Air pistols come in many names; air gun, BB gun, airsoft gun, no matter what they’re called, they all work by using air to propel a projectile. While they’re not considered toys by many, they’re more of a recreational item, or a collectible to most and new regulations prohibit the purchase and use by under aged individuals and are punishable by law. You need the best air pistol if you’re interested in getting your feet wet in the world of airsoft.
Smith & Wesson M&P Airgun
Made by Smith & Wesson which is the original American pioneer in firearms with their invention of the modern day revolver pistol back in the mid to late 19th century. The same company also makes air guns for recreational use or collectibles. Based on their recent M&P or Military & Police model of semi-automatic pistols, the Smith and Wesson M&P air pistol strikes a balance of quality and economy.
Unlike real guns, this air pistol is constructed with durable polymer body and plastics which are big giveaways to those handling the gun that what they’re holding is not a real gun. This BB gun is CO2 powered and doesn’t use any spring loaded mechanism to operate the device. Equipped with a 12g CO2 cylinder, the replica M&P efficiently hides the gas canister within the grip which also serves as ballast to give the pistol some weight for stability and added feel.
The air gun features an accessory rail like the real pistol and can accommodate real weapon attachments such as a laser sight or flashlight. Like the original pistol, the gas-powered M&P has perfectly replicated the manual safety and double action trigger of the real gun which gives it excellent feel and makes it the perfect training pistol for actual M&P owners.
BBTac Airsoft Pistol BT-M22
The cheaper BBTac BT-M22 is a standard spring loaded airsoft gun that doesn’t make use of modern CO2 canister technology. While spring loaded BB guns lack the feel and power of more expensive CO2 powered air pistols, you can still use these budget-friendly air pistols for your recreational purposes.
The body of the BBTac Airsoft Pistol BT-M22 uses tough plastics but lacks a special coating to hide the bare plastic which gives the gun a very noticeable toy-like shimmer which is red flags for those who collect quality air guns. The body details are all molded and even feature a chrome sticker which makes it all the more toy-like in addition to the orange BB gun barrel tip that’s enforced by the law to be put in all air guns. However, aside from the poor looks when it comes to authenticity, the overall build of the spring loaded pistol is decent; the plastics are durable, the assembly is well done, and the mechanism moves smoothly.
If you compare a spring pistol to a compressed air gun, both have pros and cons. For pros, a spring gun has a simple construction that has less potential to break and requires less maintenance. A quality spring loaded gun is also twice or thrice cheaper than your typical CO2 air gun. For cons, a spring loaded gun tends to have less power; their lower price can justify their toy-like looks, and lack the features that most CO2 guns come as standard.
Colt Defender Pistol
On the same playing field as the Smith & Wesson Brand, Colt is another American brand that also makes iconic actual firearms. For recreational use, Colt also makes one of the best airguns on the market. If you’re looking for feel and quality, the Colt Defender CO2 pistol is the one for you. Providing excellent looks and premium build quality, you can’t go wrong with the Colt Defender especially if it’s priced cheaper than most pistols of the same quality in this air gun roundup.
Made with solid metal construction, the Colt Defender gives you excellent feel straight out of the box. Modeled after the real-life Colt Defender, it accurately replicates the real guns specifications for magazine capacity, weight, and handling. CO2 canister technology means you get a real life semi-automatic pistol firing rate, so you don’t have to cock the gun repeatedly each time you shoot. Like most air guns, it uses the standard .177 caliber BB round and houses the air canister inside the grip, so it gives it the heft and feel of the real pistol. Engineered to simulate the excellent accuracy of its real firearm counterpart, the CO2 Colt Defender hits home and hits hard at a reasonable price.
Daisy Powerline 340 BB Spring Air Pistol
As one of the cheapest products on the list, it’s safe to say the Daisy Powerline 340 is bang for your buck. Though it won’t pass in any collector’s long list of standards for a collectible replica gun, the Daisy Powerline 340 has what it takes to become a fun and accurate air pistol if you want to send some cans flying or perforate a cardboard box when you’re bored.
Made with lightweight yet durable plastics, the Daisy Powerline is tough enough to handle the abuse of quickly cocking the slide over and over for a long time. The housing and details are all molded from plastic and have zero metal details, stickers, or screws for gun details. The plastic lacks some finishing touches and even has a few rough spots from the manufacturing process. Right out of the box, even without the orange muzzle tip, you can easily recognize that this is not a real firearm as it has a lanyard strap on the bottom of the grip.
Feature-wise, it comes fully equipped. The magazine sports a 200 round capacity with speed loader. The speed loader works by filling up the reservoir at the rear of the magazine, then just fully depress the spring BB feeder and tilt the magazine to quickly load the magazine with 13 rounds, release the spring feeder, and off you go. The speed loader can also work without having to remove the clip from the grip so you can have less downtime. Additional features include a calibrated sights and a cross-bolt type safety mechanism.
Umarex 2254804 XBG
The Umarex 2254804 XBG air pistol is a quality CO2 pistol that delivers feel, power, and accuracy for a decent price. The body is made of high-quality polycarbonate, and the magazine is made of sturdy metal. This air pistol can propel your .177 caliber BBs at 410 feet per second with reliable accuracy as it makes use of its 12-gram CO2 canister inside the grip.
The metal magazine can house 19 rounds and is designed to be drop free. The sights of the pistol are fixed and are calibrated from the factory to make sure your every shot hits the mark. The body features a fully-functional Picatinny rail which can accommodate any compatible firearm add-on that uses the Picatinny rail system. These accessories are sold separately and can range from a simple tactical flashlight or a laser sight, or use police-grade attachments such as a fore grip.
The trigger has double action functionality and accurately simulates the feel of a real firearm. The XBG is designed with a compact body that’s both lightweight while maintaining balance and stability. If you’re looking for a fully-functional airsoft pistol or practice pistol, Umarex airguns might have the perfect airgun for you.
Benjamin Trail NP Break Barrel Air Pistol
If you’re looking to blow past the competition with the most fully featured air gun in this list, then the Benjamin Trail NP is overqualified if you’re only going to use it for shooting tin cans in your backyard. Made with the finest components and even has a rifled super accurate barrel, this air pistol can be safely called overpowered regarding design and quality.
With a full set of advanced features such as a rifled steel barrel, with its breech mounted to Benjamin’s patented Nitro Piston technology assembly that’s usually found in Benjamin’s air powered rifles, you can shoot accurately at a blazing fast 625 feet per second. The body includes a cocking assist for easy cocking and has a fully calibrated sight. The mechanism is smooth and satisfying that you can feel the inner workings of the air gun inside as you cock the slide and engage the canister.
Designed for competitive airsoft use, target practice, and even pesky pest control (damn raccoons), the Benjamin Trail NP is sure to deliver accuracy and power no matter what purpose you have in mind. The frame is made of synthetic material instead of metal to keep the weight balanced in certain areas you can maintain a comfortable grip and posture at all times.
Crosman Vigilante 357 CO2 Air Pistol
If you’re looking for a unique pistol that delivers power and accuracy, then you can’t go wrong with a working CO2 revolver. Here is Crosman’s take on the modern revolver and made it into a functional CO2 revolver complete with a variable, single action or double action trigger, quick loading barrels and accessories.
Designed with excellent power delivery and feel, the Vigilante has two clips included which are either a realistic six shot clip or an overkill ten shot clip because why waste all that space in a clip when you can accommodate more BBs for more functionality right? While Crosman isn’t going for any awards in the replica department especially with that unrealistic disk that holds the BBs and a molded revolver magazine, not only does the Vigilante fail in emulating the mechanical function of a real revolver but also fails to look like one even just on the first glance.
Looks aside, the CO2 canister is set to deliver the .117 caliber BB at 435 feet per second and keep it on a straight trajectory thanks to a rifled steel barrel which is a welcome feature that offers a very dramatic increase in performance over standard smoothbore plastic barrels.
Daisy 9804 15-242 Hunting Air Pistol
If you didn’t find the cheap Daisy Powerline 340 appealing, then maybe the Daisy 9804 15-242 Air Pistol will pique your interest. This pistol ditches the spring loaded mechanism of the Powerline 340 in favor a powerful CO2 canister powered chamber allowing you to blow past the 340 feet per second of the Powerline with the Daisy Air Pistol’s 500 feet per second max velocity.
This pistol is feature packed with subtle details such as an ergonomic grip, smooth matte finish, and a generous amount of ballast to make the pistol feel good in the hand as well as keep it stable when aiming. Despite the compact size, the gun houses a large 21 round capacity magazine along with the gas canister inside the grip. The sights are fixed but calibrated with the barrel, so it delivers great accuracy out of the box. Lastly, as a great feature, the Air Pistol uses a rifled steel barrel to introduce spin to the BB and give it more power and accuracy.
Branded as a hunting pistol, the 500 feet per second power of this gun is good enough to use for light game fowl or use in clay shooting as well as your typical target practice.
While not for kids, air pistols can be fun and entertaining provided you have the right safety gear such as goggles and thick padded clothing to protect yourself from self-inflicted injury or accidents when handling such items.
With that said, when you want to get your hands on an air pistol, you have a broad range of items. If you’re planning on using it for recreation at home, you don’t need expensive air guns, even a simple yet accurate spring loaded gun is enough for this purpose; though a CO2 air gun at a decent price will also be great as it delivers excellent feel. If you’re looking to get some airsoft experience, then the air guns with higher prices will be the practical choice as it offers more features and more potential for upgrades or accessories. Always remember that safety will always be a concern when it comes to handling firearms, air-powered or otherwise.