It can be a challenge to know where to begin when looking to buy your first air pistol. With lots of different styles and types, from revolvers to replicas, and CO2 powered to spring-powered, there almost seems to be too much choice! Never fear, however, The Wolfman is here to do what we can to make choosing your next sidearm that little bit easier.
Spring Powered, Gas Piston, CO2, Pneumatic & PCP Air Pistols
First of all, let’s look at some of the main differences you’ll see time and time again when browsing:
Key amongst these is the power system used to fire the pistol. One of the most common is the spring-powered (often called ‘springers’). As per the name, these guns have a coiled spring in the action. The spring decompresses when you release the trigger, and this energy is transferred and released to the pellet.
Another system is the gas piston. These work similarly to spring powered guns, but instead of a coiled spring, they use a sealed gas chamber. This in turn is compressed, and this compression is used to fire the gun instead.
You can also get CO2 pistols, which use a small gas cylinder inserted in the gun. Easy to use and often more accurate, typically these will fire up to 60 pellets of .177 calibre before they need replacing. Along with the springers, these are the most common types of pistol available. They also can be fired as quickly as you can pull the trigger without any need to reload or refuel.
A small number of pistols are pneumatic, where you have to pump up the cylinder to build pressure inside. These are a great self-contained option, but give you a bit of a workout every shot!
Some premium pistols use a pre-charged pneumatic (PCP for short) system, in which pressurised gas is stored within an internal reservoir on the pistol. These pistols are often among the more expensive on the market, but achieve highly consistent and accurate results.
.177 vs. .22 Air Pistols
There is also a difference in what ammunition the pistol is designed to shoot, which will either be an airgun pellet or a BB. Some rare few will be designed to shoot either, but the vast majority will simply be one or the other. Regarding pellets, the most common calibre (size of the pellet) for pistols is .177, although it is possible to get pistols designed for .22, but these will typically be larger models.
You might see some CO2 pistols being described as being blowback. This is where some of the energy from the shot is deliberately redirected to generate recoil, which is otherwise very minimal from CO2 powered pistols. Of course, by using additional gas per shot to generate this recoil blowback pistols might get fewer shots and lower speed before needing to replace the cylinder, but by simulating the performance of a real gun they are unquestionably more fun to shoot. It is highly recommended to look into and consider blowbacks, with some of the best pistols offering it as standard.
How Much Do Air Pistols Cost?
As we have touched on, certain features and power systems cost different amounts of money and this is always a significant factor to consider. Springers are always a popular choice as they are very affordable, with the price starting around £70, although any system other than PCP is readily available for under £100. To have a blowback pistol you will have to spend that little bit extra, with the price difference between a standard CO2 model and one with blowback typically being around £50, but this of course changes from model to model.
Another key consideration to bear in mind when buying an air pistol is the intended use. Most pistols are designed for and are appropriate for short-range recreational shooting. Whether at the gun range aiming at targets, or in the garden aiming at tin cans, pistols are ideal for the shooter interested in having fun and are available at all price ranges for this purpose.
There are some very high-powered pistols which are suitable at very short ranges for pest control, but typically pistols are not accurate or powerful enough at a long enough range to be effective in this use. Pistols are also used for match and competition shooting, but models designed for this are usually a bit more expensive with the entry-price starting at around £300.
At the Wolfman, we try to make it as easy as possible to get you out and shooting as quickly as possible. That’s why we are happy to offer air pistol kits, which contain everything you’ll need to get going from the word go including ammunition, targets, CO2 if necessary, and a case to store it all safely in again. We even offer this on our home delivery service, giving a whole new meaning to ‘ready straight out of the box!’
The Wolfman Alpha Pick Air Pistol
So, it’s now time for our Wolfman Alpha pick! But first we have some honourable mentions, all of which being available in our complete package kits:
First of all, we would recommend the Browning Buckmark to anyone looking for a spring powered pistol. It has all the features you’d expect, including a rail to mount sights, and an ergonomic grip to help you achieve accurate shooting every time. This is an ideal option for anyone searching for a simple yet effective pistol without compromising on quality.
Secondly, no list of pistols would be complete without a revolver, and you can’t get any more revolver than the Colt Single-Action Army (SAA) Peacemaker replica! With looks that scream classic and a whole host of finishes to choose from, this is the air pistol for anyone looking for that iconic experience.
Finally, our last honourable mention is the Crosman 2240, a fantastic CO2 pistol very well suited for target shooting and garden plinking. A very comfortable grip makes it suitable for any size hand. Very accurate, this is a top-choice for those looking for an introduction to target shooting.
But our Alpha pick would have to be Glock 17 Gen 4 offering all the features desired for the very best pistol shooting experience, this is a high-quality reliable pistol that is accurate and fun to shoot. It also has that classic style which, when combined with full blowback capability, makes it in every aspect the authentic and genuine replica of its counterparts in service with armed forces around the world, and as seen countless times on the silver screen. Powered by CO2 cylinders, it is a user-friendly gun that will keep your shots on target all day long. In short, it ticks every box you could ever want it to. That’s why the Glock 17 Gen 4 is the Wolfman Alpha pick!