Practice makes perfect, especially if you carry a handgun daily or have one at home for personal protection. But with the cost of ammunition, practice can be expensive. Even law enforcement has to be conscientious these days about training costs. And that is where air pistols come into play.

These are not your father’s (or grandfather’s) Daisy Red Ryder or single-shot, pneumatic BB pistols. They’re live-action air pistols that look, feel and operate just like the real thing right up to the moment you pull the trigger, and even afterward, because the slide cycles, cocks the hammer and loads the next BB into the chamber. All that is missing is recoil and, of course, the cost of ammunition.

Good shooting practice begins with proper carry methods, familiarity with drawing the firearm, learning how to release and load the magazine, operating the slide and any safeties, and getting a perfect sight picture. All of these training regimens can be practiced with a full-feature, live-action (blowback) air pistol right down to pulling the trigger.

Scroll through our gallery for some of the best air pistols currently on the market to help you perfect your training or just have some fun at the range!

This article was published in the 2015 Gun Buyer’s Guide. To subscribe, please visit

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