The world of airsoft is growing at a rapid rate and with this rise in popularity comes the desire to be the best and come out on top, especially when there is so much at stake in competitions.
Yet, not all airsoft pistols were created the same, and any old airsoft pistol simply won’t cut it. We are going to break down the basics of airsoft pistols, explain the different types, review a few pistols we feel are the best on the market, and hopefully give you enough information to make the right choice in picking the best airsoft pistol.
The basics of the best airsoft pistol
The word “pistol” can be quite a broad term when it comes to firearms because, within the category of a pistol, there are many variations. So, before we delve into the good stuff of what it takes to be declared “The best airsoft pistol for use in competitions,” we need to start with the basics.
What is an airsoft pistol?
The most basic definition of an airsoft pistol is that it is a replica firearm that fires non-lethal plastic pellets. In reality, there is more to an airsoft pistol than simply shooting plastic pellets.
The biggest difference with an airsoft pistol is the actual design, and firing mechanism of an airsoft pistol are different from that of a conventional firearm, and with that it propels non-metallic spherical projectiles with a very low muzzle energy rating.
Each variation of airsoft pistol is unique with regards to how it performs, its construction, firing mechanism, and appearance. Below is a better explanation of the different firing options for an airsoft pistol and later we further explain the different types of airsoft pistols to choose from.
Gas Blowback Airsoft Pistol
Easily the closest type of airsoft pistol that resembles a real pistol. We will describe the actual specifications of a gas blowback airsoft pistol in the section. Primarily used as a sidearm in airsoft competitions, the gas blowback airsoft pistol has the action of a moving slide with each shot that makes it look identical to a firing pistol.
Full Metal Airsoft Pistol
Full metal airsoft pistols are not necessarily specific in the way they fire the projectiles but rather in the manner in which they are constructed. The majority of airsoft pistols are primarily plastic or some form of alloy, with a small portion having wooden components in them.
A full metal airsoft pistol is exactly that, constructed mostly from metal to closely resemble a real firearm. These forms of airsoft pistols generally cost more and are heavier in weight.
Full Auto Airsoft Pistol
Fully automatic firing airsoft pistols are similar to their firearm counterparts in that they are capable of firing continuous propellants one after the other while the trigger is pulled. There is also the more conventional and commonly used option of a semi-automatic airsoft pistol, which fires a single propellant while simultaneously reloading the pistol for the next shot.
Types of airsoft pistols
We briefly touched on the different firing actions for airsoft pistols and each of those actions can be implemented into various types of airsoft pistols.
There are 3 main types of airsoft pistols, electric airsoft pistols, gas airsoft pistols, and lastly spring-powered airsoft pistols.
Below we discuss each type further and the factors one needs to consider when choosing which type of airsoft pistol will best suit their style and goals during an airsoft competition.
Electric airsoft pistols
For those getting started in airsoft, an electric airsoft pistol will most likely be the first type you will use. Popularity amongst electric airsoft pistols is huge and for a good reason, not only are they easier to use, they come in cheaper than similar types, are surprisingly accurate, and reliable, and can switch between semi and fully-automatic on certain models.
So, how do electric airsoft pistols work?
Within the frame of the electric airsoft pistol lays a spring-loaded piston and cylinder. An internal electric motor, powered by a rechargeable battery, compresses the piston spring with a series of gears allowing a build-up of air behind the pellet. Once the trigger is pulled the piston forces the air through the barrel, which in turn propels the BB or pellet.
Electric airsoft pistols can be divided into Electric Blowback Airsoft Pistols and Automatic Electric Pistols, with the biggest difference between the two being the electric blowback airsoft pistol has a simulated blowback on the slide.
The majority of electric airsoft pistols run off 4xAAA batteries, which means the power they produce is not significant enough to cause serious harm.
Accuracy is good within ranges of 40 to 60 yards, but anything further than that and the trajectory of the BB pellet is steep enough to drastically affect accuracy.
Gas airsoft pistols
Gas airsoft pistols are often looked upon as an upgrade from electric airsoft pistols. The feel and look of gas airsoft pistols are more realistic than the entry electric pistols, with a firing action that mimics lethal pistols.
A gas airsoft pistol works in the following way:
The gas reservoir within the pistol stores pressurized gas, which is referred to as green gas or other similar products. Once the trigger is pulled hammer is released that engages the valve on the reservoir, immediately releasing the gas which pushes up towards the barrel of the pistol forcing the BB pellet, while simultaneously a smaller portion of the released gas is used to work the slide which loads the follow-up pelle