Flat Gears & Gearboxes for Airsoft [What Are They For?]

For someone new to the sport, there can often be a lot of questions raised about some of the things that go into making Airsoft guns work, especially when it comes to the more mechanical side of Airsoft guns.

The likelihood is, that when you begin to search for the perfect gun for you to begin your Airsoft journey with, you’re going to see many pages talking about a gun’s gearbox.

Flat Gears & Gearboxes for Airsoft

An Airsoft gearbox is one of the most confusing topics for those who find themselves entering the world of Airsoft, and it can often lead to a lot of questions about what an Airsoft gearbox is, and what exactly it is that they do inside the gun. 

So if you’re unsure about what a gearbox is in Airsoft, and what they are for, then we’ve created this helpful guide so that you can understand everything you need to know about Airsoft gearboxes. 

What Is An Airsoft Gearbox?

In Airsoft, a gearbox is a mechanical system that is featured in all Airsoft weapons that are powered by an electric power source, these guns are known as Electric Airsoft Guns (AEGs) and make up the main aspect of most player’s armouries. 

Without the gearbox, an AEG would be unable to function, it is what allows the gun to be fired in both semi-automatic and fully automatic firing rates, and ensures that the bbs are able to be fed from the magazine into the gun’s chamber, ready to be fired. 

The gearbox then is an essential component to most Airsoft gun’s operations, which means that it is important to know how they work, and how they’re constructed so that if your Airsoft gun’s gearbox needs a part replacing on just some general maintenance, you’re able to identify the issue immediately and resolve it with ease.

What Are The Components Of An Airsoft Gearbox?

There are quite a few components that go into the construction and successful operation of an Airsoft gun’s gearbox, which you should know about if you own an Airsoft gun that has a gearbox!

  • Anti-Reversal Latch
  • Bevel Gear
  • Spur Gear
  • Sector Gear
  • Spring Guide
  • Spring
  • Piston
  • Cylinder
  • Cylinder Head
  • Air Nozzle
  • Tappet Plate
  • Tappet Return Spring
  • Wire To Battery Connector
  • Switch Assembly
  • Trigger
  • Motor, and Pinion Gear attached

How Does An Airsoft Gearbox Work?

The main process of an AEG’s operation is based upon the combination of the 3 gears inside in conjunction with the motor, which helps to manage the transfer from electrical energy into mechanical energy. 

The beginning of this operation is initiated when the trigger of the gun is pulled, from which the trigger’s contacts close, and therefore complete the electrical circuit and allows the power to move from the battery to the motor. 

From here, the motor then causes the gears to begin to turn, which starts with the bevel gear, which also features an anti-reversal latch to ensure that the gears don’t reverse whilst operating. 

Next, the bevel gear engages the spur gear, and then finally the sector gear.

The sector gear then engages the piston and pulls it back, which compresses the spring, whilst a nub located on the sector gear is used to drag back the tappet plate, which in turn brings the air nozzle towards the cylinder.

This is when the tappet plate returns, and the BB is then fed into the chamber. Upon the piston’s release by the sector gear, the spring is released, launching the piston through the cylinder and forcing the pressured air out of the nozzle, which then fires the BB out of the gun. 

Flat Gears & Gearboxes for Airsoft

What Is An Airsoft Gearbox Made Of?

As you can imagine, this process can be extremely demanding, especially if the AEG is fired at full auto for a prolonged period of time.

This is why most gearboxes on skirmish-ready Airsoft guns tend to be constructed from a good quality metal in order to withstand the pressure that is placed on the gearbox. 

Plastic gearboxes can also be found on some gearboxes, and depending on the manufacturer and price point of the airsoft gun, can either be as good as, if not better than a metal gearbox or much, much worse.

If you’re unsure about whether the gun you’re looking to purchase is going to be suitable for you, then you should do some research into what some of the most reputable Airsoft brands are, so that you can be sure that you’re purchasing a gun that is going to last you a long time. 

What Are Flat Gears In An Airsoft Gearbox?

Flat Gears are the gears that you’ll often see recommended for upgrading the gears you’ll typically find in your Airsoft gun’s gearbox.

Flat gears usually are made of higher quality materials, such as CNC Steel, and are helpful in increasing a gun’s rate of fire and quietening down the noise your gun makes. 

These upgrade kits typically aren’t too expensive and can make a huge difference in the performance of your weapon, so if you already have your first gun and you’re looking to make some performance upgrades, then changing out your gears is a great way to do so.

Just make sure that you purchase the correct gear ratio for your gearbox, if you don’t know what ratio your gears are, then there should be guides online depending on what gearbox your gun has, and what ratio your gears are set to.

You can always enquire with a retailer’s support team to ask which set of gears they think is going to work best in your gun! 


In summary, gearboxes are one of the most important parts of an Airsoft gun, and learning how they work and what they’re used for is one of the key things to know as you begin to enter the world of Airsoft!

Freddy Mcknight
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