The 7 best air pistols for every budget
Every year there are more and more air rifles on the market, and the vast majority of them are long guns. But if you’re looking for an air pistol, you’re in luck. This part of the air rifle world is growing rapidly these days, and you shouldn’t have any problem finding the right model for your purposes whether you are spending a hundred or a thousand dollars. Here are seven serious air pistols in a wide price range that are great for hunting, training, competition, or plinking.
Best air pistols for hunting
1. Ataman AP16
It’s not easy to build a compact air pistol that produces enough energy to hunt game appropriately, but the pre-loaded pneumatic Ataman AP16 gets the job done. In the .22 caliber, the AP16 delivers just over 18 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. So much power means you can take game up to 5 pounds, so load it up and go for cottontails or go to the dairy barn for pigeons. The power of this pistol comes from the sturdy but clean reservoir located just below the barrel that can hold air at an impressive 300 bars, which is roughly 4,350 pounds per square inch. Despite the extreme pressures, the regulator delivers constant shot-to-shot performance. With its free-floating Lothar Walther barrel and two-way adjustable match-grade trigger that can be adjusted up to 0.44 pounds, the AP16 is an extremely accurate air pistol. An 11mm dovetail allows you to mount a red dot or scope, but the sights that come with it are quite usable. Check availability here.
2. AirForce TalonP
AirForce air rifles are synonymous with great performance, and the TalonP is no exception. The preloaded pneumatic pistol delivers over 50 foot-pounds of .25 caliber energy, making the repeater single-shot a viable option for killing raccoons and similarly sized critters in one compact package. You can easily adjust the power up or down thanks to a selector switch that lets you set speeds between 400 and 900 feet per second. The Lothar Walther barrel of the TalonP delivers an accuracy of up to 100 yards and beyond in the higher settings. The tradeoff is weight, and since the reservoir hangs in the back like the buffer hose on an AR gun, it just cries out for support. Fortunately, you can take an adapter that converts the reservoir into a shoulder rest. It’s pretty noisy for an air pistol, too, as the short 12-inch barrel lacks any kind of sheathing or muffler to eat up the decibels. If noise is an issue, check out the newly released TalonP Carbine with Detachable Moderator, which offers similar performance in a slightly larger package. Check availability here.
3. Benjamin Marauder air pistol
The US-made Benjamin Marauder has long been a favorite of air rifle shooters and has a well-deserved reputation for quality. The pistol version has all of the great features of the rifle in a more compact size. The preloaded pneumatic pistol has enough momentum to hunt small game and produces 15.5 foot-pounds of energy at 700 feet per second with a .22 caliber pellet. That means you can take bushy tails out up to about 30 meters. The pellets are fed from the same 8-round round magazine with automatic indexing as its larger relatives and enable quick follow-up shots by manipulating the bolt mounted at the rear. The Marauder pistol now features an adjustable, two-stage drop sear trigger, which is a significant improvement over previous models and breaks cleaner than before. A built-in pressure gauge tells you when it is almost time to refill. The Marauder pistol also includes a buttstock that can be attached by swapping the handles for more support. Check availability here.
4. Hatsan Sortie Tact semi-automatic PCP air pistol
Hatsan’s Sortie Tact is a rarity among the air pistols; It’s a semi-automatic machine with enough horsepower to kill small game. This preloaded pneumatic pistol was constructed using technology developed for Hatsan’s successful Barrage and Bullmaster semi-automatic air rifles, and this more compact model manages .22 caliber bullets at 700 feet per second with just over 15 foot-pounds of energy. The smaller 62 cc reservoir fills quickly with a hand pump. A continuous sheathing keeps the report low despite the shortened barrel. But the really unique feature of the Sortie is the detachable, side-folding stock that looks like it’s part of a personal defense weapon rather than an air pistol. The top of the receiver is milled with a Picatinny rail, as well as 11mm and 22mm grooves for the scope mounting. Or just go with the included removable and adjustable Truglo fiber optic visors. Unfortunately, the handle angle of the Sortie does not work for left-handed users for right-handers. The Sortie comes in a hard case with three magazines so that you can empty the container quickly. Check availability here.
Best air pistols for training
5. Sig Sauer P365 air pistol
There is no substitute for live fire training with a firearm. But given the current ammunition shortage, some people think outside the box to practice their practice. Sig Sauer modeled the P365 Air Pistol after its 9 mm counterpart in order to approximate the weight and feel of the powder-burning version. The polymer frame has a metal slide with front and rear slide teeth that work with full kickback, similar to the 9mm. The replica’s magazine houses both the 12 gram CO2 cartridge and 12 BBs, which makes the store similar to the real store. It even carries the Sig accessory rail so you can practice with the same light or laser that you normally wear. Green, clearly visible 3-point fixed visors and a manual two-handed safety round off the equipment. Since it only pushes steel BBs at 295 fps, this is only reserved for training and paper punching tasks. Build muscle memory by drawing and firing the P365 air powered air pistol while you rebuild your ammo supplies. Check availability here.
6. Umarex Beretta M9A3 fully automatic BB pistol
Like the Sig above, the Umarex Beretta M9A3 is suitable for training. Unlike the Sig, you can flip a switch and unleash a steady stream of BBs. The licensed replica imitates the original, but has a fully automatic operation that can send 18 BBs down with a single pull of the trigger, which is sure to enliven the range day. To imitate the original, Umarex used a metal frame that gives it a realistic weight and feel. The single or double action trigger even works like the real M9A3, as does the authentic security. While the kick isn’t comparable, the slide has realistic blowback action. A full-size drip-free magazine gives you the opportunity to practice reloading and houses the 12 gram CO2 cylinder as well as 18 BBs. Check availability here.
Best affordable air pistol for competitive shooting
7th Air Venturi V10 Match air pistol
Lately, interest in .22 rimfire competitions has exploded. This is likely due to the low cost of entry, a trait shared with competitive air rifle shooting. Given the ammunition shortage, I can’t help but wonder if air rifle competitions will see a similar renaissance. You will likely have to spend a few grand to be competitive in Olympic-level 10 meter air pistol competitions, but with enough practice you can dominate the local levels with a pistol that costs around $ 250. The Air Venturi V10 Match Air Pistol has all of the features you need to take the podium, including a match-grade barrel, adjustable sights, and an adjustable, two-stage trigger that can break with just 0.88 pounds of pressure. The V10 is based on a pneumatic single stroke mechanism for the drive, so you do not need any filling equipment or CO2 cartridges to fire. The dotted walnut handle has a large palm rest on the right side that can be individually adjusted and a thumb rest on the left side for a secure grip. Get a V10 and some premium pellets and hit some 10 rings. Check availability here.
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