Before you shoot at a target, you want to carefully line up your shot. This same principle applies when you’re shopping for a C02 Airsoft pistol. You want to take your time, consider your options and find the perfect pistol for your needs.
The popularity of airsoft pistols means you have plenty of options to choose from. But how to do you know which pistol is the best? Our guide to C02 Airsoft Pistols includes everything you need to know about how airsoft pistols work and what features you’ll want to look for.
Plus, we’ve also included reviews for the following popular CO2 airsoft pistols:
- Walther CP88 Barrel Air Pistol
- Umarex 2252730 Walther P38
- Smith & Wesson M&P Airgun
- Black Ops Boa Pistol
- Crosman Vigilante 357 Co2 Air Pistol
Which of these five airsoft pistols is the best choice? Let’s take a look:
Why is Airsoft so Popular?
Airsoft shooting leagues are forming all over the country. Now more than ever before, airsoft pistols can be found on shelves in sporting goods stores, toy stores and more.
So, why are airsoft guns popular these days? A few reasons:
On average, they’re much cheaper than real guns. High-end airsoft guns cost several hundred dollars, but you can still get started on a budget of basically any size. You can get a fun, workable airsoft gun for around $20.
Airsoft guns are also much safer than regular guns. With some rare exceptions, airsoft guns won’t break the skin. Of course, airsoft guns can still hurt quite a bit. You’ll want to take proper safety precautions at all times. This includes always wearing eye protection and proper safety gear.
Additionally, airsoft guns are also relatively easy to maintain. While you do have to keep them properly lubricated and cleaned, the actual time spent on maintenance will be less than that of a regular gun.
The History of Airsoft Team Games
Airsoft guns were originally developed in Eastern Asia. A variety of both local and international laws severely limited the ability to own a gun. Airsoft guns were a way people could participate in police and military scenarios, as well as simply shoot for fun.
Over time, more and more people began to buy airsoft guns for recreational purposes. People started to play team-based competitive matches.
Similar to paintball or laser tag, players try to hit or tag members of the opposing team. Usually each player will have a limit of hits until they’re considered out of the match. The last person standing is the winner for their team.
This Survival game is the most popular. But there are plenty of other options, too. Some other games include Capture the Flag, Free-for-All and Ninja.
Unlike paintball or laser tag, airsoft matches depend on the honor system. But it’s pretty hard to cheat. Mainly because when you’re hit by an airsoft gun, you’ll feel it!
The guns fire round, plastic pellets. These have less velocity and power than metal BBs, which can sometimes break the skin.
You’ll still need proper equipment to safely play. This includes:
- Lightweight body armor for chest and back
- Thick clothing
- Some type of wrap or mask for your face
- Knee and elbow pads
Eye protection is perhaps the most important. The most common type of airsoft injury is an eye injury. Even if you’re just shooting at cans in your backyard, you’ll still want to wear a pair of safety glasses.
In an airsoft match, people don’t just run around with pistols. Instead, pistols are often kept as a sidearm. The team will use a variety of airsoft weapons such as an airsoft sniper, airsoft shotgun and airsoft assault rifles.
Other Uses for Airsoft Guns
Beyond competitive matches, people also use airsoft guns for wildlife control. Raccoons, squirrel, birds, coyotes and other animals have a tendency to get into trash cans, crops and other unwanted spaces.
Most types of airsoft guns are non-lethal. So you can fire a shot which will startle an animal, and scare him away, but won’t kill. This is a humane and effective way to control pests.
Another advantage to an airsoft gun over a traditional pistol is that you can fire an airgun in the city or suburbs without causing a panic. Certainly, you don’t want to blast away at the neighborhood raccoon with a real shotgun! But you can safely and relatively silently shoot an airgun in your neighborhood. Of course, you’ll want to check your local laws to make sure this is allowed.
Types of Airsoft Guns
There are three general categories of airsoft. These are based on how the gun is powered. Each type has advantages and disadvantages:
These guns are cheap and relatively easy to care for. Generally, these guns aren’t as powerful as the other two. But that’s a plus in some situations. These guns are a good choice for younger kids (with proper supervision) as well as anyone new to firearms in general.
To ready a spring powered gun, you need to pump or cock it before each shot. This primes the spring, which is then released when you pull the trigger. This causes the plastic BB to travel through the barrel at a rate measured in FPS, or feet per second. The stronger the spring, the greater the velocity.
These are strong, accurate and don’t require manual pumping before each shot. The piston inside the gun is powered by either regular store-bought batteries or specialized rechargeable packs.
Most battery packs take between five to eight hours to fully charge. The gun loses power throughout the day as the battery drains. If you plan on playing a full match or otherwise using the gun for a longer period of time, you’ll likely want to have another fully charged pack or two on hand.
Automatic Electric Guns (AEGs) are usually very accurate. Many have a hop up system which lets you lay down a consistent, accurate line of fire. As the battery power runs down, automatic fire turns to semi-auto.
Gas Airsoft Guns
These are the guns we’re reviewing today. A gas-powered gun uses a compressed gas to power the pistol. Each shot uses a bit of gas. When the gas is all used up, you’ll need to either refill or replace the cartridge.
Propane gas is the cheapest option. You use a special adaptor to fill the gun, but propane is available at a ton of places including hardware and grocery stores.
Green Gas is a blend of propane and silicone. This is a bit harder to find. You’ll need to purchase Green Gas from a sporting goods store or airsoft specialty shop.
Finally, C02 is another option. You insert special C02 cartridges into the gun. Different guns use C02 at different rates. C02 powered guns are among the most powerful types of airsoft guns.
How to Shop for an Airsoft Pistol
There are a few factors you’ll want to look for when shopping for an airsoft pistol:
Price – You can spend a few hundred dollars for a high-end gun or as little as $15 for a more toy-like piece. Figure out a general ballpark of what you want to spend before you start shopping.
Durability – Cheaper guns are typically made of plastic. Mid-range guns are generally made from a combination of plastic and metal. High-end pistols are entirely metal. The more metal, the more durable the pistol will be. This is especially important if you’re going to use the gun outside often.
Realism – Are you interested in an accurate replica of a real pistol? There are many airsoft pistols which look, feel and even sound like the real thing. If you really want the most realistic feeling possible, you’ll likely want a C02 powered gun, as this will have the most realistic blowback when firing.
Customization Options – Most of the less expensive guns are simply sold “as is.” But more sophisticated (and pricier) airsoft guns will have many customization options. You can add sights, flashlights, special grips and more.
Top 5 C02 Airsoft Pistol Reviews
Here are five best C02 pistols which are worth your consideration. They all have a solid combination of many different features including low cost, high quality, fast velocity and easy maintenance.
This competition airsoft pistol has a six-inch barrel, which is two inches longer than the standard CP88. With the longer sighting plane and smooth trigger pull, you’ll find this pistol has exceptional accuracy.
- Single and double shot functionality
- Strong velocity of 450 feet per second
- Eight shot capacity
- Realistic replica of a Walther p88
- Trigger becomes sticky after frequent use
- Hammer lacks proper reinforcement, which leads to scratching.
- 20 shot magazine
- Blowback action
- Double and single shot
- Velocity of 400 feet per second
- Fully metal
- Removable barrel
- Grip changes out for cartridge reloading
- Includes only one magazine
- User manual contains very little information
- Hammer can become temporarily stuck
Freeze! The Smith & Wesson M&P is a replica pistol based on the manufacturer’s military and police firearm. There’s a very realistic look and feel (minus the orange safety tip). Plenty of customization options including the ability to add a laser sight or tactical flashlight.
- Super-fast velocity of 480 feet per second
- 12g CO2 cylinder which is loaded into the grip
- Accessory rail underneath muzzle for customization
- 19-shot drop-out BB magazine
- Manual safety
- Double-action trigger for added realism
- Front and rear fiber optic sights
- Great for competition, target shooting and training
- Too strong for most non-lethal animal control
- Can penetrate unprotected human skin
- C02 cartridge lasts for about 80 to 100 shots
A powerful airsoft gun from Black Ops. The Boa has a high-capacity magazine which makes it a great sidearm for competitive play. The other team will run out of ammo before you do, and you’ll be able to hit your targets with precision.
- 400 feet per second velocity
- Semi-auto design fires as fast as you can pull the trigger
- Large 20 round magazine
- Underside tactical rail
- Plastic frame (internals are metal)
- Strong enough to damage unprotected skin
- Includes holster
- Includes three-pack of magazines
- .177 caliber with a velocity of 435 feet per second
- Adjustable rear sight
- Unavailable to residents of New Jersey, New York City and Philadelphia
- Loading ammo can be a bit cumbersome
Our favorite C02 airsoft pistol is the Smith & Wesson M&P Airgun.
If you’re considering a C02 pistol, you’re likely not an airgun novice. So you probably want something powerful and fairly sophisticated. The M&P is a great choice here due to its high velocity, expert accuracy and fiber optic sights.
This is also a very accurate replica of the real Smith and Wesson M&P. Aside from look and feel, the functionality is also very similar. The 19 shot drop-out BB magazine works just like the real thing.
The Walther CP88 is also a very accurate replica, but it has magazine issues which the M&P doesn’t.
The Umarex Walther P38 is similar to the M&P in that both are easy to maintain and perform well. But the M&P has more customization options, including the ability to quickly add a laser sight or flashlight.
If you’re looking for a powerful, durable replica, your best choice is probably going to be the Smith & Wesson M&P.