14 Best Airsoft Pistols FOr CQB (Review) in 2019

best airsoft pistols guide and reviews

Airsoft pistols are everything you’d want in a secondary. They’re light, reliable, and easy to carry.

You would think that one of the most important guns in airsoft would be shown some love by the manufacturers building them, but that sadly isn’t always the case. Here are some examples of what I  mean:

  • I’ve seen airsoft pistols break because people wanted to save a couple of bucks (I even wrote a guide on how much you should expect to pay for an airsoft gun because of this).
  • I’ve seen people buy airsoft pistols that broke after a couple of uses with no way to repair them.
  • I’ve seen airsoft pistols break after being dropped…once.

In this guide I’ll cover everything you need to know before buying an airsoft pistol online (which you can do here), so you can avoid throwing your money away on a pistol that won’t last.

I’ll also suggest some of the best airsoft pistols that both I and other avid airsoft players have had great experiences with.

Let’s get started.

What Are Airsoft Pistols?

To put it simply, an airsoft pistol is your insurance during battle – a sidearm, a savior, a backup plan, and potentially your enemies’ worst nightmare.

While players typically tackle the most fearsome firefights with their primary weapons, pistols are worthy replacements once your other options are worn out.

Typically holstered at your side, they’re easy to access and carry. Though rifles are often customized, pistols are somewhat more utilitarian weapons.

Reasons Why Pistols Are Useful

1. Airsoft pistols excel at close-range combat – While rifles – and some cases, shotguns – perform well at all ranges, pistols aren’t as capable.

That’s why pistols are wildly popular during CQB matches. They’re lightweight, maneuverable, and flexible platforms.

With the addition of flashlights and laser sights, pistols can become primary weapons under the right conditions.

Clearing rooms and shooting around dense battlefields are ideal tasks for pistols. Not only that, many of these close-quarters fields are subject to firepower restrictions. Pistols can be easily tweaked to satisfy both joule and FPS requirements.

Below is a video of Novritsch’s airsoft pistol gameplay. You should watch it to see exactly how useful and efficient airsoft pistols can be in action.

2. Airsoft pistols are a must for snipers – If you’re an airsoft sniper,  you’ll need to rely on pistols for survival.

In my blog post on airsoft sniper rifles, I mention that airsoft snipers operate from long distances, with their weapon ranges keep them relatively safe.

However, front lines and respawn points are always changing. This is where pistols become essential.

When suddenly confronted with unexpected foes, rifles quickly become unwieldy – especially at close range. In these scenarios, pistols are indispensable. That’s especially true if they’re silent. While operating behind enemy lines, a dependable sidearm can be the difference between surviving undetected or shambling back to base.

3. Airsoft pistols are great for when something happens to your primary – In a general sense, things go wrong in the field. Rifles can jam, break, or underperform in any given situation. When the unexpected strikes, pistols are handy backups.

A trusty secondary gives you a fighting chance to fend off opponents. Many pistols are supremely reliable and will perform flawlessly shot after shot. Their portability means you could carry multiple, should your loadout permit it.

The Different Types of Airsoft Pistols You Can Choose

There are three categories of pistols currently on the market: Gas, Spring and Electric. Let’s take a look at each one to see where their strengths and weaknesses lie.

Gas Pistols

The most-popular type of pistol available today, gas-powered pistols dominate fields due to their power and versatility.

Offered in a wide FPS range, they use various propellants:

  • Green gas
  • Red gas
  • Duster (134a) gas
  • CO2
  • Propane

With so many options available, you can easily find a pistol that suits your preferences. Because the composition of these gases differ, your pistol may have unique maintenance requirements to keep it shooting smoothly.

Each gas system also has its own pros and cons relating to efficiency, power, and reliability under different conditions.

co2 airsoft pistols vs green gas pistols

For example, colder environments favor CO2 due to its superb performance. Green gas is more vulnerable to changing temperatures and will combust differently. Duster gas tends to be underpowered, whereas CO2 and propane typically reign supreme. This is not a hard rule, though.

Gas pistols do have some cons pertaining to upkeep and sustained wear over time. These guns are subject to a lot of repeated, internal pressure, so choosing a solidly-built sidearm is essential.

They also come in gas blowback (GBB) and non-blowback varieties. GBBs are more realistic, though they bring durability considerations to the table due to their moving slides.

Don’t let this deter you from purchasing one, however. Any gun that’s well built should stand the test of time if properly cared for.

Accordingly, blowback models are some of the most-coveted sidearms you’ll find. Gas pistols are investments, since they can be readily upgraded with a plethora of aftermarket parts if need be. For players seeking maximum performance and reliability, even through customization, these stand head and shoulders above the rest.

Spring Pistols

Often cheaper than their gas-powered cousins, spring-power pistols are great options for beginners and intermediate players alike. As it sounds, these pistols fire BBs using the unleashed energy of a compressed spring. These springs vary in stiffness and gauge, changing how hard each respective pistol will shoot. This is the largest factor in determining FPS in spring-powered guns.

Spring guns are user friendly and require little maintenance. In addition, magazines don’t have to accommodate gas cartridges, and are thus much cheaper. They are also lighter and traditionally made of plastic. Because of this, spring guns tend to be lightweight and easy to carry for extended periods of time.

Reliability with spring pistols is a mixed bag. On one hand, you don’t have to worry about leaks and environmental conditions with springs. The firing mechanism is simpler, and the cocking required before each shot lessens wear and tear by default (due to reduced rate of fire over time).

However, these guns are cheaper. That often equates to lesser build quality internally, commonly in the usage of plastic parts. These may break down more readily over time.

Spring guns are usually viewed as purchases as opposed to ‘investments.’ Upgrade parts are scarce as are replacement parts, meaning you will likely upgrade to a gas pistol as you grow more experienced.

Airsoft Electric Pistols (AEPs)

Filling a niche role in the airsoft realm, AEPs aren’t wildly popular amongst players. However, they are nice options for players seeking completely-automatic loadouts.

In short range or room-to-room battles, these pistols have a role. AEPs fire at semi-automatic and fully-automatic rates, should you need to spray multiple rounds in short order.

These pistols propel BBs through battery power, meaning they will need to be charged between matches. That’s not necessarily a problem, but it is something to consider.

Owners commonly outfit these AEPs with lithium-polymer battery upgrades, increasing both battery capacity and rate of fire. Though upgrades aren’t plentiful for these pistols, you won’t be left hanging completely.

limited aep options

Since players don’t commonly use AEPs, your options on the retail market will be limited. However, some major brands – such as CYMA and Tokyo Marui – do dominate the market and offer solid pistols.

In terms of pricing, airsoft electric pistols do tend to be cheap. Reliability is average on the whole, with build quality resembling that of most spring-powered pistols.

What to Expect with Internals & Externals

Internals

Mainly, the conversation of quality internally centers on build materials. Ideally, high-powered pistols will heavily incorporate metal components throughout the firing mechanism and trigger box.

These provide the best durability, especially over time. Metal internals will typically be steel, aluminum, or brass – depending on the part and manufacturer. Metal components wear slower and are naturally resilient. This is extremely important for moving parts since they’re the most vulnerable.

Cheap airsoft pistols have plastic internals

With cheaper pistols, the majority of internal parts is typically fashioned from plastic. Plastic flexes and wears more under stress, and plastic parts are manufactured less precisely. This can cause issues when parts are often moving.

That’s not to say plastic is inherently bad, but longevity will be affected. The magnitude of that issue depends on how long you plan to keep your gun, or if you’re going to upgrade your internals regardless.

Externals

Durability doesn’t only depend on internal build quality. Externally, your pistol should also be built using quality materials. The tougher the frame, the more bumps and drops it can sustain. When firing repeatedly, crucial components like the trigger and slide must be up to the task.


Typically, weaker gas guns, spring pistols, and AEPs use plastic slides. These slides vary in quality due to finish, weight, and manufacturing tolerances.  For example, a cheap slide might wiggle and have play when moved – this is not ideal. Pistols using CO2, propane, and green gas should absolutely have metal slides to handle repeated shooting. This is especially true for blowback pistols.

Frames can be plastic (or polymer) or metal. Metal is usually more resistant to drops and damage. However, lighter polymer options can offer surprising durability. Regardless, plastic pistols will chip or scuff more easily against hard surfaces.

Quality is a consideration based on many factors, like ergonomics, balance, and appearance. Modern replicas like Glocks and CZs will typically sport polymer frames, though these are higher quality. There are no firm absolutes when it comes to build quality. Some plastics will be better than others, as will some metals. Keeping your playing conditions and gear in mind will help determine your needs.

Pistols vs. Other Airsoft Guns

Pistols are weapons of compromise by their nature. They are typically best at short to mid ranges, and thus have their own unique uses. Pistols will almost always be out-ranged by sniper rifles and assault rifles, those disadvantages being magnified as fields become more open.

Shotguns and pistols are more comparable and have similar usefulness, though pistols are easier to aim and shoot quickly. For that reason, we find pistols more practical than their pump-action cousins.

Many pistols, even some of the best, will lack bottom rails. This rules out additional accessories. However, many pistols feature picatinny and 20mm bottom rails, which offer players options.

Rifles are typically more flexible, but pistols were never meant to check every box. Power can actually be a wash, though rifles will commonly outpace pistols in terms of accuracy and velocity.

So, What Makes an Airsoft Pistol Good?

Like most things, your opinions will be subjective depending on your needs. Do you value lightweight construction or heavy construction? Do you need high FPS or high rate of fire? What fields do you typically play in, and in what weather? Are upgrades crucial or optional? What’s your budget?

This may seem like a flurry of questions, but they’re all important considerations. Truth be told, a good or best pistol will be the one that satisfies most of your requirements.

Ideally, you’ll want something that performs admirably under a variety of conditions. A pistol is a secondary, and should be as reliable as possible. It should be comfortable to wield and easy to shoot.

Here Are Our Picks for the Best Airsoft Pistols (Updated List)

Now that you know what to look for when buying an airsoft pistol, now comes the fun part. Here is a list of the best airsoft pistols I’ve come across or have had recommended to me:

  1. Tokyo Marui Hi-Capa 5.1 – Best Gas Blowback Airsoft Pistol
  2. Tokyo Marui MK23 –Best Gas Non-Blowback Airsoft Pistol
  3. Cyma G18CBest Automatic Electric Airsoft Pistol
  4. ASG CZ-P09 – Best Airsoft Pistol Under $100
  5. KWA HK45
  6. KJW MK-1
  7. CYMA Hi-Capa
  8. Tokyo Marui M92F
  9. CYMA 1911
  10. WE-Tech Hi-CAPA
  11. Colt M1911 A1
  12. WE-Tech’s CQB Master
  13. Matrix Elite M9
  14. Umarex Walther P99

Best Gas Blowback Airsoft Pistols

Tokyo Marui Hi-Capa

One of the most-reliable gas options available, the Hi-Capa will fire without fail time after time. A crowd favorite, this pistol is capable of growing alongside you. ​

First Impressions

This is one of the pricier airsoft pistols on our list, though you’re paying for outstanding quality. If budget isn’t an issue, you’ll struggle to find better options than the Hi-Capa. The Tokyo Marui Hi-Capa 5.1 currently sells for under $200.

Due to its popularity, the Hi-Capa has plenty of aftermarket parts readily available. It’s quite easy to fix or upgrade if needed. Many manufacturers have since released their own hi-capa pistols based on Tokyo Marui’s design, flooding the market with interchangeable components.

Performance

The pistol will last you a long time and is a worthy investment, not simply a purchase. Though internal components are top quality, the external frame is plastic, hampering overall durability. Thankfully, key pieces like the slide are solid and offer little play.

Tokyo Marui is a highly-regarded manufacturer of gas powered, blow-back airsoft pistols. Accordingly, the Hi-Capa 5.1 is one of the most popular airsoft pistols currently available.

Performance is quite good – the Hi-Capa shoots at 280-300 FPS. Accuracy has always been Tokyo Marui’s strength, and owners report exception sharpshooting without upgrades. It accepts both duster gas and green gas, yet can be adapted for propane. Its magazine holds 31 rounds.

ASG CZ-P09

Straight away, this gun is a treat for all players seeking great performance in a unique package. The ASG CZ P-09 performs exceptionally at a price that doesn’t induce cardiac arrest.

First Impressions

Sitting comfortably in the mid-range market, the CZ-P09 is a great option if you’re working with a moderate budget. You’re paying for an officially licensed, 1:1 replica of CZ’s tactical pistol. The ASG CZ-P09 sells for under $150, though its Dark Earth variant can be had for substantially cheaper.

The P-09 platform isn’t nearly as popular as the 1911/Hi-Capa platform, thus upgrade parts are harder to find. However, they are available. Though veteran tinkerers may feel underwhelmed, this isn’t a pistol that warrants multiple upgrades to function well.

Performance

Featuring a multi-textured grip, along with an aggressive frame and slide serrations, the P-09 is intimidating. It has a metal slide atop a nylon-fiber frame, the former being especially important for a gas sidearm. Though the gun is quite durable, the paint will chip with repeated drops.

With stock components, the CZ P-09 really shines. Using CO2, the pistol shoots in excess of 370 FPS. These numbers drop to about 350 FPS when using green gas. We recommend using heavyweight BBs.

Accuracy is a strong point of the P-09. Without touching the hop up, heavier rounds tend to fly straight and long. Depending how you dial it in, the pistol becomes a respectable mid-range weapon despite its form factor.

KWA HK45

Perfect for all players, the KWA HK45 is a solid weapon that will perform day in and day out. Fully licensed by Heckler & Koch, it’s a modern pistol with tactical features that will appeal to many. Using KWA’s patented NS2 gas system, this pistol will shoot reliably and efficiently for countless matches to come.

First Impressions

In line with the airsoft world’s premium brands, the KWA HK45 carries a hefty price tag. This gun is for advanced players, or at least those for whom money is no object. That being said, that cost includes impressive build quality and performance. The KWA HK45 costs $155-200 depending on seller and add-ons.

It’s fairly easy to order replacement parts using KWA’s website. However, upgrade parts are quite challenging to find. Thankfully, the only thing that truly requires a swap is the outer barrel, which is plastic.

Performance

The KWA HK45 is comfortable to hold and well-balanced. While not particularly heavy, it’s sturdy. The frame is polymer and the slide’s completely metal. However, the outer barrel is plastic. Avoid dropping your HK45 – the polymer frame can chip against hard surfaces.

The KWA HK45 shines in most every area, receiving positive marks for velocity, accuracy, and efficiency. It fires BBs at 340-350 FPS, sufficient for close quarters combat and shorter ranges. The pistol uses green gas but can also be tapped for propane.

The pistol’s orange tip is threaded with 16mm threads and accepts silencers. This makes the HK45 a great sidearm for sniping loadouts. Reliable and unique, its blend of power and sharp accuracy will outshoot opponents with relative ease.

Best Non-Gas Blowback Airsoft Pistols

Tokyo Marui MK23

The Tokyo Marui MK23 is a top SOCOM replica that deserves serious recognition. Built for snipers and run-and-gunners alike, this quiet pistol is engineered with gas efficiency in mind. Complete with a silencer and detachable, bottom-mounted flashlight, this is an exceptional package.

First Impressions

Great airsoft pistols beget premium price tags, and the MK23 is no exception. Thankfully, the package offers good value thanks to the quality and quantity of add-ons included. The Tokyo Marui MK23 costs $140-200 depending on the retailer.

Since the MK23 is a Tokyo Marui product, replacement parts are relatively easy to come by. However, the MK23 is no Hi-Capa in regards to upgradeability. Because its role is so niche, despite its excellent performance, upgrade parts are difficult to come by.

Performance

As expected, fit and finish are of top quality. Though the gun is externally a blend of metal and plastic, it’s sturdy. It’s gas powered, but the plastic slide avoids heavy wear due to its fixed nature. Important internals are metal which aid in longevity.

In short, the Tokyo Marui MK23 is a field sniper’s dream. It’s well-suited to stealthy engagements but offers respectable power. The pistol shoots 300-320 FPS using green gas and is whisper quiet. You also enjoy this performance in a handsome sidearm.

The MK23 does have a rather large footprint though, thanks to a silencer that nearly doubles the length of the gun. Finding a proper holster may be a challenge. However, a 28-round magazine ensures continuous shooting, allowing you to keep your MK23 handy for extended periods.

KJW MK-1

A budget-friendly option, the KJW MK-I is a surprising top performer for lovers of competition pistols. Its unique, elongated form factor turns heads, and its hard-shooting nature will keep enemies at bay with ease.

First Impressions

Made primarily for beginners and competitive plinkers, the MK-I is a nice little pistol for those spending under $50. Considering its gas operation and performance, this is a fantastic value. You can purchase the KJW MK-I for only $45.

KJW is generally pretty good about offering replacement parts through their online store. However, the MK-I platform is fairly proprietary, thus not many pistols share its design. Because it performs quite admirably at a cheap price, we don’t anticipate upgrading to be very popular.

Performance

The MK-I is well-balanced without being too hefty, weighing only 1.6 pounds. The gun is made of polymer, but is durable despite this. A non-blowback gas system ensures efficiency and longevity, as long as it’s taken care of. Internals are made of metal to handle the gas mechanism.

A highly-competent sidearm that defies its price tag, the MK-I shoots a whopping 350-450 FPS. Its gas system is relatively efficient, allowing for repeated shooting. Despite its long frame, it retains its portability and will surprise many opponents during battle.

A metal hop up ensures accurate flight from one shot to the next. The MK-I includes a 17-round magazine, perfectly serviceable but not high capacity.

Best AEP

While AEPs often receive mixed reviews within the airsoft community, a trusty electric pistol may be exactly what’s needed to compete in certain environments. Many gas pistols struggle in colder environments and are too powerful for close-quarters combat. AEPs are reasonable solutions to these problems, and they don’t break the bank. In addition, they require little maintenance apart from recharging or replacing batteries.

We’ve compiled our short list of the best electric pistols available below, based on value, overall performance, and reliability. If you’re considering adding a quality AEP to your loadout, you should certainly consider these solid picks:

Note: We’re aware that Glock replicas like the G18c from CYMA and Tokyo Marui are quite popular. However, many retailers have sold out or discontinued these items, due to difficulties with shipping them to the United States. They may be most available on the secondary market.

Cyma G18C

Capitalizing on the Glock-replica trend, the CYMA G18C is a high-quality sidearm that deserves high praise. Ditching gas due to its AEP designation, the G18C is perfect for players wanting to spray a large volume of rounds downfield in short order.

First Impressions

Compared to their gas cousins, AEPs tend to be less expensive, and the CYMA G18C is no exception. Though shipping can be a challenge with Glock replicas, the G18C can be picked up for about $60. This makes it a great option if you have a restrictive budget.

The aftermarket parts selection for the G18C is somewhat limited, though internal components share similarities with Tokyo Marui’s Glock replicas. In that sense, some parts are interchangeable. Players seeking upgrades will want to look into lithium-polymer battery pack upgrades, which are common and affordable.

Performance

The pistol is made of polymer, featuring a modern design akin to many of Glock’s authentic firearms. That being said, the gun is weighty and well-balanced. Its finish is also high quality. Many internal parts are metal, especially beneficial given the fully-automatic firing mode. This gun should stand the test of time, within reason.

Rate of fire is the CYMA G18C’s bread and butter. Though paired with relatively-low power at 220 FPS, the sheer volume of BBs fired make up for it. This gun is not meant for long-range exchanges, but really shines in CQB. When up against multiple opponents in tight spaces, it becomes a formidable sidekick.

If you’re feeling restrained, semi-automatic fire is available. Owners may find the 30-round magazine depletes quite rapidly, though extra magazines aren’t overly expensive. The pistol is a good performer for beginner and casual players.

Cyma Advanced Hi-Capa

The CYMA Hi-Capa, though not the cheapest option available, does offer superb build quality that other manufacturers don’t match. It’s a great option for CQB or players seeking to get out of tight jams. It does offer wiggle room for upgrades, making the Hi-Capa a flexible platform that will stand the test of time. Beginners will love this pistol and it may also appeal to some intermediate players.

First Impressions

One of the higher-end AEPs available, the CYMA Hi-Capa’s build quality is worthy of its price tag. While the pistol’s frame is polymer, it’s both ergonomic and textured around the grip. Critical components such as the slide, magazine, magazine well, selectors, and inner barrel are fully metal. Together, these materials account for a solid, weighty feel in hand. This pistol is built to last both internally and externally. It’s non-blowback with a fixed slide and is roughly 9.8 inches long.

CYMA offers the pistol in a black finish. It’s designed like other Hi-Capa models, with a slightly-modernized 1911 form factor. You can easily access all switches and selectors. The CYMA Hi-Capa AEP does not include a tactical bottom rail for accessories. However, it does use a 7.2-volt AEP battery. Included in the box is the Hi-Capa pistol, a 29-round magazine, a battery, and a charger. Some owners have also received a speed loader and a small pack of BBs.

Performance

As with all AEPs, muzzle velocity numbers are not jaw-dropping with the Hi-Capa. The pistol fires at 190-210 FPS, which is right about average for its class. We recommend using .20g BBs or just a tad heavier for optimal performance. The included hop up is adjustable, so you won’t have to worry about lighter rounds sailing off target. A precision bore also boosts accuracy. While range shouldn’t be your primary concern with the CYMA Hi-Capa, we’d recommend it for engagements within 60 feet. This is perfect for closer combat.

Based on the Tokyo Marui’s AEP system, this pistol is made to be reliable. This comes with another added bonus: easy upgradeability. CYMA’s gearbox is compatible with all Tokyo Marui AEP internal components. Thankfully, these are fairly accessible and relatively inexpensive. A select fire option allows you to choose between semi and full-auto modes. Lastly, a detachable magazine and on-frame release are great quality-of-life features which will aid you in the field.

Tokyo Marui M92F

We don’t get to say this very often, but Tokyo Marui’s M92F is a great option for beginner players with a tighter budget. The pistol’s true calling card is its reliability, authentic styling, and solid build. These qualities should resonate with anyone looking to purchase a quality sidearm.

First Impressions

Though its name precedes it, the Tokyo Marui M92F is a solid weapon that deserves additional recognition. Built to the M92’s exact specifications, Tokyo Marui’s offering is a perfect 1:1 replica of the U.S. Army’s standard sidearm. It’s has an ABS plastic frame, though the pistol does have a solid feel. The grip panels are textured for confident handling. Built within that grip is the safety switch, which is easily accessible. However, some players may find this a little too easy to bump accidentally.

The M92F comes in a black finish. It’s relatively-lightweight, weighing in at 0.66 pounds. The pistol is 8.5 inches long. Tokyo Marui includes the M92F pistol and a 15-round magazine in the box. Batteries aren’t included. In contrast to the traditional 7.2-volt AEP battery used in many pistols, the gun instead requires four AAA batteries. These do power a blowback action, however.

Performance

The M92F is in the middle of the pack in terms of velocity, firing BBs at 190-220 FPS. Again, this level of power is well-suited to close encounters. For this reason, the range is not a huge factor for the M92F. We recommend .20g BBs, or perhaps a tad heavier, depending on your pistol’s performance. While Tokyo Marui includes a quality hop up, this has a fixed setting, making ammo choice a hair more important.

Though an AEP, there is only one firing mode: semi-automatic. While this throws a wrench in the spray-and-pray CQB strategy, you will use less ammo. This may be important, considering the M92F has a 15-round magazine. No matter the mechanism, you’ll benefit from Tokyo Marui’s reliable AEP system. This transforms the pistol from a budget option to a long-lasting battle buddy.

Cyma 1911

We’ll echo what other reviewers have been saying: the CYMA 1911 is a surprise, and a pretty nice one at that. It offers good performance in a durable package, albeit with some minor flaws. If beginner and intermediate players are willing to look past those, this is a solid sidearm.

First Impressions

A popular option amongst AEP users, the CYMA Heavy Weight 1911 is a solid pistol that is slightly oversized. Compared to the original 1911 design, CYMA’s version is larger than 1:1. The pistol is roughly 9.8 inches long. This added size carries added weight, yet offers a more premium feel. We’ll admit the HW 1911 is not the prettiest gun in the world. However, its durable metal construction helps offset any lack of sex appeal. Internal components are also metal. The pistol has a black finish, with brown, textured grip plates.

The 1911 has a detachable magazine and an on-frame safety. Since it’s wider than a traditional 1911, finding a suitable holster will be a bit more challenging. Included in the box is the CYMA 1911 pistol, a 29-round magazine, a 7.2-volt AEP battery, and a charger. You can also pick up extended magazines which hold about 100 rounds.

Performance

Velocity is average yet serviceable for an AEG, at about 190-210 FPS. As such, you will want to keep engagements within about 60 feet. The real standout feature of the Heavy Weight 1911 is the fire rate. Owners report a very high automatic firing rate, incredibly useful for CQB and taking down multiple enemies in one sitting. You can also use a semi-automatic mode. A robust, metal gearbox stands up to the rigors of sustained shooting, and is compatible with Tokyo Marui components. Upgrades are also available.

The hop-up system is adjustable, allowing you to dial in optimal settings for your environment. Thankfully, it’s also easy to access under the slide, which easily detaches. Switching to a lithium polymer battery may be recommended, as the included battery can perform inconsistently at times. Included magazines can be a little on the cheap side and thus double feed. However, this is not a common problem.

Best Airsoft Pistols Under $100

WE-Tech Hi-Capa

The WE-Tech Hi-CAPA 5.1 (and its siblings) is a great gas pistol for beginners and intermediate players alike. Though experienced players may be enticed to game Tokyo Marui’s version, the 5.1 is extremely capable. For a solid mix of performance and longevity, you’ll be hard pressed to find better value at under $100. Though some players say shaking the gun can produce wobbling, this not cause problems.

First Impressions

With a variety of models to choose from, the WE Full-Metal Hi-CAPA is a formidable option for gas-pistol enthusiasts. The Hi-CAPA comes in 3.8 Officer, 4.3 Commander, 5.1 Government, and 5.1 P14 models. Each has unique styling. The pistols primarily accept CO2 and green gas, but may also use red gas and propane. Though we favor the 5.1 Government for its aggressive styling, players cannot go wrong with any choice. Keep in mind that some models may exceed the $100 threshold. Overall, this is an extremely-popular pistol that receives excellent feedback from owners.

For the purposes of our review, we’ll assess the 5.1 Government from here onward. Like its siblings, it features a full-metal slide, frame, and barrel. This construction gives the gun a weighty, solid feel. Its textured, polymer grip ensures confident handling. A bottom rail provides a mounting point for accessories. The Hi-CAPA 5.1 is modeled after the traditional M1911 design, yet incorporates a high-capacity magazine. Internals are reinforced to reduce wear and tear, adding to the sidearm’s outstanding durability. The package includes the 5.1 Government pistol and a green gas magazine. That magazine holds 30 rounds.

Performance

We-Tech rates the Hi-CAPA at 300-330 FPS, a solid velocity for multiple playing conditions. With standard BBs, the pistol has an effective range of 70-100 feet. Opting for heavier rounds can help increase this range and boost accuracy. The 5.1 receives high marks for its impressive accuracy, the importance of which diminishes during close-quarters combat.

Despite being a strong blowback pistol, gas efficiency is surprisingly good. Players report shooting in excess of 60 rounds on a single charge. Be sure to keep the 5.1 Government properly lubricated to prevent leaks and lockups. If players do so, it will fire reliably time after time. The trigger pull isn’t too heavy, allowing players to fire off consecutive rounds with relative ease. The slide cycles very smoothly as well. Owners using propane will need to use an adapter, though that shouldn’t be a deterrent.

Colt M1911 A1 by KWC

The Colt M1911 A1 is a superb pistol for players of all levels. It has great power and accuracy, adaptable to many fields and situations. However, replacement magazines are quite expensive.

First Impressions

An accurate 1:1 replica of the original M1911, KWC’s A1 is licensed by Colt and has an authentic feel. Constructed completely of metal with a serrated slide, the M1911 A1 is hefty and durable. It has a beaver-tail safety on frame plus a working hammer and hop-up. This is a blowback CO2 pistol that kicks heavily. Furthermore, it has a magazine release and fixed top sights. For the M1911 A1 enthusiast, this is a masterpiece. Internally it retains its superior attention to detail, making it easy to disassemble and reassemble.

The gun is easy to clean and maintain, though not a stickler for constant upkeep. No matter what environment you fight in, the gun is sturdy enough to stand up to drops, dirt, and the like. It’s relatively low maintenance, especially friendly for players who simply like to point and shoot. The box includes the KWC M1911 A1 and a 17-round magazine. This magazine is full metal and has a standard capacity.

Performance

The Colt M1911 A1 is a fairly-hot weapon, shooting at 340-360 FPS. Some owners event report that their pistols shoot harder, as there’s some natural variance from gun to gun. We are reviewing the 350 FPS version – KWC sells a 370 FPS version as well, though it’s more expensive. Our model is likely better for a greater variety of fields, especially those with strict regulations. With heavier BBs, the pistol is capable of being quite accurate up to 100 feet. Its power and hop-up help extend its range past other options at its price point.

The M1911 A1 is very gas efficient, using 12-gram CO2 cartridges. The pistol can shoot about four full magazines before it needs a new CO2 cannister. This longevity means greater flexibility and firing time. Magazines are very durable due to their construction, but can be tricky to reload for those with short fingernails. The retention tab can be somewhat difficult to reach. Overall, the firing mechanism is smooth and reliable – a characteristic that will endure for years.

WE-Tech 1911 CQB Master

WE-Tech’s CQB Master is a great option for beginner and intermediate players. While build quality is mostly superb, a fragile safety and flimsy stock magazines prevent it from receiving top marks. With solid performance and value, this pistol will serve players well over time.

First Impressions

Hugely popular amongst the airsoft community, the WE CQB Master is an excellent gas-blowback pistol. It features authentic M1911 styling with some visual tweaks that give it a modern look. It has a heavyweight design fashioned entirely from aluminum alloy. The grip has a molded rubber wrapping, making the gun comfortable and easy to wield. While the front sight is fixed, the pistol’s rear sight is adjustable. Though its beaver-tail safety is traditional, its enlarged and ambidextrous – righties and lefties will feel right at home using the CQB Master. However, this safety can begin to feel a little loose with time.

The pistol is gas blowback, accepting green gas and red gas. With an adapter, players can also use propane if they prefer. Green gas cannisters may also require some sort of magazine extension. It comes in four finishes: Black, Dark Earth, Desert, and OD Green. The black finish may chip with use. If players want a bottom rail, they will exceed the $100 mark, as this is optional. OD Green is the most expensive color scheme, rail or not. The barrel is threaded and tightly bored, measuring at 6.03 millimeters. The box includes the WE-Tech CQB Master pistol and 16-round magazine.

Performance

The CQB Master performs very well, firing BBs at a velocity of 300-330 FPS. Its blowback system kicks reasonably hard, yet consumes gas fairly efficiently. Owners say they can fire 3-4 magazines prior to replacement – quite serviceable. Accuracy is strong with the CQB Master, due in part to its tight barrel. Rated for 70-100 feet, this gun reliably hits human targets. However, some players rate accuracy as good out to about 50 feet, which could depend on one’s unique setup.

The hop up system is adjustable but located under the slide – players must remove it to gain access. The trigger pull is smooth without demanding a lot of effort. This makes rapid fire easier, especially useful while clearing rooms. The pistol is loud when it fires, which will intimidate opponents.

Matrix Elite M9

For those desiring an authentic M9 replica, this is a great sidearm with upgrade potential to boot. It performs admirably under a variety of conditions, and is quite reliable despite its price point. With a solid build it should last quite a while. Just keep an eye out for wobbling magazines, which can happen occasionally.

First Impressions

A replica of the M92FS, the Matrix Elite M9 is an attractive pistol that feels great in the hand. Its grip is roughly textured for secure handling. With a full-metal frame, slide, and barrel, the gun is hefty and stands up to abuse. It has a functional safety on the slide. The Matrix Elite M9 also has a lanyard loop below the grip, especially useful for secure handling under adverse conditions. It comes in two finishes: Black and Silver. Each of these external finishes has both a polymer and a full-metal variant. Owners report that paint tends to chip fairly easily on the Black model.

Because the M9 is based on the M92FS, it is designed to be easily stripped and reassembled. Those comfortable with the gun should have no trouble performing maintenance. Because it’s built from the Tokyo Marui platform, the M9 does accept upgrades, elevating it from a cheaper base gun to a worthy investment. The box includes the Matrix Elite M9 pistol and a 26-round magazine.

Performance

The pistol fires a respectable 300-330 FPS, perfect both for medium range and close-range engagements. It is a blowback pistol designed to handle green gas, red gas, and propane. Gas efficiency is decent. Many players seem to fire about two magazines of shots before a new canister is needed. This is perfectly serviceable, though not superb.

The gun does possess solid accuracy and has the ability to hit targets out to 100 feet. Keep in mind that these results are not always consistent, however, with true effective range being around 75 feet. Players who dial in their hop up can achieve straight and predictable BB flights. The gun is loud when fired and thus can intimidate opponents.

Umarex Walther P99

The Umarex Walther P99 is a surprise, and a fine example that good performance can come in a cheap package. While not without its minor flaws, the pistol pairs respectable power with solid build quality. Those factors alone will make it an attractive sidearm in the eyes of beginner players.

First Impressions

A budget-friendly option rounding out our list, the Umarex Walther P99 is a well-made pistol that deserves a look. It’s a quality replica with a polymer frame and metal slide. The P99 features a CO2 blowback action. The grip is slotted and textured for surehanded gripping, and the gun has a balanced weight that isn’t excessive.

It comes in a black finish that’s pretty durable and resistant to scratches. It has an ambidextrous magazine release, friendly to all players. Included in the box is the Walther P99 pistol and two 15-round magazines. However, these magazines are proprietary. On the positive side, they’re drop free, making reloading easier in the field. Instead of storing CO2 cartridges in the magazine, CO2 is kept in the grip itself. While this makes reloading challenging at times, replacement mags are notably cheaper.

Performance

The Walther P99 shoots at a muzzle velocity of 300-330 FPS, a respectable speed for CQB and short-mid ranges. Owners report that it’s accurate in most situations, and that trigger pull is smooth. It has a double-action trigger, however, which elongates the pull distance. This may be a turn off for some players.

The hop up is there but fixed, which leaves players a little more locked in. Thankfully, the P99 is an accurate gun despite this. The range is not fantastic but should be perfectly adequate for most situations. The gun is loud when fired with a unique sound, due to how the slide is constructed. Some players may find it jarring, but it has no bearing on the function of the pistol. Gas consumption is pretty good, allowing players to stretch out each cartridge prior to replacement.

Best Airsoft Pistol Brands

We’ve compiled a list of our favorite pistol manufacturers. We considered the following while choosing these brands:

  • Popular appeal and community reviews
  • Reliability and performance
  • Parts availability and upgrades

Without further ado, here are the top brands players should consider when purchasing a new sidearm:

Tokyo Marui

Since Tokyo Marui first began producing airsoft guns, the brand has earned a reputation for outstanding performance and quality control. Although their one of the more-expensive manufacturers, Tokyo Marui is a brand that many airsofters hold in high regard. That demand extends to their range of pistols. Their sidearms mainly appeal to intermediate and advanced players, though they’ll serve any player well.

The brand has received heaps of praise for its MK23 SOCOM and Hi-Capa models. Players can also pick up their own 1911 or M92 variants. These are some of the most-reliable options the brand offers, though others are perfectly serviceable. Accordingly, Tokyo Marui sells a wide variety of pistols in premium designs and finishes. For those looking to stand out, a number of custom options allow players to do just that.

Though players will pay more, these pistols will last if cared for. Blending premium feel with outstanding performance, players should seriously consider choosing one of these as a secondary weapon. Those seeking either blowback and non-blowback gas pistols will find great options. Some of Tokyo Marui’s lower-end models don’t shoot the fastest compared to other brands, but reliability and build quality are typically excellent.

Upgrades are also widely available. By virtue of its popularity, Tokyo Marui has one of the largest aftermarket parts selections available. Stock internals are already high quality, but owners can find many replacements. For this reason, Tokyo Marui pistols are great platforms that can evolve to suit their owners’ changing needs. This is especially useful for owners that play in a variety of fields. If players work within the confines of joule limits and FPS restrictions, they can configure their pistol rather easily.

WE-Tech

With probably the largest selection of airsoft pistols and upgrade parts available, WE-Tech makes sidearms for every type of airsoft player. The company makes 27 models of gas blowback pistols.  Offering traditional mainstays and modern spins on famous platforms, players can wield their favorite weapon. WE-Tech is known for offering high-performing pistols that are budget friendly. At the expense of some build quality and quality control, players gain access to solid sidearms. With proper care, these should last a long time.

WE-Tech does make some crowd favorites: the Glock 17/19, the CQB Master, and select Hi-Capa/M1911 models. Budget players can snap these up relatively easily from a variety of sellers. Furthermore, these incorporate fully metal or partially-metal frames. External build quality is solid in most cases, the same being true for WE-Tech’s additional models. These select models are also accurately built to original specifications. For that reason, WE-Tech makes quality replicas that don’t feel shoddily designed.

Let’s jump back to the topic of upgrades. Because WE-Tech makes models such as the 1911 and Hi-Capa, pistols readily accept a variety of internal, aftermarket components. Though many of its pistols are inexpensive, they are good base guns that will improve with minor tweaks. This is important when considering another factor: durability. Although WE-Tech pistols have good external durability, the internals aren’t quite as solid. Loose or plastic components aren’t always built to last. Since gas blowback pistols ask a lot of their internal components over time, this may be a consideration. As mentioned, many designs are well-known replicas, thus making them easy to disassemble and reassemble.

If players make minor changes, they’ll have a reliable secondary weapon for many matches to come. WE-Tech pistols are just as renowned for their potential as their price tags.

KJ Works (KJW)

KJW is a quality brand that fits squarely in the intermediate market, making solid pistols that offer good construction and performance. That being said, KJW’s popularity amongst players revolves around its replica pistols, which offer solid value.

The brand claims ownership of some of the most widely-used gas blowback pistols on the market. It makes one of the most highly rated mid-range 1911 replicas in the business – truly a feat, given almost all manufacturers have similar models in their arsenals. KJW also makes solid Glock replicas that perform well and share parts compatibility with other manufacturers. While KJW doesn’t quite match the sheer selection of other brands, what they do make is pretty high quality.

External and internal build quality are both superb, especially with gas options. KJW regularly incorporates fully-metal externals and fully reinforced internal components. When buying a blowback pistol, these improvements are quite important. These build upgrades also allow pistols to work with a wider range of gas types, including red gas, CO2, and propane. Players with specific preferences can rest assured knowing that KJW has options for them.

Finally, upgradeability is a big plus with KJW pistols. While a wide selection of first-party replacement parts is available, owners can seek components made by other manufacturers. Since KJW pistols tend to be replicas, they are compatible with both Tokyo Marui and WE-Tech internals. Owners can install these parts quite easily, making these pistols great base guns with room for growth. With upside and great value, KJW should not be overlooked.

KWA

Makers of hard-hitting, performant pistols, KWA offers a sizeable range of quality pistols. Aimed at the mid-to-high range markets, these pistols are intended for players serious about owning a reliable companion. KWA pistols are highly rated, and partnerships with sites like Evike have produced some promising models. The company also makes a full-auto gas blowback pistol, an uncommon sight in the gas pistol realm.

KWA makes quality replicas of the M9A1 and ATP platforms. Somewhat unique to KWA is their training weapon replicas, such as the M9 PTP. While the brand makes heavy use of metal in its sidearms, KWA’s polymer options are also superbly made. Overall, these are solid, hefty pistols with outstanding ergonomics and build quality. Almost all KJW pistols shoot at or above 300 FPS, meaning performance will never be a concern.

For those looking to upgrade, aftermarket and first-party components are available for purchase. Major online retailers regularly stock key internals, which owners can buy relatively cheaply.

ASG

Offering a wide range of pistols covering budget to high-range price points, ASG makes reliable pistols for all airsoft players. It also makes some crowd favorites – the CZ P-09 and SP-01 – which are highly rated. In most cases, ASG pistols have respectable to great power within a solid package. Players seeking a high-power gun (and likely one illegal in many fields) can even pick up infamous STI Duty One, which slings rounds at 440-499 FPS. This equates to 2 joules.

ASG does have some partnerships with official brands such as CZ, allowing them to create accurate 1:1 replicas of famous firearms. Players looking for authentic looks and strong performance will be at home here. With textured polymer or metal frames, these pistols feel extremely solid in hand and can take plenty of abuse.

ASG sells replacement parts through third-party online retailers and their own online store.