Airsoft Sidearms: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to airsoft, having a reliable sidearm can make all the difference in the heat of battle. Whether your primary airsoft gun malfunctions, you run out of ammo, or you need a weapon for close-quarter combat, a well-chosen airsoft sidearm can be a game-changer.

An airsoft sidearm, or pistol, is a compact and portable airsoft replica used as a secondary firearm. It fires 6mm plastic BB and replicates the appearance and function of real handguns. Sidearms are popular for close-quarters combat and serve as backup weapons. They have smaller sizes, shorter barrels, and lower ammunition capacity than rifles.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the different types of sidearms available, including pistols and revolvers, and provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision.

What is an Airsoft Sidearm?

An airsoft sidearm, also known as a pistol, is a type of airsoft gun designed to be compact and easily carried as a secondary firearm during an Airsoft game.

Airsoft sidearms replicate the appearance and function of real firearms, but they fire 6mm plastic BBs. These replicas typically operate on gas, CO2, or electric power.

Airsoft sidearms are commonly used in close-quarters combat situations or when players need a backup weapon. They offer portability, maneuverability, and quick target acquisition due to their smaller size and shorter barrel length compared to rifles or shotguns.

I spy a sidearm!

Sidearms come in various models and styles, mimicking the designs of popular handguns such as Glocks, 1911s, Berettas, and more.

Airsoft pistols usually have a lower ammunition capacity than rifles, typically holding around 15 to 30 rounds in a detachable magazine. They can be semi-automatic or capable of firing in burst or full-auto modes, depending on the model.

Why You Need an Airsoft Sidearm

Backup in Critical Situations

Imagine yourself in the middle of an intense airsoft battle, relying on your primary airsoft gun to dominate the field. Suddenly, disaster strikes – your primary weapon malfunctions or runs out of ammo.

In that critical moment, having a reliable sidearm can save the day. A sidearm allows you to quickly switch to a secondary weapon, ensuring that you’re never caught defenseless. It provides a crucial backup option when you need it the most.

There’s always going to be one game where your primary weapon just keeps malfunctioning in the worst moments. I had one game in which my Scorpion would keep jamming in the worst moments and having a sidearm would have allowed me to continue playing instead of getting surrounded and having to surrender.

Compliance with MED Requirements

Most airsoft fields enforce minimum engagement distance (MED) rules, which determine the minimum distance at which you can shoot another player.

Sometimes, your primary airsoft gun may not meet the MED requirements, making it unsafe or impractical to engage opponents at close range. Designated Marksmen and Sniper players typically use sidearms because of the minimum engagement distance that comes with using a high-powered rifle.

In such situations, a sidearm with lower velocity can be the perfect solution. It allows you to stay within the rules while still effectively engaging enemies within the MED.

Flexibility in Different Scenarios

Airsoft battles can be dynamic, with scenarios that require quick adaptability. Your primary airsoft gun may not always be the best choice for every situation.

In close-quarter battles or when speed and maneuverability are crucial, a compact sidearm can provide the agility and versatility you need to outmaneuver opponents.

Having a sidearm ensures that you’re prepared for any scenario and can quickly transition to a more suitable weapon when necessary.

Exploring Your Options: Pistols and Revolvers

When it comes to choosing an airsoft sidearm, two popular options are pistols and revolvers. Each has its unique characteristics and advantages, allowing you to find the perfect sidearm that suits your playstyle and preferences.

Pistols: Power and Versatility

Pistols are a classic choice for airsoft sidearms, known for their power, versatility, and ease of use. These compact handguns pack a punch and are capable of firing multiple rounds. With semi-automatic functionality, pistols allow for rapid follow-up shots, giving you an edge in fast-paced engagements.

They come in various models, including gas-powered and electric-powered options.

Gas-powered pistols, such as those powered by green gas or CO2, offer increased muzzle velocity and range. They are well-suited for open-field battles and situations that demand accuracy and power. However, if you’re trying to be stealthy they are much louder than an AEG pistol.

On the other hand, electric-powered pistols, also known as AEG pistols, provide a medium to high rate of fire, making them ideal for close-quarter battles and quick target acquisition. They can also be made to be extremely quiet allowing you to use them on stealth missions and remain undetected.

Consider your playstyle and the specific requirements of your airsoft battles when choosing a pistol as your sidearm.

Revolvers: Classic Appeal and Reliability

Revolvers, with their classic appeal and reliability, feature a rotating cylinder that holds the ammunition, giving them a distinct look and feel. They are a less popular choice for airsoft sidearms due to their practicality; longer reload times and low ammo capacity.

Revolvers are often favored by players who appreciate the simplicity and nostalgia associated with these iconic firearms. They are commonly used in historical reenactments and are well-regarded by weapon collectors.

Airsoft revolvers, like their real counterparts, offer a single-fire mechanism, requiring precision and accuracy in each shot. While they may have a lower ammunition capacity compared to pistols, revolvers make up for it with their simplicity and reliability.

They are often powered by gas, such as green gas or CO2, providing decent muzzle velocity and range. If you prefer a sidearm that embodies the charm of classic firearms, a revolver might be the perfect choice for you.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing an Airsoft Sidearm

Now that you have a better understanding of the different types of airsoft sidearms available, let’s delve into the key factors you should consider before making your selection. These factors will help you find a sidearm that meets your specific needs and enhances your overall airsoft experience.

1. Performance and Power

When it comes to sidearms, performance, and power are crucial aspects to consider. You want a sidearm that can effectively engage opponents and provide the necessary firepower when needed.

Look for a sidearm with a suitable muzzle velocity that complies with field regulations and MED requirements. Consider the range and accuracy of the sidearm, as well as its rate of fire. Strike the right balance between power and control to ensure optimal performance on the battlefield.

2. Size and Weight

The size and weight of your sidearm can greatly impact your mobility and comfort during airsoft battles. Opt for a sidearm that is compact and lightweight, allowing for easy maneuverability and quick handling.

Consider the ergonomics and grip of the sidearm, ensuring that it feels comfortable in your hand. Additionally, think about the holster options available for the sidearm, as a well-fitting holster will provide easy access and secure storage.

3. Ammunition Capacity

The ammunition capacity of your sidearm is an important factor to consider, especially in scenarios where quick reloads are crucial. While revolvers typically have a lower ammunition capacity, pistols can offer higher rounds per magazine.

Think about the specific dynamics of your airsoft battles and the frequency of reloads. Choose a sidearm with an ammunition capacity that aligns with your playstyle and ensures you can stay in the game without interruption.

4. Reliability and Durability

Reliability and durability are essential qualities for any airsoft sidearm. You want a sidearm that can withstand the rigors of intense gameplay and perform consistently without issues. Look for sidearms from reputable brands known for their quality and reliability.

Read reviews and seek recommendations from experienced airsoft players to ensure you invest in a sidearm that will serve you well in the long run.

5. Availability of Accessories

The availability of accessories can enhance the functionality and customization options of your sidearm. Consider whether the sidearm can mount additional accessories, such as sights or tactical lights.

There are a lot of accessories for Airsoft; here are the common ones!

These accessories can improve your aim, accuracy, and overall effectiveness on the battlefield. Research the compatibility of the sidearm with aftermarket accessories and choose one that allows for future upgrades and personalization.

6. Cost and Budget

As with any purchase, your budget plays a significant role in selecting an airsoft sidearm. Determine your budget range and explore options that fall within it. Remember, while cost is important, it should not be the sole determining factor. Balance affordability with quality and performance to ensure you get the best value for your investment.

Additional Considerations for Airsoft Sidearms

When choosing an airsoft sidearm, it’s essential to assess your playstyle, game scenarios, and field regulations. Here are a few additional considerations to keep in mind:

  • Game Scenario: If you primarily engage in close-quarter battles or fast-paced encounters, a compact sidearm with a high rate of fire may be more suitable. However, if you often find yourself engaging opponents at longer distances, a sidearm with better accuracy and range might be a better fit.
  • Field Regulations: Familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of the airsoft fields where you play. Some fields may have restrictions on certain types of sidearms, muzzle velocities, or ammunition capacities. Ensure that your chosen sidearm complies with these regulations to avoid any issues during gameplay.
  • Training and Practice: Once you’ve selected your airsoft sidearm, dedicate time to training and practicing with it. Familiarize yourself with its operation, reloading, and aiming. Practice drawing and holstering the sidearm efficiently to ensure quick access during gameplay. Regular training sessions will improve your proficiency and confidence with your chosen sidearm.
  • Holster Selection: A secure holster is essential for carrying and accessing your sidearm during gameplay. Consider the different types of holsters available, such as belt holsters, thigh holsters, or chest rigs, and choose one that suits your preference and playstyle. Ensure that the holster provides a snug fit, keeping your sidearm secure and easily accessible.


Choosing the perfect airsoft sidearm is a critical decision that can greatly enhance your performance and enjoyment on the battlefield. Whether you opt for a versatile pistol or a classic revolver, consider factors such as performance, size, weight, ammunition capacity, reliability, availability of accessories, and your budget.

By taking these considerations into account and aligning your choice with your playstyle and game scenarios, you can confidently select an airsoft sidearm that will serve as a reliable backup and a valuable asset in your airsoft arsenal. So, gear up, choose wisely, and dominate the field with your new airsoft sidearm!

About the author

Nathan Skoczylas

When I'm not playing Airsoft I enjoy working out, training BJJ, mountain biking, and making music!