Just wanted to amplify the recent contribution on Airsoft which focused mainly on Airsoft battle rifle emulations.
Our concealed carry instructor had mention Airsoft handguns as CQB/indoor training and drill options. In particular he thought well of the “GreenGas” Blowback emulations of semi-auto handguns. I filed this under someday and didn’t begin to investigate Airsoft handguns until the recent spike in ammo prices.
The propellant, Green Gas, is propane with a bit of silicon oil added for a lubricant. Adapters are available so you may use larger (lantern and torch size) propane tanks which are more economical.You can purchase silicone oil separately and add a drop to the intake before you fill in this fashion. Airsoft pistol magazines in addition to holding the ammo have a tank to hold the propellant gas. I looked in particular at green gas “blow back” pistols. (With these, the slide cycles with each trigger pull.) The action is very realistic while the projectile is non-lethal. Noise levels indoors are tolerable without protection unless you are in a very live hard surfaced room; outdoors noise is not stealth but negligible.
There are some excellent handgun emulations. Some manufactures have licensed emulations of their handguns to airsoft manufacture. These include trademark logos and other details . Others have merely looked the other way as long as the emulation is fairly generic and avoids logos, trade names and proprietary features. Glock has been extremely aggressive in suppressing any appearance, including descriptions, that a particular pistol is “Glock-like.” You will however find some models of a G 19, 17, 16 or something pistols available that look very like an un-named 9mm handgun from a certain manufacturer. Mine came in a plain cardboard box (turned out to be the original Taiwanese box refolded inside out). BTW most all airsoft manufacturers are in Taiwan.
A major pistol manufacturer is KWA/KSC reputed to produce reliable high quality airsoft pistols. (From what I have been able to discern they are in many cases the same company. That is, there is no discernible difference in like airsoft pistols labeled KWA or KSC manufacture.)
I purchased a KSC, “G” from AirSplat.com and a KWA M9 PTP from Pyramydair.com (the latter is a Beretta 92F in all but name). The “G” features the safety trigger that Glock is known for. Both pistols take down in the same fashion as their gunpowder counterparts. They weigh the same within a fraction. This includes the magazines which weighs the same as a fully loaded standard version of the respective model. The Beretta clone is all metal and the “G” is plastic and metal in the same places as its “no-namesake”.
Since the form factor is reasonably identical, I can use my normal Glock carry holster which is leather IWB but holstering tends to cycle the slide unless I hold my thumb on the rear. The slide spring required in these devices is necessarily weaker than that of a full blow cousin and the firm grasp of this holster is a bit much for it. I have other holsters (who doesn’t have a drawer full?) but I’d rather train with what I normally wear. Thumb on the rear of the slide or the sight does not seem likely to lead to adverse consequences.
Recommend at least one additional mag when you purchase a pistol (ensures compatibility). They are not inexpensive as they contain a propellant pressure tank, valves etc in addition to ammo feed. The mags are heavy (emulating fully loaded mags) and they have touchy parts… Therefore, you do not want to drop them on the floor, rocks etc. doing mag change drills.
These devices are a great training aid within the limits previously mentioned by JWR. (Namely: Keeping the correct mindset on cover versus concealment and effective range.)
Disclaimer: I have no relationship with the previous mentioned suppliers. I chose them based on comments I found on the net that indicated they were reliable. They filled my orders but I have had no occasion to test their customer service beyond that simple relationship. – Dollardog