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Old October 24, 2012, 09:38 PM   #1
valleyforge.1777
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Does anyone use an AirSoft pistol for training against targets or mannequins?

I am thinking about getting an AirSoft model of Sig P229 to do some close up CQ training against maybe some mannequins that I can make from papier mache. Has anyone used Airsoft guns for training on their own that does not involve force-on-force stuff? (The FOF stuff is, in my opinion, essential for real self-defense training, but that is not what I am talking about here).

I do a lot of range practice against flat targets hat is along the lines of civilian, self-defense, CQ type stuff. Up close, inches or a foot or two from the target, max, simulating the kind of sudden, unexpected, up VERY close encounters someone like me might experience someday at the hands of a bad guy. I want to do more, like with me in various positions, having to draw and fire and not hit any of my body parts, etc. I was watching a Rob Pincus video where he demonstrates this using a mannequin, and he mentioned about maybe using an AirSoft gun to decrease the risk of the trainee getting seriously injured.

Has anyone used AirSoft guns for this kind of thing?

Has anyone made papier mache mannequins to shoot? I can buy Tactical Ted mannequins, but they're kind of pricey.
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Old October 25, 2012, 04:01 AM   #2
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First off its good to see you training...however I don't recommend actually training for a self defense situation with an airsoft. Run real drills with what you will be actually using. For the hassle of trying to build and or buy a mannequin....you could of just went to the range.
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Old October 25, 2012, 04:13 AM   #3
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I have done this for fun. not really training. at defensive distances a good airsoft pistol will be very accurate. I put a silhouette on each wall for practice engaging multiple targets without aiming down the sights aka reflex shooting. It wont do a whole lot for you as far as training goes but its fun and you can gain a small amount of skill. just make sure that your POI vs POA is similar to that of your real gun. otherwise you will be doing more harm than good practicing that way.
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Old October 25, 2012, 07:15 AM   #4
valleyforge.1777
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Thanks for your thoughts.
I would want to do this because I feel I have reached a plateau with respect to the flat paper target CQ shooting that I've been doing. I clear the concealment with my shooting hand, draw the gun and fire from retention positions, all one handed, and hit fairly reliably. I can do that while my feet are in motion and I am actually moving. I can keep shooting and keep hitting while I am moving (my feet are in motion) getting combat accurate hits (actually, pretty good hits). At my range, I can do that in some narrow lanes that limit my lateral movement to maybe 20 feet, and I can do that in a larger range area with protected berm sides where I can move laterally about 40 yards, and up/back about 50 yards. No, I can't shoot accurately at 50 yards, but that is the amount of space I can move around in. If other shooters are there, I can't do that stuff, but often I have that range to myself.

What I can't do is A.) Get to my range often enough. I'd like to go into the basement and practice with the AirSoft gun and the mannequin for 20 minutes after work several evenings a week,, and B.) I can't move around my paper targets at my range. I can move lateral to my paper targets and up/back, diagonal, etc. But the target stands are fixed in position at the extreme edge of the range and I can't get along side my target paper, or move behind it, etc. In my basement I could do that kind of stuff.

By the way, some folks say to train until one feels confident of their skills or whatever. To me, I will keep doing the live fire training as often as I can because I will probably never feel that I am "totally prepared" and anyway I'd want to always maintain the training I've accomplished. So, I would not give up live fire. Just want to supplement it.

I used to be into model trains, and I am thinking I can make some papier mache mannequins using some of the same techniques that one uses for model train scenery building. My mannequins would not survive too many trips to the live fire range, but they can probably take quite an Airsoft beating. I have not tried making any yet, I am just planning this out, thinking it through.
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Old October 25, 2012, 09:40 AM   #5
Glenn E. Meyer
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Many high end agencies and trainers use airsoft in FOF and simulations. Been in quite a few and they are very useful. If you haven't run through them, then not recommending them isn't really valid.

The idea is that you have a thinking opponent as compared to a dummy (haha!). Having live fire against real people seems not to work well. They are cheaper than sims and less restricted.

Also, training by yourself or with videos is good but the airsoft shine with well scripted scenarios and opponents.

As far as skills, without searching - there was a Japanese young man who trained there with airsoft, came to the USA and did very well in real gun matches with a little real gun practice before the matches.

Square range practice is not a bad thing but insufficient. 3D targets are good for shooting at angles off straight on.
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Old October 25, 2012, 10:15 AM   #6
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When the weather is crappy and/or I can't get to the range and/or I'm just bored (AND the wife is not home) - I'll set up a few of those sticky-gel targets around the house and "play" with my airsofts.

I don't do it for "tactical" training as much as just for fun and to keep some skills and reflexes from becoming lax.

It's a toss-up what the real challenge is, though: Trying not to hit the wall, or coming up with a believable explanation for the little round dimples that show up from time to time

After the first couple times, however, now I don't miss
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Old October 27, 2012, 11:18 PM   #7
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One thing I'll add that if you shoot Airsoft you should still wear eye protection. Ricochet bb's are no fun
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Old October 28, 2012, 05:53 AM   #8
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I think a high quality airsoft gun or plastic molded gun (aka red gun) based on your real gun can be a good training tool. Some cheaper airsoft guns are modeled after real guns, but may not have the same measurements. The red guns would be your best bet in terms of feeling real. I would say to practice your CQ and reactionary shooting with a real gun and real bullets on the range, and use the airsoft or red gun for non-range training, such as room clearing or disarming techniques.

Depending on your training you may want to consider a red gun instead of an airsoft gun. While the triggers on red guns cannot be pulled, they are one solid piece of plastic and are more durable than most plastic airsoft guns.

Finally, training off of videos by yourself is hard to do correctly. You don’t have an expert to watch you and make sure your technique is proper. Paying for a training class can cost big bucks, but can really pay off!

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Old October 28, 2012, 10:18 AM   #9
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That's the truth. I had a problem with shooting off to the side of the target. Read the books, watched videos but Tom Givens watching me shoot saw the issue. My accuracy was greatly increased.
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Old October 28, 2012, 12:06 PM   #10
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There is a level of unrealism when training with airsoft.. You know it, you brain knows it and so do your muscles.
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Old October 28, 2012, 01:05 PM   #11
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All simulations are 'unreal' is some sense. However, the training literature is very clear that the best of realistic simulations are very effective. Airsoft that is well-designed and refereed, computer shoot ranges or sims usage has been shown to aid military and police. There is not reason not to think that it won't work for civilians.

Simulations work for pilots, train engineers, fire fighters, ship captains, and a myriad of other critical personnel. They build quick and efficient automatic (System 1) responses.

Until we can shoot people dead and resurrect them for another run - that's the best we have. Better than just the square range.
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Old October 28, 2012, 01:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn E. Meyer
All simulations are 'unreal' is some sense. However, the training literature is very clear that the best of realistic simulations are very effective. Airsoft that is well-designed and refereed, computer shoot ranges or sims usage has been shown to aid military and police....
And let me suggest that all training device, if properly used, have their place -- the square range; IDPA/USPSA competition; classes; force-on-force with simunitions or airsoft; airsoft exercises; etc. -- there are useful things to be learned through all those devices.

The only thing that's not "unreal" is a gunfight, and that has some very significant downsides as a device.
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Old October 28, 2012, 02:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn E. Meyer
Until we can shoot people dead and resurrect them for another run - that's the best we have. Better than just the square range.
Or until we can be shot and auto-heal during the coffee break ...
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Old October 28, 2012, 03:38 PM   #14
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Good thread. Airsoft might also be useful for practicing possible home defense scenarios in your own home.
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Old October 28, 2012, 04:40 PM   #15
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Yes I have used an airsoft pistol and carbine for drills at home.
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Old October 28, 2012, 06:06 PM   #16
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in regards to all simulations being unreal.. There are certainly levels of unreal-ness. Especially when you are using a plastic pistol that weighs about the same as a bagel. Things in the real world are not going to work out the same when you use that muscle memory to articulate a 2 pound pistol that has actual recoil.
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Old October 28, 2012, 06:14 PM   #17
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The more expensive airsoft guns have some heft as compared to the transparent plastic ones. Also, useful airsoft training is conducted with folks who have significant basic skills and understand recoil from shoot houses.

But even they had some use. When I was a 'terrorist', I was captured by the law - I raised my long arm in surrender with one hand and as the officer approached, pulled my little transparent airsoft with the other hand from the small of my back and bounced a pellet off his face mask. The refereee said he was 'dead'. So is that lesson worth it? Might be more useful than muscle memory.
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Old October 28, 2012, 06:45 PM   #18
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Wasn't there a Japanese competitor that won the Steel Challenge a while back who did most of his training with airsoft pistols because real handguns were very difficult to train with in Japan?


Found it, his name was Tatsuya Sakai. He won the 2004 Steel Challenge and trained only with airsoft pistols until one month prior to the competition when he can to the US to train with a real pistol. I would say his experience is a pretty good argument for the merits of using and airsoft pistol for training.
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Old October 28, 2012, 06:51 PM   #19
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Yes, there was - Sakai

From a quick search

http://www.airsoftforum.com/board/Ja...er-t87968.html
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Old October 28, 2012, 06:53 PM   #20
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You beat me! BTW, airsoft can hurt and that's a lesson. I was righteously vaporized by a full auto variant at close range through a t-shirt. Bloody back for my tactical failure. Wife was not impressed at a FOG doing such.
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Old October 28, 2012, 07:32 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn E. Meyer
...useful airsoft training is conducted with folks who have significant basic skills and understand recoil from shoot houses...
On the other hand, we use airsoft very effectively with rank beginners in our Basic Handgun classes. Students shoot quality airsoft guns in the classroom before going to the range for live fire. With the airsoft, students can start to put together the concepts of trigger control, sight alignment, follow-through and trigger reset with minimal distraction.
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Old October 29, 2012, 10:11 AM   #22
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Oh, I can agree with that. I was just commenting on a post that said airsoft doesn't have realistic recoil and thus wasn't that useful for muscle memory. I overstated my objection to that objection.
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Old October 29, 2012, 10:36 AM   #23
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Quote:
in regards to all simulations being unreal.. There are certainly levels of unreal-ness. Especially when you are using a plastic pistol that weighs about the same as a bagel. Things in the real world are not going to work out the same when you use that muscle memory to articulate a 2 pound pistol that has actual recoil.
If you're training for a life and death situation, I'm hoping you would go for something better than the cheapo $10 WallyWorld springers. It's like saying "You depend on firearms to save your life?

You mean one of these things that will more than likely explode in your face and kill you?"

If you drop some money on your training tools, then you can get an airsoft gun that is for all intents and purposes a real gun that doesn't kill what you shoot with it.
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Old October 29, 2012, 11:13 PM   #24
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I always thought airsoft/paintball was better for training things besides shooting. Movement, teamwork, etc.
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Old October 30, 2012, 03:28 PM   #25
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^THIS^

Plus airsoft can be good to be used by the trainer on the trainee to show "you would have been killed by the bad guy if you had done this in real life."
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