This research process can be excruciatingly painful.
(My apologies. The following is going to sound horribly elitist and snobbish, but I know of no way to mitigate that.)
What have I learned by seeking out Airsoft-related content on YouTube and textual product reviews? Oh, lots. I've learned that:
- The average Airsoft video review involves a highly ritualized unboxing segment, including such details as what product stickers are included in the box.
- An Airsoft video review absolutely does not mean that the gun will actually be shot.
- Jaw-droppingly atrocious gunhandling is essentially mandatory. (Seriously, I think there is a bureau somewhere that simply requires it.)
- Street cred seems to be measurable by how much Walter Mitty garb the reviewer is wearing. Extra bonus points if your reviewer speaks to the camera through a gas mask or face shield.
- "Accuracy" appears to be measured in minute-of-target increments, with targets typically measuring at least a foot across, at purely random ranges usually under 10 yards.
- The reviewer is not interested in group size, nor really in adjusting the sights.
- Targets, when they are actually traditional targets with, you know, an aim point, cannot be held in place by more than one tack; and if the target is not four feet away in the basement it is blowing around constantly in the breeze.
- During "accuracy testing", any attempt to actually steady the gun at all is either completely ineffectual, or has no bearing on the visible trigger control and patience of the shooter. One might logically conclude that actually resting the gun is a sign of weakness.
- Paradoxically, the segment about adjusting the "hop-up" (a mechanism which imparts a backspin to the round plastic BB, retarding its drop and theoretically extending its effective range) is highly ritualized, and gives the novice viewer the impression that it will make the gun rilly rilly accurate at extended range.
- Likewise, velocity testing (most likely driven by the need to use as many gadgets as possible) is nearly mandatory...and pluperfectly pointless. What difference is there between 300fps and 500, for a plastic BB shot out of a smooth bore, in environments where 25 yards is a long shot for a "sniper"?
- Brain-dead narrative, or at best a solid commitment to complete the review without saying anything useful about the gun, seems to be a cultural requirement.
Ow. The stupid. It burrns!
There are times when I think that the better way to do this would be simply to buy the gun in question, and look at it myself.* The heartburn would surely be reduced.
* I think I'm pretty much at that point already, and just need funds to spend. The amount of new info I'm getting from the Airsoft world is pretty small now, especially compared to the acre-feet of drek that surrounds it.