Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Brandishing your airsoft guns

This isn’t another lecture about not brandishing your airsoft guns in public. This is going to be a pretty short article, but I think rather informative, so stick with me for a few minutes.

Like many airsoft players, I enjoy real firearms as well. When it comes down to it, airsoft tries to mimic real fire arms in whatever ways possible; weight, dimensions, and action. Let’s look at the AR-15 series. The airsoft equivalent has a charging handle, ejection port, and mag release just like the real steel. Now they don’t all function, but they are there and mimic it. Take a look at this article on Arnies Airsoft about the Sig Arms training GBB. Either Sig Arms thinks there is a market to sell to airsofters, or they realize there is enough realism in airsoft to use it as a training aid. And that’s what I’m getting at today.

A good while back I went to the gun range for the first time. I was looking at buying a small hand gun for self protection and home protection. I wanted to try a particular model that a friend of mine owned as it seemed to fit the bill. Eighty rounds of .40 caliber ammo later, I realized that I couldn’t should for anything. Okay, I wasn’t that bad, but I wasn’t that good either. Warp to a year and a half ago.

My wife just bought me my first airsoft gun. Yes, a UTG shotgun is what started off my hobby. Shortly thereafter I bought a UTG MP5, as it was cheap and decent quality. Then, about a year ago now, I bought my first gas blow back, a KWA USP .45. Now I’ve put several thousands of rounds through this airsoft gun, and along the way came to the conclusion that if I nailed the basics on gun handling and usage with this, I should be able to carry it over to a real firearm with little learning curve. I practiced my grip, draw, lining up my sights, two handed, off-handed, and strong handed shooting, and target acquisition. Warp to father’s day weekend.

My wife wanted to have some fun on father’s day and took me to the local range to fire off several different guns for fun, and to help me make a decision on what I want to purchase next. The guns I shot were as follows: Springfield XD 4″ Service .40, Glock 27, Smith & Wesson M&P .40, and a Baretta M92. How well did I shoot? Remarkably. Groupings at near 45 feet of about 1″ at best 3-4″ at worst. I even fired the mini Glock (the Glock 27) strong handed shooting 5 rounds in succession quickly at over 30 feet and grouped my shots at about 2 inches. That is the same gun I used the first time I went to the range and could barely keep my shots on the target. I had better trained my hands how to react to the gun firing, how to properly squeeze the trigger (not yank it), how to recover from recoil, how to use my front sight correctly, and how to properly reacquire my target quickly for follow up shots through the use of my airsoft gas blow back gun over months of practice.

Now I’m in noway saying that the use of a gas blow back airsoft pistol is a substitute for practicing with a real firearm. What I am saying is that an airsoft gun can make for a decent training platform for certain exercises that otherwise could only be done at a range, and other that couldn’t even be done there. For example, at home you could practice your grip, lining up your sights, firing follow up shots, and target acquisition. If you’re lucky to live in a state that allows concealed carry for firearms, then the greatest thing you could practice is drawing your firearm from a holster, acquiring your target, and firing with follow up shots. This something most ranges don’t allow, but is vital in a defensive survival situation. Yes I understand the clack and bounce of an airsoft gun is nothing like a real firearm’s bang and recoil, but it does help train your body’s natural reaction.

So, firearm owners, maybe you should look into airsoft? Airsoft owners who own firearms… maybe you should spend more time practicing with your gas blow backs as if it were your actual firearm?

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