I still remember the first time I opened a gun magazine and read the term “airsoft…”
At the time, the technology wasn’t quite defined for the masses; the “airsoft” guns in that magazine fired a kind of marking projectile, rather than the little plastic BBs we’re all accustomed to now.
The guns were reasonable realistic and some were full-auto. The article was about how this new “airsoft” technology could be used for training law enforcement and military personnel, giving them a way to simulate their weapons that was better than an unwieldy Nel-spot paintball pistol.
The fact is, however, that a quality airsoft gun is NOT a toy; it can be, when used in conjunction with realistic live firearms training, a very good way to fill in the gaps.
What do I mean by filling in the gaps? And how could this save your life? Let me explain…
What I mean by “gaps” is that there are things an airsoft gun can’t do for you. If you understand the limitations of these stand-in weapons, however, and you tailor your training to take advantage of these while remaining realistic about them, you can enhance your overall training regimen.
First, while you don’t need much more than a spring gun, you do need a high-quality model.
What this means is that the cheap gun-shaped airsoft pistols that don’t have much in the way of realistic features, magazines, or operation should be left on the shelves of big-box discount stores where they belong.
A decent spring gun will have a magazine release where the magazine goes. It will have decent sights that simulate the sights on a real handgun, and it will have realistically sized (and, if you’re lucky, weighted) magazines. (I have one that also has a slide stop. If you lock the slide back and insert an empty magazine, the slide will stay back unless you release it. If, on the other hand, you insert a magazine with a pellet in it, the slide will go forward if you just run it like you normally would.)
If you use accessories like a mounted light, your airsoft gun should have strong, realistic rails that work just like the real thing.
You can, of course, upgrade to an even more realistic airsoft gun, like a gas gun, but it doesn’t matter.
For our purposes, we just need a gun that is reasonably accurate in terms of sights and controls, which will also put a pellet downrange. That’s how we take advantage of the gaps I talked about. Let me explain, finally, how you do that.
Benefits of Airsoft Training…
Dry-fire practice gets you familiar with the actual trigger pull of your gun. It lets you practice drawing, presenting, and breaking the trigger on that gun. But what it doesn’t tell you is whether you’re jerking the trigger or actually managing to send shots downrange with anything resembling consistency.
With your airsoft gun, practice with the holster you would normally use (as you should pick an airsoft closely matching your carry gun if at all possible). If you can’t match the gun exactly, use the same type of holster with similar retention. Get into your shooting stance, draw your weapon as you normally would, and engage a stationary target. Ideally, this target should be made of paper.
You can cut a hole in cardboard box and tape paper over it to make a quick-and-dirty trap target for collecting airsoft pellets. You shouldn’t reuse the pellets because they might deform after firing, but cleaning up preemptively saves a lot of trouble from spouses or roommates who trip over the little pellets
Make sure your paper target has an actual mark on it that you’re shooting for. Make the target a face and shoot for the “eye box,” for example. The idea is that if you cannot learn to draw, shoot, and hit accurately and consistently using a weapon that has NO recoil, you will never be able to do so with a weapon that fires rounds.
Once you’ve gotten good with stationary targets, try varying them. You can’t really set up moving targets, but what you can do is place a number of targets around the room and try engaging different ones at different times and from different positions and angles. Can you draw, present, and shoot without jerking, flinching, or otherwise screwing up?
These skills can then be taken to the range and adapted to live fire. At first, you may not see a real improvement, but trust me, if you get really good at pulling a no-recoil trigger consistently, that will become the skill of pulling the trigger of a real pistol without jerking. Your airsoft training will thus reinforce and facilitate your live training.
This is really the whole “trick” to enhancing your dry fire training with airsoft. You’ve got to do it in conjunction with live fire, and with a mind toward your ultimate goals. As long as you keep all that in perspective, you WILL succeed, and the training you do — whether at home, at the range, indoors, outdoors, with blue guns, with empty firearms, with airsoft guns, with laser training guns — will all build one to the next to reinforce what you are trying to accomplish.
Your goal is to become a solid shooter, someone who can engage targets under stress with consistency and accuracy. This isn’t all there is to defensive shooting, but you can’t do any of the rest of it without this vital foundation.
Where Can You Guy a Good Airsoft Gun?
Once again, I think Amazon.com is a good solution.
Because you can look at various airsoft guns, see the reviews from other people, and how it held up for them. You can get a little feedback on quality and such.
So I’ve been researching what makes a “good” airsoft gun better than the cheap ones you get at big box stores …
In fact, in my last NRA instructor class, a defense contractor (spent a lot of time overseas in middle east hot spots) told me he highly recommended the newer, mostly metal, blowback airsoft guns for training in your house. Told me he would of laughed about it 5 years ago, but now they’re so realistic he uses them to practice clearing his house, etc
Which Gun To Get …
Here’s something really cool now: most of the big gun manufacturers have “licensed” their design to airsoft pistol companies.
So what does that mean:
1. If you have a popular hand gun, you can train with a similar airsoft model
2. It should fit your normal holsters, etc
3. Which should overall make you even more proficient with your real handgun!
I did some searching for you…
I have a Beretta pistol, so for more it would make sense to find a similar airsoft pistol to train with. So I first found this electric airsoft Beretta on Amazon for $35.30 with free shipping:
And I also have a couple of Sig Sauer hand guns … and they have a REALLY high quality Sig Sauer P226 — Full Metal — Blowback that runs off CO2:
Lastly, I don’t have one, but I know many people LOVE their Glocks. I couldn’t find a Glock replica, but this seems to be pretty close. In some of the comments people compared it to your standard G17 (Glock 17, the “original” Glock):
So the point I’m making here is that there are plenty of Airsoft guns out there, and at varying price ranges. The more expensive ones–around $100+ — should get you a very realistic training aid.
You Can Even Get “Full Auto” Airsoft AR-15’s!
If you really want to step it up … you can even get a “full auto” M4 replica (M4 is the military code for the shortened M16 rifle, the civilian equivalent is the AR-15. Much like M9 is the military code for Beretta 92 handgun).
The description said you can fire semi-auto or switch to full-auto. It’s electric. One 5 star review said this “is the best entry level M-4A1 available”.
So if you have an AR-15 but don’t get to go to the range to practice much, this might be worth looking into as well (Great price too!) You can find it by clicking here. Its a great price for what you get.
Hope that helps you find an airsoft gun that will meet your training needs.
As you practice your skills, there’s one thing you won’t be able to do without in a true survival situation…
And that’s ammo.
In 2014 we saw some serious ammo shortages. So let’s move on to another loophole I know you’re going to love…