Let’s start with the basics. One of the most important aspects of any airgun is its powerplant. It won’t be of much use without and will only serve as a decoration. You should carefully consider this aspect because the type of powerplant often determines the future use of your airgun. There are three basic types:
Spring piston air pistols
The beauty of this system lies in its simplicity. Spring piston air pistols are known for their reliability and affordable price. You don’t have to worry about running out of CO2 cartridges or filling the air tank. Their biggest downside is the need to manually cock the spring piston before each shot, which can get old rather quickly.
We recommend this type of air pistols to beginners for learning the basic habits of firearm safety and handling. It is also a great choice for shooters who want to just send a few pellets downrange without having to constantly replace the CO2 cartridges or check the pressure gauge.
The majority of spring-powered pistols are single-shot only. This means you have to manually break the barrel and insert the pellet into the chamber, just like any other break action airgun. There are a few exceptions to this rule. The Daisy Powerline 340 as an example. It features a 13-shot magazine with a reservoir for another 200 steel BBs. All you need to do to cock the action is to manually rock the slide before each shot.
CO2 air pistols
This is the most common and popular type of air pistol. CO2 air pistols are powered by a 12g CO2 cartridge, which must be inserted into the magazine or directly inside the grip. The most prominent feature of these airguns is their realistic look which often faithfully resembles real firearms. Some models even go as far as to simulate the real function of the handgun along with its disassembly. If you add Blowback into the mix, your shooting experience will improve significantly.
Did you know?
Some companies, like Umarex or ASG, even managed to get hold of the rights to produce CO2 replicas of firearms from renowned gun manufacturers. Our offer includes a number of famous names, such as Glock, CZ, Beretta, Colt and many more.
These models feature real markings and are almost unrecognizable from the originals. This makes them an excellent choice if you want to train the basics of firearm handling and safety and also want to learn how to disassemble and reassemble the particular gun.
CO2 pistols are also perfect for plinking. Some models were even designed for accurate target shooting. Let’s take SPA CP-1M as an example. Their lower muzzle energy and reliance on outside temperature can be considered as their biggest weaknesses. These airguns work best in temperatures over +10°C. CO2 gas can also damage the seals over time and this means you should never leave a pierced cartridge inside the gun.
This type of powerplant is often utilized by air revolvers. Our store offers a vast selection of CO2 replicas of historical and modern revolvers. Some of them even come with pellet cartridges to imitate the real reloading procedure.
PCP air pistols
Another group is made up of PCP air pistols (Pre-Charged Pneumatic), which utilize an integrated air tank with compressed air to propel the pellets. These models are, just like their larger counterparts, without a doubt the most accurate and powerful airguns in their category. They are almost exclusively used for target shooting and we mostly recommend them to intermediate and advanced shooters who want to get the best results out of their air pistols.
Multi-Pump/PCA air pistols
This section also contains a subcategory of PCA pistols (Pre-Charged Air). They can be considered as a simplified version of PCP air pistols and you don’t need any additional equipment to fill them. Their small air reservoir is usually refilled with some sort of pump on the gun, most commonly a lever under the barrel.
The number of pumps affects the muzzle energy of the pistol and this allows you to choose how much power you want to send the projectile into the target. You shouldn't expect the same amount of power as with regular PCP pistols.
The popular Crosman 1377 is the perfect example of this type of airgun.
Standard lead pellets are known for their amazing accuracy and are an ideal choice for target shooting. The majority of air pistols are made in .177 caliber (4,5 mm) but some more powerful PCP models are available in .22 (5,5 mm) or .25 (6,35 mm) calibers.
When it comes to brands, you can never go wrong with the Czech company JSB. It offers a vast selection of different types and weights of pellets. This is the ammo of choice for many professional shooters.
We go into detail about different types of airgun ammunition in our video.
This ammo type is most commonly used with semi-automatic CO2 air pistols with smoothbore barrels. The BBs might not be as accurate as standard pellets but they make up for it with their affordable price and durability. This is the perfect ammunition for plinking.
We already know what we are going to shoot and out of what. Only one question remains: How? Fire mode is an important aspect and it largely determines the future use of the particular air pistol. Fun factor also plays a big role here.
Single-shot air pistols
This category contains the majority of spring piston air pistols. You have to manually cock the spring piston and then insert the pellet into the chamber, similar to the break barrel air rifles. This loading procedure can be also used by some PCP pistols, which usually come with a detachable magazine but you can replace it with a single-shot tray to get the best possible accuracy.
Repeating air pistols
Repeaters are mostly dominated by PCP models but you can also find some spring piston pistols here as well. You still have to manually cock the gun before each shot but you no longer have to manually insert the projectile into the chamber. These types of airguns come with either built-in or detachable magazines.
Semi-automatic air pistols
You will find the majority of CO2 air pistols in this category. All you need to do is to insert the magazine, rock the slide and keep pulling the trigger after each shot to keep shooting in semi-auto mode. This is the main reason behind the popularity of these types of airguns. You are going to need a good supply of CO2 cartridges.
Fully automatic air pistols
If you need to get quickly rid of large amounts of steel BBs (850 shots per minute, to be exact) and want to have heaps of fun, there is nothing better than the Crosman P1 Full Auto. This CO2 pistol is capable of shooting in fully automatic fire mode with velocities of around 120 m/s.
See for yourself:
Thank you for your attention and we hope that we have shed some light onto the different types of air pistols and helped you decide which model to purchase.