View Full Version : Is a BB gun good for practice?

March 19, 2011, 04:42 PM
I was wondering if anyone practices with a BB gun? Its quite a drive from my house to a shooting range and I'd like to shoot in my back yard. I was thinking using a semi auto BB gun for some drills couldn't hurt any. What BB gun would you recomend for this? I'm laid off right now so let's keep it under $75.

ohen cepel
March 19, 2011, 04:47 PM
I can't speak to rifles much but if you want a pistol look at this one:

Under $40 and mine shots WAY better than anything in that price range should shoot! It's one of the best buys I've made in a while.

I would look at a pellet rifle over a BB gun. More accurate and made better in most cases. I'm sure someone will know of a few good rifles in that price range, I'm just not up to speed one them.

March 19, 2011, 04:57 PM
I'm look for a handgun, thanks for the link.

March 19, 2011, 04:57 PM
I've got a pump up Crossman pistol that I got at a garage sale for about $20, but it didn't hold pressure and cost me another $25 to repair, but it's taken countless squirrels, grackles and starling. My range accuracy with heavier pistols has improved since I started practicing with the pellet gun.

March 19, 2011, 05:01 PM
Gas blow back AirSoft would be better, imo.

They mimic real guns to the point that you can carry them in your actual holster most times.

I use one to practice weekly since I don't get to the range but once ever month or so. I can use the GBB in the garage or back yard to practice drawing, point shooting, shooting while moving.

It can also be used for Force-on-Force drills with a like-minded training partner.

March 19, 2011, 05:02 PM
I'm looking for something I can rapid fire that is C02 powered

March 19, 2011, 05:05 PM
I'm looking for something I can rapid fire that is C02 powered Gas Blow back are semi-auto (and some full auto). They provide realistic weapon function. Not the spring powered junk from WMart.

March 19, 2011, 05:33 PM
A bb gun is definitely good for practice. My daughter and I use a pellet rifle. We set up a target in our garage and practice. The range (private hunt club property) is 2 hours away.

March 19, 2011, 05:41 PM
If I were you I'd ditch the condition of semi-auto. The beeman that the previous poster linked should be a great gun. Beeman makes really good stuff, may get one myself. The old sheridan and benjamen pumps are great and the old crossman pump is good too.

March 19, 2011, 05:47 PM
i have the beeman p17 and recommend it. you can't find a better pellet gun for $35. it's surprisingly accurate out to 50 feet. use only pointed pellets b/c it makes loading easier. i practice indoors with it too. pellet guns help with trigger control. the p17 feels similar to a real gun's trigger.

March 19, 2011, 06:15 PM
You have to decide if you want bullseye type "target" practice, or something a little more expansive (and fun).

As smince mentioned, a decent airsoft gun will work with your "real" holsters, and will allow you to practice things that you normally cant or wouldnt. The guns do work very much like the "real" thing, and while you dont get true recoil, its enough that with the slide operating, you need to track the sights just like a real gun.

Only downside here is, you probably wont come in at or under your $75 limit.

The "plastic pellet" guns are not inaccurate either. They may not be target grade like some of the others, but they will often surprise you. I have an electric MP5 with an old red dot on it that will put 5-6 out of 10 into the 1" holes on my burn barrel 35 yards off my porch on a clam day, and the misses are usually not by much either. I can easily hit people sized trees and targets at 50 yards with it. The pistols are pretty darn accurate shooting "target" style too.

Don H
March 19, 2011, 06:37 PM
Be aware that in some localities shooting a BB gun, pellet gun, etc., is illegal. Best to be sure of the law before a neighbor calls the gendarmes.

March 20, 2011, 03:03 PM
I once had a basement and set up a pellet gun range there. No noise left the house. The children and I spent many hours shooting paper plates.

Capt Charlie
March 20, 2011, 04:19 PM
If you're determined to use either a BB or pellet gun, this won't help you, but if you have a center-fire revolver (the real thing), you can have your cake and eat it too.

Check out Speer Plastic Training Bullets (http://www.speer-bullets.com/products/components/plastic_training_bullets.aspx).

I've used these a lot, and they are awesome. Plastic casings are loaded with a large pistol primer and a plastic wadcuter is manually inserted into the casing. There is no actual propellant charge and they are easily reloadable using the same projectiles over and over.

They have a respectable but tolerable report, and are safe for use in a basement or garage. Use several blankets for backstops at 25 feet.

A word of caution, however. Don't sell these things short. While not fatal, these can cause substantial injury, so normal firearms safety rules apply.

March 20, 2011, 04:48 PM
If your looking to plink then your fine with a CO2 BB gun. With a semi CO2 BB gun you won't practice precise shooting because CO2 pressure varies from ambient temp and also the volume left in the gun. Also, if it shoots BBs most barrels are smoothbore.

If you are looking to improve your skills in shooting very accurately then the rifled pellet pistols are the way to go - the Beeman P17 everyone recommends would be an excellent choice. I didn't even know they offer such a low price pellt pistol. My Beeman P1 spring piston air pistol bought in 1987 was almost $200. Accurate and powerful 600fps.

Oh, I like spring piston vs CO2 because my volume of power is always exact and that contributes to overall accuracy.

March 20, 2011, 05:13 PM
For developing accurate technique use a pellet gun.

Nothing is more frustrating then when the accuracy of the 'gun' is easily exceeded by the shooter.
Low velocity puts a premium on trigger control and technique.

When I stopped shooting bullseye for medical problems the techniques transferred over to self defense shooting nicely. as a solid base.

I can REALLY hit what I aim at.

March 20, 2011, 05:37 PM
Also look into Gas Blow Back airsoft guns. They work very similarly to real guns and you can get very realistic models.

March 20, 2011, 05:58 PM
Trigger time is trigger time, and airguns at home do provide plenty.
My present favorite is the Umarex CO2 powered, .177 pellet, blowback copy of the Berretta PX4 pistol.
Very accurate with a rifled barrel, excellent recoil - more than some .22s, and just great fun and practice.
And it seems to hold its velocity right up until the C02 cartridge is just about empty.
It's a little over your price, at $90 or so, but it's a winner.
There's a video review at pyramydair.com, in the video section choice, at the top of the main page.

March 20, 2011, 08:31 PM
Thanks for the suggestions guys, I'm not really looking for target accuracy I'm looking to practice hitting multiple targets quickly at close range and drawing and hitting targets with multiple rounds quickly, SD type stuff.

March 20, 2011, 09:05 PM
In my opinion, Airsoft is the way to go. I have one that has to be cocked every shot, but I practice point shooting with it. I think that is much more valuable than any rapid fire drills since there will be no recoil from a bb/pellet/gas airsoft gun.

While the single stroke sheridan may offer good marksmanship practice, I think point shooting (without using the sights) is much more valuable in a defensive situation. The person who gets lead in their target first (well placed shot, not a superficial wound) has the best chance of "winning" the gun fight.

Get an airsoft gun that is as close to your carry gun and practice drawing from concealment and firing as quickly and accurately as possible. I also like to practice from the low ready position and snap up to my target. When I practiced all the time, I was able to consistently able to hit a 6 inch target from across the room (~15 feet) coming up quickly from the low ready position. Most of the shots actually grouped within 3 inches of the bullseye.

March 20, 2011, 09:06 PM
You would be developing the wrong type of muscle memory all together.

March 20, 2011, 09:26 PM
A good quality airsoft that is a copy of what you carry (assuming they make one) will work in your regular holster, and allow you to practice pretty much anything you want, even in the house. Just watch the old ladys knick knacks, the windows and walls, and dont leave any of the bb's on the floor for her to step on. :)

I made a couple of back stops I use in the basement, and around the house (tends to flip the dogs out though :) ) that will catch the bb's if you miss, or let them drop into a tray at the bottom when you hit center. I made them out of the foam insulation you can get at Lowes. Just cut out where the kill zone on your targets are, and staple an old towel on the back along the edges, leaving the bottom open so the bb's can drop down, and put a box or tray under it to catch the bb's. Pretty cheap and easy to make, easily moved around, and they last forever.

stop on the right is without a target from the front....

stop on the right is the same one above, but turned around so you can see the back....

The orange ribbon goes back on the target when I switch back to my "real" gun, just as a visual reminder that things are "hot" again. I find it pays to make a verbal (to myself) as well as visual mental break when you stop and switch guns. That way you dont blast the walls and annoy the dogs even more. They'd probably bite my ass if the gun went off, then Id get a beatin and another chew down when mom found out. Shes got those dogs wrapped around her little finger. Best to play it safe. :D

March 20, 2011, 10:49 PM
look at this..go to practice shooting while moving..


March 20, 2011, 11:32 PM
I used to be pretty big into Airsoft.
If you are getting a gas blow back one, get a tokyo marui. They are more expensive but definitely the best you can buy.
I suggest this retailer, I have done business with them multiple times.

If you want an electric pistol, the CYMA CM030 is the only one I would buy.

March 21, 2011, 01:31 AM
This is best for revolvers, as these loads won't cycle a semi-atuo... But this is similar to Capt. Charlie's post above, just cheaper...

I had a .38 Special that I would target practice with in my basement. I'd seat magnum pistol primers in the pocket and melt candle wax blocks in a metal cup in the oven. I'd pour the melted wax up to about 1/3 of the case and I could do about 20-25 of them before I'd have to re-melt the wax.

Once the wax hardens, you hang your target on a piece of plywood above a plastic 'tote' and plink away. The wax "bullets" fall into the tote and you can re-melt them for repeat use.

There's no powder, they're propelled by the energy of the primer only. When the wax hits the target, the residue from the primer makes light marks on the paper so you can see how you're grouping.

Obviously you'll want to clean your revolver well afterwards to get all the wax out of the barrel...

March 21, 2011, 08:09 AM
I would opt for a pellet rifle / pistol over a bb gun. You can find some excelent inexpensive choices out there. Personally, I have a Chinese B21/22 pellet rifle (based on RWS 48 design) which I prefer over the its RWS counterpart even if they cost the same. I also have a Beeman P1 pistol that I use for indoor target practice, and for shooting snakes. Although, it really takes too many shots with the P1 to kill a snake.

March 21, 2011, 11:54 AM
I've never considered a BB or pellet gun to really help me in regards to practical handgun practice, but it was a great way for me to introduce my kids to marksmanship training a young age. Also, it's just plain fun to shoot at my own home-made indoor shooting gallery whenever I can't make it out to the range.

I recently purchased one of these for myself, which can crank up some pretty impressive velocities for an airgun.


March 21, 2011, 12:27 PM
The airsoft guns actually do more for you "reality" wise, than any of the "target" type guns, or even "real" guns simply shot like a target gun on the range for that matter.

You really can practice what needs practiced, and against other people as well, and in real environments and situations.

Bullseye is bullseye, and is really just the basics, which you should already have down anyway. Im not saying there is anything wrong with this type practice, and we all need a tune up now and then, just to confirm, but unless thats all you do, its really not what you should be practicing once you have the basics down.

I think a lot, if not most of the discussions that go on, are based on experience in the "target" realm, as opposed to the "practical" realm.

Im willing to bet that more shooters stand at a bench or table and leisurely shoot at bullseye type targets, basing their skill on the nice little groups they shoot.

As opposed to those who shoot from their holster, worn under their normal street clothes, while trying to get off line as they clear the gun, draw, and shoot, and base their skill on whether or not they get good "hits", even if they arent a small group.

If you have the basics down, its time to move on and expand your horizons. If not, the old duck weed will start to set in and take over. :)

March 21, 2011, 02:41 PM
The Gunsite class I was at had a pair of younger shooters who could not hit worth a darn.

They invariably got off the first shots when the 8 if us started firing, and invariably their targets looked like a shotgun blast (at best).

Neither could even walk their gun onto an 8 inch disk at 60 yards using multiple magazines.

Speed without accuracy is no better than accuracy without speed.

You cannot miss fast enough to win a gunfight.

Speed will come quickly with practice if the basic accuracy is present.

I thought I was going to lose the class shoot-off to one of the guys.
I could see him reloading in my peripheral vision.

I was doing the mandatory reload for the split pepper popper to win.

It turned out he was reloading because he had yet to hit a single target.

March 21, 2011, 04:01 PM
Yowee, that guy on the tread mill is great stuff.

Another pellet gun that is good practice, for less than $50, is the Crosman 357 C02 powered revolver, with a rifled barrel.
There's a video review at pyramydair.com.
I have one and use it a lot.
Other than the lack of recoil, it's very much like a .22 revolver.

March 22, 2011, 08:23 AM
There are lots of pellet (realistic, to scale) pellet, BB and airsoft pistols and revolvers that make great practice weapons. Sites such as airgun depot, pyramid air and others are well worth the time cruising thru.

You can easily have a "range" set up in a hallway, basement, den, garage or carport.

Targets can be made to stop the pellets/ bbs etc., just test it to make sure that the backstop is sufficient to prevent penetration and ricochets.

March 22, 2011, 08:40 AM
BB guns I'd say no. Although you go through the motions, they are not very accurate and it makes it hard to see how your doing and improving. I think BB's are generally low quality these days and that's a large reason for the poor performance. If you want to practice, spend a little more and get something that shoots pellets and has a rifled barrel. There are some nice CO2 and air pistols out there that shoot pellets and they have much better accuracy over the BB guns. They can also be had in replicas of real firearms (such as the P99, PX4, 92FS, ect) so they feel right in your hand as well. Not as much fun as the real deal but good for practicing when you can't make a lot of noise.

March 22, 2011, 08:47 AM
Yep I have a P99 rep co2 with laser and red dot sights, fun to use indoors. The neighbors will never know:D

ran across this article

March 22, 2011, 09:29 AM
The concept of using BB guns or pellet guns for serious training goes back a long ways. The British Army used them for close-quarter training for the jungle (this was before rain forests) in the 1950s. Apparently they used only face protection in the form of fencing masks, so taking a hit would hurt. Also, I believe the US Army used either BB guns or pellet rifles to train soldiers in snap shooting, though that was not something I did.

These days there are realistic non-guns for training. Walther has a couple of models (not cheap), one available only to law enforcement.

Wax bullets used to be popular back in the quick draw days, too.

March 22, 2011, 10:12 AM
I think that any kind of shooting (given reasonable accuracy) that allows one to pragmatically simulate realistic scenarios--as opposed to just standing upright and blasting away at a typical shooting range--is highly advantageous, even a requirement for anybody who wishes to consider themselves well prepared for defensive handgun use. While practice with the real firearm at the range is certainly critical for learning how to handle defensive shooting (mostly recoil management), I think you'll learn a lot more about how to actually use a gun while practicing at home, even with a BB, pellet, or Airsoft gun; the convenience and extremely low cost of shooting the latter also encourages one to practice more.

I'm currently not that knowledgeable about BB, pellet, and Airsoft guns, so I'll leave specific recommendations to others, but having learned how to cope with recoil at the range to a fair degree by now, these days I mostly train at home with a CO2-powered Airsoft replica of my main defensive handgun. For most people, shooting while on the move and from behind cover--and learning how to maneuver in the first place--are skills that would be difficult or impractical to learn any other way; it is reasonable to expect improvements to one's basic skills, as well, from all of the additional practice.

Mutatio Nomenis
March 22, 2011, 05:04 PM
Thanks for all the advice. I'm going to go for an airsoft M1911 before getting that first rifle. I'm going to practice a lot with it in order to build good techniques and habits. It's also going to be the basis of the model I will use when I buy a pistol, so I'll have the muscle memory.

March 23, 2011, 04:46 AM
Very good use of AirSoft blow back guns here:


Aguila Blanca
March 23, 2011, 05:59 AM
This one looks interesting, but I favor 1911s:

March 23, 2011, 09:59 AM
I'd recommend a pellet gun over a bb gun. BB's aren't especially accurate and being steel, ricochet and conserve their energy. Frankly they're kind of dangerous IMO.

The Umarex replicas that people have mentioned are well made and come as repeaters. They use a cylindrical magazine that you load pellets into.

March 23, 2011, 10:28 AM
The airsoft "BB's" are 6mm in diameter and made of plastic. Not your normal Red Ryder BB's.

For what they are, they are amazingly accurate, even for informal target shooting with the right guns.

March 23, 2011, 10:43 AM
I wish someone made an SR40 replica, but I guess they aren't cool enough

March 23, 2011, 08:17 PM
Sure, but it has limits.

I started preparation for a CHL with a BB pistol. Hard trigger, long pull, tough start. It took days to develop the hand strength to empty the magazine. In two weeks I could shoot until the CO2 cartridge ran down- about 85 shots.Then I worked on using the safety lever and holster carry, multiple targets and whatever came to mind. Aiming, pointing, pulling, drawing, lots of good practice

Then I went in the country and shot a borrowed gun to learn about noise and recoil -ouch. Ear protection now. Protective glasses too. It was another layer of learning. It wasn't enough - I failed the shooting test. Back to the country for more practice. I passed then.

The BB gun allowed a lot of practice in the city among the neighbors, otherwise I might never have made it.

Aguila Blanca
March 23, 2011, 08:33 PM
For those interested in airsoft and also interested in 1911s, the M1911.ORG forum did in-depth reviews of a number of airsoft 1911 pistols a few years ago. The write-ups are still available on their web site, at http://forum.m1911.org/forumdisplay.php?f=100

Note: You do have to register to see the photos, but registration is free.

March 24, 2011, 08:58 AM
A pellet gun is a good option and has many benefits as several people have already mentioned. It's better than shooting nothing and at least you can work on the fundamentals of shooting.