Realistic training with airsoft?

This is a discussion on Realistic training with airsoft? within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Hey guys, I know this may be a little off topic, but I value the opinions and thoughts from folks here more so than I ...

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Thread: Realistic training with airsoft?

  1. #1
    Member Array skunkworks's Avatar
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    Realistic training with airsoft?

    Hey guys,
    I know this may be a little off topic, but I value the opinions and thoughts from folks here more so than I would find in the Airsoft crowd.
    I know lots of folks advocate for Airsoft training when you can't make it to the range. Are there any Airsoft guns out there that actually look and feel like real rifles?
    I know they make AR and AK variants (as well as others) that are quite expensive, but I'm not looking for myself and not wanting to spend as much as those cost. Some are darn near the price of the firearm they mimic.
    I'd like to find a gun that I can teach my 6-yr old shooting techniques. We've done some with the .22 and she likes that, but I think Airsoft would be even better than a BB gun at this point. We can shoot in the basement and I don't have to worry about ricochet if she misses the target/bullet trap. (she doesn't miss very often though)
    Also a lot of the lower-powered BB guns I'm familiar with take a bit of effort to cock the lever. A batter powered Airsoft gun would be easier I think

    Any thoughts? Am I right in my logic?
    I'll keep my freedom, my liberty, and my guns. You can keep the change.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Array tubadude's Avatar
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    Airsoft is big in Japan, to the point where the higher quality models function almost identically to their real counterparts. However, WalMart and the other retailers dont like to stock them.

    I use this store almost exclusively (they are based in Hong Kong, but I have never had a problem). I would go with a gas model, specifically a gas blow back version (GBB). Those tend to be the most realistic.

    This is something I keep around for shooting cans off of my porch. It's inexpensive, and it really packs a punch.

    I also have a GBB shell ejecting 8mm G21 replica made by Marushin which is pretty darn close to the real thing. A bit pricey, though.

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    Senior Member Array Spidey2011's Avatar
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    I would go with a lower power electric gun with an adjustable stock. I had one for a couple years and it was great. 60 round magazines, so reloads are far and few between on semi auto. If you have a trap, all you have to do is recharge the batteries and collect your bb's once in awhile. I'd recommend a DPMS kitty kat. Feels just like the real thing, same sights, everything.

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    Distinguished Member Array TSiWRX's Avatar
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    I am also using airsoft replicas to educate my daughter - there's much less noise and recoil, and there's the added safety factor.

    Before going any further, though, I'd like to revisit the safety issue: skunkworks, please be aware that unless you go for the "youth" variety of airsoft replicas, the BB's will achieve velocities/energy sufficient to cause, at the minimum, eye-injury concerns upon ricochet. A simple pair of Z87.1 or ASTM F1776-99 (paintball) rated safety-glasses/goggles will more than take care of any impact worries - just be sure it fits your child snugly enough that a BB can't "sneak past" (I've seen this happen, live, in active airsoft gaming, but not on a target range).

    [ Sidetracking for those who are interested in using airsoft as a Force-on-Force tool: I really recommend wearing paintball or airsoft specific fully-enclosed goggles to "seal" the eue area (again, this is based off of my actually having witnessed, first-hand, a BB "sneaking in around" the perimeter of a pair of high-quality shooting glasses), and using a paintball or airsoft specific protective mask and using a hoodie to cover the ear area. In active airsoft gaming - particularly at the close ranges that's often used in FoF training, I've again first-hand witnessed BB's chipping teeth and physically taking off portions of or lacerating one's earlobe, lip, or nostrils. And yes, this is with unmodified replicas. ]

    Unfortunately, as with the others here, my understanding is that even in the current market (I stepped away from airsoft about 6 to 7 years ago), replicas that are sufficiently detailed and physically stout enough to utilize as training aids (be it static/target/manipulation or active FoF) are going to be costly.

    In terms of pistols, semi-automatic gas-operated replicas of the Glock, Beretta 92, or 1911 genres will be very price-comparable with RAM trainers. You're looking at entry at $150 or so, and upwards of $250. Operations/manipulation-wise, I think the airsoft replica offers more realism than the RAM trainers, but in terms of FoF training, I definitely favor the RAM units.

    For rifles, I think that the RAM AR-type trainer likely offers a higher degree of durability and, again, more force(ful)-feedback for FoF training - along with perhaps better economy - but there is much more variety to be had with airsoft...unfortunately, cost-wise, that's where it's going to really, really hurt, with high-grade airsoft replicas.

    In the early 2000s dollars, I spent:
    - $700 on a Tanio Koba 10/22 replica, gas-operated.
    - $300 on a Maruzen M1100, gas-operated (ejects "spent husks")
    - $200 on a Maruzen 870 replica - another gas-propelled pump-action (again, it ejects "spent husks")

    With any of those replicas, you'll have an awesome degree of realism - on the shotguns, you can just as easily do changeovers as with their real-steel counterparts - but they're very pricey.... My Remington 870 was only $300.

    - You don't want to know how much my electric ARs cost :embarrassed: - but at the same time, I also don't feel that they offer enough realism for training use. Their loading mechanisms lack realism, which means that you and your trainee will have to use your imagination a bit, to effect manipulations training. At that cost, I honestly don't know it's worth it. There are now high-grade gas-operated AR replicas, but again, you're going to be looking at $300 or so.

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