Airguns aren’t classified as firearms by the BATF. This means that people that couldn’t even typically own a firearm can own an airgun. Many gun owners turn their noses up at the idea of owning an airgun. After all, why own an airgun when you can own the real thing?
Here are five quick reasons why gun owners — and concealed carriers in particular — should turn that notion upon its head.
#1: Airguns are quiet.
Whereas shooting guns in the backyard is loud, airguns are quiet. No ear protection required. You can even set up a nice controlled range in the backyard (pending local or state restrictions) and shoot to your heart’s content without the fear of waking the neighbors or your family members.
Bonus: if you shoot steel targets, there’s virtually no chance you’ll break a dong with .177 or .22 caliber airgun ammo.
#2: Airgun ammo is a fraction of the cost of regular ammunition.
Five hundred rounds of .177 caliber airgun ammunition retail for less than $20.00. If you shop around, you can probably get it even cheaper. For reference, 500 rounds of bulk .22LR usually retail for $30-40. The next bulk ammo is usually either 9mm Luger (9×19) or NATO 5.56/.223. For bulk 9×19, 500 rounds will typically go for ~$90-100 and NATO 5.56 ~$150.
#3: You can teach your family how to shoot for next to nothing.
If you’re a family man or woman, you worry about protecting them. They count on you. If a real emergency should occur, you would probably want them to know how to take care of themselves or potentially even help you. Because airgun pistols and rifles generally mirror their firearm counterparts, it’s pretty easy to get your family used to firing your guns.
Cut out the added expense of those first few hundred clumsy shots.
- Let them work on marksmanship rather than worrying about noise or recoil.
- Show them practical application of cover, movement, and transitioning between targets.
- Airguns are a low-stress, inexpensive way to work on your own shooting fundamentals as well
Once you feel they’re ready, you can transition them to your firearms to practice the difference.
#4: CO2 canisters are cheap — and some are refillable
Most airguns run off of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is in no short supply, safe to store, and it’s inert (non-flammable, non-reactive). Even if you get premium CO2 canisters to fuel your airgun pistol or rifle, you’re looking at dropping less than $30 for 40 12-gram canisters. There are refillable canisters and refilling those can be as cheap as a dime or nickel.
#5: Quality airguns are cheap
Let’s take a SIG SAUER P226. It retails for $1,174. Its airgun equivalent, the P226 ASP, is $101. For a SIG MPX that typically retails for over $2,000, you’re looking at an airgun version (with red dot optic) for $245.
Airguns Can Help Teach Firearm Safety
Airguns do fire projectiles and are definitely not toys. They can seriously hurt people. The reason why airguns are an ideal platform for learning about firearms is that they can reinforce the principles of firearm safety for those who may be too young or inexperienced to grasp the significance of those four basic rules fully.
- Treat every gun as if it is loaded.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.
- Don’t point your gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot.
- Don’t shoot unless you know what’s in front of and behind your target.
Ignoring those four simple rules get more people hurt by firearms than almost anything else. Reinforcing their significance with a serious, but scaled back weapon is important.
No matter what option you go with, airguns are a cheap, effective way to work on the fundamentals of marksmanship and defensive movement with minimal risk, fuss, or worry. It’s an excellent strategy to develop your own comfort around firearms and help others experience them as well.