It’s all very well and good rocking some serious assault firepower with one of the best airsoft rifles, but what happens if you run out of ammo in a tight spot?

Or things get a little too close for comfort?

Or you just want to look really, really cool?

Every airsofter will tell you it’s essential that you carry a backup sidearm – because apart from being able to save you in a jam, they’re also loads of fun to shoot.

Airsoft handguns have been around for a long time, and as such, they’ve really improved with their technology – and in the sheer number of replicas and designs to choose from.

If it exists as a real pistol, it’s likely it exists as its airsoft counterpart.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the best airsoft pistols in 2022 – and get you properly tooled up.

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TOP 13 Best Airsoft Pistols in 2022

Elite Force HK Heckler & Koch P30 Airsoft Pistol

As well as being a reputable airsoft company, Elite Force also offer this HK P30 pistol at a very budget-friendly price – which is ideal if you’re just getting into the sport.

It features a built-in hop-up for improved range, a full metal slide which looks and feels great at this price point, and a 15-shot capacity magazine.

It’s powered with a single-action spring, and the .12 gram BBs included can be launched at a muzzle velocity of up to 240 fps.

Pros

  • Outstanding price point.
  • Authentic HK replica.
  • Extended life trigger system.
  • Rails for accessories.

Cons

  • Not that powerful.
  • Won’t last as long as other models.
  • The included BBs aren’t good quality.

Takeaway

As an entry-level airsoft pistol – for the price you can’t go wrong here. Even if you’re a pro you might as well pick one up and have some fun with it, and it’ll make a great gift for younger airsofters getting started (just remember to keep them supervised and wearing eye protection).

Walther P99 Blowback Airsoft Pistol

The Walther P99 was the sidearm of choice for Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond, as an update on the famous PPK.

This version is our first gas blow back airsoft pistol – which I’ve included because of the excellent price for what you get.

Aside from it being a memorable firearm, this has the ability to shoot up to 320 fps, with a Co2 cartridge located in the grip.

It includes a 15-round, drop-out magazine, and the built-in hop-up system ensures improved range every time you squeeze that trigger. And there’s a Weaver rail system for accessories, too.

Pros

  • Excellent price.
  • Great beginner GBBG.
  • Highly rated.
  • Brass inner barrel and metal slide.
  • Double action.

Cons

  • Co2 cartridge can be tricky to change.
  • Heavy trigger pull.

Takeaway

One of the best entry-level airsoft pistols on the market, for a heavyweight, realistic, gas blow back gun at this price – you should buy two.

Elite Force Glock 19 Gen3 BB Pistol

Another Elite Force entry now with the Glock – also an iconic hand gun and favorite of law enforcement and military personnel around the world.

This version is the #19 – a more compact version of the #17 model. It’s ideal for concealment, fast handling and easy carry.

Fully licensed, this is powered by Co2 cartridges, with an 11-round drop magazine, and capable of up to 350 fps – which makes it perfect for indoor airsoft arenas.

It is the non-blow back variation, which means the metal slide does not move after the weapon is fired. Up there with the best airsoft Glocks on the market.

Pros

  • Excellent price.
  • Super-smooth action.
  • Great fps rate.
  • Highly rated.
  • Very accurate to the original.

Cons

  • The non-moving slide won’t be to everyone’s taste.

Takeaway

An ideal sidearm for training use, this detailed and accurate weapon is unmistakably a Glock – and as such deserves to be in anyone’s arsenal. Probably one of the best non-blow back gas guns out there.

CYMA AEP 1911 Airsoft Electric Pistol

Here we have a rare example of a decent electric airsoft pistol, based on the legendary Colt 1911.

The heavyweight, all-metal construction feels like the real deal in the hands, and features an integrated adjustable hop-up – which is an excellent addition at this price point.

The detachable magazine can hold up to 29 rounds, and eject .20 gram BBs between 190-210 fps. The all-metal gearbox is built to last, and one of the main reasons this weapon is lifted above other pistols in this class.

Easily one of the best electric pistols on the market.

Pros

  • Great price.
  • Semi and full auto firing.
  • Nice heft.
  • Reputable airsoft company.
  • Metal gear box is a real winner.

Cons

  • Accuracy issues.
  • Not that realistic to the original.

Takeaway

As far as AEPs go, this one well worth checking out. You can have a lot of fun spraying BBs all over the place without running out of gas or having to cock the slide every time – and that metal gear box ensures it will last much longer than they usually do. Top marks.

Wearable4U Umarex Smith and Wesson M&P40 BB Pistol

As a firearms’ manufacturer, Smith and Wesson needs little introduction. This is a version of their M&P40 by Umarex, a faithful replica of the original and non-gas blow back pistol.

You get a lot of bang (literally) for the buck with this package, as it includes five Co2 tanks that are usually sold separately, as well as a bag of 1000 BBs.

With an adjustable hop-up, 15-round drop magazine, and capable of 290 fps right out of the box, this is a highly-detailed and original-accurate airsoft pistol.

But the real winner is the interchangeable pistol grips for different sized hands.

Pros

  • Nice price point.
  • All-inclusive package.
  • Highly rated in the community.
  • Great starter set.
  • Extra magazine.
  • Weaver railing system.

Cons

  • Lots of warning labels/licensing text written on the pistol.
  • Not that powerful.

Takeaway

This is an excellent, fully licensed package that makes a great gift for the novice airsofter. Or, if you’re just a fan of Smith and Wesson and want to treat yourself to a new gun for the collection.

Elite Force Umarex Legends Smoke Wagon Revolver

As a huge fan of westerns, there was no way I was NOT going to include a six-shooter in this review – regardless of how unsuitable they may or may not be on the airsoft field.

And what better weapon to choose, than the all-time classic Colt Single Action Army Peacemaker. This is a faithful replica of the beloved and iconic firearm, which is glorious to look at and would look superb as part of any collection.

Made by Elite Force, it shoots six rounds from realistic cartridges, up to maximum velocity of 300 fps. Not the best airsoft revolver ever made – but boy does it look good.

Pros

  • Iconic, realistic design.
  • All metal parts.
  • Solid, weighty feel.
  • Cartridges included.

Cons

  • Not really suitable for CQB.
  • Not a licensed replica.

Takeaway

Ideal for plinking, reenactment, or collecting, this is a fine airsoft replica pistol that you can bet any visitors would make a beeline for if it’s on display in your home. Eat your heart out Clint Eastwood.

Elite Force 1911 Airsoft Pistol

As a beginner’s airsoft pistol, the Elite Force 1911 is highly recommended, as it offers a lot of quality, durability, and performance for a great price.

In fact, for most players, experienced or otherwise, you won’t really need much more than this. Based on the iconic 1911 Colt which was the standard issue sidearm for US armed forces for 75 years, this is a gas blow back pistol that is ultra-realistic with an all-metal finish.

Easily obtain muzzle velocities of up to 345 fps, and it’s ideal for indoor scenarios, training sessions, MilSim games, and more.

You could purchase this as your first airsoft sidearm and never need another gun.

Pros

  • Unbeatable build quality for the price.
  • Super-fun to shoot.
  • 15-round drop magazine.
  • Extendable mag compatible.
  • Rail system for accessories.
  • Highly rated by experienced airsofters.

Cons

  • None to speak of.

Takeaway

It’s honestly really hard to fault this one – especially considering the price point, and you’ll go far to find a better quality pistol in this class. Easily the best Co2 airsoft pistol for beginners to intermediates out there.

ASG CZ P-09 Airsoft Pistol

Fully licensed by Czech arms manufacturer Ceska Zbrojovka, this CZ P-09 is a beautifully cast replica from airsoft legends ASG.

Featuring outer barrel threading so you can fit a suppressor, there’s also a Picatinny rail system underneath for the attachment of tactical accessories, such as a flashlight or laser.

Designed from the original technical drawings, you know you’re getting accuracy here, with smooth handling, a three-dot sight system, and high-capacity magazine that is synonymous with the real version.

Pros

  • Strong, realistic recoil.
  • Hefty weight.
  • Ambidextrous safety.
  • Textured grip.
  • Detailed replica.

Cons

  • Screwdriver hop-up adjustment.

Takeaway

A top-quality replica that has been expertly designed from the original blueprints. If you’re looking for a new sidearm that’s packed with features, offers a smooth shooting action, and is a joy to hold – you could do much worse than the P-09.

Tokyo Marui Hi-Capa 5.1 Gold Match Airsoft Pistol

Tokyo Marui Hi-Capa 5.1 Gold Match Custom Competition Airsoft GBB Pistol

It wouldn’t be a very good review of airsoft weapons without at least one Tokyo Marui addition – and what an addition it is.

Some regard this as the best airsoft pistol ever. A favorite sidearm of sniper teams everywhere, the Hi-Capa 5.1 is a dream gun for serious players.

Made from high-quality reinforced polymer, it’s lightweight but solid, with weight-reducing side vents and porting. The textured grip feels satisfying, and it shoots with a velocity between 210-240 fps with hyper-realistic blow back action.

With fully adjustable hop-up and a 31+1 magazine capacity, this thing will take no prisoners. Load it up along with one of the best airsoft sniper rifles and you’ll be a force to be reckoned with.

Pros

  • Railed frame.
  • Ambidextrous safety.
  • Name to trust.
  • Very highly rated and used in the community.
  • Reliable and accurate.

Cons

  • The aesthetic won’t be for everyone.
  • Often hard to find/regularly sold out.

Takeaway

Several airsoft YouTubers will tell you that this is the sidearm of choice for many experienced players – and if it isn’t, then it damn well should be. Another home run from the best airsoft company in the world.

Evike WE-Tech Desert Eagle Cybergun Airsoft Pistol

Here’s another product I sneakily added purely as guilty pleasure. Much like the Peacemaker, or the 1911, it would be remiss not to include a Desert Eagle .50.

Firing one of these guns for real is a righteous experience, and this effort from Cybergun with WE-Tech original parts does its best to replicate that.

Capable of 368 fps, this is a fully licensed monster of a handgun, with a realistic gas blow back, highly accurate field stripping experience, and 21-round magazine.

Intimidate the hell out of your opponents with one of the most iconic and badass hand cannons of all time. Somebody change my shorts.

Pros

  • It’s a freaking Desert Eagle.
  • Healthy kick action.
  • Realistic markings.
  • Adjustable hop-up.
  • Very satisfying shooting experience.

Cons

  • Not the most practical, size wise.
  • Pricey.

Takeaway

It’s featured in hundreds of movies, video games, popular culture, and now it can have a starring role in your airsoft skirmishes. Or, if you just want to scare the shit out of anyone. (Please, don’t do that).

Tokyo Marui No.33 FN 5-7 Hand Gun

It was only a matter of time before another Tokyo Marui entry graced this list, and this is it. Based on the FN Herstal 5-7 semi-automatic, so called because of the 5.7 bullet diameter.

This fires BBs instead, at a velocity of 230 fps, and comes with a 26+1 magazine, and variable hop-up system fully installed.

Offering a satisfyingly crisp, solid recoil, this gas blow back is a pleasure to shoot; a lightweight sidearm that will not let you down when the going gets tough in the field.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Solid design and construction.
  • Picatinny rail system.
  • Ambidextrous safety.
  • Three dot iron sights.

Cons

  • Expensive.
  • Often out of stock/difficult to obtain.

Takeaway

Arguably manufacturing the best gas airsoft pistols available, Tokyo Marui shows no signs of letting that title slip. This is a top-drawer sidearm that is perfect for CQB games.

Wearable4U Umarex Beretta M92 A1 BB Pistol

The Beretta. Quite possibly the sexiest handgun ever made, there’s no denying the Italian styling in this beautiful firearm

Just look at those lines, the curves, the sleek, shiny…sorry, I’m getting carried away.

Favorite of law enforcement officers around the world (including the LAPD), the ‘92 is an unmistakable piece of stunning engineering.

And this is an excellent package that contains the Umarex gas blow back version of the gun, complete with five Co2 cartridges, 1000 rounds of BBs, and an extra, extended magazine for 42 rounds of sheer joy.

Go ahead, slowly squeeze that trigger…

Pros

  • Full metal construction.
  • Fully licensed.
  • Railed frame for accessories.
  • High-vis sights.
  • Semi and full auto capabilities.

Cons

  • Very expensive.
  • Licensing text on the barrel.

Takeaway

An incredibly realistic, all-metal airsoft pistol that just also happens to be one of the most beautiful (sexiest) firearms on the planet. Ti voglio amore mio!

Wearable4U Elite Force H&K Heckler & Koch Pistol

We finish with this highly respected and reputable Heckler & Koch 45 from Elite Force/KWA. Fully licensed, it features a rugged, polymer frame and full metal slide, powered by green gas canisters topped up in the base of the grip.

Utilizing KWA’s renowned NS2 gas system, it delivers and consumes gas far more efficiently, and creates a super-realistic, crisp blow back action that needs to be fired to be believed.

Probably one of the most powerful airsoft pistols out of the box as a result, expect between 340-350 fps before you’ve even done any upgrades.

Pros

  • World-class design and manufacture.
  • Ambidextrous mag release.
  • Fuel and BBs included in package.
  • Accessory rail.
  • H&K Trademarks.

Cons

  • It’s not cheap.
  • Full auto would have been nice.

Takeaway

Loud, proud, and so very satisfying to shoot, this is one GBBG that will make your friends green with envy.

Be careful though – because they’re going to be ganging up on YOU. It’s lucky this could also be the most accurate airsoft pistols around, then.

How to Choose the Best Airsoft Pistols

There’s plenty to consider when you’re trying to find the best airsoft pistol for your needs, so let’s explore what you should be looking out for with the handy buyer’s guide below.

man holding airsoft pistol in hands

Why Airsoft Pistols?

Just like in real combat engagements around the world, military forces arm their personnel with a primary and secondary weapon.

More often than not, that secondary weapon is a pistol.

This is for several reasons. The primary weapon might fail or become ineffective due to range, sidearms are more maneuverable and easier to carry, and they can often be easier and more effective to shoot in certain situations.

But ultimately, we like them because they’re awesome.

I’m not going to lie, when playing most airsoft scenarios, a pistol is going to be totally useless. Especially if you’re up against someone rocking some of the best airsoft shotguns or high-powered AEGs.

But for MilSim players, gun collectors, plinking enthusiasts, or anyone who simply wants to switch up their game for a new challenge – airsoft pistols are unbelievably cool.

From a practical point of view – with particular regard to beginners – airsoft pistols are accessible, plentiful, and good-quality versions are affordable.

Unlike other airsoft weapon platforms where you have to spend a fair bit more for something that’s genuinely worth it.

You don’t need an airsoft pistol, but once you’ve fired a quality gas blow back handgun – you’re definitely going to want one.

What is more, when you are ready to take your airsoft game to the next level, a pistol will make a great airsoft backup gun.

close up of soldiers hands holding portable radio airsoft pistol

Power Source

Spring-powered airsoft pistols (or “springers” as they’re affectionately known) are the most basic type of airsoft pistol.

Whereas some spring-powered airsoft weapons are legitimately powerful and accurate in their own right, alas, the same cannot be said for spring-powered pistols.

As their name implies, they use a slide action that chambers a BB round, and then a spring piston ejects the pellet when the trigger is pulled.

More often than not, springers are cheaply made, available in places like gas stations and Walmart, and aren’t accurate or powerful enough for use in a proper airsoft game.

But they certainly have their place as an affordable, entry-level airsoft gun, for younger players, and backyard shootouts. If you’re looking for the best spring airsoft pistol, do your research well.

AEP stands for Automatic Electric Pistol, an airsoft gun that uses batteries to power ammunition at your intended targets.

The main advantage they have over their spring counterparts is that you can achieve semi-automatic firing options.

However, they share the same sort of quality as springer pistols, and can be cheap, poorly-made replicas that won’t give you much of an edge in a competitive game.

Finally, we come to gas-powered airsoft pistols, which are the number one choice for the vast majority of airsofters around the world.

This is for all kinds of reasons, including more realistic action (particularly with Gas Blow Back Guns – GBBG), more power, range, accuracy, and overall aesthetic.

Powered by either Co2 or “green gas” (which is propane without the smell and with lubricating silicone oil added), you either charge the magazine with gas using a canister, or insert a pre-filled Co2 cartridge – usually somewhere into the grip.

You then have two types of gas pistol – blow back and non-blow back.

Blow back pistols use a small amount of gas to simulate the slider recoil of a hand gun when the weapon is fired. With non-blow back pistols, the slider does not move.

However, the gas will last longer with non-blow back weapons, and you’ll get improved fps velocity as 100% of the juice is used to fire the projectile, rather than move the slide.

Gas guns are more expensive, and require more maintenance than any other type of airsoft platform. The trade-off is the improved realism they offer, the overall feel and quality of the weapon, and the fact they are much more fun to shoot.

For a more in depth look at the advantages and disadvantages of gas and Co2, check out this article on electric verse gas powered airsoft guns.

Alternatively, check out the video below:

Either way, when talking about pistols – gas is the clear winner, and every player should own at least one gas-powered airsoft pistol for competitive scenarios.

Type/Style of Pistol

Glocks, Desert Eagles, Colts, Smith and Wessons, CKs, HKs, revolvers, semi-automatics, single action, double action…the list is seemingly endless when it comes to makes, models, and manufacturers of handguns.

For more information (and perhaps some inspiration) take a look at this article on the top 17 gun brands in the world.

Remember, if the pistol is available as a real firearm, it’s highly likely it will have its replica brother in airsoft. Look out for replicas that have been fully licensed by the original firearm engineer – so you know it’s a quality, realistic product.

The type you choose will depend on your needs, what you’re using it for, and your own personal preference.

Range/FPS/Hop-Up

By their nature, airsoft pistols don’t offer the highest velocity when it comes to power. This is measured in Feet Per Second (FPS), and you’ll find that a weapon in this class shoots anywhere from 190 to 500 fps.

This means you’ll likely have an effective range of anywhere from 80 to 400 feet, depending on the quality and power source of the gun, the configuration, and the conditions on the day.

A “hop-up” is a device that is installed in many airsoft weapons, which imparts the “Magnus Effect” on the BB when fired. Basically, this is what keeps the projectile in the air for longer, or shorter – as the case may be.

But effective range – the greatest distance you can shoot and expect to hit a target – will likely be around 100 feet for most airsoft pistols.

man wearing tactical camouflage and pointing his airsoft pistol

BB Size

All the above points are all subject to the actual BB size.

While you should always consider the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines for loading your airsoft pistol, it’s recommended that you use either .20 or .25 gram BBs for sidearms – regardless of the model.

Pistols don’t really have the power to get decent range with any heavier pellets, and smaller, lighter BBs are prone to potentially shattering inside the firing mechanism.

If you’re interested in some math the subject, check out this mind-bending article on BB effective range.

Size & Weight

Just as the make and model of a weapon should be important when selecting your first airsoft pistol, so too its size and weight.

These figures will vary depending on what you need the sidearm for.

Remember that trying to carry around a massive hand cannon for most CQB games might not be that practical.

And consider how heavy the piece is as well – especially if you’re a younger player or you’re purchasing for a child. All-metal, hyper-realistic sidearms can be quite a heft for inexperienced or underdeveloped arms.

Magazine Capacity

Again, depending on what you’re using an airsoft pistol for, will affect how large or small you prefer the magazine.

How many rounds a weapon can fire before reloading isn’t that important if you’re just plinking Coke cans at the bottom of the garden.

But it might make the difference between your team winning or losing in a heated and tense MilSim shootout.

And if you do think you’ll need more rounds, look for airsoft pistols that are compatible with high-capacity magazines, which can double the death you dish out.

Accessories/Rails

Like any decent airsoft weapon, guns in the pistol class often come with the ability to accessorize to suit your game play.

Look for models with Weaver or Picatinny rail systems, so you can add any number of cool components including red dot sights, flashlights, camera mounts, and other game-changing devices and tools.

Cost

Perhaps one of the most wonderful things about airsoft pistols, is the fact that it doesn’t cost the earth to own a decent one.

The technology has come a long way, but there are plenty of options out there to get you into the game without breaking the bank.

But when it comes to this particular weapon class, I would highly recommend spending a little more to get the very best you can afford – as it should last you for a long time and not let you down.

airsoft military game players in camouflage uniform

FAQs

What is the most powerful airsoft pistol?

It really depends. There are so many factors involved it’s difficult to pinpoint one, commercially available airsoft pistol that stands above the others for power.

Some modded pistols that airsoft experts work on can reach crazy levels of velocity.

But for the most part, expect a commercially bought airsoft weapon to offer anywhere between 190-360 fps.

And always choose a gas-powered weapon if you want the most power.

How do airsoft pistols work?

It depends on the type of pistol. Springers, gas, and electric all operate in different ways. Check out the video below for a basic guide on how airsoft pistols work.

Would an airsoft pistol be enough for home protection?

If it didn’t have the hi-vis orange safety tip still on the end of the barrel, then you could well get away with using an airsoft pistol as a deterrent under the right circumstances.

Unless you’re a firearms expert, in a split second it’s unlikely someone will be able to tell the difference between an all-metal replica and a real gun.

However, if your assailant happens to produce a weapon of the non-replica variety -in whatever form that takes – you might be in a bit of trouble.

In any case, if it’s a last resort then it might work – but I would advise against relying on it.

Are gas-powered airsoft pistols dangerous?

If you don’t wear the proper safety equipment, then they certainly can be. You need one of these awesome airsoft masks if you’re going to be messing around with BB guns.

The gas itself shouldn’t be inhaled, or exposed to naked flames. And never put Co2 in propane canisters and vice-versa. Then your game might really go boom boom.

Just use common sense, watch where you’re firing the weapons, and be sensible when handling, and they’re perfectly safe to use.

In addition, you should never take these weapons onto the street or wave them around in public. People get shot for a lot less.

What is the highest FPS airsoft pistol?

Somewhere between 350-500 fps – maybe. It depends. And that’s commercially available airsoft pistols. Of course, air guns that fire pellets will be much higher, and pimped out, upgraded airsoft guns can reach ridiculous velocities.

Remember that the fps doesn’t have to go through the roof for the gun to be effective and a good time to be had by all.

How accurate are airsoft pistols?

As accurate as the skill of the shooter. At least, a good quality airsoft pistol will be very accurate, but by their nature they’re never going to compare to that of a real firearm.

Can airsoft guns kill?

Small rodents, yes. And even this will likely depend on your accuracy and range.

To us humans, the most it can do is put out an eye – which is why you need to wear protective eye goggles at all times.

And while they do have the power to break the skin and cause bleeding and/or a nasty welt, they just don’t have enough velocity to cause a fatality.

What is the best airsoft spring pistol?

Everyone has their own personal favorites, and I think the Elite Force HK P30 I included in the review is a decent option. But check out the video below for some more springer options.

Can an airsoft Co2 pistol use green gas?

If the pistol is designed to support both, then yes, it would be fine to power the weapon with either.

However, if this is not the case, I wouldn’t recommend trying it as you could seriously damage the inner workings of the firearm.

And remember that you should never fill canisters that are meant for one gas with another – they run at two completely different pressure levels, and an explosion will most certainly result.

Summary

Finding the best airsoft pistols in 2022 is a huge topic of debate and a massive subject in which to delve into, but I hope this article has at least given you some food for thought.

Let me know which gun you would go for a why.

As for me, I think I want all of them.

Stay safe out there – and happy airsofting!