Finally, usually sold for around $160, the Tokyo Marui Hi Capa isn’t really all that expensive a buy and allows users to save more of their money for performance upgrades.
The only real downside to the gun is that, out of the box, its ABS plastic slide can be a little on the delicate side for intense speedsoft games in the long run, especially on green gas.
Why Invest in a Speedsoft Gun Instead of Just Taking A Regular Airsoft Gun?
There are a few reasons why those interested in speedsoft need to be a bit more choosy when it comes to picking a primary.
Airsoft guns are usually selected for their similarity to real steel firearms, giving players a replica that looks and feels like the weapons used in popular media or by police and military forces, while being safe enough to fire at other human beings in a controlled setting.
Generally speaking, the more realistic detail and accouterments a traditional airsoft gun has, the better.
When it comes to performance, fans of traditional airsoft also tend to more heavily favor guns with decent power and range, which allow players to pick off opponents at different ranges with some degree of accuracy, as well as those that provide a pleasurable firing experience, such as guns with a quiet AEG motor, a kick or a stronger blowback action.
As we’ve mentioned, speedsoft has different rules and gameplay compared to a typical airsoft game and any speedsoft gun needs to reflect this.
A competitive speedsoft gun should emphasize speed and reliability, with more rapid automatic fire as measured by RPS and lighter, more responsive triggers to provide faster semi auto, compared to a typical airsoft pistol or carbine.
Their externals, too, should be designed for maneuverability with a more lightweight, purpose-built design that allows users to move around obstacles and towards opponents more quickly, rather than needing to replicate the look and design of a real steel firearm.
At the same time, their internals need to be open to upgrades and replacements as possible, with little to no proprietary parts, reflecting need and desire to customize and easily repair the gun.
Airsoft and speedsoft games are quite different, with different dynamics that reflect in the guns designed for them.
Whether you’re a seasoned player or a newcomer eager to dive into this high-paced sport, picking the right speedsoft gun can be an important decision that can have wide ranging effects on your success and it’s important to take your time and pick a gun that is appropriate and competitive for play.
Will Martin – Will has been into airsoft and paintball for well over 10 years, and has done it all – from upgrading and fixing gearboxes as a tech to building custom airsoft loadouts for his friends to supporting off those friends as a DM.