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Sara Ahrens’ Offbeat: Airsoft guns – One alternative to ammunition shortages

Can’t get ammo? Yeah, well, neither can the police!

Recently, officers from another jurisdiction transported a prisoner from their county to ours. They said that their chief told them to, “stop at every Walmart, every sporting goods store and every Farm and Fleet in between, and buy every box of .40-caliber ammunition available.” Consumers realized months ago that the shortage of ammunition was becoming a serious problem. But I think we can all agree that when even law enforcement agencies can’t get ammunition — it’s a crisis!

Sara and her son team up behind cover. Photo courtesy of Michael Ahrens

Sara and her son team up behind cover. Photo courtesy of Michael Ahrens

The USSR of ammunition

The issue with the ammunition is getting so bad that if you find a business with stock, the purchases are limited and many times the prices have increased. I was in a local gun shop and the owner asked if I would be willing to sell my 9mm bullets. I declined the offer, but I can identify with their dilemma … how do you sell firearms if there isn’t ammunition? I can’t contemplate buying a firearm knowing I can’t get the ammunition needed to shoot it. I’m a shooter, not a collector — though my husband probably has a different opinion. Whatever the reason for the ammunition shortage, it is negatively affecting range time and budget for me, and many other shooters. Over the past couple months I have been forced to incorporate my son’s airsoft guns into my training. I have discovered there are some distinct benefits to supplementing shooting with airsoft drills, which outweigh the obvious drawbacks.

Airsoft approbation

Sara and her family, especially her son, have tons of family fun with airsoft. Photo courtesy of Michael Ahrens

Sara and her family, especially her son, have tons of family fun with airsoft. Photo courtesy of Michael Ahrens

The benefit of working with airsoft guns is that they allow shooters to practice fundamentals such as the following: stance, grip, draw, sight picture and sight alignment, trigger press, magazine exchanges and shooting and moving. The projectiles are inexpensive as well. It is surprising how many popular makes and models of firearms are available in comparable airsoft versions. They are almost exact replicas in size and shape (though not generally identical in function or action and weight). Similar size and shape means that you can attach accessories and utilize holsters designed for the real version. Probably one of the most convincing reasons for supplementing your arsenal with airsoft guns is that they do not require the use of a range. It can also be a great activity for the whole family!

Airsoft concession

Many popular firearms are available in airsoft versions, such as the Smith & Wesson M&P.

Many popular firearms are available in airsoft versions, such as the Smith & Wesson M&P.

Airsoft guns are not perfect replacements for the real deal for a couple of obvious reasons. First of all, they are not reliable indicators of accuracy, because of the lack of barrel rifling (smooth bores). They use lightweight projectiles that are greatly impacted by atmospheric conditions. If the shooter is dealing with recoil issues, airsoft guns don’t replicate a firearm’s recoil. If supplementing shooting through the use of airsoft, keep in mind your intended purposes and goals while making your airsoft selection.

Airsoft contemplation

There are important considerations when selecting an airsoft gun for which the intended purpose is to practice shooting fundamentals. Make sure to select one that is operated by green gas, battery or CO2, not by spring action. If a spring action airsoft gun is selected, the user will have to “charge” the gun after every press of the trigger. This action hinders follow-up shots and subsequent sight pictures, it causes the shooter to remove the support hand, thus negatively affecting the grip, and the shooter can potentially develop muscle memory to rack the weapon after every shot (depending upon how many repetitions are performed).

Sara's son is the envy of all the neighborhood boys with his A&K Full Metal M60 AEG from Pyramid Air. Photo courtesy of Michael Ahrens

Sara’s son is the envy of all the neighborhood boys with his A&K Full Metal M60 AEG from Pyramid Air. Photo courtesy of Michael Ahrens

The envy of every little boy — The Pig

If you haven’t experienced it, there is nothing that bonds a family more than an airsoft war. My son loves airsoft because he does not have to depend on someone to take him to the range, and he can own airsoft guns that he could never own the “real” verson of, in reality. One of his prized airsoft guns, which have made him the envy of every little boy in the neighborhood, is the A&K Full Metal M60 AEG from Pyramyd Air. This airsoft gun replicates the Vietnam era M60 (otherwise known as “The Pig,” due to its bulky size). It’s a fully automatic machine gun. It shoots 6mm airsoft projectiles, with a maximum velocity of 400 feet-per-second, and has a shot capacity of 3,500 pellets. It’s battery powered, which can give the user an unfair advantage in an airsoft war, so long as he or she isn’t flanked and doesn’t have to carry it. This unit weighs 16 pounds, so carrying it requires upper body strength. Pyramyd Air also offers a large variety of airsoft, air guns, bb and pellet guns. They offer one of the largest selections of makes and models available online.

During times when ammunition is scarcely available, shooters might have to consider other options to maintain proficiency with their firearms. One of those options is to invest in airsoft guns. Airsoft guns are available in almost every make and model firearm on the market, and even some that aren’t! In addition to allowing shooters to maintain their skills, it is also an activity that the whole family can enjoy.

OffBeat is sponsored by Armed in Stilettos.

Armed in Stilettos

The Conversation

3 Comments
  • best air rifles says: September 27, 2013 at 3:20 am

    The ammunition shortage is not just affecting civilians but it’s also forcing some law enforcement departments to find alternatives in training sessions. And airsoft guns are the best alternative.

  • best airsoft pistols says: September 10, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Very good blog you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any user discussion forums that cover the same topics talked about in this article?
    I’d really like to be a part of community where I can get advice from other
    experienced individuals that share the same interest.
    If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Bless you!

    • Barbara Baird says: September 10, 2013 at 12:03 pm

      Please feel free to ask Sara, or any of the other writers here at The WON, any questions. We will try our best to get back to you online here. Or you can message us at Facebook or Twitter.