Components of an Airsoft Pistol

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Airsoft Pistol Basics!

Airsoft is a remarkable and technologically advanced modern combat sport pitting teams and individuals against one another, tasked with capturing objectives, completing missions and eliminating opponents from the game by engaging them with electric, spring or gas-powered airsoft guns! Anyone who isn’t too busy having a great time in the world of airsoft could take a step back and realize just how amazing the technology that drives modern airsoft really is, from battery powered fully automatic rifles and air powered pistols to lightweight, comfortable and safe airsoft goggles and face protection like mesh masks! But all that technology, from airsoft guns to batteries and gas sources can be a little daunting for new airsoft players young or old, or for parents attempting to learn and understand airsoft should their child ask to play. Don’t let airsoft gear or high-tech airsoft equipment with all its terminology overwhelm you! Valken is happy to guide new airsoft players into the world of airsoft, and that means checking off the basics, like the anatomy and components of an airsoft pistol!

Airsoft Pistols

A modern airsoft pistol is a remarkable piece of modern technology! Constructed in most cases to look and handle like a firearm, with many airsoft pistols licensing the looks, controls and even logos from firearms to ratchet up the realism! However, unlike the most popular styles of airsoft rifles, that get their power to blast airsoft BB’s from rechargeable airsoft batteries, the latest airsoft pistols rely on air power to push airsoft BB’s down the barrel towards the bad guys! So let’s go over the basics of an airsoft pistol to help anyone new to airsoft learn what it all means!

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1 – No airsoft pistol is going to do anyone much good on the airsoft battlefield without ammo, and that means airsoft BB’s. Available in biodegradable and non-biodegradable types and in various weights to fine-tune feeding and performance, airsoft pistols are fed airsoft BB’s from an internal magazine much like the firearms upon which they’re modeled and will generally hold around 20 airsoft bb’s when fully loaded.

2 – Speaking of an airsoft pistol magazine, that’s where the airsoft pistol is fed both its ammo, the aforementioned airsoft BB’s, and the air power to shoot them downrange in the case of gas-powered airsoft pistols. An airsoft pistol magazine, in the case of a gas-powered airsoft pistol, will contain both airsoft BB’s and either a 12gram CO2 cartridge or green gas depending on the pistol model. Once loaded with both BB’s and whatever air source is required, the magazine is then inserted into airsoft gun’s grip!

3 – Speaking of that air source, modern airsoft pistols are powered by 12gram CO2 cartridges or airsoft green gas. Blogs, articls and even books could be written comparing and contrasting the two different types of airsoft pistols and the type of power they use, but basics remain the same. Airsoft green gas is an affordable, safe mixture of propane and silicone oil that helps lubricate internal seals and pistol components while providing power to shoot airsoft BB’s and, in the case of GBB (gas blow back) airsoft pistols, reciprocate the pistol’s slide. 12gram CO2 cartridges provide that power using, you guessed it, CO2 rather than green gas, in most cases providing increased performance and higher air pressure at the expensive of requiring more maintenance to ensure seals and surfaces are properly lubricated for reliable performance. Rather than filling an airsoft pistol’s magazine with green gas from a can before a game, shooters using 12gram cartridges can simply insert a cartridge into the airsoft pistol’s magazine.

4 – An airsoft pistol, like its real-world, real-steel counterpart, goes bang when the trigger is pulled. Most airsoft pistols are semi-automatic, meaning that the trigger must be pulled to fire one airsoft BB, and then released before pulling again to fire another. Like any piece of equipment that shoots a projectile of any kind, a shooter should never put their finger onto the trigger of an airsoft pistol unless they’re certain of where the airsoft gun is pointed and then only when they and everyone else is wearing proper safety equipment like eye and face protection.

5 – Modern airsoft pistols and airsoft revolvers are aimed using a combination of a front and rear sight. The front sight, most often a simple blade and often made more visible with the addition of a white dot, is the component of an airsoft pistol a shooter will wish to focus on when aiming their airsoft pistol at a target and it is located just above the pistol’s muzzle.  

6 – Many modern airsoft pistols and even airsoft revolvers offer accessory rails on the bottom of the frame in front of the trigger guard, or underneath a revolver’s barrel. This accessory rail can be used to make tactical upgrades to the airsoft pistol, by adding a pistol light to brighten up dark areas while aiming, or a laser that will project a dot onto a target!  

7 – To properly aim an airsoft pistol and have any chance to hit a target, the front sight and rear sight must be used in-unison. Most airsoft pistols offer fixed rear sights, though some are delivered with adjustable rear sights allowing shooters to fine tun their airsoft pistol to hit targets at whatever range they desire to engage. A rear pistol sight is generally a notch, often made easier to align with two dots or other designs, that make it easier to quickly place the front sight into the notch, between the rear sight’s two dots, to create a proper sight picture to send an airsoft BB accurately towards the target! That’s where practice at the shooting range comes in!

8 – An airsoft pistol’s slide is the top portion of an automatic pistol that houses the barrel and other operating components. Sights sit on top of the slide and the airsoft pistol’s barrel is contained within. In the case of gas blowback airsoft pistols, the pistol’s slide will reciprocate or cycle, meaning it will be rapidly slung backwards when the pistol is fired, and then move forward where it will lock into battery, ready to fire again, like its real-steel component’s slide would cycle when the pistol is fired. In the case of a firearm, this action is necessary to eject a spent shell case and reload the pistol for another shot. Gas blowback (GBB) airsoft pistols mimic this action to ratchet up the realism!

9 – The barrel of an airsoft pistol is the device that guides each airsoft BB towards the target when it’s fired. Many modern airsoft pistols offer barrels with threaded muzzles, allowing users to upgrade their airsoft pistol with mock suppressors or other devices for a more tactical look. In the United States, airsoft pistols are differentiated from firearms by an orange muzzle device affixed to the tip of the barrel.

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Like any other machine, a modern airsoft pistol is the sum of many parts, working together to create a remarkable, high-tech device capable of shooting airsoft BB’s at 300 feet per second or more, as fast as the trigger is pulled, with accuracy and reliable performance! Understanding the basics components of an airsoft pistol and how they work together will help any new airsoft operator master their equipment and have a great time enjoying airsoft safely!

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