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Old April 11, 2011, 01:39 PM   #1
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Does anyone practice with air pistols?

I'm a semi-serious bullseye shooter (3 times a month) without a lot of time or opportunity to get to a range for practice in between matches. I didn't get to shoot this past weekend and I'm having withdrawal symptoms.

Question - does anyone practice with air pistols away from the range and find any value in doing it? I'd really like to shoot for 15-30 minutes daily and feel like I was able to work on techniques of stance, breathing, holding a sight picture etc. and see a projectile hit a target rather than just dry firing.

To that end, I'm looking to get some kind of air pistol for practice only, not competition. I know nothing about better-than-toy air pistols, but at random went to an air gun site and saw this...

Would this gun hold a group size of ~ 0.5" at short ranges like 30 feet? If this isn't any good, can someone make a recommendation in the sub-$100 range? Should it shoot BBs or pellets? I'd rather get a pump action pistol than something that consumes CO2 cartridges. I use iron sights with both pistols and revolvers for Bullseye so a lack of a red dot is not an issue.
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Old April 11, 2011, 03:03 PM   #2
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I love shooting air pistol/rifle in my backyard precisely to work on my fundamentals.

Here's my $0.02:

- Skip the sub-$100 stuff, especially if you're a bullseye shooter looking for quality trigger time. You don't need to drop $1,000+, but I personally think you'll be wasting your time with anything in this price range.

- Get a .177cal pellet gun. Single shot. Skip the BB gun. AFAIK, the barrels of the former are rifled. Decent target pistols are pellet guns.

- As far as type of pistol, the choices come down to:

1. C02.

2. Pre-charged pneumatic. Gun is "pre-charged" with air from a separate tank. Though it may be a single shot gun, you can shoot many shots from a single charge.

3. Break-barrel Spring action. The gun is cocked before loading for every shot. Cocking sets a trigger-actuated spring-powered piston. The cocked gun doesn't therefore store pressurized air - the piston creates it when the trigger is pulled.

4. Single-stroke pneumatic. Like #3, the gun is cocked before loading for every shot, but unlike #3, closing the cocking lever creates air pressure. The cocked gun therefore stores compressed air, so no piston moves when the trigger is pulled.

All in all, for your purposes, I'd recommend something from #4 or #3. The SSPs are quieter and without a moving piston, seem to hold still better when the trigger is pulled.

I have and can recommend an IZH-35M, which is single-stroke pneumatic. As bona fide 10M pistols go, it's a bargain. The trigger is fantastic, and it's accurate enough for even a very good bullseye shooter to find room for improvement. The gun is also set up so you can set just the trigger for dry firing. A very nice feature.

A single-stroke pneumatic that's smaller but gets good reviews is the Weihrauch HW 75.

As far as springers, I've read good things about the Beeman P1, but I've never shot one.

Here's a pic of my Izzy @ 10M:

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Old April 11, 2011, 03:05 PM   #3
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I don't practice with air guns. But I very rarely have fun with my good, old Red Rider.
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Old April 11, 2011, 03:16 PM   #4
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AIR PISTOL shooting is a great teacher . It stresses followthrough like no other. Mr. Borland 's post is excellent.
The IZH is the best bargain for serious 10 meter. Google 'PILKGUNS'. They deal with good quality air pistols.
I would only add : Get the proper 10 meter targets and even look for 10 meter matches in your area. A number of Bullseye shooters also play that game.
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Old April 11, 2011, 03:19 PM   #5
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I love practicing with airguns; cheap, quiet, no range fees.

The crosman you selected is very accurate, with decent pellets (brown box crossman premiers) it will group at .5" or better at 10 yards or so.

I own the crosman and the Baikal IZH-46 Mr. Borland showed.....the IZH will have you wanting to replace most of the triggers on your firearms to try and match it....its that clean, crisp and light. With a 2x scope on mine its a 10 yard bug hole every time. A bit pricey for an air-gun, but worth every cent.
The crosman is a very accurate pistol, with a very heavy trigger (mine breaks at around 5 lbs). Great little air-gun for hunting small game.
You wont be disappointed with it for the price.
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Old April 11, 2011, 04:08 PM   #6
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This one has a good rep:
Walt Kelly, alias Pogo, sez:
“Don't take life so serious, son, it ain't nohow permanent.”
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Old April 11, 2011, 04:13 PM   #7
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I also have the IZH-35M, it is a great pistol.

However, I also have this cheap Beeman that I shoot more now to be honest and I have really been enjoying it.
He who dares wins.

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Old April 11, 2011, 04:19 PM   #8
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check out as well.

The Avanti's are from $150 to about $200.
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Old April 11, 2011, 07:25 PM   #9
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Get the proper 10 meter targets and even look for 10 meter matches in your area.
Great point. As you likely already know, a little competition can keep you motivated. If you can't find anything locally, consider a postal match. You can compete in the comfort of your own back yard.

A word of warning about the IZH - from the factory, stocks are as ergonomic as a 2x4. I think they're intentionally made that way and are intended to be "blanks" so the shooter can trim them. A little time spent with a dremel makes a world of difference.
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Old April 11, 2011, 08:45 PM   #10
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I second the IZH-46M, a little heavier than the 1911 or MKII which is good training. If your interesting in saving some bucks, Go to the "Target Talk" forum, Olympic shooters hang out there..the "Buy, Sell, Trade" section has used ones quite often. That is where I picked mine up. There is a Bulleye forum there also. Target Talk
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Old April 18, 2011, 05:23 PM   #11
Jesse Tischauser
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I have 3 airsoft pistols that I use to practice for USPSA and 3 gun. Its so much easier to shoot in the garage in the winter than to go out to the range and freeze to death.
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Old April 18, 2011, 08:50 PM   #12
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Back in 1973.....

Back in 1973 I bought a Crossman CO2 BB Pistol. I had started my first real job and renting a room for $15 a week in Greensboro, NC. Money was real tight and I found that the little bb gun helped me learn the basic techniques of a hand gun. I had a lot of fun with it and learned a lot. Later I bought a Ruger Mark I which was a real fine pistol.

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Old May 3, 2011, 09:23 PM   #13
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I like and own the gamo compact, its a bit cheaper than the izh, but the izh is on my future list along with a beeman.
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Old May 3, 2011, 09:33 PM   #14
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I used to shoot NRA air pistol and it probably enhanced my ability to shoot a handgun more than anything that I have ever done.

I still shoot it occasionally....
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Old May 5, 2011, 12:11 PM   #15
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I've recently done the exactly same thing as the OP. I shoot bullseye but need more practice when I'm not at the range.

Here are the air pistols I found that could do rapid fire. Some of them are quite expensive (more than my target 22!)

crosman 600
Drulov DU-10 Condor
rohm twinmaster
FWB C-55
Aeron B-96
FAS 609
Steyr LP5
Steyr LP50

single shots:
Fas 604
IZH 46 - very accurate and good entry level single shot.
Aeron Chameleon
HW 45

And there's a third option: Gas-blowback airsoft pistols. Don't laugh too hard. These things are full metal now, with reciprocating slides and operate just like the real thing, down to the safety and slide release. They have recoil that is just a little less than a 22 but does disturb your sight picture so you have to do recovery. They are actually fairly accurate and fire at 300fps which is not all that much slower than a CO2 pellet gun. The triggers are actually not bad, a little creep but about a 3lb break. Plus you can shoot them indoors.

Finally, you can use a laser bore-sight in your gun when you dry fire. This helps to be able to see if you are pulling the trigger straight back or not by watching if the laser dot moves. I've found this very helpful in diagnosing problems in my trigger pull.

Target-talk is the place to go for bullseye. That or there is a lava list also.
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Old May 5, 2011, 01:02 PM   #16
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Hi Space, If you want to buy the Izzy as suggested, ask for the Izh-46m and

not the Izh-35. The Izh-35 is a 22LR autoloader for competing in ISSF Sport Pistol

for Rapid fire events. I'll make another suggestion, buy a Beeman P17, which

is an SSP(single stroke pneumatic) air pistol with an excellent trigger, and sights

very similar to those found on bullseye pistols. The P17s cost around $40-$50.

be mindful, ISSF match air pistols have a 500g minimum trigger pull wgt.

10 meter air pistol practice is very good for learning trigger control and sight

alignment. The AP training will help improve your slow fire scores. I shoot

ISSF 10 meter AP and 50 meter pistol(22LR). The AP training is a significant

aid to my 50 meter shooting. The IZH-46M offers the best compromise for price

and features, and it has a dry fire capability. Best of luck in your choice, there

are many used 10 meter match air pistols to select from. I suggest you pose this

same question on the Pilkguns TT forum.

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Old May 5, 2011, 02:52 PM   #17
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I ended up buying the single-shot Crosman (rifled barrel) I mentioned in the first post and I've been shooting it indoors at 25 feet using Crosman wadcutter pellets. I've been very happy with the accuracy of the combination. When focused, I can usually put 3 or 4 of 5 shots into a one inch circle using the standard BE stance. The relative size of that circle is smaller than the outdoor 10 ring at 25 yards and the 8 ring at 50 yards. I'd be very happy to shoot 8 or higher on 80% of my shots at 50 yards, lately I've been averaging in the low 70s using iron sights.

Whether or not it helps my SF scores remains to be seen, but I'm happy to be able to do what I consider constructive shooting on an almost daily basis with this setup for considerably less than $100 delivered (including a pellet trap).

Last edited by spacecoast; May 7, 2011 at 01:15 PM.
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Old May 5, 2011, 06:23 PM   #18
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I tried to practice for IDPA/USPSA with a gas blow-back airsoft gun. While the gun was reasonably accurate at close-ish range, it was not very reliable, and the gas was depleted very quickly. I sort of lost interest. I've heard there are new biodegradable BBs available, and that might get me to look at it again.
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Old May 6, 2011, 04:37 PM   #19
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Try the Umarex CO2 powered pellet version of the PX4 Beretta.
Very accurate, more so than airsoft, with excellent blowback and recoil.
Very good for action pistol practice.
There's a video review at
I've been using one since they first came out, last year.
So far, so good.
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