What is an Airsoft Hop Up and How Does It Work?

If you’re familiar with the world of airsofting for a long time, the term “airsoft hop-up” might be familiar to you as you’ve come across this word a lot of times. A question might still arise in your mind. What is a hop up, and why is it important?

As you go through this article, your questions will be answered. We have tried to cover all the necessary information you are required to learn and know about a hop up and its usage.

Let’s dive right in!

So, What is a Hop Up?

What is an Airsoft Hop Up

The hop up is an essential mechanism used in modern airsofts to have more precise trajectories when firing your BBs. The Magnus force plays an essential role in maintaining an accurate firing range. We will discuss the Magnus force later in this article.

The hop up is a small and adjustable component that increases the firing range of an airsoft gun dramatically, letting you fire your BBs precisely over a very long distance.

How Does a Hop Up Work? [Ultimate Guide to Airsoft Hop-Ups]

How Does a Hop Up Work

The hop ups are a type of component that applies various levels of backspin to your airsoft pellets and BBs. They help cover for changes in the performance of your gun and the environment you’re in accordingly.

In airsoft guns, when a BB is fired, it passes through a rubber bucking into the path of the projectile. The nub hinders the top side of the airsoft BB for a split second, causing a backspin.

The backspin decreases the pressure of air at the top of airsoft BBs. That, in turn, lowers airsoft BB’s fall rate over a given distance if the backspin wasn’t applied. It increases the effective range of the airsoft gun without extending the velocity.

These backspins may go beyond 120,000 RPM (revolutions per minute). But this is not a problem for you because hop ups are easily adjustable according to your personal preferences. You can fine-tune your gun for your desired performance to match the weight or speed of the projective.

The system operates by applying something known as the ‘Magnus force’, which is a known phenomenon you’ve probably noticed in common sports such as soccer. It causes objects to follow a curved way of trajectory instead of a straighter way.

The benefit from manipulating the Magnus force helps you fire your ammunition over a very long distance. As the hop up is situated deep inside the gun’s barrel, you can see various levels of lift as a result of the vast backspin being applied.

Where is the Hop Up Placed?

Where is the Hop Up Placed

You can generally find the hop up placed between the start of the barrel and the gearbox. It is also composed of varying parts such as the nub and hop up arm. The main part of this system is what you can call the ‘bucking’.

It is essentially known as a chamber that contains a rubber-made airsoft bucking, which causes some compaction so that the airsoft pellets aren’t slowed much. Also, the bucking is supposed to stay intact for a long period.

The Magnus Force and Physics of Hop Up

Magnus Force and Physics of Hop Up

Are you a Science geek? If yes, you will surely love to enjoy reading this part.

As discussed earlier, the Magnus force is the primary magical physics that makes the whole hop up thing work. Now we are going to explore how it generates lift and extends the range of airsoft guns, letting your BBs fly a longer distance.

Basic knowledge about applied physics will assist you in understanding how to configure your hop up according to your preferences.

Basically, when a spherical alike projectile (e.g., a soccer ball or airsoft BB) is going through the air, there is something called the surface layer of static air, also known as the boundary layer.

Hop-ups work by taking advantage of how a projectile can be fired off by manipulating this static air. The boundary layer is thrown off at an angle when a backspin is applied to the airsoft projectile.

The angle of the spinning is the main factor in which the exact angle is determined for the projectile. Looking into Newton’s Laws, it can be seen that a spinning particle is required to move in the opposite direction so that the air can be forced in one direction.

In this scenario, if you force a BB spin in reverse when it moves through the aerial mass, the boundary layer will be thrown down and towards the rear side, generating lift.

It results in the BB’s general parabolic flight to scale off. It defines that the airsoft BB can advance farther and eventually fall down to the ground.

It is necessary to have air on the tip of the airsoft BB to generate the Magnus force. If there’s no air on the tip of the airsoft barrel, the Magnus force won’t happen. This means that no lift will occur, nor the scraping of the top of the barrel will happen.

If you notice a difference in pressure on either side of the airsoft barrel, it means that there’s not enough airflow around your airsoft BB. It can also mean that there’s not enough vertical force. The Magnus force is not enough here until the airsoft BB departs from the barrel.

It happens because mostly the required amount of pressure comes from the back of airsoft BB when it fires down the barrel of the airsoft, yet the Magnus force doesn’t make much impact here.

After the BB has been fired from the airsoft barrel, the severe pressure in the back dissipates. The force surrounding the BB is now balanced, meaning that the Magnus force can finally kick in.

Different Varieties of Airsoft Hop Ups

We looked into the mechanism of airsoft hop ups from science’s point of view. Now we will get to know about not one but different types of hop ups.

When it comes to hop ups, there are various types of them with countless variants. But in most cases, you will only encounter the three types of hop up frequently. The basic types are the standard hop and the flat hop, while the R hop is a little difficult to handle.

Let’s get to know them in detail.

Standard Hop

Standard Hop

You will find this type of hop in mostly budget-grade AEGs, and you will find it very easy to operate. You will see an arm connected to a rubber nub of the hop up, which holds the bucking. This airsoft bucking is the thing that BB makes connection with.

In this hop, the airsoft arm is made adjustable, letting users manually set the amount of pressure to be applied on the airsoft pellet by the airsoft nub. You will find a small adjustment wheel commonly on the back of the airsoft’s dust cover to manually set your hop.

Flat Hop

Flat Hop

You will find this type of hop to be a lightly modified version of the Standard Hop. It is designed to extend the area of the surface of the BB that goes through.

As it has a longer nub, the airsoft BB will stay in contact with the nub for a bit longer period. This hop stabilizes the sways that might occur in the BB, generating a far stronger backspin.

This type of hop is also adjusted similarly to standard hops, so they’re good for you if you’re a beginner.

R Hop

R Hop

If you’re willing to highly boost your airsoft performance, getting an R Hop can let you do that. But it is not that easy to install. You might face a bit of struggle with the installation if you are not already good at craftwork. You will find many pre-tuned sets of R hop.

This type of hop is almost similar to the flat hops. Instead of a rubber patch bucking at the tip of the airsoft barrel, the R hop uses a saddle made of rubber. That’s how it covers the whole upper half side of the airsoft barrel.

The difference of specifications in R hop gives you better accuracy and far more range than the other type of hop ups. That’s why R hops are pretty famous, even after being a bit difficult to handle.

What Are Hop Up Buckings and Nubs in an Airsoft Gun?

Hop Up Buckings and Nubs

Bucking and hop up nubs are essential parts to improve the specifications of airsoft hop ups.

The hop up bucking is a little patch of rubber that generates a backspin when your BBs come into contact. This also provides an airtight sealer between the barrel and air muzzle area, and that is necessary for your airsoft gun to function properly.

On the other hand, the hop up nub is a small component made of rubber that is adjusted on the hop up bucking. It is positioned for the airsoft BBs to pass through. Modifications and changes can be done to affect the BB by the rubber bucking.

Rubber is the main ingredient in both bucking and nubs. The variety of rubber is usually based on the style of a player’s needs and the playing environment. A rubber-made nub helps the bucking to stay intact longer than usual.

Temperature plays an important role in the case of bucking. The bucking rubber will be softer if it tolerates only the lower temperature. Soft rubbers give the benefit of extra friction and a strong backspin. In contrast, hard rubbers provide more durability and additional reliability.  

Before deciding to buy a new bucking and a nub for your airsoft gun, make sure that your new components are compatible with it. AEG/Sniper or pistol are two types of weaponry with inner barrel cutting that can be found in shops commonly.

How Does a Hop Up Extend Range?

How Does a Hop Up Extend Range

When you fire the BB from your airsoft gun, it is fired from a burst of compressed gas or air. A small rubber nub comes into contact with the topside of the BB; this effect adds a backspin to the BB.

The backspin effect on the BB is what gives it the benefit of flying an increased range by adding lift when it’s penetrating through the air. That’s how you achieve an extended airsoft gun range by using a hop up.

How Do You Adjust the Settings of a Hop Up?

If you’re a regular airsoft player, adjusting the settings of a hop up will sound very easy to you. You will indeed find the enthusiasm in doing it because it plays an essential role in the precision and range of your airsoft gun.

In almost every type of airsoft AEG, you’ll see the airsoft hop up behind the dust cover or when you pull the bolt backwards. Look there and you will find a small wheel for tuning the airsoft hop up. Also, you will find rotary systems available in some AEG for more accurate adjustments.

To reset your hop up, you have to simply rotate the wheel all the way towards the left. Once you have done that, you have to fire a few shots. Turn the hop up wheel slightly, and repeat this process a few times.

Okay, now you’ve figured out the method of tuning your hop-up. It is time to do lots of shooting to understand the adjustments. But make sure you’re in a safe and private place.

You need to look for a safe and open place along with protective gears (mainly to protect your eyes) to test your new adjustments. Generally, it is recommended to have your airsoft hop-up warmed up with around 15-20 rounds of airsoft pellets before starting the adjustments in your hop up.

You should be careful when observing your shots every time you fire during the test run. It will allow you to understand how precise and accurate each adjustment is. Eventually, you will find your desired settings.

To reach the desired adjustments, you have to keep tuning your airsoft hop up. For example, your BB flight path’s trajectory will be slightly upwards. It is supposed to fly off about 30 feet, a reasonably far distance, before impacting the ground.

Do You Need a Hop Up?

It’s essential to have a hop up installed in your airsoft gun. That is because of its difference from actual firearms.

Real weapons made out of steel have a rifled barrel, and bullet-shaped ammunition is used here. On the other hand, airsoft guns can only use spherical bullets, and its barrel has a pretty smooth interior.

The difference in airsoft guns makes it hard to reach the same level of trajectory every time. That’s where hop ups come in to fix this problem and help you get your desired taste.

Even after trying everything, if you can’t find the type of adjustment you want, you should try to look into the advanced hop up systems. In alternative cases, more powerful gas might solve your issues.


Congratulations, by now you know what a hop up is and how it works. With this knowledge, you are supposed to be able to deal with your airsoft even better. Happy airsofting!

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