As your main piece of kit, the type and brand of air pistol that you choose are very important. But with so many models to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. Pistols can shoot lead pellets or steel BBs, with only a small few able to shoot both types of ammo. Air pistols generally offer increased accuracy and power compared to BB pistols, because the pellets are more aerodynamic.
The more money you spend, the better quality you can expect. Some variables that you want to consider include grip, power, field strip capability, controls, and blowback. You can break down air pistols into four categories. Each category has its own set of benefits and drawbacks.
CO2 powered air pistols are the most popular and are powered by a single-use CO2 cartridge. The benefits of choosing this type of air pistol include blowback as well as semi and even fully automatic functions. A disadvantage is that they are temperature sensitive, which means they are not good for shooting in cold temperatures.
Another option is spring-powered pistols, which feature either coiled steel or gas springs. When you cock this type of pistol the spring is squeezed which then sends a piston forward after the trigger is activated. An advantage of this type of air pistol is that there is no temperature sensitivity.
Other options include pneumatic pistols and pre-charged pneumatic pistols, these are both good choices for shooting in cold conditions as they are not temperature sensitive. Pneumatics can feature either a single-pump or multi-pump mechanism. When you cock these air pistols, the air is compressed behind the valve, which is then released when the pistol is fired. Pre-charged pneumatics are guns that feature a built-in reservoir that is filled using an external air tank.