Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Airsoft: school me.

I'm most familiar with airsoft long guns that are battery operated. I am dimly aware that airsoft handguns come in two flavors: spring-piston and 'green gas'-powered. All I know about the two is the former are cheap and the latter are... let's say "somewhat fussy".

I've thought that an airsoft clone of my actual CCW gun might be handy for certain uses, but all the airsoft 1911s that I’ve run into are either GI clones for kids that want to play Saving Private Ryan or double-stack STI 2011 knockoffs for kids that want to play IPSC superstar. I’ve yet to find a single-stack airsoft 1911 with a beavertail, extended thumb safety, and three-dot sights at the local gun show. (Of course, all the guns there looked a little chintzy anyway...)

27 comments:

taylor said...

Tam,

Most of the stuff your going to find at gun shows is truly junk. Its like anything...you have to buy quality and quality usually costs.

First off, if buying online stick to a reputable site. redwolfairsoft.com is located in hong kong, but they have been in business for years and are good to their customers. You do have to get the thing imported, but its not as big a deal as it sounds (mostly just nosebleed shipping that takes a month and they have to cover up the trademarked stuff on the guns).

In terms of brands, Tokyo Marui and Western Arms are both top-notch. WA is a bit higher grade and it really shows. More of the parts will be made of metal and supposedly you get a better "feel" out of the gun (in terms of weight, balance, recoil, etc). They also make their guns based on popular real-world brands like Para, kimber, Wilson Combat, and Colt (and I dont mean like generic "colt", I mean modeled after actual Colt models).

Heres a link to red wolf, filtered down for just Western Arms gas guns: http://www.redwolfairsoft.com/redwolf/airsoft/AdvanceSearchResult?sorting=statusAsc&sortNameFilter=&mainCatFilter=2&subCatFilter=54&showImage1=1&gallery1=1&paging=&search=true&submit2=&subCateChange=true&mainCateChange=true&showOnlyChange=&productname=&productcode=&menu1=2&menu2=&price1=null&price2=null&power1=null&power2=null&brandId=&orderby=status&ordering=1&special=%0D%0A%0D%0A%0D%0A%0D%0A&buy=&from=&showImage=1&gallery=1&byCategory=true&pageIndex=1&pageIndex2=1

Yeah, they cost about half as much as an actual 1911, but again...would you rather spend $50-$100 3-6 times trying to find one that gets you by but isnt ideal or $300 and get the last one youll ever buy?

pdb said...

This is relevant to my interests. Does anyone make a faithful reproduction of the G19 or G17?

Tam said...

Yeah, when I bought my AEGs back in '03, I went with Tokyo Marui guns from Wargamers Club out of Hong Kong and wasn't disappointed.

The Duck said...

Airsplat.com has pretty decent prices and selection

TXGunGeek said...

Airsoftatlanta.com or airsoftextreme.com

We have a multitude of gas blowback guns that we use for force on force classes and the mrs and I have our own personal guns. Including a Western Arms 1911 Caspian and a SV 2011 that is mine that I actually put Dawson narrow Front fibers on and swapped out triggers and other parts to make them feel exactly like our IPSC limited guns. That way we can practice inside at the house.

ToddG said...

airsplat.com has just about everything imaginable.

TXGunGeek said...

I forgot to add, look down mid post from Jan 1.

http://gungeekrants.blogspot.com/2011/01/1911-2011-century-old-design-still.html

There is a picture of my SV .40 IPSC limited gun, my STI 2011 w .22 conversion and Airsoft SV licensed trainer. All are set up with the same trigger and sights for practice. Some of the higher quality aisoft guns can accept real steel parts to customize them into feeling nad looking the same as their counterparts.

Dregan said...

I have airsoft versions of all my loaner guns that I take when I have a new shooter with me at the range (a Walther P99, Glock 19, M&P 9 and a 1911.) They're the cheap, plastic ones, but I'm not going for functionality here, I use them to familiarize the new shooters with basic safety and controls for whatever we're going to shoot that day. I got mine off of fleaBay, so YMMV, but I'm happy with them for what they are.

Ed Skinner said...

CO2-powered air softs do exist and usually have a better (higher) muzzle velocity. I have a 1911-style that's good at annoying pigeons at 50 feet when I do my part. I paid 150-200 for it after abandoning some cheaper springee and green variants. Google "air soft 1911 muzzle velocity" to start your search.
But find a "try before buy" place for the exact model you are interested in -- the trigger on the one I settled for is DA even though the sketchy advertising implied it would be SA.
And get "biodegradable" ammo lest you want little green balls in the backyard forever.

Dave said...

AirsoftGI.com is another good domestic retailer. I go with domestic shops most of the time because the customs process can be...iffy.

Tokyo Marui makes a few iterations of the 1911 with a beavertail. They're more or less fashioned after the Marine M45 or the Kimber "warrior" line. TMs are mostly plastic, but tend to run like tops. They're actually designed to do what they need to do.

Another robust brand is KJW, but there you're limited to M1911A1 spec or an STI clone "Tactical" model. Note that STI clones will probably give you holster fit issues.

KWA has new models of "modern" 1911, but they may or may not run well. They have a reputation of making bomb-proof guns, but I've personally seen that rep falter in the last year. I haven't seen extensive testing on these models.

By far the most cosmetic options come from a company called WE (also rebranded as Caspian, Wilson, SOCOM Gear and probably others). In my first-hand experience, these guns tend to eat themselves. Their particular blend of pot-metal just isn't well suited to the forces in a propane-powered 1911 cycle.

Hope that helps!

Stranger said...

FWIW, I have had good results with evike.com. The 1911 I bought from them fits the holsters, feels like a Dukes mixture of parts from several of the 1911's on the shelf, and no doubt could be improved if I had the inclination.

And yes, buy the biodegradable pellets. I vacuum up a few hundred a week.

Stranger

Laura said...

thirding Tokyo Marui. fabulous pistols, those.

SOMETIMES you can find good deals on fleabay for TM hardware. sometimes. otherwise, hit redwolf.

K. Rihanek said...

http://www.airsoftpost.com/product_info.php?cPath=21_45_242&products_id=32938

ErnestM said...

Long time reader - first post.

For Tam...
http://kwausa.com/products/ptp/m1911-mk-iv-ptp/

Main Site...
http://kwausa.com/

KWA (AKA KSC) is one of the better brands. I have the USPc that I use for "draw from holster" drills as the local range does not allow holsters.

They are also great for teaching gun safety to the kids. I have the TM SOPMOD for AR training for them.

Buzz said...

I'm assuming Tokyo Marui is the one that makes the airsoft guns for sale in Japan, but I'm not an airsoft guy, I've just seen them in stores. Since there is almost zero likelihood of mistaking an airsoft for an actual gun, the airsofts in Japan are unbelievably realistic.

::G said...

Tokyo Marui makes nice airsoft guns, but be aware that the use of "green gas" in them rather than HFC134a can cause breakage. I have TM's Glock 26 clone, which is dimensionally the same as the real thing. (Supposedly TM airsoft guns are used in Japanese TV as gun props.) It's not quite as heavy, with the weight mostly in the mag, and the slide is plastic. Can't speak for their 1911 models, though.

There are also electric airsoft pistols, but typically they're weaker than the gas-powered versions.

MSJ said...

You can get a $20 single shot and tap rack bang all day long.

ErnestM said...

Further update for Tammy. Airsoft GI has the PTP pistols for about $165. You need to also buy the green gas or a propane adapter.

http://www.airsoftgi.com/product_info.php?products_id=6788

Ian Argent said...

Don't get a spring-driven unit. Imparts unfortunate muscle memory, due to the need to rack slide after each shot.

It wastes propellant, but you might want one that runs the slide after each shot, usually advertised as "blowback."

Tim Ellwood said...

I have about 400 or so airsoft guns, The previous posts are right about the brands. WE will break something in 3-400 bb's. Western arms are great, but made of mainly plastic bodies. Same with TM. KWA has some well made guns, they are also coming out with a (Glock) PTP training pistol that will replicate the G word pistol but not break any trade dress laws. I am supposed to get one to test when they are ready, keep an eye on my blog as I will post as soon as I get one.
www.noairsoftforoldmen.com

Duane said...

http://www.airsoftpost.com/product_info.php?cPath=21_45_242&products_id=32936

Tam said...

Tim Ellwood,

Holy cow, I just looked at your link...

If only I could tell you just how many hours I spent planning how I was going to spend my grocery-baggin'/baby-sittin' money in that very Command Post catalog lo these many years ago!

Thank you for that blast from the past! :)

Steve Skubinna said...

Yeah, getting a basic airsoft gun is just the beginning - wait till you see what a good airsoft gunsmith will charge to customize it for you!

I bought a TW in Japan about ten years ago, and as Buzz says, it was scary realistic. I eventually got rid of it because I didn't like having something that looked so much like a real gun but wasn't.

Tim Ellwood said...

Thank you for remembering that old catalog, all that work prepared me for the past 20 years in the gun industry. I will try and contact some people I know at KWA if you would like to see if they could get you a "demo" 1911. just let me know.

Tam said...

I would definitely be interested. Thanks!

airsoft said...

The sport of Airsoft is now available in many countries around the world and its popularity is increasing all the time.

LM said...

How bout the Caspian badged line of airsoft pistols?

http://www.airgunwarehouseinc.com/airsoft-guns-caspian-airsoft-guns.html