I am thinking about getting into air soft. I could set up a mini range inside my house. Seems like a good idea to get better at quickly drawling and firing, point shooting, and CQB shooting. How realistic are are BB C02 and air soft? Will it give me the muscle memory for a regular gun or is it a waist of money? Who makes the best models of guns for this?
How much are you looking to spend? For 100 bucks you can get a KJW or a WE, for roughly 140 bucks you can get a KWA. I wouldn't recommend spending any less. KJW and WE are the two budget brands, with KJW being the more reliable of the two. KWAs are quite reliable and well made, and seem to be a favorite for force-on-force training. They make probably the best Glock replicas out there.
Depending on the model and manufacturer, most airsoft guns will replicate the controls of their real steel counterparts, including dimensions of the grip and such. As such, you can put whatever grips you want on them. The only exceptions I know of are KJW P226s don't like real steel grips, WE 1911s sometimes have a little trouble fitting them, and KJW M9s might need a little stretching before Hogue grips will fit.
My KJW M9 had a real steel M92f trigger return spring in it (more durable), as well as Hogue grips and it sat comfortably in a Safariland 6004.
The gas blowback airsoft gun runs on the same basic principles as a firearm, except instead of a cartridge, the propellant comes from the magazine. But the slide still recoils, it still locks back when the magazine is empty, and most magazines are similar dimensions to their real steel versions, so a speed reload with airsoft is practice for real steel as well. All controls are located in the same place as you would find them on a real gun, and disassembly is often the same as well.
As far as shooting goes, the recoil is negligible. There's enough there to let you know you pulled the trigger, but in stock configuration there isn't much.
Accuracy is quite good, more than enough for shooting COM at any range you could manage in your house.
Most triggers will be similar to the real deal as well. All 1911s are single action, M9s, USPs, Glocks and Sigs are DA/SA.
Here's a quick vid I took when I owned a KJW M9 and a KWA G17. Slides don't lock back due to me disabling it. But as you can see, those targets are no problem to hit even when viewing through the camera and sort of half assing it.
<chuckles> I've been known to do it. Have some spackle ready; the higher powered gas pistols will dimple the heck out of your drywall.
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