Airsoft handguns are utilized for a few different roles in the airsoft world. Of course, in most games, they are secondary weapons — they can be used when your main gun runs out of ammo or if it malfunctions.
Here are the reasons why pistols are used in airsoft:
1. Having a sidearm allows you to rapidly transition to an alternative weapon while you seek cover to reload or fix the failure.
As a secondary, an airsoft pistol can be used in place of a primary that is ill-fitted for a given situation.
For example, airsoft sniper rifles are somewhat slow to use so if a sniper is clearing his way to position, a handgun may be his go to the line of defense.
2. There are some games where players exclusively play with airsoft pistols. These are usually high-intensity close quarters matches. In this situation, your sidearm has to be pretty freaking great. You don’t want any cheap junk.
At the end of the day, you want to balance quality and play style. Let’s face it, the style of an airsoft gun matters. We all want something that fits our hand and our preference.
So let’s talk about airsoft pistols and hopefully, we can make your selection easy.
The 10 Top Airsoft Pistols of 2020: Outdoor Empire Reviews
These are our top recommendations for airsoft handguns in 2020:
- Best Glock 17: Get the Umarex Glock 17
- Best Glock 18: Get the WE 18C
- Best revolver: Get the Dan Wesson Magnum (Read 130+ Amazon reviews)
- Best electric: Get the Umarex HK P30 (Read 15+ Amazon reviews)
- Best gas blowblack: Get the KWA M9 PTP (Read 10+ Amazon reviews)
- Best blowback: Get the Glock 19X GBB Blowback
- Best co2 powered: Get the Beretta Elite 2 (Read 80+ Amazon reviews)
- Best Colt 1911: Get the KWC Colt 1911 Railgun
- Most affordable: Get the Firepower .45 Metal Slide (Read 360+ Amazon reviews)
- Most versatile: Get the KWA M93R-2
*Looking for a specific feature? Check out our quick-reference chart below:
|Muzzle Velocity||325 FPS||340-350 FPS||180 FPS||360-380 FPS|
|Weight||1.5 lbs||2.2 lbs||0.5 lbs||2.8 lbs|
|Length||8.5 in||8.5 in||7 in||9.7 in|
|Magazine Capacity||12 rounds||24 rounds||16 rounds||32 rounds|
|Cost||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||$$$|
1. Best Glock 17: Umarex Glock 17
Glock is extremely protective of their license and the companies they grant it to. There are plenty of guns that mimic the Glock 17, but Umarex is the only company that has been granted the official license.
This is because Umarex makes great guns and has made great firearms for decades. The Umarex Glock 17 is a simple pistol that mimics the Glock 17 Gen 4 perfectly.
The gun features the Gen 4 rough texture for a sure grip. The slide is aluminum, and the grip frame is entirely polymer. This is a gas blowback gun that replicates recoil and slide movement.
The gun rocks Glock sights, as well as the traditional Glock trigger with the complete Glock trigger safety. It sports a Glock accessory rail and is compatible with the real steel accessories.
The Umarex Glock 17 is also compatible with nearly every Glock holster on the planet and this means you have hundreds of different choices for holsters and magazine pouches.
- Only officially licensed Glock 17 airsoft gun
- Features Gen 4 RTF grip
- Traditional Glock trigger safety
2. Best Glock 18: WE 18C
The Glock 18 is a bit of a romanticized pistol. It’s essentially a Glock 17 with one significant difference, the giggle switch. By giggle switch I mean its a machine pistol, and it’s capable of firing full auto and semi-auto.
The WE 18C is a realistic replica of the classic machine pistol.
It features a metal slide and a polymer frame just like the actual Glock 18. It packs 24 6mm bbs and of course with the flip of a switch goes from semi to full auto. This gives it an edge that’s unmatched by most pistols.
The WE 18C features compensating cuts to replicate the compensating cuts on an actual Glock 18.
The WE 18C is a gas blowback gun that will give you something to hang onto really. The WE 18C is a blast to shoot and is even fun for just target practice. It’s reliable, realistic, and spits BBs like their fire.
- Fully automatic
- 24 round magazine capacity
- Fully blowback
- Realistic compensating cuts
3. Best Airsoft Revolver: Dan Wesson Magnum
Who doesn’t love a six-gun? There is a dash of old-school cool with a revolver.
The Dan Wesson Magnum is a thoroughly modern revolver that holds it’s old school roots tight. It’s not just modeled after a magnum revolver, but it’s a magnum airsoft gun.
What do I mean? Well, it hits hard! This six shooting powerhouse throws a 6mm BB at up to 499 FPS. It comes in a variety of different barrel lengths, and starts at 4 inches and ends at 8.
This is a Co2 powered revolver that features an adjustable rear sight, full metal construction, and comes with 6 brass shells. The Co2 compartment is hidden in the ergonomic grip and easy to swap.
The Dan Wesson is a double action or single action revolver that’s simple to use and intimidating to see. This is a fully licensed design that looks as good as it performs.
You’ll certainly be remembered well for packing such a six-gun.
- Co2 Powered revolver
- A whopping 499 FPS rating
- Includes 6 heavy brass shells
- Double action and Single action design
4. Best Electric Pistol: Umarex HK P30
The Umarex HK P30 is built to a 1 to 1 ratio to the famous HK P30. This allows you to utilize a wide roster of holsters easily.
- Equipped with a Picatinny rail to mount flashlights, lasers, and more
- Fully automatic mode should you need to dispense righteous justice at 200 shots per minute.
- Blowback electric model
- Manual safety
- Comes with an additional magazine
Umarex is an important and well-known company, and they have excellent customer service and warranties.
For an electric weapon, it’s priced affordably. And due to Umarex’s wide reach, it’s easy to find on most store shelves. It’s always great to see licensed guns from actual arms makers and the Umarex P30 is an excellent way to get your German Engineering on.
The biggest downside is the relatively slow 180 feet per second velocity, but this is what you can expect from most electric guns.
5. Best Gas Blowback Pistol: KWA M9 PTP
The KWA M9 PTP is one of the most well-made airsoft guns on the market. It’s a full metal airsoft gun built to the same specs as the Beretta M9 pistol. It replicates the look and feel of a real M9 while being a high-performance airsoft handgun.
- Green gas powered
- Metal slide and alloy frame
- Magazine capacity of 24 rounds
- Adjustable hop-up
- Replicates a realistic slide lock and a decocking safety like the actual M9.
- It has a new lightweight gas piston that gives you faster and more realistic blowback action while maximizing the performance of each shot.
Because the M9 is the choice of the US Armed forces, you also have a wide option available for holsters, grips, and other accessories. You can easily find tactical leg rigs, shoulder rigs and more for the KWA M9.
6. Best Blowback Airsoft Pistol: Glock 19X GBB Blowback
The Glock 19x GBB Blowback Airsoft Pistol is a green-gas airsoft pistol from Umarex and is a faithful airsoft reproduction of the Glock 19x.
This airsoft version even comes with a durable aluminum alloy slide and an injection-molded polymer frame for excellent reliability. The magazines, which are rather stiff in the springs, come with 23 rounds of ammunition.
Each round will be propelled down the barrel at a rate of 300 feet per second.
- Magazine holds 23 rounds
- Very durable thanks to the injection-molded polymer frame
- Aluminum alloy slide
- 300 FPS firing speed
- Fully compatible with existing Glock holsters
- Magazine springs are very stiff
- Green gas is not provided with the pistol
The Glock 19x is a high-quality blowback-operated airsoft pistol that will also be an excellent training tool to use in conjunction with a real Glock 19x. Of course, it will also be a solid option to use for target shooting or for engaging in airsoft wars.
Glock 19X GBB Blowback is also available at:
7. Best Co2 Powered Airgun: Beretta Elite 2
Umarex has a way of securing licenses from the best firearms companies in the world. They saw an opportunity with Beretta and took it to produce the Beretta Elite 2.
Its modeled after the classic Beretta 92/M9 series but adds a rail for adding lights, lasers, and more.
The Elite 2 is an all polymer gun that’s affordable enough for any player. It offers a correct semi-automatic, non-blowback action. It’s powered by your common and affordable 12-gram Co2 cartridges and is a 1:1 replica of the Beretta.
The Elite 2 has a realistic 15+1 magazine that perfectly replicates the actual Beretta magazine capacity. The gun’s non-blowback action does allow it to have a high FPS rating, and this gun manages to send plastic downrange at 380 FPS.
The Elite 2 is an excellent gun for both beginners and experts. The gun offers a substantial advantage in both performance and price.
- Realistic 15+1 magazine
- Co2 powered non Blowback gun
- 380 FPS rating
- Accessory rail for mounting modern accessories
8. Best Colt 1911: KWC Colt 1911 Railgun
The Colt 1911 is a legendary firearm. It’s inspired countless designs based on Browning’s principles, served our country for generations and remains one of the most mass-produced firearms in history.
The 1911 as an airsoft gun is an extremely popular choice, and there is no better version than the KWC Colt 1911 Railgun.
The KWC 1911 railgun does sport a Picatinny rail for accommodating flashlights and lasers. It’s a full metal airsoft gun that’s almost as hefty as a real 1911.
The KWC 1911 feature tri-dot combat sights, front and rear cocking serrations, and a functioning frame and grip safety. It’s a modern incarnation of the classic Colt 1911.
The KWC 1911 is a blowback design that is powered by gas. It holds 14 rounds in the magazine and is entirely stainless steel with faux wood grips. The gun blasts BBs at 345 FPS and functions like an absolute champ.
- Stainless steel finish
- 345 FPS rating
- 14 round magazine capacity
- Rail system for accessory mounting
9. Most Affordable Pistol: Firepower .45 Metal Slide
The Firepower .45 Metal Slide Airsoft Pistol is a highly affordable spring-powered airsoft pistol that can send rounds downrange at a speed of 328 feet per second.
It comes installed with a metal slide, which adds a lot of weight and gives it a more realistic feel than most other low-cost, spring-powered airsoft pistols. As a spring-powered pistol, the rate of fire from the Firepower is obviously very low, but it makes up for it thanks to the BAXS hop-up system that improves accuracy.
- Shoots as 328 FPS
- Metal slide for superior durability
- 12-round magazines
- Improved accuracy with BAXS hop-up system
- Functional safety switch
- Slow rate of fire
If you’re looking for a cheap spring-powered airsoft pistol that you can plink around and have fun with, you should definitely consider the Firepower .45 Metal Slide Airsoft Pistol.
10. Most Versatile: KWA M93R-2
One of the most versatile and cool options for an airsoft gun is the KWA M93R-2. It is a small and lightweight machine pistol with the option for both three shot burst and semi-automatic modes.
This is an excellent for snipers who need a little more firepower than a standard pistol.
- Equipped with a folding foregrip for easier control and a massive 32-round magazine. This gives you rock solid capacity and the ability to flip a switch and start letting a burst of BBs go at 360-380 feet per second.
- Green gas powered blowback gun
- Full metal construction that includes the frame slide and folding foregrip
- Uses the efficient and reliable KWA NS2 gas system to ensure you get consistent shots in every round.
The KWA Beretta 93R fits in most cloth type M9 holsters, but you can also find a few dedicated holsters out there. The large magazine and extended barrel makes it a bit larger than normal but increases the effectiveness of the platform.
If you want a versatile, cool looking pistol, the M93R is hard to beat. Is is excellent for snipers who need a little more firepower than a standard pistol.
Important Choosing Factors
Airsoft handguns operate in different ways, and each has their levels of pros and cons. The environment can be a significant determination in your operating system as well as your budget. Different systems of operation cost significantly more or less.
Gas powered guns are unique and are one of the most popular options for airsoft handguns.
- Powerful for their small size
- Utilizes either green gas or 12-gram CO2 cartridges
- Uses an automatic handgun magazine to hold the power source
- Can be both fully automatic and semi-automatic
Blowback deals directly with automatic sidearms. With an automatic blowback pistol, the slide of the weapon recoils rearward. This replicates the real action of an automatic pistol.
- You get realistic cycling action but you also get a louder weapon and slightly more recoil.
- A bit more expensive on average
A nonblowback gun uses a fixed slide and maintains the same accuracy, muzzle velocity, and power as a blowback gun. They function less realistically but are simpler overall.
- Quieter and there is a noticeable difference in recoil due to the lack of a slide recoiling rearward.
- More affordable
Gas powered airguns have issues with consistency as the air source begins to fade. They also have problems operating reliably during the cold weather. A cold weather can render the guns nearly inoperable.
Electric pistols are quite similar to electric rifles. The difference is that they can utilize double A batteries instead of rechargeable LiPo batteries. Although several electrical systems have rechargeable batteries and these are usually from high-end manufacturers.
- Can be semi-automatic or fully automatic
- Tend to have lower power than gas powered guns
- If you live in a cold environment, this may be your only real option.
There are electric blowback guns and some are great, but many are poorly made and overly complicated. If you go with an electric blowback pistol, it’s ideal to purchase a high-end model from a well-respected company that produces high-quality airsoft guns.
Nonblowback electric airsoft guns are more common and much simpler overall. They function better and last longer than blowback electric guns.
Spring-powered airsoft guns are the cheapest option for an airsoft pistol. They function very simply. They don’t require gas or batteries but are only single shot weapons. The user must manually cock the gun after every shot.
They are excellent options for beginners and are perfect for learning how to shoot airsoft guns and a good stand in until you can purchase a better gas or electric powered airsoft gun.
Airsoft Revolver or Automatic?
The age-old question in the real steel world is whether to opt for revolver or automatic, and that’s the same question you have to ask yourself about your airsoft sidearm.
The difference in the airsoft world is that the revolver doesn’t offer a ton of benefits over an automatic handgun. A revolver simply looks cool. You can’t get more stylish than a magnum sized six gun.
With models designed after real pistols like Dan Wessons and Colts and Smith, the style is undeniable.
Revolvers have a capacity of 6 to 8 rounds, and that is it. An airsoft automatic pistol can have a capacity ranging from 15 to 30 rounds. It’s hard for an airsoft revolver to keep up with an airsoft automatic handgun.
Airsoft automatics can also be fully automatic or semi-automatic; they are purely one round per trigger pull. They are commonly made by a wider variety of manufacturers so there is more selection for automatics.
There are more holster options, most autos feature an accessory rail and recharging the gas system is often easier.
Choosing an automatic airsoft pistol is much more pragmatic but I understand choosing an airsoft revolver just for the cool factor attached to it.
Do You Need an Accessory Rail?
Accessory rails on automatic guns are one of their major selling points. An accessory rail, or Picatinny rail, is a small section of rail located on the frame of the pistol. It is universal throughout airsoft and the real steel world.
It allows an individual player to mount a variety of accessories to their airsoft pistol. This includes flashlights and lasers, as well as foregrips if you are rocking a machine sidearm.
If you want to rock any of the above accessories, you have to ask yourself if you have a holster that can accommodate the accessory.
Here is a significant consideration. Your gun is only good as long as you can fire it. So this is where magazine capacity comes into play. The bigger the capacity, the better.
You can stay in the fight a lot longer with 25 rounds than with 6. A higher mag capacity is also more forgiving of poor accuracy, or when engaging multiple targets. Having a high capacity could make a big difference in your gameplay.
Metal or Polymer body
Since an airsoft gun is often carried in a holster, it can be subjected to a lot more abuse than a long gun. This includes being drag along the ground while crawling on the prone, as well as hitting and bumping to the doorway during CQB and much more.
Metal is always the best option to resist abuse as it’s way more durable than any polymer. Some hard polymers are quite tough though and can withstand abuse. Many airsoft handguns have metal slides and polymer grips.
The key to employing polymer is to employ high-quality materials and ensure they are from a quality manufacturer.
If you purchase an airsoft pistol, you need to have a means of carrying it correctly. There are tons of holsters out there in different styles for various uses.
When choosing a handgun, it’s wise to know if you are choosing the one that you can find a holster for. When purchasing an airsoft gun that is modeled on a 1 to 1 scale of a real steel handgun, your options open up significantly.
You also need to ensure that they have a holster that fits your handgun in the means you want to carry it — drop leg thigh rig, shoulder rigs, strong side carry, etc.
A big issue can rise when you want to mount an accessory to the rail system. You need to choose a particular accessory and then determine how that accessory functions with your holster choice.
When installing a light, you need to find holsters that allow the use of that light and gun combo. This can be a hassle so as a free pro tip, I advise you to look at the Blackhawk Omnivore series of holsters.
To learn more about airsoft guns and to see our picks for other gun types like AEG, machine gun check out our comprehensive airsoft gun guide.