Airsoft as a training tool

Airsoft as a training tool

AUTHOR Jeff Kirkham / RM Training Blog / PUBLISHED: NOV-03-2019

“One of the single most beneficial tools you can get your hands on to increase your firearms training is a quality Airsoft gun…”

Why Airsoft?

One of the single most beneficial tools you can get your hands on to increase your firearms training is a quality Airsoft gun.

Now wait, before you roll your eyes and disregard Airsoft as a simple kids toy, think about this:

Have you ever trained by dry fire?

Have you ever used a plastic dummy gun for combatives or learning house clearing training?

Have you ever used a BB gun to shoot small game?

Have you ever wanted to shoot in a live fire shoot house but don’t have the money or resources to do that?

Have you ever wondered what it is like to shoot at someone who is moving and shooting back at you in a scenario crafted to help you learn?

The limitation with live fire is there is zero room for failure…

If you answered “yes” to any of the above, read on.

Anyone that is serious about firearms training either wants to do, or has done many of the above mentioned training iterations, but even if you are a police officer or in the military, it is never enough time.

Airsoft does a marvelous job closing the loop so that you can train! Airsoft has the added benefit of safely being able to shoot a projectile so that you can get the confirmation that you are actually hitting what you are aiming at.

Airsoft is like any other training tool; if you treat it with respect, it is invaluable in your training gear line up. If you treat it like a toy, then you will have just that, a child’s toy.

A quality Airsoft gun will shoot a BB in the exact trajectory (at short range) of that of a real firearm without the danger of killing someone, or destroying something that you don’t want to. This creates a series of tremendous advantages that we will discuss below:

A quality Airsoft pistol like this Glock authorized version will cost you less than half of that of a real Glock, and the look, feel and weight is virtually identical.

Ammo is incredibly cheap, coming in at approximately $10 for 5,000 BBs! Compare that to the same amount of 9mm and it would cost you well over $1,000!

Training on a budget.

In firearms training, repetition is essential, and if you are on a budget (and you should be) then it is impossible to beat the savings of Airsoft. The math is simple: Shoot 100 BBs for every one live-fire round. That’s a lot of trigger time to be had.

Range fees vary depending on where you live, but fees add up either way, costing you hard earned dollars. Also, take into consideration the time that is spent to travel to a range. Unless you live in Salt Lake where there seems to be an indoor range on every corner, you may have to travel long distances. With Airsoft you can literally walk into your garage making training convenient, inexpensive and safe.

Many ranges will not allow several of the essential steps in firearms training due to safety constraints.

Things like draw and shoot, rapid fire and moving-while-shooting are a big “no go” at the vast majority of ranges both indoors and outdoors. If you are lucky enough to be able to do those training skills at your range, then good on you! But unfortunately, the freedom to train in that manner is fading fast. The ability to shoot in any training manner you like is completely within reach with Airsoft and you don’t have to go to a range to do it.

Traditional ranges are two dimensional in almost all cases. Shooting on a highly regulated traditional range gets you ready to win a gun fight about as much as hitting a heavy bag gets you ready for a boxing match. Bottom line: it is not enough .

Flat range work is essential but far from enough to get you ready for a fight! Airsoft, if treated like a training tool, allows you to do training iterations, like clear your own home, run other scenario based training with your friends and family, and push the limits of your skills.

Ever wanted to learn how to clear your home and shoot at the same time? You can do it with Airsoft. Ever want to learn how to fight from your own vehicle? You can do it with Airsoft. Ever want to practice shooting at a 3D target when you are running to cover? Airsoft lets you do it.

Airsoft technology is improving constantly, and getting training tools that feel, look, and weigh like the real thing is now possible.


Yes, I said failure.

When you train, it is essential to train to the point of failure; to improve you must first identify your failure points, then focus on improving those weaknesses. The limitation with live fire, is there is zero room for failure because of the danger involved.

Airsoft allows you to push the limits of almost every aspect of firearms training without the danger that is inherently involved in live fire shooting. Yes you can get hurt, but injury is exceedingly rare.

So why not use Simunitions or UTM’s?

Without question UTM and Simunitions are valuable tools and should be used. There are several limitations with them however:

-They are hard to get because they are limited almost exclusively to police and military.

-They are very expensive, the kits cost as much as real firearms and the bullets are approximately $0.88 cents per shot.

-The protective equipment is very expensive and necessary.

-A certification is required to purchase the kits and is expensive.

-They are still considered firearms so may be restricted for shooting in city limits or just flat out illegal to own.

It is for the above reasons that Jason and I are writing a “How To” training manual on the proper way to use Airsoft so that it becomes a game changer in your preparedness skills. Stay tuned for more to come.



A coworker used to bring these and we put holes in everything at work :rofl::rofl:


I don’t use airsoft but I do use CO2 BB replicas of a M&P and 1911, with the 1911 having a blow back operated slide. Its great dry fire practice. I strongly recommend it.


I use n old pump-up Benjamin. Pistol skills are pistol skills. Any practice will help.


I am a big fan of using Airsoft replica’s for training! I have been doing so since around 2004. I instituted it at our SO for training purposes. One thing to be careful of, especially when using it for force on force training is that it can devolve into a shooting fest, quickly. The guys/gals can get so into the fun aspect of it, that they toss their tactics and suddenly it’s a speed ball bb fest. But it is a great, cheaper alternative training tool!


Absolutely correct.
Airsoft and pellet air guns provide excellent ways to practice.
Better even than dry fire, due to being able to actually see holes in the targets.
The newer blowback versions can be just about the equivalent of .22 rimfires, especially the pistols.
If the Youtube channel still carries them, there’s videos of some of the top competition guys using them for practice.


I used to play airsoft and one thing I noticed is co2 mags always end up leaking and they are not cheap, you will spend a fortune in orings repairing them and the valve keys are cheap crap and you will spend a fortune in them as well.

green gas mags are much better, We use propane with an adapter for the coleman 1# bottles get the plastic tip one so you dont damage the oring in the valve and never drop the bottle. always separate the adapter from the bottle when not in use.

Now propane is good till around 65*F for a whole mag of BBs, you need to let them return to room temp before refilling them or you get pressure difference that results in issues of functionality.
Its wise to lubricate the valve orings every mag.

GG(greengas) is expensive, way to much lube/oil in the can, you never want oil to get on the hopup ever, many will swell up and decrease accuracy and effectiveness. So what I do is I will take the adapter off, put RC shock oil(65 weight) on the propane bottle valve itself then put the adapter back on, this is good for 2 mags(pistols like a 17 series size mag). 1 for sure for m4 style size mags.

Some adapters have a separate reservoir for oil, but are metal so if you use these make absolutely sure you dont damage the oring in the valve. these orings are expensive or hard to find the right size.

Now back to the gas we use, if you need to use it in temps lower than 60*f I suggest you use mapp gas, I will warn you it stinks bad and works way better than propane or co2 and the yellow bottles have the same threads and valves as the coleman propane cans.
If you are dealing with temps in the 70s like indoor which im guessing you are indoor propane will be 100% fine to use.

Now with that out of the way on to the airsoft guns themselves.

Tokyo marui is the brand the aftermarket makes for the most, literally almost everything TM makes is a clone but some china copies are clones 100% just cheap materials.
I would suggest not buying a TM, they are designed for a 1J limit as per Japanese law and are designed to run on only TM gas, Duster is close but duster isnt a refrigerant like the TM gas is and its illegal in the USA.

I suggest to buy a WE or if you can find them HK3P brand, lots of aftermarket, cheaper, designed for higher pressure gasses, you really dont nee to ever worry about upgrading them unless you plan on doing outdoor stuff.

I have dumped lots of money into a socom gear timberwolf(we g17 with timberwolf lower) and for indoor games I have just a little more accuracy and range than a stock we17.
Now I suggest never ever buy VFC, umarex, elite force, kwa/ksc(I may have this one mixed up) or sru.

I dont care what you’ve heard but unless you live in say California thems are your only options, otherwise find your favorite reputable overseas company and buy any of the TM or WE guns, I will say to run propane reliably in a TM you have to upgrade to a metal slide.

If you want to go further and get a rifle or something I highly suggest GHK, is my go to for anything GHK related, they have replacement parts for everything. They are a little pricey but the reliability is greater than any other brand ive laid my hands on.

They dont make very many models and release of a new model is a while, heres where we turn back to WE.
Ive used a WEm4 for a couple years and many many airsoft matches, The downside is the nozzle and nozzle return spring. The oem is a weak plastic but it wont ever damage the mag feed lips or destroy the BBs.

The Aftermarket(RATech/Airsoft Taiwan/AST) created an aluminum nozzle with whats called an Npas, Id rather fix my fps by getter a larger boor barrel and a new hopup rubber than ever use these npas things.

Some WE rifle models you will have to buy aftermarket steel trigger groups, like the m14, you can go a while on the stock group but remember it will separate and destroy itself.
Some like the scar you have to remove every screw and red locktight them in or it will literally wreck itself.

The AK has to have a steel trigger group as well but the beauty of the ghk ak is you dont get the full travle bolt like the we but its way more reliable and the full travle bolt kit is overpriced and breaks stuff that cant be fixed easy.

Its been a few years and ive forgotten more than I know about things but one thing is for sure, f*** kwa, there should be a couple really good FB groups left with people who still remember what ive learned and have taught to others about what really is needed with we guns

Me I have only a M14ebr mod0 still 100% stock and very lightly used, When I ran a we m4 I always keeped a couple extra stock bcgs around because when your in game its quicker to swap it out when the nozzle tip breaks.

Which is why I switched to ghk for the m4/ar style guns, their nozzle is superior to any other brand, reliability is superior, Its a modified version of the WA series that died out when G&P copied it and ruined it. Now its almost impossible to find real western arms parts and even then they were only slightly better than G&P.

if you ever buy one of them G&P kits be prepared to just throw it away, same with kjw(except their m700 bolt guns very good), there are also many others that copied the WA gas system but all failed and sell it priced as such.

I recall someone taking an 80% lower and milling it out for use with ghk parts(note literally almost all airsoft GBBR are not comparable with real ar/m4 parts because laws and whatnot) Its honestly best to just use the airsoft versions of an item.

WE is closer to real steel threading for things like buffer tubes, grip screws but ive had no real issues using real magpul on my ghk, barrel nut threading is airsoft as is muzzle device, IIRC mine is -14mm. Some companies literally 1/1 scaled the ar15/m4 to airsoft, barrel nut, muzzle device and other things but that stuff is almost non existent anymore because of reasions ive mentioned

Unfortunately for some handguns you have to deal with other companies than TM or WE and you are at their mercy as theres no aftermarket or you have to buy another one to and use the only one and hope you dont get the same problems.

Ive never seen 1 kwa item work longer than a day in person and the airsoft show was like you have to deal with contacting kwa, same with elite force/umarex and VFC will tell you to pound sand because they dont know what your talking about.


I’ll just leave this here


Looks fun :grin:


It was a good way to say fundamentals are the same, but I really have a thing against lucas.


Sounds like a great idea. But when I click on “Read more” at the end of the first post, it takes me to Readyman’s MRE page.

Anyway, I take it airsoft is different from a traditional BB gun? If so, what would be better, an airsoft or BB gun? And what would be a good quality replica of a 1911 and a Glock 34? I did a search for WE airsoft guns and they’re definitely much cheaper than the Umarex replicas. But I don’t know if it’s one of those “you-get-what-you-pay-for” type deals with these airsoft/BB guns?


The full auto bb guns are awesome too.


BB guns have smooth barrels, Pellet guns usually have rifled barrels, and airsoft also have smooth barrels.
Some bb guns will also shoot pellets, with some loss of accuracy.
And some smooth barreled air guns are very accurate in spite of the handicap of having a smooth barrel.
Hope this helps.


The DPMS bb gun is not bad on accuracy. this at full auto.


I bet that’s a hoot to shoot at full auto!


Do they all use those little CO2 tanks? Years ago, I had cheapo plastic 1911 look-alike BB gun that used those little tanks, but it wasn’t that accurate and the distance was pretty bad - maybe 10 yds? It also went through those little tanks like an old big block muscle car guzzles gas. I eventually gave it away. I’d like to try a more realistic, better quality replica that my son and I can practice with.


It is fun, it uses two of the small CO2 and they go in the magazine with the BB’s. everything on it functions like an AR, you even use the charging handle and the bolt hold open works


Very cool!


While I don’t really care for Lucas either, there is a lot of stuff in his videos that’s very helpful. I myself even train with airsoft/BB guns. I have a replica Walther PPS bb gun that is real close to the size and weight of my EDC, which is CO2 operated, blow back action and slide locks back when empty. For close range training, this pistol is pretty darn accurate. Plus, when the CO2 is empty, I can use it to perform dry fire exercises.


not all use 12g co2, i would 100% avoid any airsoft GBBP that uses any co2 bulb for reliability reasons.