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Gearbox V2 vs V3 in airsoft guns


What is the difference between gearbox V2 and V3?

Before we start a more detailed description of the differences between these two constructions, let's do a bit of history. It will be helpful for us in understanding the nomenclature and deducing where the various versions of the gearbox come from. Like most of today's standard technologies in the construction of replicas, the ones discussed today come from the Tokyo Marui company. They were the pioneers in the construction of AEG replicas and developed what we call the V1 gearbox. It was used in a replica imitating the French FAMAS carbine. And hence the name. For them, it was the first electric replica and the gearbox developed for it was the first version. The next design was based on AR family carbines. There was the second version. I hope you can see the trend here. When the time came for further constructions modelled on other live firearms, the V3 gearbox appeared and so on. Most manufacturers began to copy these solutions and with them the nomenclature.

It is worth remembering that there are many more versions of the gearbox than those discussed so far. Another popular creation is, for example, the one in the seventh version, used, for example, in airsoft guns modelled on the m14. Apart from the constructions that are the subject of this article, their version designations are rarely used anymore. When we come across a gearbox that eludes the V2 or V3 categorization, we more often say that it is a "gearbox from KRISS Vector" or "gearbox from m249", indicating the real firearm equivalent that is the inspiration of a given airsoft gun as an indicator of the version of the mechanism.

Airsoft gun

After this introduction, we can move on to the basic differences between the discussed constructions. One can be tempted to say that there are very few of them. After all, we can exchange a lot of parts between them. As is often the case, here too the matter becomes more complicated the more we delve into the subject. First of all, the discussed gearbox constructions are used in airsoft guns of completely different real firearms. Gearbox V2 is most often used in carbines modelled on the AR family. We can also find them in replicas of some submachine guns or in constructions imitating the SCAR system. However, there may be exceptions to these rules, so it's worth checking before buying. Gearbox V3 can be found in replicas imitating the family of AK and G36 carbines. They will also drive other constructions, for example modelled on submachine guns. And that's their main difference. They are usually used in the construction of completely different airsoft guns. This is partly due to their structural differences.

Gearbox Orion

Another important difference is the location of the motor and wiring. In general, it can be assumed that the engine is either an internal part of the gearbox or it is outside. The internal assembly is well visible on the example of the V1 gearbox or the one found in airsoft guns modelled on the L85. This system can also be found in V3. Here it is mounted in a frame, a basket screwed stably to the rest of the frame. This is quite a good solution that facilitates stable mounting of our motor. In these constructions, motors in the short version are most often used. In addition, it allows you to test the operation of the entire mechanism without any problems, even if we do not install it in the airsoft gun yet. In V2 it is also possible, but not as convenient. Here, the engine, usually in the long version, is a completely separate element from the rest of the gearbox. It is placed in the pistol grip of the replica. It is not as secure as in the previous example.


The difference is also in the routing of the cables to our airsoft gun. It is often said that in the V3 gearbox the wires are "outside". That's a good term. In a replica with an ordinary trigger box, without an advanced MOSFET, we can replace the wires even without opening the gearbox. They are soldered to the contacts from the bottom, then, they go around the entire shell and are separated to the motor and the battery plug. In gearbox V2 it is a bit more difficult. Personally, I am a big anti-fan of this solution. Here, both the soldering points on the trigger box and most of the wires require the shell to be opened. What's more, the wiring goes under the motor axis, where it is often exposed to damage by rotating elements driving the airsoft gun. As a consolation, we can choose whether we will lead the wires to the front or the back of the gearbox. For the attentive reader, this will probably already be obvious, but I will mention it for the sake of order. Because of the differences already described, and because of the different construction of the frames themselves, both described constructions will also have different trigger boxes.

Gearbox for airsoft gun

The last group of differences can be added to the common basket of various smaller parts, which in most cases are still different between V2 and V3 gearboxes. Most often, the spring and guides will be different for both cases. Admittedly, in the era of replicas with QSC systems, we often have to look for this component in the standard of a given manufacturer to be sure that it will fit. For older or more traditional airsoft guns, this may be important. Cylinder heads and nozzles are also usually different. Here, however, so much depends on the hop-up chamber used and specific components that we will find many variants even within the same version of the gearbox. A good way to start looking for the right parts for our airsoft gun is to measure the factory ones and look for tuning equivalents with similar dimensions. The last important component that is different is the tappet plate. Usually those in V3 gearboxes have a longer face. There are also other places where the springs are attached.

What parts are common in V2 and V3 gearboxes?

When I started my adventure with airsoft, the described constructions seemed to me to be two different worlds. However, over time, when I gained some experience, it turned out that they have a lot in common after all. First of all, the standards for gears are the same here. We have three wheels for each system. We can move them between the V2 and V3 gearboxes freely. Of course, without mixing sets with different ratios. Also, the bearings for both solutions are the same. If in two mechanisms we have holes, for example 8mm, we can use the same parts interchangeably. Hence, the gear shims are also universal. This is a great convenience and good news for many people looking for ways to improve their airsoft guns.


Speaking of tuning, it is impossible to omit the pneumatics of our airsoft guns. After all, it is what ensures the best possible performance. The good news for us is that both in the second and third version the gearboxes of our toys accept the same pistons with heads and cylinders. So, if we have our favourite set, we can easily use it for various replicas without worrying about compatibility.

V2 vs V3 gearbox - which one to choose?

As you can see, there are some parts that we can use interchangeably. However, it is difficult to point out a gearbox design that would be objectively better. In my opinion, it is impossible, because we use them in very different replica designs. In addition to the gearboxes themselves and their components, it is important to embed the replica mechanism, and this depends largely on the shell in which it will be mounted and what support points it has. I think that sooner or later most players will come into contact with both versions and the airsoft guns they represent. After all, a good airsoft collection should be diverse!


Author: Boreq

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