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Old October 16, 2020, 10:47 PM   #1
LastStar75
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Do not use airosft or air guns for firearms training

With the expensive price of ammo, shortages or unavailability of nearby ranges many people seems to be searching for Airsoft or BB guns as cheaper convenient alternative for training for defensive or competitve shooting. Here I'll tell you the value of non-firearm projectile launchers like Airsoft and BB guns as training devices for defensive shooting. This is a discussion that doesn’t lend itself to soundbites; there are some important principles which need to be understood to be able to gauge, for yourself, the value of any non-firearm alternatives.

For instance, getting the gun out of the holster safely and efficiently is certainly a skill which you need to practice. Anything — even a completely non-functional blue gun — will suffice for that use, as long as it is of a similar configuration to the gun you actually carry. Likewise getting the gun indexed on target, whether you’re using the sights or not, is easily and effectively done when using an Airsoft pistol. Manipulating the controls as part of your response, again as long as they’re similar to your real gun, can also be beneficially achieved with a non-firearm.

In fact, everything up to the breaking of the actual shot is easily and effectively trained with a firearm substitute. It’s when the shot is fired that the limitations of Airsoft and BB guns start to show themselves. Because they don’t act like real guns, and training of physical skills is affected by what you experience, you end up training yourself to expect something which doesn’t happen with a real gun. When you move to the real gun, that training you’ve done will not transfer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvPtqMpF6sw

This is because of a lack of ballistic effect and physical control, from the standpoint of the shooter. Airsoft and airguns don’t have the recoil and the trigger pull of a real gun, so each additional shot can be made much faster, further, with greater precision, than from actual platforms with much less mass and point of contact than rifles and long arms; the shooter’s “balance of speed and precision” is skewed. If the technique you’re learning with non-firearms only works when you can reliably hit targets past 30 yards or discharge 10 rounds in under a second every time, how valid will that be when you’re using an real gun with which you can’t?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkeM11nrFmI

Just because a person can become aimbot or shoot multiple, fast shots, against egg-shell sized spinner, at extended ranges whatever with Simunition, airsoft, or airguns does not mean that he’ll be able to do so with a real gun(expecially with pistols that are very light, and have much less support than an rifle, or longarm!). At the very least, he’ll shoot a real pistol slower, at closer larger targets and with greater deviation than a simulated gun. Any conclusions drawn from the second, third, fifth, or ninth shot with Airsoft or Code Eagle has virtually no predictive quality with regard to a real gun with real ammunition.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-QogtZeMIM

This became clear when I picked up Airsoft and Air guns and started doing drills. As I was going through the exercises I thought “I’m kicking butt!” I quite literally put down them, picked up a real Glock along with P320, and tried the same thing on the same target. Surprise! I couldn’t shoot nearly as fast, with nearly the deviation control, that I could with an Simunition or Airgun. What, then, was the value of those extra simulated shots from the standpoint of the physical shooting skill?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JF-8KKoxrZU

It’s very easy to shoot an airsoft or airgun. Too easy, in fact. The ones I have feature triggers so light that they’d be considered quite dangerous on a real firearm, which makes trigger manipulation much less demanding than on the real thing. This mean that trigger-finger-induced gun movement is dramatically reduced, which in turn means that I don’t need to focus on maintaining a proper grasp like I would with a real gun. Even if I force myself to do it, the forgiving nature of my Crosman Vigilante, Steyr LP 50, Airsoft “Glock 19”, Carbon Dioxide operated "SIG P320" or any of my non-firearms isn’t anything like my real Glock 19, P320 or airweight revolvers and over time I find myself slipping in my commitment to treat it like the real thing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFTXwb4yarU

This issue continues when the “shot” breaks. Since the Airsoft and Air guns doesn’t recoil anything like a real firearm it again doesn’t require the hard grasp that the actual gun does. Yes, it’s a training and commitment issue on the part of the shooter, but even after a few rounds I find myself relaxing my hands and arms because I simply don’t need the same level of control. I’ve experienced many times when I’ve practiced one day with the airsoft, and the next went to the range with the real Glock 19 and almost had to re-learn proper grasp and exercise control over the gun. In fact, the first few rounds out of the real firearm invariably surprise me with their force and the resulting recoil! My accuracy is awful until I settle down and commit myself to exercising the fundamentals as applied to firearms, as opposed to being applied to the Air guns.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2jPCtwFv2Q

Followup shots with Airsoft is a non-event; since there is no recoil to speak of, and the gun really doesn’t move off target at all, the trigger can be manipulated much faster than when dealing with full-power recoil. If you’ve read any of firearm instruction book or attended classes of instructor like Rob Pincus, you’ll understand the concept of the balance of speed and precision. In those terms, the airgun has a radically superior balance of speed and precision than a real gun.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cosc-RO_oMg

Going to the range with an actual powder-burning autoloading pistol and trying to shoot at the same balance of speed and precision as I shoot the Airsoft is an exercise in frustration. I have to slow down dramatically to keep my rounds inside the designated target area, and the problem is made worse by the fact that the Airsoft reinforces a lack of physical control over those multiple rounds. The result is that large number of the rounds I fire in a real range session are spent re-learning basic concepts that the Airsoft allows me to ignore. Did I really gain anything from the expenditure of time and effort with the Airsoft if I need to re-learn it at the range?

All those physical control that makes pistols much harder to shoot compared to rifles is ignored in air weapons.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2v3zCcvOb_E

Actual powderburning pistols are insanely difficult to master than an Airgun/or Simunition! And in an actual fight you would want a rifle rather than handguns, because shooting an actual powder-burning autoloading pistol so light with little contact point compared to longarms at the same balance of speed and precision as I shoot Simunition/or Airguns is an exercise in frustration!

(I have several neightboor kids who caims he's a "u-b(uber-badass)" shot because he can easily plink on mailboxes from 50 yards. Or “I can easily outshoot my daddy with my Airsoft Glock while he uses an AR-15 or any carbine!” — no, really, that’s what they says — because “I can do it with Airsoft.” Don’t be like kids.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSOUmHito4M

If actual pistols were able to fire at the same balance of speed and precision as airguns then why many patrol cars are now carrying actual rifles on their back, when new shooters can shoot better groups much faster at 30 yards with airsoft pistols with much less point of contact? Why we have machine pistols coming with a attachable stock or these pistol-carbine conversion kits being all this hot take - when neightboor kids can easily plink on the other side of street or connect all their full-auto shots on target with Airsoft pistols? Why my sister was shooting worse groups much slower with an AR-15 or MP5(or just any pistol caliber carbine) - even through they have stock and foregrip to give it more control? Why we have so many people claiming - "I'm better throwing this thing" or having very hard time connecting most hits at 25 yard when they could easily do that with an Airsoft Glock or Crosman Vigilante? Why LAPD was so badly pinned down against two assailants with rifles when they could have easily hit their heads multiple times like neightboor kids does with an airsoft or airguns?
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Old October 16, 2020, 11:20 PM   #2
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Obviously you didn't cut your teeth on bb guns & airsoft as a kid.
Just as obviously never owned any.

Most of the ones I grew up with were direct copies of the real thing,
with appropriate trigger pull & same safeties.
My first pellet revolver was a copy of the S&W 686...
which made my first centerfire Taurus 66 really familiar.

It's still trigger time and aiming. Those always help.
Most manufacturers of pellet/bb guns do try to make them
as much like the real thing as possible.

Airsoft is a mixed bag..the cheap stuff will always be cheap...
but the good stuff is a very handy training aide.

Those who practice proper discipline will get benefits.
You're way off base, kid.
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Old October 17, 2020, 01:34 AM   #3
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Hell of a first post. Welcome to the forum?
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Old October 17, 2020, 04:50 AM   #4
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Quote:
With the expensive price of ammo, shortages or unavailability of nearby ranges many people seems to be searching for Airsoft or BB guns as cheaper convenient alternative for training...
...
...was so badly pinned down against two assailants with rifles when they could have easily hit their heads multiple times like neightboor kids does with an airsoft or airguns.
So Airsoft and airguns make great practice tools for firearm training except that they don't provide realistic recoil?
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Old October 17, 2020, 08:05 AM   #5
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Ill be completely honest, if training with a BB gun makes anybody even 10% more efficient/safer with a real firearm then I'm not going to knock anybody for trying it.
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Old October 17, 2020, 08:48 AM   #6
shafter
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I have no airsoft experience, but Simunition is used for training at the highest levels of law enforcement and the military.

What you need to understand is that Simunition (and presumably airsoft) isn't used for target practice. It's used for scenario based training where decision making and tactics under stress is the goal. It's not a substitute for range time.
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Old October 17, 2020, 09:08 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by shafter
What you need to understand is that Simunition (and presumably airsoft) isn't used for target practice. It's used for scenario based training where decision making and tactics under stress is the goal. It's not a substitute for range time.
I disagree with this, and with the opening post.

While I fully understand that simunitions training is used in the military and law enforcement to train in real world scenarios, not marksmanship, that does not mean that using airsoft to practice shooting has no value. It's not a perfect substitute, obviously, but it's certainly better than nothing and especially so for combat accuracy (which is all that's required for IDPA/USPSA). Let's face it -- if airsoft has no value because of the unrealistic recoil, then dry firing must have even less value because there's no recoil. Yet how many top-flight trainers do you know of that tell their students NEVER to dry fire, or that dry firing is a worthless waste of time?

And let's not forget that several years ago a gentleman from (I think) Japan, a country where he was not allowed to shoot a real firearm, practiced extensively with an airsoft, traveled to the United States for a major competition, and placed fairly high in the standings.

Here's one counterpoint to the original post: https://www.gearexpert.com/2014/07/a...-training.html
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Old October 17, 2020, 11:50 AM   #8
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Aguila,

I don't disagree with you. Just as dry fire has value as a training tool for accuracy, I'm sure that SIMS and Airsoft can have some value in that regard as well.

My point was to refute the OP. SIMs have a lot of value in training and I'm sure to some degree Airsoft could be used as well.
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Old October 17, 2020, 05:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Do not use airosft or air guns for firearms training
I'm going to have to politely disagree. Because the degree of incorporation into training can take in to account the limitations of airsoft. I still find that for me, if I haven't practiced in a while, there is a delay in the initial sight picture acquisition and presentation. This is also because I enjoy and carry different brands and types of firearms each with their own grip angle and sight picture. I'm not trying to work on group size, or recoil control, but the draw, initial presentation and a transition to finger on/off the trigger, taking up slack, what have you. Sometimes I don't feel like unloading and dry firing my real firearm.

Airsoft is not a replacement, but it can be a supplement. Nothing beats training courses, range time, competition, force on force, real combat experience - however deep down the rabbit hole you want to go. But we fit things in when we have time depending on our priorities and opportunity.
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Old October 17, 2020, 06:04 PM   #10
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I grew up shooting air pistols in the basement with my dad and the neighbors. Air pistols? Heck, they were Daisy BB guns. But we shot targets and kept scores. It was fun.

When I was 16, I started hunting rabbits with a Harrington and Richardson .22 Special. I loved it. In retrospect, it's a really crap revolver and I wouldn't shoot a new one today, let alone a used one.

Life came along and I didn't shoot for many a year. Then we had a baby. Your life changes when you have a baby- you stay home a lot. Dad time is late at night. This dad was relaxing by shooting a Baikal Olympic class air pistol in the basement.

Then I joined a very big club. I bought some target class .22 pistols and a bullseye 1911. I placed second out of 103 guys. The guy who finished first was really good.

Oh, I was shooting air pistol, doing dry fire drills, doing hand exercises, working out to shoot... all the stuff I could to do well.

Since then I have owned at one point just about every handgun I ever had the slightest curiosity about. I shoot 'em all well enough to make most people look at my targets.

Does it take more than shooting bb guns to get good? Yes.
Does it help to have a bb gun to start off with? I think so. The better your bb gun, the better.
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Old October 17, 2020, 07:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shafter
Aguila,

I don't disagree with you. Just as dry fire has value as a training tool for accuracy, I'm sure that SIMS and Airsoft can have some value in that regard as well.

My point was to refute the OP. SIMs have a lot of value in training and I'm sure to some degree Airsoft could be used as well.
My apologies. I thought you were agreeing with the opening post.

The antibiotics I'm on at the moment may have addled my already scrambled brain.
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Old October 17, 2020, 08:02 PM   #12
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Here's a video where an airsoft competitor tries to translate his skills to the real deal.

https://youtu.be/qQDfwyUgtjg
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Old October 17, 2020, 08:56 PM   #13
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Im sorry gang, the idea of airsoft being a productive training platform for real combat sounds like fanboy nonsense to me. In my estimation, airsoft simply does not adequately simulate weapon or armed fighting characteristics. I aced the fully automatice bb-gun at the state fair when I was 10. It is just not the same universe and any "skill" that I may have developed is not likely to translate to the operation of a real thompson sub gun used at the same distance ( 5 yards).

If you want to limit the airsoft discussion to team tactics, general strategic maneuvers or "method".. ok, I can accept it. Honestly, you could do the same with a broom handle or super-soaker if that is the case.

incorporating effective combat marksmanship along with the volatile characteristics of a real firing weapon is a rather intrinsic element of real fighting prowess.

Look,... airsoft is a game. The problem I have with it being touted as a training platform is based primarily in the optics vs physics category. Just because it may look like combat does not mean that it is. Likewise, the skill developed in an airsoft universe should probably remain there. I think that airsoft is great training for more airsoft. BB-Guns have been around since the late 1800s and I do not think they have found their way into any notable combat training that I have ever heard of, probably with good reason. I would also imagine that there are equally good reasons that i-miles and similar military training systems are so much more than shooting bb-guns.
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Old October 17, 2020, 09:08 PM   #14
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USPSA, IDPA, 3 Gun, and cowboy action shooting are all games, too.
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Old October 17, 2020, 09:44 PM   #15
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Quote:
Im sorry gang, the idea of airsoft being a productive training platform for real combat sounds like fanboy nonsense to me.
I think it's worthwhile to separate 2 different issues here.

There are airsoft PISTOLS (or rifles..) as in the hardware itself. They can be had in nearly the same configuration as a real firearm.

Then there are airsoft GAMES / tournaments.

I've never played in airsoft games. But I do own an airsoft M&P9c that fits in the same holsters as my "real" one, has a grip that I wish was a little bit thicker just like my real one, multiple back straps, same hinged trigger safety, same control location, nearly the same sight picture. It's not an all inclusive experience but if I haven't been to the range in weeks, I can sometimes pop by the garage and practice safe handling / draw / present / trigger pull. I could do that with my real pistol, but knowing a little plastic BB will come out the orange spout is a little safer. It's quite possible that having an airsoft replica of your carry pistol wouldn't do much to help you because unlike me you've trained enough to ingrain it. I've gone months without going to a range sometimes.
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Old October 17, 2020, 10:19 PM   #16
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I disagree as well. When ammo got expensive and scarce after the Sandy Hook tragedy, I practiced with my airsoft pistol. I worked on rapid sight acquisition and point shooting. The muscle memory that it built got me to the point I was shooting 2 inch groups from 15 feet away without the sights (coming up from low ready). There is obviously no recoil. But the bullet has already left the gun by the time the recoil affects you.

Check out this video of a Japanese guy who only shot airsoft before coming to the US.

https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/...ting-firearms/
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Old October 17, 2020, 10:19 PM   #17
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Is this a law or something? Because I've been fracturing it for quite awhile now.
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Old Yesterday, 12:38 AM   #18
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Lining up sights on anything (be it a BB gun, airsoft gun, real gun) and hitting what your aiming at is good practice in any format. Many of us who grew up on a BB gun and later graduated to a .22 and then standard real calibers carry lessons from previous platforms. It's why I often have a hard time teaching people how to shoot a 9mm on their first trip to a range. Target acquisition, sight alignment, grip, recoil and noise awareness are easy to teach on an individual level. Adding them all up at once usually leaves a frustrated student who probably won't take the time to plink an airsoft pistol in their backyard to get good at #1-3.
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Old Yesterday, 10:41 AM   #19
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You’re way off base, kid.
^^^This.^^^
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Old Yesterday, 11:29 AM   #20
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Look,... airsoft is a game.
Scenario training and FOF are also types of games. What are they called when large scale? Oh yeah, war games. They are just games designed to be instructive. Point is, discounting the game aspect is not a valid argument.
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Old Yesterday, 11:33 AM   #21
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Have to agree the OP, who hasn't returned to address the responses, is off-base and was just trying to drive people to his YouTube channel, as one member reporting the post (after a lot of responses had already gone up) suggested. I haven't bothered to look at the YouTube vids because the premise is obviously wrong. If it were right, dry-fire practice would be a bad idea. And yet, most top shots report dry firing greatly improves their shooting. It is ingraining the muscle movements that present and align the weapon and operate the trigger that matters.
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Old Yesterday, 02:53 PM   #22
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So airsoft allows you to practice gunhandling, mag changes, sight pictures and trigger press, but doesn't have recoil.

It DOES allow you to practice some of the most important fundamentals of shooting (namely, gunhandling, mag changes, sight pictures and trigger press) away from a live range; there's no value in that?

Huh-guess we shouldn't dry-fire either, then.



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Old Yesterday, 03:02 PM   #23
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Scenario training and FOF are also types of games. What are they called when large scale? Oh yeah, war games. They are just games designed to be instructive. Point is, discounting the game aspect is not a valid argument.
Lets not pretend that we dont know what "its a game" actually refers to. Within the context of this discussion, calling something a game largely refers to the fact that GAMING IMPERATIVES are often centered around the need or desire to make a "game" sporting/entertaining. Game imperatives are rarely if ever center around the management of real combat. FOF and "WARGAMES" on the other hand is largely about the concepts and management of real combative conditions. FOF as well as WARGAMES are often carried out in a manner as close to realism as safety and prudence allows. A gaming mentality is not really conducive to real combat simply because "you dont fight that way" and "wouldnt fight that way".
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Old Yesterday, 03:36 PM   #24
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A gaming mentality is not really conducive to real combat simply because "you dont fight that way" and "wouldnt fight that way".
To be fair, this post is the first to address concept of "gaming mentality".

A 'gaming mentality' can be problematic when preparing for real combat. Games themselves, depending on how they are constructed and carried out can provide beneficial training although it is impossible for any game to fully replicate real combat. Of course we know that fully replicating combat is not necessary to gain skills, or no one could train for combat at all except while actually being in the midst of real combat.

My take:

1. It's unreasonable to expect any type of training to fully replicate real combat. Nothing but real combat replicates real combat. Therefore, unless one takes the view that all training is useless because it doesn't fully replicate real combat, it is a given that at least some benefits can be derived from something that does not fully replicate real combat.

2. A game may or may not provide training benefit depending on how it is set up and carried through. Even if it does provide training benefit, it won't fully replicate real combat.

3. A "gaming mentality" is not at all the same as participating in "games". Some games are set up with a "gaming mentality", others are not. Some people participating in "games" do so with a "gaming mentality" while others focus on the potential training benefits. Even in the "practical" pistol sports, you see people who are in it purely for the win (gaming mentality) and others who are clearly trying to build good habits and consider it to be part of their training.

Airsoft guns and airguns help with sight alignment, trigger control, and can be used to work on some aspects of gun handling. But they don't replicate recoil properly. That's the short version of the OP less about 1300 words and all the youtube links.
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Old Yesterday, 06:40 PM   #25
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Before discounting realistic airsoft "guns", take the time to watch this video.

https://youtu.be/qQDfwyUgtjg

All of the gentleman's for skills were learned on airsoft. Watch him acclimate to live fire.
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