High-Tech Airgun Training

Neat, discreet, realistic
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Airgun SIG Sauer

“You can train at home with airguns” is one of those pithy comments passed along like the eggplant soufflé at a family reunion dinner but it’s true. Of course you’re saying, “Sounds like a great idea, but realistically, I’ll never do it.” Now here’s the part where I say, “What if I told you training with airguns is the weaponized version of dry-fire practice?” Sound a bit more convincing?

Modern airguns and supporting technology have opened up some novel practice possibilities for home, garden, and garage — and you don’t even have to risk perforating the love seat! While he never included it in his published theories, I’m pretty sure maintaining marital bliss is way up on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.


The MantisX Firearm Training System mounts to virtually any gun with a rail, rifle or pistol,
and tracks movement before, during and after the shot.

The Sig M17 even lets you practice magazine changes because the CO2 is captive
and doesn’t release when you remove the magazine.

BBs and Pellets

With each passing month replica airguns are becoming more and more realistic, making them great for training. The folks at SIG SAUER Airguns are fanatical about realism for just this reason. Their 1911, P226 and P320 air pistols look, and feel, like their centerfire cousins. It doesn’t hurt when the same people who make the fire and brimstone versions also produce their own line of airguns. Not only do the folks at SIG have access to the technical drawings but they actually use them when designing said air pistols.

Take for example the brand-new SIG SAUER Air M17. It’s a replica of the official new sidearm of the U.S. Military, the 9mm M17, based on the SIG P320 pistol. This pistol offers some interesting training possibilities because you can even practice reloading manipulations as the “magazine” contains both a CO2 cartridge and twenty .177 caliber pellets. Here’s the nifty part: The CO2 is held captive so you can dump the magazine without losing gas. When your pellets run dry, just do a high-speed Delta-Ninja-SEAL tactical mag dump and pop in a fresh one so you can continue fighting off the horde of invading tin cans. The pistol is true to spec regarding dimension so use your preferred holster and any rail accessories that float your boat.

Not only are air pistols quiet, especially in comparison to the centerfire versions, their pellets are light and won’t penetrate walls, cars, or the neighbor’s house. It’s easy and cheap to set up a safe backstop to catch BBs or pellets. Here’s a pro-tip — fill your backstop with a few inches of Duct Putty. Not only will the soft material catch the air gun rounds, but will also muffle the sound of impact.

Another great thing about airguns is the almost limitless choice of handgun models. If you normally carry a 1911, then great! Check out the SIG SAUER Spartan CO2 BB pistol! Umarex also offers a wide catalog of replica pistols so give them a look too.


The MantisX smartphone app tracks your muzzle movement before, during and after the shot.

NO Projectile

Remember earlier when I mentioned practice possibilities for home, meaning inside the house? Yup. The new flock of uber-realistic air pistols are CO2-powered and feature reciprocating actions.

While the recoil of an air pistol won’t cause any temporary PTSD, the slide does zoom back with every shot so you’re getting some gun movement and muzzle flip. The realistic motion provides great practice in settling your sights back on target during rapid-fire sequences.

Now we’ve got a furniture-safe moving gun, it’s time to add a way to measure and track performance with the MantisX Firearms Training System. This nifty little gadget attaches to any pistol with a rail like the SIG SAUER P320 M17 pistol and carefully monitors your technique. Magic gyro sensors — or maybe really tiny Oompa Loompas — track the movement of your pistol before, during and after each trigger press. The results are beamed to your smartphone and shown visually and numerically so you can quickly start making excuses as to why you muffed the shot. Seriously — seeing the direction and magnitude of muzzle movement relative to the target is a sure-fire way to improve trigger finger isolation and banish flinch forever.

Since the data is sent to your smartphone, it’s stored as long as you want and allows you to track progress over time. But there’s another benefit to the smartphone integration — the sadists at MantisX are always dreaming up new drills so the app can guide you through different practice sequences. For example, they’ve recently added the FBI qualification routine. Do a little adjusting for airgun distances (or no projectiles at all), and you can run through the qualification at home. It won’t get you a shiny G-Man badge but it’s awfully good practice.

Dry fire got you bored to tears? Ammo costs biting into your beef brisket budget? No worries. Check out the modern crop of air pistols. For a hundred bucks give or take and a miniscule cost per shot, you can train right at home, rain or shine — and your furniture will thank you.

Ph.: (603) 610-3000

Umarex USA
Ph.: (479) 646-4210

Ph.: (630) 551-8171

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