What’s the best air pistol for target shooting?

One of my introductions into the airgun rabbit hole came through a pistol. Pistols offer an important role, serving as an introduction to firearms rookies.

Also, they are fantastic for  practicing grip, stance, breathing, and shooting in general. For shooters looking to improve their accuracy and proficiency, pistols are a fantastic choice.

Furthermore, not many people can access, or live close to a range where they can safely practice. Pistols, whether in BB or pellet format, offer a safe environment to practice shooting. You can set up a station in your backyard, or even set up a garage range(Just make sure to be safe always!) BBs and pellets are usually very cheap!

Ways to practice target shooting with air pistols

The first way you can practice target shooting with air pistols is with holster training. For people that are planning on use holsters, it’s absolutely crucial that you practice WITH holsters regularly. Furthermore, an air pistol with BB’s is FAR safer than practicing with a .45 or 9mm.

You can practice :

  • Drawing efficiently and quickly
  • Timed drills from concealment
  • Holstering and carrying

The second way you can practice is with defensive shooting drills. For this, airsoft and BB pistols are actually BETTER than air pistols. Try shooting from close range(10 meters) in contact distances, shooting on the move, and shooting while covering / shielding someone else.

The last way – last but not least, is to practice accuracy. Use the pellet guns we recommend below to practice sight and tight shot placement.

With that said, here are our five of the finest air pistols we recommend from our experience for your target practice needs. We picked out six best CO2 air pistols for you.

Best CO2 Options

Two best budget options

Daisy Powerline 426

Simply the best budget option, and best intro for anyone who’s just beginning their journey to airguns and firearms in general.

It’s a great quality BB gun for its low price range, and you can get up to a 3″ group shooting from 30 feet away.

It’s an AMAZING gun if you want to practice shooting technique and keep down the cost of practicing with real ammo. The Daisy 426 has a double action trigger pull for each shot, and the trigger is quite smooth and in our experience, offers a very realistic amount of resistance to help practice trigger pull technique.

One single CO2 cartridge will last you a long time(45 ~ 60 shots with relatively high power).

Pros
  • Cheap and affordable
  • Best choice for firearms intros, for practicing technique
  • Easy to sight
  • Realistic trigger pull
  • Best for light backyard fun, and light hobbyists
Cons
  • Accuracy limited to approximately 30 feet away

Glock 19 Gen3

Another budget but high-quality air pistol we recommend most, the Glock 19 is a fantastic product from Umarex.

If you own real Glocks, you’ll find that this will feel basically like a real firearm. It looks and weighs the same as a real Glock 19. The trigger pull is a bit heavy, but it has a partial-pull feature to let you focus before pulling.

Keep in mind that this is no blowback, which can be a turnoff for most people. It’s rated at 410 fps, and we’ve found it very easy to install the CO2, AND easy to shoot.

Pros
  • Affordable and high quality
  • Great for practice if you own real Glocks
  • Realistic look and feel
Cons
  • Trigger is a bit heavy
  • No blowback

Two CO2 pistols(higher budget)

Crossman .22 cal 2240

This is our favorite recommendation for those looking for the perfect target practice air pistol. The Crosman 2240 has been used by thousands of shooters with amazing feedback.

Our favorite because it’s incredibly easy to modify. It’s incredibly well built – very sturdy, almost all steel made. The stock breech, and grips are plastic(Mod these!). It shoots well outside of the box, and the grips are VERY easy to grip.

The accuracy is simply unparalleled to other CO2 guns in this price range. My shooting proficiency shot through the roof with the Crosman 2240, getting tighter grouping with each use and my aiming and steady firing really improving as well.

It likes heavier pellets(15~16 grain range) like JSB Diabolo, or H&N copper plated, or Gamo Spires will do.

Keep in mind that it is loud as it’s quite powerful.

Pros
  • Amazing accuracy and power
  • Incredibly easy to mod. Can become a masterpiece with the right upgrades
  • Well-balanced and easy to shoot, simply PERFECT for target practice
Cons
  • Can be loud, not for urban / residential use

Dan Wesson ASG Revolver

Apart from the Crosman 2240, the Wesson ASG is a close second of our favorite recommendation.

If realistic look and feel is the #1 thing we’re looking for in target practice, this is it. It’s sturdy, heavy and feels like a real gun. It’s practically impossible to tell if it’s a BB gun or not. It comes with a speed loader, which is amazing for regular practice.

The trigger is firm but in our experience, the grip is a little bit loose. Overall craftsmanship is top notch, and accuracy is superb as well(Up to ~30 feet).

Pros
  • Great for revolver lovers
  • High quality craftsmanship
  • Very accurate up to 30 feet
  • Relatively quiet
Cons
  • Grip can be loose
  • Shells can be loose

Best Spring CO2 Pistols

Hatsan Model 25 .177 cal

For those looking for a break barrel option, Hatsan 25 is our choice. You’re looking at the highest performance for the chapest cost. It’s got a 850 FPS(alloy) and 700 FPS(lead), 2-stage adjustable trigger, and it’s in our opinion one of the most powerful springer air pistols in the market.

The accuracy is excellent, it’s very well-made and sturdy. It can actually be a bit heavy to carry in one hand. The adjustable sights that come with the gun are easy to use and good as well.

One downside is that it’s VERY difficult to cock. Unless you’re a strong individual, you’ll find it pretty difficult.

Feel free to add an open sight, you simply won’t regret it. HatsanUSA is known for top-notch customer service as well, so you can rest assured knowing you’ll be well taken care of.

Pros
  • One of the most powerful spring air pistols out there
  • High quality craftsmanship
  • Very accurate
  • Excellent customer service
Cons
  • Hard to cock – will force you to get back in the gym

Weihrauch Beeman P1 (The holy grail of air pistols)

Originally designed as a low-cost training weapon for the military(Fun history tidbit here), this is the upper echelon of air pistols. Another classic product from the legendary Weihrauch. If you’re a serious shooter and are willing to invest in improving your target game, look no further.

This is a legendary product and is not for beginners, but for serious sportspeople. It’ll look exactly like a .45 1991 and JUST as accurate. They advertise it as an ‘heirloom’ you can pass to your grandchildren and beyond, and we absolutely agree.

When using it, it fit in my hand perfectly without feeling bulky or oversized. It’s simply the best indoor trainer for those who shoot the M1911A1.

The first fascinating thing to note about it is that it has two power settings, that are created by cocking the gun to two distinct lock points. This means you can choose the appropriate power level depending on the distance you shoot, as well as the pellet weight, and the type of your target. Simply incredible.

Its accuracy is is impeccable, and it has an adjustable two-stage trigger(It’s got a serrated surface) that’s very crisp and easy to control.

The dovetail grooves are extra wide, and there are lots of 11mm ~ 14mm mounts that can fit.

It’s made of molded synthetic stock, with beautiful walnut grips. If you buy this, know that you can be proud and will be the target of extreme envy! This is a luxury air pistol.

Pros
  • Luxury air pistol. Our #1 choice
  • Impeccable quality and accuracy
  • The best choice for serious shooters

Our final verdict

So we’ve left you with six excellent choices to help you take your target practice to the next level.

First decide if you want a CO2 or a springer. If you’re a beginner, we recommend a CO2 since springers can have lots of recoil and add complexity to first-time shooters.

If you’re looking for your first air pistol we recommend the Daisy Powerline, or the Dan Wesson.

If you’re an experienced shooter, or a baller without a budget, the Beeman P1 is our #1 choice without a question.

What do you guys think of our picks? Leave your thoughts and feedback in the comments below.

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