Forced To Stay Home. Have Fun Shooting An Air Pistol!
If you’re forced to stay home because of COVID-19, Coronavirus issues, it could be that shooting an air pistol is a great, new, fun way to pass the time. And it’s not expensive…
As air pistols have low power and short range, they can be shot indoors at very close range. Make the targets small and you still can have a great shooting challenge.
For this reason, Hard Air Magazine yesterday started publishing a series of posts helping you to choose the best air pistol. The first one looked at WW1 replica air pistols. There will be more HAM “best air pistol” posts coming in the near future.
Below. You MUST wear shooting glasses if you are either a shooter or spectator.
Shooting an air pistol at home can be fun if you’re already an air gunner. Or, if you’re into centerfire shooting but forced to stay home, discovering the fun of air pistol shooting could be a whole new world of interest for you!
Many of the highly-realistic replica air pistols now available are extremely accurate copies of their centerfire equivalents. Weight, size, handling and even field stripping can be nigh-on identical to the firearm they copy. There’s a huge range available…
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CO2 Air Pistols
Blowback action even provides the effect of recoil and slide movement when shooting. Sure, it’s not so extreme as with a firearm, but it’s still there and makes for a surprisingly realistic shooting experience.
Air pistols can also be used for some types of firearms training. Breathing, sighting, drawing from a holster and other aspects of the manual of arms can also be practiced – even without firing the air pistol!
SIG SAUER is one influential firearms company that has majored heavily on air pistols as a valid and useful tool for firearms training. These guys know what they’re talking about!
Many other firearms manufacturers also support this concept with air-powered versions of their models.
Because most air pistols are CO2-powered, they are relatively quiet and backyard-friendly. Maybe your neighbors will want to join-in the fun. In a small group, of course.
Below. 12 Gram CO2 cartridges are sold in multi-packs.
Air pistols are available online from major dealers like Airgun Depot. They’re also available from many Walmart stores and big box sporting good stores.
Most are powered by disposable 12 Gram CO2 cartridges. You’ll find then at the same place, together with pellets, BBs, shooting glasses and targets.
Air pistols are relatively quiet. So most people shoot them without any hearing protection. Ear defenders will probably not be needed.
Forced To Stay Home. BIG Requirement One. A Safe Range.
What you need, of course, is a safe place at home to shoot. For many of us, this can be the back yard. However, don’t forget to check and comply with local town, city and county ordinances that may prohibit airgun shooting outside. Be safe and be legal, too!
But even some indoor rooms can be made into a safe shooting area – the garage or basement spring immediately to mind.
Below. Lead pellets are usually sold in tins, like this…
Of course, every situation is different. However, major safety issues include ensuring that no-one can enter or cross your range unintentionally. Pets included!
You’ll also need to consider what will happen if you miss the target you’re shooting at. Yes, we all miss some times!
So make sure that there’s a safe, strong backstop area behind your target area.
Forced To Stay Home. BIG Requirement Two. A Pellet Or BB Trap.
Targets are easy to find. You can easily create your own using a computer and printer. Some can be downloaded from the Internet. Even hand-drawn paper targets can be great, too.
HAM strongly suggests that you do NOT shoot at any type of metal of other hard surface target, as we’ll find out a little lower in this story…
A big requirement is something to hold the target in place while you shoot at it. Often this is called a pellet trap. A Google search for this term will bring-up a ton of suggestions for home-build or ready-manufactured traps.
But here’s the most important thing. A pellet trap or hard target is for pellets. NOT BBs!!!!!
If your air pistol shoots BBs – any most of them do – you’ll need a dedicated BB target trap. Make a search for this on YouTube instead for some ideas. Here’s why…
Lead pellets tend to deform, squash and drop down when they hit any hard surface – the back of a pellet trap, for example.
However, the steel BBs fired by air pistols are steel spheres. These have a very strong tendency to bounce right back at you – fast – when they hit a hard surface. This can be extremely dangerous to the shooter and spectators.
This BB bounce-back risk is why you find indoor shooting ranges that accept even powerful centerfire pistols such as .45 ACP, mostly ban BB guns as being too dangerous!
Below. BBs are usually sold by the thousand in plastic bottles.
Dust Devils are a type of BB that disintegrate on hitting the target and do not bounce back.
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Air Venturi Dust Devil Frangible BBs, 1,500 ct. 0.177
Forced To Stay Home. BIG Requirement Three. Other Safety Precautions.
The first one is non-negotiable. you must wear shooting glasses!
Given the potential for ricochets and bouncing BBs at short range, shooting glasses are mandatory for all shooters and spectators when shooting an air pistol.
Below. This is a common type of pellet trap. Do NOT use it with steel BBs!
If you’re shooting a pellet-firing air pistol, be aware that most pellets are made of lead. Don’t eat them, put them in your mouth – or let your kids do this. And be sure to wash your hands properly afterwards.
Clean up pellets from the floor or anywhere where a domestic pet could find and ingest them.
Finally, remember to treat an air pistol with the same respect as you would any gun.
– Read the instructions fully and understand them.
– Handle it safely.
– Only load when you’re ready to fire at a target.
– Consider what could happen if you miss.
– If in doubt, don’t pull the trigger!
– Do not brandish the airgun or display it in any way that others could think it’s a firearm.
– Obey all and any laws relating to guns where you live.
– Finally, remember that airguns shoot steel BBs. These are not the same as the plastic BBs shot by airsoft guns.
So, if you’re forced to stay home because of COVID-19, Coronavirus issues, shooting an air pistol could be a whole new interest for you. Have fun, but always remember that safety is the top priority!
And when you’re not shooting, you’ll find a ton of interest by reading Hard Air Magazine’s daily airgun news and reviews stories…
Take care, keep washing your hands and be safe!