Your airsoft rifle is great, but you know…it can be a bit of a pain. That’s especially true in close quarters battle situations. You can try to hug that corner, but when you peek to fire, you’re going to show a lot more of yourself. Sling that bulky rifle, draw your pistol and you’re ready for those CQB situations. Now you’ve got another decision to make. By the end of this article, you’ll have an answer to the airsofter’s lifelong question: which gun to get?
Short On Time? Here Is The Bullet List:
- Best Compact Airsoft Pistol: We-Tech Bulldog Compact
- Best Airsoft Beretta M9: KJW Full Metal PTP M9
- Best Airsoft CO² 1911: Elite Force 1911 Tac
- Best Airsoft CO² Sig Sauer: Cybergun Sig Sauer P226 X-Five
- Best Ambidextrous Airsoft Pistol: KWA H&K 45
- Best Glock-Like Airsoft Pistol: KWA Adaptive Training Pistol
- Best Suppressor-Ready Airsoft Pistol: ASG CZ P-09
- Best Overall Airsoft Pistol: KJW Full Metal 1911 Hi-CAPA
**Below are our more detailed reviews. Click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
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- Lookin Sweet! 4 Best Airsoft Revolvers 2018 [Spin It & Run]
- Got A Sidearm? 6 Best CO2 Airsoft Pistols 2018 [Get Backup!]
Related Buyers Guides:
Why Get an Airsoft Pistol?
The Tactical Option
The tactical option to swap to a pistol is invaluable. A good sidearm helps you prevail in close-up firefights. You expose less of your body when you peek to fire with a pistol compared to when using a rifle. If you’re an airsoft sniper, a sidearm will be an essential piece of your kit. Your long-range specialty is great, but you’ll be almost useless if the enemy closes. With a pistol, you’ll be ready to take that fight.
If you want to give it a shot, you can even choose to leave your rifle in the staging area. Try playing a game with just your sidearm. Those can be a lot of fun. You have to think about your shots before you take them. Your pistol won’t outshoot a rifle at medium to long range. However, you get a lot of mobility. With your pistol and just a few magazines, you can play like Tom Cruise or James Bond.
Easy on the Wallet
An airsoft pistol is certainly not an essential piece for a beginner. If you’re just starting out, you’d be better served with an airsoft rifle. With it, you’ll start to learn the basics of airsoft. That said, high-quality pistols are less expensive than high-quality rifles. If you want a relatively inexpensive option to try out airsoft, a pistol may be for you. You’re not going to get the same performance out of your sidearm, but you will be able to check out airsoft without burning your life savings.
What Are Some Limitations of Airsoft Pistols?
Airsoft Rifles Outshoot Pistols
Out of the box, your airsoft pistol will not outperform a rifle. It will take a lot of money and time to even make it match a rifle. That’s the thing, though. A pistol is not supposed to outplay a rifle. Both are tools for different tasks. It’s like asking an Allen wrench to tighten a Phillips head screw. It can’t be done, but that’s not the tool’s fault. You want the tool to do something it wasn’t made to do. A pistol has strengths and weaknesses just as a rifle does.
Another setback for airsoft pistols is their magazine capacity. A regular magazine typically holds 12 to 15 rounds. Compare that to the capacity of rifles, which can have 450 rounds before you need to reload. You won’t be able to suppress an angle with your pistol because of this.
Only Shines in Close Quarters
You also sacrifice accuracy and range. With your short barrel, the projectile won’t travel as far. You definitely won’t snipe another player with your sidearm. Anyone in close range should be easy enough to hit. Still, with practice and some hop-up adjustment, you’d be surprised with how far your pistol can reach.
Complicated Upgrading Process
Upgrade options for some sidearms can also be limited. The parts in pistols are usually not universal. In general, this means there will be less aftermarket support for your sidearm. That doesn’t mean there are no options. Just that there are fewer options.
Compared to electric guns, gas airsoft pistols can be rather finicky. If you don’t know how to take care of one, you may have purchased a cool looking money pit. Basic maintenance goes a long way and it’s easy to learn. Your airsoft retailer will have silicone oil, unjamming rods and inner-barrel swabs. Learn to take the slide off of your gun and lubricate the moving parts and the seals after every outing. Apply the lubricant to your magazines on the fill and percussion valves and the seals, too. Your wallet will thank you for it.
Typically, airsoft pistol magazines are more expensive. That’s because they’re more complex than any AEG’s hi- and mid-capacity magazines. Those only have fasteners, springs, and gears inside. Nothing complicated. A gas magazine, though, can have those things as well as valves, rubber seals, and gas chambers. You need to take extra care of those magazines, too. Gas magazines are more delicate than AEG mags.
How to Choose an Airsoft Pistol
Resilience and Reliability
The most important question you need to answer is about durability. Is my new airsoft pistol going to last? That isn’t an easy question to answer. Some manufacturers have reputations for creating solid equipment. Some are known for making cheap knock-offs. Still, along any assembly line, you’ll find items that fall through the cracks of quality control. We call them “lemons.” Even if you’ve chosen a brand you know to be of high quality, your pistol can (and probably will) break down. This brings us to another of our considerations. Can you fix it? You’ll want a piece that has easy to find replaceable parts.
Stock Performance and Upgrades
What about performance? Out of the box, you’ll want something with built-in accuracy and power. But remember: muzzle velocity does not equal accuracy. You’ll definitely want something with a hop-up unit. Any pistol without one is going to be less accurate. You won’t be able to adjust the accuracy, either. What if you want to make what you’ve purchased better? You’ll want to pick a pistol with aftermarket support. If you choose the right model, you’ll have a wide choice of cosmetic upgrades. More importantly, you can upgrade things under the hood. This can be a complicated process. Remember that you can extend the barrels of most airsoft pistols to get a minor boost in accuracy and FPS.
Green Gas or CO²?
Do you want your pistol to run on green gas or CO²? There aren’t many differences between the two systems. Still, airsofters swear by their gas of choice. CO² works at higher pressures, which means more FPS, but cause more wear and tear on the internals. If you want your green gas gun to use CO², you will need to upgrade it. Even then, it’s not the best idea.
You should also consider the price. In airsoft, as with many things, you get what you pay for. While you should always look for the best deal, it may not be wise to buy anything that retails less than $100. At the same time, don’t assume the pistol priced closer to $200 is going to be the best choice. Again, look for manufacturers that you know to make quality gear.
After that, there are a few miscellaneous considerations. If you’re a lefty, you’ll need ambidextrous controls. Do you want your pistol to be big, heavy and full metal? There are options for that. If you own a specific firearm, you may want to buy its airsoft counterpart. Is there a country, police force or action hero you want to mimic? Are you obsessed with a specific model? Consider giving more weight to those choices.
The Best Airsoft Pistols on the Market
Best Compact Airsoft Pistol:
The We-Tech Bulldog is definitely a good piece if you want to go for a super spy look. Many airsofters will tell you to stay away from We-Tech guns. But that’s because their older entries into the airsoft market gave them a bad reputation. The manufacturer has stepped up their game with the Bulldog. It mimics the PX4 Storm in design, so if you’re a fan of Berettas, this one’s for you. It has a strong build quality with its polymer lower frame and aluminum slide. The metal on polymer gives it a hard kick for airsoft pistols. The Bulldog Compact runs on green gas. Unlike many pistols, it comes in three colors: matte black, chrome and dark earth.The low FPS of the We-Tech Bulldog Compact means you’ll be less effective at range. Again, pistols aren’t meant to outrange anything. They are built for CQB, and the compact design of the Bulldog excels there.
- Ambidextrous safety and hammer decocker
- Ergonomic pistol grip for comfortable handling
- 20 rounds to the magazine
- Built-in fiber optic front and rear sights
- The price
- 250 FPS
- Non-ambidextrous mag and slide release
- Doesn’t handle BBs heavier than .20 grams well
- Short railed frame restricts accessory options
Best Airsoft Beretta M9:
If you’re a fan of the Beretta M9, you’ll want to consider this pistol from Kuan Ju Works. KJW is a Taiwanese company that only makes gas blowback guns. Because of this, you can expect strong competitors from them in the airsoft pistol world. Probably the best feature of this gun is it can take both CO² and green gas. You just need to buy the right magazine. The internals will still be under more stress from the higher-pressure CO². Still, it is manufactured to deal with that stress. And KJW is one of the brands that has aftermarket support. The low gas efficiency comes from the KJW M9’s heavyweight slide. As far as realism goes, you can’t get much better than this. Without the magazine in it, the heft of the gun is close to that of the real thing. It functions like the firearm, it looks like the firearm and even takes down like the firearm.
- Deep 25 round magazine stock
- Strong 300-340 FPS
- Loads of aftermarket support
- Lots of replacement parts available
- Low profile painted white dot iron sights
- Low gas efficiency
Best Airsoft CO² 1911:
If you love the true American Classic that is the M1911 but want a CO² gun, look no farther than the Elite Force 1911 Tac. This one comes in two color options: an aggressive black slide and dark earth frame or gray with black grips. The 1911 Tac functions like the real thing with both its slide lock and grip safety. Because of this, it makes a good starter gun. It is heavily reviewed on many websites and they are almost all glowing. Owners talk about strong build quality, suppressor-ready outer barrel, and accuracy out of the box. The CO² cartridge goes into the magazine. This makes changing gas more complicated in a pinch. You can avoid trapping yourself without a gun if you learn how many shots a new cartridge fires. While 14 rounds is still a good amount, the best pistols usually have more rounds ready. If you’d like, there are 27 round extended magazines available. And who doesn’t like the battle worn look?
- Two color options
- Fully faithful 1911 functionality
- Tactile grips for better control
- 345 FPS
- Low 14 round magazine
- Paint chipping
Best Airsoft CO² Sig Sauer:
If you’re diehard fan of the Sig Sauer, you’ll love this P226 from Cybergun. Its trademarks are faithful to that of the firearm. You can expect strong performance and accuracy from this sidearm out of the box. It is also accurate out to 50 feet, which is impressive for a pistol of this size. Unlike some airsoft pistols, its safety snaps into place to let you know when it’s safe. The sights are high visibility compared to some of its counterparts. It also has a railed frame for adding lights and lasers. While the magazine’s gas is lacking, that’s because it has a 25 rounds capacity. And while I like trademarks as much as the next airsofter, I prefer my guns to perform. Looking good is a bonus feature.
- 320-360 FPS
- Deep 25 rounds magazine
- Double- and single-action trigger
- Low gas efficiency
- Painted-on trademarks wear off easily
Best Ambidextrous Airsoft Pistol:
If you’re left-handed, you know life is already a struggle. Things just aren’t built for you. And you get ink on the back of your hand when you write with pens. Driving stick is that much harder to learn, too. Thankfully, KWA thought of you when they made the airsoft version of the Heckler and Koch USP 45. The biggest attraction to this pistol is its ambidextrous features. You’ll find the slide catch and magazine release on both sides of the pistol. Even if you’re not a lefty, you can still choose to fire left handed with this pistol. Even if it weren’t ambidextrous, the green gas KWA HK45 is a strong sidearm for your airsoft needs. Like its real-world counterpart, it has a metal slide and polymer frame. It also has a decocking mechanism for added safety. With its lower frame, you’re ready to attach lights and lasers. Pricing closer to $200, the KWA HK45 is pretty expensive for a pistol. Still, it’s well worth the price if you’re tired of dealing with airsoft guns that aren’t made for you.
- 340-350 FPS
- Deep 28 round magazine
- White tri-dot iron sights
- Suppressor ready
- The price
Best Glock-Like Airsoft Pistol:
True airsoft Glocks are hard to find on the American market. So the next best thing is to find something that’s Glock-like. Enter the KWA ATP. Form and function combine with this pistol. Its curved back plate is adjustable, and the wolf-grey lower polymer frame gives it a unique tactical look. The gun runs on green gas and it has a respectable 23 rounds in its magazine. KWA designed the ATP with law-enforcement training in mind, so it has high standards. It has a railed polymer frame for accessories. The metal slide means you get both rigorous strength and a tough kick. This is a respectable choice for a sidearm, and your best bet for something like the common duty pistol. One of its biggest assets is its aftermarket support. Upgrades will be easy to find and install.
- 340-350 FPS
- Tri-dot iron sights.
- Ergonomic curved pistol grip
- Strong aftermarket support
- Not really a Glock
- The price
Best Suppressor-Ready Airsoft Pistol:
This ASG green gas powered pistol is a strong choice if you’re looking for something ready to accept a pistol suppressor. The reason you want a suppressor for your gun is so you can extend the inner barrel without the headache of replacing the outer barrel. The pistol will also complete your Russian loadout. Putting it next to other pistols, you’ll notice it’s lengthy. This helps to make the pistol more accurate than others on the market. The ambidextrous slide safety helps if you’re left handed. The pistol is faithful to its firearm counterpart. The grip is also thin, making it a unique feel in the hand. The two-tone look of the pistol makes it stand out. Its three-dot iron sights make acquiring and holding a target easier. This pistol fires a little hot. Some may see this as a drawback, especially at indoor fields. You can lower the FPS by using heavier weight BBs. This also helps your BBs maintain accuracy over longer distances.
- Strong 350-370 FPS
- Deep 35 round magazine
- Smooth trigger pull
- Low gas efficiency
Best Overall Airsoft Pistol:
Yes, this one’s another 1911. But that’s because this one is special because it is a clone of the Tokyo Marui line of Hi-CAPAs. That’s short for high capacity. Because of the popularity of TM’s Hi-CAPA line, many manufacturers have tried to replicate it. KJW does it best. Its classic tactical look comes with black and green frames. The Hi-CAPA has loads of aftermarket support. You can change almost everything in this pistol. You will find both cosmetic and internal parts for this 1911. And, with its low price-point compared to Tokyo Marui pistols, you’ll have more money to make those upgrades. As if strong aftermarket support wasn’t enough, the KJW Hi-CAPA takes both green gas and CO² magazines. You have the choice between both gas systems. You’ll have to decide for yourself which is best for your kit and playstyle. It’s hard to find true problems with this gun. It’s that good. It is a little on the heavy side, but that contributes to this gun’s realism.
- 340-370 FPS
- Deep 32 round magazine
- Low price
- Stellar aftermarket support
- Rugged full metal construction
Best Airsoft Pistol Final Thoughts
Hopefully, this list was helpful to you. We’ve outlined several strong choices for airsoft pistols making your decision easier. When you can better measure your enemy’s distance in feet than yards, there is nothing better to have in your hands than a pistol. Corner peek-and-shoot duels will be easier when your gun is light and small. Your enemy will beat you with range if they have their rifle. But you will have unrivaled mobility with your new airsoft pistol. You can upgrade most of the pistols on this list in some way. Only the KJW 1911 has access to the popular Hi-CAPA line. Nothing beats the ability to make a gun unrecognizable from its stock form. You can truly make this one your own. It is the best way to enter the Hi-CAPA world in the American market. It will not disappoint. The only thing left to do is train. Practice loading drawing and loading your sidearm so readying it is that much faster. Dial in your hop-up to line up those long-distance shot. With an airsoft pistol in your holster, you’ll be ready to dominate in the close encounters that happen all too often in airsoft.
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