Today is Good Friday…one of my favorite days of the year, and one of the days that is most important to me : )
This week, I’m going to talk about using airsoft trainer pistols as a training aid.
But first, if you haven’t claimed your copies of my new book, “Urban Survival Guide”, I encourage you to check it out by going to www.UrbanSurvivalGuide.com/amazon.php . I’m offering a great bonus for people who order multiple copies, and I’ve SIMPLIFIED the offer considerably since yesterday. So if you checked it out and it made your eyes roll into the back of your head, you weren’t alone. Sorry about that. Please forgive me for being a recovering engineer…Sometimes I just can’t supress my Rube Goldberg tendencies : )
On to the meat of today’s newsletter…Using airsoft trainers as a firearms training aid.
As ammo prices have shot through the roof, I’ve started doing more and more of my training with airsoft Police Tactical Pistols (PTP or Trainers). These are a class of airsoft guns that are made of metal, are the same size and weight as their real counterparts, and have the same controls, including safeties, slide locks, mag releases, and they even break down the same. In other words, these aren’t the clear plastic toys you buy at Target.
I’ll be brief today, but here are some of the big plusses and drawbacks of using airsoft trainiers:
Plusses: + (just the basics)
Dry fire on steroids: It’s important to note that airsoft training is not a replacement for real shooting. You NEED to feel the recoil, hear the boom, know the feel of taking up slack on your trigger and the feel of trigger reset on your real firearms. A healthier and more accurate way to look at airsoft training is as dry fire training on steroids that happens to be a lot of fun.
Cost: High quality bbs are less than $20 for 4000 rounds, or just under 1/2 cent per round. You have to add gas to that cost, but it’s still less than a penny per round. Trainer Glocks, 1911s, etc. cost around $150 apiece and extra mags are $30-$40 apiece.
Frequency of training: I am able to shoot 100-200 rounds of airsoft EVERY DAY because the time/cost barrier of training is so low. I still shoot quite a bit of real lead, but I don’t have the time to shoot every day with my real firearms. Normally, when I go shooting, I shoot more rounds at one time to justify the travel time and range fees, but the frequency that I am able to train with airsoft allows me to build up and retain muscle memory much faster than shooting lead alone.
Variety of training: I practice my grip, presentation, sight acquisition, transitioning between targets, reloads, movement, odd angles, one handed, off hand, cornering, drawing form concealment while seated, and more…some of which just aren’t possible at most ranges.
Simplicity of training: I don’t have to drive to a range, pay for time, drive home, and clean my guns…I just get up from my desk and take pushup/shooting breaks throughout the day. That’s not possible for most people, but you can shoot down a hallway in your house or in your garage.
Fun: I could do most of what I do with airsoft with snap caps and dry fire drills…but I never did dry fire training as much as I do airsoft training because airsoft training is FUN. It’s fun to hit targets, make holes, and knock things over, even if it is on a smaller scale than with a real gun.
Size & Weight: Since the airsoft trainers are the same size and weight of their real counterparts, you can use the same holsters that you normally use.
Social Proof: The Japanese steel target team trains on airsoft all year, comes to the US and shoots lead for just 2 weeks before meets, and places well every year. Several US military units and police departments are training with airsoft as well.
Recoil/Flinch: Shooting airsoft will expose and cure you of anticipating trigger break & recoil. While big dips of the barrel may be hidden with real recoil, it shows up immediately with airsoft. There’s no need for it with airsoft and you can train your mind to not flinch with a few hundred rounds of airsoft.
Training wifes/kids/newbies to shooting: Since it’s fun, there’s no boom, smell, or recoil, airsoft is a great way to introduce people to shooting or to start teaching advanced techniques to current shooters. Since you’re eliminating the recoil and the boom, you can focus on fundamentals until they are learned and THEN transition to low caliber and defensive caliber firearms.
It’s a toy: Face it…airsoft is a way to compensate for not having enough time or money to shoot the real thing as much as you’d like. It will never be as good as a real firearm. I resisted airsoft, tried it, and now have embrased it as a way to get a lot more trigger time. That being said, it’s better to get a lot of trigger time with an airsoft trainer than no trigger time with the gun you can’t afford or find the time to shoot.
Lack of recoil: The airsoft trainers do have recoil, but it’s nothing like a real firearm. This means that you can’t REALLY practice multiple shots because it’s much easier to reacquire your site picture after each shot. What you can do is transition between targets, shooting each one once, OR use airsoft training to develop your speed and focusing on followthrough (reaquiring your site picture) after each shot.
Dropping mags: Airsoft trainer mags have gas cylinders in them…this makes them heavy and causes them to break when you drop them on hard surfaces. You basically need padded carpet wherever you intend on dropping mags during reloads. To clarify, picture a real magazine…it’s heavy when it’s full and light when it’s empty because most of the weight comes from the bullets. With airsoft, the little plastic bbs weigh .2 grams, so the weight changes very little as it goes from full to empty.
Authentic trigger feel: While the double action triggers and single action triggers work as they should, they just don’t feel like a real trigger. The tension builds up different, the break isn’t as precise as with a real firearm, and the reset isn’t quite as pronounced. That being said, the double actions that I have are good enough to practice drawing up the slack during the extension phase of my presentation and all of the airsoft trainers that I have shot can be used to do trigger reset drills.
Precision: With the airsoft trainer handguns, you’re not going to have much precision. My We Tech 1911 will shoot 1″-3″ groups at 25 feet out of the box. My KJ Glock is slightly less accurate. Both can be modified to shoot more accurately, but that hasn’t been a concern for me. Airsoft trainer rifles are another matter entirely. My Top Tech M4 will hold 8″ groups out to 80-100 yards when there is no wind.
Safety: There is a distinct possibility that you will learn bad safety habits with airsoft. Don’t. You must treat airsoft guns like the real firearms they represent. Never point an airsoft trainer at an object you don’t want to destroy (unless you are doing force on force training, which is beyond the scope of this article). Always use proper muzzle/safety discipline so that when you are handling real firearms you won’t have any bad habits creep in.
I welcome any questions you have on this. Just let me know by commenting below.
Next week, one of the things I’m going to talk about is how to build a portable, collapsable airsoft target stand/backstop that will take full size targets that you can make in under an hour for less than $30.
Must read articles: Dr. Leonard Breure (retired Army and Police Officer) has written 4 hard hitting articles this week that are posted at http://secretsofurbansurvival.com/member.php?557-lmbreure including:
“A Call To Arms”
“An Open Letter to Our Elected Representatives”
“The Warrior Way” < Great article
and “We Want America Back!”
I encourage you to go over and read them. Leonard has a treasure chest of real world experience and doesn’t hesitate to share what he’s learned over the years.
Have a blessed Easter weekend,