For federal forces training with real steel weapons can quickly become expensive. Ammunition is costly, guns are up there in price, and to top it all off, the officers themselves are getting paid. These forces have found a cheaper alternative to use when training.
Airsoft training guns are utilized by many government forces for training. They are much less expensive, and a whole lot easier to maintain. They can also more effectively simulate combat because you can safely shoot other officers in training with airsoft training guns. They must, of course, be wearing the proper protection to keep their eyes and teeth from getting shot, but if they are, getting shot with an airsoft training gun is harmless.
Furthermore, Airsoft training guns come in all shapes and styles. From pistols like the Elite Force Glock 17 and 19, and the KWA P226 Professional Training Pistol (PTP), to rifles such as the WE Tech m4 carbine. They simulate the functions of real steel weaponry to a highly accurate level. Of course, some things such as the maximum range of the weapons, or the projectile speed of the bb getting shot will be much different than a real steel gun, but for the most part airsoft training guns function quite similar to their real steel counterparts.
The important thing to look for when deciding to buy an airsoft training gun is how well it functions like your real weapon. The last thing you want to have happen is to get comfortable with how your airsoft training gun works, and then have your real weapon function differently. The key to finding the most realistic airsoft training weapon is to determine how the bb is propelled. There are generally three ways for the bb to be propelled.
Spring powered. Often times these gun are quite cheap. You can pick up a spring powered airsoft training pistol for 5-20 bucks. Rifles will be a little more, but still along the same vein. A spring powered airsoft training gun might be clear plastic, or if it is more expensive, it might actually look like your real weapon. It should still function in a manner that is similar to your real weapon though.You manually chamber a round by pulling back on the slide or bolt. Then you can pull the trigger and fire the gun. You must chamber a round before each shot, making them quite unrealistic. They are also usually made out of cheap plastic, and have no recoil, and very unrealistic magazines for practicing reloads. These types of airsoft training guns are alright for simulating pump action shotguns, or bolt action rifles, but they are the cheapest of the bunch, and usually won’t last very long.
Electric powered. Guns that are powered by electricity, Automatic Electric Guns (AEG’s) are the most common type of Airsoft training gun, however they are not the most realistic. AEG’s can shoot semi, or full auto usually, and you don’t have to cock them between each shot. One such Airsoft training gun AEG is the VFC VR16 Avalon. When you pull the trigger a battery powers a motor, which turns gears, which pulls back and releases the piston, which propels the bb. These types of weapons are good, but they don’t make very good training rifles, or training pistols. For one, an AEG magazine can hold anywhere from 120-500 bbs. Another thing is that most AEG’s have no recoil, and the trigger pull isn’t very similar to a real weapon because all you’re doing is pulling a switch.
Gas powered. These Airsoft training guns are powered by a gas. It is either propane, or co2 canisters. The gas is stored in the magazine, and when the trigger is pulled, is fed into the bolt, and shoots the bb down the barrel. These guns are the most realistic training weapons that Airsoft has to offer. Being double action, the gun will have to have a round chambered before it will shoot. The magazines usually hold the same number of rounds as a real weapon, and the trigger pull feels very similar. There is also blowback because the way the bolt functions is just like a real steel weapon. The gun shoots, then the bolt goes back, chambers a new bb, and then repeats for the next shot. These are the training guns law enforcement personnel use to train with. They are usually the most expensive airsoft training guns, and will have high quality externals. The magazines function much like a real steel gun, and they are quite realistic.