Training with airsoft/BB guns


September 6, 2013, 06:45 PM
With the cost of ammo and my moving away from a country home where I could shoot whenever I wanted, I've really been considering getting either a good airsoft or a good BB pistol to practice with in my garage.
Does anybody do this, or is it even helpful? If so, what is a good pistol to get? I'd like to keep it as realistic as possible, not one I'd have to rack the slide each time like some airsoft guns. I carry an XDsc, XDm, and Taurus TCP. I'd be willing to get a pistol to simulate each one if it would be helpful. What would you suggest?

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September 6, 2013, 07:02 PM
I use a Tokyo Marui 1911MEU Airsoft pistol to train in my backyard. It emulates my WC 1911 CQB EDC surprisingly well. With a full magazine and the weighting in the grips it is somewhat bottom heavy compared to my carry gun, but the overall weight is similar. The recoil is almost indistinguishable from my other 1911 trainer, the GSG1911, and it is a true blowback pistol so the Nowlin sights move with the slide, as opposed to just sitting there on a static platform. The magazines fit my magazine pouches perfectly and the gun is accurate to a square inch out to at least 7 yds and I bet 3 inches square at 15yds (I train with it mostly at 7 to 15yrds). My shot timer picks it up so long as I wear the timer around my neck, and it is powerful enough to make a distinctive "ping" on an AR500 Steel Challenge target. It won't knock over my plate rack, but I think I'll cut some aluminum paddles to see how that works, someday. Honestly guys, I think it helps a lot with draw stroke, sight acquisition, trigger control (the trigger is not as good as my Wilson, but better than my GSG), mag swaps, etc. It fits my various 1911 holsters without any issue. A good one isn't cheap - the TM 1911MEU was right at $200 with 1 magazine, and additional magazines are almost $30, but the 6mm pellets are about $10/5000 and the propane is dirt cheap. I recommend it, personally.

September 6, 2013, 07:10 PM
Good News: Gas Blow Black airsoft pistols are amazing training pistols. Good ones ranging from $100-$200 replicate the real thing extremely well. They typically run on "Green Gas" which is over priced propane with a silicone lubricant mixed in. It can be replaced by the Coleman cans of propane from walmart, an adapter, and a few drops of silicone oil. Be sure to use heavier weight BBs!

Drop free mags, last shot hold open, a slide that moves with each shot fired. They also fit the holsters for their firearm counter parts.

Bad news: I don't know of any that are modeled after the XD series of pistols. The most popular styles are 1911's and M9's. I've seen some Glock copies but Glock has made sure that nothing can replicate it's guns without the trade mark and OK from Glock Corp. I think I've seen an M&P and CZ.

Go to: Use the links on the home page to find the Air soft pistol section

The best Airsoft guns come from Japan (where the sport originated) under the Tokyo Marui brand name, however due to Japanese laws they're restricted to plastic. Not what you want an understudy pistol made out of.

The next best thing are guns from Taiwan. For some reason American made airsoft guns really bite.

In my opinion, KWA makes some of the most realistic gas powered airsoft guns period.

Please let me know if I left anything to question! :D

September 6, 2013, 07:25 PM
There was a thread just a month or so back that asked exactly the same thing;

And there's a new currently running thread that asks much the same question that is on this same page;

My own feeling as stated in both threads is that airsoft and BB guns do not have good enough accuracy to tell you if you're doing it right or if you have lots of bad habits. The groups from these options is so spread out that you could have HORRIBLE technique and your errors will be easily hidden in the 3 inch at 10 feet size groups.

September 6, 2013, 07:53 PM
I've been pretty surprised and pleased with the accuracy of this TM 1911 out of the non-rifled barrel, but maybe I'm lucky with the combo I have. I'm sure I'll shoot it this weekend more than a couple times so I'll measure off an honest 7yrds and shoot a 10 shot group, then post the results. I'll be surprised (and chastened) if its bigger than a 2" group...

As someone said , the TM I have is plastic and I have resisted changing it to the metal "upgrade" kits for frame and slide primarily because I think it is kind of already at the limit for how realistic it can get - a little more weight, a little more evenly distributed isn't going to add much to the simulation, and it works pretty good as - is...

Translating from the Airsoft practice to the "real" range work and matches; it certainly hasn't hurt my accuracy or times.

September 6, 2013, 08:29 PM
Ok, for giggles I walked out into the backyard, taped an envelope from a credit card company up to the 2x4 base of one of my targets, marked off 7 yds and just half assed 10 shots. I didn't have any aiming point marked and its dusk here, so I'm pretty convinced this is not the best the pistol can do, but here are a couple pictures of what is certainly no bigger than a 2" x 1 1/2" group at 7 yds. Stellar? Not at all. But I'm still betting I can keep it to an inch square in daylight with a black box sighting square.

September 6, 2013, 11:26 PM
So a good airsoft would be better than a BB gun?

September 7, 2013, 12:14 AM
The reason I don't bother with bb guns, air rifles, etc, is that they are actually illegal to discharge in pretty much every municipality in my state. (MANY people flagrantly disregard this and shoot them anyway.) Bit I figure, if I have to go outside of town to shoot anyway, I might as well start with a .22.

September 7, 2013, 12:24 AM
Is that true even inside your own garage?

September 7, 2013, 12:58 AM
never heard of such a thing....

September 7, 2013, 02:01 AM
I've been doing that for about 4 years with a 1911 Co2 AirSoft grip is a bit wider but slide and the 3 dot sights are about the same

September 7, 2013, 09:37 AM
I do know one thing for sure. Shooting my break action .177 Gamo Whisper pellet rifle has improved my marksmanship with all my other rifles. Very, very cheap to shoot, and you can always find .177 pellets, unlike .22 LR.

Nickel Plated
September 7, 2013, 09:57 AM
BB guns generally have better accuracy especially if using a one with pellets and a rifled barrel, so good for practicing general shooting technique. But they generally doa poor job of accurately simulating some specific model of gun. Airsoft is best for that.

Of the pistols you have I'm aware of only the XDm that has areplica made by Tokyo Marui and WE.

Tokyo Marui is generally considered to be the some of, if not the best GBB manufacturers. They are all plastic (due to Japanese laws) but it is a high quality plastic and are very reliable as long as you don't use them as hammers. They are some of the most accurate airsoft guns as well out of the box because of quality hop-ups. But accuracy can be improved further with aftermarket tight bore barrels. Maruis are kinda pricy compared to other airsoft pistols. You can also get aftermarket aluminum and I believe even steel slides to replace the plastic one for more realism.
They make a full size 4.5 XDm and I believe also a compact model.

WE mostly clones Marui designs. Not as high quality but still decent (especially the newer models like the XDm) and again, as long as you don't beat on them they will work fine for target practice. About half the price of a Marui. Not as accurate but a good starting point if you plan on upgrading hop ups and barrels anyway. Keep in mind, that although WE is a Marui clone, parts may not always be completely compatible. They sometimes tend to change the design around just a bit. But most of the important stuff will be interchangeable. Also WEs come stock with aluminum slides. Parts are pretty easy to find if something should break.

Hondo 60
September 7, 2013, 10:07 AM
IMHO I don't see the value of training with an airsoft or bb gun.

The weight distribution is different, there's no recoil, the point of aim & impact are different, just to name a few of the differences.

Then again, I also don't believe in training with inexpensive or low-recoil ammo & carrying something totally different for SD/HD.

I realize others will disagree with me, but I carry the same ammo I practice with.
No, I'm not well-to-do, and yes, I reload my own.

September 7, 2013, 01:43 PM
There isn't much value in them as a shooting aid...

But to practice gun handling / ready drills / draw stroke / transitions / tactical drills? You bet they have value. Doing those things with real weapons has some major safety issues.

There are a lot of professionals on this board. Don't you ever practice your work related social skills with your team members on your own time? I know my department is VERY stingy with its training dollars, and I don't get as much training time ($$$) or facility access ($$$) as I would like. Why not run some drills with your team mates yourself on private land? The thought has crossed my mind many times ... So has the LIABILITY of trying soemthing like that with real weapons.

For me and my purposes, YES, airsoft has value as a training aid.

September 7, 2013, 01:44 PM
Rockhopper, if I could get accuracy of that level from my PPK BB gun I'd be one happy camper. Clearly there are different levels of BB and airsoft quality. And a better one such as your TM is certainly useable for some drills and practice or just for plain old fun.

Nickel Plated
September 7, 2013, 07:20 PM
Plus they're just fun to shoot. You don't always get to go to the range, but you can always set up some coke cans in the yard and have a go at em. And a select fire GBB is the cheapest way to get some full auto fun, especially with guns you'd otherwise never get your hands on. Good luck getting a full auto G36, L85 or Beretta 93R

September 7, 2013, 09:24 PM
If you are not training force on force then you are not ready for the real thing. I don't care if it is airsoft, paintball or what. The idea is to learn tactics and real world results without getting bloody or worse.

I won't talk recoil, balance, noise levels, ect, ect. Suffice to say that my son and I own Glock replicas that are the same size and fit the same holsters as our real G23's. It doesn't take much thought to set up real life scenarios that will very quickly evaporate your preconceived notions about how just owning and packing a gun somehow makes you invincible or safe somehow.

September 8, 2013, 12:44 AM
We have some people in my Dept. that do not like or wish to own firearms. These same people struggle to qualify at the range. I tell them to by a cheap airsoft pistol and practice with it.

It helps with getting used to drawing, target sighting and pulling a trigger to put a projectile on target. Just doing this once or twice a month throughout the year really helps them at qual time.

September 8, 2013, 06:16 AM
Good replica blowback airsoft guns can help with training your particular firearm.

A decent pellet gun makes a good practice for those of us who can't get to the range all the time.

BB guns tend to be inaccurate, though some of them aren't half bad, but pellet guns tend to be better. Just keep in mind though, many pellet guns are single shot and aren't good for rapid fire drills, simply working on marksmanship. There are plenty of pellet guns capable of putting round after round in the same hole at 10 yards, though, and you can shoot inside of your own home safely.

September 8, 2013, 08:33 AM
I don't know about other cities but in Corpus Christi, Texas there is a city ordinance against shooting BB guns I would guess airsoft would be included. That said in your garage who would know?

be safe

Nickel Plated
September 8, 2013, 11:59 AM
I don't know about other cities but in Corpus Christi, Texas there is a city ordinance against shooting BB guns I would guess airsoft would be included. That said in your garage who would know?

be safe
Close your doors and windows. maybe turn on some music if the neighbors live really close by. Noone will hear it. At most they sound like a really quiet nail gun.

September 8, 2013, 03:25 PM
So I wasn't super motivated this weekend, but I did put out a little better defined target at 7yds and got the attached 10 shot grouping. I pulled a couple of the shots and I only shot it once, but I measured the group at 1-1/8" x 1", using the outside edge of the widest shots to measure. Center to center would put this group right at an inch square. If I could figure out how to attach multiple pictures I add the one where I had a tape measure next to the little map for scale, but if you'll take my word for it the map is 1-1/8" x 2-1/16".

In any case I've used Airsoft in FoF training, Tueller drill variations, drawing and breaking the first shot, target splits, stuff like that. I'll keep using it because I think it has been beneficial.

September 8, 2013, 08:13 PM
Also let's not forget that it's just plain fun. Sure beats playing video games for your practice for defensive shooting.

September 9, 2013, 10:42 AM
Despite some of the naysayer's complaints about accuracy, weight distribution, lack of recoil, etc, I believe there is great training value to be had with Airsoft.

The accuracy can be just fine. I have a cheap CO2 Airsoft. It prints a little low, but I can put multiple rounds through the same hole. Yes, the pellet is going to drop significantly more as your ranges increase than a real bullet will. This is easily compensated for by using scaled-down targets at closer ranges.

You still have to use marksmanship fundamentals like sight picture and proper trigger manipulation. If you jerk the Airsoft's trigger, you're still going to shoot low and in.

Nickel Plated
September 9, 2013, 06:53 PM
Despite some of the naysayer's complaints about accuracy, weight distribution, lack of recoil, etc, I believe there is great training value to be had with Airsoft.

The accuracy can be just fine. I have a cheap CO2 Airsoft. It prints a little low, but I can put multiple rounds through the same hole. Yes, the pellet is going to drop significantly more as your ranges increase than a real bullet will. This is easily compensated for by using scaled-down targets at closer ranges.

You still have to use marksmanship fundamentals like sight picture and proper trigger manipulation. If you jerk the Airsoft's trigger, you're still going to shoot low and in.
Many airsoft guns, and pretty much all airsoft guns of anything resembling decent quality have a hop up system to compensate for this. It's essentially a little bit of rubber at the top of the bore towards the chamber. When the BB passes it, the rubber creates friction at the top of the bore inducing a backspin on the BB (much like when you throw a baseball) this generates extra lift which keeps the BB flying in a straight trajectory for some distance before dropping. A good hop up can make the BB seem like it's just floating waaay downrange without dropping. Most are adjustuble to be set for the muzzle velocity of the gun and the weight of BB being used. Heavier BBs are generally better for accuracy but do have lower muzzle velocities.

September 9, 2013, 08:21 PM
airsoft is the only way the Japanese can train.

by CJ Songer
Dillon's Blue Press -- January 2005
The big question all week was whether K.C. Eusebio would be able to repeat his spectacular last year’s win of the Steel Challenge match. Going up against the acknowledged masters of the speed-shooting world (Rob Leathem, Todd Jarrett, Doug Koenig, and Jerry Miculek, to name only a few) the fifteen-year-old wunderkind had blazed past everyone last year to claim the title. But you know how it is with boys - they get older. They lose their edge. They find girls. “So you’ve been practicing a lot?” “Nah,” he said. “Well, I shot a couple of rounds.”

Oh, sure. I play golf like that, too. No stress, no pressure. Just one little hole at a time.

The Steel Challenge has been around since Mike Dalton and Mike Fichman combined forces in 1981. Its format is deceptively simple: there are seven stages, each of which have five steel plates arranged on them in various configurations at distances from six yards to forty yards. All you have to do is shoot five timed runs at each stage. Five chances at each stage? Ayup. That’s not really very hard, and the judges will even help you improve your time by throwing out your slowest run. Of course, most of the people you’ll be shooting against chew bullets for breakfast, but don’t let that worry you.

K.C. wasn’t worrying. Part of that, I think, is because he’s been around this event since he was little. He began shooting the match in 1998, winning the Pre-Teen Division when he was only ten years old. Two years later, he was one of the “elite” shooters and has been placing handily ever since, so last year wasn’t really a fluke for him -- it was simply a combination of skill, luck, timing, and, although he wasn’t quite admitting it -- a whole lot of practice.

There were competitors from all over the continental U.S. this year, as well as from Canada, England, Australia, and Japan. The Japanese can’t have handguns, which is a drawback, but it’s turned out not to be an insurmountable problem. Think of it rather as an obstacle than a barrier. Do you see the boy in the picture with the unusual stance? That’s Tatsuya Sakai. Since he can’t have a handgun, Tatsuya spent the year training at home in Japan with an airsoft pistol. He came over to California about a month before the match, and put in some time practicing with a real gun on the Steel Challenge ranges to good effect -- he ended up beating K.C.’s time this year by .59 seconds to become the new World Speed Shooting Champion. Yes, that’s point-five-nine, folks -- fifty-nine hundredths of a second. Before that, K.C. and a young man named J.J. Racaza had been neck-and-neck for first place. They ended up second and third, respectively, with only .05 seconds between them. To give you a notion of how fast everyone in the top group were shooting, Max Michel, Jr. was fourth with 68.63 seconds (that’s his total time for a counted score of four best runs at each of seven stages, or twenty-eight runs.) Todd Jarrett was fifth with 69.10 seconds, Rob Leatham had a measly 69.26, Doug Koenig was batting right in there with 70.39, Jerry Miculek was at 71.72, Michael Voigt had 75.03, James Ong had 75.15, JoJo Vidames was eleventh with 76.53, and Tatsuya came in twelfth with 77.26. Twelfth? Wait a minute, I thought Tatsuya was first. He was, yes. He shot the match twice, as many of the competitors did, testing themselves through the stages with two different guns. Tatsuya won the over-all Championship with what’s called an “Open” gun (fancy sights, ports, however you want to trick the gun up) and also came in twelfth with a “Limited” gun, so I think it’s safe to say that his fast shooting wasn’t pure luck!

There were side matches, too, and plenty of prizes -- over $300,000 worth, donated by the major (and minor) gun companies. The prizes were split in a variety of ways, determined by category and shooter-ranking, and sometimes by the fickle hand of fate. There were raffles (one enterprising gentleman bought five hundred dollars worth of tickets and, not surprisingly, went home with a large assortment of goods) as well as several lucky-chance drawings. One such drawing I was glad to witness had a competitor from Japan, Takeo Ishii, whose name had been picked from the bowl to receive a handgun. It took Takeo only moments to return with the Japanese interpreter by his side to say that since he couldn’t own a gun in Japan, he wished to give something back to the Steel Challenge as a token of appreciation for the great time he’d had here, and so wanted to donate the gun to the last place competitor. That last place finisher was a man named Merle Ness, who’d been plagued by gun problems throughout the match, but had kept on, nonetheless. It was a very poignant moment -- true détente.

September 10, 2013, 08:12 AM
So the WE brand is of decent quality? I can't see paying nearly double for the Mairu if the WE will be good enough.
Also, is it not a requirement that they have the orange tip? I saw some that did, some that didn't.

September 10, 2013, 05:04 PM
yes the orange tip is a US requirement.

Nickel Plated
September 10, 2013, 08:46 PM
The orange tip is required for importation, sale, and I think (don't quote me on this one) transport between state lines for COMMERCE.
Otherwise, once you buy it, you're free to get rid of it.
The usually come in two varieties. Either the tip of the barrel (or slide if the barrel doesn't protrude) is painted, Or there's just a plastic plug or cap aatached. The paint is generally very weak and can be chipped or thinned off. At worst sand it off and repaint the part.

For the plastic cap, Just pull it off with pliers, might take some force.

On rifles, they sometimes just screw on an orange flash hider and include the black one in the box.

September 10, 2013, 10:45 PM
I like training with airsoft. The law around here takes a very dim view of you shooting your pals with real guns.

September 11, 2013, 03:09 AM
I picked up the LaserLyte laser training cartridges and targets. My pistols (SIG P250 & SIG P290RS) are DAO so it affords realistic training w/the actual pistol. W/a non-DAO pistol they're still doable but you have to reset your trigger between shots.

September 11, 2013, 10:02 AM
I've really been considering getting either a good airsoft or a good BB pistol to practice with in my garage.

I'm not familiar enough with Air Soft guns to comment. Actual "BB guns" on the other hand are generalally inaccurate, smooth bore guns that IMO don't lend themselves to any sort of precision shooting. Perhaps one of the "reproduction" BB guns could be useful in practicing of weapons handling, drawing, etc. but I'm not sure how much good it would be for actual shooting practice. On the other hand, adult air guns with rifled barrels firing lead pellets are often amazinly accurate and in some cases powerful enough for small game hunting.

I've used a .177 cal single stroke target pistol and target rifle for indoor practice for decades. The current ammo shortage and insane prices for .22 ammo just makes them all that more attractive for training and general target practice.

September 13, 2013, 05:47 PM
I've found practice with pellet guns, handgun and rifle, to be very helpful.

My current favorites are a Crosman 1377 pump handgun, a 2240 CO2 handgun and a 2100B pump rifle. They're very inexpensive to buy and shoot, reliable, and very accurate. Plus Crosman is a local company, so I can get stuff fixed quickly...not that I've had to.

I had an 30 year old Crosman 766 pump rifle that worked until recently. That did require some attention when it quit; but it works now.

The pump-up guns are great when you only have time to shoot 10 or 20 shots. The CO2 guns should be shot until the CO2 cartridge is depleted to save the seals. That can take 40 to 60 shots with the 2240.

September 14, 2013, 12:23 PM
I just did our second session of "MACTAC" training. This is something all area police departments are doing; an extension of the "active shooter" training most everyone has done by now.

This is bigger-scale stuff, much more like military squad/small unit tactics. The idea being to let officers from different departments all get on the same page regarding tactics and movement in case a really big incident should occur.

I think this was mostly prompted by the big terrorist attack in Mumbai a couple of years ago, where a small group of terrorists nearly locked down a major city for some time.

Anyway, all this is done using airsoft weapons; Glock and Sig blowback pistols and AR clones.
We just transitioned from the Glock 23 to the Sig P229, and the gun I used was a "K-Works" 229 clone.
It was pretty darned realistic. Weight, feel, action.... And, according to tests by various parties on YouTube, quite accurate.

I think airsoft excels at this type of "tactical" training. The guns are certainly accurate enough for this, and the pellet is just potent enough to sting without requiring any great protective gear.
We wore typical protective masks and were told to wear long sleeves and trousers..... I caught one in the knee and it raised a blood blister.

I liked the pistol so much I'm considering buying one... About 130 bucks.

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