We often think that something that is more expensive and perhaps built with what we consider to be better materials is going to be the best option. That's not always the case! In this YouTube Video I talk about some of the Pros and Cons to buying a Plastic Airgun versus a Metal Airgun. Of course this applies to BB, Airsoft and Pellet shooters.
In most cases a Plastic Airgun is going to be less expensive, so if you have limited funds then your only option may be a Plastic Airgun and at the end of the day both airguns are going to probably get the job done much the same.
Generally speaking, most Metal Airguns are going to have more moving parts, often times with working slides and even blowback operation. This is not always the case but even a Metal Airgun that has few working parts will still feel more realistic simply because of the additional weight to the Airgun. Metal has that cold hard feel to it that makes you feel like you're holing something of substance. Plastic Airguns on the other hand can feel light and cheap and usually are very simple in design with less working parts.
Shooting an Airgun with blowback operation simulates the recoil action and in many cases allows for true single action operation of the trigger and hammer. This is going to feel a lot more realistic than shooting a non-blowback Airgun which again is generally what you get with Plastic Airguns.
Most people assume that because an Airgun is Meta, it is going to be stronger and more durable. This would be true if the Metal used in the Airgun was actually hardened steel but with almost Metal Airguns, they are made using a zinc alloy metal (Pot Metal) that is much softer then hardened steel and can wear and break a lot easier. When you also consider a Metal Airgun is going to be a lot heavier than a Plastic Airgun, a drop onto a hard surface will have a lot more impact which can cause breakage a to a heavy Metal Airgun versus a Plastic light weight Airgun.
Plastic surfaces are also a lot less prone to showing scratches since the Plastic material will usually be black all the way through versus a Metal Airgun that has a painted surface that when scratched hard enough will show through right to the bare metal. You also get wear marks on painted Metal Airguns that will make it look used and older, some people like this look but other do not.
Again people are going to assume a Metal Airgun is going to be more reliable simply because it has more metal parts and metal parts are stronger right? Not the case if the parts are made out of zinc alloy. Now some companies will upgrade some high use parts in Airguns to hardened steel but it's hard to know for sure. You can use a magnet to determine what parts are Metal and what parts are hardened steel.
As we mentioned before, Plastic Airguns are generally pretty simple in design, less working parts means less to go wrong at the end of the day so just because you have a Plastic Airgun it doesn't mean it's going to break on you quickly. Actually it may even outlast your Metal Airgun since all those working parts will eventually wear out.
Now I am the first person to admit that I prefer Metal Airgun over Plastic Airguns, I don't mind spending the extra money for more realism and I'm willing to accept the fact that it's not going to last forever but the fact remains, a Plastic Airgun does have some advantages going for it so don't rule them out completely.