If you’re new to the sport of airsoft shooting, you’re likely in for a pleasant surprise. Airsoft pistols have grown increasingly sophisticated, powerful and accurate. The downside is their recent popularity boom has resulted in a ton of airsoft pistols available on the market.
If you’re shopping for an airsoft pistol, you might be surprised at the number of options you have to choose from. But if you’re unsure about how to find the best airsoft pistol, we’re here to help. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about airsoft pistols including what features to look for and how to find the best price possible.
We reviewed the following popular spring-assisted airsoft pistols:
- Taurus Millennium PT-111 Spring Powered Pistol
- Crosman Stinger P311 Airsoft Pistol
- Sig Sauer P226 Metal Slide Airsoft Pistol
- Firepower .45 Metal Slide Airsoft Pistol
- BBTac Airsoft Pistol BT-M22 Spring Loaded Gun Airsoft Handgun
Introduction to Airsoft
Airsoft has come a long way from the Red Rider BB gun featured in the classic movie “A Christmas Story.” Today’s airsoft guns are strong, fast, and powerful.
Airsoft pistols shoot plastic BB’s. Generally, most airsoft pistols are replicas of real pistols. They look, feel and even shoot just like the real thing.
There are key differences between an airsoft gun and a real gun. Barring a few rare, powerful exceptions, most airsoft pistols aren’t strong enough to shoot a BB which will pierce a person’s skin. While getting shot with a plastic BB will likely hurt – sometimes a lot – it very rarely will result in serious injury.
Also, airsoft pistols are usually substantially cheaper than real firearms.
Airsoft Pistol Uses
Airsoft pistols have tons of recreational and practical uses. Here are the most common:
This is similar to paintball, only with airsoft guns and plastic BB’s instead of paintball guns and blasts of paint.
There are many types of airsoft games people play. Survival is probably the most common type. This is when two teams face-off in an elimination contest. The last person standing wins for that team.
There are other types of airsoft games, too. Capture the Flag is also very popular. As are games where people use specific weapons only, such as just snipers or just pistols.
These games can be played both indoors and out. Much like paintball, many people prefer to play outdoors. You can play just about anywhere including:
- Snowy areas
If you’ll mainly be using your airsoft gun outdoors, you’ll want to invest in a gun with both durability and high quality. This often means selecting metal over plastic. You’re also likely going to want a gun which you can disassemble easily. Sand, dirt and other debris can clog up the works otherwise.
As discussed above, an airsoft gun isn’t very likely to cause serious injury. But getting shot from with an airsoft pellet can be pretty painful! If you’re going to play survival airsoft games, you’ll need to wear proper safety gear. This includes:
- Lightweight body armor for your chest
- Knee and elbow pads
- Eye protection
Eye protection is perhaps the most important. The number one type of injury related to airsoft guns are injuries to the eyes. Just one ricochet can cause a major problem!
There are more practical reasons for an airsoft pistol, too. They’re great for animal control. Specifically, you can use an airsoft gun to scare away unwanted wildlife.
A smaller caliber airsoft gun will startle a small animal but is also non-lethal. Large calibers are lethal. So airsoft guns are useful whether you want to simply scare an animal away or if you’re interested in hunting small game.
There are a variety of situations where unwanted animals can show up. In rural, farming areas both livestock and crops can be threatened by coyotes, birds and more. Residents of cities and suburbs both have to deal with squirrels, raccoons and other urban pests.
Shooting a non-lethal shot to scare away an animal, as opposed to killing it, is obviously more humane. But it’s also usually easier, too. You can fire an airsoft gun in a suburban neighborhood without anyone else hearing or noticing. The same certainly can’t be said if you fire off a few rounds from a real gun!
Gun Safety Training
An airsoft gun is a great way to learn how to properly and safely handle a real firearm. Obviously, if you accidentally fire off a shot from an airsoft gun, people are very unlikely to die. At the same time, an airsoft gun is strong enough to warrant serious, sober handling and care.
With the proper supervision, a young adult can safely use an airsoft gun. They can learn to never point a gun at something they don’t want to shoot. They can also learn proper storage techniques.
Gun novices can become familiar with the look, feel and handling of a real firearm. Replica airsoft guns are virtually identical to the real thing in weight and appearance. Plus, certain types of airsoft guns can have a significant recoil and shot noise.
Finally, many replica guns can be disassembled. This helps teach novice shooters about proper cleaning maintenance. For young gun enthusiasts, an airsoft pistol can help set up safe and proper lifelong habits.
What is a Spring Airsoft Pistol?
There are three different types of airsoft pistols:
The most expensive type is gas-powered. A gas-filled cartridge is inserted into the gun, usually into the handle. This compressed gas forces the pellet out of the barrel at a high velocity.
There are three different types of gas. Propane is the cheapest. You can fill up a propane-powered gun at any propane dispenser, such as one at a grocery store or a hardware store. Note that you’ll need a special adaptor for this, which isn’t necessarily included with the purchase of a gas-powered airsoft gun.
C02 is another common gas. The C02 is contained in special canisters. A C02 powered gun is powerful and often loud. But there are some downsides.
Cost and accessibility are the two biggest issues here. C02 cartridges are usually only found in specialty airsoft stores or online. They’re also very expensive. Depending on the type of gun you have, you might go through two or three cartridges in just a single match.
The third gas option is called Green Gas. This is propane mixed with silicone. Green Gas helps the gun stay lubricated.
Different guns use different types of gas. For instance, you can’t put propane into a gun made for C02 canisters. So if you choose a gas-powered gun, make sure it uses the specific type of gas you want.
Automatic Electric Guns
These are guns powered by batteries. Some use regular batteries which you can find in any general store. Others use special battery packs you need to buy from airsoft-specific retailers.
Battery packs are usually rechargeable. But recharging can take time. If you plan to use your airsoft gun throughout the day, such as during a competition, you’ll likely want to bring along a pre-charged pack or two.
The battery power cocks the gun’s piston automatically. The piston is what forces the BB through the barrel. More battery power equals greater velocity, so a gun which runs off store-bought batteries is going to be weaker than one which runs off of a battery pack.
There are three types of electric guns. LPEGs are Low Prices Electric Guns. These are the cheapest and least powerful. You’ll likely find them in toy and retail stores. MPEGs are Mid-Priced Electric Guns. They’re a step up in both cost and quality from the LPEGs.
The third type of electric gun is the AEG or Automatic Electric Gun. This is the “true” electric gun. You’ll see AEG pistols often in high-end competition and target shooting.
Spring Airsoft Pistols
These are airsoft guns powered by a spring. When you pull the trigger, the spring propels the BB through the cylinder at a high velocity.
The spring needs to be cocked manually. You’ll need to prepare the gun before each shot by cocking the slide. This makes spring pistols relatively slow to fire. You won’t get the semi-automatic action found in gas or electric powered guns.
However, certain types of shooters will find a lot to like about a spring-loaded airsoft gun. First, they’re usually the cheapest types of airsoft guns available. You can find them for under $20.
They’re also usually not quite as powerful as the other types of guns. This makes them a good choice for novice and younger shooters. Of course, even younger shooters will need adequate adult supervision when shooting even a spring-powered airsoft gun.
Reviews of the 5 Best Spring Airsoft Pistols
We’ve reviewed five top airsoft pistols. Let’s take a look:
- Shot velocity of 180 feet per second with .12g BBs
- ABS polymer is durable even after exposure to wet and cold weather
- BAXS shooting system helps improve accuracy
- Comfortable grip
- Range of roughly 15 feet
- No hop-up
- No included holster
- Not powerful enough to scare away larger animals like raccoons.
This is a great beginner gun with solid construction, a low price and a realistic feel. This pistol is about nine inches long and weighs about half a pound. Has a high velocity, especially for a spring pump gun.
- Magazine holds 12 shots
- High velocity of 325 feet per second
- Solid, durable construction
- Fits into most standard holsters
- Clip can be a bit difficult to load
- Only a small portion of gun is made from metal
- Velocity of 328 feet per second
- Metal slide adds realistic weight and feel
- 12 round magazine
- Fully-functional safety switch
- BAXS hop-up system increased overall accuracy
- Not available for sale to New York residents
- Second magazine not included
- Grip can be uncomfortable after extended use
- BB’s can spill out of magazine fairly easily during loading
- 12 round magazine
- Velocity of 256 feet per second with a .20 gram BB
- Easy to disassemble. Simply remove the thick plastic pin from the stock to fully remove the slide.
- About roughly 2.5 pounds, pistol weighs less than the real version
- Nose heavy
- Hammer won’t pull back automatically if fired
- High-powered velocity of 300 feet per second
- Made from tough ABS Plastic
- Overall high-quality construction and function
- Not available to New York state residents
Our favorite spring airsoft pistol is the BBTac BT-M22.
Spring pistols all have some limitations. They require manually spring loading before each shot. This means you’re simply not going to be very competitive on any airsoft battlefield.
But if you’re looking for a safe, low-cost introduction to the world of airsoft pistols, a spring powered one is often a smart choice. You can learn about pistol safety while also developing your shooting skills.
The Stinger P311 is a solid pistol but loading the BBs into the magazine can be difficult. We prefer the BBTac because pistol novices will have an easier time dealing with the mags.
The Sig Sauer P226 landed in a very close second place. But it’s also very nose heavy. If you’re a beginner, you don’t really want to learn by using a gun which requires this aiming compensation.
The BBTac BT-M22 is a low priced gun with no particular flaws. While it doesn’t have a ton of bells and whistles, it is a solidly constructed pistol suitable for casual shooters of any age.