- The Growing Popularity of Airsoft
- The 3 Types of Airsoft Pistols
- What Should You Look For in an Airsoft Gun?
- Top 5 Best Airsoft Pistol Reviewed
Are you interested in an airsoft pistol? Due to the increased popularity of airsoft guns, there are plenty of different makes and models of pistols available. How do you know which one is the right choice for you?
In this guide, we’ll show you what factors you should consider when shopping for an airsoft pistol. We’ve also identified five best Airsoft pistols we think you’ll like. Each one has been reviewed in-depth, and we’ve also picked our favorite.
The five pistols we reviewed are:
- UTG Airsoft UHC 1911 Pistol
- Soft Air Taurus PT24/7 Spring Powered Pistol
- Smith & Wesson M&P Airgun (Medium)
- Crosman Stinger P311 Airsoft Pistol
- Magnum Research Desert Eagle Pistol
With the info in this guide, you’re sure to find the perfect airsoft pistol for your needs. Let’s get started!
The Growing Popularity of Airsoft
There are three main reasons people use an Airsoft gun:
- Recreational fun
- A pest control tool around the house or farm
- A training tool for gun safety
Recreational airsoft competitions and leagues have exploded in popularity. Similar to paintball, these are often team vs. team matches. Aside from traditional competition, people also play Capture the Flag and other variations.
Airsoft pistols are also used around houses, ranches and farms to keep away unwanted wildlife. The majority of airsoft guns won’t break the skin, so people use them as a non-lethal way to deter squirrels, raccoons, birds and similarly-sized critters.
Finally, airsoft guns are often very similar in look and feel to a real gun. So they work great for teaching children and even adults about proper gun safety techniques. A mishap with an airsoft gun will likely hurt – sometimes quite a bit – but will rarely be fatal.
A Quick Word of Caution about Airsoft Pistols
Important! Never, even rely on an airsoft pistol for personal defense. If you confront an intruder or some other bad guy with your airsoft pistol, you don’t have any real capability to stop them – but you can certainly escalate the situation in a bad way!
Also, remember that even though an airsoft gun isn’t a real gun, it sure looks like one. Only use your airsoft pistol in appropriate places. For example: Most people, including the police, aren’t likely to respond well if you look like you’re walking down the street with a pistol in your hand.
The 3 Types of Airsoft Pistols
Airsoft pistols shoot small, plastic ball bearings. Beginners will likely want to use the lighter weight .20g but experienced shooters often prefer something heavier. BB’s can be .20g, .25g, .28g, .30g, .36g and .43g. Some non-standard types of pistols use other weights, but that’s not very common.
While the type of ammunition is the same for all airsoft pistols, their method of operation can vary greatly. There are 3 different ways an airsoft pistol can be powered:
Spring-Powered Airsoft Pistols
This type uses a strong spring to force the bb through the barrel at a high speed. Generally, the bb is shot forward at a rate of 280 feet per second.
Spring-powered airsoft pistols need to be prepared before each individual shot. This means the spring needs to be pulled back and cocked before you can fire. The effect is similar to a shotgun or bolt rifle.
These pistols are usually made of plastic. They’re the cheapest type of airsoft pistol, too. You can find them in sporting goods and even toy stores.
A spring-powered pistol is the least powerful type of airsoft pistol available. They’re great for beginners and safe enough for most kids (with proper instruction and supervision). But a spring-powered pistol isn’t usually the choice of someone taking part in competitive events or someone who needs to scare away wildlife.
Automatic Electronic Guns
These are the most common types of airsoft guns. They still use a spring system, only this one is powered by batteries. The piston is cocked automatically through gears.airsoft guns. They still use a spring system, only this one is powered by batteries. The piston is cocked automatically through gears.
Cheaper guns use batteries you can buy in the store while more sophisticated guns use specialized battery packs.
These guns are easier to use than the spring-powered type because you don’t have to pump the gun yourself before each shot. The downside is you’ll have to buy new batteries. This isn’t a huge expense if your gun takes regular AA’s or similar. But the more sophisticated guns require specialty battery packs, which can be an expensive hassle to find.
Gas Powered Airsoft Pistols
Instead of a spring, these pistols are powered by compressed gas. Propane, CO2 and Green Gas are the three options here. Gas-powered guns have a kick when fired which can be similar to a real pistol.
Propane is the cheapest. You can refill anywhere you’d normally purchase propane. Note that you’ll need a special adaptor to connect to the propane tank.
CO2 provides the most power. It’s also expensive. Finding CO2 cartridges for your airsoft pistol can be pretty inconvenient, too. You have to buy them either online or from specialty airsoft stores.
Green gas is a mix of propane and silicone. You’ll get about 1,000 shots per canister. This is the most expensive type of gas for an airsoft gun.
Gas powered guns are the preferred choice for serious, often adult, shooters. Gas powered guns are the closest to a real gun in terms of both power and use.
What Should You Look For in an Airsoft Gun?
You’ll need a good understanding of what you’ll be using the pistol for. Do you just want something inexpensive which you’ll use to shoot at small targets in your backyard? A pump spring-action airsoft gun can be pretty fun here.
Do you want something to use in competition? Then you’ll likely want something powered by CO2 with high velocity and rugged construction.
Generally speaking, you’ll want to look for these features:
- Durability – Will the pistol hold up after rough use outdoors?
- Range – Can you hit targets at a substantial distance?
- Cost – You can get a plastic, spring-loaded pistol for pretty cheap but other kinds can cost hundreds of dollars.
- BB Velocity – The faster the BB travels, the easier and more accurate the pistol is to aim.
- Magazine size – You’ll want a large magazine if you’re involved in sport A smaller magazine is usually better for target shooting or animal deterrence.
Top 5 Best Airsoft Pistol Reviewed
Manufactured by UTG Sport, the spring-powered UHC 1911 features a fixed hop-up, great range and a 22-round mag. Weighing only 1.25 pounds, this pistol is easy to handle and carry. Includes a 120-day warranty so you can try the pistol on your own terms with no financial risk.
- High-capacity Magazine
- Shoots BB’s at 280 to 350 feet per second
- Long range
- Looks and feels very similar to a real pistol
- ABS plastic is relatively weak
- Non-blowback might be an issue for dual wielders
Looking for something tough? The Taurus PT24/7 is designed for all-weather, outdoor use. Great for competitive matches or for use down on the farm. Just because this gun is durable doesn’t mean comfort is sacrificed, either. The grip makes the gun easy to hold on to even in wet weather.
- BAX Shooting System improves accuracy
- High Power Accurate
- Uses 12g Ammunition
- Shoots at a fast 315 feet per second
- Low Tactical Rail lets you easily add tactical gear
- Magazine holds 24 rounds
- Unavailable to residents of New York state
- If slide isn’t pulled back completely, gun has a tendency to jam
- Jamming is also likely when gun is fired when the safety is on
- Magazine occasionally falls out
- Includes only one magazine.
If you want an airsoft gun which is an accurate replica of the real thing, you’re probably going to love the Smith and Wesson M&P Airgun. This is an exact replica of the S&W Military and Police firearm, with the same double action trigger, manual safety, and fixed front and rear fiber optic sights.
This is a gas-powered BB repeater. The 12g CO2 cylinder is hidden within the pistol’s grip. Underneath the muzzle there’s an integrated accessory rail where you can mount a laser sight or tactical flashlight.
The M&P Airgun is so close to the real thing many police and military organizations use it as a training tool. The airsoft pistol even has a drop out magazine which holds 19 shots.
Another common use for this gun is as a movie prop or as part of a costume. Note that because this gun looks extremely real you’ll want to be careful handling it in public.
- Precise replication
- High velocity of 480 feet per second
- .177 caliber
- Sturdy polymer body, frame and grips
- Semi-automatic fire mode
- Realistic magazine release with a button located on the right side.
- Strong and sturdy
- CO2 cartridge only lasts for 80 to 100 shots
- Gun leaks liquid CO2 at times
Crosman’s 12 shot Stinger is easy to load, carry and fire. Spring-loaded, the Stinger shoots up to 325 feet per second. This is a smaller, lightweight gun at just nine inches and half a pound.
While seasoned shooters probably want something a bit fancier, this is a no-frills, high-quality option which has a lot to offer beginners.
- At 325 fps, this is an extremely powerful hand-pump spring airgun.
- 0mm caliber
- Quiet operation
- Effective at scaring away animals without causing permanent harm
- Not legal to own in New York
- Loading the clip is cumbersome and slow
- Each shot requires you to pump back the top
Magnum has created a powerful pistol here. As they state in their marketing material, this is a “BIG gun for BIG fun.” The Desert Eagle has .177 caliber with a velocity of 425 feet per second. Powered by CO2.
- Suitable for both left- and right-handed users
- Built-in Picatinny rails let you mount sights and lights with ease
- 12g CO2 cylinder inserts into the bottom of the grip
- One eight-shot rotary magazine included
- Accurately resembles real Desert Eagle in look, feel and weight
- Paint tends to wear off
- No orange tip so you need to be careful where/how you use it
- Very loud. Find for outdoor use but for indoor use you’ll want to wear ear protection
Our Choice: Smith & Wesson M&P Airgun (Medium)
This is as close to a real pistol as you’re likely to find, not just in looks but in overall quality, too.
Powered by a 12g CO2, this gun is powerful enough for team competition while also accurate enough for target and animal shooting. The high-velocity 480fps is impressively powerful and fast. Your aim will be true even at long distances.
Plus, this is a true replication of the Smith and Wesson M&P. You can learn and train safely, which will help you feel comfortable should you switch over to the real version.
The Magnum Research Desert Eagle pistol is a lot of fun, but the overall construction quality of the M&P is higher.
The Airsoft UGC 1911 is an all-around great airgun, but not quite as powerful as the M&P. Still, the 1911 is a low-price gun perfect for beginners or those who don’t plan to compete in tournaments.
Overall, the solid construction and substantial power make the Smith & Wesson M&P Airgun an excellent choice for training, competition and just all-around recreational shooting. While the other airguns on our list all have great qualities, the M&P is the best choice for the majority of airgun enthusiasts.