We will look at airguns. More specifically, air pistols. Nowadays, getting your hands on a gun that spits lead is becoming exceedingly difficult. Even in the land of the free, you might have a really hard time owning a simple pistol. In most parts of the world, it is a crime to own firearms.

However, given how nuanced legislations are, there tend to be loopholes. In this case, owning an air gun is not a crime in many places. But before you do anything, I want to clarify that this is not legal advice. You should always check with the local law before buying an airgun.

With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s talk theories. It’s boring, I understand, but I want you to have the best information so that you only make a single purchase and be satisfied with it.

Long story short, an airgun works by propelling a small pellet or BB at a certain speed using compressed air or spring. It might not be the most powerful firearm you can have, but this is probably the only option you have when it comes to guns that you can legally own. Having a gun is better than nothing, especially in a self-defense situation.

Another thing airguns have going for it is the fact that it is much easier and cheaper to train with. While training with a simple 9mm pistol would not break your bank, it is still much cheaper to work with BBs.

Given the difference in firing systems, you will not get the full experience of firing gunpowder rounds. But airguns provide a safe way to practice some gun fundamentals such as gun safety, marksmanship, etc.

Then there is the question of caliber. There are four of them: .177, .20, .22, and .25. They do better in certain applications, so none of them is the best in any given situation. Most of the airguns come in .177 or .22, which is where many of the discussions happen.

Long story short, .177 is smaller than .22. It can maintain its velocity better over long distances, and it has a better wounding capacity due to its smaller size. On the other hand, .22 is much larger, relatively speaking. That means it can deliver more kinetic energy and stopping power. But if you use airguns for practice, then caliber size does not matter that much. Anything will work, although you should still opt for .177.

With this in mind, what air pistols should you buy? There are countless of them on the market but if you want the most powerful air pistols, I will give you my top 6 recommendations.

1. Weihrauch HW45

We will start off with the Weihrauch HW45. Weihrauch is a reputable German airgun company, known for its robust and excellent build quality. As far as German quality goes, this much is to be expected.

Given its form factor, it does not work well as a self-defense gun. Aesthetic-wise, this is a loose replica of the American Colt45 pistol. The build quality and attention to detail are remarkable, to say the least.

The HW45 is a single-shot spring-piston airgun that delivers about 6 ft/lbs of power, which is pretty much the legal limit in the UK at least. The power delivery is flexible. If you pull the barrel assembly to about 90 degrees, you get about half power. If you pull all the way back, you get the maximum power. Going only at half power is the best since the gun does not kick hard, which should improve your accuracy.

It comes in .177 and .22, which is propelled at about 650 fps. Given its design, it does not make for an ideal gun for hunting or self-defense. Rather, this one is purely for target practice or for fun.

Weihrauch HW45

2. Crosman 1701P Silhouette

Next on our list, we have the Crosman 1701P Silhouette. This sleek-looking airgun can propel pellets to about 450 fps. It comes in .177 only. Given its single-shot and single-action design, you are limited to one shot before having to reload. In other words, this gun is not ideal for hunting or self-defense, just like the HW45. It will do well for target shooting.

Other than that, the 1701P offers many nice features to complement its decent build quality. One such feature is the little pressure gauge and an over-travel limiting screw. The screw in particular is crucial if you want to land accurate shots. It also comes with an 11mm dovetail rail, big enough to fit many optics. These little things are very easy and cheap to implement, yet are sadly overlooked. So, I appreciate the attention to detail here.

The only downside I can think of is that the 1701P is quite bulky. But since it is meant for target practice, this is irrelevant.

Crosman 1701P Silhouette

3. Crosman 1377

I consider this to be a budget gun that delivers the most fun for its price point. If you are on the fence about whether you should invest in an airgun, this is the best starting point.

Stats-wise, this rifle shoots .177 pellets, single-shot, bolt-action. So, again, this is not ideal for hunting. The best you can do with this is plinking or target practice. You get between 495-600 fps from the gun, which might not seem like much. But it punches above its weight as it delivers the same power as other, more expensive air pistols on the market.

Aesthetic-wise, it does not look like the most tactical or fancy airgun out there. But at that price point, I don’t think these matter much. It just needs to do its job, and the 1377 does its job well with its amazing accuracy. If you do buy this airgun, consider buying the Crosman 1377 custom shoulder for it. It will help with your accuracy.

Crosman 1377

4. BSA 240 Magnum .22

The BSA 240 Magnum is a beautiful gun thanks to its walnut grip and other design features that make it look like an actual firearm. It is single-shot and comes in .22 and .177. It is a spring-powered air pistol with a top lever cocking, with space for mounting optics at the top, 2-stage adjustable trigger.

That said, there are some drawbacks. For one, some users have reported strong recoil from the gun. Another issue people had with this gun is that it might be difficult to work with the top lever. But your mileage may vary. The biggest downside to this beautiful air pistol is the fact that it is an old gun, so finding one is difficult, let alone getting one that is brand new. If you can get your hands on one, go for it. Overall, this is a fun gun to shoot.

BSA 240 Magnum .22

5. RWS LP8 .177

The RWS LP8 is also known as the Diana LP8. This is a single-shot, spring-pistol air pistol that is available in only .177. It comes with a top rail for mounting optics if you do not like the default factory fiber optic green dot. Similar to the Crosman 1377, the LP8 comes with a little screw behind the trigger to prevent overtravel.

This is yet another single-shot pistol, so it is best for just plinking and target practice. Depending on what BBs you use, expect to get anywhere between 500 fps to over 600 fps. The solid build quality and does not look too out of place other than its long barrel. The LP8 is designed in a way that both left-handed and right-handed individuals can use it with ease, which is a nice touch.

RWS LP8 .177

6. Beeman P1 Air Pistol

Last but not least, we have the Beeman P1 Air Pistol. Aesthetic-wise, many of its design feature comers from the famous Colt 1911. The P1 is a gorgeous airgun that can pass as an actual gun.

When it comes to performance, Beeman advertised a maximum power of 600fps and a minimum of 380 fps. It comes in .177, .20, and .22 calibers. You can use both the high and low power for the first two calibers. But if you go for the .22 variant, you only have one power level to work with. It’s also worth mentioning that this is also a single-shot pistol, so it’s primarily for plinking and target practice only.

The P1 offers a plethora of handy features such as the adjustable trigger for the length and weight pull. The trigger is crisp and breaks cleanly. If you’re unfamiliar with trigger adjustment, the default works just fine.  

Beeman P1 Air Pistol

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