Welcome to this week’s Urban Survival Newsletter, brought to you by my recently released book, “Tactical Firearms Training Secrets.”
As any shooter can attest, ammo prices have shot through the roof over the last few years. I went to an indoor range near my house a couple of weeks ago with 1 gun to test/confirm some new equipment, shot for 20 or so minutes, and ended up paying close to $100! No…it wasn’t full auto. In fact, they only allowed 1 round per second. It was just that I had to use their ammo and targets and it was THAT expensive.
Because of prohibitive costs like that, I’ve transitioned more and more of my firearms training from live fire to using airsoft Police Tactical Pistols (PTP or Trainers). These are a class of airsoft guns that are made of metal, are the same size and weight as their real counterparts, and have the same controls, including safeties, slide locks, mag releases, as their real counterparts…and they even break down the same. In other words, these aren’t the clear plastic toys you buy at Target.
On a few separate occasions, I put airsoft training to the test by using ONLY airsoft for several weeks before training…once doing shoot house work and Simunition force on force with some SWAT guys and a couple of times with a group of MARSOC/former Force Recon guys. In every case, my airsoft training carried over to my live fire shooting and I was among the very top shooters, even though I hadn’t touched my real firearms for weeks before the training.
I’ll be brief today, but here are some of the big pluses and drawbacks of using airsoft trainers:
Pluses: + (just the basics)
Dry fire on steroids: It’s important to note that airsoft training is not a replacement for real shooting. You NEED to feel the recoil, hear the boom, know the feel of taking up slack on your trigger and the feel of trigger reset on your real firearms. A healthier and more accurate way to look at airsoft training is as dry fire training on steroids that happens to be a lot of fun.
Cost: High quality bbs are less than $20 for 4000 rounds, or just under 1/2 cent per round. You have to add gas to that cost, but it’s still less than a penny per round. Trainer Glocks, 1911s, etc. cost around $150 apiece and extra mags are $30-$40 apiece.
Frequency of training: I am able to shoot 100-200 rounds of airsoft EVERY DAY because the time/cost barrier of training is so low. I still shoot quite a bit of real lead, but I don’t have the time to shoot every day with my real firearms. Normally, when I go shooting, I shoot more rounds at one time to justify the travel time and/or range fees and cleaning time, but the frequency that I am able to train with airsoft allows me to build up and retain muscle memory much faster than shooting lead alone.
Variety of training: I practice my grip, presentation, sight acquisition, transitioning between targets, reloads, movement, odd angles, one handed, off hand, cornering, drawing form concealment while seated, and more…some of which just aren’t possible at most ranges.
Simplicity of training: I don’t have to drive to a range, pay for time, drive home, and clean my guns…I just get up from my desk and take pushup/shooting breaks throughout the day. That’s not possible for most people, but you can shoot down a hallway in your house or in your garage in the mornings and/or evenings even if you can’t shoot where you work.
Fun: I could do most of what I do with airsoft with snap caps and dry fire drills…but I never did dry fire training as much as I do airsoft training because airsoft training is FUN. It’s fun to hit targets, make holes, and knock things over, even if it is on a smaller scale than with a real gun.
Size & Weight: Since the airsoft trainers are the same size and weight of their real counterparts, you can use the same holsters that you normally use.
Social Proof: The Japanese steel target team trains on airsoft all year, comes to the US and shoots lead for just 2 weeks before meets, and places well every year. Several US military units and police departments are training with airsoft as well. I’ve talked with a state law enforcement official as he was buying a case of airsoft training guns and a case of magazines. They know that airsoft is an economical way to get exponentially more trigger time at a very low cost.
Recoil/Flinch: Shooting airsoft will expose and cure you of anticipating trigger break & recoil. While big dips of the barrel may be hidden with real recoil, it shows up immediately with airsoft. There’s no need for it with airsoft and you can train your mind to not flinch with a few hundred rounds of airsoft.
Training wives/kids/newbies to shooting: Since it’s fun, there’s no boom, smell, or recoil, airsoft is a great way to introduce people to shooting or to start teaching advanced techniques to current shooters. Since you’re eliminating the recoil and the boom, you can focus on fundamentals until they are learned and THEN transition to low caliber and defensive caliber firearms.
It’s a toy: Face it…airsoft is a way to compensate for not having enough time or money to shoot the real thing as much as you’d like. It will never be as good as a real firearm. I resisted airsoft, tried it, and now have embraced it as a way to get a lot more trigger time. That being said, it’s better to get a lot of trigger time with an airsoft trainer than no trigger time with the gun you can’t afford or find the time to shoot.
Lack of recoil: The airsoft trainers do have recoil, but it’s nothing like a real firearm. This means that you can’t REALLY practice multiple shots because it’s much easier to reacquire your site picture after each shot. What you can do is transition between targets, shooting each one once, OR use airsoft training to develop your speed and focusing on follow through (reacquiring your site picture) after each shot.
Dropping mags: Airsoft trainer mags have gas cylinders in them…this makes them heavy and causes them to break when you drop them on hard surfaces. You basically need padded carpet wherever you intend on dropping mags during reloads. To clarify, picture a real magazine…it’s heavy when it’s full and light when it’s empty because most of the weight comes from the bullets. With airsoft, the little plastic bbs weigh .2 grams, so the weight changes very little as it goes from full to empty.
Authentic trigger feel: While the double action triggers and single action triggers work as they should, they just don’t feel like a real trigger. The tension builds up different, the break isn’t as precise as with a real firearm, and the reset isn’t quite as pronounced. That being said, the double actions that I have are good enough to practice drawing up the slack during the extension phase of my presentation and all of the airsoft trainers that I have shot can be used to do trigger reset drills.
Precision: With the airsoft trainer handguns, you’re not going to have much precision. My We Tech 1911 will shoot 1″-3″ groups at 25 feet out of the box. My KJ Glock is slightly less accurate. Both can be modified to shoot more accurately, but that hasn’t been a concern for me. Airsoft trainer rifles are another matter entirely. My Top Tech M4 will hold 8″ groups out to 80-100 yards when there is no wind.
Safety: There is a distinct possibility that you will learn bad safety habits with airsoft. Don’t. You must treat airsoft guns like the real firearms they represent. Never point an airsoft trainer at an object you don’t want to destroy (unless you are doing force on force training, which is beyond the scope of this article). Always use proper muzzle/safety discipline so that when you are handling real firearms you won’t have any bad habits creep in.
For myself, and thousands of others, the benefits FAR outweigh the drawbacks. I’m putting thousands of additional rounds downrange, imprinting solid skills in my subconcious, and doing it at a fraction of the time/money cost that I would doing live fire.
If the idea of being able to do effective tactical firearms training in the privacy and comfort of your own home, all while saving time and money, I want to encourage you to check out my newest book, “Tactical Firearms Training Secrets.”
If you are a fan of “Top Shot” from the History Channel, you’ll notice that Season 3′s winner, Dustin Ellermann is on the cover. Dustin is a great guy and he agreed to demonstrate the training techniques in the book.
This book covers the secrets to effective tactical training with not only airsoft, but also dry fire training and mental imagery so that you can maintain and/or improve your tactical shooting skills, no matter how expensive ammo gets or how much anti-gun legislation is passed.
I feel quite comfortable in saying that this book has the power to have a bigger impact on your shooting ability of any book you have ever read. Why? Because it will help you get around the biggest obstacles to locking in and maintaining tactical firearms skills…time and money. It’s also short enough at less than 100 pages that you’ll be able to finish the entire book in a few short sittings and be able to put many of the techniques to work immediately.
These tactics, techniques, and procedures are the very same ones that elite special operations units from around the globe, many with unlimited ammo budgets, like US Special Forces, SEALs, and Delta, Russian Spetsnaz, Israeli Shayetet 13, and British SAS use to train beginning and advanced tactics as well as maintain their edge.
Who else uses these tactics? Olympic athletes of all disciplines and competitive shooters, including the champion of Season 3 of The History Channel’s “Top Shot,” Dustin Ellermann, who you see on the cover and who graciously agreed to demonstrate the skills throughout. And now you will get to use these same proven techniques for training and locking in tactical firearms skills as quickly as possible.
Some of you have been expecting the release of this book from me for almost 3 years now. Others were able to read a large part of it in a series of articles that I did for a print newsletter last year. Because of that, for the next couple of weeks, it’s going to be available on Amazon for under $10! In fact, Amazon has a special going where if you buy 4 eligible items, you get the lowest priced one for free…so if you pick up my Urban Survival Guide and a couple of other books while you’re there, you could even get Tactical Firearms Training Secrets for free.
Interested? Click on this link > “Tactical Firearms Training Secrets“< to go over to Amazon.com. It qualifies for Amazon Prime so you can get it delivered for free in 2 days and you can get the Kindle Edition immediately.
If you’ve used accurate size/weight airsoft tactical trainers in the past, please share your experiences by commenting below:
Until next week, God bless and stay safe.